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Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance?

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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 07:37
I totally agree. What it does is puts people into positions they're not capable of fulfilling. I understand wanting to better yourself, but if you don't like your company, and your company is willing to let you go, you're not exactly a valued employee in your current job. What in the last 2 years did this person do to make them a rockstar employee? It's the mentality of a 3-year old. "I want his toys because he wants them. It doesn't matter that his toys suck, I want what he wants."

We have to make sure we don't think like this when we get to management positions and have to make these decisions.

kidderek wrote:
jallenmorris wrote:
In the insurance industry, I've seen someone that went from my company to another one, only to come back in 2 years at a job he never would have been promoted to with 2 years at the same company. Kind of the idea "If the other company wants him so much to take him away from us, he must be very valuable so we'll give him even more to get him back."


That is one of the dumbest and widely used practices. I've seen it in banking as well. Many of the older banking books talk about how you're not respected if you don't make the veil threat of jumping ship.

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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 07:48
misterlev wrote:
It doesn't really seem insightful or valuable to say that Detroit is not as good as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Nobody is aruging that it is one of the top 4 cities in the country. I think your point about those big cities misses the mark in two major ways. The first is that, regardless of whether or not you delude yourself about how great banking is, people are working a lot of hours. Call it 60 or 70 or 80 or 90, but my friends who live and work in NYC spend time in the office and in their beds. The second problem is that you mistake the draw of culture for the draw of money. If people could make 250 grand a year at 23 in Toledo or Omaha or Billings, they would live there.

P.S.
The Red Wings have been the best team in hockey for the last 15 years, the Pistons have made the Eastern Conference Finals for the last 6 years, and Detroit has more musical history and depth than almost any place in the country.

We also have a Wolfgang Puck restaurant!

It's not that important to me... I live in a suburb and I don't often go to Detroit. However, I don't think you can malign it as such a terrible place. All big cities have crime, and all big cities have economic fluctuations. The unemployment in Detroit is directly related to the auto industry, and the murder rate and the rate of flight are directly related to unemployment, not some inherent flaws in the city or its people. Hopefully everybody on GMAT Club will get into H/S/W and figure out how to improve our domestic auto manufacturers!


I think there are some assumptions here that are inherently incorrect and/or misguided. As terp06 mentioned, a lot of people would not be willing to move to Toledo, Omaha or Billings for the same money, even if their buying power is substantially greater in those places. The reasons have been detailed but they include access to friends, family, restaurants, cultural events, a good international airport, direct flights to popular destinations, and very significantly other young professionals.

Yes, I know that Wolfgang Puck has been franchising out, it's kind of an embarrassment actually, but goes to prove my point. Some people can be really pleased with a "Bar and Grill" version of fine dining (I think that's what his restaurant in Detroit is called) but let's not confuse it with Spago, Chinois or Cut (ate here last week, unbelievable what they do with red meat and wine).

The Red Wings are another prime example - people are definitely crazy about them around Detroit, but does anyone else in the nation care? Didn't hockey get it's TV contract canceled? And yes, I do love Motown music, I really do; but the only big act in the last 40 years has been Boys to Men! It's not really a hotbed for music, compared to the nightly live music you'll find in LA or NY, or places like Seattle or Portland. Detroit basketball has been good - not everyone can have the Lakers :-D. To me, a second rate Wolfgang Puck franchise, hockey and Motown are all great examples of the point I was making. Detroit has a great and relevant past, but the current reality for the city is high unemployment, high crime and murder rates, vacant homes, and it is symbolic of urban blight. Even if the car industry could be fixed (not a given really) it's not a top choice for people with MBAs, and that's not just my opinion; and if one of the big 3 truly fails, look out it's going to get a lot worse.

Really, I'm sorry I'm forced to prove my point by talking about Detroit. Truth be told I'd rather live there than some of the other places we've talked about because it does have a pretty big and well served international airport (not like LA or NY, but better way better than Toledo, et. al.). Still, I'd consider it a huge personal sacrifice to take a job in any of those cities (and many others) and it's hard to imagine what type of other inducements I would require to choose it over LA or SF (sometimes there's no choice of course). If I could have every other week off and 50% higher pay maybe? Don't know, it's hard to envision, but again everyone has their own set of preferences. Since my choices seem to be on trial here, I'll give a brief list of what I find important.

