It has never ceased to amaze me how successful, insightful and supportive members of this forum are, so I would like to humbly request for some advice this evening. Like our dear friend CTGuy, I'm reevaluating my life and goals. As many of you know, I am a foreign student who graduated from college recently and am working in the technology department of an investment bank in New York. I work normal Mon-Fri 9-5 hours, working with our internal business users to plan/upgrade/merge computer systems. I don't get involved in programming or the technical details, as those are left to another team of individuals. As a foreigner, I am working under a temporary work permit attached to my company which is valid for 3 years. The work permit can be renewed for another 3 years by any company that hires me, after which I pray a company will apply for permanent residence for me (and I will need to be approved for this by the government). If not, I have to leave the country. Basically, I am quite dissapointed with where I am in life right now. My work is very unchallenging -- any high school dropout can do my job. I get paid enough to survive in New York City (I pay $1300 in rent alone to live in the city) but I am not going anywhere with this type of pay. I have more or less given up on the idea that I can find a career that I will enjoy and still be financially successful. To be sure, financial success is important to me. If I didn't have to worry about money, I would have loved to do a number of things: study with craftsmen in Florence and be an artisan, be an art dealer, or own a custom shirt making business. But to remain in the US, I am restricted to a number of industries that will hire foreigners; these are primarily technology, banking and consulting. I know I want to leave technology since the value is not there anymore (think India and China). So aside from my dream jobs, I am very attracted to the MBA-investment banking-managing director path. I am seriously pondering an MBA. If I do a part-time MBA, my company will likely pay for it while I am working. The problem with this approach is that I feel that I will not be able to develop a good network with other students. I will also miss out a lot on the socializing and clubs that make up a well-rounded education. I studied very very hard in college and missed out completely on all this so I almost want a second chance to be a student. The other problem is that the best part-time program in the country is Stern/NYU. It is not the greatest MBA program. I've always felt very inferior that I didn't attend an Ivy League college for undergraduate studies, and I don't want to settle for a Stern part-time MBA. I went to one of the most demanding colleges in the country, kept a 3.8 GPA, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa but I lack the pedigree, old boys network and whatever else that may seem superficial but does matter in gaining prestigious jobs. If I go for a full-time program, my main concern is that I will be burdened with a huge amount of student loans. This is fine if I get a banking job at the end of the MBA program, but not if I fail to secure a lucrative job or if I have to return to my home country, where I'll probably need to work for 15 years just to pay off my loan and literally starve. I know there's no perfect answer to my questions, but I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts. Are there any lucrative career paths besides the MBA/investment banking track? I've thought about IB sales & trading, but I do not know whether I'll be able to play rough. Thanks gentlemen.
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11/9/04 at 8:54pm