Author Topic: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People  (Read 10032 times)

oldtoyota

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MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« on: March 21, 2014, 06:55:40 AM »
My company is starting to emphasize having the MBA degree. I had already decided not to get such a degree--even though I would find the information useful and fascinating--because I can't justify spending $90K-$100K on a degree when I could retire early instead.

My company has a training program. In the first year of the program, the MBA was preferred and not required. I could not apply because I had not been working there long enough. Once I reached the time requirement, I looked up the program and saw it had been changed to require the MBA. So, now I will miss out on it again and perhaps forever--this time because I do not have a certain degree--even though my work has made millions of dollars for the company.

Obviously, as one without the degree and as one who has made millions for the company, I am not in agreement that the MBA is indicative of future success in a person.

I think I am no longer like others around me, because I am choosing to step off the treadmill in 3-6 years. I feel a bit strange about this, but I can live with it.

To me, the MBA requirement sends the message that I will not be considered for a larger role without the degree. That has not been explicitly stated, yet it seems to be where we're heading.

I am pretty sure there is no changing the head honcho's mind about the degree requirement. It has been decided that "more people with MBAs" is where the company is going even though some with MBAs from respected schools are not seen as valuable by their coworkers.

Interestingly, the Goog (the place in CA) is heading in the other direction and de-emphasizing degrees....

A few questions:

  • Do I want a larger role? This seems like the desire of one who plans to work beyond another 5 years. Maybe I should be fine where I am and wait out the next 3-5 years.
  • Should I be looking for a job that emphasizes performance over a degree?
  • As a fiscally responsible person, I've made the decision that the MBA degree, while interesting, would not serve my main goal of financial independence. I am happy I will be FI. In the short term, however, I'm finding my decision hard to swallow
  • Is it time to leave? I'm looking for other opportunities. In general, where I am is a fine organization and my department is run by smart people. I realize that alone is not easy to find in other jobs, so I sometimes think I should just suck it up and stay where I am.

The good news is that it's not like I will be fired for not having the degree. It's just that the direction the company is moving in indicates that it will no longer be the place for me down the line. And the main question I need to solve for is whether that matters or not.

I'd appreciate any insights, suggestions, or advice. Thanks!

**updating to correct a typo
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 09:05:11 AM by oldtoyota »

Gray Matter

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2014, 07:25:06 AM »
That's interesting (and a little sad).  The move towards "MBAs only" seems to be a decade or two behind the times.  Those of us who went in that direction a decade or two ago have mostly abandoned that stance, as we came to value real-life experience and diversity of background more than more standardized, case-study education (having both doesn't hurt, of course).  We actually found that the MBAs we hired into one of our training programs were less successful than people with more varied and entrepreneurial backgrounds.  Depends on the job, of course.

mh1361

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2014, 07:28:25 AM »
I've seen several online MBA programs that are more in the area of $30k, I don't know if that would change your thinking at all. Would your company pay for it? Or at least a piece of it? And you might be able to get scholarships or grants as well.

TreeTired

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 07:31:14 AM »
Is the $90 - $100k cost really accurate?   Wouldn't you have to enroll in an evening program and continue working?   Would your employer cover the cost of an evening program?  That is a fairly common perk, especially when the employer obviously wants you to have that degree and presumably will benefit from your having the degree.

(ha!  mh1361 beat me to it!  )


I got my MBA 35 years ago from a top 3 (or some would say the top 1) school.  I stopped working 6 years ago.  I have a recurring dream that I am enrolled in a top MBA program and I say,  "What am I doing here... I already have my MBA!!"   weird.... 
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 07:37:20 AM by NC_MJ »

libertarian4321

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 07:36:23 AM »
Wouldn't you have to enroll in an evening program and continue working?   Would your employer cover the cost of an evening program?  That is a fairly common perk, especially when the employer obviously wants you to have that degree and presumably will benefit from your having the degree.

Unless he is working for a really, really bad company, I would think they'd cover the cost (or most of it) for a night/weekend MBA, especially if they added the requirement recently (I'm assuming it would affect more than just the OP).


wtjbatman

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2014, 07:58:44 AM »
Our HR generalist (think on the level of the HR grunt... she has two HR managers above her) has an MBA. How do I know? She has it in her email signature.

The guys in my department make fun of it all the time. We give ourselves titles based on minor accomplishments we have achieved in life or at work. "Junior Locksmith In-Training", "Assistant Senior Lead Investigator", "Report Creation Specialist", etc.

Yes we're very mature.

CommonCents

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2014, 08:16:31 AM »
Can you talk to HR and ask for an exception to the policy?  Note what you've said here - you had insufficient senoirity to apply sooner, the requirements have now changed, you've brought substantial value to the company and you'd like to continue to grow with the company.

oldtoyota

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2014, 08:25:38 AM »
I've seen several online MBA programs that are more in the area of $30k, I don't know if that would change your thinking at all. Would your company pay for it? Or at least a piece of it? And you might be able to get scholarships or grants as well.