1. I love food and wine. There's a huge grand-canyon-like gap between the best locales (SF, NY, LA, Vegas, NO, perhaps CHI) and other places. Huge. Really big. I'd gladly work 2 extra hours every day so that once or twice a week I can hit one of the dozens and dozens of top restaurants available around SF (to me the best), LA (a revolution in the last 5 years, and pretty good even before that) or NY (more top places than anywhere else); and Las Vegas of course, but the equation is a little different there.

2. I love Napa Valley. I love Vegas. Among the reasons why SF and LA are much more appealing for me than NY. If I figure out on a Friday afternoon that I'm free for the weekend, there are flights every 1/2 hour from both SF and LA. I also love the coast highway in Malibu, the misty mornings in Carmel and Monterey, clean air and sunshine in La Jolla (San Diego) and getting away for the weekend in Santa Barbara; all accessible via last minute flights or drives. Some people feel the same way about the Hamptons. It's a personal preference, although I'd say that love for Vegas is almost universal among fresh MBA grads.

3. I don't really like the cold. Spent 3 years in Ann Arbor so I've learned the difference between visiting snow (as in a ski weekend or something) and living in snow (as in scraping the ice of your windows and being wet up to your knees after walking in slush). Don't like it. Chicago will never be high on my list because of this (lake effect snow - yuck), same with Boston. LA and SF obviously have world renowned climates. Some people love to experience all four seasons (I'm down with that) but it's hard to imagine that why anyone would like living in snow (and snow's good friend slush - makes me shudder just thinking abut it).

4. My friends and family are largely in California. Obviously everyone else has friends and family elsewhere. But here's something to consider, I can imagine living in NY because a whole lot of my b-school friends will be heading there (the same will be true for all of you at top schools). Really, that's a very big thing, and not just from my school, but lots of other similar students from other schools. Places like Seattle have some appeal for this reason even though it doesn't have a lot of the other elements I value. And if I'm in NY, for example, I can call up my friends and say "hey, come out for a visit this weekend." There are plenty of flights so it's convenient, and lot of reasons why people will want to visit. My best friend is in Detroit (as mentioned before) and it's been impossible for him to get friends out to visit. I'll be scheduling a visit around a football game this fall (I love Michigan football), but if I didn't have existing ties to the area, it really wouldn't be very appealing. Think that over before deciding to settle in Billings or Toledo or wherever.

Again, my argument is more about the factors that go into quality of life. Some people will indeed value shorter hours above all else; other may prefer a faster job track or easy access to friends and peers; while still others may want 350 days of sunshine or world class shopping (doesn't matter much to me, but you won't really find it outside of NY, SF, LA and CHI). I'd be interested to hear why some people favor some of the other destinations. No need to really argue for NY, SF, LA, CHI, because MBAs flood these places year after year.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 08:12
Get some thicker skin? Jallen, I don't think anyone is comparing life in NYC to Detroit. But Pelihu was overly harsh in his assessment of Detroit. I grew up in the area and went to Michigan, and I know Detroit has many weaknesses. But it's not like working professionals live in the ghetto. That is my point. Yes, crime is high in the city. But crime is high in MANY cities, including Chicago. Does that make Chicago a bad place to live?

As Pelihu pointed out, there are many fine places in Metro Detroit to live. Is it SF? No. But its much better than a rural area in my opinion. A better comparision is SF vs. a small town in Iowa. That is night and day. You will still find your Ritz Carltons and nice clubs in Detroit. You won't find that in a small town America.

Pelihu -- Do you think there is a major difference in working at a regional office vs NYC? I have to imagine there is a more personal connection which makes the working conditions better. I personally have always favored smaller offices, and banking seems no different.

Here is one advantage of consulting....tons of hotel points/miles. Is it worth the travel? Absolutely not. But it does allow for some AMAZING vacations :)




jallenmorris wrote:

1) Get some thicker skin. If 1 person doesn't like Detroit, so what? At least he spent 3 years in Ann Arbor and has more credibility in saying so than someone like me that's only been to Michigan once.

