If you go for MBA and fail to land the right job

Will you regret the six figure debt? That’s my biggest concern.

I’m interested in investment research and I know that the schools will open some doors with interviews. I’m just not 100% confident that I can get the offers because these jobs are very competitive.

Would it be better to stay in a middle office job (portfolio reporting) and hope to make the transition into it on my own?

There’s no sure fire way into investment research. in general, a good MBA gives you much better odds of getting in, instead of applying everywhere and studying for the CFA exams while working in a unrelated/backoffice job.

think of the MBA as a broadening of your options. Don’t think of it as a straight and direct path only to research. you may discover other directions you really like, or meet other people and go in different directions.

If you do your MBA, spend as much time networking as studying.

I know it’s top 3 or hacksaw around here, but what is considered a good MBA from those in hiring positions?

I’m leaning towards attending this fall (one ranked between the typical top 11-16 peer group) and my stats probably weren’t M7 material. I’m just a bit worried about the six figure debt I’d incur and going to be making a decision soon.

technically on AF, the hacksaw cutoff is actually Top 2, but I digress…

alrite for real though, considering the crushing debt load, the rule of thumb has generally been: top 10 school or don’t bother (schools around the 11-13 generally are considered to be so on a select basis). The key is the strength of the on-campus recruiting. That’s the real value. If I was forced to choose, I’d rather go to a school , say NYU Stern, which has stronger wall street connections, and location of course, instead of a school in the middle of nowhere that has an “officially higher ranked program” based on some stupid criteria like students per professor, or student assigned reputation points.

It’s a leap of faith, and expensive too, but it’s your best shot of breaking out if you really are spinning your wheels in your job now.

It’s top 2 or hacksaw if you live in NYC, Boston or Chicago. Outside of those cities, you can easily obtain a good MBA from your area and do very well.

I might add SF to the above.

Bud Fox went to to Stern and he turned out Ok. …But then again I turn the movie off right after the dinner scene in the appartment where Bud says everything is “Too Perfect” and consider the film a short inspirational love story.

If you need a MBA to advance in your current company and they will pay for it, get your MBA. If you need a MBA to advance in your current company and they will NOT pay for it, find a new job.

Usually if you want the company to sponsor you for MBA, esp expensive MBA, you should have stayed with your company for ~2 years. Assuming he got everything right (ie: can find such good company to sponsor within few months from now and perform a good enough job to get sponsorship and get admitted to the right college after 2 years in new company), he will need to wait for around 3 years before entering MBA. Now, age matters, esp if you are 29-30 years old now …

If the company pays for your MBA, you will also have to stick around after your MBA for a certain period or be asked to reimburse your company.

yup, min 2 years. Some even ask 6 years. So in total you’ll be around with that company for 4-8 years.

As much as I hate the idea of going back for an MBA, I’d probably take a free one. But my current company doesn’t pay any part of MBA tuition as they don’t consider it necessary or desirable for advancement within the company.

We have a girl in my group, she’s been with the company 4 years or so. Apparently asked for company tuition assistance/reimbursement for her MBA and they said no. Yet they paid my CFA L3 exam fees no questions asked. The HR woman in charge of this stuff was like “It’s only $700? Sure, no big deal!” CFA > MBA?

Sure that in term of cost, CFA < MBA 100x to 300x times. $700 for a valued & royal staff? Sure, no big deal. But $100,000 - $200,000 for MBA for a staff? Is this person really worth 100x-300x times the other staffs who passed CFA level 3? Big number matters man.

This is a real concern. A lot of it comes down to what the economy is like in the year you graduate. (i.e. Luck).

I began my MBA program in 2007. The US economy was booming at the time.

While I was in school, the global economic crisis happened. A huge proportion of the class graduated without jobs.

Many of my chinese/indian/etc classmates couldn’t find work after months of looking, and thus got sent packing back to their home countries with ~$100,000+ in debt. (Good luck collecting on those student loans, Citi.)

Was the same story for the class of 2010. (And, to a lesser extent, 2011.)

The moral of the story is that an MBA can pay off handsomely, or it can be an expensive route to prolonged unemployment. You won’t know until you graduate.

Which schools would you say are worth the debt for a long-term career in finance and for someone who graduated from a regional state school? Let’s assume that my total debt level will around $100K for tuition+living expenses (and if I apply my $50k saving, that debt level will be halved). I think top 7 is a stretch for me so I’m mainly targeting schools outside of it.

