Author Topic: Should I get an MBA?  (Read 18932 times)

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #50 on: February 01, 2016, 07:41:29 AM »
So the results from my applying to MBA programs are mostly in. Out of the schools I applied to I got accepted into UNC, Michigan, Virginia, Duke, and Cornell. I found out today that I got a full scholarship to North Carolina (UNC), so the whole thing would be free minus the opportunity cost of missing work for 18 months. There's still a chance I get a scholarship at UM/Cornell. I have my preferences but if I'm going anywhere it's where I get a scholarship. UNC was technically the lowest ranked school I applied to, but it is close (UNC is #17, Cornell is #16, Virginia is #11, Michigan is #10).

I am making $78k at work now, I'm somewhat confident I'll get a promotion to a more senior position making $95-100k next year at my current job if I stay. My manager and director said that was a realistic goal. So the question for me has just been whether an MBA is worth it, even with the scholarship.

Here's the jobs report for UNC: http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/programs/mba/career/employment-statistics
UNC's top hiring companies: http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/~/media/Files/documents/CMC/Hiring%20Employers%202013-2014.pdf?la=en
Here's Michigan's report, they show more detail: https://michiganross.umich.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/Programs/FTMBA/pdfs/15_mba_employment_profile12.9.15.pdf

The typical management consultant from UNC receives a $120k base salary. Although the better people receive $135-140k. Deloitte is the consulting firm that hires the most people from UNC and here's their starting package for MBA grads:

Deloitte MBA Salary
Signing Bonus: $35,000 ($25,000 + $17,500 early signing on if returning after internship)
Base: $147,000
Relocation: $2,500 if local; $10,000 otherwise
Performance Bonus: up to $36,750 (25% of base)

Total Compensation: up to $228,750
Retirement: .25 match of first 6% contributed for a total of 1.5%
Tuition Reimbursement: full 2nd year tuition for returning summer interns

(source: https://managementconsulted.com/consulting-jobs/2016-management-consulting-salaries-undergraduate-mba-interns/)

Deloitte would be perhaps my top target. At UNC the big three strategy consulting firms don't really hire too many people, it's more realistic to look at Deloitte, PwC, and EY.

From the people I've talked to I think I would be a very strong candidate to land a consulting position for a few reasons. It fits my skillset and previous job experience, and the school clearly feels I'd be one of the top students (they give full rides to <10% of the class). From all the previous consultants I've talked with it certainly sounds more grueling than my current work though.

And I am really happy with my life here in NYC. But all being equal I would like to get the degree, experience living in a new place, and keep pushing myself. Unlike many on MMM I'm not looking to get out of the game as fast as possible. Once I'm FI I would like to continue in leadership positions, but perhaps in a more altruistic capacity than my current line of work. With that in mind I think having the degree might provide some ancillary benefits as I continue my journey. But... I am open to advice. :)

Either path will be great I'm sure.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 07:47:32 AM by bb11 »

mozar

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #51 on: February 01, 2016, 09:04:17 PM »
I can't relate to wanting to get an MBA but I do know a bit about the job markets.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 01:30:35 PM by mozar »

w@nker

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #52 on: February 01, 2016, 10:29:10 PM »
First of all, congratulations on getting into some great schools.  If choosing from that list, I would just follow the money.  If you get a full ride at UM, that, to me, would be the no-brainer.  The previous poster clearly has no idea of the national marketability of a Ross MBA.  On a separate note, I absolutely love the campus of UNC Chapel Hill and the general feel of Keenan Flagler - so if quality of life/experience is meaningful to you, I definitely think you have a great option there.  UNC, Duke, and UVA are all relatively more attractive if you have any desire to work in the South later.  Honestly, though, all are great options. 

I say go for the MBA, particularly if you plan to stay in the workforce for a while.  Aside from the career springboard that a top MBA can be (don't let anyone else tell you otherwise), it is just a great experience.  Great people.  Great education.  Great recreation.  Great personal development.  And, if you have any entrepreneurial aspirations at all, I would absolutely encourage it.  A number of my classmates from b-school literally made tens of millions of dollars (in at least one case, hundreds) within just a few years of school by starting their own businesses.  B-school gives you the time, perspective, and network needed to launch something awesome.  Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to wait until FIRE to start working on your own terms.

