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Why did I even bother applying to B School?

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Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 05:46
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So over the course of the last few months, my mood has gone from absolute elation (getting into Kellogg) to downright pessimism (global economy is in the crapper). At one point, I felt like my ticket was punched. I had worked hard in undergrad, kicked as in my jobs and was given a golden ticket that would give me access to some the best jobs in the world.

Now, from all accounts, I'm better off just eating my $1,500 deposit and giving my slot to someone else. At least now I have a job that I KNOW will be around for a while. Everywhere I turn on this forum I read "forget trying to bust into banking unless you were some ubber banker before bschool." "Forget PE, they only take H/S/W grads who have previsouly managed bajillion dollar funds" and "unless you get in with Carlyle right away, you might as well put that dream aside." "Consulting, forget about it, all the unemployed bankers will be trying to do that."

Well damn....where does that leave me? I mean, I spent six stinking years in the Army. The whole reason I wanted to go to bschool in the first place was so I could learn about business and jump into a good firm (and not doing general management, no offense to those interested in GM). Now all I am hearing from everyone else on this forum is that career switching is dead. That getting into b school and learning means nothing because all the recruiters really care about is your pre MBA work experience.

So, that being said, I've got one slot for Kellogg MMM on sale for $1,500 :wink: Just kidding. But really, someone, somewhere out there paint a rosier picture for me. I'll even take a decent lie at this point, just to get my spirits up.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 15:31
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domtri, I totally agree with you. This whole MBA idea seemed cool a couple years ago when I got serious about it, but now that I've submitted a bunch of apps (and still waiting on decisions), I'm not sure its worth it anymore. Plus my company will sponsor me 100% if I go to school part-time, although the only MBA programs around here are ranked 20-40. I figured if I could get into one of the M7 schools it would be worth quiting and going in debt, but now I'm thinking keeping my job for 2 years and having my company pay for the lower ranked MBA might be a much better idea. Especially since cash is king right now and I'd love to have $50-100k to play with in the stock market or real estate, as opposed to being in debt 100k and missing out on all these investment opps. I almost feel like doing this MBA thing in this economy is taking 3 steps back, and there's a lot of uncertainty whether it will lead to 4+ steps forward. We all hope so, but we all will be watching the stock market and real estate market rebound and we'll all be sitting on the sidelines, paying off debt instead of getting rich!! oh well

on another note, anyone know if you want to start your own biz eventually, does an M7 MBA help anymore than a top 40 one would? I assume the education would be the same, so it would come down to network. Does network help if you want to start a small biz eventually, and specifically how? Just cause u know someone at a BB IB or VC, does that mean they'll automatically give you $10M seed money? My guess is no...
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2009, 12:09
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Time to play devils advocate about starting and running your own business. Lots of MBAs dream of starting and running their own business, plenty try. However, few succeed to the level you are describing. Many will have small businesses that are fairly successful by most standards but few create companies worth 8-figures plus.

I have had a chance to talk with some Kellogg alums who have started and run businesses that are hugely successful and there is one common piece of advice they have given. Do not even attempt to start a business immediately. Most recommend doing it 5 to 10 years out, and many recommend partnering with someone else. The reason for this is if you try and fail straight out of school, which happens just as often if not more often than people succeed...then you have nothing to fall back on really. Your resume will look bare compared to people who have spent several years working their way into management positions. You wont have a nest egg to keep you going until it becomes profitable.

By starting a company 5+ years out you will have a history of succesful managing people/project/businesses, hopefully some savings, student loans paid off, and hopefully you have a well developed network you can leverage not just for seed money but for business. Plus if you give it a go and fail you have experience to fall back on and a resume that shows post MBA success.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 16:26
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It never ceases to amaze me how one hears the 'cash is king' clichè more often exactly when cash is earning nothing short-term, and a pittance long-term.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2009, 10:19
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I'm really enjoying the discussion in this thread and I think that you are right to be hesitant about the size of the loans. I think Money magazine did an article a few months ago about doctors and lawyers who are well into their late 40s and still paying student debts to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. The student loan market (not to mention tuition) is not what it was 30 years ago, and people are just now starting to realize the danger of the "invest in yourself" cliche.

Personally, the only reason I applied to the schools I did was because I just didn't see the point in spending $150,000 and two years of my life on another degree unless it was really a unique opportunity. I had basically given up on my quest when I got the dings and single WL, but by a stroke of luck, things worked out. I'm going for it but my plan is to change nothing about my lifestyle when I'm done, and then obsessively pay off my debt. We'll see if I'm really disciplined enough to do that.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2009, 19:33
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Gil wrote:

No one is paying for their MBA with cash. I would venture to say the vast majority of people are paying with a loan which they will pay over the years, even if they have the cash. If you know how to invest wisely and have the money, you can do it regardless of the MBA since its not that same money.

