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Profile evaluation/which MBA? (PT vs EMBA vs FT 1 year)

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Profile evaluation/which MBA? (PT vs EMBA vs FT 1 year) [#permalink]

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15 Sep 2012, 17:52
Hi everyone!
About myself: Latin American US resident (in the process of naturalization), Engineering BS (first in class, 97/100 GPA), then MS/PhD in Engineering from Ivy League, 4.0 GPA all the way through grad school, 740 GMAT.
I've been working in high tech since getting my PhD in 2001, first in software companies, currently staff scientist at MIT in mostly technical roles with a bit of project management/technical lead roles thrown in. Thing is, I've been evolving in the past few years, and the prospect of a technically-oriented career doesn't satisfy me any more, at many levels. Ideally I'd want to switch to business development/corp strategy and in even longer term perhaps go into tech VC or similar. I'd even have aspired to management consulting as an intermediate gig to get business experience and industry exposure but I'm perhaps now too old (I'm 38) - thereby the itch to get an MBA.
I applied earlier this year to a few FT programs (Sloan,HBS,Tuck), only to get dinged in all, and perhaps not without reason, as I knew I was a long shot and I would have been a full 10 years older than the average student population and perhaps I didn't build my case very well. Which was perhaps for the better since obviously the opportunity costs of a regular 2-year program are just frightening. Mulling my options, I view myself as having broadly 3 alternatives:

1) EMBA:
Problem is, I now feel I'm in sort of a catch-22 position with respect to these, as from what I've seen they require significant previous managerial experience (which I don't have, I've just been leading projects and small ad-hoc engineering teams), I definitely wouldn't want to stay in my current position afterwards (so I would not get any support from current employer for this). Still, it's still an open option. If I went for this route I wouldn't want to spend that much time traveling, so I'd want to keep it close or local to Boston, e.g. in distance order:
MIT
Cornell or Cornell/Queens (which has an outlet in Salem NH)
Columbia
NYU
Wharton

Obvious drawback is the sheer cost (well over $100K for all of them plus all the traveling) and as I mentioned people in these programs seem already to have much heaver managerial experience than I have, . 2) One-year MBA: Attraction: limited opportunity cost, can use full on-campus recruiting options, more career services support, don't need to juggle very demanding work. Realistically I only see two programs that would fit: MIT Sloan Fellows (great program and brand name, but it's frightully expensive at over$140K plus a lot of traveling and high cost of living, and looking at the current or past classes they are open to many people with much more senior and more significant managerial experience than I have)
Cornell AMBA (a bit less prestigious, though I wouldn't mind living in Ithaca, it would feel like a mini-retreat, cost is more reasonable at \$86K and much cheaper living costs, though I'd still be an age outlier)

3) Part-time MBA:
As far as I can see my only options are Babson or BU. Drawback is that it would take me forever to finish (4 years if I managed 2 classes per semester, which seems too long for sacrificing all my evenings/weekends in assignments/lectures/readings) and then even though I'm sure both are fine schools I'm not sure to what extent the brand value would enhance my career prospects.

Thus, I'm in a bit of a conundrum and I don't know which programs can I realistically aspire to (esp. in regards to EMBAs or FT programs) given my profile.

Thanks!

PS Oh, and extracurriculars (in case they matter): serious classical musician, played cello as soloist, in small groups and in local orchestras all over - perhaps a reason why for many years after getting my PhD I didn't think about the MBA, as I was too busy practicing!
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Re: Profile evaluation/which MBA? (PT vs EMBA vs FT 1 year) [#permalink]

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24 Sep 2012, 21:24
Despite your age, I am actually surprised you got dinged from a full time program because you sound like you have an interesting background and I've heard schools are more forgiving of being "older" if you spent time in the military or some other type of grad school (med school, phD, etc.) Then again, obviously Tuck, HBS and Sloan are obviously very selective.

I have looked into the EMBAs and Sloan Fellows and here is my take:

EMBAs: I don't want to juggle work and school at the same time. Also the cost deters me. But the main reason why I don't see an EMBA as right for me is that I really think you need your employer's support to take full advantage of the EMBA. I don't mean financial support. What I mean is that your employer has to see you as someone with potential to take on more responsibilities and is willing to give you those additional responsibilities while you're doing the program. The main benefit of the EMBA is the ability to apply what you learn immediately at your job. I see this as hugely beneficial, but if your employer is not on board with this, then I think you lose that.

Sloan Fellows: This program is interesting. Sloan actually does not consider this as a "1 year MBA." They see it as a degree to develop leaders. I think two things about the program are telling: 1) 70% of the students are company-sponsored; and 2) many of the students in Sloan Fellows already have MBAs and are doing the Masters in Leadership instead. It's a great program, but I don't think everyone goes there with the idea that the MBA is their golden ticket to change jobs. I'm still considering it, but for me I think it will be right for me in a few years. However, the other main issue I have with the program is the same as you: the cost. It's really expensive just for one year. But if you were willing to do full-time MBA, which ain't cheap either, then I guess the Sloan Fellows cost shouldn't be too much of a deterrent.

For you, I think either you should think about re-applying or consider Sloan Fellows. what I would do for Sloan Fellows is set up a call with Marc O'Mansky, the assistant director. you can tell him about your background and goals and he will be very candid with you about whether you're a good fit for the program. Your numbers are more than fine for the program, so there's no issue there. It's just a matter of whether your goals fit with the goals of the program.

If you're willing to go outside of Boston, you might want to think about the Columbia J-term or the Kellogg 1-year.
Re: Profile evaluation/which MBA? (PT vs EMBA vs FT 1 year)   [#permalink] 24 Sep 2012, 21:24
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Profile evaluation/which MBA? (PT vs EMBA vs FT 1 year)

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