Joined: 19 Feb 2012
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Profile evaluation/which MBA? (PT vs EMBA vs FT 1 year) [#permalink]
15 Sep 2012, 16:52
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:
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:
Cornell or Cornell/Queens (which has an outlet in Salem NH)
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.
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!