Oh, no. The company would not pay for it. The idea is to hire people who already have it and to hire them from the top programs.

For the training program I mentioned above, the MBA from any school would apply. I don't know if that will be the case in the future. Is it worth it to me to spend $30K-90K and 2 years of study to get into this program at work? By then, they may change the rules again and require the MBA from a top 10 school. Or, maybe they won't have the program then for some reason...


oldtoyota

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2014, 08:26:54 AM »
Can you talk to HR and ask for an exception to the policy?  Note what you've said here - you had insufficient senoirity to apply sooner, the requirements have now changed, you've brought substantial value to the company and you'd like to continue to grow with the company.

I am going to ask even though I'm fairly certain the requirement is coming from a very high place.

kkbmustang

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2014, 08:27:47 AM »
Our HR generalist (think on the level of the HR grunt... she has two HR managers above her) has an MBA. How do I know? She has it in her email signature.

The guys in my department make fun of it all the time. We give ourselves titles based on minor accomplishments we have achieved in life or at work. "Junior Locksmith In-Training", "Assistant Senior Lead Investigator", "Report Creation Specialist", etc.

Yes we're very mature.

This made me laugh. When I was in BigLaw there was a Paralegal (snotty, arrogant, worse than some of the lawyers) and she earned a certain accreditation and started putting it in her signature block. So, my colleague and I in personal emails with each other would sign our emails similarly.

KKBMustang, B.A., B.S., J.D., LL.M., Bar No. ___, DL ____

I found it obnoxious. Maybe it was just me and my aversion to arrogance.

CommonCents

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2014, 08:33:14 AM »
I've seen several online MBA programs that are more in the area of $30k, I don't know if that would change your thinking at all. Would your company pay for it? Or at least a piece of it? And you might be able to get scholarships or grants as well.

Oh, no. The company would not pay for it. The idea is to hire people who already have it and to hire them from the top programs.

For the training program I mentioned above, the MBA from any school would apply. I don't know if that will be the case in the future. Is it worth it to me to spend $30K-90K and 2 years of study to get into this program at work? By then, they may change the rules again and require the MBA from a top 10 school. Or, maybe they won't have the program then for some reason...

The MBA may be valuable elsewhere, even if you can't get into the program.

My brother and sister got theirs from Norwich University.  There's a 1-2 week residency requirement at the end.  My brother was living nearby (that was his undergrad) so it was no issue.  My sister just came into town for the end.  My sister-in-law also did a lot of courses there but never finished.

ETA: Cost $9k/semester, so approx $36k http://online.norwich.edu/admissions/tuition-information
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 08:36:04 AM by CommonCents »

MarciaB

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2014, 08:37:40 AM »
Just because a program requires this or that (an MBA in this case) doesn't mean you shouldn't apply! Asking to be a part of where your company is going shows that you want to be a part of that future. At the very least this might start conversations between you and top management.

Never assume that a requirement is required...or that NO is more than an invitation to dialog...

Congrats on being close to FIRE!

Signed - a person with an MBA (that cost about $5000 in the early 1990's!!).

rebel100

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2014, 08:37:55 AM »
I completed my MBA in 18 months for less than $10,000 ($3250/6 month semester).  It was actually pretty easy really.  The school I selected was, I feel, rather mustachian.  http://www.wgu.edu/business/master_business_administration_degree

I had to write quite a good bit, but the non traditional approach meant that both the real and opportunity cost was quite low.  The school carries Regional Accreditation (the base line gold standard), but it certainly is not anywhere near the top of all business schools.  It is self paced and many complete the entire program in only a year (I drug it out a bit because I'm a procrastinator and I was able to dip into tuition reimbursement at work).  In fact I was able to access $3000/a year, but do to a fluke in the accounting I was able to get $9000 over the 18 months...my MBA was essentially free.

I stuck the degree on the wall in February....it helped with a $20K promotion and I recently found myself being headhunted by a potential new employer out west...I say find the right school and take the plunge.

wtjbatman

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2014, 09:02:07 AM »
I found it obnoxious. Maybe it was just me and my aversion to arrogance.

I'm sure she is proud of her accomplishments in life, and there is nothing wrong with that. But no one else at your job cares that you have an MBA, especially when you work as a general HR person who shuffles benefits forms all day, and don't actually use your MBA for anything except making your email signature even longer.

Speaking of long email sigs, she also ends her emails with this mini-lecture about how you need to think before printing out her email, as the average printed page results in hundreds of acres of virgin forest being cut down and mashed into paper (or something like that). Ok, I think I went far enough off topic.

mh1361

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2014, 09:47:12 AM »
I found it obnoxious. Maybe it was just me and my aversion to arrogance.