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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 09:13
terp06 wrote:
A close family member of mine attended a Top 10 school in the late 80s, and it is really interesting to see where his classmates have ended up. He knew almost all of his classmates, and it is shocking how straight and narrow the career paths of his classmates have been after they graduated in 1989. The guys who went into banking are now managing directors at their respective banks, the guys who went into consulting may have made principal/partner or may be in industry, and the guys who took industry jobs are generally in the depths of middle-management. These are all guys in their late 40s, so as a factor of their age, they may not have had a chance to make it up to upper-management at the Fortune 500s yet. Don't get me wrong, there were certainly a few surprises, a few 180 turns, a few entrepeneurs, etc. but I would still venture to say that at least 70% of the class has followed the career paths they set out on after graduation.


I am going to disagree with a lot of this. If a bank brings 50 associates a year from all the big schools (conservative number for the bulge brackets). That means that if 70% of those people stay in the path every single year 35 will make it to MD. McKinsey hires 200 consultants a year (very very conservative), so that would mean 140 principal/partners...Sorry not going to happen. Some will be forced out and many will leave on their own, some will move to the same industry in smaller specialized areas but lots of bankers transfer into various finance related gigs at fortune 500s...the majority of consultants will leave for major companies too in any number of different positions. Go through profiles of employees at various big companies and you will see people who did 2 or 3 years at Goldman or BCG immediately after getting their MBA before then entering the corporate world.

I think what many MBAs need to realize is not everyone succeeds. Very few reach the very top, I am sure most people say their long term goal is to be in the senior positions in whatever industry they are going to pursue. However, in reality far more people dont make it than do. Middle management is filled with people who have big name MBAs, they never move out of there. Some may own or run small businesses and some go on to lead boutiques. There are probably around 5000 people who can claim they graduated from a top 10 MBA every year. Outside of consulting and IB, many people at the top of the business world do not have MBAs, some have MS's or phds, some have law degrees, and some only have an undergrad. Banking and consulting are also bottom heavy industries. For every MD there are dozens of young MBA's, all of whom want to be running the show at 45 but in reality a few will make it.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 09:16
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jallenmorris wrote:

As for career progression in these different areas, how difficult is it to determine raises, promotions, etc?



It really varies a lot across industries, companies, etc. Also, I find that Fortune 500 companies are for the most part large bureaucracies where the hearsay of "brown nosing your boss" to get ahead still stands true. Promotion decisions at large F500 companies within the management ranks can be based on all sorts of factors unrelated to performance. This is one reason why people at banks/consulting firms/etc don't want to go to work for their clients - they know that their banks/firms are a bit more meritocratic than the F500 companies that they serve. It's very difficult at times to quantify the value add of a general manager within a large corporation - and therefore these guys are usually also the first to go in the scenario of severe cost cutting / levaraged buy outs, etc. If you've seen the movie Wall Street, imagine a Teldar Paper with their 33 vice presidents each making $200K/year to push around paper and work 9-5.

I am not at all an expert on F500 pay scales, and I think it varies a LOT. However, I'll go ahead and share what I have heard from conversations with others. I interned for a summer at an F500 technology company and became somewhat familiar with their pay scales. I would say that you could expect to start at about $120-150K in a general management role at an F500 company. Your title here would likely be something like "Manager" or "Project Manager" or "Project Lead" or something along these lines. Perhaps you may have a fancy title like "Director of Operations", but likely your pay scale would stay about the same. At a good company, you can count on 5-10% raises annually, and perhaps a bonus in the range of $10-50K. You would probably sit around in this "Manager" role for 3-5 years, and then you would get promoted to the next level, perhaps a "Senior Manager" or a title along these lines. This role should pay in the ballpark of $200K. After this, the process becomes too random to predict and the heirarchies are structured differently everywhere. Generally, the post after this is "Director", and then "Vice President". These roles should make in the ballpark of $300-500K. You can expect to see a title like Director or VP 10-12 years out of business school. At this point, your friends in banking would have made Managing Director and their compensation will be $2MM+.

I would venture to say that a majority of MBAs that go the general management route do not make it beyond the VP/Director level. I would estimate conservatively (high end estimate) that 20% of MBAs from top notch programs make it to the Cxx level in large companies. This generally will happen somewhere between age 45 if you're on a fast track, and age 55 if you're on a slower track. By this time, your peers in banking will be looking to retire and find something else to do with their time (teach at a university, work at a non-profit, sit at one of their beach houses). The average banker retires between age 45-55, just when a general manager is hitting the peak of his career.

