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Second thoughts about MBA

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Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 20:06
Dear beloved Gmatclubbers – I have followed this forum for quite a while as I’ve been seriously considering applying to an MBA program this fall. I’m in my second year at a middle-tier management consulting firm. I worked in investment banking (healthcare focus) for 1 year prior to that. Although right now is probably the optimal time for me to apply for an MBA, I feel a bit unsettled when I think about it due to the following:

- I am already in the industry that I want to be in – consulting. An MBA will set me back at least 1 year in terms of progression, at least in the short term (long term MBA benefits?)
- Opportunity cost of $300k over two years

Further, I am generally a little freaked out about not working between 27 and 29.

I am sure many of you have gone through such a phase as you were deciding on whether or not to apply. I would really appreciate some insight as to how you dealt with the situation.

Best - zenith
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 21:09
I am in a not too dissimilar situation and have thought about this a bit.

When you consider:
  • The lost earnings + cost of program
  • No intention of switching career
Then the benefits of pursuing an MBA need to be compelling.

For my situation, I feel there are only a handful of programmes where the benefits ultimately outweigh the costs, and that's allowing for some of the intangible "soft" benefits like general enjoyment and experience. The degree of scholarships or money naturally changes this analysis.

My plan is too apply to those institutions which I feel justify the massive cost (in USD no less), and ultimately, if I don't get in (and odds are against me) then that's fine. I won't pursue the idea any further, and will happily continue in my current line of work.
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 02:14
zenith wrote:
Dear beloved Gmatclubbers – I have followed this forum for quite a while as I’ve been seriously considering applying to an MBA program this fall. I’m in my second year at a middle-tier management consulting firm. I worked in investment banking (healthcare focus) for 1 year prior to that. Although right now is probably the optimal time for me to apply for an MBA, I feel a bit unsettled when I think about it due to the following:

- I am already in the industry that I want to be in – consulting. An MBA will set me back at least 1 year in terms of progression, at least in the short term (long term MBA benefits?)
- Opportunity cost of $300k over two years

Further, I am generally a little freaked out about not working between 27 and 29.

I am sure many of you have gone through such a phase as you were deciding on whether or not to apply. I would really appreciate some insight as to how you dealt with the situation.

Best - zenith


Hi.

1 year back in terms of progression (very pragmatic approach) I would point that 50% value of MBA is networking, please consider it. In terms of investment you are right - opportunity cost+ kinda time loosing. However consider the fact that you can experiment with your life during this period - try new interest and shift to another sphere (not consulting).

+ you will get global view on opportunities since you will be engaged in multinational class of very smart and enthusiastic people.

Try to look beyond figures.
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 02:51
zenith wrote:
Dear beloved Gmatclubbers – I have followed this forum for quite a while as I’ve been seriously considering applying to an MBA program this fall. I’m in my second year at a middle-tier management consulting firm. I worked in investment banking (healthcare focus) for 1 year prior to that. Although right now is probably the optimal time for me to apply for an MBA, I feel a bit unsettled when I think about it due to the following:

- I am already in the industry that I want to be in – consulting. An MBA will set me back at least 1 year in terms of progression, at least in the short term (long term MBA benefits?)
- Opportunity cost of $300k over two years

Further, I am generally a little freaked out about not working between 27 and 29.

I am sure many of you have gone through such a phase as you were deciding on whether or not to apply. I would really appreciate some insight as to how you dealt with the situation.

Best - zenith


Although you don't want to switch industries, is an MBA necessary to move into a leadership position in your current field? Do you desire a leadership position in the future? It seems as though your reasons for not wanting to get an MBA are based on short-term factors. Where do you want to be 5, 10, and 20 years from now. If you can answer that then you'll know whether or not the MBA is right for you.
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 05:34
Thank you for your responses.

pike - I think I will follow a similar approach. However, I think it's tricky from a psychological perspective, because any thoughts of having a nice plan B in case the MBA ap fails give you comfort and an incentive to "half-ass" something very time and effort intensive.

