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The MBA Thread

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Tarmac, Aug 28, 2008.

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  1. yjeezle

    yjeezle Well-Known Member

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    An MBA is still a decent entrypoint into a reasonably well paying, middle-of-the-road career. But it's not the gateway to the stars that it was a few decades ago. A lot of folks don't realize how far the credential has fallen in recent times, due to a number of factors that include: the glut of MBAs now swimming around the workforce, the (wholly unfair, IMO) blame apportioned to MBAs for the recent economic crisis, the realization by many industries that top performers do just as well without an MBA as with one, the perceived arrogance and entitlement MBAs bring to a position, and the changing landscape of industry itself -- particularly, a shift in power toward the high tech industry, which keeps MBAs at arm's length.

    The MBA curriculum, as a whole, has largely failed to keep up with the modern face of industry within America, and with the shift in power from America to elsewhere. It is an increasingly anachronistic degree. It'll still get you places, but it won't get you as far as you'd hope.

    CS is the degree of the present and future. I'll sound like a broken record saying that, but it's the God's honest truth. When I have kids, I'm basically not letting them pursue anything unrelated to technology. Or golf. If they're amazing golfers, I'm fueling that gravy train as best I can. [​IMG]

    It seems like the only option for me at this point is to get an MBA so I can try to get a consulting gig.

    As far as golf goes, my dad tried to do that (golf). It backfired, but he's rich anyway so it didn't matter.
     
  2. slycedbred

    slycedbred Well-Known Member

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    As a current MBA student, I believe AB's post to be mostly accurate re:increasingly anachronistic degree.
     
  3. Buster

    Buster Well-Known Member

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    An MBA is still a decent entrypoint into a reasonably well paying, middle-of-the-road career. But it's not the gateway to the stars that it was a few decades ago. A lot of folks don't realize how far the credential has fallen in recent times, due to a number of factors that include: the glut of MBAs now swimming around the workforce, the (wholly unfair, IMO) blame apportioned to MBAs for the recent economic crisis, the realization by many industries that top performers do just as well without an MBA as with one, the perceived arrogance and entitlement MBAs bring to a position, and the changing landscape of industry itself -- particularly, a shift in power toward the high tech industry, which keeps MBAs at arm's length.

    The MBA curriculum, as a whole, has largely failed to keep up with the modern face of industry within America, and with the shift in power from America to elsewhere. It is an increasingly anachronistic degree. It'll still get you places, but it won't get you as far as you'd hope.

    CS is the degree of the present and future. I'll sound like a broken record saying that, but it's the God's honest truth. When I have kids, I'm basically not letting them pursue anything unrelated to technology. Or golf. If they're amazing golfers, I'm fueling that gravy train as best I can. [​IMG]


    I think we have slightly different perspectives. I am on the faculty in one of these "Top-7", and see many of my students and speak (semi) regularly with alums. Furthermore, Many MBA's are career switchers and many of the graduates that go to GM, marketing and consulting come from completely different fields.

    Regarding CS: I cannot agree more. (That's my original area, but that besides the point).
     
  4. Flambeur

    Flambeur Well-Known Member

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    By CS do you guys mean computer science?
     
  5. deadly7

    deadly7 Well-Known Member

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    By CS do you guys mean computer science?

    I spent a few seconds trying to think of a more clever acronym, and failed. Yes, it's comp sci.
     
  6. Flambeur

    Flambeur Well-Known Member

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    I spent a few seconds trying to think of a more clever acronym, and failed. Yes, it's comp sci.

    Well, I'm not sure how that's even relevant to this thread. Business and Computer Science are totally different.
     
  7. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos Well-Known Member

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    I think we have slightly different perspectives. I am on the faculty in one of these "Top-7", and see many of my students and speak (semi) regularly with alums. Furthermore, Many MBA's are career switchers and many of the graduates that go to GM, marketing and consulting come from completely different fields.

