Starting from Scratch to MBA

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by bldgengineer, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. bldgengineer

    bldgengineer New Member

    Been lurking for a while and I think I've made the decision to begin my path to an MBA. I'm currently 32 years old and a Chief Building Operating Engineer in DC without any prior college experience. After high school, I attended a four year apprenticeship program through my local union. I have a 3rd class Steam Engineer's license through DC and a LEED Green Associate's Certification and will be getting my LEED Accredited Professional Certification in the fall.

    My problem is that I have basically stalled in my career and I'm not the kind of person that can just sit where I am at. I love climbing the ladder and all the certifications in the world are not going to let me go up a rung. I would instead be just switching ladders.

    I'd like to know where the best place for me to start is though. I was thinking about going to my local community college for my Associate's first and hopefully being able to transfer the credits to a well known "brick and mortar" school with an online progam(Penn State, FSC, etc). I live in Maryland and wish UMD had an online program. I'm not satisfied with UMUC's reviews from students graduating from theirs.
  2. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    My wife has a BA in Humanities from UMUC. She had zero issues getting into a master's program at the local state school and getting a decent job with a UMUC degree.
  3. rmm0484

    rmm0484 Member

    I think that you are wise to pursue a community college for starters, then you can transfer to a "brand name" university with a good online program. I have seen mixed reviews about UMUC. Good luck!
  4. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    I think there are plenty of options around the DC metro area and I like your plan of starting at a local CC. In your line of work will you able to advance simply by being enrolled or will you need the degree in hand before you can be promoted?
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Personally, I'm not a CLEP kid but I have to acknowledge that if your motivation is fast and cheap it's the way to go. CLEP your brains out and then transfer the credits into the program of your choice (be careful, there typically are credit transfer limits). There's lots of variations/combinations. Then you pull on those big-boy pants and hit grad school hard and fast. There are so many DL MBA programs it will make you sweat. Start at step 1. Build some credits. I suggest that you spend some time reading our CLEP forum.
  6. bldgengineer

    bldgengineer New Member

    Thanks. The only thing that makes me uncomfortable is the placement tests and the potential for a lot of gen ed classes. My local CC actually requires a PE class!

    I'd have to actually have a degree in hand. I'd basically be going from labor to management even though my current position is management of the crew below me and fiscal responsibility of an $18.5M operating budget for over 1M sqft of office space.

    I work on and race cars. We have a saying "Good, fast and cheap. Pick two." If I was interested in fast and cheap, where does that leave good? I wholly respect those that can test out a complete bachelor's degree in less than 6 months, I just don't see me fitting in that role.

    I guess I need a road map of where I need to go so I can analyze exactly what I should be looking for and then know exactly what to do to get there.
  7. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    I am a car guy too (Corvettes and Camaros) and I can tell you that if you need fast and cheap your best bet is to CLEP and DSST everything you can.
    If you are an adult in a management setting you already know 1/2 the material so go to your local bookstore and buy the REA CLEP macroeconomics and microeconomics books. That is where I started. Read the books cover to cover, do all the practice tests, and then CLEP out at your local testing center.
    Regardless of school you attend CLEPs will transfer in 99.9% of the time including to Harvard. So start there and forget about choosing a school for now.

    I'd start with these which are core courses at most schools and are available in CLEP. PM me if you need more help.

    us history I, us history II, american government
    macro, micro, management, marketing, biz law, comp info sys and applications
  8. bldgengineer

    bldgengineer New Member

    No math? lol This actually does look like a great start, thanks!

    I've put these books in my amazon wish list along with biology and college algebra. Maybe I'll start with this and then go from there. Anybody else have any suggestions?
  9. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    Honestly, I see CLEP fitting into the "good" and "cheap" categories. It's only "fast" if you already possess the knowledge needed to pass the exams, or are capable of ingesting a lot of study material in a short time. To prepare for the CLEPs I took, I read the same textbooks that students taking full-length courses read, I just read them in one to two weeks instead of over the course of a full semester. If you're looking to spend the next n years working and going to school in pursuit of three degrees (AA, BA or BS, and MBA), then it is in your economic interests to ensure that n is as small as possible.

