How easy is it to pursue more than one MBA program?
As the saying goes, two is better than one—for some MBA prospects at least. Earning a second MBA degree is relatively uncommon, but additional education can enable professionals to change their location, make an industry switch, or earn the brand recognition and alumni network they didn’t acquire in their first MBA program.
A professional might choose to pursue a second MBA degree if they previously attended an international university or a second or third-tier business school. A degree from one of those programs is “not really going to hold much clout, and it’s not going to be recognized by the different geography you’re trying to go and mold to,” says Susan Berishaj, founder of Sia Admissions Consulting.
While it’s possible to apply to and be admitted to, a top business school as a second MBA applicant, the process presents significant challenges and considerations: an investment in time and money; taking the time to ensure the school to which you’re applying accepts second-degree applicants; and the familiar hurdles involved in applying to top programs.
Paul Lanzillotti, founder and principal of the Amerasia Consulting Group, poses this question to those thinking about a second MBA: “What are you really going to get out of this?”
Why you might be thinking about a second MBA. As a disclaimer:-
If you’ve already earned an MBA from an accredited school in the U.S., it would be nearly impossible to find a program that will accept you, Lanzillotti warns.
While earning a second MBA is generally pretty rare in the U.S., the trend is more common in India—where jumping directly from undergrad to a business degree program can seem like the only option, Lanzillotti explains.
By pursuing an MBA (also referred to as a postgraduate diploma in management), “it’s almost like a person is treading water to do something in the hopes that something better will come two years after,” he says.
But when it comes the time that you’re looking for that promotion, that industry leap, or that new career adventure, the first MBA may come up dry on its postgrad benefits like a strong alumni network or brand recognition, experts say. For example, if a person with this criteria is looking to work for Google in Europe, they’re likely to have a more difficult time than someone who attended an internationally recognized program.
Some top programs will consider second MBA candidates, but others won’t. Lanzillotti’s best piece of advice is to pick up the phone and call the business school admissions office to ensure whether your candidacy will even be considered.
“That will save a lot of pain and sorrow months down the road when they realize their application was pretty much dead on arrival,” he says. “Never be afraid to just call up.”
A few top programs that will not accept second MBA applicants include the University of California–Berkeley (Haas), the University of Virginia (Darden), and Dartmouth College (Tuck). Other schools like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross), and University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) do consider second MBA applicants.
In most programs, these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, so it is still always beneficial to check before applying. Lanzillotti also suggests looking into part-time programs, which tend to be more flexible when admitting second MBA students.
Things to know about applying:-
At the surface level, you may be considering a second MBA degree from a top program for its name, but Berishaj warns that a candidate’s other reasons must be evident throughout the application.
“Saying, ‘I want a second MBA because of the brand,’ is not good enough,” she says. “You have to dig deeper and tell them why that first MBA didn’t give you the qualifications or the skills or the exposure that you needed for your career objective.”
It’s important to explain exactly why you need the second degree in the application—especially in the essay questions, Berishaj says. Essay responses should also focus on short-term goals, long-term goals, and what you’re looking to learn from the program, Lanzillotti adds.
“At the end of the day, it’s about the impact on the career you’re going to make in the long run,” Berishaj says. “The MBA is just the tool to help you get to that goal and make the most meaningful impact.”
What are your chances of the top MBA programs if you are doing a second MBA?
You have an MBA degree, you are working in a reputed firm, and you have relevant work experience, but still, something is missing.
Maybe your MBA degree is not from your dream B-school. Perhaps your reputable firm is not satisfying your personal needs or not contributing to your personal development. Or maybe your work experience is simply not in the industry you’re passionate about. Is it time you consider pursuing a second MBA or a double MBA?
WHY DO YOU NEED A SECOND MBA OR DOUBLE MBA?
1. NO PRIOR WORK EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOUR FIRST MBA: Sometimes because of the fear of not having a gap in academics or “uncertainty” about the job market, people rush and go for an MBA program right after their graduation. Because of this rush, they lack gaining any work experience, which, in some way, undermines all of their MBA experience. This is where you need to consider pursuing MBA as a second master's.
The need to pursue a second MBA or double MBA is widespread in India, where students directly move up the academic ladder from graduation to post-graduation (MBA). Therefore, this can be a good motivation for you to pursue a second MBA and become a double MBA aspirant.
2. FIRST MBA FROM A LESS REPUTED SCHOOL AND YOU WANT TO GAIN A SECOND MBA ABROAD: Competitions in business schools are cut-throat, and you might not be able to grab that one seat for the first MBA in your dream business school for one or many reasons.
In this MBA industry, ranking matters a lot. Your future placements depend on which school you are from, which companies hire MBA graduates from the school and what place it holds in the market.
If the school you gained your first MBA from could not provide you with the experience and opportunities you needed to reach your short-term goals, you very much need a second MBA, and probably you may require your second MBA abroad from a good international business school to fill the gaps you could not from your first MBA!
Therefore if you feel a second MBA abroad or a particular school that provides double MBA programs which can help you move ahead in your career now or change the direction of your job, you should consider a double MBA.
3. UNSATISFIED WITH YOUR CURRENT JOB AND NEED A SECOND MBA TO GET YOUR DREAM JOB: Even After putting in so much effort, people sometimes cannot make it up to their dream jobs. You may feel unsatisfied in terms of financial needs, social needs, personal needs, and development. Getting a second MBA is the key to this problem!
4. NOT SATISFIED WITH MBA SUBJECTS OR REACHED A STAGNANT POINT IN YOUR CAREER: THE ROLE OF SECOND MBA IN UPSKILLING: sometimes people are not satisfied with the subjects they chose in their first MBA because of the lack of knowledge about which matter will best suit them.
Or they may not have explored the opportunities they should have to reach their goals, and now they feel the need for a second MBA.
Or simply, the first MBA was a decision taken in a rush, and you were clueless about what you wanted through it. So now it’s time to think of pursuing an MBA as a second master's and getting a double MBA.
Adcoms understand that having a double MBA is okay if you have plausible reasons to seek a second MBA from their business schools.
Second MBA – 2-year or 1-year program?
Now that you are actively considering a second MBA, whether a 2-year MBA or a 1-year MBA will fulfill your career needs depends on a few factors.
Your career goals
Level of effort you are willing to put
The money you are willing to spend
If you are someone who has been working for 4-5 years after your first MBA. If you have business skills and your goal is to enhance them, then a 1 year MBA would be a better option.
Some top 1-year MBA programs and their tuition fees are as follows:
The tuition fee of the 1-year MBA program
Business school Country Tuition fee
INSEAD France $ 98,400
IMD Switzerland $ 85,000
Said (Oxford) UK $ 72,000
Judge (Cambridge) UK $ 70,000
Kellogg US $ 98,720
SDA Bocconi Italy $ 64,500
IE Business School Spain $ 82,000
HKUST Hong Kong $ 75,000
This article will help you clarify your thoughts on getting a second MBA or double MBA and share a list of the top MBA programs that accept students for a second MBA abroad.
We will also share strategies to enhance your chances of getting into your dream B-school that offers a second MBA.
So, the choice of doing a second MBA rests completely on you. A second MBA from a top business school can definitely boost your career and help you achieve your career goals. However, the only thing you need to ask yourself and then convey to the admissions committee is how would it make a difference in your career path.