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Just ranting, but MBAs out there, is anybody in the same situation?

I had no debt when came out of undergrad. Spent 2 years in IB, and had saved about $100k over that time, not spending any bonuses and not spending much except on rent (about half of my salary). Life was looking good.

Then in 2008 I decided to go for a H/S/W MBA and things started to go horribly wrong...

My savings were totally wiped out by the cost of tuition fee ($80K+ all the other hidden "extras" such as insurance, admin fee, medical fee, etc. add up to $100K)
Then I had to take on another $130k of debt because of
- living expenses ($1000/month, quite reasonable)
- international travel (90% of it for job hunting)
- The fact that the PE fund that took me for a summer internship decided that it didn't have to pay me any salary for the privilege of spending 3 months with them (I will hate them forever, and they are a $9bn fund) in a very expensive international location
- The fact that I only got a job 4 month after graduation because PE recruiting was tough

I'm now 2 years after graduation, just got my latest bonus and I'm finally down to 0 debt, 0 savings, 0 assets. And I'm 32yo. Bonuses have been crappy, work has not been rewarding and frankly, that MBA was really useless (apart from the network, which is the only value of an MBA to me).

Of course I made the transition to PE, but it's not as well paid as I thought, the lifestyle is actually pretty close to what it was for me in IBD (i.e. it sucks), and frankly, I think the industry is a bit dead right now. And I suspect our fund is going to go bust.

I'd like to start my own business but I feel old, broke, tired and abused by greedy partners. And I'm in the office during the Christmas break.

That's all.

5

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Comments (130)

  • DCFwacc's picture

    As someone recently accepted into a top program and deciding (with hesitation) to go for it, I'm curious to hear more opinions as well. The scariest part for me is the "0 savings, 0 assets" at 32. Hard to wrap my head around that.

  • In reply to HighlyLeveraged
    inkybinky's picture

    HighlyLeveraged:
    Wife doesn't work.

    That's the hardest. I'm in the same boat with a kid already in tow. It's not only tough because you have to earn twice as much as your peers for an equivalent lifestyle, but it makes you really risk averse. I can't even think about starting my own business or working for a startup. Too risky.

  • pu2011's picture

    You graduated from college at the age of 25? And how could you save that much as an Analyst? I'm left with 0 each month after taking care of the rent and credit card bill..

  • Committee's picture

    Two quick questions:

    1. You spent 2 years in IB, 2 years in MBA, and are now 2 years out of grad school. How do you get to 32?

    2. On the extra $130k of debt: $24,000 (assuming that you are including 2 full calendar years at $1000/month), how did you spend $100,000 on trips for job hunting?

    Just trying to understand this story, because the two above bullets suggest maybe your experience was not typical.

  • In reply to Committee
    HighlyLeveraged's picture

    To respond to everybody:

    Lateral move is very hard, especially in this environment. Its very hard to move around in PE. Went to the final stages of a megafund, but they are on hold for hiring now, and haven't heard back for months, so I guess its not going to happen

    I saved largely thanks to bonuses, which were great in 06 and 07!

    1 - I have a Bachelor + Master. Was on the job market at 25. Did some random jobs for a little while before getting an IB job.

    2. 24K for housing, add about 6K for housing during my internship (overseas). Add to that living expenses like commuting, food, books, clothes, phone bills, laptop, etc. Then lots of interviewing in lots of locations overseas (i.e. flights to Europe and Asia mostly)

  • HighlyLeveraged's picture

    don't even think about doing an MBA without scholarships... unless you are single and plan to do IB/PE on graduation and will stick to it for a couple of years. Debt also detroys your option to go for a startup or do a job you really like.

    And you have immense peer pressure to spend and spend on trips, activities and so on

  • In reply to HighlyLeveraged
    APAE's picture

    HighlyLeveraged:
    don't even think about doing an MBA without scholarships... unless you are single and plan to do IB/PE on graduation and will stick to it for a couple of years.
    I think this is the kicker here. Of those on this board, very few are likely to be married before or during their MBA. Also, most are in finance now and plan to follow the 'greatness' track after graduation, so there's (perhaps too) little concern about future earnings as well.

    Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

    Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

  • TeddyTheBear's picture

    I started a thread just the other day about companies paying for your travel. I am assuming that the companies you interviewed for didn't pay for travel??

  • In reply to HighlyLeveraged
    inkybinky's picture

    HighlyLeveraged:
    don't even think about doing an MBA without scholarships... unless you are single and plan to do IB/PE on graduation and will stick to it for a couple of years. Debt also detroys your option to go for a startup or do a job you really like.

    And you have immense peer pressure to spend and spend on trips, activities and so on


    If you ask me, the whole Ivy MBA thing is a rip off. I only applied to local part-time programs. One was a highly ranked "New Ivy" that I got into but turned down because the high cost translated to a low value. I'm sure there is some networking value there, but I can't imagine that a comparable network isn't achievable through other, far less expensive means (like the CFA Charter).

    What I find amazing is that so many of these bright young people think that graduating from an Ivy causes success because so many Ivy grads are successful. They don't stop to think that perhaps the people that go into these programs are more motivated and intelligent than average and that's actually what causes their success.

    I'm not disparaging the MBA (I'm learning a lot of useful stuff in mine). But when a program's cost begins to approach half a million dollars (including opportunity costs), it gets to be a bit ridiculous.

  • TNA's picture

    1) An Ivy Leage MBA is worth its weight in gold.

    2) Most of the people on this board will marry the first piece they get. So plan accordingly.

  • In reply to TNA
    inkybinky's picture

    TNA:
    1) An Ivy Leage MBA is worth its weight in gold.

    Unfortunately, an Ivy MBA doesn't weigh anything. Unless you count the diploma, in which case it may be worth a couple hundred bucks.

  • In reply to inkybinky
    IvyGrad's picture

    inkybinky:
    TNA:
    1) An Ivy Leage MBA is worth its weight in gold.

    Unfortunately, an Ivy MBA doesn't weigh anything. Unless you count the diploma, in which case it may be worth a couple hundred bucks.

    An Ivy MBA is very useful for some, if it is properly utilized. It gives people second bite at OCR, who want to pursue IBD or consulting. Getting an interview for IBD or top consulting, outside of standard OCR recruiting at MBA/ undergrad, is nearly impossible.

    However, it also comes with a very large risk. Not all M7 grads get banking/ consulting jobs, (actually, I think many don't) and they just wasted 200k and 2 years of lost income for same job prospects as before.

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  • IvyGrad's picture

    OP: thanks for sharing your story. People always hear about super sugar-coated views of MBA programs in general, so it is nice to hear the other side of the input.

    Could you elaborate on how competitive/ difficult it is to land a banking associate gig out of a top 10 MBA program. I work at a non-mbb consulting firm, but I was thinking about potentially going for an MBA program and go IBD from there. However, I heard that many from even M7 strike out at both banking/ consulting and I think it would be a huge financial gamble to pursue MBA as a result

  • In reply to inkybinky
    TNA's picture

    inkybinky:
    TNA:
    1) An Ivy Leage MBA is worth its weight in gold.

    Unfortunately, an Ivy MBA doesn't weigh anything. Unless you count the diploma, in which case it may be worth a couple hundred bucks.

    Getting an MBA from Columbia/Wharton/Harvard, etc is well worth the money you spend.

  • In reply to TNA
    DCFwacc's picture

    TNA:
    inkybinky:
    TNA:
    1) An Ivy Leage MBA is worth its weight in gold.

    Unfortunately, an Ivy MBA doesn't weigh anything. Unless you count the diploma, in which case it may be worth a couple hundred bucks.

    Getting an MBA from Columbia/Wharton/Harvard, etc is well worth the money you spend.

    Are you speaking from experience?

  • In reply to TNA
    adapt or die's picture

    TNA:

    2) Most of the people on this board will marry the first piece they get. So plan accordingly.

    Haha, so true. Nerd Street Oasis.