In the end, if you're looking to build wealth, it's slow, steady, and fairly risky (unlikely that you'll make it to a top compensation level) for general management, or it's fast, hard, and almost guaranteed as long as you don't screw up for banking. You have to be a top notch politician, as well as a top notch performer to make it to the top of an F500. You can be mediocre at both and still take home a fat 7-figure paycheck as an MD at a bank. If you're a mediocre MD, you'll make $1-2MM, if you're pretty good, you should be at $5MM, if you're a star, youll make $10-20MM. If you're a mediocre general manager, look at $200K for the rest of your career, if you're pretty good, count on $500K, and if you're a star, count on $2MM. This is a HUGE gap.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 09:55
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terp06 wrote:
A close family member of mine attended a Top 10 school in the late 80s, and it is really interesting to see where his classmates have ended up. He knew almost all of his classmates, and it is shocking how straight and narrow the career paths of his classmates have been after they graduated in 1989. The guys who went into banking are now managing directors at their respective banks, the guys who went into consulting may have made principal/partner or may be in industry, and the guys who took industry jobs are generally in the depths of middle-management. These are all guys in their late 40s, so as a factor of their age, they may not have had a chance to make it up to upper-management at the Fortune 500s yet. Don't get me wrong, there were certainly a few surprises, a few 180 turns, a few entrepeneurs, etc. but I would still venture to say that at least 70% of the class has followed the career paths they set out on after graduation.


I am going to disagree with a lot of this. If a bank brings 50 associates a year from all the big schools (conservative number for the bulge brackets). That means that if 70% of those people stay in the path every single year 35 will make it to MD. McKinsey hires 200 consultants a year (very very conservative), so that would mean 140 principal/partners...Sorry not going to happen. Some will be forced out and many will leave on their own, some will move to the same industry in smaller specialized areas but lots of bankers transfer into various finance related gigs at fortune 500s...the majority of consultants will leave for major companies too in any number of different positions. Go through profiles of employees at various big companies and you will see people who did 2 or 3 years at Goldman or BCG immediately after getting their MBA before then entering the corporate world.

I think what many MBAs need to realize is not everyone succeeds. Very few reach the very top, I am sure most people say their long term goal is to be in the senior positions in whatever industry they are going to pursue. However, in reality far more people dont make it than do. Middle management is filled with people who have big name MBAs, they never move out of there. Some may own or run small businesses and some go on to lead boutiques. There are probably around 5000 people who can claim they graduated from a top 10 MBA every year. Outside of consulting and IB, many people at the top of the business world do not have MBAs, some have MS's or phds, some have law degrees, and some only have an undergrad. Banking and consulting are also bottom heavy industries. For every MD there are dozens of young MBA's, all of whom want to be running the show at 45 but in reality a few will make it.


There is a lot of churn and burn at the banks and consulting firms - no doubt about it. A great majority of the class of 1989 at the top school that I looked at was in middle management - I would estimate at least 60% of them. Titles like "Senior Manager" or "Director" of Sales/Marketing or Internal Finance. Another 10-15% of them or so are entrepeneurs/small business owners, as you mentioned.

However, in speaking with the person in my family, almost none of them started out on a banking track. There were only about 20 people who went into banking out of school (I believe his class was approx. 170?), and almost every single one of them is a Managing Director at a Bank (some at smaller/boutique banks), or they are Partners at PE firms or Hedge Funds.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 10:03
I don't see how you can possibly say progression to MD at an IB is almost guaranteed. The numbers don't support what you're saying. Maybe your family member was friends with the best in the class. I think your "survey" fails for lack of a sufficient sample size.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 10:12
I'm 100% in agreement with MGOBLUE2 in preferring Detroit to some small town in the middle of nowhere. Small-town life - limited entertainment options (I'm sure that there are people out there that love hanging out at the Mall of America...), limited dining options, limited cultural options, limited flights to popular destinations, limited access to friends, limited exposure to peers, limited career growth...and on. But I definitely understand that there are people out there who love to get home at 6PM every day and have Lost and Dancing with the Stars marked on their calendars as part of the daily routines. Different things matter to different people. I don't regularly watch prime time TV (never have), and Tivo helps a lot with the sporting events I enjoy. As I've said before, I'd rather have a couple of nights a week out in LA or SF than every single night free to go to Applebee's (before anyone jumps on me for singling them out, I'm just using it because it's a single-word name, the food is no better or worse than most other similar places) and the multiplex. A lot of people all around the US prefer a schedule that allows them to lounge out on their couch from 8-11PM every night, though I really don't think that fits the profile of most people working to get MBAs.

