Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Difference Between Undergrads and Grad Students

I am sitting in the student center, getting a few rays of sunlight (sorely lacking in the aging and soon to be abandoned McDonough School of Business MBA building) and waiting for a second year to chat with me about her internship. I am listening to a great mix of songs from a very nice undergrad somewhere out there over the network who has left her iTunes playlist open for everyone else to listen to. It was very nice of her and right now I am very much enjoying the Black Eyed Peas. I wish I could say I would do the same, but mine is password protected so you can only listen to my music and ponder why the heck I have both the Spice Girls and CCR on the same playlist if I like you.
Undergrads tend to be a much more open and less cautious bunch than we grad students. I mean, who else but an undergrad would unabashedly post both her first and last name on a playlist that includes an extensive collection of Celine Dion? They also have a very different view of business education. There tends to be a larger focus on the academic skills needed as opposed to the holistic management views many MBA programs take. There are several students in my class that did business degress of varying kinds for undergrad. These type folks should be very careful in selecting schools. Many general management programs will repeat basic business coursework in marketing, accounting, etc. that the undergrad program offers. On the other hand, if you had a narrowly focused business degree (i.e. marketing major) or have not really utilized/ completely forgotten everything you learned since obtaining the bachelor's degree, it could be entirely worth it to repeat the basic academic work. Many programs allow students to test out of the basic levels of coursework, which is always another option for someone who has an academic business background but feels a particular program fits in non-curricular ways.

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