  • IamObama's picture

    True cost of an MBA. But on the flip side of things, you are only 32, you have 0 debt now, and everything left from your paycheck after expenses is automatic savings. Plus you have an MBA degree from a top business school program, and I'm sure with your experience you can easily switch into a more stable and high paying job if you want. I'd say looking at your situation now, by the time you are 40, you will be living in Greenwich, provided you stay employed the entire time and don't take on any more debt.

  • EU-IB-MBA's picture

    2 years out of Wharton, no debt, employed at a PE shop. All looks good to me. I'm at a similar program now, just got an offer overseas and planning to be debt-free by 2015. In a similar boat and doesn't feel like I've wasted time or money with my MBA. The markets/deal flow will pick up eventually and then you can leverage your PE experience and MBA network and get another kick-ass job somewhere else. Good luck and enjoy your time!

  • Febreeze's picture

    Someone once told me:

    You spend your twenties finding out what you want to do for the rest of your life, your thirties becoming really good at doing that thing, your forties making money doing it.

    You're ahead of the curve.

  • In reply to Febreeze
    EU-IB-MBA's picture

    Febreeze:
    Someone once told me:

    You spend your twenties finding out what you want to do for the rest of your life, your thirties becoming really good at doing that thing, your forties making money doing it.

    You're ahead of the curve.


    well said, sir

  • Ravenous's picture

    This doesn't surprise me at all. This is going to sound like a hater post but it's not intended to -- this post is based on 7 years of experience in the industry and watching plenty of H / S / W MBAs flounder after graduation (post-Lehman).

    I can only really speak about the particular niche of investing that I've worked in, but of the maybe 12 firms I know about that are comparable on the long / short side focusing on companies under a billion in cap, I'm not aware that any of them employ anyone from H / S / W MBA programs. There is one guy from Columbia's value investing program that I know about at another firm, which probably would be disparaged on WSO as not being elite enough.

    Instead, very few of the analysts at any of these firms (and many of them are blue chip names in the industry) don't have MBAs at all. A few of the founders of these firms have "shitty" MBAs from off brand schools, and most don't have any advanced degrees at all.

    The fact is, the MBA is extremely expensive and doesn't translate to really good front office opportunities in today's world. It used to, especially in PE, where it was required (it was never required on the HF side).

    Most PE firms don't add much value, and for the most part, the PE industry was a bubble based on cheap credit (I can feel the shit coming for that comment, but it's a true statement). The PE world is extremely saturated today with additional fall out coming, and the market for PE deals is very expensive right now, at least among public companies (again, my bias is sub-$1B in cap). The hiring environment is bad and the value proposition for recent graduates, even from H / S / W is also bad. You probably still need an m7 degree to get on the fast track at a megafund PE shop, but it's not the layup it used to be.

    Basically, the party is over. Act accordingly. And you shouldn't even be thinking about H / S / W or any other MBA if your goal is to work on the HF side of the business. It's a very expensive waste of time if that is your goal (no disrespect to those programs, which are fantastic, it's just that those programs produce is not really aligned with what a good HF needs). I have several friends from H / S that graduated this year and all struggled to find good placement at HFs, most settling for surprisingly low paying jobs.

    If you want to work at a megafund HF or a megafund PE firm and have the requisite background, the MBA might be worth it for you. For anyone else, it's definitely not worth it unless perhaps you can get in at a very young age (

  • valuationGURU's picture

    Should have used money from banking to start/buy a company. I am beginning to notice MBAs can be a waste of money/time/opportunity cost.

  • yeahright's picture

    Know a guy who did 1 year top MM IBD, 2 years buyside, graduated from H/S/W MBA recently. Cannot get a job in the type of fund he is looking for, granted he is being picky but still not as easy as one would of expected with the killer background.

    Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."

  • In reply to EU-IB-MBA
    Febreeze's picture

    EU-IB-MBA:
    Febreeze:
    Someone once told me:

    You spend your twenties finding out what you want to do for the rest of your life, your thirties becoming really good at doing that thing, your forties making money doing it.

    You're ahead of the curve.


    well said, sir

    I should probably note, it was some random drunk guy trying to bum a cigarette off me in Atlantic City while I was waiting outside for my now ex to leave the restroom. Started spilling his life story when I handed him a smoke, and crying about how he lost his family to drugs and gambling. When my ex came outside, he told us to never get married...

