Achieving a BS in Business or Finance, ASAP

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by finguy, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. finguy

    finguy New Member

    This is my first post to this forum so please be gentle.

    I have followed this forum and many of the threads for a few weeks now and have decided the time has come to put myself out there and accomplish my goals.

    A very brief introduction is that I'm an entrepreneur turned hedge fund trader in Manhattan and am the only professional within my fund that doesn't have an Ivy League degree (I often joke that I started out $160k ahead of everyone else)

    But let's get back to the important stuff. I bounced in and out of high school as a teen and ended up in college at 15. That didn't work out after I enrolled and dropped out three semesters in a row. After realizing academics wasn't for me I ventured off on my own at 17 to do business. I had a keen sense for starting up companies, recruiting management and raising capital. For a number of years I had great success which was followed by a series of bad decisions on my part. So finally after the ups and downs of my own entrepreneurial ventures I took time off to rethink, strategize and spend some quality time in a University in New York. It was a great experience but since landing an amazing position at a hedge fund I didn't have the time or motivation to continue full time at a B&M school.

    Fast forward to the present. I want my bachelors in business or finance and I want it fast (I'm sure that sounds similar to the girl in Willy Wonka who wanted the golden goose). I've spoken with the my boss and he has agreed to let me take as much time as I need to achieve my bachelors so long as I work extremely hard at it. The reality is that I have about a year, if not less to get this completed. During that time I can work as part time as I want and still have a full time position waiting for me when I return. If possible I'd like to accomplish the credit requirements for my degree in 6-8 months. I would be thrilled to have achieved all the credits required for a degree by mid April 2006 (my birthday!)

    I'm very interested in getting advice from people on this board about reaching my goals. I have a number of friends in business that face similar situations and would also benefit greatly from direction and advice given by forum members who know the ropes.

    I'd like to know what the quickest and most efficient (least time spent in a classroom, most credits per hour via testing, etc) route would be. It seems with the Big 3 I don't have to spend any time in the classroom and could possibly test out of most if not all my degree requirements. Is that true?

    It looks as if Excelsior offers 30 credits per GRE (above the 80th percentile) and the GREs are offered November 12th and December 10th. I figure I could probably take two subject exams on those dates and gain the 60 credits from two tests.

    Is it reasonable to expect someone of greater than average intelligence with all the time in the world to study to be able to knock out scores in the 80%+ range on two GREs within a month of each other?

    With 60 credits out of the way I figure I can gain another 20-25 (possibly more) given my experiential learning in many areas of business, communication, finance and entrepreneurship. Does that seem like a reasonable assessment of what I might be able to earn via PLA?

    Am I better off scrapping my ideas of prior learning credits and getting the whole degree via testing at Excelsior or one of the others?

    I am taking the Introductory to Business Law CLEP on Monday July 18th and feel that I will pass it (My high school still has not issued me my diploma and will not do so until after I complete my Business Law CLEP!).

    After that I plan to take Business Law II DSST. The DSST seems quite a bit harder than the CLEP but I'm studying hard. I figure if I'm already taking BLaw 1 I might as well study a bit harder and go for two. Any thoughts?

    Also, does anyone know whether any schools offer credits for CFA examinations? They are very intense and broad exams covering all areas of securities valuation and portfolio management.

    I also have 16 lower level credits that I am likely able to transfer in from the school here in New York City.

    16 + 60 (from GREs) + 6 from BLaw tests + multiple CLEPs, DSST, TECEPS, ECEs... Is it possible to get my credit requirements completed in my proposed time frame? If so can someone help me outline a path?

    For more long term thinking and back to my joking about the Ivy League graduates... is it possible to get a degree from one of the Big 3 DL schools and then take the GMATs, get a stellar score and attend an Ivy League Business School? Attending an Ivy League Business School is a thought that constantly lingers in my mind and may one day be part of my plan. I'd hope that just because I got my bachelors via DL it wouldn't preclude me from gaining admission to a top tier business school. Any thoughts?

