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Advice Needed

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Joined: 20 Nov 2012
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Advice Needed [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2012, 11:15
Hello everyone,

I'd appreciate some advice/insight into my situation for applying to business school... I think it's a pretty unique and abnormal situation. I would be applying for a Fall 2014 start semester.

Here's my profile:

Age: 25 (going on 26) Asian male
Undergrad: Civil & Environmental Engineering with 3.1 GPA
School: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Haven't taken GMAT yet
5+ years commitment to church leadership and outreach
Avid guitar player/musician, snowboarder, and basketball player

Work Experience: 2 and a half years, both with Fortune 500 companies. Worked in operations/supply chain management in a Global Leadership program, now doing Product Management for Staples in their eCommerce division

As you can see my bachelors has no relation to what I'm doing now. After graduating, I was going for a master's in Operations Design and Management at my school, when my adviser recommended me to go for the MBA instead, as it was a more valuable degree with only a handful of additional classes. I was a full time MBA student (with 0 full-time work experience) for about a year and half when I was hired into the global leadership program. I've since then moved into my ideal position and industry with my current employer Staples. I am about 75% done with my MBA which, relative to other programs, is lower cost because I took advantage of graduate tuition promotions.

I'm happy with my current role and the potential growth opportunities over the next few years, but I feel that my growth could be capped based on the fact that I don't have a top tier MBA. I'd like to get into consulting or corporate strategy, which will likely require a high ranked MBA. I've asked several people on their opinion on finishing at a non-ranked school (which is almost complete) vs. getting the top degree and have gotten mixed responses.

The caveat here is that I've accumulated about $150K in loans from undergrad and the current MBA program that I'm in (WPI although a very good school is very expensive). If I were to do this, I would need to go the part-time/tuition reimbursement route or join a low-cost MBA program. I've been looking into the following programs:

Kelley at Indiana University, ranked #23. Has a great online/part-time program that costs only $50k total
Marriott school at BYU, ranked #32. Costs ~$20K total, but it is a full-time program
Tepper at Carnegie Mellon, ranked #19. They will be starting a new online/part-time program next year, I believe it will cost around $60k total

Is it worth abandoning my current degree to pursue a higher ranked MBA going online/part time (or full-time in the case of BYU)? Would my salary increase post-MBA be worth adding on to my current school loans? With my current resume, would I be able to get in the above schools assuming I get a GMAT score around 670 or higher? Are there other low cost ranked schools you can recommend that I would be a good candidate for?

Thanks in advance for your advice!
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Re: Advice Needed [#permalink] New post 27 Nov 2012, 21:00
Expert's post
Hi,

Thanks for sharing your story! Very interesting. I've got to be completely honest, though - -I don't think it makes sense at this stage to switch programs. You are in an excellent position at an awesome company... at this point, people are going to value you based on your work experience, not your MBA caliber. The pedigree of an MBA matters most when you are in the recruiting process, much less after you've landed a job. It's different if you're trying to switch functions/industry (that's the impetus for going after an MBA for most people), but in your situation, there's no need to switch.

I also think you'll have a very hard time convincing any MBA program that it makes sense for you to switch when you've already landed your dream job and can't make a very compelling case for why you need them.

That's just my two cents - I hope it helps!
Mili

Mili Mittal
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http://www.mbamission.com

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