    This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn't even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him in that town!

  • In reply to Ravenous
    APAE's picture

    Ravenous:
    Thank you for that.

    Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

    Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

  • In reply to Ravenous
    adapt or die's picture

    Ravenous:

    The fact is, the MBA is extremely expensive and doesn't translate to really good front office opportunities in today's world. It used to, especially in PE, where it was required (it was never required on the HF side).

    Most PE firms don't add much value, and for the most part, the PE industry was a bubble based on cheap credit (I can feel the shit coming for that comment, but it's a true statement). The PE world is extremely saturated today with additional fall out coming, and the market for PE deals is very expensive right now, at least among public companies

    Basically, the party is over. Act accordingly.

    This industry is not the same as it used to be, and a lot of the information on WSO is outdated because of that.

    You made some excellent points that many on this board will probably shit all over you for stating. I especially liked the ones quoted above. The last line says it all to me, people have been parroting the same dogmas on this site for years (I go back to the Investment Banking Oasis days) and only now are some people on this board finally seeing the light that these things no longer hold true. +1 dude

  • IvyGrad's picture

    One of my friends used to work at BB Operations, did M7 MBA (Columbia) and recently landed an offer from one of MBB consulting. For him, MBA was well worth it.

    I think MBA is worth it if you get into a top program, and want IBD or consulting career. If you are already in banking, I am not sure why you'd need an MBA.

  • Oscar_chow's picture

    Hey at least you aren't highly leveraged anymore ~

  • In reply to Febreeze
    adapt or die's picture

    Febreeze:
    EU-IB-MBA:
    Febreeze:
    Someone once told me:

    You spend your twenties finding out what you want to do for the rest of your life, your thirties becoming really good at doing that thing, your forties making money doing it.

    You're ahead of the curve.


    well said, sir

    I should probably note, it was some random drunk guy trying to bum a cigarette off me in Atlantic City while I was waiting outside for my now ex to leave the restroom. Started spilling his life story when I handed him a smoke, and crying about how he lost his family to drugs and gambling. When my ex came outside, he told us to never get married...

    This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn't even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him in that town!

    Haha, Borgata?

  • In reply to adapt or die
    Febreeze's picture

    adapt or die:

    Haha, Borgata?

    nah, harrah's. don't even know what I was doing there, I was sooooo broke.

    edit: actually, yeah it was borgata - right at the main entrance now that i think about it.

  • Febreeze's picture

    Not to hijack this thread, but Ravenous has depressed the shit out of me.

    I was always hoping (the operating word, I guess) that an mba would offer a clean slate and a foot in the door. Guess, I need to really reevaluate my plans.

  • meabric's picture

    scary shit. only comfort is that your experience is slightly atypical in that
    1) You did 2 years IB --> MBA, where many of us will do 2 years buyside first (although IB bonuses then = buyside bonuses now). Still, should save enough to wipe out your debt, but 0 NW post-MBA isn't good.
    2) I still don't get where your debt is coming from. You would have to spend a year of MBA tuition on flights just to be in the ballpark. I get business class to Asia can be 8k roundtrip, but how many of those were you taking?

  • AllDay_028's picture

    Your debt amount seems HIGH. Like really high. It seems you were probably living a pretty lavish life during b school on borrowed money.

    Besides that, you were able to pay off over 200k in debt in a two year span. Considering you have at least 100k+ in money per year you can save plus you will likely make more in ten years than you do now, it seems to me you are in a good spot. You paid your dues up to this point and 20 years from now you are probably in a situation where you have 8 figures in the bank. Not sure why i'm supposed to feel bad for you that you are in this situation.

  • prudentinvestor's picture

    Two Points

    1) Your username in context of this post is hysterical

    2) I grew up in an obnoxiously impecunious family with the most moronic parents possible. If I could go back in time and painfully torture my parents/grandparents saw style to death to prevent procreating I would do it. (Clearly I have some mental issues).

