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Examine my Situation, would you get an MBA or keep working?

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Examine my Situation, would you get an MBA or keep working? [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2012, 18:30
As many people are, I am in a very difficult situation with my decision whether or not to get an MBA, so I was hoping I could get some advice on whether or not you guys think an MBA is a good decision in my situation.

Current Career Trajectory: I am currently a store manager for a wholesale distributor (about $150 mil in sales per year, company total), and have a pending promotion to take on a larger location (I didn't have this promotion when I started applying). The company is extremely invested in their employee's, and I have been told that I likely have a 5 year path to executive management (director position, keep in mind the size of the company). If I take this promotion, I will make approximately $75,000 - $85,000 per year (depends on bonuses), and have a company vehicle. I love the company I work for, but am not obsessed with the job. I will have to give them an answer on whether or not I am taking the promotion or going back to school next week when I hear back from schools.

MBA Path: I would like to switch into marketing, ideally for a tech or media firm. However, if I get an MBA, I won't be picky about the industry due to having limited marketing experience beyond what I do for my location (about 20% of my job).

MBA Schools: I decided long ago that, in order to give this up, it is only worth it if I get into a top school. I have interviewed with Michigan and Chicago (I will have a response next week).

Financing School: I have enough funds saved up so that, if I am also able to get an internship and my wife finds a job relatively quickly, we will barely scrape by the 2 years living, while depleting our savings and continuing to make payments on our existing undergraduate debt of $100,000. So my MBA will be completely financed with loans, approximately $110,000 less whatever I receive in scholarships, which I expect to be nothing because it is unlikely I will receive anything based on merit.

The other variables I'm hoping to get some thoughts on: Obviously I have no idea how much a career changer that goes into marketing without full time marketing experience can look to make after an MBA, but I would estimate it to be around $100,000 coming out of those schools. But any thoughts on that? Also, I have no problem working longer hours, but I want to begin a family shortly after the MBA. I am afraid that I will be put on a path towards 70-80 hour weeks just to keep a good enough job to pay back the debt. Whereas the company I work for now values their employees so much, that they don't let those kinds of hours happen.

I know this may have been disjointed and not well put together, but my mind is scrambling with this decision to make, and this is as direct as I can be without us sitting down for a long conversation about what I'm facing. Thank you for your thoughts.
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Re: Examine my Situation, would you get an MBA or keep working? [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2012, 22:10
Mairsile wrote:
As many people are, I am in a very difficult situation with my decision whether or not to get an MBA, so I was hoping I could get some advice on whether or not you guys think an MBA is a good decision in my situation.

Current Career Trajectory: I am currently a store manager for a wholesale distributor (about $150 mil in sales per year, company total), and have a pending promotion to take on a larger location (I didn't have this promotion when I started applying). The company is extremely invested in their employee's, and I have been told that I likely have a 5 year path to executive management (director position, keep in mind the size of the company). If I take this promotion, I will make approximately $75,000 - $85,000 per year (depends on bonuses), and have a company vehicle. I love the company I work for, but am not obsessed with the job. I will have to give them an answer on whether or not I am taking the promotion or going back to school next week when I hear back from schools.

MBA Path: I would like to switch into marketing, ideally for a tech or media firm. However, if I get an MBA, I won't be picky about the industry due to having limited marketing experience beyond what I do for my location (about 20% of my job).

MBA Schools: I decided long ago that, in order to give this up, it is only worth it if I get into a top school. I have interviewed with Michigan and Chicago (I will have a response next week).

Financing School: I have enough funds saved up so that, if I am also able to get an internship and my wife finds a job relatively quickly, we will barely scrape by the 2 years living, while depleting our savings and continuing to make payments on our existing undergraduate debt of $100,000. So my MBA will be completely financed with loans, approximately $110,000 less whatever I receive in scholarships, which I expect to be nothing because it is unlikely I will receive anything based on merit.

The other variables I'm hoping to get some thoughts on: Obviously I have no idea how much a career changer that goes into marketing without full time marketing experience can look to make after an MBA, but I would estimate it to be around $100,000 coming out of those schools. But any thoughts on that? Also, I have no problem working longer hours, but I want to begin a family shortly after the MBA. I am afraid that I will be put on a path towards 70-80 hour weeks just to keep a good enough job to pay back the debt. Whereas the company I work for now values their employees so much, that they don't let those kinds of hours happen.

I know this may have been disjointed and not well put together, but my mind is scrambling with this decision to make, and this is as direct as I can be without us sitting down for a long conversation about what I'm facing. Thank you for your thoughts.



Hi Mairsile,

I understand your financial situation well and while I can't tell you what to do, I hope that my experience can help you in making your choice.

Essentially, I decided not to go to B school a few years back. The reason? I landed a job that earned more than the average grad earns from HBS. This was great but a few things changed my outlook. First, the sour economy hasn't improved and rapid promotion within my industry is unlikely. Secondly, if my company went bankrupt, downsized et cetera, and I found myself without a job, it would require roughly 1 year to find something that pays my current salary. Also, if I were to leave my specific job in my industry then I would earn less than half of what I do.

Now I am planning to go to B school, not because of ROI but because it will bring new opportunities and allow me to broaden my career path. If you don't feel like you can get another job at your same salary level within 3 months then I would suggest you consider B School. If you feel like you'll become discontented with your industry then I would suggest B School.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck!

David
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Re: Examine my Situation, would you get an MBA or keep working? [#permalink] New post 12 Dec 2012, 12:59
Thanks for the advice. Those are things I haven't considered. Would you maintain that advice given the $210,000 debt load I may face?

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Re: Examine my Situation, would you get an MBA or keep working? [#permalink] New post 12 Dec 2012, 14:41
Mairsile wrote:
Thanks for the advice. Those are things I haven't considered. Would you maintain that advice given the $210,000 debt load I may face?

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That is a daunting figure. I would suggest looking at the two career paths you describe and see where you'll be financially right out of business school and where you'll be five years out et cetera. Compare that with your career path without B school (and your debt load without B school). If you expect to make a huge sum as the VP of Marketing at some tech firm then $200k won't seem so bad.

What is the primary driver for you to earn an MBA? Do you want to broaden your skill set? Add a prestigious school to your resume? Change careers?

Depending on your answers to those questions there are a few alternatives to consider.

1. Enroll at a less prestigious program where you might be able to get a large scholarship I assume you are planning to attend school in the Great Lakes Region (I'm from Ann Arbor so that's my assumption when you mentioned UMich and Chicago!) so you may want to consider Indiana, Purdue, Mich State et al. They are a notch below Chicago and Michigan and I'm sure they would roll out the red carpet to attract an applicant like you.

2.) Consider a weekend/evening or executive MBA a few years down the road. You may be able to convince your current employer to sponsor you. Unfortunately, this is poor way to change careers and so you probably wouldn't be able to jump into a tech marketing job afterwards.

WRT the hours required for people in marketing. I work in technology in the San Francisco Bay Area and I don't often see MBA level people (product managers, marketing managers, director of marketing, VPM et cetera) in marketing work more than 40-50 hours per week. Once a month they will have to go to a trade show or meet with a major customer, but the work load is very reasonable.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Examine my Situation, would you get an MBA or keep working? [#permalink] New post 04 Jan 2013, 01:13
My hobby is playing different video games. I like to play action games but mission impossible is my favorite one till to my childhood. I never feel boring by this one game also the racing games are interesting in playing.
Re: Examine my Situation, would you get an MBA or keep working?   [#permalink] 04 Jan 2013, 01:13
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