12/31/12

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.

Comments (130)

12/28/12

That's nothing. Try a wife and kids if you really want to feel broke.

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12/28/12

O yes - have a wife and kid on the way. Wife doesn't work.

12/28/12

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.
12/29/12

HighlyLeveraged:
O yes - have a wife and kid on the way. Wife doesn't work.

why not.
its not like shes busy taking care of a kid....

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

DCFwacc:
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.

So true. Very sad about that, OP. How can he get married at this age with being screwed by his weak life plan? Anyways, I think this story can make a lot people feel better now. And I am one of them, shame on me.

I'm feeling like a star, you can't stop my shine---Ridin' Solo

12/28/12

What happened here:
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/leaving-your...

Can you still lateral

12/28/12

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..

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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)

12/28/12

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

12/28/12

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

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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??

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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.
12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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?

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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

12/28/12

That's really rough... I don't think I will go for an MBA unless my employer funds it...

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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!

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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
12/28/12

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!

12/28/12

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?

12/28/12

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.

Best Response
12/28/12

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 (

12/28/12

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

12/28/12

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

12/28/12

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?

12/28/12

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

All MBAs fail the test on #1 (simply learning about business is helpful but does not equate to successful investing, nor is it in any way a requirement for eventually becoming a successful investor), and most fail the test on #2 (with regionals a toss up -- if someone's hiring out of your school because they went there, that's helpful, but you're still most likely at a disadvantage). It varies by firm, but most likely, anyone getting a good 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.

12/28/12

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
That's true of any degree.

An MBA is a general management credential. Sure you can specialize your studies in finance, but the majority of it is general in nature. I don't see why some people see it as something that makes great financiers.

I'm working on an MBA (part-time) primarily as a hedge. I want to have superior credentials that make it easier for me to respond to rapid industry changes. I'm working toward my 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.

12/28/12

What are your thoughts about the following idea: do a part-time MBA and job hunting at the same time, quit MBA after landing a job.

This seems a perfect strategy for me as a career-changer (and a non-prestige whore obviously): get access to almost identical resources (OCR, alumni network) as full-time MBAs, but at a lower cost/risk.

12/28/12

Don't you think the new company that hires someone pursuing their MBA will find it a little strange that the person never obtains that degree? Don't think that your employer won't come to you everyone once in a while and say something like, "How much longer do you have until you are done with school?", or ask your how classes are going, etc.

12/28/12

Glassdoor:
Don't you think the new company that hires someone pursuing their MBA will find it a little strange that the person never obtains that degree? Don't think that your employer won't come to you everyone once in a while and say something like, "How much longer do you have until you are done with school?", or ask your how classes are going, etc.

"I want to be at least 100% when I work for you, so I quit school."

12/28/12

inkybinky:
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
That's true of any degree.

This is absolute hogwash. A STEM degree, especially at the graduate level, teaches real skills that are almost impossible (i.e. for 99% of us) to acquire on your own. Math PhD's are great...such fast learners...

Morpheus: Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

12/28/12

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

12/30/12

You make a solid point about the relevance of an MBA. Could you maybe help me better understand the value of an MBA? I sometimes feel like individuals use it as a punchline and add zero additional value.

12/31/12

top MBA = brand on CV + alumni network

Don't underestimate the punchline value. A F500 CEO told me once that without his MBA, he would never have been picked to be the CEO (note: doesn't mean that a top MBA will turn you into a CEO) It's all about public image and perception that you are qualified.

People are suckers when it comes to brands.

12/31/12

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).

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 (

Dropping the truth. Where's Brady4MVP at?

1/4/13

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).

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 (

Amen to this! No hate. You speak the truth (but truth with a bright red negative half million dollar price tag is always hard to swallow).

1/4/13

larasing:
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).

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 (

Amen to this! No hate. You speak the truth (but truth with a bright red negative half million dollar price tag is always hard to swallow).

I couldn't agree more. This was one of the most insightful things I've ever read on this site. I've always questioned the value of higher education (particularly at these prices) and I am now re-thinking my MBA decision. Thank you!

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12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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."

