Author Topic: Graduate MBA Program  (Read 2997 times)

dragonwalker

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Graduate MBA Program
« on: September 17, 2014, 03:15:56 PM »
I'm currently 26 and graduated back in 2010 from University of California at Davis. I work at Citibank as a banker at a branch for about 4 years and I'm considering what the best option for pursuing an MBA would be. My degree was a double major in International Relations and History. I'd like to use my MBA at work to advance into another more lucrative position in the company which another colleague was recently able to do.

I have several options for an MBA:

1. California State University of Northridge- a public school that has an established and positive local reputation for its MBA program. The campus estimates that costs for completing the program at $15,000-$20,000 for 2.5 to 3 years. An evening program
2. University of Southern California- a private school that has a very reputable regional reputation and regarded highly for its MBA program. Estimated costs of its MBA program are $108,000. It is highly unlikely I would be able to continue working while attending and relocation closer to campus will almost certainly be necessary.
3.Pepperdine University- a private school that has a well regarded reputation with estimated costs of $83,000. Continued employment is possible.
4.University of California Los Angeles- a public school that has a very reputable regional reputation and regarded highly for its MBA program. Estimated costs are about $70,000. Continued employment is unlikely but may be possible.

Financially I have about $100,000 in cash or assets that can be liquidated not including about $40,000 in my 401K. I rent month to month and have no family or children.I have a strong desire to remain employed while in school. I make between $50,000-$60,000 yearly. Should I attend school at anywhere besides CSUN than family support is expected for at least a quarter to half of expenses which may include living expenses. There would be minimal support if I attended CSUN. I would prefer to limit family support.

My main concern is how important a school with a more developed reputation is? Is it worth at least $50,000 more and loss of employment? What are some other considerations I should have?

alphalemming

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Re: Graduate MBA Program
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2014, 03:24:53 PM »
I guess my question would be what is it you want to do after business school.  The Anderson School is very well regarding in the finance space and if you wanted to remain in banking post graduation, that, along with your current experience could yield very good results.

If you want to change career tracks, especially out of California, a school with a better reputation might open more doors.

Any chance Citibank will help you with tuition while you work and offer your a post graduation career track? It could also be something you negotiate with the company.

My business school experience was very positive for me, but then again, because I was coming from the military, my payback period was less than a year.

tccoastguard

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Re: Graduate MBA Program
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 03:31:09 PM »
Only you can decide what kind of monetary losses you can sustain but with MBAs, the school reputation makes as much difference as the curriculum does in large part due to their inroads into the business community. So yes, the name means something as does the accreditation (you want AACSB).  I'm starting an MBA myself so I understand your dilemma.

dragonwalker

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Re: Graduate MBA Program
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 03:46:21 PM »
Yes, my employer does offer tuition help but it's like $3,000/year. I would like to stay in California but I'm not opposed to relocating if there were an opportunity.

MooseOutFront

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Re: Graduate MBA Program
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2014, 03:56:21 PM »
I am in the midst of finishing an MBA program at a normal, but non prestigious program, taken all online.  As a banker with a non business degree, I felt like I needed the degree to make up for my undergrad.  I got promoted during the process to the job I wanted so the only thing I will use it for now is applying at other banks if need be.

That said, after all these classes, I'm inclined to think I would have preferred a masters in Accounting en route to a CPA.  That's more school than just an MBA, but also more valuable for part time work in early retirement.  At least in my mind it would be.

alphalemming

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Re: Graduate MBA Program
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2014, 04:01:34 PM »
In my case, the MBA was invaluable for my career change (military - civilian) and opened up a lot of doors.

A friend of mine did his MBA and couldn't get traction in a career, then went back for a masters in accounting, spend 2 years at a consultancy to get his CPA, then left.  The entire experience was miserable for him.

If you go the Accounting/CPA route, I do agree that it gives you something you could do post FIRE/part time, but ensure you have a career path to take yourself to CPA that won't make you want to jump off a building.

