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Help with which program is best fit?

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Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 45

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Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 660 Q42 V39
Help with which program is best fit? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jan 2017, 11:11
Hello everyone,

I am applying to a mix of top Part-Time, Online, and EMBA programs. While brand and network are important to me, the total cost is also very important as I am the sole income provider for me and my wife and we already have existing student debt. We currently live on the West Cost, but we may end up moving to NY/NJ if my wife gets placed into a residency there. Given this, I'd like to hear what people think about the schools I’m applying to – best fit, cost/value, network, alignment with goals, etc.

My profile:

Age: 30
Asian/American
Undergrad major: Chemical engineering at small private STEM school in Northeast
Work: 6.5 years work experience, with quick progression in scope. Experience primarily in retail, consumer goods, and ecommerce, including Amazon. Currently working as a senior manager (ecommerce operations strategy) at a large CPG. Three direct reports and I will be taking on global responsibilities this year.
Short-term Goal: Consulting for CPG/Retail sector or corporate strategy for CPG.
Mid/Long-term: Stay within CPG, but move into Brand/Product Management. Longer term to move into a GM role at a consumer product company.
GMAT: 660 (42Q/39V, IR4, AWA 5.5)

Schools:
Kellogg Weekend PT: $96K w/ employer reimbursement and credit transfer
UNC Kenan-Flagler (Online): ~$90K w/ reimbursement
Indiana Kelley (Online): ~$50K w/ reimbursement and credit transfer
UVA Darden EMBA: $145K

-Kellogg would hands down be my top option, but the thought of paying for travel (and leaving my wife) every weekend is a big consideration.
-Kelley seems to be the most affordable option and strong network, and the online format would allow me to still enjoy my personal life, but not sure how well the online degree will allow me to move into consulting. I’ve heard graduates from UNC and Indiana’s online programs get jobs at firms like Deloitte and Accenture but not sure how much truth there is to that.
-Is UNC worth the extra ~$50K over Indiana's online program?
-Darden’s EMBA format makes sense, but the cost is astronomical...

I welcome any thoughts or suggestions here. What would you do if you were in my shoes? Thanks!

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Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 45

Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 0

Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 660 Q42 V39
Re: Help with which program is best fit? [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2017, 10:59
Hey guys - any suggestions here? Any help is appreciated.

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Re: Help with which program is best fit? [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2017, 15:45
Hey there old-timer!

Looks like you have been thinking about the MBA for a while, at least based on the join date.

Usually folks will go to PT MBA close to where they live. The PT program is kind of the "local MBA" option really but it has also been a great way for many to get into a high ranked MBA program with less than stellar GMAT score. (WE and Career trump GMAT for PT programs). They also tend to be much less competitive in terms of applicant number and have numerous other benefits including ROI. They are tougher for career changes since schools often do not provide career resources/opportunities/on campus hiring events for PT and EMBA candidates. I believe, however, that Kellogg does but it is a bit blurry on that one.

So this brings to the question, why do you want to do an MBA in a city you are not living? (So Cal or potentially NY area?). You did not get in?

As a career changer, you ideally want to do a FT MBA but I understand your student debt and income dilemma and you gotta do what you gotta do. Your age is borderline for the FT program too, so in a few years you won't be able to do it either; you will have to do EMBA. However, with most programs, you won't capture any savings/income improvement from your degree until sometime in 2020. Depending on your salary, there may not be much difference in taking 18 months completely off for a FT MBA vs. 27 or 30 months for a PT program. However, in either case, you need to figure out your geography first and not go crazy and miss classes because your flight is late or there is a snow storm in Chicago.

You ideally do not want to touch an online MBA with an 11-foot pole. Employers have as much respect for an online MBA as they do for online pharmacies and it remains to be seen how much help they offer with consulting employment (do you know anything about Kelley online program numbers?)

I would suggest expanding the options/list of schools to include ones closer to your current/future residence.

Good Luck!
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Posts: 45

Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 0

Location: United States
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Help with which program is best fit? [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2017, 17:04
bb wrote:
Hey there old-timer!

Looks like you have been thinking about the MBA for a while, at least based on the join date.

Usually folks will go to PT MBA close to where they live. The PT program is kind of the "local MBA" option really but it has also been a great way for many to get into a high ranked MBA program with less than stellar GMAT score. (WE and Career trump GMAT for PT programs). They also tend to be much less competitive in terms of applicant number and have numerous other benefits including ROI. They are tougher for career changes since schools often do not provide career resources/opportunities/on campus hiring events for PT and EMBA candidates. I believe, however, that Kellogg does but it is a bit blurry on that one.

So this brings to the question, why do you want to do an MBA in a city you are not living? (So Cal or potentially NY area?). You did not get in?