Going back to kidderek's comment about being a minority, I agree. I've been in the US since I was a year old, and around California, in NY and college towns like Ann Arbor and Charlottesville I never give it a second thought. But when travelling around to smaller towns, especially in the Midwest and the South, it's more of a crap-shoot. I've never had serious problems relating to race, but you do get funny reactions from time to time. Last summer, as I drove across the country, I stopped for some lunch (honestly cannot recall which state I was in at the time). I sat down at the counter and was forced to listen to a guy go on and on about how he had a Vietnamese friend (I'm Chinese), how they're such good people, and just a bunch of random topics. He wasn't rude or anything like that, but the fact that he was completely fixated on my race was kind of creepy. Something similar happened when I stopped for BBQ in Kansas City or St. Louis (again, don't recall exactly, but it struck me that I should try the BBQ). First thing out of the waitress's mouth was "Are you from China?" No, Taiwan, but my family is from China. "Is that near Japan?" No, not exactly. "I once knew someone from Japan..." Again, these are just a few individuals, and they definitely weren't rude or mean or anything like that, but it's disconcerting when people sometimes fixate on the way you look. It's definitely not everyone, but it's not all that rare either (wonder how they'd react to something more exotic, like one of my Sikh friends). It could definitely be a challenge for many minorities to feel part of some of these communities. I think many minorities (we're talking MBA students here) will feel a lot more comfortable in cities where they can be around a lot of their b-school friends.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 10:38
jallenmorris wrote:
I don't see how you can possibly say progression to MD at an IB is almost guaranteed. The numbers don't support what you're saying. Maybe your family member was friends with the best in the class. I think your "survey" fails for lack of a sufficient sample size.


It's not guaranteed. If you screw up or decide to quit along the way, you won't make it. Screwing up and/or quitting is fairly common. However, as long as you do what you're supposed to do, you will make it. The same can not be said of making a CxO position at a Fortune 500. The odds of making CxO at a bulge bracket bank are about similar to making CxO at any other F500. However, most F500s do not have a few hundred guys globally at an MD-like level with 7 or 8 figure compensation packages.

I agree that the sample is small (1 top school and 1 graduating class), however he did know every single person in his class of ~170 and we got a list of what every single person is doing today and talked through it (it was sort of like looking at your high school yearbook for him). There were obviously a few people that he knew better than others, and a few that were fairly quiet/chose not to socialize much, but I would estimate the # of people that he did not know very well to be under 10 people.

The biggest trend and piece of advice that he wanted to impart on me from this discussion was that the people who knew what they wanted to do before they set foot on campus are the ones who are doing the best today. The top 10% of his class academically did not have careers that were any more successful than the rest - there was nearly no correlation between academics and where people are today. A lot of the academic hotshots ended up at top consulting firms because these firms love to recruit the academic hotshot types, and they ended up hating consulting and leaving within a couple years, moving onto either middle management or starting small companies. The strongest correlation for long-term career success after the MBA was with people who came to campus knowing exactly what they wanted to do, the path they wanted to follow, and how they were going to get there.

I can guarantee you that the list would look different for HBS' class of 1989, Stanford's class of 1989, and Cornell's class of 1989. However, I thought it was a fair representation to choose a school that is generally ranked in the lower portion of the top 10 (almost the middle of the UE/E schools that make up the top 16).

Again, I want to state that this was all a very informal, soft study and I did not track hard statistics or numbers. Nevertheless, it was interesting and something you would rarely ever see published by a school.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 12:17
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But I definitely understand that there are people out there who love to get home at 6PM every day and have Lost and Dancing with the Stars marked on their calendars as part of the daily routines. Different things matter to different people. I don't regularly watch prime time TV (never have), and Tivo helps a lot with the sporting events I enjoy. As I've said before, I'd rather have a couple of nights a week out in LA or SF than every single night free to go to Applebee's (before anyone jumps on me for singling them out, I'm just using it because it's a single-word name, the food is no better or worse than most other similar places) and the multiplex. A lot of people all around the US prefer a schedule that allows them to lounge out on their couch from 8-11PM every night, though I really don't think that fits the profile of most people working to get MBAs.