I began my MBA in 2008 while at a Big Bank on the PM track. Was laid off in the downturn and spent 2009 on unemployemnt, substitute teaching to keep my mind in “work” mode", and finishing MBA paid for with loans. By the time I found a job in late 2009 I was in my last semester. The MBA progression did not help in the role I got (took a HUGE paycut as well, but after almost a year unemployed I would take anything) but by the time I left there in late 2011 the MBA definately played a role in getting me where I’m at at my current HF. I’ve since paid off all debt (Yay HF bonuses!) and do not regret a thing. Taking the shitty role in 2009 and risking having to pay large loan repayments on crap salary (Which I had to do for ~2 years) allowed me to stay in the biz, keep up contacts, stay fresh on market trends, and got the stigma of unemployement off of me. Plus, the firm I’m at liked my story and saw I hustle… I wasn’t some entitled prick holding out for that “six-figure base salary, Patrick Bateman ‘My God it even has a watermark’ business card” MBA role, I was willing to slum it out for a bit just to stay in the game.

Yes, it would have sucked to have the debt load with no job, but the point of me getting an MBA wasn’t a gamble with the hopeful payoff of opening doors to get a job, it was (at the time at least) a “required” step to progress my career. Unfortunately the real world got in the way and I was forced to play the hand I was dealt. It payed off in the long run though.

I would not recommend getting an MBA (or going after CFA for that matter), with the main intention of “looking attractive on paper”. I think Numi was spot on in the other thread about networking that its about what you can offer. Having an MBA or the Charter is great and all, but if you have no real world experince and can contribute nothing from day 1 except allowing the firm to add one more MBA or CFA Charterholder to thier prospectus, you’re going to end up very dissapointed and no one will give you a second look. But if you are giving it your all in an established role where it’s obvious the guys a few levels up all have MBA’s or the Charer and you want to be in their position, it will most likely pay off in the end.

Villnius, So from your post I get the idea that you wouldn’t recommend a MBA to a career switcher? What happen to members of your class who were trying to use a MBA as a springboard?

In the end, MBA’s provide a competitive moat that most employers screen for. MBA loans is leveraging on yourself. If you get a good job, your pay is higher, your loan is tax deductible, you will receive a good network, and you will have a brand name attached to yourself. Worst case is you are unable to pay everthing, default, and they garnish your wages, or as one of the people up top said, if you are an international student; you fly back to your country. But you will always have that MBA school attached to your name. So bottom line, you need a good mba school, who has a decent median salary increase at graduation relative to your current salary now. If you are already highly paid, then no need for mba. NPV it to decide if its worth it. If you fail to get a job after it, then maybe some self examination would help you out more, because more schooling (phd) will most likely not help you.

I think Career switcher is a different circumstance. Although the field you are trying to get into may be different, if you already have a career, you bring real world experience to the table and the MBA could allow for that transition. Good management skills are easily transferable, as is project management, business development, sales, etc.

I can kind of relate that to lateral movement in finance. I see a lot of my coverage move from the rates desk to credit, from repo to rates, etc… products are different and require a different specialization, but at the end of the day sales trading is sales trading (I am not a sales trader, but my brother is and he confirms he can be put anywhere on the desk and work from day 1… its not rocket science). If you have those core qualities developed through on the job experience, it will transfer. But that being said, I’m not the best to answer this question though, as I knew from early on I wanted to be in this field and I can’t comprehend waking up one day and saying “I want to be a computer programmer, let me go back to school!”.

My point was that for an undergrad to jump right into an MBA as a “gateway” to open doors for interviews might be a waste of time. Sure you have an MBA… but what can you bring to the table aside from the degree? Yes, emphasis is put on the school you went to, but as I have said in another thread, after we screen for good schools, we look at experience. If you have nothing to bring to the role, we toss you.

As for my class it was fairly diverse… I would say the non-finance courses were split between Finance, Corp. Managmement, and Medical backgrounds, with most in the medical profession (typically Doctors and Pharmacists looking to run the hospitals they work for.) The finance cources (I have MBA with Finance Concentration) were typically people like me… Working at a Big Bank, with the MBA helping to move them up the chain. I never worked with anyone who was looking to completely switch fields so I can’t really comment on the success rate, only that I can see it adding value to prior on the job experience.