I would caution you against focusing on the starting salaries coming out of school.  They can really be all over the place, and management consulting, IB, and IM spots are extremely competitive...and highly dependent upon the economic climate at the time you are graduating.  I know a number of people who settled for $75k jobs just to get their foot in the door somewhere.  Those were exceptions, but just know that nothing is guaranteed.  It is ultimately up to you to make the most of the opportunity and to hit the ground running with an aggressive recruiting effort (it will literally take 1/3 of your time starting day one).

LeRainDrop

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #53 on: February 01, 2016, 11:03:57 PM »
Congrats on all your options!  As to scholarship packages, if you have a preferred school besides UNC, you should see whether they will match what UNC has offered.  I did that with my law school scholarship awards, though granted each school generally was willing to consider the awards only from schools ranked higher.  Still worth a shot.

I personally love UVA and think Charlottesville is an excellent place to spend a couple years before getting back into the rat race!  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/27/happiness-place-called-charlottesville-virginia

beantown

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #54 on: February 02, 2016, 08:13:25 AM »
It sounds like you're already pretty set on your decision to attend business school, but I guess I'll go ahead and throw in my two cents.

Like you, I also wanted to get into management consulting after bschool. I attended a top 15 bschool on a full-tuition scholarship. I also ended up doing a dual degree, so did take on some debt to do that. I had more of a non-traditional background making a lot less pre-business school, so I had less opportunity cost than you do. I did end up in management consulting at a second-tier company, and my first year salary + signing bonus was in the range of $160-$180k. So your facts there are correct. (managementconsulted does have the accurate stats)

That said, I would look into how competitive it is to get into management consulting at each of the schools you've been accepted to. For some schools, there's a lot more companies that recruit, they take a higher percentage of applicants, etc. I'd ask some hard questions of current 2nd year students on # of people that wanted to go into MC before school and how many ultimately got the job. While I did end up in MC, it just as easily could have not happened (then again, your background sounds more suited than mine did)

Also, chiming in what someone said earlier re: non-mustachianism of b-schoolers. In general that is true. My bschool friends love to go out and get brunch, drinks, etc. However, I actually found MMM during school and have recently implemented more financial rigor in my own life. I don't think MBA automatically equals "want's to make CEO and work till 65." I think it more equals "wants more opportunities." which may include upping the salary to FI earlier.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #55 on: February 03, 2016, 02:21:35 PM »
Thanks for the comments and advice everyone.

I was sending emails to all my admitted schools last night requesting a match of the UNC scholarship (unlikely but most say it's worth asking) and I realized I overlooked that I got a $37k scholarship (1/3 of tuition) for Cornell. Not as good as the UNC offer but still cool.

I've messaged several MMM friends with MBA/consulting experience as well as several of my contacts with relevant info. The support has been overwhelmingly positive with the full scholarship. That was reassuring, and in addition I've come to realize I am overestimating the opportunity costs of missing work for a couple reasons.

1. All the locations I'd go to school are MUCH cheaper than NYC. I was looking at some of the admitted student guides that explain local housing options, and there are 2 bedrooms for $760, or 3 bedrooms for $885. This is with a patio, pool, gym, and washer/dryer. There's no reason I'd need to pay more than $400 a month in rent, probably can even do $300. That's $10k in savings in after-tax dollars over 21 months. In addition all the cities are walkable/bikeable, so no more monthly Metrocard payment. That's $2200 in savings. Then there are smaller savings like no gym fees, cheaper groceries, etc. A minimum estimate is I'm saving $10k, even with my low budget.

2. I can do some pretty nifty things with taxes for 2016, 2017, and 2018. This year I can funnel most everything into ROTH accounts, because I'll only have ~7 months of paid work. In 2017 I'd only work for a summer internship, which typically pays ~25k. But I can put basically 100% into ROTH's, or into a $401k and convert it into an IRA then roll it into a ROTH. After deductions/exemptions, I'd get taxed at like a 6% rate and get half my annual savings done in 3 months of work. For 2018 I'd again only have 7 months of paid work and could funnel more money into ROTH's. This is probably worth $10-20k.

Combined these two things bring the opportunity cost down to about $50k. That's really small, and there's a good chance I'd recoup the entire thing in less than a year (the average MBA student at these schools gets a signing bonus of $25k, plus the boost in salary and year-end bonus). If I stick in consulting for even 2-3 years the ROI becomes strongly positive. And that's ignoring any down-the road benefits, plus the enjoyment and network I'd get from the program.

