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Build Your Career Get Ahead

Getting an MBA Without a Bachelor's Degree

Getting an MBA Without a Bachelor's Degree
Credit: KTS Design/Shutterstock

Without a bachelor's degree, an MBA seems out of reach. However, some MBA programs will consider and accept candidates who can demonstrate the right skills and experience (along with high GMAT scores).

Some programs accept hours toward a bachelor's combined with on-the-job experience and professional certifications in lieu of a bachelor's degree, so that option may not be as far-fetched as it sounds upon first audition. For example, University of Chicago will consider candidates for their MBA program without a bachelor's degree who work full-time and have an impressive professional track record (along with a completed GMAT). Other universities will consider candidates without a bachelor's who have substantial management experience, professional certifications, or other worthy credentials, all on a case by case basis.

Make sure that you're looking at MBA programs that are accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). AACSB does allow some MBA programs to make exceptions, including accepting students who don't have a bachelor's degree, under certain circumstances, so this might be an option for you.

An MBA from an accredited institution could be a big boost into management, if you're willing to put in two to three years of concerted part-time effort to earn such a degree.

On the other hand, if you're not interested in returning to school, you can also chase the management track through a series of senior-level certifications, including the Project Management Professional (PMP), and any of a variety of governance and business process related credentials. If you're looking to specifically get into IT management, some certifications to consider include the ITIL and CGEIT, or other IT governance related credentials that can help you advance your prospects of landing a management job. InfoSec credentials can also offer excellent career prospects, especially if combined with the preceding items from the governance and project management arena.

Don't discount the MBA as an option just because you don't have your bachelor's degree. Whether now or in the future, an MBA degree might be the right ticket to get you to the position you want to be in.

Ed Tittel

Ed is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who has worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written for numerous publications, including Tom's IT Pro, and is the author of more than 140 computing books on information security, web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.