I'm sure she is proud of her accomplishments in life, and there is nothing wrong with that. But no one else at your job cares that you have an MBA, especially when you work as a general HR person who shuffles benefits forms all day, and don't actually use your MBA for anything except making your email signature even longer.

Speaking of long email sigs, she also ends her emails with this mini-lecture about how you need to think before printing out her email, as the average printed page results in hundreds of acres of virgin forest being cut down and mashed into paper (or something like that). Ok, I think I went far enough off topic.

I was expecting you to say something about confidentiality seeing as she's from HR, but that's even better. If any of your HR processes have to be done with paper and not online, you should start talking about trees and such.

wtjbatman

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2014, 10:50:52 AM »
I found it obnoxious. Maybe it was just me and my aversion to arrogance.

I'm sure she is proud of her accomplishments in life, and there is nothing wrong with that. But no one else at your job cares that you have an MBA, especially when you work as a general HR person who shuffles benefits forms all day, and don't actually use your MBA for anything except making your email signature even longer.

Speaking of long email sigs, she also ends her emails with this mini-lecture about how you need to think before printing out her email, as the average printed page results in hundreds of acres of virgin forest being cut down and mashed into paper (or something like that). Ok, I think I went far enough off topic.

I was expecting you to say something about confidentiality seeing as she's from HR, but that's even better. If any of your HR processes have to be done with paper and not online, you should start talking about trees and such.

Well to be fair they automatically add in section about confidentiality to everyone's email sig. So her sig is her name, job title and educational history, company address along with multiple phone numbers and fax line, a paragraph about confidentiality, and a couple lines about not printing off the email due to wasting paper (in bright green type with a tiny recycling symbol jpeg embedded in). Basically her signature is half a page, which is much longer than most of her emails.

Phil_Moore

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2014, 11:22:55 AM »
The number of MBAs (and postgrads in general) applying for junior back/mid office roles has just gone absolutely crazy the last 10 yrs.  Positions that didn't need a degree at all when I started.

To be honest I'm not too fussed if someone put it in their email sig though, if I spent 30-100k for some letters I would tattoo them on my eyelids.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 03:54:05 PM by fungalist »

brewer12345

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2014, 12:14:53 PM »
oldtoyota, if you really are going to hang up your spurs in 3 to 5 years then sit tight with your decision if they will not make an exception.  Do your time, ignore all the bullcrap, and get your revenge by living well.

Getting an MBA is not just about the money you spend.  It is also a big consumer of time and energy.  Not worth it for a year or two of career time.

Emg03063

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2014, 05:58:29 PM »
My MBA at UNCW had a $12k sticker price on it when I started the program a few years ago (I think it's a little higher now--that's in state.  I believe SNHU also has a reasonably priced program.  Check also U. Phoenix.  As to whether or not it's worth it, that's up to you.  It is a major time sink, and if you're not planning on operating any businesses post-FI (for any purpose other than hobby), I would question the value to you, so my two questions would be:  1.  Would you enjoy the learning for its own sake? And 2. What are your post FI plans?
  As far as leaving goes, keep your eye on the market, and if you find something you think you would like better than where you are at, then go for it.  It's good to have options.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 06:01:26 PM by Emg03063 »

ch12

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2014, 06:49:48 PM »
oldtoyota, if you really are going to hang up your spurs in 3 to 5 years then sit tight with your decision if they will not make an exception.  Do your time, ignore all the bullcrap, and get your revenge by living well.

Getting an MBA is not just about the money you spend.  It is also a big consumer of time and energy.  Not worth it for a year or two of career time.

If you plan on leaving in 3 years, then it's not worth it. If you plan on leaving in 6, it could be worth it, if you really wanted an MBA yourself.

On Getting an MBA
I plan on getting my MBA in the next few years, but it's mostly for me. My mom has been pressuring me to get it now, but I pushed back because I'm working 50-70 hour weeks (clocked in 15 minute increments). My stomach used to tighten every time I looked at the requirements; the recent decision I made a few days ago to give it a few years made me much happier and able to look at it with an objective eye.

The cheapest program I've seen and would be happy with (sorry, WGU):
http://www.uww.edu/cobe/onlinemba

The one that I found first and tied for first choice:
http://www.wisconsinonlinemba.org/

I've been taking a Coursera class, and it has made me so happy to take tests, read, listen to lectures, and write essays. I was burned out a year ago from putting my pedal to the metal with 4 majors, but I really like learning new things. I also love business. My mom got excited that I was taking the time and putting in the effort to take a college class, because she'd really like me to get higher ed than just my BA and BSc (2 majors apiece). 