    Regarding CS: I cannot agree more. (That's my original area, but that besides the point).


    I'm blushing and sort of wondering if you're one of my old professors. [​IMG] If so, you'd remember me as being the very arrogant and bastardly student in your class.

    At any rate, from the perspective of career changers, sure. The MBA is still a top-notch career changing opportunity. But I think a lot of outsiders looking in have inflated ideas about the importance of, or value of, an MBA to success in the business world. These ideas are mostly out of date.

    Having an MBA today is sort of like having a degree in riverboat transportation during the rise of the railroads. Technology is where everything is headed, and as such, we seem to be in agreement about the all-importance of computer science.

    CS is the most versatile degree one can get these days, opening a lot of well-paying niche doors into lucrative industries such as finance, consulting, and even marketing. It's also a degree that's still in relatively short supply outside of the high-tech sector. So if you're a computer scientist doing marketing/brand at P&G, you'll stand out because you can create algorithms to analyze the data your peers are still doing rudimentarily in Excel. Finally, CS is the best degree to have if one aspires to the upper echelons of outlying success. If you want to be a self-made billionaire (or even multimillionaire) in today's world, CS is the way to do it.

    Well, I'm not sure how that's even relevant to this thread. Business and Computer Science are totally different.

    Traditionally, yes. These days, and the days ahead? Not at all. Technology is the future of business. Period. People who aren't up to snuff on technology will be left in the dust of those who are. And I don't just mean a broad-reaching "tech savvy" or familiarity. I mean the ability to code your own solutions to analytical business problems, and/or the ability to build products to fit consumer or business needs. High-tech is the new manufacturing.

    There will still be a need for classic, traditional, foundational business principles: five forces, four Ps, and all that jazz. But let's be honest; you can learn that stuff in a few weeks. You don't need a two-year, several-hundred-thousand-dollar education to pick it up.
     
  8. clarksdb

    clarksdb Well-Known Member

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    I'm in Canada and am in my last year of my undergrad degree in Economics from the University of Toronto.

    I know in Canada you have to work for a few years or something after your undergrad to go to business school but how about in the US? Can I get into a business school with minimal work experience and just recently getting my undergrad?
     
  9. newinny

    newinny Well-Known Member

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    In banks, outside of small quant. departments, anyone working in technology/back office is considered the lowest of low.

    If you miraculously landed a job in the front office with a "CS" degree, you'd find that your computer does not allow any programming other than VBA. You do not need a degree to learn VBA; one weekend should do it.

    If on the off chance you do end up in a quant. department, you're gonna need a whole lot more than a "CS" degree.
     
  10. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos Well-Known Member

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    In banks, outside of small quant. departments, anyone working in technology/back office is considered the lowest of low.

    If you miraculously landed a job in the front office with a "CS" degree, you'd find that your computer does not allow any programming other than VBA. You do not need a degree to learn VBA; one weekend should do it.

    If on the off chance you do end up in a quant. department, you're gonna need a whole lot more than a "CS" degree. You'll need a phd and capable programming skills.


    I think you're thinking of IT. I'm not talking about IT / back office. Also, you're not really understanding what I'm getting at with "CS." I'm not suggesting a CS undergraduate degree is sufficient, but rather, that CS is the general area of study. It could be any combination of degrees in that field, but the point is, they're a lot more useful than an MBA.

    Sure, if you want to be a big time quant at a bank, you probably need a PhD. Point is? You get that PhD through a CS track, and not through an MBA track.
     
  11. deadly7

    deadly7 Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm not sure how that's even relevant to this thread. Business and Computer Science are totally different.

    Please see the failing RIAA and MPAA models of "sue everyone to make a few bucks instead of finding a technical solution to make people less pissed off" as to how completely failed an idea this is. If you're a businessman, give it 10 years and you'll find yourself left behind in the dust by a much smarter, more technical solution.