Izvos - Agree about the network part, even though you can't really quantify it; I'd be interested to hear some "case studies" on how MBAs benefit from the network. On this forum, there are numerous posts how 5 years out whether and where you did an MBA would barely matter. Everyone seems to be focused on job placement, which I guess makes sense as many people on here are career changers. However, I'm not. Point taken re the flexibility of picking an alternative career. As a foreigner I feel slightly limited there - not going back to IB, and outside of IB and MC the visa sponsorship situation gets tricky. Also, my company hires from Top15 schools - while all MBAs are very capable, there surely isn't a wow element (which might be the case at MBB, but then again, if you have the pedigree to work at MBB, chances are you were very capable prior to the MBA). It's almost like the MBA was that final quality check stamp they all got prior to being employed and sent to clients. Finally, I have a very international background/work experience and will also be taking on a project outside the US very soon.

cheetarah1980 - Good point. An MBA is not explicitly required to progress in my firm. That is definitely a requirement at MBB, for example. However, that being said, I think I am done with the 100-110 hour weeks, i.e. I have little motivation to chase MBB after MBA. I value my health and a (kind of) balanced work life. If I was focused on money and prestige at the expense of everything I probably would have stayed in banking. Also, I have an MS Finance from a reputable school so I have some credibility when it comes to analytical and technical ability. Of course, I have the credibility of an undergrad when it comes to facing clients, driving meetings and maintaining relationships with them. I could be a more polished "salesman" for sure. And as you progress, my guess is that salesman/soft skills weight exponentially more.

Best - zenith
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 13:29
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zenith wrote:
Dear beloved Gmatclubbers – I have followed this forum for quite a while as I’ve been seriously considering applying to an MBA program this fall. I’m in my second year at a middle-tier management consulting firm. I worked in investment banking (healthcare focus) for 1 year prior to that. Although right now is probably the optimal time for me to apply for an MBA, I feel a bit unsettled when I think about it due to the following:

- I am already in the industry that I want to be in – consulting. An MBA will set me back at least 1 year in terms of progression, at least in the short term (long term MBA benefits?)
- Opportunity cost of $300k over two years

Further, I am generally a little freaked out about not working between 27 and 29.

I am sure many of you have gone through such a phase as you were deciding on whether or not to apply. I would really appreciate some insight as to how you dealt with the situation.

Best - zenith


- Consider a 1 year program or executive MBA... you dont need to be an executive to do an executive MBA. If you already doing what you want then you don't need the internship anyway
- Ask your firm to sponsor you, if they balk, find a firm that will
- Assuming your salary is 150k you wont get more than that coming out an MBA program in consulting so keep that in mind
- Many consulting firms have decent sign ons post MBA -- 40K or so -- consider that as well
- Remember that the benefit of an MBA is both short and long term -- alumni network is big, etc.
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 15:34
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You seem to have a lot of reasons not to do one, what are your reasons for wanting to get one?
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 21:25
rhyme wrote:
zenith wrote:
Dear beloved Gmatclubbers – I have followed this forum for quite a while as I’ve been seriously considering applying to an MBA program this fall. I’m in my second year at a middle-tier management consulting firm. I worked in investment banking (healthcare focus) for 1 year prior to that. Although right now is probably the optimal time for me to apply for an MBA, I feel a bit unsettled when I think about it due to the following:

- I am already in the industry that I want to be in – consulting. An MBA will set me back at least 1 year in terms of progression, at least in the short term (long term MBA benefits?)
- Opportunity cost of $300k over two years

Further, I am generally a little freaked out about not working between 27 and 29.

I am sure many of you have gone through such a phase as you were deciding on whether or not to apply. I would really appreciate some insight as to how you dealt with the situation.

Best - zenith


- Consider a 1 year program or executive MBA... you dont need to be an executive to do an executive MBA. If you already doing what you want then you don't need the internship anyway
- Ask your firm to sponsor you, if they balk, find a firm that will
- Assuming your salary is 150k you wont get more than that coming out an MBA program in consulting so keep that in mind
- Many consulting firms have decent sign ons post MBA -- 40K or so -- consider that as well
- Remember that the benefit of an MBA is both short and long term -- alumni network is big, etc.