I wouldn't have even found the two options above if I didn't live in Wisconsin and specifically look for in state tuition. It doesn't matter - they don't charge you more for being a nonresident.

I had the baseline of Kelley, the business school that I graduated from almost a year ago. http://kelley.iu.edu/onlineMBA/Admissions/FinancialAid/page36803.html It's about twice the price of Wisconsin's. Kelley is also the top online MBA program. http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/mba

Another reason why I'm not applying to Kelley Direct is that my old professors from undergrad taught Kelley Direct classes (they taught residential MBA students as well). They were smart professors, and they used their online videos as the lecture portion of class. The best of them took class time for discussion and exams. That means I've essentially already taken Kelley MBA classes, since it's the exact same material from the exact same professors. I'd like to get a little more diversity in my business education.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2014, 09:13:28 PM »
oldtoyota, if you really are going to hang up your spurs in 3 to 5 years then sit tight with your decision if they will not make an exception.  Do your time, ignore all the bullcrap, and get your revenge by living well.

This is how I view it also.

meadow lark

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2014, 11:08:43 PM »
I completely get it!  I have the same thing going on, I expect to be semi-retired in 4 years.  I am down to 2 days a week now, but I am hoping to work part-time maybe 3 months a year or less in 4 yrs.  Still, I am surrounded by people around me going from being nurses to nurse practitioners.  Well, if anything that doing that will assure I can not semi-retire or fully retire in 4 years.  The money, plus the time off work.  It makes a whole lot of sense if I will be working full or almost part-time for the next 10 years.  So I have to remind myself, again and again!  My goal is not to excel at my career.  It is to excel at my life!
 

happy

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2014, 02:55:51 AM »
I'm with Brewer also ( and the other+1s).

I plan to retire in 4 years 9 months or at least retire from my current job. An opportunity has come up in an area I love that could be an encore career that I can currently do alongside my current partime position.  A casual conversation reminded me I needed to have a vision for what this would consist of and I realised I don't really need to gun for a PhD or Professor. Seems counterintuitive to what everyone else would do, but if I segue into this area and keep working, it would just be enjoyable work I want to do…no need to get high-powered.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2014, 06:08:53 AM »
The requirement, if rigid, is dumb.

Also strikes me as odd, since from personal experience something like Six Sigma is vastly more valuable and much less time consuming than an MBA. And to earn each "belt" you have to do a project for your company that adds value. Win-win.

iris lily

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2014, 07:40:03 AM »
oldtoyota, if you really are going to hang up your spurs in 3 to 5 years then sit tight with your decision if they will not make an exception.  Do your time, ignore all the bullcrap, and get your revenge by living well.

Getting an MBA is not just about the money you spend.  It is also a big consumer of time and energy.  Not worth it for a year or two of career time.

This is exactly what I thought. I'm surprised no one else has expressed this.

totoro

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2014, 08:09:59 AM »
oldtoyota, if you really are going to hang up your spurs in 3 to 5 years then sit tight with your decision if they will not make an exception.  Do your time, ignore all the bullcrap, and get your revenge by living well.

This is how I view it also.

Ditto.  I have no desire to do more school.  I research and learn stuff all the time for work and for my own interests.  More school is not going to teach me anything that I can't find out for myself on interest or needs based learning.  Getting a MBA or whatever for a workplace opportunity when I'm going to retire shortly wouldn't make sense for me even if the employer paid for it and paid my salary to attend. 

If you love learning and have some long-term objective it might be worth it if your employer is paying.  If you are paying the math seems to strongly favour not doing the MBA.

As far as the workplace requirement, I would make an exception for an exceptional employee if I was the boss.  The rigidity may stem from the optics for clients?  If so, you might want to see if clients really do care.  Is there a study out there you can show your employer? 

I am a boss and a client and I care about results and track record.  The only time I care about education is when a professional designation is legally required. 

Joel

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2014, 08:29:01 AM »
I personally think the degree is overrated, and I have one. I really laugh hard when people put it in their email signature or linkedin name. It's not a certification like a CPA or MD. It just makes that person look foolish.

oldtoyota

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2014, 01:18:18 PM »
So I have to remind myself, again and again!  My goal is not to excel at my career.  It is to excel at my life!

I have to remind myself of the same thing! It's hard, though, when I am naturally a go getter and see people around me work going and going. That is when I have to remind myself that the focus of my "go getting" is much different than theirs. I keep having to remind myself because I live in this different culture, the excel-at-your-career culture, during the day...

oldtoyota

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Re: MBAs--and I Am Not Like Other People
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2014, 01:20:27 PM »
Thanks, everyone!

It turns out that the MBA requirement for the training program was a type. So, glad I asked about it!!

However, the direction of the company as a whole is moving in favor of people with MBAs from the very top schools. I think I'll be FI before that starts to affect me greatly.