    Moral of the story: either know your tech, or be willing to pay $$$ to get GOOD tech. Don't find the first moron comp sci kid, I know of dozens that I wouldn't trust to work at Best Buy, let alone do serious business for me. But when you find a good one, pay to keep him, and don't be a dick of a boss.
     
  12. Buster

    Buster Well-Known Member

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    I'm blushing and sort of wondering if you're one of my old professors. [​IMG] If so, you'd remember me as being the very arrogant and bastardly student in your class.
    Maybe... I still have more than 600 students with these characteristics....
    Sure, if you want to be a big time quant at a bank, you probably need a PhD. Point is? You get that PhD through a CS track, and not through an MBA track.
    Right - on the top b-school than are more professors with EE/CS undergrads than former MBA's. Not a fair comparison, but still worth something. The point about MBA is that you really need to know what you want to get out of it. My best students are those that took advantage of all the opportunities the school gave them from access to the network of alums and peers, good classes with excellent peers in which they made their best to learn, and access to top professors with state-of-the-art research. I had several students that started building their start-ups while in school, and who sat with me (as well as 4-4 other professors) to sharpen their business models. B-School is a complete experience and one needs to treat it as such. This is very different from a PhD where you have 4-5 (maybe 6) years to build your dissertation and credentials and the market is small and well defined.
     
  13. NameBack

    NameBack Well-Known Member

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    CS is definitely a solid alternative to b-school, but I'd argue that if you want to be truly cutting-edge, grab a degree in statistics.

    And it really is cutting-edge -- many schools don't even offer stand-alone stats programs, both grad and undergrad. But already people with stats experience are in tremendous demand; it's comparable to the beginning of the tech boom, where people are getting hired for high-paying jobs with mere undergraduate degrees in the field, or sometimes little/no formal training in the field at all. There simply aren't enough people who are qualified to work with vast amounts of data relative to the number of positions popping up in the field.

    It's also a degree that's applicable to almost any field, from tech to business to politics to medical science to finance to advertising to whatever. There's just so much more information available to companies about their customers than ever before -- I think advertising and the science of persuasion particularly will experience a dramatic overhaul as empirical thinking becomes the norm. And you can bet that you can get some sweet consulting gigs if you know how work magic with STATA.
     
  14. doink

    doink Well-Known Member

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    I should've gotten an MBA. Sounds fun. [​IMG]

    More fun would be spending the tuition fees on partying. More fun, learn more and less chance of being surrounded by pompous twerps for 2 years.

    This advice from a top The Economist ranked global MBA.
     
  15. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos Well-Known Member

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    CS is definitely a solid alternative to b-school, but I'd argue that if you want to be truly cutting-edge, grab a degree in statistics.

    And it really is cutting-edge -- many schools don't even offer stand-alone stats programs, both grad and undergrad. But already people with stats experience are in tremendous demand; it's comparable to the beginning of the tech boom, where people are getting hired for high-paying jobs with mere undergraduate degrees in the field, or sometimes little/no formal training in the field at all. There simply aren't enough people who are qualified to work with vast amounts of data relative to the number of positions popping up in the field.

    It's also a degree that's applicable to almost any field, from tech to business to politics to medical science to finance to advertising to whatever. There's just so much more information available to companies about their customers than ever before -- I think advertising and the science of persuasion particularly will experience a dramatic overhaul as empirical thinking becomes the norm. And you can bet that you can get some sweet consulting gigs if you know how work magic with STATA.


    No question that Statistics is increasingly important in most fields today. But a master's (or higher) degree in Statistics is a very niche / very specialized thing. Not sure what sort of opportunities that really opens up which can't be opened with a lesser degree, to be honest.

    At least CS can be applied practically, i.e., to code things. But with Statistics, there's a point of diminishing returns for 99% of professions. Maybe you can carve out a niche as some super-quant at a hedge fund or something, but there must be a grand total of about 50 of those jobs available in the world. And they're already filled. Maybe you could run consumer insights or research at a CPG firm, but that seems like a big waste of a degree for a relatively low salary max. You might be able to run analytics for a tech firm, but again, it's not like those jobs are in long supply.

