Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is Now The Time For An MBA?

This is a question that gets thrown around quite a bit, what with the daily news reports of the poor job market and dwindling possibilities. Business Week has posted a few stories about the difficulties with recruitment in the current economic environment, and each school has updated both current students and perpectives on the state of employment.

Now, I came across THIS thread on the Business Week Forums (they are the devil, aren't they?), where a current student at a top-7 school laments his decision to attend, given what he gave up to attend. This thread, although completely crazy, brings up some good questions.

According to them, unless you're attending Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Kellog or MIT you might as well not go. If you aren't going into a high-profile position at a brand-name company (ie, McKinsey, Bain, etc.) you might as well not go. Only those top six schools get job offers, all other schools are screwed. If you are attempting to switch to a new career, you might as well not go.

Personally, I find this ridiculous. I'm not after one of those positions. I don't care if I work for one of those companies. I'm not after a $200k salary. No, I'm not enrolling at a top six school. Yes, I am attempting to switch careers. No, I'm not kept up at night wondering if it'll all be worth it. I *know* it'll be worth it. For me.

I'm not going to B-school to "hide from the economy." I started planning this well before markets tanked and banks started crapping on themselves. I applied to zero M7 schools. I want to better myself, increase my network and life experiences, learn some new skills, get a better job. If I get the dead-center average for my target profession, I'm still doubling my current salary. I've never gotten to study abroad; now I can. There are a thousand reasons why I want to get my MBA, and I'll be damned if I let a few cautious stories scare me. Sure, it may be tough, but it'll make it more rewarding.

Sometimes I think people get hung up on names. Do you mean to tell me that the only way to make an MBA worthwhile is to go to Harvard or Chicago and work for McKinsey or Goldman Sachs? I'm sorry, I'm not picking up what you're putting down. I've got my reasons and I'm perfectly content with it.


Choc Heaven said...

omne, i agree - doing an mba isnt all about the top 7 schools, the big dough..its supposed to be more than that..networking, making new friends, meeting some of the most diverse set of people you're ever gonna come across..

Vitaly Kartsev said...

You're spot on with all of this, Omne. It is too easy to get sucked into copying the ambitions of everyone else. The reality is people really have to sit down and think for themselves what their ambitions are in life. Personally, getting a job at [insert coveted firm here] is less important than being close to my wife, attending a school where I like the people and fit in to the culture, and learning things I'm passionate about.

It is really hard to swim against the stream now, but I hear that a lot of this posturing about rankings and so forth calms down at a lot of schools once you're in the program.

Josh said...

Hey Omne, came across your profile on GMAT Club. Great thoughts on the value of an MBA.

I've been searching for some sub-700 guys on the GMAT Club site, so your profile was welcome sight. I'm also an aspiring career changer with a 680 GMAT and from small farm town in Washington State. So I hope they find me unique and put me in a less competitive "bucket". Sounds like you're going into this with the same strategy. I got in the game a little late, so I'll be applying 3rd round, but I'm crossing my fingers. Good luck to you.