Survived the first week back! So far so good, although I have to figure out a plan for all my night classes– I have four of them, Monday through Thursday! Not the most ideal schedule. But I’ll pull through, hopefully….
A few days ago I received an email from a fellow Haverford grad who is interested in the BU MS-MBA program. I wrote up some of my thoughts on the program and my experience so far, which I thought I would share here as well.
Q: I keep on hearing that the employment stats are 2nd to only Harvard . What’s your take on this?
A: I haven’t heard this specific claim, but I wouldn’t be surprised, especially when it comes to MS-MBA students. (OK, I looked up the stats cause I became curious. Here’s what I found.) “The top five schools from New England included in the [US News & World Report] ranking were Harvard Business School, Dartmouth College–Tuck School of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management, Yale School of Management, and Boston University School of Management. Of the top five local schools, Boston University had the highest percentage of graduates employed within three months. Nationally, the School ranked #2 in the percentage of students employed at graduation, behind only Harvard Business School.” Not bad!!! You would be surprised– for a “second tier” bschool, BU has a very good reputation, and I think that (especially in the New England area) employers are more than happy to, and seek to, hire BU grads.
Q: Are most students getting the jobs they want or are they just taking anything they can get?
A: I think that last year we saw more of students taking anything they could get, especially last year’s graduating class, who were hit hard by the recession in September 2008. It’s still relatively early to say how the class of 2010 is doing as far as jobs go. For internships, I can tell you that most of my fellow classmates were able to get the internships they wanted as opposed to just taking whatever they got. For me personally, I passed up the first two internships that were offered to me, since they were unpaid and not exactly what I wanted. I ended up getting a great internship that paid well. Also, a lot of my peers got offered jobs at the end of the summer. Personally, I am still working for my internship company PT during the fall. I think that more of us got job offers from internship companies this year than last year. And even then, not everyone is taking those job offers– some people are choosing to wait and interview at other places. So I feel that we have the luxury of being able to really pick and choose what jobs we want.
Q: How do you like your classes? Is it tough to get into the classes you want?
A: On the whole, I like my classes. Of course, it’s pretty challenging, since I didn’t come into bschool with a quant/econ background (I majored in Comparative Literature at Haverford). Even the classes I thought would be ‘easy’ (i.e. Marketing) were really hard. But they’re all doable! In terms of getting into classes, your first year at BU you’ll be taking mostly core classes, and are automatically assigned to them. First semester you take Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Statistics, and Organizational Behavior. Second semester, you take Economics, Strategy, IT Strategy, Operations, and an elective that you can choose. Your second year you’ll be able to choose your classes. If you test out of any of your first year core classes, you can then take more electives. So, as far as getting into classes, it depends– there are certainly classes that are more popular (and thus harder to get into) than others. BU doesn’t do bidding or anything like what a lot of other bschools do– it’s pretty simple, first come first serve. Class registration is online, you sign in and sign up, and hope that you get in before the class fills up. It’s usually pretty easy to get into the classes you want. So far I haven’t had any problems, and have gotten into many very popular classes for this semester.
Q: I’m interested in the MIS/MBA combination. How do you like the program?
A: Here’s a quick blurb on the MS-MBA program, for those who don’t know that much about it: “Boston University founded the MS•MBA in 2001 to address the needs of employers seeking the next generation of business leaders. Now, about half of our full-time students pursue this unique curriculum. In the same 21-month time frame as the regular MBA program, MS•MBA students earn two degrees: a traditional MBA with a concentration, and a Master of Science in Information Systems.” I didn’t actually apply for the dual degree, but BU offered it to me when I got in for my MBA. I kept it open as an option during the year, and decided at the end of last year that I would keep the dual degree. The program doesn’t really get into full swing until the second year, so I’m only now just starting real MS classes. In your first year, you have a 1 week intensive class during the winter break, which serves as a general broad overview. Then there are 3 weeks of intensive classes in May/June. Honestly, I didn’t love the intensive classes, but I think that stems from the difficulty of trying to offer something interesting to a group of 75-90 students that range from no experience in IS at all, to expert coders and programmers. It gets tough, and there are definitely boring aspects to being in class from 8 to 5 pm 5 days a week. However, during your second year you start taking MSIS classes, and these are supposed to be more interesting. Otherwise, the program has a lot of resources, and we have a very receptive dean. As an MS-MBA, you sort of get special treatment from BU, and we have a lot of networking events and social activities that general MBAs don’t get. I also want to note that this definitely makes you stand out as a candidate– when I was networking last year, no one was interested in what I was doing in my MBA– everyone I talked to was interested to talk to me about the MS combined with the MBA. So I think it certainly has value.
Q: Finally, I’ve heard that the workload is heavier than most other MBA programs. Do you find this to be the case?
A: I have no idea, since I have only gone to BU! 🙂 On a serious note, I suppose that there is some element of truth to this– during the first semester of the first year, we have a rather unique set-up with a semester-long Integrated Project. I haven’t run across any other school that does the same thing we do. Basically, the IP runs all semester long, and integrates elements from each of your other classes into a huge project that you work on in teams. You get assigned to your team (5-6 students) the first week of school, and you work with them all semester long. The IP has each team take a ‘failing’ brand, research it, analyze it, and make a recommendation on whether or not to acquire that brand. For instance, last year my team worked on Maxwell House Instant Coffee. The final project incorporates elements of accounting, finance, HR, stats, marketing, etc. I won’t lie, the IP is a TON of work! It can be pretty overwhelming. But it’s also a really great experience, and you learn so much. I know that a lot of other bschools don’t have classes on Fridays, don’t have as much emphasis on teamwork, etc. One of my good friends from Haverford graduated from Sloan this past May, and she had a very different first year experience– they had teams, but the emphasis was much more on individual work. I really liked the team aspect that BU pushed, because I thought it was a good way to learn skills that I didn’t have, and also learn how to teach others skills I already had. It was also a great support system to have in the first semester, which was pretty overwhelming– it was great to have people I could rely on to ask questions, work with, etc. BU is HUGE on teams, and you basically have some sort of team project in almost every class you take. I think it’s also a good way to learn how to work with other people, personalities, work styles, etc. So in that sense, then yes– we do have a heavier workload. But I think that it does set us apart from other schools, and it’s a pretty impressive project to be able to talk about in internship interviews, etc.
Just my two cents! Hope that helps anyone who might be interested in applying to the program.