Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Five Years

Three exceptional students take advantage of accelerated option

4-plus-1

By Pete Fairbairn

More and more exceptional, motivated students are finding BGSU’s accelerated, five-year bachelor’s and master’s program to be a very attractive option.

A growing number of highly sought-after master’s degree programs across most colleges can be finished in one year. In some cases, students with Advanced Undergraduate Standing take some graduate courses during their senior year, positioning them to complete their advanced degrees in just one year after earning a bachelor’s.

Key advantages to the accelerated program include:

  • Access to graduate-level coursework for advanced undergraduate students
  • Potential cost and time savings for students who can complete a graduate degree sooner than might otherwise be possible
  • Smooth transition from undergraduate to graduate work as students maintain their established living arrangements and relationships in one of the “Best College Towns In America”

The majority of these programs have a non-thesis (Plan II) option in order to complete the degree in one year. Many also require some summer work either at the beginning or end of the degree.

The full-time MBA program is a great example, having been selected as one of the best in the country by The Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools. In fact, BGSU’s program has been recognized as such for nine consecutive years, boasting the second highest score in Ohio for the publication’s Academic Experience and Admissions Selectivity ratings.

Non-business majors complete their BG MBA in just 12 months

Jess Roth ’14, ’15 just graduated with an MBA in August, after receiving her bachelor’s degree in tourism and event planning the year before. 

“I decided I wanted to pursue marketing, so I went to the undergrad office here to talk about getting a double major, said Roth. “Instead, they suggested I should get into the MBA program, which could be completed in one year and would be more beneficial than taking two additional years.”

While Roth had demonstrated academic excellence during her undergraduate career at BG, the stepped up pace of the 12-month MBA program was challenging at first.

“It was definitely intense at first,” Roth recalled. “Essentially, coming in with a non-business background meant I had to learn all that at once.”

But she did master the new workload and was able to handle a graduate assistantship and part-time job on top of her classwork. One of the keys to her success was the program’s cohort structure, which meant she had a strong support group she could count on.

“I really liked that there was a cohort, so everyone in the program went through it together and graduated together,” said Roth. “That was really nice to rely on those people when I was stressed out or needed a study buddy.”

Tony Parenti ’12, ’14 also came to the accelerated MBA program with an undergraduate degree from another college. He was interested in rounding out his sport management degree from the College of Education and Human Development.

“My undergrad major was very fine-tuned and very specific, so I was looking for a broader spectrum to complement my BA,” Parenti said. “I worked with the football program during my undergrad for five seasons and that involved a lot of recruiting work that made me aware of just how strong our business program is here at BG.”

The quality of the faculty is a hallmark of BGSU and the College of Business Administration is no exception. That strength was evident to Parenti and the others in his cohort.

“Most of the faculty have been out in the business world previously and that helps a ton,” said Parenti. “Whenever they’re teaching from the book they also have real-life experience to add to that. I think I can speak for everyone in the class when I say we thought that was huge.”

From there, the MBA staff does a good job of putting together networking events outside of class according to Parenti. He pointed to mock interviews with recruiters and tours of various facilities as examples of opportunities to interact with people in the business world at least once a month. 

“I’m in my role now with Avery Dennison because of relationships I made at BG, which is invaluable,” said Parenti. “That would be my biggest piece of advice for anyone getting their MBA at BGSU — make sure you take advantage of all the networking opportunities.”

Business major leverages Advanced Undergraduate Standing

Christian Piazza ’15 is earning his MBA in one year after receiving his bachelor’s degree with a major in sales and services marketing and a minor in entrepreneurship. This has also allowed him to continue his career as a Falcon student-athlete. He is also just one of 80 Division I intercollegiate football players to be named to the Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list in recognition of his extensive community service.

His internship in the football offices as a recruiting coordinator inspired him to pursue “the administration aspect of sport,” with aspirations to become an athletic director.

“There was an overwhelming emphasis to get a master’s degree in either business or law if you wanted to become an athletic director,” said Piazza. “I decided on the MBA after an informational interview with our AD Chris Kingston.” 

At first, Piazza didn’t think it would be possible to get into the program to fit his desired timing due to being out of sync with the current cohort. But he was encouraged to pursue the possibility by Kingston. 

“I met with Tom Daniels and he was more than willing to help me find a way,” recalled Piazza. “I only had one undergrad class left in order to graduate, so I thought it was pointless to keep doing that if I could get a head start in my graduate studies.”

With Daniels’ guidance and equipped with Advanced Undergraduate Standing, Piazza began taking graduate-level courses as a senior. The transition turned out to be incredibly smooth due to his business background and a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere.

“The first couple days of class were kind of weird,” said Piazza. “I was kind of the new kid on the block, but everyone was very welcoming and asked if I’d like to work on group projects with them.”

Accelerating toward a fulfilling, successful career

Roth, Parenti and Piazza all agree that the accelerated program option requires plenty of hard work and dedication, but the end result is well worth the effort. BGSU offers a wide variety of programs in addition to the MBA including analytics; media and communications; criminal justice; French, German and Spanish; special education and more. 

The 4+1 programs have been so popular that the Graduate College is reshaping this concept as an “Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program” plan in order to enable students in many disciplines and fields to graduate with both degrees in five years. The “Accelerated” program will create a detailed curricular plan for each student and provide an opportunity for early graduate program acceptance.

More information about the current 4 +1 programs is available online, or call Sheri Leatherman at the Graduate College at (419) 372-2791. The revised Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s program is still under development and will be available soon.

More information on BGSU’s full-time MBA program that can be completed in one year is available online or call Tom Daniels at  (419) 372-8823.