Essentially it's going to take an extraordinary change in circumstances or thought process for me not to attend one of these schools this fall. I'm putting more thought into other financial footwork I could do to my benefit, and I think my 'stache would actually grow slightly while in school.

nobody123

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #56 on: February 04, 2016, 07:01:01 AM »
Don't overthink this.  Go to the highest ranked school that offers you the full ride.  All of the schools on your list are excellent options and will open up lots of doors for you.  Even if you don't get into management consulting right off the bat, you can always get an internal job at a Fortune 100 company earning $100K+ and gaining valuable experience.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #57 on: February 04, 2016, 08:37:13 AM »
Go to the highest ranked school that offers you the full ride.  All of the schools on your list are excellent options and will open up lots of doors for you.

Yeah, all are great options.  Virginia (10), Michigan (11) Duke (13), Cornell (16), UNC (18).
http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/mba-rankings

soupcxan

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #58 on: February 04, 2016, 12:42:30 PM »
I would take the free ride at UNC, no question. If the program is good, tuition is paid for, and you are willing to relocate on graduation, I think it's a no brainer even if you don't ultimately end up in MC.

I did a FT MBA at a good but non-top-20 program (I got a full scholarship) and 6 years later, my salary is triple what it was before the program. No ragrets.

catccc

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #59 on: February 05, 2016, 08:22:01 AM »
I'm one of the posters that previously said don't do it.  But for free?  And to check out a LCOL area?  Yes, I say go for it.  Props to you for pushing on despite naysayers like me.  I wasn't really thinking about the potential scholarships.  Best of luck to you!

mtn

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #60 on: February 05, 2016, 08:45:09 AM »
I've talked with my manager, who is going for his, director, who has his, and dad, who also has his, about it.

On a value equation, it doesn't always make sense. The return on your investment for the student loans is probably not there in salary increases over time. But it might be, and it probably will be about even. The overwhelming reason to get it, from everyone, is that it lets you jump careers into something you don't have much or any experience with.

My dad was in sales. Sales sales sales. MBA? Poof. Marketing, Graphic Design, product launches. Certainly wouldn't be available without the MBA, at least not at the companies he's been at (I can guarantee you everyone on this board has used or will use one of the products he's launched or been part of the team for launching. If not, then you're one of the minorities)


My manager was audit. Always audit, still in an audit-similar function. He wants out but can't get out after 10 years in it. He will be able to now once he's done.  Director was a little different since he had a CPA as well. But it has certainly opened up opportunities for him (his words, not mine).

So, are you happy and will you remain happy in your job until you retire? If so, probably not a whole lot of reason to go for it. If you're not? I'd do it.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #61 on: February 26, 2016, 09:30:56 PM »
Thanks for the advice guys. I have decided I am definitely going to attend one of the programs I get a full scholarship at. So far I have a partial scholarship from Cornell too, with the potential to become more.

I was invited to the scholarship weekend for Cornell. Apparently they only consider you for their full scholarships (what they call Park Leadership Fellowships) if you attend their scholarship event. I would have to take two days off of work, and find a way to make it up to Ithaca. It's at least $120 for a bus ticket because it's so far out of the way. But if I did so I was told that about 25% of the people who attend will receive full scholarships. I guess they do a bit more evaluation and interviewing during the event.

Last weekend my girlfriend and I were in Chapel Hill, and I had a great time. I'm not sure if I'd even choose Cornell over UNC at this point, assuming I got the full scholarship at Cornell. Cornell is slightly higher ranked (#16 vs #18) and their job placement is a bit better (starting base salary for consultants is $126k vs $120k). On an individual level I'm not sure how much that changes my odds though. I'd be one of the higher level candidates with a fellowship at either school.

Without having visited Cornell yet, I think I might be happier while I'm at UNC. It'd be a new area to try living, one I really like, and I think there is a lot more going on there in general than central New York. It'd also give me more exposure and contacts in a LCOL area. And the school has more people and a more exciting culture. Not sure what to do, and this scholarship event is in less than two weeks.

mtn

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #62 on: February 26, 2016, 10:43:16 PM »
This seems like a no brainer to me. Go to the event. Think of it like this: $250 (round trip bus ticket?) to buy a raffle ticket to win $100,000, and you have a 25% chance of "winning".

You don't know if you'll get a full scholarship at UNC. You don't know that you'll get any scholarship there. You don't even know if you'd get in (strange things happen--I got into two of my 2 stretch schools for undergrad, and not the one that I was set on that was a backup).

