Newly Corporate

Work, life and the pursuit of happiness for the young professional.

When is it time to go back for an MBA?

Unlike most of the articles written on NewlyCorporate, this article is less inclined towards giving advice and more focused on asking questions, mainly, why, when and where should someone get an MBA.  I use the word ‘someone’ loosely as I am mostly writing about my personal feelings… call me selfish!

Why?

An MBA can do many things for a young professional.  Enhance personal networks, give valuable educational experience, allow for a chance of career paths and for some people, provide a break from the corporate world.  Personally, I’d like to enhance my IT background with more commercial experiences.  Marketing and advertising has always appealed to me, especially how you can break a population down to mere numbers and either try to lazer beam your message to a select few or chuck info out like hand grenades hoping for some lucky hits.  Basically, I’ve always been fascinated by marketing campaigns, some are brilliant and other are such pathetic attempts that I wonder what idiot came up with it and got PAID for it!  I guess I’d like to be that idiot some day, but I’ll need more training to get to that level.. call it a stretch goal!

When?

I’ve struggled internally with when the best time to do this is.  I have almost four years of work experience with my present company which isn’t very long if you think about it.  The last dot bombs were fading away when I was graduating from high school (along with my college fund.. thanks Dad!)  I’m way too young to be jaded by my short experience, but I do feel that an MBA will offer me a chance to sample some other fields outside of IT.  Most MBA profiles I’ve seen put their spread of their student body at around 27 to late 30s.  As a 25 year old I’d be a slight outlier.  At the same time, some of my friends are have left for B-schools with roughly the same experience as me and have been accepted at Harvard and Northwestern.  I think age can be eliminated as a real obstacle, but other issues remain:  Can I step out of the marketplace for a year or more and come back with the hope of a good job?  With the possibility of a recession in the near future, leaving a good job is like playing Deal or No Deal when you’ve got some fat stacks in the bag.

At the other end of the spectrum, leaving an MBA until too late might cut down on some of the benefits of getting one, especially if I decide to change my career focus while in school.  I’m in a serious relationship now, what if the ‘P word’ somehow comes out and I end up playing ‘daddy’ earlier than expected?

I guess the answer I’m left with is: Soon, but not now.  I’ll bide my time for a while, with an eye on the door for a smooth departure.  I heard GMAT scores are good for 7 years, I guess it’s time for Princeton Review again…

Where?

This should be easy for me.. any school that will accept my sorry ass!  More seriously, it’s important to reach as high as you can for an MBA.  If you went to University of Crapsville, this is the chance to redeem yourself and finally go to a school with a name that people outside of your state actually know!  Money is no object here, especially if you go to a kick-butt school.  You’re not going to be crying about your $100k in loans when you’re making bank the first year out (provided you went to a decent program).  At least you’re getting a graduate degree with some meaning.  All you readers with $120k in debt and nothing but a Communications B.S. from NoName Tiny College, my heart goes out to you.. now go get an MBA to redeem yourself.

So, the short answer according to Grant is:  Go to the best school you can get into, finance the rest of it. Cha-ching.  This isn’t undergrad, put down your juice box and go play with the big boys.  Getting an MBA from a no-name school is like winning the state thumbwrestling championships.  People will congratulate you for your achievement but they’re laughing on the inside.. oh yes, they will.

 

As you can see, I have asked three simple questions about an MBA, and despite writing several paragraphs, I have answered none of them.  An MBA is really a personal decision.  Despite all of the pre-planning I’m trying to do, in the end I’ll probably go back to school when my job starts to suck, I get fired or I get married and decide I’m tired of talking to my wife all day.  In fact, thinking about this whole thing, don’t try for an MBA, you’re just more competition for me!

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve read a lot of posts about graduate school. There are two camps: go and don’t go. I found your piece so refreshing! It accurately captures the pros and cons as they truly exist in real life. I also appreciate that you emphasize going to a great school. I live in a smaller town with no big-name school nearby. A lot of people get their MBAs at our tiny state university extension. Then again, most people around here are only getting it to get a higher pay in the same position.

    I’m a 26-year-old in a market research position with one of those $120K no-name schools (my school was tiny, but actually really well recognized in international finance… good thing I majored in art and philosophy!). This makes me think about going back for my MBA now that I have some “real world” experience under my belt. Thanks!

  2. First off, I have to say this is a great blog, especially because you keep it updated so frequently.

    The best reason for pursuing an MBA is to be prepared in your professional career. Nobody knows what awaits them in life around each turn with recessions, layoffs, technological changes, pay cuts, etc. Its like the saying “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”. Keep your arsenal of professional skills and options strong by finishing an MBA or even certifications.

    That said, most people who work towards their MBA will not attend top tier schools and nor do they mind. Cost of the education, location, and accessibility should be a major factor in determining the school of choice. As everyone in industry understands, its the person’s determination and will that shines, not the name of the school on the degree.

    I’m a 23 year old software engineer who took that route for my undergrad and was able to pay off my schooling debts within 1.5 years. Since then I’ve been applying for my MBA/ MISM trying to find schools that will hit my price range. I may be young, but I am prepared.

    Great article, and good luck in establishing yourself.

    Best Regards,
    Derrick Turner

  3. Nice post – I disagree that a no-name school will get you no where. (Unless it’s as easy as getting ordained online…)

    It’s becoming more common that an MBA is a pre-req to get to that next level of management. An MBA from Stanford can speed up the process, but an MBA from a small school will do the trick.

    7 years or so after you get your MBA, do you think the name of your school will have much of an effect on whether you get a job or not?

    As far as “when” goes… Because of my undergrad debt, I’m going to go to grad school because my employer is paying for it… If that wasn’t the case, it would be a while down the road.

    Just my two cents. Nice blog!

  4. As I have said in your other post, I have stopped from my MBA course but this time I am considering to go back thinking about the benefits that I can get out of it. Thanks!