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I spoke to one of my UG college mate last weekend. He graduated from Wharton full time MBA last year after a 4 yr stint in IT as an engineer in the US. He now works for a top IT company in the US in Product Marketing. What shocked me was that he mentioned that he is making less than what he was making before he entered the business school (the geographical location is quite similar). His advice was "Do not expect to make more after an MBA immediately, especially if you previously worked in a high paying IT job". He also said that he does not regret doing an MBA, but the high cost of MBA, the opportunity costs and two years of lost experience are factors one need to deeply think about before one decides to pursue a full-time MBA. He let me know that over time, he hopes that MBA will prove helpful by opening more opportunities, but short-term his current job was less challenging than what he did before as an engineer.
After talking with him, I am wondering if I need to spend 2 years full time for this and whether I should consider applying to part-time programs over full-time programs. I just thought I will share this with you folks. Does anybody have similar thoughts? Any data that will push me more toward full-time programs will also help?
I think it really depends what type of job u take up, if u go for IB/MC then pays are high, however, if u want a life and take up a corporate job then one shudn't expect that much in short term. In addition, personally what pushes me towards full-time vs part-time are the following facts:
1. Most top schools do not have PT.
2. I can't stand the idea of studying for 3.5 yrs (atleast) in PT vs
1.5 - 2 yrs in FT. Think about additional money (theoratically) u might
be making in those 1.5 yrs.
3. Most PT students don't get to avail the career services that are
reserved only for FT.
4. Always think long-term, ur friend might be making less than his
previous job, however, I am sure in longer run it will payoff. Unless u
are a genius, have an idea to create a world class product and start ur
business, there is only so much an engineer can climb in the corporate
ladder. So the sooner u join the business world the better.
5.As far as challenge in a job is concerned, if u look around soft skills are
valued much more than hard core engineering skills (albeit these skills
need more grey cells). High-flying IB and MCs are much more talk and
less of substance, however, that's what it takes to climb up. This is the
fresh perspective I have recently acquired. It is not about how good u
are, it is about how nicely u showcase urself to the world.
Alternatively think abt those accelerated MBAs that some schools provide.
I agree with Nocilis that it is wise to consider the short run and long run impact of an MBA. Some applicants (not many) might still be thinking of the MBA as the "magic bullet" that will be an automatic gateway to riches and fame. However, for some students, the payoff might take a long time.
Banerjeea's comments are generally sound. While the majority of schools in the two top clusters do not offer PT programs a significant minority of these schools do offer PT programs. Further, depending on the school, a PT program could be completed within 3 or so years. Remember that with PT programs you are earning a fulltime salary (or nearly so) for the duration of the program while in a FT program you forfeit a salary for some 20 months and then might earn somewhat more. The point regarding access to career services is an important one.
I am a bit tired of being in engineering for the last 7 yrs. So getting an MBA and working on the business side of thing looks rosy to me now. But, what I also worry about now is that after an MBA, I may not enjoy a job doing spread sheets comparing companies/stocks or smooth talking my way up the mangement. To me loving what I do is more important than climbing up the ladder. But, I guess this is a worry most career changers have and I am no different.
Anyway, thanks a lot for your valuable comments Banerjee and Hjort.
"Sharad Sundaresan, a programmer for Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., entered the part-time program at the University of Chicago. For three years Sundaresan boarded an 11 p.m. flight out of Seattle on Friday and arrived in Chicago at 5 a.m. He hung out at the airport until the school's shuttle bus picked him up for a full day of classes and then went back to the airport on the shuttle and caught a 7 p.m. return flight to Seattle. Tuition was $75,000 and flights cost another $30,000. E-mail, instant messaging and conference calls allowed Sundaresan to work on group projects with classmates in four different cities. "No regrets," says Sundaresan. "It afforded me the chance to keep my job, and the quality of the education and the networking opportunities were the same as the full-time program." The reward for his degree: a management consultant job at McKinsey & Co. and no debt."