Earning an MBA without an Undergraduate Degree

While 99% of the time an undergraduate degree is required to get into an MBA degree program, some colleges may make exceptions for those who have been highly-promoted but have little or no college education. This is a rare occurrence, but it may be an option for those who have worked hard for their high-management position and want to get the best MBA program to expand their career options. Consider this advice from CareerJournal:
Schools normally require undergraduate degrees for their full-time and part-time M.B.A. programs. But some executive M.B.A. programs will occasionally admit a seasoned manager without much formal education. "We're very selective and generally want to see that the person had a couple of years of undergraduate courses and quit college for a good reason, such as starting a new business, as Bill Gates did, or returning home to help run a family business," says Marci Armstrong, associate dean for graduate programs at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business in Dallas. "I find that these students become very loyal and active alumni. Their executive M.B.A. credential may mean more to them than it does to other students because they don't have an undergraduate degree."

Other major schools, including the University of North Carolina and Georgia State University, also sometimes make room for talented executive M.B.A. applicants who never finished college. "They almost always turn out to be wonderfully engaged students," says David Forquer, the head of Georgia State's executive program. "In 1998, our one nondegree was our top student and is now quite senior at a major company."

Students without formal education may also consider earning business management certificates instead of going straight into a top MBA program. Educational certificates are commonly available online and can serve to give a student quite a bit of education in a specific area of business.

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