Done MBA without a Bachelor's Degree 10 years ago & some employers demand a Bachelors

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by PositiveSoul, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. PositiveSoul

    PositiveSoul New Member

    Good morning!

    Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my post.

    I am in a very strange situation.

    I am grateful that I was given an opportunity by a well-known British university to do an MBA without a Bachelor's Degree almost 10 years ago.

    How I got that opportunity is a different story. In a nutshell, they had an Admission "Prerequisite" which stated,

    "A Bachelors degree from an accredited college or university or a degree from a recognised institution comparable and/or equivalent to a British Honours degree" *

    * Applicants that do not directly meet the educational requirements will be evaluated on an individual basis."

    I found myself to be fit into the latter category (i.e. the footnote) and just ran with it and after several months of deliberations, they granted me the precious opportunity. I graduated with a GPA of 3.50 three years later.

    For the past almost 10 years, I never had a problem using my MBA here in the United States even with the Federal Government but recently, when I applied for a job, the employer wanted me to submit my Bachelor's Degree along-with my MBA transcripts. Of course, I told them that I don't have one.

    That is beside the point of whether I will get that job or not but that definitely reminded me of lacking a Bachelor's Degree.

    I have around 70 credits (lower and upper) and almost two decades of professional experience as well as an MBA from an AACSB-Accredited, EQUIS-Accredited, EFMD-CEL-Accredited British University. I was wondering which university (i.e. Thomas Eddison, Charter Oaks, The Excelsior) will be kind enough to grant me a Bachelor's Degree based upon what I have so far. I am leaning more towards Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs) than CLEPS, DATNES, etc.

    Any advice, guidance or assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time and have a great and productive day.

  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    As much as I love the Big Three, given that this has only happened to you once in a decade is it possible that the best thing to do would be to dodge the bullet of working for such a short-sighted and small-minded employer?
    PositiveSoul likes this.
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Well if you're looking for a new hobby you can staple all those credits together and package them with the PLAs, CLEPs and whatever else you've got and then spend a few bucks to get the whole mess assessed by one of the Big 3. At that point you might just have to write a check and do a capstone thingy. If that's true then you've got a very simple question to ask yourself . . . "Do I want it enough to spend the money?" On that level it's not much different than buying any other product. If it was me, I'd say that it would have to be VERY cheap because, as Steve said, you seem to being doing OK without it. Of course, there are sometimes other intangibles involved. Maybe you feel like plugging that hole just . . . because. That's OK too. Maybe you'll enjoy taking the few courses you may need. I'll only point out that you're not restricted to the Big 3. There are lots of degree completion programs around. Maybe you'd prefer one from a school that has, say, a women's soccer team or maybe the right school colors, or mascot or whatever. Have fun
  4. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    If the person who might hire you can't accept the explanation that in the country you got your graduate degree from it's not unheard of to skip undergrad, do you really want to work there? Think about it, you are a holder of a GRADUATE degree being hassled about an UNDERGRADUATE degree level that you've already surpassed and you have proof of it. What else will you be hassled about after being hired? In my experience, if it starts off this way, it won't get any better. Don't waste your time with this. Just run from this company and never look back.
    PositiveSoul likes this.
  5. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Out of curiosity, which well-known British university?
    First, let me welcome you back to DI – you’ve been gone far too long.

    Second, I’ll buck the trend here and say that you’re on the right track. If even one potential employer can trash you for not having a bachelor’s, it’s worth getting a bachelor’s.

    In fact, if your résumé came across my desk (as a former H.R. administrator centuries ago in a galaxy far away), I’d toss it into the circular file based on such an omission. That position comes from a time when I worked in a hospital setting, and several staff members were enrolled in an M.H.S. (master of human services program) who did not have previously earned bachelor’s degrees. This was at a well-established state-affiliated university, where they would admit students to the M.H.S. program if they were currently employed in a human services field and had at least five years work experience in that field.