Now you're just getting ridiculous and your generalizations extreme. Not living in a major city does not force a life of crappy reality TV and Applebee's. Millions of people live outside major cities and spend their lives (a) enjoying the outdoors and related activities, (b) spending time with friends doing essentially the same things that urbanites do with their friends - drink, eat and talk, (c) making their own gourmet food, and (d) enjoying different types of local culture, including music, various historical landmarks, etc.

Granted, I'm not one of those people, living in major cities for my entire adult life, but your continuous and close-minded posts regarding non-urban people and their lifestyles is bordering on offensive.

And having lived in NY and Boston I can confirm that there are plenty of people in those cities, including MBA holders, who live more mundane, couch-dwelling lifestyles than plenty of suburbanite and rural-dwellers.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 12:38
RCA,

Keep in mind, Pelihu is expressing his personal preferences on life in and out of the city. If wine and fine dining are of paramount preference to someone, many small cities will not offer a suitable selection. Same goes for night-life and clubs.

It all comes down to preference. Pelihu is merely stating his preference.

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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 12:58
I don't understand it when people read about someone else's opinion, so often they get offended by that person's opinion and want the person to change or retract what they said. That makes no sense to me. We can all disagree with pelihu, but he can express his opinion the same as those that disagree can express their disagreement. This is what people call "intellecual discourse". It's good for the mind. Guaranteed to raise your GMAT score 5 points!
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 13:29
Some people are going way overboard with their reactions here and really do need to get some thicker skin. I also have to say that I think it's just plain absurd to act like there is no difference between a small city and a large city. I've lived in both and the differences (especially as it relates to dining and entertainment) are significant. Pelihu mentioned Wolfgang Puck's new steakhouse Cut. I've eaten there and it's absolutely amazing. Similarly, I've been to the top nightclubs in hollywood and partied alongside paris hilton and various other celebs and hundreds of the most smokin hot girls you've ever seen. When I go back to visit the smaller sized city that I grew up in the best steak I can get is at Ruths Chris (a chain that does not hold a candle to Cut) and the best spot I can party at is.... well.... it ain't hollywood. For some people it may not be important to go to these types of restaurants and clubs, but to pretend there is no differences between places like NY and LA and a small city is absurd. As far as Detroit I've never been there so I can't comment. But I have been to Oakland and I can definitely say that not all cities are created equal.

On the other hand smaller towns and cities have their own benefits. Often there are more outdoor activities, life is a little slower paced and a little safer. People don't have to work as hard. It's quieter and more peacful. The people (may) be more friendly. It's all about personal prefernces. But to pretend they are the same by saying things like "doing essentially the same things that urbanites do with their friends - drink, eat and talk" doesn't make any sense to me. And neither does getting so bent out of shape about someone elses opinion.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 13:48
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 13:50
misterlev wrote:
I think this discussion thread needs to be retired. However, the reason that people are getting ruffled is not the substance of the posts. We all understand that NY and LA have more opportunities for [insert generic thing that is better than elsewhere in the country]. However, the tone of a few of the people posting comes across as "the 265 million Americans who don't live in the 4 biggest cities in the country are simple morons who watch tv and don't know how terrible their lives are". That said, you are welcome to hold that opinion... it's just not very nice to share it.


Well I definitely don't hold that opinion. Some of my best friends and most of my family live in a smaller city that is not NY or LA.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 15:21
Wow, intense discussion. Getting back to the original topic, I think every person defines his own balance. What's good for me at 25 (NY, LA, SF, BOS, long hours, long paycheck) might be different from what I want at 30 (suburbs, good schools for the kids, normal work hours). I think if we're defining work-life balance as strictly the ratio of (Amount of hours worked/Amount of free time), then general management wins out in the long run. Consulting and IB are probably the worst offenders. Obviously a lot more comes into play though (such as location), hence the great debate.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2008, 19:21
I guess this might be construed as a pile on for Detroit, but even so this was from today's Wall Street Journal.

