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Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics?

  1. Jun 27, 2008 #1
    Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    I'm going to start my third year of college in the Fall -- 4.0 GPA. Up until now I've been focusing on the prerequisites for an International Business degree, but I also have a few chemistry and calculus courses, and one introductory physics class. My goal has been to finish my business degree because my true goal is to start my own company one day, but I'm really fascinated by physics and I love the challenge (you can imagine the contrast between a business lecture and a physics lab).

    My question is: if I decide to pursue a BS in Bio-Physics now, and maybe a minor in business or entrepreneurship, will I still have good chances of becoming accepted into an MBA program?

    Has anyone ever made the transition from undergraduate physics to graduate business? Has anyone been accepted into a graduate physics/MBA dual-degree program?

    I've consider completing an undergraduate dual-degree, but that will take me an additional two years, and I'm getting anxious to get into graduate school already.

    any advice would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2008 #2
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    I know someone who studied Math and Meteorology as an undergrad and is now doing an MBA.

    One thing to keep in mind is that most MBA programs require you to work before joining.
  4. Jun 27, 2008 #3
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    I suspect that most of the very few people who have both a graduate degree in physics and an MBA changed their mind about their career at some point.

    There are more dual-degree MBA programs than I thought when I started to write this reply, but most of them seem to be engineering/MBA programs, which make a bit more sense.
  5. Jun 27, 2008 #4


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    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??


  6. Jun 29, 2008 #5
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    I have B.S. physics and MBA in international business.
    A biophysics degree is not a B.S. in physics. Biophysics is usually regarded as a pre-med degree. Business school will see an applicant with a biophysics degree and no work experience as someone that couldn't get into med school. Beginning of junior year is far too late to start either pre-med or physics, you simply can't finish the prerequisites and required courses and keep your 4.0 unless your parents were teaching you this stuff in the womb.
    In hindsight, I think the MBA is really a worthless degree. My logical physicist mind had an interesting time learning how accountants and lawyers and marketeers see the world. I learned both time value of money, and why money has no value. I learned that most MBAs have really horrible jobs compared to the interesting work I can get with a physics degree.
  7. Jun 29, 2008 #6
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    I can't say anything about the quality of the program, since I have no experience with it at all, but something I stumbled across while looking for graduate physics programs is the M.S. in Physics, Entrepreneurship track at Case. It might be something to check out.

    http://step.case.edu/programs/pep/pep_index.shtml [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  8. Jun 29, 2008 #7
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    A combined program might have merit in balancing out the workload from the real classes. I found the MBA classes an order of magnitude easier than any physics class. It was possible to get through all of them without studying. The MBA is really a degree in psychology; it's about the brand of your pen, how much you paid for it, where you bought it, and how soon you'll buy another one, it's not about how well the pen worked or what was written with it. Someone with good quantitative skills is better off with a MS in statistics or operations research. That said, employers pay the same for a MBA or a MSEE or MSPhysics, so it's a much easier way to get a masters degree, for those employers that use "masters degree" as a screening criteria to weed out applicants. I work at a large corporation and I'm frequently tasked to integrate a huge amount of technical information into presentation material for nontechnical management. For this type of work, the MBA is helpful. I now understand that some of the audience feels that the color of the background and layout of the charts is more important to them than the content of the charts, and it's easy to make them happy by understanding this.
  9. Apr 1, 2009 #8
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    A physics degree will in no way harm an MBA objective. My MBA effort is on technology companies and upon the whole the MBA entrance requirements viewed my degrees with strong favor.

    MS Physics, MBA (Near completion in May 2009).

    I see a few areas where a Physics degree is both a blessing and risk.

    1) Being calculus trained is a serious advantage; Uses of variation and statistical modeling of uncertainty was very simple to relate to; also, curve fitting financial data was not very challenging. But, get used to both their very sloppy uses of probability and solid uses of ANOVA analysis methods.

    2) The same advantage can become a factor of impatience. Business math deals with a financial universe that has more intense levels of uncertainty than Physics usually addresses -- Unless you have gone after non-linear dynamics and complexity theory. Even the notion that one's financial model is even relevant can be uncertain.

    3) Physics often does not demand the public speaking and frequent essay and advocacy writing pieces that the MBA does. Pay very close attention to this area, take public speaking courses, join groups, beef up the marketing, writing and even foreign language aspects of your education. Your technology business may have global partnerships with major players who may charge more for the service of speaking English.

    Transforming good sense into dollars and cents has a lot to do with presentation skill. "...what you make with the sweat of your brow... you must sell with the sweat of your brow..." That said, extending one's view of the universe to include team dynamics and human leadership issues is an area that eventually fascinates lots of Physicists. For perspective based psychology is an aspect of the universe just as much as any rock ever was.

