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Should I get an MBA?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
This has been my mind constantly, so I figured I might as well throw it out here considering there are probably plenty of guys here with more experience on this matter than me.

I have been accepted into a top 5 MBA program for this fall and am still on the fence on whether I should attend.

Just a quick rundown of my background:

- Late 20s, working in Tokyo for a foreign PE fund.
- Currently salary is competitive with market for my position, but not top tier.
- Those who have worked in Japan probably realize that it is a weird place, and to be honest I find my career growth prospects in my specific field limited as a non-local. Also, I don't hate the job, but I don't love it either.
- That said, I believe that I am in a niche where it is unlikely I will be fired anytime soon so I am in a stable place careerwise.

The issue of course is if taking 2 years off, with no income, no guarantee of a job, and going into debt, a move in the right direction?

Pros:
- Chance to change careers - Japanese PE is a bit of a hole that is hard to crawl out of
- Chance to earn more out of bschool - Uncertain, but not impossible looking at salary tables esp. if I stay in finance
- Chance to move countries - Maybe find a position in US or China after MBA (I speak some Mandarin)
- Standard MBA reasons - School branding, network, sharpen skill set, etc..
- Timing - I am only getting older, and if I ever want to go to bschool, this is the time considering the current economic conditions

Cons:
- Giving up stability - income, job, moving house, cost, debt, etc.
- Giving up two years of job experience - If I plan to return to this field I would gain more professionally by not leaving
- No guarantee of better job/salary - Could still end up doing something I don't feel completely interested in and may not even get paid as much
- Already a CFA charterholder - Not exactly the same I know, but lessens the need for branding in some finance circles

I would appreciate any well-thought insights people here may have (no need for pithy, "MBA is a crock" comments please). This is a fairly serious career and life decision for me so I am trying to get as many perspectives as possible.

Thanks
post #2 of 18
im sorta in a same position as you and i think im just going to end up doing my MBA part time - im not going to make more $ out of bschool than I do now... and giving up 2 years of income and going into debt just doesn't seem worth it in the end...
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatsby View Post
The issue of course is if taking 2 years off, with no income, no guarantee of a job, and going into debt, a move in the right direction?
it seems to me that those in a top 5 mba program are pretty much guaranteed a job.
post #4 of 18
first question: are you happy in your current role? i'm guessing not entirely, or you wouldn't be considering an MBA. Getting one will give you flexibility, freedom of movement, the chance to work a large investment bank in a different capacity, all that good stuff. if it's a top five school, i can't imagine you not getting interesting offers on graduation. go for it.
post #5 of 18
Tough to advise without knowing your pedigree... Did you do BB banking after undergrad? How is your network- are you finding yourself being recruited by firms in the US?

Given that you've stated you're not on the fast track at your current firm, and are not talking about other job offers, the Top-5 MBA sounds like a no-brainer, especially if you want to get out of Japan.
post #6 of 18
Your situation sounds a lot like mine...I have a decent paying job in a sales managerial role with a mortgage company. I've been with my current employer for over 9 yrs. I'm very friendly with the company founder, CEO, etc...So there is a lot of job security. But the company has stopped growing a couple yrs ago and upward mobility is very limited at this time and in the near future. And my exit ops are probably limited to other mortgage/sales positions. Plus I live in MI...not the best of areas when it comes to the job market. So I started thinking about going for an MBA...but I couldn't afford to give up the income...I have a family to support. Luckily I was fortunate enough to live near a university with a top MBA program that offers a PT curriculum (UofM Ross). I got accepted and started in 1/09. I should be done in 3 yrs (avg time to graduate for PT students is 4.5). Once I'm done, depending on where my company is headed and internal opportunities, I can stay or move on to a different career...ideally an associate position with a BB or top tier MM investment bank. Based on your profile (int'l PE experience, top 5 MBA degree), I dont think finding a job when you graduate will be that difficult for you.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennglock View Post
Given that you've stated you're not on the fast track at your current firm, and are not talking about other job offers, the Top-5 MBA sounds like a no-brainer, especially if you want to get out of Japan.