    I was thinking about a master's in Statistics for awhile there, if only to beef up my quant and maybe try to jump ship to a quant fund with a slightly higher pay tier. But I wouldn't really know what to do with a PhD or anything.
     
  16. rjmaiorano

    rjmaiorano Well-Known Member

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    Solid work experience.

    +1. I worked in a business environment all through college and a lot of admissions counselors said I needed more experience if I wanted directed admittance into a B school.

    Happy I didn't cause I remain debt free. An aspect to consider IMO.
     
  17. Milpool

    Milpool Well-Known Member

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    CS is definitely a solid alternative to b-school, but I'd argue that if you want to be truly cutting-edge, grab a degree in statistics.

    I'm sorry but this is horrible advice in the US. Mathematics in general is highly undervalued in the workplace in the US. I'm a numbers jock, and I get paid shit compared to former classmates that could barely handle Excel.

    CS is a much better alternative to stats/math for a stats/math type.
     
  18. NameBack

    NameBack Well-Known Member

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    @arrogant bastard

    Well, yes, it's true that a lesser degree generally substitutes just fine for the moment -- but that's due to the relatively short supply of people well-versed in stats. As more people catch on, those who have advanced degrees now will have a long-term leg up.

    My personal experience with this is in the field of electoral politics, where there's been a rapid and dramatic shift towards making everything about campaigns more empirically-driven (whereas prior it had been a very guru-driven industry). Right now most of my friends are working well-paying (but not spectacularly so) jobs in various progressive organizations/institutions/campaigns, but they're going to have a far easier time moving to high-powered consulting firms, polling firms, etc, than almost anyone else in our field. Or they can just start their own targeting firms and exclusively do micro-targeting.

    In politics, that might be somewhat tougher as more of that stuff is coming in-house, but compared to what campaigns are doing, business is absolutely pre-historic when it comes to micro-targeting. The wealth of data businesses have or could have from their customers is unreal. Just a simple sign-up procedure that takes your gender, age, and ZIP code is enough to create vast amounts of insightful information that can be paired with purchasing habits to inform basically all aspects of how products are marketed to customers.

    And it's just going to accelerate as everything moves online. Hulu is a great example. In theory, advertising time on Hulu should actually be substantially more valuable than advertising on regular TV, per person it reaches, because you can know who's watching. Every time I see an ad for Tampax, that's dollars wasted. But if you can send me an ad tailored to me because you know where I live, my gender, and my age (and by extension of where I live, probably my ethnicity, income, education-level, and political leanings), then you're getting more bang for your buck. But Hulu still deploys ad by the show, not by the viewer. They make sort of half-assed efforts that are totally empirically un-rigorous (like how you can say whether or not you find an ad "relevant" to you -- what does that information even mean?), but all-in-all, the potential is massively under-utilized. The same goes for, say, Facebook. My profile lists my political views as "Democratic Party," yet half of my ads are for Republican-themed causes and candidates. Even if I didn't list that, I'm 20 and I live in DC. I am not a Republican voter. Again, massive waste of potential.

    I'm confident that there are going to be people who end up making boatloads of money in consulting by figuring out how to drive business decisions with data. Maybe that's optimistic, but who knows.
     
  19. deadly7

    deadly7 Well-Known Member

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    tl;dr
    All of those problems that you listed are, by their nature, tech issues. You can't teach any statistician [at least, not easily] how to easily re-code your system for these factors. You can teach a knowledgable CS major the applicable statistics, and let him/her deal with it. The issue is finding that good CS major, but that's for another topic.
     
  20. Fraiche

    Fraiche Well-Known Member

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    Anyone know any good online practice tests?

    Don't mind paying.
     

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