MBA or Something Else?

I love hearing from applicants with whom I crossed paths in years past. Here's an update I just received from a soon-to-be JD. It's a great reminder not to tack on graduate degrees willy-nilly, but to think hard about how a more general degree (like an MBA)  stacks up against more specialized ones.

In my last email I told you that I was considering getting a MBA because of my interest in working for the Justice Department or the SEC. I am no longer considering pursuing a MBA because I found a graduate program that is more suitable to my career interest. After [X Law School], I am going to get a Masters in Forensic Accounting at Georgia Southern. I want to tell you about this program in case any of your clients have an interest in pursuing white collar prosecution. Georgia Southern is one of three universities in the country that offer a Masters in Forensic Accounting (Cornell University and Washington University are the others).

What makes Georgia Southern good for me (aside from location) is that Georgia Southern agreed to waive the GMAT requirement because I have demonstrated that I can handle a graduate workload. After completing the Masters in Forensic Accounting, I will be able to sit for the CPA; the school uses the Becker model (I am not sure who or what that is, but I hear it's effective) to teach the CPA. I will also take the CFE [Certified Fraud Examiner] exam after I finish the program. I hope this information helps.

I'd love to hear from others who are choosing (or have chosen) among general and specialized degrees. What makes the most sense for you? Please share your thoughts.


Former Dean of Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School and a recovering lawyer, Anna Ivey founded Ivey Consulting to help college, law school, and MBA applicants navigate the admissions process. Read more admissions tips in The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions, recently updated and available as an e-book. Follow Anna on Twitter (@annaivey).