+1

MBAs are good as career boosters for those who need them. Some people don't. Some people do. If you're one of those people who doesn't need it, you'll probably know it. But if you're one of those people who thinks you've hit a glass ceiling without one, then yeah, it probably is worth the top 5 MBA. Especially if it's top 5. Much further below that, and I'd really start the question the incremental value added.

Full disclosure: I'm one of those people who felt he did need the degree, and I got one. I'd say it's been worth it for me personally. Might be worth it for you, as well. But I would definitely not advise just anyone to pursue the degree. It's really not half as valuable as it used to be, even as recently as 5 to 10 years ago.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrogant Bastard View Post
+1

MBAs are good as career boosters for those who need them. Some people don't. Some people do. If you're one of those people who doesn't need it, you'll probably know it. But if you're one of those people who thinks you've hit a glass ceiling without one, then yeah, it probably is worth the top 5 MBA. Especially if it's top 5. Much further below that, and I'd really start the question the incremental value added.

Full disclosure: I'm one of those people who felt he did need the degree, and I got one. I'd say it's been worth it for me personally. Might be worth it for you, as well. But I would definitely not advise just anyone to pursue the degree. It's really not half as valuable as it used to be, even as recently as 5 to 10 years ago.

It's not even as valuable as it was 2-3 years ago. The job market is flooded with over-educated/ under-experienced particularly in respect to MBA's and JD's. As it stands right now, going back to school and getting an MBA really isn't worth the cost and effort unless an advanced degree is a requirement to be promoted from your current position. Many employers are shying away from MBA's right now, especially those with limited experience in their field, since there are many well qualified, highly experienced individuals seeking employment, and many businesses can pay someone who has only earned a bachelors degree much less to do the same amount, if not more work.
post #9 of 18
Sorry didnt finish my thought.

A top 5 MBA program is on a different level than your average local university. The quality of the education, the prestige of the top 5 schools, and access to the alumni networks associated with these programs, can make one of their degrees extremely valuable, even in a crowded job market
post #10 of 18
Question to the OP: which do you consider the top five?
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by scribbles View Post
Sorry didnt finish my thought.

A top 5 MBA program is on a different level than your average local university. The quality of the education, the prestige of the top 5 schools, and access to the alumni networks associated with these programs, can make one of their degrees extremely valuable, even in a crowded job market

Top 5 degree is infinitely better than a below-top-5 degree in a lot of respects, I'll agree. But in this recent job market, there were (and still are) plenty of respectable top 5 degree-holders flooding the market and looking for work upon graduation. I say this as a top-5 MBA alumnus who graduated with quite a few very dedicated, very qualified people who ended up SOL because their chosen industries just weren't hiring, and they were unwilling to settle for something else.

Sure, you could argue that beggars can't be choosers in this economy. But shit, man, back in the day, being a top-5 MBA graduate hardly qualified you as a "beggar." Times have changed.
post #12 of 18
Another thing to add to your list of pros: The business school experience. In my two years in b-school, I met a ton of amazing people, explored the world, and grew as a person.

I know that there's some self-selection bias, but I cannot name one person in my class of 650 who regretted getting their MBA. Go to business school. You have the rest of your life to make money. Enjoy your youth while you still have it.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by homerfan33 View Post
Another thing to add to your list of pros: The business school experience. In my two years in b-school, I met a ton of amazing people, explored the world, and grew as a person.

I know that there's some self-selection bias, but I cannot name one person in my class of 650 who regretted getting their MBA. Go to business school. You have the rest of your life to make money. Enjoy your youth while you still have it.
Good post, and a great argument for a full-time residential program.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by homerfan33 View Post
Another thing to add to your list of pros: The business school experience. In my two years in b-school, I met a ton of amazing people, explored the world, and grew as a person.

I know that there's some self-selection bias, but I cannot name one person in my class of 650 who regretted getting their MBA. Go to business school. You have the rest of your life to make money. Enjoy your youth while you still have it.

+10. Get the MBA
post #15 of 18
Based on what you've said so far, going for the MBA seems like a no-brainer. What you haven't mentioned is what you'd like to do post-MBA. BTW, what school is it? Just as an example, if you're looking at post-MBA PE and want to work for a firm like KKR, they only recruit at select schools (HBS, Wharton, and Columbia I believe)
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