    To be even more blunt, at 32 you are already older than most MBA grads. The longer you spend earning your degrees, the tougher you will find it to land a good gig post-MBA. Age discrimination is real and it sucks. CLEP (and other credit-by-exam programs) can help you shorten a six-year journey into three or four years. I wouldn't underestimate how important that can be to you in terms of ROI.

    You can find the CLEP guide for Anne Arundel Community College here. I would expect it would be similar at other community colleges in MD. AACC also requires that 30 hours earned toward your degree come from "direct classroom instruction or online classes", with at least 15 hours coming from AACC, which I also expect would be similar at other MD community colleges.

    Good luck!

  10. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Gongratulations - you have formulated a great plan of action.

    Step one is for you to obtain an AA - try to stick to non-professional courses except for business. At age 32 you should be looking ahead to retirement (it is never too soon) so go for the lowest cost AA you can from an RA school. Look into the requirements of Excelsior College and Charter Oak State College (both on-line schools).
    Charter Oak State College - Completing Your Degree
    Excelsior College Program Descriptions: Business (Associates) -
    As noted above a relativel low cost and fast way to earn transferable credit is though CLEP and DSST exams.
    You will be surprised at how much knowledge you already possess.
  11. bldgengineer

    bldgengineer New Member

    Well, I think I've decided to go ahead to try to CLEP some of my credits. I'm about to pull the trigger on 2 REA books on Amazon but I'd like to make sure I'm going in the right direction first. Below is a general order I was thinking about starting this journey:

    First: College Comp and Analyzing & Interpreting Lit
    Second: US History I & II
    Third: Am. Government and Info Sys & Apps
    Fourth: Micro & Macroeconomics
    Fifth: Marketing and Management
    Sixth: Biz Law and a Math exam(College Alg or Precalc)

    How does this path look to those experienced in gaining exam credit? I'm thinking if I study for 2 exams at or about the same subject, I could knock 2exams out at once. Is anything overlapping? My local CC is Chesapeake College even though AACC is closer to me, they both have the same restrictions on credit through "non-traditional" methods which is only 30 credit hours max. I don't mind finishing through their online program for the remaining courses since it will grant me access to any Maryland public institutiton baccaluarette program and most likely access to programs outside of Maryland. Then again, if going through one of the "Big 3" is advantageous enough and I will still be able to collect a Master's through a mainstream brick and mortar non-profit school then I most likely persue that route as well.
  12. bldgengineer

    bldgengineer New Member

    Wow. Almost 8 hours to approve a post??
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    You should demand a full refund. :rolleyes:
  14. bldgengineer

    bldgengineer New Member

    Lol well I guess the post I made at 730 this morning never went through...

    Anyway, I just pulled the trigger on to REA books. I bought english comp and analyizing literature. I plan on studying for and taking 2 clep exams at or about the same subjects at a time.

    My local CC limits me to only half the amount of credits needed to pass a degree program and I'd have to attend for a minimum of 15 hours for any of the credits to count. The only good thing about this is I wouldn't have to pay for the exam credit hours to be applied to the program
  15. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    Posts from new members are reviewed by volunteers so they may all have been occupied during those 8 hours. This process is to weed out spammers who were a problem in the past.
  16. bldgengineer

    bldgengineer New Member

    Hmm I wonder if my original post will ever go through then?
  17. bldgengineer

    bldgengineer New Member

    That's twice I had a post go through right away but I currently have 2 in limbo lol
  18. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    Relax. The moderator staff have fulltime, dayshift jobs. Sometimes posts need to sit in moderation for a bit while we bring home the bacon, pay the bills, etc. Having posts sit in moderation, while mildly inconvenient to you, greatly cuts down on the amount of spam that users have to wade through.
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    airtorn is so much nicer than me.:sgrin:

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