    I barely had cash to pay for food and housing during college so little remorse from me. BUT, dude your background and degrees will pay mangitudes its costs through the course of your life. In a span of 6 months you should have a decent stockpile unless you live beyond your means. A year or two down the road you will be comfortable. You invest in your 20s to earn in your 30s and beyond.

    Relax, your fine.

  • daffyduck1998's picture

    I don't understand why people in banking continue to go after MBAs. The single most important thing in ibanking is networking. MBAs are for people who are switching from another career to business or specifically one area of business to another (marketing->finance) but even the latter is questionable. Obviously not every MBA ends up with no offer after graduation but the ones that do are usually beat out by those who NETWORK. The two years they spend learning regurgitated shit while throwing their savings in the gutter could have been better spent by continuing to make good money and eventually lateraling through networking.

    This isn't the 1970s, or 80s or 90s. This is the 2000's where networking has become much bigger/easier. Linkedin, google, email etc.

    I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people think by going after a top MBA, firms are going to automatically start bidding for that person to come work them.

  • wannabeaballer's picture

    Oh man, thanks for sounding the warning alarm! I was so about to make the huge mistake of getting a top MBA. Now I can just sit on this internet forum and cry about somebody else's midlife crisis.

  • In reply to Ravenous
    pariahdog's picture

    Ravenous:
    This doesn't surprise me at all. This is going to sound like a hater post but it's not intended to -- this post is based on 7 years of experience in the industry and watching plenty of H / S / W MBAs flounder after graduation (post-Lehman).
    ...
    The fact is, the MBA is extremely expensive and doesn't translate to really good front office opportunities in today's world. It used to, especially in PE, where it was required (it was never required on the HF side).

    Most PE firms don't add much value, and for the most part, the PE industry was a bubble based on cheap credit (I can feel the shit coming for that comment, but it's a true statement). The PE world is extremely saturated today with additional fall out coming, and the market for PE deals is very expensive right now, at least among public companies (again, my bias is sub-$1B in cap). The hiring environment is bad and the value proposition for recent graduates, even from H / S / W is also bad. You probably still need an m7 degree to get on the fast track at a megafund PE shop, but it's not the layup it used to be.

    Basically, the party is over. Act accordingly.

    Would a regional one year MBA program reverse your position?

  • In reply to pariahdog
    Ravenous's picture

    pariahdog:
    Ravenous:
    This doesn't surprise me at all. This is going to sound like a hater post but it's not intended to -- this post is based on 7 years of experience in the industry and watching plenty of H / S / W MBAs flounder after graduation (post-Lehman).
    ...
    The fact is, the MBA is extremely expensive and doesn't translate to really good front office opportunities in today's world. It used to, especially in PE, where it was required (it was never required on the HF side).

    Most PE firms don't add much value, and for the most part, the PE industry was a bubble based on cheap credit (I can feel the shit coming for that comment, but it's a true statement). The PE world is extremely saturated today with additional fall out coming, and the market for PE deals is very expensive right now, at least among public companies (again, my bias is sub-$1B in cap). The hiring environment is bad and the value proposition for recent graduates, even from H / S / W is also bad. You probably still need an m7 degree to get on the fast track at a megafund PE shop, but it's not the layup it used to be.

    Basically, the party is over. Act accordingly.

    Would a regional one year MBA program reverse your position?

    Again, I can't really speak to PE except through tangential knowledge -- I'm familiar with the general PE thought process and outcomes from the other side as a public market investor, but I've never worked in PE before. So all my answers are slated toward the HF side of the business. PE is similar but in my opinion has more of a country club / old boys mentality than HFs. You can be a complete fucking slob with a GED who lives out of a cardboard box and no one cares on the HF side as long as you can make money consistently. PE is more of a personal / relationship driven business, so appearances and pedigree count.

    I make the following assumptions:

    1) No MBA program, from any school, will teach you be an effective investor (probably of any kind, but certainly not a good public market investor).

    2) The point of getting an MBA is to get a job and a network. There is some educational value, but nothing you can't teach yourself out of a book for HF job coming out of any MBA program got it because they have substantial existing skill, not because they just completed an MBA.

