MBA is not worth it if it is not a top MBA.

Hi everyone, I have been a lurker on this forum for quite sometime now and have come across this notion at several occasions. I wanted to ask the people who believe in this statement that why do they do so? There are several second tier MBA programs with good employment results(Placement and Average Salary). If I pursue MBA in such an institution in US with scholarship why is it not worth it? I am barely taking home $300 a month while working more than 12 hours a day and at least one weekend in a month. The average salary stated in the employment data of such programs in US is more than tenfold that even after adjusting for standard of living. Please do not mistaken this as a rant or something. I genuinely want to know this. Thanks.

With a second tier MBA, you will be able to get *a* job. Just not a look from top institutions. If you have a scholarship and won’t actually have to pay for it, I think it would be worth it.

Compared to your current situation any change would be welcome.

If you spend 12 hours per day on the net clicking ads you can probably make more than $300 per month

^ so true.

@rorygilmore: I do not mind working at small boutique firms if the work is good and pay is decent.

@elcoelhon: I completely agree with you.

Thank you for your replies.

Yes try to get an MBA which is located close to big city. Be careful about the level of education you can get. I suggest talk to number of Indian students regarding their experience. The problem with US MBA is H1-B Visa. If you don’t get a VISA you have to go back to India and even the living expense in US can be a lot over a period of two years. Frankly a 2nd tier MBA is a gamble. I would suggest you to get a Masters in Finance from a program in Frankfurt school of Finance you will be happy with the education and your education will be directly linked to your job back in India.

Everyone on this (and other finance related) board will tell you not to bother with an MBA unless its from a top 20 10 2 institution. If you are looking to be a BSD and get a job in BB IB or with a PE firm that is typically good advice. With a random tier MBA you will certainly be more hireable for any number of other jobs that do any number of other tasks, which is better than where you are at. Now you just have to see what the costs are and figure if it will be a good investment or not.

@AbhiJ Thank you for the insight, I will checkout the program

@Yayyywork Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it.

So, I thought about this a bit, and I theorized that if the MBA admissions “market” is efficient, the median student who enrolls should be completely indifferent in the long term between attending that program and just working full time instead. If the program benefits were really high, then the program should attract better candidates, who have incrementally higher opportunity costs, and vice versa. This might not hold true for the absolutely best universities, which have severely restricted availability of admission spots. However, for a middling institution (which I would say is anything outside the Top 5 schools), I don’t see why there should not be upward and downward market effects.

Anyway, based on my theory, 50% of graduates of any MBA program should experience a net loss from attendance. I’m sure a lot more than 50% will report a “gain”, however. This would be caused by 1) pride and confirmation bias, and 2) weighting “change of perspective” more than “lost alternatives”. This would be a bias that would not reflect true cost and benefits. In any case, there is sure to be a significant number of MBA graduates who are disappointed with the result.

This is just theory anyway. It would be interesting to see some real numbers.

I’ll just point out one thing. The so called “second tier” schools aren’t very easy to get in if your salary is significantly lower than applicants’ average. If the second tier schools you’re referring to are schools in Cornell/UT range, then the applicants are people who actually have decent jobs. So I’d suggest really examine your assumption of getting into those schools with scholarships and getting a job afterwards in the US. It can be actually harder than it seems, and like some folks pointed out earlier, it’s a gamble. But you do have to have some money to even play, so the stakes are actually quite high unless you have piles of cash to burn.

Go for those MBA schools closer to big cities like New York as it will be easier to find companies that tend to hire internationals for cheap. You will be exploited but hey beats your current situation right.

This is a crazy risk though. OP makes $3600 a year. It will take him 30 years to pay off this MBA at this rate. Class warfare is real. Why not just immigrate illegally and work in a restaurant for a 10x salary increase?

Well, the MBA’s reputation and recruitment is a decent measure of your possible outcomes. It’s unlikely that unless you gain acceptance to a very highly ranked school that this will be worth the cost.

In some cases it might be better to stay in India. Is he able to make a comfortable living at 3600 a year? His cost of living is lower for sure.

The big gamble in the international’s case is, is he able to get a job that gives him a comparable standard of living? In New York without a better than average job he is probably net loss. On 3600 USD a year maybe he has servants in India?

I’m not saying don’t try but the downside risk is horrible in this case, you don’t get a job, your visa gets rejected, you have USD debt on an Indian salary… if none of that happens, be prepared to be miserable looking for jobs and then trying to grind out a living with the rest of the herd.

The cost of living is low here, but not that low. I am barely surviving on on my salary. I agree with the downside risk being bad, but that’s the worst case scenario right?

Ok, let me ask this. What is the best way for an international candidate to break into the financial services sector in USA?

At your current salary you are probably not middle of the pile among Indian finance professionals. How much savings do you have ? Have a look at the cost of US MBA Programs. Why don’t you try MBA from India, work for a few years, finish your charter and maybe a few years later try to do a Masters in Finance from US, UK.

I will give you few examples of people from India who are working in Finance in US:

1.) Quant Jocks: CFA/FRM with experience in I Banks such as GS, JP Morgan etc. These guys earn anywhere from 30,000 - 50,000 USD in India. They typically go for Financial Engineering. They come from premier engineering institutes.

2.) Finance Folks - These guys can either be CAs or Engg with CFAs or MBAs. They work for some Finance firms including KPOs or commercial banks such as HSBC. Their salary is around 25,000 - 35,000 USD. These guys typically go for a MBA in US.