    Thanks so much to everyone on this board, people like Unixman, Joshua Graham, and cwt and everyone else who has provided me with some much inspiration to work hard and achieve my goals.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2005
  2. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    What happens if you don't complete the degree in less than a year?
  3. finguy

    finguy New Member

    I'm not too sure that I'll have my position waiting for me at my current employment if I can't get the credit requirements done in a time frame like I've outlined. I know it sounds crazy but I think I'm up to the task of the work and all the tests. Having a road map to getting it all done is all that is holding me back at this point.
  4. JoAnnP38

    JoAnnP38 Member

    What's the rush? Has your employer issued some form of ultimatum? Are you saying that in return for only working part-time your employer expects you to complete the degree in less than a year? If that's the case, why not continue to work full time and complete your degree at the same time? Is the reward for completing a BS/BA such that it makes sense to give up the income you would have normally made? The reason I ask is that while I'm sure you will be able to layout a plan and I'm sure people on this forum can help you, IMO the odds of finishing in 6-8 months or even a year given that you are starting with 16 credits aren't very good. I'm just hoping you have a fall back plan -- that's all. I'm sure someone here will tell me I'm out of my gourd, but your plan sounds kind of dicey to me.

    Oh, and before I forget you will want to check out
  5. skidadl

    skidadl Member

    Your experience sounds so much like mine it is funny!

    With people like you and me it is often times all or nothing. Come hard or don't come at all...

    Although, I have gained more experience and maturity in recent years and became more even tempered than I ever was before.

    If you are anything like me, you should push hard now while the fire is burning bright.

    I know you will do well and find your way on this journey.

    CLEPs and DANTES are good.

    You may want to consider Education Direct as well.

    They have individual courses that are ACE reviewed. These courses can be used to satisfy requirements in areas that you may not have enough background in. It could do you good to plow through some of these.

    You are welcome to PM if me for details if you want. (that is unless the PM police show up...;)

    Keep asking questions until you drive everyone crazy. Then ask a few more.

    Good luck.
  6. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Check out Lawrie Miller's site;

    Just keep in mind that it's entirely possible, maybe even preferable, to keep working full-time while earning your degree.
  7. bceagles

    bceagles Member

    My advice:

    First: Find a flexable testing center, with lots hours of operation! (I've had a lot of luck with junior college testing centers)

    Next: Have the testing center order all of the Business DSST exams

    Prin of finance
    Financial Accounting
    Prin of Supervision
    HR Management
    Personal Finance
    Business Math
    Money & Banking
    Org Behavior

    With your work experience, taking 2 exams per day could get you 24 credits in a week! I've taken & Passed all of these exams (except Money & Banking, this month I hope to take it) with out very much trouble!

    This would be a good way to start, IMHO!
  8. finguy

    finguy New Member

    JoAnn - The rush is pretty well outlined by skidadl that followed yours. He says, "
    With people like you and me it is often times all or nothing. Come hard or don't come at all... " That's basically the best way to sum it up.

    There is no ultimatum that I have to have it finished in a certain time frame but it's something I feel I need to accomplish. However crazy it may sound, that's me. I always take the path less traveled. I have a fairly complex employment arrangement that if explained in detail I don't think will benefit the goal of this thread. While I do very much appreciate your opinion that my time frame is a bit crazy, I do think I can take the challenge and succeed. I'd definitely like to hear more from you as my plan gets more detailed via this thread. It's always good to have someone playing devil's advocate ;) Also, I've spent some time on I must say I've learned a lot, but the layout of the site leaves much to be desired.

    skidadl -
    Thanks for the encouraging words and I think you know my personality well because we share similar traits. The idea about Education Direct is great, although I've never heard of it before. I will have to do my research and get cracking at it.

    As well, I will get as much advice and guidance as possible because this is a goal that I am 100% dedicated to and I know that with the help of the experts here I can get it done.

    Bruce -
    Thanks for the link to Lawrie's site. As mentioned above in my reply I've been there and love the content but dread the layout.
    Also, at this point in my life I don't want to sit full time in the office when I could be out enjoying the beautiful weather for the next 3 months while studying and actively testing.

    bceagles -
    I need to find a good testing center in Manhattan or the surrounding areas. I spoke with Cornell University and the head of testing at the campus in Manhattan and that seems like a good option. My only problem so far is that I left her a message last Thursday which has yet to be returned. Hopefully that will change and they will be my testing center of choice.

    I'm going to follow your advice and have the testing center order all of those tests and take them in a 2-3 week time frame. Do you have any recommended study materials of advice for the tests that you have passed?

    To Everyone -

    Thanks for the incredible responses so far. I'm taking everything into consideration and crafting my plan as we speak. I'm also studying for the Businesss Law CLEP next week which I'm sure I will pass.
  9. bceagles

    bceagles Member

  10. clotho

    clotho New Member

    I found to be very helpful as well. It is similar to but with a 6 month layout.