    Think about it. Why would I hire an MBA, at 2x the cost, when I could just "buy" someone else as an employee with the same amount of pre-MBA experience, no debt, and lower expectations? I know that's not what anyone here wants to hear, but try to think about it from an employer's perspective, not your own perspective (sad fact of the day, the world doesn't really care what you want, it only cares about what you produce that someone else is willing to pay for).

    People don't want to acknowledge this, but investing is an apprenticeship business. You have to know enough about general business to get on the map, and from there, it's all very specific, nuanced applied knowledge that can't be acquired outside of actually spending time investing (preferably as a paid employee). I'm specifically referring to long / short. If you doubt this, look around the industry and you will see that most of the people in the business learned directly from another successful investor. It's not just Tiger Cubs.

    As it turns out, the idea that:

    1) Go to a good school
    2) Get an entry level job
    3) Top MBA
    4) ???
    5) Profit

    leaves a substantial hole in the ??? section. People have historically underestimated how big that hole is (specifically on this website, but also elsewhere), and I'm telling you it's huge.

    The major disconnect from reality that a lot of people on this site and probably in the industry should try to close is that your investment heroes in the hedge fund and private equity industries all started when those industries were in the nascent stages of development. They had a massive -- in fact really unbelievably large -- secular tailwind. Of course the big winners are smart and talented, but it sure helps if you launched a HF in the 1990s (or earlier) when it was a cottage industry that attracted a lot of capital. It's much, much harder to do that today because the industry is arguably mature (and is certainly not expanding), and hiring reflects that, probably with no outlook for near-term improvement.

  • HighlyLeveraged's picture

    Based on what I experienced, I think that very few MBAs actually add value. If you are paying for it yourself, I would aim for Harvard, Stanford, Wharton (all 3 far ahead in terms of network quality) and maybe Chicago, Columbia, Kellogg, Stern and Insead if you can't get HSW. Anything else is a bit a waste of time and money in my opinion, unless your employer is paying for it or for a big chunk of it.

    I think an MBA from one of the above school is great if:
    - Its paid for by your employer or you received a massive scholarship. Then its just a 2 year holiday
    - You want to break into IB or Consulting from a corporate / non-finance or consulting role. MBAs are just a pre-selection tool for IBs and Consulting firms
    - You want to break into PE from IB (HSW only though). Still extremely hard, but the MBA helps
    - You want to launch a startup while at school. You can use the school resources and network is great to get your company started. If it fails, you can try to get a job at a VC or McKinsey.
    - You need some CV cleanup i.e. come from a crappy undergrad school

  • TheKing's picture

    I'm sorry for your hardships but thanks for sharing your post. Also, great post by Ravenous.

    A friend of mine did the math on an MBA. This is a guy with a stellar background (banking, PE, great undergrad and GPA), who recently turned 28. The way he saw it, he'd end up getting into school at 29, spending a ton while he was there (on tuition, etc.), and not get back to where he's at now until he's around 33 or so. Not to mention, the opportunity cost of stopping work to go, AND there is absolutely no promise of a worthwhile job afterwards, even if you go to a premiere school.

    As for me, I've always been pretty anti-MBA. I just don't even think I could handle being in an academic setting again, would rather be out there "doing" as opposed to learning how to do things (in theory.)

    That said, if you want to climb the ladder in PE, it's often necessary to have a top MBA. Though, to parrot Ravenous, PE is going to face its industry-wide day of reckoning before long.

  • In reply to AllDay_028
    HighlyLeveraged's picture

    had $130K of debt at graduation, and was pretty careful on how I spent the money. I interviewed with c.20 PE funds over 2 years, and none of them have ever paid for flight tickets. This was 2009 - they would just say: "if you don't want to come, fine, we have 300 other great applicants waiting to get your spot".

    Do I regret the MBA? Well I didn't learn anything academically speaking, I thought the majority of people were brainwashed and really arrogant, and I would have loved to spend the time and money in a startup. But I needed the network desperately since I came from a lousy undergrad. So no, I don't regret because I'm using the network everyday.