    Where I worked, many of us felt that the students in that program who were admitted without a prior undergrad degree did not have the broad perspective that one gets at the undergrad level. Graduate degrees are generally more focused, while bachelor’s degrees have a “breadth and depth requirement.” Incidental note: Several years later, once I had earned my Ph.D., I would end up as an advisor in that program, and found that my beliefs were confirmed – students in the graduate program without an undergrad degree lacked the breadth-and-depth quality.

    I’m guessing that you have that quality since you have 70-something credits and a master’s degree. But if I didn’t know your back story and merely saw your résumé, I’d still trash it. For some people, like l’il ol’ moi, it’s based on perceptual experience. For others, that position is often based on a philosophy of, “I did it the usual way, and you should, too.”

    So, what’s your next step: First, make a solid list of all undergrad credits you have. Then check the web sites of the Big 3 (now the Big 4 if you include WGU) to see their “demonstration of currency” requirements – many schools will not allow you to transfer in credits that are older than “X” number of years because they’re not current. (I don’t know what it is now, but when I was at TESC they did not allow transfer of business credits over ten years old.)

    Also, see if any of your MBA credits will transfer in – they may have to be ACE evaluated, but the fact that you graduated from an AACSB school will be helpful.

    Most important, take your time and do your pre-research completely. You’ve waited this long, so make your choices carefully. If you suddenly start rushing you’ll end up making the wrong choices. Maximize your head start – you’re already way ahead of the game.
  6. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    You may want to go back to the British university where you earned your MBA and check if there is a good chance they will allow you into the final year of Bachelors's degree program completion.
    I think no university will grant a bachelor's degree without additional work. But you can transfer your credit and earn additional credit by the way you described it as the accreditation of prior learning etc, testing out, etc, be it the big 3 or a European Bologna 3 year bachelor's degree program.

    While your best situation is to earn a bachelor's degree if you want to cover such employers that absolutely require a bachelor's degree. Maybe as an interim solution, you can look into the following:
    I saw people in your situation who applied for NACES member credential evaluation as your degree is foreign and got an equivalency report of having a Bachelors and MBA. Some Americans may have earned sufficient credit toward a European (Bologna) 3 year Bachelor's degree can be problematic in the USA but better than no degree. It's on a case by case basis. I know employers who require job candidates to provide a credential evaluation report from approved services such as members of NACES.
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    About using one's MBA credits towards a bachelor's degree, I could offer a caution. Schools tend to disallow the transfer of credits used for earning a degree elsewhere. If you attempt to do this, just be sure you're upfront with the gaining school regarding this. Of course, your transcript should indicate you earned the degree, which is a dead giveaway. But if it doesn't, just be clear.
  8. PositiveSoul

    PositiveSoul New Member

    Thank you for each and every one of you who kindly provided me their precious feedback.

    Moderators, Should you kindly remove this thread as it may jeopardize my job search then I would be greatly thankful.

    Thank you and best regards.
  9. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    It occurs to me that a BA a decade later may not solve the problem, since many employers require a cv format including date or inputting degrees and dates into their online form. In other words, I think for the kind of employers that would balk at an MBA without a BA, the following would raise just as many questions as the lack of a completed BA:

    2010 MBA, Respectable British University
    2020 BA, Excelsior College

    I’m not in HR, but as someone who has reviewed cv’s before in the hiring process, I’d be satisfied with the explanation you can already offer, ‘While I had not yet completed my undergraduate degree, I was offered a place in the program on the strength of my undergraduate work and business experience.’
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  10. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Twilight zone.

    Imagine a scenario where you've earned a Doctorate from a respected institution (without a Masters) based on your exceptional work in a field, and an employer mandates you to submit your Master's degree? The employer you speak of would probably do that. This is nonsense. Don't do this. It's going backward. If you're going to do anything more with college coursework, just go get a Doctorate. Lots of people only ever list their most current degree and never get questioned beyond at least proving their most current degree through transcripts. Don't let this psych you out.
  11. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    You lost me with that message. Earlier on, I asked you specifically where you earned your masters - you have still not responded to that direct question.