What is the worst that happens if you go to the event? You're down 2 vacation days and $250. In the grand scheme, not too much.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #63 on: February 27, 2016, 07:24:00 AM »
This seems like a no brainer to me. Go to the event. Think of it like this: $250 (round trip bus ticket?) to buy a raffle ticket to win $100,000, and you have a 25% chance of "winning".

You don't know if you'll get a full scholarship at UNC. You don't know that you'll get any scholarship there. You don't even know if you'd get in (strange things happen--I got into two of my 2 stretch schools for undergrad, and not the one that I was set on that was a backup).

What is the worst that happens if you go to the event? You're down 2 vacation days and $250. In the grand scheme, not too much.

I've actually already been admitted with a full tuition fellowship to UNC.

mtn

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #64 on: February 27, 2016, 09:05:27 AM »
Ah. That does make things slightly different.

I'm still saying go. You might love Cornell.

mozar

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #65 on: February 27, 2016, 07:58:03 PM »
Have you checked out who recruits from Cornell and UNC? I can see Chapel Hill being more fun than central New York, but it's only for two years.

pbkmaine

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #66 on: February 27, 2016, 08:40:51 PM »
Spend the $250. If you don't go, you will always wonder if you made the right decision.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #67 on: February 27, 2016, 10:09:26 PM »
I would choose UNC with full scholarship over Cornell with full scholarship, hands down.  That's principally because the UNC atmosphere fits my personality better than Cornell (I found Cornell's law school to be rather stodgy and unnecessarily competitive, an instinct confirmed by a couple friends who went there), and the rankings difference is basically nothing.  I chose UVA Law over Cornell Law and other high-ranking law schools, which each offered me a little more scholarship money than UVA did, largely based on ranking, but also based on the vibe I got when visiting each school and the access to my preferred market (i.e., which employers/offices came for on-grounds interviews).  That said, I made my decision after visiting each school that I was seriously considering -- the "personality" of the student body was important to me -- so I would take the time to visit Cornell for the scholarship program.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 10:12:12 PM by LeRainDrop »

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #68 on: March 18, 2016, 05:58:03 PM »
Hey thank you guys. I went to Ithaca last weekend and liked it quite a bit actually. Unfortunately I didn't get a full ride but I did receive $74k (out of $120k tuition) in merit scholarship. The whole program would cost me about $46k in tuition after taking into account the partial scholarship. I still have my full-tuition scholarship at UNC and have been asked to apply to be a Dean's Fellow, for which they have exclusive events and things only for those with that distinction . So I'm deciding between Cornell and UNC.

Wanted to see if anyone has further thoutghs. I have to decide by next Friday. I am leaning toward UNC; the full-ride is great, and I really like their program, Chapel Hill, and if I become a Dean's Fellow that would be cool too. On the other hand the hiring is a bit better at Cornell, the average consulting hire makes $126k base salary vs $120k at UNC. And there is the prestige of the Ivy League brand, which while not as relevant to b-school may count for something.

Curious if you all have any advice. Just go with the full ride? The difference between the two schools is there, but still pretty small.

lhamo

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #69 on: March 18, 2016, 06:23:53 PM »
I would probably go with UNC.  The difference in average hiring salary is only 5% -- you could make that up with a decent performance bonus and raises very quickly, and you still be trying to catch up financially given the extra you paid to go to Cornell anyway.   

The full ride at UNC means they really want you, and see you as potential "top of the class" material.  And you won't have to deal with Ithaca winters.

pbkmaine

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #70 on: March 18, 2016, 06:41:11 PM »
As a Cornell MBA, I say with sadness that UNC looks like a better deal.