DollarsAndDissonance

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Re: Graduate MBA Program
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2014, 04:09:08 PM »
If an MBA is what you really want, I would pay the premium to go to the best program I could get into.  In my opinion, the major value of an MBA isn't the education (you could read a handful of books and get basically the same information) but the signaling and the networking.  Especially in your twenties, an MBA from Anderson or another top-20 program will get your foot in the door almost anywhere; a less "prestigious" school might not, even if you learned the exact same material.

Terrestrial

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Re: Graduate MBA Program
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2014, 04:54:41 PM »
I have an MBA from a b-school ranked ~35...finished 2 years ago.  I worked for 7 years after my undergrad then went back and did it.  I should note that my field is engineering and NOT banking/IB and perceptions there can be different.  Here are my thoughts:

-I went mostly for both the academic stimulation and for the promotional potential.  In that regard it got me both, it was an enriching program where I met alot of great people, many of whom are still good friends, and I got a promo/salary bump when I was done. I'd say it was worth it.

-I cash flow'ed my degree from savings/income, I'd say this is preferable to loans but it depends what financing terms you can secure. 

-Unless you want to score a premier job, the ranking of the b-school is of small consequence.  Wall Street IBs will usually only hire from the top 5-10 types...HBS/Booth/Wharton/Kellogg...everyone knows the list.  I'd agree with one of the other posters that if you are trying to get on with a premier company and expect 200k out the gate after an MBA, the premium for these schools might be worth it and may be the only way you will get your foot in the door and secure one of those type jobs.  For the vast majority of us that just want to progress our careers, any top 50 type program with a good reputation is more than adequate.   

-There is still a mixed perception about the online only type business schools.  Some people dont mind them, some people find them inferior.  No comment here except to say i dont think i could have had as good an experience as i did with an online only program.  My program did tons of teamwork, presentations, etc that help me in my job every day.

-There were plenty of bankers and investment advisors in my program from most of the major national bank and investment management companies...WF, BA, meryll lynch, jpm/chase.  For the most part they all seemed happy with their school choice and the opportunities it opened.  Then again none of them tried to/expected to go work in HQ on wall street either.  So to recap i'd say, if you're looking to get a couple rungs up the ladder to a regional manager type gig go to whatever decent school you want.  If you're trying to get to the c-suite it will pay to go the best school you possibly can, but only if it's a top 5-10 school.  There is very little difference between schools ~11-25, at least in perception.

Jellyfish

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Re: Graduate MBA Program
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2014, 07:09:43 PM »
If an MBA is what you really want, I would pay the premium to go to the best program I could get into.  In my opinion, the major value of an MBA isn't the education (you could read a handful of books and get basically the same information) but the signaling and the networking.  Especially in your twenties, an MBA from Anderson or another top-20 program will get your foot in the door almost anywhere; a less "prestigious" school might not, even if you learned the exact same material.

-Unless you want to score a premier job, the ranking of the b-school is of small consequence.  Wall Street IBs will usually only hire from the top 5-10 types...HBS/Booth/Wharton/Kellogg...everyone knows the list.  I'd agree with one of the other posters that if you are trying to get on with a premier company and expect 200k out the gate after an MBA, the premium for these schools might be worth it and may be the only way you will get your foot in the door and secure one of those type jobs.  For the vast majority of us that just want to progress our careers, any top 50 type program with a good reputation is more than adequate.

So what Dollars and Terrestrial are both pointing out is that whether it makes sense to pay to go to a top tier school will largely depend on your career goals post-MBA.  A prestigious top 10 school will be the absolute best choice if you are looking to open doors or switch careers.  If you are certain you want to remain at Citibank or stay in commercial banking and simply want to round out your technical skill set, then its probably not worth the $$ investment.

Self disclosure, I got my MBA at Chicago Booth.  I was a liberal arts undergrad, needed the hard core business skills, but was blown away by the incredible number of companies that recruited directly from the school.  My post-MBA salary bump and career progression has more than made up for the cost.  (It's been 15 years, loans were paid off in 5.)  I work at a Big 4, was in client service, am now involved in partner recruiting in an internal role.  While we consider candidates with MBAs from non top tier schools, we don't pay a premium for them.