Early Start Program

Current Millsaps undergraduate BBA students who wish to continue straight into the graduate business programs at Millsaps may start, in some cases, before they complete their undergraduate degree. Millsaps seniors who have accumulated enough undergraduate hours that they do not have to take a full course load the second semester of their senior year in order to graduate are eligible to take up to two graduate courses during that semester. To do so, all of the graduate school admissions requirements must be met, except for those calling for completion of the student's bachelor's degree. If the Admissions Committee approves the student, he/she will be admitted to the program conditionally. Upon successful completion of the student's undergraduate degree from Millsaps, he/she will be admitted to the program. The student may only apply for conditional admission one regular semester before their graduation date.

For details on how you can get an Early Start on your graduate degree at Millsaps, contact the Office of Graduate Admissions in the Else School of Management at 601.974.1253 or email mbamacc@millsaps.edu.

Early Start Student Stories

Miriam KeithMiriam Keith of Bay St. Louis decided as an undergraduate at Millsaps College that the Early Start Program, which would allow her to take graduate-level business classes during her senior year in college, made perfect sense.

“I decided that I wanted to do the Early Start Program shortly after I declared my major in accounting,” said Keith, who graduated with her BBA in accounting in May 2018.

The Early Start Program allows Millsaps undergraduate BBA students to get a jump on obtaining a graduate degree. Students may be eligible to take up to two graduate courses in the spring semester of their senior year, if they have accumulated enough undergraduate hours and do not have to take a full course load during that final semester.

Attending graduate school at Millsaps is advantageous for Millsaps graduates, Keith said, because they are able to build upon already established relationships with professors. “What other graduate school could I attend where I would not only receive an excellent education, but continue to develop my professional network with faculty that I know personally at the same time?” she said.

Keith said she knew if she became overwhelmed with coursework and studying for the CPA exam that she could easily speak with her professors. “I knew I could trust their advice during stressful times because I had developed connections with them when I was an undergraduate,” she said.

As an undergraduate, Keith was an assurance intern in the financial services sector for Ernst & Young (EY) in New Orleans. “During my three-month internship, I was able to combine classroom knowledge with real-world experience and assist my engagement teams in performing critical audit functions,” she said.

Knowing where she would attend graduate school eased some of the stress related to preparation for the CPA exam, Keith said.

“I was able to set out my exam schedule during my last month of undergraduate classes with guidance and support from my professors,” she said. “Studying and planning for the CPA exam became even easier because one of my required graduate classes was a CPA preparation course. With changes that have been made, I can sit for the exam before I even start grad school, which gives me more time to pass all four parts before I begin working full time for EY.”


Shelby Ann MarshShelby Ann Marsh of Dallas graduated from Millsaps College with a BBA in May 2018.

Thanks to the Early Start Program, she was already working on her graduate degree. The program allowed Marsh to take a graduate-level course during her senior year in addition to the undergraduate courses she needed to graduate.

“I realized during my junior year that the Early Start Program was something I needed to do,” she said. “I spoke with one of my professors about it, and he convinced me it was a great way to knock out some credits and save time and money on the journey to earn my master’s degree. He was right.”

Marsh was able to tackle the number of undergraduate hours she needed for graduation, satisfy her obligation as a student-athlete, and start on her graduate degree, thanks to guidance from the Else School of Management at Millsaps.

Business Communications was the first graduate-level class in which she enrolled.

“It prepared me for a new culture of education,” Marsh said. “Graduate school is very different from undergraduate, and I'm grateful I had the chance to adapt early on. The Early Start Program means one less class that I have to schedule for my MBA and it saves money in the long run.”

Professors in the Else School of Management were helpful, she said. “Open communication and close relationships with my professor and advisors helped tremendously,” she said.

Marsh said it was a challenge to juggle her undergraduate classes, graduate classes, the extracurricular activities in which she was involved, and study for comprehensive exams required for undergraduate graduation, but she managed.

“I practically lived in Murrah Hall the last semester of my undergraduate years,” she said. “Looking back, I know my last semester would have been just as stressful even if I had not taken a graduate course. The Early Start Program is doable, and I recommend it.”