Apparently I Didn’t Finish School

At present I am trying to enroll in a graduate level university program to get a Masters In Business Administration, except there is a wrinkle that is not well publicized. The Bachelors degree I hold is a 3-year program, though I have been in university for over 5 and have loads of work-related training. What this means to a USA university is that I spent 3 years in undergraduate studies without earning a Bachelors. Since my work experience is pretty strong I was hoping not to write the GMAT or GRE, and I think I would get that waiver too except apparently I did not finish school. So I found a couple of MBA programs in Canada just for working students like myself, 3-year degree holders with loads of work-training and professional achievement.

Unlike a German 3-year degree, Canada has no special national agreement with the US that equalizes our 3-year degree. The Bologna Accord equalizes the German 3-year degree to a 4-year US Bachelors degree. The Australian 3-year degree also gets that special consideration. So the standard 4-year Canadian Bachelor degree still travels best.

What is with our 3-year degree anyways? It seems the 3-year, seldom chosen, is an option for ‘open ended’ student types who are keen on entering professional work only to round out their experience with graduate-level education, later on when when they mature. Which is exactly my case. And it is little publicized because it occurs among about 17% of the student population.

‘Those who are thriving in academia after three years could go on to traditional two-year master’s programs. This group would have plenty of time to cement their critical thinking and research skills. Those who aren’t so in love with academia by year three could move on to applied programs like college post-grads, apprenticeships or applied master’s degrees with better chances at jobs.’

‘Canadian-born residents are three times less likely to be unemployed than the American-born: 1.7% versus 5.8% in 2000, according to the US Census Bureau. Being highly educated, they tend to be concentrated in more highly skilled or professional jobs. For example, 52% of the employed Canadian-born population worked in a management or professional occupation; another 24% were in sales or office occupations.’

(Source: Stats Canada)

Working or studying abroad, let alone living there permanently, is not a popular option for Canadians. Few do it or only to return in under five years, not in retirement. If anything, Canadians retire in another country called their birth-nation. And if you want to try it, you have to find your own way… there is not an emigration infrastructure as there is a pathway for foreign exchange students to Canada.

‘she faced serious challenges: the costs were almost unthinkable (upwards of $15,000), the initial administrative processes seemed to be moving as slow as molasses, and the payoff, in terms of transfer credits, was uncertain. And it would be her first time abroad, without her traditional network of friends and family.’

(Source: University Affairs)

Rounding out your 3-year Bachelor degree with a 2-year Masters degree in addition to work-specific training is needed to make you the complete package on the global job-market. Expect, not only paper-work, but actually finding out how to be ‘slow as molasses’.