    And now you want the mods to delete this entire thread because it jeopardizes your job search? Nonsense - you are posting anonymously, and if you think a potential employer can track you to DI, of all places, based on an anonymous user name, you give them far too much credit. Moreover, having been a member here since 2005, you should know better - once you post something anywhere on the Internet, it's out there for the long haul for everyone to see.

    Ah, well . . . As you said, best regards.
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry, as a matter of policy we do not delete threads
  13. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Unless it's spam lol
  14. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    If a person is viewing this resume, I cannot imagine it would result in an automatic disqualification. Computer based sorting? Yeah, the absence of a bachelors can cause you to get filtered. I applied to one company once that had an especially sensitive filter. All positions, of all levels, required a high school diploma. So if you didn't put in your high school information, even if you had a PhD, Masters and Bachelors, you got filtered out.

    In the US, Masters degrees without bachelors degrees are not the norm at present. You find them out there, as in Levicoff's example, but you can go a whole career without ever seeing one. The closest I've come is we hired a trailing spouse from the UK once. The gentleman's credentials were no issue. His wife, however, had a Scottish MA. We got it, sat down and thought about how to apply it to our US centric guidelines and came to, I think, a decent compromise; we would treat it as a bachelors. If, however, she earned a bachelors in anything from virtually anywhere, we would treat her MA as a regular Masters even though it was technically an undergraduate degree.

    HR systems, perhaps differently from eras past, are not built to screw over qualified candidates. Rules and processes are created to streamline qualified candidates and get them in front of hiring managers while filtering out unqualified candidates who clog up the process. Exceptions can be made. Often times, however, you're looking at how you can make the exception still fit into one of the boxes rather than creating a new box for that person.

    This sort of thing is exactly the wiggle room we intend when we say "bachelors degree or equivalent."
  15. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    I think it's in the best interest of everyone to state the truth on the resume
    You need to add a one-line that the MBA program accepted your prior learning as meeting the requirements for entry into an MBA program, BA or BS degree or equivalent combination of education and experience required.

    If you earned your other credit at another university you may list the dates you attended and the major you studied.

    For example, it can be something like that:

    A University - BA (GS) 2019 - 2020

    B University - MBA 2008 - 2010

    C University - undergraduate - Business Administration 9/2007 - 6/2008

    D Comunity College - 9/2006 - 6/2007
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  16. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Lerner, you've said two things I disagree quite a bit with. Let me explain why...

    I know of no employer, nor can I imagine any employer, refusing to accept a doctorate for a position that required a Masters. The degree possessed clearly exceeds the requirement and, for what it's worth, it isn't really uncommon to have a doctorate but not a Masters.

    It is very uncommon to have a masters without a bachelors in the U.S. at this time. It isn't "going backward" to fulfill a requirement for a job in your industry.

    This is nonsense advice and the reason we currently have such a serious degree inflation issue in this country. For starters, "just go get a doctorate" is an odd statement to throw around. Second, why? OP doesn't seem to need or want a doctorate. Nor would having a doctorate resolve any of the issues with current employers. It could create even more problems, however. When I started teaching at a community college, bachelors transcripts were required no matter what degrees you had beyond that level. You can scream all you want and try to swim against the current, but you aren't going to cause the direction of the current to change.

    No, please don't do this. Anyone. Ever.

    Education sections on resumes are getting ridiculously crowded. This is not a place to add one line explanations of things. It is a place to list experience, achievements and academic qualifications. That's it. If you need narrative to flesh out any details or fill in any gaps, that's something for your cover letter. Even then, that's a weird thing to put into a cover letter. Be honest when asked about it, of course. But don't try to squeeze it into places on the resume where it doesn't belong.