As a career changer, you ideally want to do a FT MBA but I understand your student debt and income dilemma and you gotta do what you gotta do. Your age is borderline for the FT program too, so in a few years you won't be able to do it either; you will have to do EMBA. However, with most programs, you won't capture any savings/income improvement from your degree until sometime in 2020. Depending on your salary, there may not be much difference in taking 18 months completely off for a FT MBA vs. 27 or 30 months for a PT program. However, in either case, you need to figure out your geography first and not go crazy and miss classes because your flight is late or there is a snow storm in Chicago.

You ideally do not want to touch an online MBA with an 11-foot pole. Employers have as much respect for an online MBA as they do for online pharmacies and it remains to be seen how much help they offer with consulting employment (do you know anything about Kelley online program numbers?)

I would suggest expanding the options/list of schools to include ones closer to your current/future residence.

Good Luck!

Hey bb,

Thanks for the response! Yes, I've been considering the MBA for some time now, took a hiatus for several years after I got a job at Amazon and moved out to Seattle. Now I think the time is right to pursue the MBA (through PT or EMBA format).

The reason I'm applying to schools in different cities is b/c my wife will be applying for residencies, and my job is flexible in that I can work out of offices in different cities. Our relocation really lies with where she gets matched for residency (at this point, either Chicago or NY/NJ). So once she gets matched, we will move there. Within NY and Chicago areas, the top schools that I am most interested in are Kellogg, NYU, and Darden (1hr plane ride from NJ). These would have me covered for the traditional PT path. The "online" format and the Darden EMBA would give me options to complete the MBA from a ranked school while not having to worry about location. We have everything timed so that I would make my decision on a program (if I get offers) based on where she gets matched. FT MBA would be awesome, but my current salary is too high to forgo for 2 years!

I understand your point of view on the online program, and I also agree with you to some extent. I would prefer to not do it online, but I can't ignore the benefit of the lowered costs (i.e. $50K for a top-20 program at Kelley). I agree with you on the concern about the online stigma, but since it looks the same on the resume as any other MBA, do you think employers would care/notice (other than top consulting firms)? Since I want to transition into consulting specific for Retail/CPG (to leverage my prior experience in these industries), I'm hoping that my WE + checking the MBA box (even if it's done online) will help me get a foot in the door at a Tier2 consulting firm like Accenture/Deloitte as an experienced hire. If I am able to get into Kellogg or Darden EMBA I would try to shoot for Bain or BCG! Ultimately, after a couple of years of consulting I'd want to move back into CPG industry.

I don't have specific numbers or percentages for Kelley's online MBA and consulting, although I've been told they get recruiters from Accenture/Deloitte looking for graduates of their online program with more work experience. UNC's online MBA actually has a management consulting concentration, as well as a development program specific for consulting (they call it STAR), although I still have to do some searching for information about recruiting.

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New post 13 Jan 2017, 19:30
I really don't know much about online MBA programs, so I can't confirm or deny about Degree designations or helpfulness of the career resources.
One of the selection reasons is the on-campus hiring and you will be missing at least some of that with Kelley. You need to find one of their Online MBA student representatives and drill them on this - AdCom can help with connecting you. Otherwise, you will be stuck sending in resumes into the online abyss for a while until one sticks somewhere. Much better and easier to handle this during more structured events where you have face to face time. This could easily be worth $100K as you are looking for a job after graduation and not getting income or getting sub-standard income.

Kelley places into consulting and looks like they had about 20% go in - out of 185 FT program. Their average salary is $140K, way above any other industry placements at Kelley. My guess is that those were the top of the class in terms of work experience and everyone else got the 100K jobs.

Another point to clarify, Kelley is not technically a Top 20 MBA. It is top 25 or 30. Some rankings may include it in the top 20 but very soon a top 20 consists of 40 schools - that does not work. UNC is technically the only top 20 with an online MBA. (Probably don't want to bring that up to the Adcom).
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New post 14 Jan 2017, 16:56
Hi,

Actually, the main question: does those programs help you in achieving you short and long term goals?? I highly doubt that. The online program is created for people who want to progress in their fields. You can have a look for the those websites and you do not have any link for career service. However, it may not be the case for PT but there is a limit of the school intervention. It takes the form of career coaching and skill development. I advise you to contact each school and know exactly what they offer.

You can review the ranking for online MBA just published 2 days ago.

http://poetsandquants.com/2016/01/12/te ... a-ranking/

EMBA ranking:

http://poetsandquantsforexecs.com/2016/ ... rograms/3/

P.S.: please review at the comment area the editor's review of Kellogg EMBA

Good luck

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Help with which program is best fit?   [#permalink] 14 Jan 2017, 16:56
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