    I like to say that I am include both the conservation of value with the conservation of energy in my thinking. I hope this helps in sizing your interests. You can find me on LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/arctific[/URL].

    Best Wishes,

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  10. Apr 3, 2009 #9
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    An MBA is going to be useful if you're planning to managing projects and people. Usually the people of Science & Engineering earning a MBA have experience, they tried to start their own business and have plans to get a managing position.

    Some researchers in labs get the degree to become chief scientists or lab directors, some people get into applying their analytical skills to financial or managerial problems.
  11. Apr 3, 2009 #10
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    Quants or quantitative investors use the strong modeling and probability skill sets for stock market advantage. With the right finance skills, enough Physicists have made such a career bridge work that a solid reputation has been created.

    In Business, a Physics degree only means, "smart person".
    With a geek tendency to graph things. It is the dollar value of what I graph or predict that truly holds attention.

    In my under graduate studies there are only two examples of raging financial success as a Physicist I was ever presented. One that made money via patents, and one was a Quant.

    Of PhD Phycists approximately
    1/2 work in academia
    1/5 work for the government
    The rest work in private industry.

    Of MS and BS Physicists career stats are rarely tracked.
    There career sucesses are much wider than presented here because of the lack of tracking in the way that Engineering societies often do.

    I know CTOs of of multinational corporations who have only an MS in Physics.
    I know of Quants with PhD through BS Physics degrees.
    I know IT managers with BS Physics degrees.
    On google it is east to find MBAs with Physics degrees. Note, they are not a huge sector of the MBA populace they just network well and so are visible.

    Techical sales rep/pre sales engineer for tech products
    Or the tried and true, tech degree plus industry certification equals good job formula works very well.
    So MS. & BS Phycists fit in to as many careers as there are good paying industry cert.

    Of experience, I can only say. Refuse to think inside the box.
    There is no need to stick to exclusively tech companies.

    Quants can make more money than your nearest PhD ever will. Just do not think classically about your career. Quantum tunnelling flows of probability in through and past bariers is the better approach. Uncoventional solutions that leave your employer wondering how they ever got so lucky is the winning strategy in my view.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  12. Apr 3, 2009 #11
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    My advisor's wife went to not just undergrad, but graduate school in physics. And I believe that she's now doing an MBA. So yes, this is possible.
  13. Apr 3, 2009 #12
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    I had no problems getting into an MBA program, and my degrees are BS and MS in Mathematics. I ended up leaving the MBA program and going into the MS in Quantitative Finance program (I am graduating this semester). I had to take 6 hours of leveling courses which included an introductory finance class and an introductory economics class. Funny aside - when I went to orientation, one of the assistants told me I needed to take introductory finance, economics, and business calculus. Finance - ok, economics - ok, business calculus? Huh? He explained that they required business calculus for entry into the MBA program. I pointed out that I had Cal I, Cal II, Cal III, DiffEq, etc. No matter. They required business calculus. I politely asked if teaching business calculus would count, as I taught it at least 3 times during my stint as a GTA (at the same school). I told him he could confirm my teaching record with the Chair of the Math Dept. He gave me a blank stare and asked the Dean to come over (he was milling about all the students). I explained the situation to him, and he just said, "I'm sure we can overlook the fact that business calculus is missing from your transcript and waive the requirement." :)

    The one thing that irritated me a bit was the lack of derivation and formal mathematical notation by most business classes. The finance classes were a bit better, but just a tad. The statistics side of things was also quite piecemeal. I have no real formal statistics or probability training, but I was able to pick up enough to get past the courses with very good grades.

    Teaching during my grad degree in Math really helped my public presentation skills. My writing skills are somewhat lacking, but fortunately, most business classes have group projects, so I was able to contribute the technical details, and someone else would critique my writing. The mathematics in the courses really presented no problems at all, and I would suspect someone with a degree in Physics would similarly have no issues with the mathematics.

    So, in short, I don't think you'll have any problems. Good luck!
  14. Apr 5, 2009 #13
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    Yes you can. Take it from someone who is doing it!

    They love us because the average commerce student can't even calculate integrals.
  15. Apr 6, 2009 #14
    Re: Can I pursue an MBA with a BS in physics??

    The school that I attend, University of Pittsburgh, actually offers a joint master's program that awards both an MBA and an MS in engineering, including bioengineering, so I'm sure it can be done. There's a lot of benefits in business to having a strong understanding in a technical field, especially when it's up to you to make bold decisions that put you ahead of the game.
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