    Also, do not list every school where you've ever studied that did not result in a degree. Yeah, OK, if you had three years at Harvard and want me to know that even though you ultimately earned your degree from UW-Madison, fine, I guess. But the listing of random schools from which you earned no degree is the number one way people try to hide that they don't have a degree. It is the exact opposite of "stating the truth." While it may be technically true, it is presented in a way that is designed to intentionally mislead hiring managers.

    Your degree info should take up as little space on a resume as humanly possible unless you're applying for an internship and have nothing else to put on there.
  17. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    That was a tongue-in-cheek scenario I connected to the specific employer the OP talked about. Considering what the OP posted, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for that employer, however.

    Not "uncommon" relative to what exactly? Given that only 3% (some sources claiming less than that) of the U.S. population has a Doctorate, I have to disagree with that. Besides, I highly doubt that outside of the group of medical Doctors, most or even a significant number of people who get a Doctorate in the U.S. get one without a Masters, but if there is information out there to the contrary I'm open to reading it.


    Sure, IF it actually IS to fulfill a requirement for a job in your industry. This person appears to be a business professional. In what situation would a seasoned business professional with an MBA now need to get a Bachelors degree unless they were changing to a very specific business sector that has few or no Masters programs (OP never expressed such a move), or going into another field entirely outside the reach of business where an MBA would be irrelevant?

    Hang on... timeout. Let me get this straight: you're saying it's "nonsense" to suggest a person holding a Masters to pursue a Doctorate rather than spend potentially years getting an undergrad degree? Neuhaus, that is ridiculous.

    The only way that would even make an ounce of sense to do is if what I touched on in the previous quote response were the OPs situation, but that OP never expressed any situation like that where specific requirements for his/her industry make it necessary to get a Bachelors. The OP talked about one solitary case in all of his/her years of working where an employer asked to see a Bachelors degree after knowing of the earned Masters.

    The other thing is, if degree inflation is a topic to hit on here, how would getting another degree--especially a Bachelors--not contribute to the inflation of more degrees on one's resume? Maybe I could see having a Masters and getting a Bachelors to work in the same industry as an act of deflation, lol, and then I could see the Doctorate as inflation, but I think Deflate Gate taught us all that inflation is more favorable in most cases.

    It was thrown around in that manner because the situation the OP is in is preposterous. The OP does not need a Doctorate, obviously, that's not the point.

    The OP doesn't need a Bachelors either. One employer after all these years is not enough of a reason to run out and get another college degree. It would be an overreaction at this point unless the OP is trying to enter a very specific business sector that has few or no Masters programs (OP never expressed such a move), or going into another field entirely outside the reach of business where an MBA would be irrelevant and the OP never expressed a move there either.

    I highly doubt it would create any problems for the OP to have a Doctorate in the business world outside of some "over-education" biases which is really just ignorance on the part of the few who hold them and isn't worth worrying about.

    Can't directly compare the requirements of the business world to academia. Apples and oranges.
  18. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    I see your point and your advice may be better.

    technology’s effects on the overall jobs picture don’t appear good for a lot of workers, including middle managers.
    The numbers can be expected to shrink both because there will be fewer employees to manage and because technological advances will cut the number of management tasks needing to be done by humans.
    So in my experience in the fields that require persons to update their skills on a regular basis, one may list additional nondegree courses, especially from well-known providers/universities.

    I'm looking for such qualities in candidates, continuing education and development is highly important because the rapidly evolving technology is replacing repetitive-task workers with software and automation. Software becomes more sophisticated, victims are expected to include those who juggle tasks, such as supervisors and managers. There are concerns and complains that technology is eliminating more jobs than it is creating.

    Human-resource managers, for instance, can’t keep up with the latest computer algorithms that do a better job identifying what job skills are needed for a particular position, and how to get talent, than they do. So companies begin to wonder: why do we need all of those HR managers?