The bulk of your MBA debt can be paid out at a time when "cash is not king".




This is absolutely true - mbafwi - you can still start/buy a business with your cash and use low interest loans for a full-time MBA.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 06:10
You will graduate in 2.5 years. That's a long time! Even if we don't get our dream jobs right away, we will still be better positioned to get them when they come back. The job market may shift but I strongely believe that there will always be a strong demand for top talents, and that includes finance. At least, that's what I think.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 06:12
From what I've heard both at DAK and Booth's ASW, this recruiting season should be the bottom and things should start picking up once again next year for our internship recruiting. Companies will realize that they have underhired this year and compensate for it next year. Fingers crossed.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 06:14
What if the markets recover in 2010/11? Firms would realize that they need more people and soon MBAs would be in demand again. Who knows, you might get lapped up by consulting firm which will reimburse your tuition and give you a hefty sign on bonus! :)
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 06:16
Well first off, there's still 27 months until you will graduate from bschool, plenty of time for the economy to rebound. I'm not being Pollyanna-ish. I'm sure recruiting is tough now and will likely be tough for our class as well. But when you talk to current students, people are still getting jobs. Yes banking is tough right now, but when the economy turns around - and it will turn around - they'll need more bankers again. You'll have a better chance at getting a banking job if you go to bschool than if you don't. You may not get bulge-bracket/PE/VC as your first job after school, but you'll have an alumni network you can turn to and get your dream job later on.

No matter the temporary downtown, the US is still primarily a knowledge-based service economy and, in the long run, that sort of economy will provide plenty of opportunities for an MBA.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 06:18
Dude, not to sound rude...but pull it together.

The military I've talked to at B-school are getting internships/jobs. I don't know if you're just getting out, but if so do you really want to use some crazy head hunter who plugs you into a crap job? My guess is going to Kellogg, getting a top notch education, and attempting to find a job that fits you best is worth it.

Bottom line: The economy is not on a permanent freefall. Things will get better. You will work again.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 06:57
bbdidge wrote:
Dude, not to sound rude...but pull it together.


I think the main reason I hate chat/forums is because there is no "dry humor face" icon, or "sarcastic face" icon to be found. bbdidge, I'm truly not THAT worried about leaving my job (I have been out of service for a year and a half now) and finding another better one. I think the point I was trying to make in this post is, that for many people, getting into a top 10 bschool presents an opportunity to learn new skills and try something different. While clearly that's still happening, its MUCH, MUCH harder than it used to be and to be completely honest with you, I'd be completely pissed off if after working my ass off in undergrad and after to build my GPA and resume, get into a top five MBA program, and spending $100+ k, I ended up in a job that I really didn't want to be in.

But whatever. Just figured a little koombayah around the camp fire never hurt anyone.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 07:04
Hey Domtri - think positive.

Even assuming a worst case scenario - 2011 will probably be better than 2009.

But even if not, you need to look at it long term. Though finding a good job after your MBA is important, it is not the only thing you go to b-school for. You will leave Kellogg with a great education, a huge network of people who will be overwhelmingly successful and a great upgrade to your CV. You will need to make the most out of it in the following years. Sure, getting a great job right after is part of it, but I know of at least one person who had to settle for a job after b-school and is now a millionaire through a company he incorporated and his classmates funded.

We're going to be a hell of a class next year and we will succeed together:). Don't let it be just about the numbers.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 07:09
domtri,

Is there a specific career you want to get into (or) do you simply want to land one of the glamorous ones(consulting, IB, PE, VC)? Even in this economy, you can successfully land jobs in each of these industries, with consulting probably the easier bet of them all. If it is consulting you want to get into, kellogg will offer you enough opportunities to recruit and your military background will attract recruiters. But, if you decide to pursue IB, consulting, PE all at the same time you will probably not succeed in getting an offer from any of the industries.

Your skepticism is good and to some extent all admits this year must ponder on your question. Treat it as a reason for you to research all and ultimately focus and learn in-depth about exactly one industry while you wait for school to start. Good luck!
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 07:51
prdaad wrote:
domtri,

Is there a specific career you want to get into (or) do you simply want to land one of the glamorous ones(consulting, IB, PE, VC)? Even in this economy, you can successfully land jobs in each of these industries, with consulting probably the easier bet of them all. If it is consulting you want to get into, kellogg will offer you enough opportunities to recruit and your military background will attract recruiters. But, if you decide to pursue IB, consulting, PE all at the same time you will probably not succeed in getting an offer from any of the industries.

Your skepticism is good and to some extent all admits this year must ponder on your question. Treat it as a reason for you to research all and ultimately focus and learn in-depth about exactly one industry while you wait for school to start. Good luck!


