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Tech MBA Career Move Advice Wanted

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Tech MBA Career Move Advice Wanted [#permalink]

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New post 26 Sep 2017, 14:25
I'm looking for some advice please regarding MBA choice, applications and career strategy from someone who knows the MBA market well.

My background, UK born and raised, have worked in academia all my life, Computer Science background, degree from a world leading university, MSc, PhD. Decent publication record, international links including through paid speaking engagements. Experience with several side businesses, as well as consultancy work.

In recent years, have moved away from working with students and doing things I love into a management role. I've exceeded targets, brought income into the universities I work for and developed my marketing skills substantially in the process. But I miss technology and working with software startups (I've positioned many students into startups, including some that have since been acquired and always regretted not giving that career path a go myself) . I can code well, although I'm a bit rusty with the most recent technologies. But my real interest is in the business side.

I need to make a career move and the question at the age of 40 is whether to continue on the academic path or make a career change. My heart tells me its the right time to give the MBA a go and subsequently move either into tech consulting, work with startups or become a founder.

If possible, I'd like to study a full-time MBA in the United States. I'm single and able to be mobile. Otherwise, I could study within the UK. I'd also consider Europe and other countries if the financial return looks reasonable. The two year length of most US MBAs is a bit of a barrier but it would be workable for the right opportunities.

It's very important for me to get contacts and opportunities through the MBA, so I'm not keen on an executive MBA, a part time MBA or anything taken online.

I went in blind to the Economist mock GMAT and got a predicted score of 660 to 690. Much stronger on the quants (glad to find the maths and logic is still filed away at the back of my brain somewhere - I've always specialised in stats, even within CS). I rather rushed through the questions as a late night test and can see some obvious errors looking afterwards that I can fix quickly.

I currently work an intense job, so I have to be strategic with GMAT preparation and make considered applications where I have a good chance of being accepted (and I also have to be mindful of the cost of applications). I'm anticipating having much more free time in March 2018 and could start an MBA anytime after that, but that would be late to put applications in.

I'm also moving from a UK academic position. Even at a senior level, this isn't well-paid. Let's say I could pull together around $40K to invest, which I appreciate wouldn't go far. I'd preferably be looking for some financial support, but I'd consider taking out a loan. Due to the costs and time factor, I'm willing to trade off aiming for an elite school for somewhere that would offer a good financial return based on where I'm at and where I want to get to.

So, some questions:

1. GMAT. I have the option to schedule that in asap, aim for a 650 and put in early applications? Is that sensible? If not, I could push to a 700 by November, or higher if I wait until 2018. What's the best time straegy?

2. Any recommended schools, based on my tech interests (and the fact I'd need to leave time to sort a visa)?

I'm particularly interested in tech, but also enjoy entrepreneurship and marketing.

I really like the look of the Tech MBAs at Johnson Cornell and NYU Stern, but they're both premium priced and the student outcomes aren't too clear. But if anyone can vouch for those, or suggest any alternative courses, that would be useful too.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or ideas.

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Re: Tech MBA Career Move Advice Wanted [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2017, 02:22
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I'm afraid that at 40 of that ship has sailed, in terms of doing a full-time MBA. There might be like one outlier out there who I've never heard of but I would say that 35 is pretty much the limit. For some European programs may be 37 but not 40. That's well well into the territory of Executive MBA and in that area the career services is not quite the same. I'm not going to say that you can't change careers but they're not going to give you the same level of support because of Executive MBA is really more for the person who is looking to maximize where they are and become more attractive for promotions. I guess there might be some possibility with a one-year MBA for Cornell and Kellogg. And you will also want to look into Stanford MSX and Sloan fellows. But even those last two options I mentioned are really more for like the people that are around 33 to 38. The options for you if he emba or gemba, but both of those are not really for the career Switcher. However there's definitely ways that you can achieve this career shift without the MBA, of course, which might save you $100,000 to $200,000.

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Re: Tech MBA Career Move Advice Wanted [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2017, 02:25
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I just read what you wrote more closely and your comment about the Executive MBA. The biggest thing you would take out ofban EMBA is your contacts. So that's definitely not going to be a drawback to that particular degree, however if you what you mean are employment and recruitment introductions that would be less so. It's not a bad idea however to contact the career development office for top emba programs. And see if there might be some out there who are willing to and able to incorporate you into on-campus recruiting or something. Anything's possible I guess. Check into CBS Saturday program for that.

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Farrell Dyan
http://MBAPrepCoach.com
http://PoetsandQuants.com/Consultants/Farrell-Dyan
"You don't often come across people so perceptive and empathetic." - EM, NYC

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Re: Tech MBA Career Move Advice Wanted [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2017, 10:56
Thanks for the honesty of both replies, much appreciated.

I hadn't considered age limits, as it would be illegal to know a candidate's age or take this into account in the UK (which might explain the different age profile in Europe). That's not to say it doesn't happen. Coming from academia, everything naturally skews older, with careers not starting until post PhD and it would be rare to be in a management position before 35 (and I am anticipating working another 30 years).

Having thought about it, I do totally take the point about the EMBA being more geared towards my career profile.

Thanks for the suggested schools and the advice about speaking to the offices. That's a good way forward and I definitely like the on-campus recruiting idea. I have a lot of experience there.

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Re: Tech MBA Career Move Advice Wanted [#permalink]

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New post 27 Sep 2017, 11:42
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Hi, that's very interesting about the UK. I did not know that. I do know however that they specifically look for older candidates and it's not related to any type of law and they don't have to disclose their criteria for acceptance. So it's a conscious decision to accept candidates that are older in Europe, I don't actually know if they ask the age of the applications which I think they do, but probably assess it through the resume peace obviously and date of graduation. Just to clarify most MBA candidates really don't have management experience. They are wanting to have management experience and that's why they're seeking an MBA. The EMBA is created for those who do have management experience, along with the two Fellowship programs I mentioned before. Those require a minimum of eight years of management experience generally. I don't think I was entirely clear with my last message, what I'm trying to get across is that the EMBA is a great program for networking but NOT often the best one for someone is trying to switch careers, so I'd recommend that you contact specific offices to make sure that you're going to get what you need from that program before moving forward. And most EMBA programs do not offer on-campus recruiting, I'm not really sure what you mean by 'I have a lot of experience there' but I wanted to make sure that you realize that they do not offer that to EMBA peeps 99% of the time. One exception to this I believe is the EMBA Saturday program for Columbia. Emba is generally geared towards those who are seeking a promotion and not so much switching careers (where they going to need introductions to employers.) I think a good idea would be to inquire with them about this very issue and what support they can provide you as someone who seeking a career switch. If that makes sense.

http://MBAPrepCoach.com
_________________

Farrell Dyan
http://MBAPrepCoach.com
http://PoetsandQuants.com/Consultants/Farrell-Dyan
"You don't often come across people so perceptive and empathetic." - EM, NYC

Kudos [?]: 207 [1], given: 77

Re: Tech MBA Career Move Advice Wanted   [#permalink] 27 Sep 2017, 11:42
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