The Census Bureau estimates that 33% of the city's population lives in poverty and its unemployment rate tops 14%.
A study by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation two years ago found that Detroit's high school graduation rate was the worst in the nation.
State officials report a 61% graduation rate for Detroit's public schools.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2008, 00:55
Well, let's see if we can re-focus the discussion by leaving all specifics aside. Instead of picking on Detroit, or any specific city, try to imagine this scenario. What's your preferred place to end up, or your top 3. People will base their preferences based on personal things like family and friends as well as general things like pay scale, nightlife, cultural events, etc. Ok, now that you have your own personal top 1 or 2 or 3, stop and thing about what it would take to accept something else. That's the work/life trade-off.

So, since everyone pretty much knows my preferences, we can use them as an example. Assuming I have control over where I end up, SF and LA are clearly at the top. I'm willing to work longer hours in order to live and work in one of these cities. With the right inducement, I could imagine working in Seattle or NY. I'd need more convincing to go to Chicago (too cold for me) or DC. Sure, some of these cities are inherently better than others, but each person will have different preferences. People who love food and wine will place a lot of value on being in SF or NY; people who care about shorter hours might see things differently.

Going all the way back to the original question of work-life balance, the same idea can be applied to other aspects of work and/or life. For example, I wouldn't be too happy if I were forced to travel 4-5 days a week, but I seem to recall that Bain consultants only travel 1-2 days a week. For me, that makes the difference between an intolerable situation and a highly interesting opportunity. For people whose tastes run to the expensive side and for those with big school loans, a big paycheck might seem like a huge plus or even a necessity.

Like IHatetheGMAT, I think it is plainly ludicrous to assert that small-town life is equal-but-different to things available in big cities. That's just plain silly. However, people will certainly vary on what their willing to put up with to gain have access. Longer hours and higher cost of living just for starters. Paycheck is another thing where people will differ; well everyone wants a larger paycheck but some aren't willing to work harder or longer to get it. It's kind of similar to the city argument actually, a bigger paycheck is clearly better than a smaller paycheck (please nobody argue this...please), and a bigger paycheck on its own is obviously better for quality of life - but the question then is what do you have to give up in order to get it. Someone are happy to work a lot more hours, others aren't willing to give up a single minute of their free time. Just different benefit analysis.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2008, 03:06
great thread..

work life balance - even in general management - i think a lot depends on the culture of the company.. things i have been told : never join a japanese or korean company , be wary of american companies- very results driven..

European companies generally have a good reputation for preserving work life balance.. so a european bank may offer a better work life balance than a japanese epoxy resin manufacturer..

so rather than industry-i would boil it down to specific companies and evaluate their emphasis on work life balance..
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance? [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2008, 03:41
sam77sam7 wrote:
RCA,

Keep in mind, Pelihu is expressing his personal preferences on life in and out of the city. If wine and fine dining are of paramount preference to someone, many small cities will not offer a suitable selection. Same goes for night-life and clubs.

It all comes down to preference. Pelihu is merely stating his preference.

~Sam


jallenmorris wrote:
I don't understand it when people read about someone else's opinion, so often they get offended by that person's opinion and want the person to change or retract what they said. That makes no sense to me. We can all disagree with pelihu, but he can express his opinion the same as those that disagree can express their disagreement. This is what people call "intellecual discourse". It's good for the mind. Guaranteed to raise your GMAT score 5 points!



It is not personal opinion to state that living outside of major cities leads to a life of bad TV-watching and bad restaurants. That is a generalization about the lives of people living in those areas.

There is a different between stating an opinion and stating falsities about the lives of millions of people. The former is perfectly acceptable and is only one facet of pelihu's posts in this thread (and something I agree with). However, a significant portion of his comments are the latter and, while I don't personally take offense since I'm a fellow urban-dweller, those comments should not be misconstrued and defended as opinion, since that is not what they are. That is not intellectual discourse and please do not try to pass it off as such.

My apologies for continuing to take this discussion off track. I think it does have a lot of fine points about the work/life balance of various post-MBA pathways.
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Re: Info sake: Which MBA field has the best work-life balance?   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2008, 03:41
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