Thanks prdaad. I appreciate the encouragement. My long term caeer goal in large portfolio PE. Realizing that without any finance and/or strategy background it would be nearly impossible to break into this field right away, I am going to focus my recruiting efforts on landing a good MC job and get as much broad strategy and finance exposure as possible and just kind of go from there.

From all accounts (talking to current students, alumni, etc) and again reinforced by prdaad, it is increasing important to have a focused strategy going in. IMHO, while the job market for MBAs may improve to some extent over the next couple of years, the competition for the very top BB IBs and MC firms will remain extremely competitive (not that is was ever easy). I just know, if I was a recruiter right now, I would have a hard time justifying to myself and other hiring managers that a candidate with no industry experience is a better pick than someone who has already done MC or IB or whatever for three-five years already even if the experienced candidate may not be quite as "talented".
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 08:14
If top tier MC is your target coming out then you will be fine at Kellogg. Looking at numbers out so far this year and historical numbers, MC at the top companies actually did very well. I dont want to put numbers out there but McKinsey was better than the past few years, and was slightly up over their 10 year average, BCG was down from last year which was their best year ever but still better than historical numbers, Bain was the worst but it wasnt their worst year ever. Overall placement into the top 3 was right inline with historical numbers. If you compare it to 2002 figures (which was the internships following 9/11, remember 2010 has internships following the current crisis happening)...well lets just say numbers are WAY better than that (more than double).

Placement at the remaining banks ended up not as terrible as people thought. I think my friends who were MC people before did well getting in there, I do know some people that did drastic career changes and it pulled it off. Its definitely a lot more work than in the past but not impossible, especially if you are extremely prepared for interviews. Being military will help too.

As for your long term career goal, I think that depends on how things are going to shape up in that industry in the future. I think it also depends on your timeline and what you are talking long term. If you 100% want that long term if I were you I would gun for Parthenon, they are a smaller MC company who focuses on PE and seems to be a great path to get there.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 08:23
I don't mean to put you down, because 690 is a great GMAT score. But even in boom years, the top management consulting firms tend to look for a 700+ GMAT. For some demographics or people without stellar work experience, they even look for a 740+. I'm really not sure how military applicants are treated as far as GMAT score requirements -- you may want to ask around to others about that. It may be worthwhile to re-take it. I've seen some people retake a 690 just to bump up to a 710, for recruiting purposes. Whether this is worth it - I really don't know.

The more research you do the better. Dropping $250 to take the GMAT and another $225 to apply to school is a joke. The real pain comes when you sign those loan documents (which is what I assume you're about to do soon). It is perfectly normal to get cold feet. Take this time to do intense research and figure out if this is really worth it.

Also, I can relate to you. I have no interest in Corporate Finance or General Management, and I would be pretty annoyed if I ended up in one of those roles.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 08:30
DK wrote:
I don't mean to put you down, because 690 is a great GMAT score. But even in boom years, the top management consulting firms tend to look for a 700+ GMAT. For some demographics or people without stellar work experience, they even look for a 740+. I'm really not sure how military applicants are treated as far as GMAT score requirements -- you may want to ask around to others about that. It may be worthwhile to re-take it. I've seen some people retake a 690 just to bump up to a 710, for recruiting purposes. Whether this is worth it - I really don't know.

The more research you do the better. Dropping $250 to take the GMAT and another $225 to apply to school is a joke. The real pain comes when you sign those loan documents (which is what I assume you're about to do soon). It is perfectly normal to get cold feet. Take this time to do intense research and figure out if this is really worth it.


Well if that's the case, that a 690 GMAT instead of a 740 is going to keep me out of a firm, then chances are I probably don't want to work there anyway. river or someone else, PLEASE tell me this is not an issue. I know there was some discussion about this in either the career or the school life forum.
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 08:31
riverripper wrote:
As for your long term career goal, I think that depends on how things are going to shape up in that industry in the future. I think it also depends on your timeline and what you are talking long term. If you 100% want that long term if I were you I would gun for Parthenon, they are a smaller MC company who focuses on PE and seems to be a great path to get there.


Thanks river!!
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Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School? [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 08:34
Well, these firms are being flooded with resumes this year. I don't know if that will continue. I've heard of half the class at some schools applying to McKinsey this year (no idea about Kellogg specifically, maybe river can comment). They need to have an effective way to filter resumes. Of course, if you can make personal connections with them and network right, they should be able to overlook it.

Also, management consulting firms are very academically oriented. They look for the straight A students with high test scores, who can rock the case interviews. That's their culture.

You should reach out to people at Kellogg in the consulting club and see what they have to say. That would be a good source of information.
Re: Why did I even bother applying to B School?   [#permalink] 20 Mar 2009, 08:34
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