    The task of the resume today is to get to the hiring managers' consideration and provide sufficient initial info about the candidate. How the CV/resume survives all the algorithm-driven screening is the key.
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    My philosophy is that if you don't want to be replaced by an algorithm then you should offer some value that an algorithm does not. The problem isn't that HR managers cannot keep pace. It's that many companies tolerate really crappy recruiters. We have a full time recruiter. He does nothing other than recruitment. When a manager opens a posting, he sits with the manager and learns all of the things about the desired candidate. Not just what's in the posting. What is really useful here? Can any electrical engineer do this job? Should we focus on electrical engineers who work in a particular industry? What types of projects would the ideal candidate have worked on?

    That's how higher level, especially tech specific, hiring is done. And that cannot be done by an algorithm.

    The idea that every resume is getting screened by an algorithm is, generally, false. Algorithmic screening is typically done for relatively low level positions. The more effective systems don't just scan the resume but also rely on a questionnaire component. Those are the systems that ask you directly "Do you have a bachelors degree or equivalent? Yes/No"

    I'm not going to say that the tech doesn't exist for a scan and analysis of free text on a resume. It absolutely exists. It just does not exist in any well established product that is broadly used in the HR world and used to that degree.

    HR and hiring managers aren't ready to give up on nuance yet. This isn't just my, incredibly large and industry leading company. This is how many other incredibly large and industry leading companies work.

    But, more importantly, no one is asking why they need so many "HR Managers" because of algorithmic features within an HRIS because, besides the above notes about how those don't help with highly specialized hires, we actually do a lot more stuff than hire people. My office closes around 3,000 reqs per year. We have one recruiter. Benefits administration is, by far, the area of HR that is taking the biggest tech hit. It used to be that you had a friendly benefits specialist who handed you forms and processed enrollments and benefit changes. Now you log into your profile in the HRIS and click through the prompts and it's done. This company once had 7 benefits staff. We have three right now and they mainly work with the insurers to negotiate and administer the plans themselves while the system takes care of enrollment.

    There was a surge in algorithmic screening and then it was dialed back greatly within the industry.

    So no, I disagree heartily that how you get through an algorithm is key to anything unless, maybe, you're trying to get a job as a customer service representative.
  20. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Indeed, for most of the specialized positions, we refer the candidates to the HR Jobs web site/portal and there is a detailed multi-paged questioneer that includes upload of the resume and cover letter, along the side of specific and targeted information collection. For example, the drop-down box in the education section for universities in the US excludes NA schools. But we do have a field for "other" for all the rest.
    As to benefits, the PeopleSoft solution we deployed years ego is taking care of a lot with web portals that reduced the need for benefits specialists significantly. IVR system constantly provides voice interactions and broadcast messages to the employees reducing the need for "warm bodies".

    Yet in my experience on the PS/Business Strategy and delivery, I do see a strong reliance on algorithmic searches in the resumes. Not only for retail employees side of the enterprise but also highly specialized candidates as well. As it appears the CV's/resumes that are coming in from recruiters or individuals are partially a pre-stage to the on web site applicants. Even sites such as Indeed, DICE, etc having a direct link to the online application submission fulfill about 60% of the total applicants successfully completing the submission/application for the job (Work in progress hoping to achieve a much higher success). Working with a few selected staffing companies/recruiters proved so far the most beneficial. A lot is being outsourced. Our Director of HR is a highly educated RIT graduate with whom I interact including lunchtime and of work sports activities has a concern that National HR is becoming too small and the rest outsourced. The contact centers in the cloud with all the virtualization and automation reduced the workforce in his department by more than 50%.
    An algorithm looks at top university graduates candidates and provides a higher score, the number of internships that were offered to state graduates is lowest as an intern are joining from top schools and scoring higher in the screening process and this is also true for experienced candidates.

    I don't know if the practice of hiring is uniform among corporations, enterprises and other employers.

    On our web site portal and our client's ones and random as well for some positions I tested and one cant apply if they don't have a Bachelor's degree.
    The application screen will not continue to the next section. This resulted in job applicants emailing their resumes via recruiters trying to bypass the online application. Others complain that technically there are some obstacles and they spend hours trying to complete a successful application.

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