    Would I have done that MBA had I graduated from an Ivy? Not a chance!!!

  • In reply to Ravenous
    inkybinky's picture

    [quote=Ravenous]2) The point of getting an MBA is to get a job and a network. There is some educational value, but nothing you can't teach yourself out of a book for CFA Charter to facilitate a transtition from financial software development (where I am now) to AM. Quite frankly, each CFA level probably has as much content as all of my graduate finance courses combined. If I'm looking for someone who has strong theoretical financial knowledge (and some intelligence), I would look to the CFA Charter first. But neither the CFA nor an MBA can substitute for real world competence.

  • In reply to HighlyLeveraged
    pariahdog's picture

    HighlyLeveraged:
    Based on what I experienced, I think that very few MBAs actually add value. If you are paying for it yourself, I would aim for Harvard, Stanford, Wharton (all 3 far ahead in terms of network quality) and maybe Chicago, Columbia, Kellogg, Stern and Insead if you can't get HSW. Anything else is a bit a waste of time and money in my opinion, unless your employer is paying for it or for a big chunk of it.

    I think an MBA from one of the above school is great if:
    - Its paid for by your employer or you received a massive scholarship. Then its just a 2 year holiday
    - You want to break into IB or Consulting from a corporate / non-finance or consulting role. MBAs are just a pre-selection tool for IBs and Consulting firms
    - You want to break into PE from IB (HSW only though). Still extremely hard, but the MBA helps
    - You want to launch a startup while at school. You can use the school resources and network is great to get your company started. If it fails, you can try to get a job at a VC or McKinsey.
    - You need some CV cleanup i.e. come from a crappy undergrad school

    I guess in a round about way I'm asking from a non-US point of view. Europe/Canada/Asia all have respected one year programs. Granted, none of these programs are on par with the H/S/W international recognition but are well respected locally (in their own countries). I'm personally not in PE but work in analytics at a Fortune 100 company in the US and I'm looking to break into commodity trading post-MBA.

    Both yours and Ravenous points resound with me, but don't you think a more affordable one year program at a top Canadian school would be worthwhile? The program is cheaper and I'll be back in the workforce in a year.

  • VanillaGorilla's picture

    I'm 28 and applying to MBAs now and will probably be 33/34 before I'm net zero, if I'm lucky. I hope to do IB post MBA and will probably hate life - you gotta have goals, right?

    However, I'm in agreement with a lot of the above posts arguing that you aren't in a bad spot. Net zero with a relatively high-paying job. You're 32. You got there later than you wanted. Oh well, you're here now. Wife and kids? Sounds like a personal preference. Greedy partners? Who isn't greedy? Every business owner I have worked under in my non-finance related industry is greedy. Only difference between them is that some hide it.

    If anything it sounds like you're on the up-swing. Keep working hard to position yourself for the best possible scenarios/options in your future career.

  • In reply to IamObama
    TechBanking's picture

    IamObama:
    True cost of an MBA. But on the flip side of things, you are only 32, you have 0 debt now, and everything left from your paycheck after expenses is automatic savings.

    You could just be graduating from medical school with $500k in debt, similar earning potential and a slog through analyst-like brutal hours to look forward to.

  • In reply to Ravenous
    HighlyLeveraged's picture

    Ravenous:
    (no disrespect to those programs, which are fantastic, it's just that those programs produce is not really aligned with what a good HF needs)

    One more point - I don't think those MBA programs are fantastic at all. Academically speaking, you may find a couple of very charismatic teachers, but the 99% of the content is outdated and not as groundbreaking as you would expect. Often the content is either wrong, not relevant or even poisonous (i.e. management courses that brainwash you with "frameworks" that have limited empirical evidence, optimisation and finance courses that teach you to optimise everything but ignores the risk associated with too much optimisation, classes that don't teach you to think but to memorise fancy techniques that are only half-understood, etc.). Throw some nice events, new buildings, lots of nice speeches and recruiting events in the mix and there you go, there is your top MBA.

    What is fantastic at top schools though is "the access" ie. access to tailored recruiting programs, access to the student and alumni body and internships

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