mozar

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #71 on: March 19, 2016, 12:07:22 PM »
Have you thought about what kind of consulting you want to do and at what kinds of businesses you want to work? The types of opportunities will be different. There were also be more opportunities in NYC then in the Chapel Hill area because the NYC area has a bigger population. The reason I keep bringing this up is because you said you want to do work that's interesting. If you had said you want to be a management consultant for two years, and then become the vice president at a bank for the rest of your career, that's one thing, and if that's what you want, more power to you, and you should do UNC.
Cornell is giving you less money because they know you'll have more opportunities (to pay then back). UNC is giving you more money because they know you will have fewer opportunities when you graduate. You'll have more career flexibility if you go to Cornell. That might not matter to you, but I'm just going on what you said.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #72 on: March 19, 2016, 11:17:27 PM »
Have you thought about what kind of consulting you want to do and at what kinds of businesses you want to work? The types of opportunities will be different. There were also be more opportunities in NYC then in the Chapel Hill area because the NYC area has a bigger population. The reason I keep bringing this up is because you said you want to do work that's interesting. If you had said you want to be a management consultant for two years, and then become the vice president at a bank for the rest of your career, that's one thing, and if that's what you want, more power to you, and you should do UNC.
Cornell is giving you less money because they know you'll have more opportunities (to pay then back). UNC is giving you more money because they know you will have fewer opportunities when you graduate. You'll have more career flexibility if you go to Cornell. That might not matter to you, but I'm just going on what you said.

Well if I'm understanding you right there's a bit more flexibility in terms of post-graduation location than you seem to be presuming. UNC sends 23% of its MBA graduates to the Northeast and 16% to the West Coast. Cornell has 48% of its graduates stay in the Northeast. Certainly more, but some of that is just self selection because they have more students from that area. Regardless there's no reason I'd need to stay in North Carolina once school is done if I don't like it there. It's certainly unlikely I'd end up in the Triangle area long term.

With consulting at most firms you get to list the top 3 offices you'd prefer to work at, and then they send your resume to them first. So even if I wanted to go work in Minneapolis for example, there's no reason that wouldn't be doable. There wouldn't be many UNC alumni there, which would make it harder to network, but I could make it happen.

Bottomline if I want to go back to NYC it is very possible from either school; at Cornell I'd just have a larger percentage of alumni located there to network with.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #73 on: March 20, 2016, 04:02:26 AM »
I'm watching this with interested, I've always pondered getting an MBA, but never been driven enough, and personally find it a bit too much dog eat dog types. There is an expectation you'll be living for work continually and always competing with colleagues.

However, I'm very impressed you've managed to get scholarships and are really going for it, I'm sure you'll have a great time and it will launch you into a consulting career - how long do you want to stay in the consulting game for?

Genevieve

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #74 on: March 20, 2016, 10:30:00 AM »
UNC and Cornell are both good schools, so congrats!

Make sure to do lots of networking with consultant firms of all levels -- McKinsey, etc, etc but also small places -- so you have a chance to actually get that consultant job.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #75 on: March 20, 2016, 01:32:46 PM »
I'm watching this with interested, I've always pondered getting an MBA, but never been driven enough, and personally find it a bit too much dog eat dog types. There is an expectation you'll be living for work continually and always competing with colleagues.

However, I'm very impressed you've managed to get scholarships and are really going for it, I'm sure you'll have a great time and it will launch you into a consulting career - how long do you want to stay in the consulting game for?

The plan is indefinitely. I'm well aware of the burnout prevalent in the field, but I think I would be a good fit for strategy consulting. If I were to tire of it I've got a couple friends who did the top MBA -> management consulting route and are now independent consultants, which I would also find appealing. Otherwise I've enjoyed my marketing roles and would be happy doing more consumer oriented marketing in the future.

Quote
UNC and Cornell are both good schools, so congrats!

Make sure to do lots of networking with consultant firms of all levels -- McKinsey, etc, etc but also small places -- so you have a chance to actually get that consultant job.

Thank you! Will definitely be doing a lot of networking.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #76 on: March 20, 2016, 01:42:35 PM »
I've been doing a lot of research over the last couple weeks, pouring over the available data on the school websites and LinkedIn, as well as talking with friends whose opinions I respect and students/alumni connected with Cornell and UNC. I do think there is a difference in consulting hiring.

Cornell has 12-15 people go to the highest tier of consulting firms every year (what is known as MBB, an acronym for the three top firms: Mckinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group). UNC only has 5-7. UNC tends to place more with the next tier of big four consulting firms, especially Deloitte, who usually hires at least 15 UNC grads per year. Both sets of firms pay similarly (which is to say very well), but the idea is that the MBB has more "prestige" and will lead to more opportunity and pay down the line.

