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Should I Go For An MBA?

ktown

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29 years old, 80k salary as a sr. financial analyst (corporate finance), top 25 undergrad (crappy GPA), 750 GMAT

I always wanted a wall street analyst job specifically working in asset management (equities or fixed income is fine). I've passed 2 levels of the CFA program. I never attempted the 3rd level because it just didn't seem worth it to me. I went on 40 interviews from 2007-2010 seeking an asset management position, was rejected by all the companies and ultimately settled for a corporate finance gig. In 2009 I actually applied to 2 business schools but got rejected by both. The reason I only went for 2 is I would like to stay in my area.

In my opinion an MBA is only worth it if you go to a top 15. I won't consider anything lower-ranked because of potential job prospects. I would like to crack the six figure salary mark as soon as possible. My inclination is to just pass on applying to b-school since I probably wouldn't be able to get in anyway. My longer-term plan (5-10 years) is to start my own business if the b-school thing doesn't pan out.

What are people's thoughts?
 
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axlpendergast

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the 40 interviews should've gave you an answer for Wall St. jobs without b school.

also $80k all in or just base?, sr FA in what type of company (F100, 200, 300, mid-market)? i would assume the next jump would be a managerial role that should push you close to, or over, 100k? you're close enough to that target where attending b-school (top 15 notwithstanding) may actually be a draw back if you consider tuition as part of the total cost. if it's cause you're really wanting to work in asset management then the 40 interviews should've gave you an answer for Wall St. jobs without b school.
 
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tj100

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My longer-term plan (5-10 years) is to start my own business if the b-school thing doesn't pan out.

What are people's thoughts?

Start your own business now. It is not going to get easier to take that risk as you get older. If you know what business you want to be in, you should jump in ASAP and stop screwing around in Corporate Finance or Asset Management.
 

CunningSmeagol

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Do an E/W program at a top 5-10 school (depending on your location, you may have to fly in, making this option less attractive). Recruit into an IB associate position then interview in 3-4 years for asset management.

While you're at b-school, take entrepreneurial courses and learn how to talk to VCs, and meet people who are also entrepreneurial minded and get involved in a startup. I'm guessing your current job is basically 9-5, so you should have plenty of time to do something like this. The recruiting into IB (or anything else for that matter) from an E/W program takes a lot more hustle than FT, but it's at least possible.
 

mintyfresh

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I am 30, CFA Level 3 Candidate, and was earning $85k pre-bonus before starting school - so not too far from where you are at now. Program was hovering around 45, but I'll be starting at a wall st firm this summer, with 100+ starting and 40-50% bonus. All about networking, not necessarily about top programs (which of course helps with attracting companies to schools).

That said, sounds like you are in pretty good shape to make it into a top 15 program. The program will help you with your interviewing skills (maybe what was lacking through your 40 interviews) and put you in touch with recruiters and alum. Good luck.
 
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nateo

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If you want to start your own business, do it. If you do, no one will care where you went to school, what your degree was, or how you did on the GMAT. If you don't have/want a life, start a business, because it will be your life. If you want stuff like "friends" and "free time" then don't start your own business. I haven't had a day off in years, and the only person I ever talk to is my wife. You'll likely make a whole lot less (cash) because you'll be building your business. So prepare for a massive short-term pay cut if you go that route.

If you just want show up and get a check, stick to your current plan. Get an MBA and get a cushy 9-5 job.
 

robertm

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My advice is that unless you're aiming for a job that SPECIFICALLY requres an MBA or masters, do not get a masters degree. Getting my MBA is the biggest regret I have, and getting it from a "name" school makes it even worse as I could have gotten a useless degree for half the price at a local university. Also, an MBA is terrible for learning about small business; everything in the AACSB programs is geared towards global commerce.

YMMV and I'm sure some people will disagree but think long and hard about it.
 

SkinnyGoomba

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If you want to start your own business, do it. If you do, no one will care where you went to school, what your degree was, or how you did on the GMAT. If you don't have/want a life, start a business, because it will be your life. If you want stuff like "friends" and "free time" then don't start your own business. I haven't had a day off in years, and the only person I ever talk to is my wife. You'll likely make a whole lot less (cash) because you'll be building your business. So prepare for a massive short-term pay cut if you go that route. 

If you just want show up and get a check, stick to your current plan. Get an MBA and get a cushy 9-5 job. 

people still want to know your qualifications when you are starting your own business.
 

tj100

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people still want to know your qualifications when you are starting your own business.

Depends on what business you're starting, but the overwhelming majority of companies were founded by people who have no professional degree.
 

tj100

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You can find it on the small business administration website, but the stat is something like 10% of small business owners have a graduate degree.

Depends a lot on what business you're trying to build - good luck founding a biotech without a Ph.D.; but the educational barrier to entry to owning a Subway franchise is not that high...
 

nateo

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people still want to know your qualifications when you are starting your own business.
I don't really think you've started your own business, have you?

I can only speak from my own experience, but the most successful entreprenuers I've met had no formal degree at all.

Maybe NYC is different, but Silicon Valley is full of people long on skill with no "qualifications."
 

tj100

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It wasn't clear (at least to me) that the OP's "business" was going to be in finance. Totally agree that if he thinks he wants to open his own money management firm, he's going to be better off with an MBA - just from a client-facing perspective. But if the dream is to own a Roto-Rooter franchise, that's not going to take a Harvard MBA.
 

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