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EMBA Worth it? Cornell vs. State School?

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Joined: 28 May 2010
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EMBA Worth it? Cornell vs. State School? [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2010, 00:06
I believe I have an unusual circumstance and I'd appreciate any feedback from all you experts out there.

I'm a self-taught computer programmer with no college degree. I'm 49 years old and for the last 10 years I've been a line manager/team lead. I finally decided I wanted to move beyond line manager so I began my degree completion for my BS in BA. I will have that in October with a 4.0 GPA. I had a pre-assessment from Cornell-Queens and it was very encouraging. I make about $120,000 a year now, without a degree.

My career goal is to be a CIO. I figure the BS will get me to senior management, but not executive management. But with an EMBA at 55 years old I'd have 30+ years in software development, ~15 years in management and the EMBA. I would think this would make me CIO material.

My options after I get my BS are to attend a local part time MBA or EMBA program for about 30K, or pursue Cornell-Queens (which is offered in my city via satellite) for about 130K. I will be "self-sponsored".

My question: at my age and current income, would the ROI difference between the Cornell-Queens EMBA verse the local degree be worth it?

Any thoughts or suggestions regarding my situation would be greatly appreciated.


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Joined: 01 Jun 2010
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Location: Ithaca, NY
Re: EMBA Worth it? Cornell vs. State School? [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2010, 05:42

I am glad to see that you are doing research regarding your options and the possible benefits of earning an MBA at this point in your career.

As Director of the Cornell-Queen's Executive MBA Program, I chat with many potential applicants regarding their career goals and how the program and its benefits may be able to assist a participant in achieving those goals. In addition to any information you may collect in a public forum like this, I'd like to ensure that you know you can chat about your questions directly with the Admissions Staff as well.

One opportunity we offer to anyone who begins an application to our program is the chance to speak with a graduate or current participant. We do our best to identify someone who is in a similar point in his or her career with a similar background and similar career advancement goals. Your Admissions Advisor here at the CQEMBA office would be happy to make those arrangements if you have started an application.

I can add two general observations regarding our program participants who are already mid-level managers in a technical area. First, before the program is even completed, the broad managerial skills that it develops in our participants allows managers who are in a technical field to begin to distinguish themselves from their colleagues by applying more comprehensive analytical tools to their decision making processes. It is likely unusual for your fellow IT managers to use tools and concepts from, say, accounting, marketing, or operations in a comfortable and insightful manner in their standard decision making routines. Seeing that bigger, organizational-level picture and understanding the ramifications of decisions throughout that organization is a perspective enabled by the skill set developed in a well-designed EMBA program.

Second, keep in mind that the first question you will be asked the rest of your life once someone learns that you have an MBA is, "Where?" When you make a mid-career decision to invest your time, effort, and money in earning an MBA you want to be sure that you will always answer that question with a compelling and powerful response that can speak volumes regarding the quality of your education and the quality of the community to which you belong thanks to that education. An MBA is much more than a set of technical courses and a generic qualification: you should think about every aspect of an MBA experience and how each will sustain you - and grow more valuable - as you continue to advance your career.

I hope you find my comments helpful. Best wishes with your research and your decision.

Danny Szpiro

Daniel A. Szpiro, PhD
Twitter: Cornell_CQEMBA
Facebook Page: Cornell-Queen's Executive MBA
LinkedIn Group: Cornell~Queen's Executive MBA

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Re: EMBA Worth it? Cornell vs. State School?   [#permalink] 01 Jun 2010, 05:42
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