Because Cornell is more of a target school for the top MBB consulting firms I figured I'd probably go with them had I gotten the full ride there. However, given that I'll have to pay ~$50k in tuition to attend Cornell, I'm thinking UNC is worth attending and I just need to bust my butt to remain a standout there. Just wanted to mention my thought process.

pbkmaine

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #77 on: March 20, 2016, 04:02:25 PM »
As a Dean's Fellow, you would also be more highly visible at UNC.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #78 on: March 21, 2016, 08:38:51 AM »
As a Dean's Fellow, you would also be more highly visible at UNC.

Yes, that's also a good point.

daymare

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #79 on: March 21, 2016, 08:47:01 AM »
I'm watching this with interested, I've always pondered getting an MBA, but never been driven enough, and personally find it a bit too much dog eat dog types. There is an expectation you'll be living for work continually and always competing with colleagues.
I TA'd a finance MBA class at Wharton, and going in I had for sure the lowest of expectations for the MBA students (who my colleagues had likened to basically toddlers who do no work after Thursday because they're at happy hours).  And I was really surprised and impressed.  There are all sorts of people pursuing MBAs, and yes they're driven, but so many are really interesting and intelligent.  And there's a lot of camaraderie.  So I think you might be making some unfair assumptions.

Back to the big question - hmm, seems like the difference as far as consulting hiring is significant in the top tier for UNC & Cornell.  Bigger difference than I had thought.  I kind of shudder at your desire to be in consulting (I'm biased given personal experience and those of some of my friends).  But more power to you, different strokes and all that.  How would you feel psychologically about going 50K into debt?  I know I could never, if I had a great & free alternative like you do, but I can understand how you could pick Cornell if taking that on wouldn't stress you out.  I still would go for UNC, but it seems like you're somewhat conflicted, which I totally understand.

nobody123

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #80 on: March 21, 2016, 09:53:46 AM »
However, given that I'll have to pay ~$50k in tuition to attend Cornell, I'm thinking UNC is worth attending and I just need to bust my butt to remain a standout there. Just wanted to mention my thought process.

When you're unsure of two attractive options, take the one that gives you more options later.  Being $50K in debt might mean you're stuck in a job you don't like for a few years, whereas being debt free gives you the opportunity to follow your desires.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #81 on: March 21, 2016, 10:16:36 AM »
Back to the big question - hmm, seems like the difference as far as consulting hiring is significant in the top tier for UNC & Cornell.  Bigger difference than I had thought.  I kind of shudder at your desire to be in consulting (I'm biased given personal experience and those of some of my friends).  But more power to you, different strokes and all that.  How would you feel psychologically about going 50K into debt?  I know I could never, if I had a great & free alternative like you do, but I can understand how you could pick Cornell if taking that on wouldn't stress you out.  I still would go for UNC, but it seems like you're somewhat conflicted, which I totally understand.

Yes, there is a difference in the placement that is tough to get around. I wouldn't need to take on $50k in debt I don't think. I've got about $45k in taxable accounts right now, so it'd probably only be ~$20k in debt. But it would still feel tough to pay that of course. It feels like a lot of money.

To be honest I am frustrated with not getting a full ride at Cornell. The opportunities are somewhat better than UNC. The good thing is they are not completely different; it's not as though the window completely closes if I go to UNC, there's just a lower percentage of people being placed at the best firms. But knowing that I likely have to make a sub-optimal career decision because of money, when there've been too many people in my life with wealthy parents who would go after the best opportunity without batting an eye... it sucks. But that's always been my situation, there has not been any parental support for any studies after high school. It's affected lots of choices, and I've still done pretty well with that situation so far. I guess I feel confident I will be one of the outliers at UNC. If not, Deloitte (or similar) would still be great.

A more optimistic way to look at it is I am blessed to be able to go to one of the better schools in the world for free, and on top of that to receive special distinction as one of their top students. That is pretty cool. And it's hard to really gauge the value of Cornell over UNC. If you look at the salaries, Deloitte/PwC/EY pay the same as MBB for post-MBA graduates (source: https://managementconsulted.com/consulting-jobs/2016-management-consulting-salaries-undergraduate-mba-interns/). They all pay $145k base + $30k signing +$30k year end bonus. So let's say I land at PwC from UNC, but would have been at Bain from Cornell. I'm making the same money, it's only after 3-4 years working there (6 years from today) that I will possibly see greater salary increases or an opportunity to exit at a better position because I'm at a better firm.

