Importance of Pre-requisites for MBA? Get them waived or Take ‘em?

In Application Info by KumarUpdated : 4 Comments

When I applied for MBA program, they gave me around 5 per-requisites course and the first thought that came to my mind was, “how can I get these waived ?”. My logic was simple, the more classes I had to take, the longer MBA course Importance of prerequisites or foundations for MBAwould take and it would delay my graduation. Moreover, it would cost me lot more money paying out of state tuition for these foundations of MBA. When I look back now after doing my core MBA classes, I can see  the importance of prerequisites.   As I mentioned the importance of work experience in article, When should you do MBA ? Directly after or Work and then ?, it is of the same importance to have a solid foundation for MBA.  I will try to explain that importance in this article.

What are prerequisites or foundations for MBA?

Prerequisites or foundations of MBA are the list of classes that you are supposed to take before you start the actual MBA program. Depending on the school and their curriculum they may be named differently. Here are typical list of classes that are considered as MBA foundations.

  • Accounting Foundations (both financial and managerial)
  • Foundations of Information Systems
  • Foundations of Statistics
  • Business Mathematics
  • Building Business Interfacing Skills
  • Finance Foundations
  • Foundations of Production Mgmt
  • Organizational Foundations
  • Foundations of Marketing
  • Basic Economic Theory (both micro and macro)

Why are the foundation courses required?

Most of the times, when you try to talk to the school program committee to waive your foundations classes, they are very reluctant and ask for your previous course work or experience in the subject area before they consider to waive the course. The main reason for having these courses required is simple reason, you need to have a framework or foundation in these business subject areas before you take a graduate level class.  Just an example, you need to know what a balance sheet and how it works, before you dive in and do things to maintain a healthy balance sheet.  If you are not a business major, you would not know what a balance sheet is…so, the main goal is to educate you with the basic concepts and get used the terms.

Should you take MBA prerequisites or get them waived by some means ?

The answer depends on what the per-requisites is and how well you are aware of the subject.  For instance, if you have a degree in Computer Sciences, then there is no point in taking any Basic mathematics or Statistics classes. You are better of getting them waived or sometimes you can take Opt out tests to get the classes waived.   On the other hand, if it is an Accounting class, then you are better of taking the class. First reason, they will not waive the class and second reason you are better of taking it now, than facing issues with accounting in future.   If you are an international student, then you will be forced to take Accounting and Finance. The reason is accounting standards and financial practices may differ between your home country and America.

My advice based on personal experience is, you should take all the classes that you think are totally new to you. For instance, I have a Computer Science degree and I ended up taking Accounting foundations, Finance foundations and Marketing foundations. I can tell you, if I were not to take these classes, then I would have been totally dumb in the MBA classes. Most of my peers in class either work in Business area or they had a degree in Business. So, whenever we have class discussions, they all talk in business lingo assuming you have background…even the professors assume that you have foundations…so, if you do not take these foundations, you will have a hard time to catch up with others or in having discussion with your peers.  Though it took me a semester or two more, it was worth the time and effort.

Key takeaway, Do NOT do math about fee or graduation time, just take the classes that you think are new to you. It is worth the money, time and effort!

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Comments ( 4 )

  1. AJ

    Hey Kumar,

    Really wonderful site and I couldnt agree more on the concept you building this on(to help others with your experiences).
    I am a IT professional in India with 3 yrs work ex. Gmat 720.I wanted to ask you, how much did the MBA costed. I am a bit skeptical, as heard stories of people coming back after the course, coz of not getting a h1.I want to stay in the country post MBA to get work ex there.(even thinking about Canada/UK coz of the visa norms).
    Would you recommend more experience pre MBA or you feel this profile is good enough.
    I really liked the info you had put on about Break even analysis post MS(gre). If you can do a similar one for MBA, it would be really helpful in understanding the actual scnenario.

    P.S The sky-diving pics were awesome.


  2. rev

    Hi kumar,
    I am totally impressed at your work and i appreciate all the great work you been doing. I am in similar boat as you were before, i did my MS in US and currently working in US since 4 yrs. I am now intended to go for MBA. I wanted to hear from you on SOP’s(Statement of purpose). Can you please share your thoughts on it importance, preparations and your preparation related to SOP’s.

  3. Subhadeep

    Good Information. Makes a lot of sense.

    But can you provide some sample colleges where these pre-requisites can be taken , especially the ones in Microeconomics , Accountancy , Finance , Organizational Behaviour,Marketing , Operations and their costs respectively. Is there any open classrooms or pre-MBA courses that are famed in the US?

    1. administrator

      I am not sure where you are right now. If you are in US, you can take them at any university. The logic is, Accounting and Finance practices in other countries are different from US. So, taking some of the classes outside of US may not help. You can check with one of the US Business schools and get their suggestions what they would accept…

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