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Life after b-school

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Joined: 02 Jun 2009
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Schools: Wharton Class of 2012 w/ fellowship
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Life after b-school [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2010, 14:55
i know there may have been a thread on this somewhere, but for those of us newly accepted and still basking in the glory of a "yes", i'd also like a reality check of what life is like after b-school.

what is a ballpark your (or your friends) typical monthly loan payment? (you can give numbers you heard if you don't want to put your finances out there)
did you use your signing bonus or end of the year bonus as a big loan payment or for something else?
did you buy a house/condo in the first year out, did you rent, something else?
for those of you who moved to areas far away from your school, what has the alumni network been like in your area, do you feel your MBA is valued in that area (esp. in light of the regional schools in that area that may not be ranked as high but have more notability simply because they are located in that area)?
do you think the degree has actually fast-tracked your career or opened new doors for you?
any other insights into reality that we should be considering so that we're not going into a $150k endeavor with only rose colored glasses?

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New post 15 Mar 2010, 19:00
I heard you don't get the signing bonus immediately.It might take a year or so but again it depends on the firm.
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Schools: LBS, INSEAD, IMD, ISB - Anything with just 1 yr program.
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New post 15 Mar 2010, 20:36
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2012dreams wrote:
i know there may have been a thread on this somewhere, but for those of us newly accepted and still basking in the glory of a "yes", i'd also like a reality check of what life is like after b-school.

Not to discourage you or anything, but nothing much actually changes around you. It is you that is expected to change, inculcate some learnings, habits and stuff which otherwise, without a b-school experience wouldn't have been so much possible. And when you are out in the wild, they make you stand apart from the general crowd. $150K is surely a whopping debt, most firms do not offer a signing bonus immediately, so only you can plan your repayments and expenses. No matter you are just another clerk/employee/manager/director, any firm spends substantially to recruit you and wouldn't wish to let go off early. While you seek challenging careers so you can grow fast, not all firms and not all jobs offer as much competency and their entire focus rests on retention. Premier Engineering Institutes in India demand about INR 15,000 per candidate selected by the top IT companies for offering employment. Literally, people in the name of resources are being bought and sold, even in this internet era. I don't think b-schools are any different.

I tend to see an MBA degree as a substitute for 5 years of slogging amidst greedy politics within colleagues in helping boost up career along the corporate ladder. If you can become a VP of a huge firm after 20 years of overall experience, an MBA can help you achieve it much faster!!! Rather, helps you lay the foundations and after that, you are again all on your own!!!

I am AWESOME and it's gonna be LEGENDARY!!!

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New post 27 Mar 2010, 01:39
I don't think an MBA is an absolute replacement for 5 years of working experience...

They're not going to hire a Harvard MBA with zero working experience to manage a division or anything or that sort. They might not even hire him to manage anybody straight off....

Maybe once upon a time, I don't think it's happening now...
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Re: Life after b-school [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2010, 09:18
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I'll bite.

I don't keep close tabs of my friends and classmates' money situation, but it seems like everyone is going to be different.

Some have little to no debt. Some took on the max. Most probably took somewhere in between. If you want to calculate payments, use the "PMT" function in Excel. As for signing bonuses, it's all over the place - only really applies to those who went to banking or consulting. If you work for a startup, VC, other fund, nonprofit, marketing, etc. you may get little to none. And those folks don't necessarily get job offers during the school year - but shortly after when school ends (simply because firms outside of the MBA feeders don't give offers 3-6 months in advance; they tend to give the offer and ask "can you start next week?").

Some folks buy a house/condo right away, others don't. Depends on the individual - not on whether they had an MBA or not. Some are married, some come from wealthy families (and don't need to work or can just buy real estate), blah blah blah.

Again, there is no typical situation.

What does change for many folks though isn't really related to MBA -- but has more to do with the stage of life they're in.

First 2 years post-MBA -- lots of weddings, and lots of babies (especially 3-5 years out). If this happens to you, that certainly changes your lifestyle much much more than anything.

As for alumni, it's not as big a deal as you'd think. It's not a secret club. At most alumni events (I've heard this from folks at other top schools as well), the majority who attend tend to be recent grads (0-3 years out), and then trickles off. It's not like these things are attended by crowds of alums who are 10-20 years out (by then, alums in their late 30s - 50s are far more preoccupied with their families, personal life, etc and would much rather spend their free time with that than hobnobbing with a bunch of strangers and "kids" in their 20s and 30s). And people learn very quickly that when you get a bunch of alums together on a social occasion like this, people avoid talking about work - again, it's mostly about personal stuff like family life, hobbies, vacations/travel, etc.

As for fast tracking, it's not really the case. There tends to be a lot of movement in the first 2-3 years (esp in a bad economy) -- people jumping from one firm or industry or region to the next (not necessarily jumping "up" but more lateral moves) -- basically a trial-and-error process of finding the right job situation that best suits your career and family/personal life. Things tend to stabilize (i.e. stay in the same job for a longer time) after 2-3 years. At least that's what I've seen. You don't really truly know what kind of job situation suits you best until you're actually in the thick of it - some folks I knew were very skeptical and wary of their "consulting job' before even starting, but ended up sticking it out for all this time. Others were very gung ho about whatever job it was (consulting,banking, vc, pe, etc) only to leave after a year or two to do something completely different (like have babies, start a business, move to some foreign country, work some other corporate job, etc.)

Treat the money you spend on an MBA as a consumption good, not a true investment. It's money you're spending for the 2-year experience - so make the most of it. The practical benefits of an MBA are really difficult to define (if at all) after 5 years or so - since by then your ability to move up the chain or get access to funding for your biz or whatever will have little to do with your MBA, and more to do with your entire body of work.

It's easy to overestimate the medium- or long-term importance of the MBA as an applicant or student -- because for you guys, it's in the "present tense" - it's what you're experiencing right now, so of course you're going to think it's extremely important (as you should - that way, you will make the most of your experience).

Alex Chu

Re: Life after b-school   [#permalink] 27 Mar 2010, 09:18
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