Is that worth $50,000 right now? I'm really not sure if it is. And that assumes I do get a better job because I went to Cornell, when the reality is there is a pretty substantial overlap in the hiring, so the odds are probably at least 50/50 that I come out of both schools with the same position, in which case we know it wasn't worth paying $50,000 for.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 04:22:37 PM by bb11 »

Yankuba

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #82 on: March 21, 2016, 10:41:49 AM »
Rankings change. For all you know UNC pulls ahead of Cornell in the future and you will kick yourself for spending $50k to go Cornell. Based on everything you said I would take UNC and I wouldn't think twice.

lhamo

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #83 on: March 21, 2016, 10:58:59 AM »
I said it earlier but will repeat it again in a slightly different way:  the fact that UNC is offering you full funding and Cornell is not tells you something about where their admissions team thinks you fall in the pool of applicants.  At UNC, you are a top candidate (especially considering they are a state school (which Cornell Business School is not), and probably have more limited funding to distribute than Cornell.  At Cornell, you are probably more middle of the pack.  That is not to say you wouldn't rise to the top at Cornell, but you are STARTING at the top (at least perception wise) at UNC.  I have a feeling with a bit of hard work you are pretty much guaranteed to stay there. 

I have worked in the scholarship field for several years.  Do not discount how scholarships are read as a quality/status marker when people review your CV.  Being able to put a full-ride scholarship and the Dean's Fellowship at UNC on your CV is signaling to people that you were at the top of their intake.  If you can find out how many of those full ride scholarships and Deans Fellowships are offered annually, you can add that too if it makes you look like you are in a more elite group (this obviously doesn't work if everyone gets them :)). 

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #84 on: March 21, 2016, 11:03:00 AM »
I said it earlier but will repeat it again in a slightly different way:  the fact that UNC is offering you full funding and Cornell is not tells you something about where their admissions team thinks you fall in the pool of applicants.  At UNC, you are a top candidate (especially considering they are a state school (which Cornell Business School is not), and probably have more limited funding to distribute than Cornell.  At Cornell, you are probably more middle of the pack.  That is not to say you wouldn't rise to the top at Cornell, but you are STARTING at the top (at least perception wise) at UNC.  I have a feeling with a bit of hard work you are pretty much guaranteed to stay there. 

I have worked in the scholarship field for several years.  Do not discount how scholarships are read as a quality/status marker when people review your CV.  Being able to put a full-ride scholarship and the Dean's Fellowship at UNC on your CV is signaling to people that you were at the top of their intake.  If you can find out how many of those full ride scholarships and Deans Fellowships are offered annually, you can add that too if it makes you look like you are in a more elite group (this obviously doesn't work if everyone gets them :)).

There are ~30 Dean's Fellows out of a class of 275. The number of full scholarships is about the same. Cornell gives 25 Park Fellowships (their full scholarships) a year to their class, which is the same size. Sounds like I just missed the cut, as the adcom told me I received one of the biggest scholarships that wasn't a Park.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 11:05:04 AM by bb11 »

mozar

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #85 on: March 21, 2016, 04:16:41 PM »
Quote
But knowing that I likely have to make a sub-optimal career decision because of money

So don't. You don't have to, because you have the money.

You would have to graduate at the top of the class at UNC to have a better chance at getting the same opportunity if you went to Cornell, and didn't have to work as hard for. Would you be OK with that? I knew a guy who graduated the top of the class at a very small law school and was recruited by all the top law firms. Personally I would be stressed about having to stay at the top.

I agree that having a Dean scholarship will look good for your first consulting job, but after a few years you'll want to take that off your resume. The name of the school you went to can be on there forever.

Quote
At UNC, you are a top candidate (especially considering they are a state school (which Cornell Business School is not), and probably have more limited funding to distribute than Cornell.  At Cornell, you are probably more middle of the pack.  That is not to say you wouldn't rise to the top at Cornell, but you are STARTING at the top (at least perception wise) at UNC.  I have a feeling with a bit of hard work you are pretty much guaranteed to stay there. 

Do you want to be a big fish in a small pond, or fight your way to be a big fish in a big pond? I think you'll be fine either way OP, but don't let your resentment of your parents get in the way of this life decision.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #86 on: March 21, 2016, 04:51:08 PM »

So don't. You don't have to, because you have the money.

You would have to graduate at the top of the class at UNC to have a better chance at getting the same opportunity if you went to Cornell, and didn't have to work as hard for. Would you be OK with that? I knew a guy who graduated the top of the class at a very small law school and was recruited by all the top law firms. Personally I would be stressed about having to stay at the top.