It's amazing how one line of text on a forum can have such an impact on one's outlook on life. That, and the lack of information.

Somehow, I always imagined the US MBA program to be a 2-year campaign. It turns out there are decent shorter options out there - Columbia, Kellogg, Cornell (Columbia might be a long shot at this time as they are already accepting applications since May). An accelerated program might just be the missing piece of my puzzle. It thoroughly mitigates the 2 main concerns I've listed above. Very exciting.

Let me ask the more experienced of you those 3 questions though:
- What % of MBA students are actively recruiting for full-time positions (after their internships)? Do all companies come to recruit for full-timers (or do some recruit summer associates only)? What % of job offers are secured via internships vs via full-time recruiting?
- Is there a credibility issue when it comes to "shorter" MBA programs? Some 1-year programs are accelerated, some are just shorter.
- Are any of the major European 1-year MBA programs placing graduates in the US? INSEAD, Oxford, Cambridge.

Thanks, good discussion.

Edit: Maybe I wasn't clear above - The $300k figure is my rough estimate of the total cost of an MBA, not just the forgone salary opportunity cost.
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2011, 03:07
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zenith wrote:
Thank you for your responses.

pike - I think I will follow a similar approach. However, I think it's tricky from a psychological perspective, because any thoughts of having a nice plan B in case the MBA ap fails give you comfort and an incentive to "half-ass" something very time and effort intensive.

Izvos - Agree about the network part, even though you can't really quantify it; I'd be interested to hear some "case studies" on how MBAs benefit from the network. On this forum, there are numerous posts how 5 years out whether and where you did an MBA would barely matter. Everyone seems to be focused on job placement, which I guess makes sense as many people on here are career changers. However, I'm not. Point taken re the flexibility of picking an alternative career. As a foreigner I feel slightly limited there - not going back to IB, and outside of IB and MC the visa sponsorship situation gets tricky. Also, my company hires from Top15 schools - while all MBAs are very capable, there surely isn't a wow element (which might be the case at MBB, but then again, if you have the pedigree to work at MBB, chances are you were very capable prior to the MBA). It's almost like the MBA was that final quality check stamp they all got prior to being employed and sent to clients. Finally, I have a very international background/work experience and will also be taking on a project outside the US very soon.

cheetarah1980 - Good point. An MBA is not explicitly required to progress in my firm. That is definitely a requirement at MBB, for example. However, that being said, I think I am done with the 100-110 hour weeks, i.e. I have little motivation to chase MBB after MBA. I value my health and a (kind of) balanced work life. If I was focused on money and prestige at the expense of everything I probably would have stayed in banking. Also, I have an MS Finance from a reputable school so I have some credibility when it comes to analytical and technical ability. Of course, I have the credibility of an undergrad when it comes to facing clients, driving meetings and maintaining relationships with them. I could be a more polished "salesman" for sure. And as you progress, my guess is that salesman/soft skills weight exponentially more.

Best - zenith



Maybe it is not quite what you are asking about, but here are some networking examples. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/manage ... dents.html

I tried to find some real life examples, but did not have enough time for that)
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2011, 08:27
Thanks.

One thing I did not mention is that I am an international. I will be going into full-time recruiting asking for visa sponsorship without having had the benefit of an internship. I guess that makes the whole 1-year MBA undertaking even more risky, but I think it's a risk worth taking considering the potential benefit.
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2011, 15:17
So what did you decide??? Apply or not?

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Re: Second thoughts about MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2011, 19:03
I will apply. I am thinking about a hybrid approach - apply to 3 1-year programs in R1 and then potentially apply to 3 2-year programs in R2 (2 stretches, 1 decent shot).

I would really appreciate people's comment on how different MBA recruiting will be during a 1-year program. I just can't gauge how much risk am I taking as an international student seeking H1B sponsorship who will be going into MC recruiting without having had an internship.

Do MCs hire a lot of MBA students directly into full-time positions?

Thank - zenith
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Re: Second thoughts about MBA   [#permalink] 07 Jul 2011, 19:03
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