    Good luck!
  11. finguy

    finguy New Member

    bceagles -

    I will order that book immediately. I saw it come up a few times in different threads and was reluctant to order it. Now that I see it covers the tests that I should take I will get to it.

    I will also look into the SUNY and CUNY schools and their offerings. I did notice that on it seems as if many of the institutions in Manhattan and it's surrounding areas only offer DSST testing to currently enrolled students. And seeing that I'm going to enroll at Excelsior when the time comes I don't know how to get around this requirement.

    clotho -

    Thanks for the recommendation. I've been tearing through both Lawrie's ( and Joshua's ( sites for the past two weeks. I really can't stand the way either of them are laid out. Lawrie's is barely tolerable but has a wealth of information.

    Thanks everyone for the help so far. Will keep everyone updated!
  12. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    I don't have my copy of Bears' Guide handy, but I seem to remember that all the CLEP and DANTES exams are given every week in Washington, D.C. Not a bad place for a few road trips. :)
  13. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    I found that a very cost-effective method of studying for CLEP and DANTES exams was to buy used textbooks from the local community college bookstore.
  14. unixman

    unixman New Member

    If you haven't already - check out the link in my signature below. This is my quasi-blog on my own endeavor, which is very similar to your own. It is several pages long, but read all my posts in it - quite a bit of good info there if you browse the whole thread.

  15. finguy

    finguy New Member

    Bruce -

    Thanks for the advice about the used textbooks. I've been thinking about going that route. Never hurt to save money!

    Also, the idea about DC is great but I think a weekly jaunt down there is a bit out of the question. Maybe I'll do it once or twice for random CLEPs, just to get away.

    unixman -

    Thanks for the reply. Your thread has almost become my manual in navigating through this process. I admire your dedication very much. I'd love to find out more about the digitzed videos you've used for studying. Any chance you can fill me in via PM?

    I've got quite a background in software architecture and programming and am wondering if it's possible to apply my knowledge to my business degree through some of the testing you've done.

    Also, I'm very excited about getting to use, keep me updated as to its availability.

    Thanks everyone!

  16. unixman

    unixman New Member

    Hi there, finguy.

    Well, the videos I use vary by class, of course. I generally start with the Standard Deviants videos, and then move on to other things if I can get my hands on them.

    If I have a DVD, I just watch it on my laptop as-is.

    For VHS tapes, I connect up a spare VCR to a USB device I have that captures RGB/video signals. I use a capture program to convert them into MPGs which I can watch later.

    Ocassionally I'll find a web site that has some instructional videos on it - I'll save the video files off to my laptop to watch later.

    If you have other questions about how they are captured, etc., drop me a PM ...

  17. w_parker

    w_parker New Member

    I also did what Bruce prescribes--I purchased a used text book, usually one that was one version below the current version, and was able to get them for a few dollars. BTW, I passed every clep I took using this method. Good luck.


    MBA, Morehead State University, current student
  18. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    Well this falls out of your time frame, but I think this school is kind of well regarded. There's more options than you can shake a stick at in the area of finance and business. Someone on this board might know whether you can get exemptions for clep exams, etc. And the price is very nice. I imagine a Bachelor's degree in finance from this school would look pretty nice on your resume. Especially if you add the CFA designation (which will take you at least three years).
  19. finguy

    finguy New Member

    Thanks everyone so much insightful advice.

    bceagles -

    I have a question for in response to your posting listing the DANTES exams that you think would be relatively easy for me to pass given my work experience. Basically after reading through the degree plan at for a BS in Business at Excelsior the only DANTES it oulines to take are; BLaw II, MIS, Drug and Alcohol, Here's to Your Health, Criminal Justic, Fundamentals of Counseling, Principles of Supervision and Principles of Finance.

    It seems I can test out of the Accounting requirement with the harder CLEP Accounting test. Thereby removing the Financial Accounting DANTES. Personal Finance and Money & Banking both seem like tests that would be relatively easy for me but aren't outlined in the business degree plan. Should I just swp those for Criminal Justice and Here's to Your Health?

    It also seems like Business Math will not fulfill the math requirement of any business degree at Excelsior so I've opted to take a harder CLEP exam.

    I really appreciate all the advice and I'm starting my testing next week with CLEP Business Law on Monday and Business Law II DANTES on Tuesday. If I can finalize my plan I'm confident I can achieve my bachelors very quickly!

  20. alczar

    alczar New Member


    Here is a great website that will help you with Dantes and Clep tests. Various people take the different tests and give suggestions on what to study and what study books, materials and videos worked best for them to pass.

    Good luck in your endeavor!



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