I agree that having a Dean scholarship will look good for your first consulting job, but after a few years you'll want to take that off your resume. The name of the school you went to can be on there forever.

Do you want to be a big fish in a small pond, or fight your way to be a big fish in a big pond? I think you'll be fine either way OP, but don't let your resentment of your parents get in the way of this life decision.

Well... certainly a different opinion than what everyone else has said. :)

I obviously do have the money, I might even still be able to graduate Cornell debt free. But, just having the money doesn't mean I should use it. It's hard trying to decide if it's worth $50k to go to a school with a bit more opportunity.

There's a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison with law school. In law school grades are very important, whereas most b-schools have grade non-disclosure, meaning they don't even release students' grades. UNC is one of those schools. For that reason hiring is based more upon previous work experience, interviews, and any leadership distinctions you may earn while in school. Let's also remember it's not Cornell vs a tiny unknown school. It's two very well known schools, but one is a bit more highly thought of than the other.


Yankuba

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #87 on: March 21, 2016, 04:58:22 PM »
I didn't know grades weren't released - that is crazy. Do you have to maintain a certain GPA to stay in the program? Even my shitty MPA program has GPA requirements.

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #88 on: March 21, 2016, 05:05:45 PM »
I didn't know grades weren't released - that is crazy. Do you have to maintain a certain GPA to stay in the program? Even my shitty MPA program has GPA requirements.

I believe so, but they basically ensure everyone stays eligible. You'd almost have to try to fail out.

It's really prevalent at the top schools. Here's a couple articles about it:

http://lawstreetmedia.com/issues/education/should-m-b-a-programs-have-a-grade-non-disclosure-policy/
http://freakonomics.com/2011/10/12/why-do-only-top-mba-programs-practice-grade-non-disclosure/

Harvard used to have GND, and schools like Wharton, UChicago, NYU, Duke, etc still use it. Personally I think it's kind of silly, but it's the standard practice for top MBA programs.

Fuzz

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #89 on: March 21, 2016, 06:25:10 PM »
Awesome work!

I'd consider where I want to be long term and go there. Do you want to be in NYC do something related to finance? Go to Cornell. Are you less interested in finance? Go to UNC. You have two great choices.

The poster who said you'd be starting out on top at UNC is right. And it could be fun to be the big fish in a smaller pond (and a LCOL area longterm), rather than at Cornell and always running into people from Stern or whatever who look down on you.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #90 on: March 21, 2016, 10:36:54 PM »
Hi, bb11, I brought your update to my brother for his input since he's been consulting at Bain for about 4 or 5 years, I think, and got his MBA at Wharton.  This is his response:

Quote
Wow! That's pretty great! I would say they are both pretty close, although I think UNC has a slightly more regional appeal [I think he's assuming you're a friend of mine in Atlanta]. If he were recruiting for the big 3/other top consultancies, he will have the opportunity from either, though I think UNC would more likely be treated regionally (so Southeastern offices) than Cornell (but that may also be regional depending on the firm). I'd probably make the choice based on where the stronger alumni base is and where he is hoping to be geographically after school.  As I think you did, I'd try to play the scholarships off each other. I know that having a scholarship will also help him in recruiting, so either one will definitely help when applying for work. I'd also pick based on curriculum and student bodies, etc. - does he feel like the culture was a better fit at one? Does one have flexible/fixed classes? Is one of those better for what he wants? I think there's a lot that goes into the decision process and in the grand scheme of things, $46k is not as valuable as choosing the right school and alumni for a lifetime! (though they are both great options)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 10:55:48 PM by LeRainDrop »

bb11

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #91 on: March 24, 2016, 10:54:47 AM »
I sent Cornell an email yesterday saying I was incredibly grateful for their scholarship offer, but I decided that heading down to UNC was the best choice for my career.

Thank you very much to all of those who chipped in with advice! So wonderful to have such helpful people around to assist me in making my decision.

jwright

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #92 on: March 24, 2016, 11:01:46 AM »
I've been following this thread, and I have no practical advice to give, but I my opinion is that UNC is the best choice for you.  Good luck!

mozar

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #93 on: March 24, 2016, 11:21:31 AM »
Thanks for letting us play along!

LeRainDrop

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Re: Should I get an MBA?
« Reply #94 on: March 24, 2016, 01:44:52 PM »
Congrats, bb11!  I'm very happy for you!