Author Topic: College extension courses versus degree  (Read 407 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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College extension courses versus degree
« on: May 05, 2019, 09:43:55 AM »
Recently at my new job an opening has come up for a financial analyst position. I have a degree in International Relations with focus on finance and History, double major back in 2010. The position calls for a degree in economics, finance, math, engineering. I spoke to the manager and he said it's heavily quantitative. The field has been of some interest to me in the past. I had mentioned on another topic regarding applying which I feel I will do.

My outlook for being accepted into the position I believe is low. I am therefore looking at ways that I might myself a better candidate in the future. There were a few options I thought of. One is to get an MBA in finance from the local state university (CSUN) which has a regional reputation but not national costing $20-$30K and 2-3 years. Obtain a business analyst or finance certificate from the UCLA extension courses taking 1-2 years costing $5-$10K.

Finally I could take some additional coursework at my community college to complete my AA in accounting (about 1 year $1K-$2K) which I have been taking courses the last few years for a CPA but I've been having second thoughts about a career in accounting but an AA might be something to show for my efforts and at least add to the case for me being an analyst, maybe. Not sure. 

Work could probably cover anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 the price of the MBA or certificate and all the cost of the AA.

Since I have a good chance at covering a large portion of the more expensive options I'm not just concerned at the best quality education because it would also take the greatest time and commitment. I think the MBA is a bit overkill for the position but then again a recent hire in that role had a masters in economics but he is a pretty fresh graduate. The manager still described it as entry level analyst. I do have about 10 years in the financial services sector which should count for something.

I just wanted to get some opinions about these educational options and what I should consider in applying them to my interest in this role?


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: College extension courses versus degree
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 10:27:47 AM »
I'm in a similar position as you, albeit not in accounting/finance world. 

Personally, I decided to go with obtaining a certificate at a well recognized school that is within a 25 minute drive from me, with the option of continuing afterwards to obtain my masters degree.

In the end, what's going to look better on your resume?  CSUN or UCLA?  Unfortunately, sometimes that's what matters.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: College extension courses versus degree
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2019, 04:51:02 PM »
What did the manager say would help you look competitive?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: College extension courses versus degree
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2019, 06:10:17 PM »
When I asked this question to the manager he didn't give me a direct answer and he talked about some of the background of a recent hire as well as saying it is a highly quantitative position. I don't want to ask again because I don't know if the first time I asked he was trying not to answer directly and it's to late to do anything for this job opening.

If in case I don't get the job do any of you think it would be fair to ask the manager directly about my three options here for his advice? My concern asking him again is I don't want to make him uncomfortable by putting him on the spot or creating some expectation from him to hire me in the future. Ofcourse I know a lot of it is how I ask him but is it fair to ask that? I know that he was also the one who wrote up the job description and requirements. To me who better to ask about the value of this education than the decision maker.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 06:14:06 PM by dragonwalker »