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

Hey at least you aren't highly leveraged anymore ~

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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?

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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!!!

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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

12/28/12

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.

12/31/12

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

This is fairly accurate. Not 100%, but close enough. The MBA has a time and a place, and is much more useful in the traditional business arenas (F500, IB, MC), plus what HighlyLeveraged said, than it is for an easy transition to the buy side. In any case, this is what most people are going for anyway (perhaps not on this board, but certainly true for 80% or more of the population at the m7), and the formula WORKS.

For the buy side, there is only a round-about sort of value-add: apprenticeship businesses (investors) are fond of adopting talented 'dolphins' to mentor and groom, and a top 5 or m7 MBA acts as a proxy for a student's talent, and possibly throws in some networking as as sweetener. That's it - recruiting at a target business school (especially one where students have relevant pre-MBA experiences - this point CANNOT be overstated for the buy side) is a cost-cutting recruiting exercise for buysiders; they don't need to pay fees to a headhunter.

Regarding the educational value, for the traditional business areas (ie. ex-buyside), believe it or not the MBA does give students a generalist skill set (everyone on this board talks like an undergrad business major or as if IB pitchbook-generating skill sets were the only important thing in the world - I agree that in those cases, the educational content of the MBA isn't particularly relevant, but so what?). And that skill set IS in demand by employers, coupled with the talent-signalling effect of going to a target school.

That said, if anyone here goes into business school without calculating what it will cost and how to manage your personal finances... good luck selling your candidacy AS A MONEY MANAGER to institutional investors. Seriously, what the hell. I'm sorry about HighlyLeveraged's situation but in two years he'll be worth a quarter of a million dollars and rapidly on the upswing.

12/31/12

jtbbdxbnycmad:
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

This is fairly accurate. Not 100%, but close enough. The MBA has a time and a place, and is much more useful in the traditional business arenas (F500, IB, MC), plus what HighlyLeveraged said, than it is for an easy transition to the buy side. In any case, this is what most people are going for anyway (perhaps not on this board, but certainly true for 80% or more of the population at the m7), and the formula WORKS.

For the buy side, there is only a round-about sort of value-add: apprenticeship businesses (investors) are fond of adopting talented 'dolphins' to mentor and groom, and a top 5 or m7 MBA acts as a proxy for a student's talent, and possibly throws in some networking as as sweetener. That's it - recruiting at a target business school (especially one where students have relevant pre-MBA experiences - this point CANNOT be overstated for the buy side) is a cost-cutting recruiting exercise for buysiders; they don't need to pay fees to a headhunter.

Regarding the educational value, for the traditional business areas (ie. ex-buyside), believe it or not the MBA does give students a generalist skill set (everyone on this board talks like an undergrad business major or as if IB pitchbook-generating skill sets were the only important thing in the world - I agree that in those cases, the educational content of the MBA isn't particularly relevant, but so what?). And that skill set IS in demand by employers, coupled with the talent-signalling effect of going to a target school.

That said, if anyone here goes into business school without calculating what it will cost and how to manage your personal finances... good luck selling your candidacy AS A MONEY MANAGER to institutional investors. Seriously, what the hell. I'm sorry about HighlyLeveraged's situation but in two years he'll be worth a quarter of a million dollars and rapidly on the upswing.

I have never seen a buyside investor/PM take a kid under his wing based on having gotten an MBA unless there is a pre-existing relationship (ie he knew him when he was a kid or something like that). I also dont know any PM who would consider the skills required to get into a good MBA (good grades and GMAT) as a good proxy for "talent" in the sense that it applies to the actual business. I know many more people (including myself) who became "attached" to more senior PMs who helped them who came from from low-level jobs in the business (ops, trading assistant, low-level analyst, etc) then those who succeeded on the same path from a MBA program. In fact the MBAs we hire generally are caught in an in-between situation where they dont have enough hands-on experience to really advance rapidly on their own but they are also seen as to old to catch a more senior person's eye to bring along as a mentor...it takes years to build relationships on that level and MBAs generally have spent a decade doing "something else". They also tend to be pretty arrogant despite knowing almost nothing.

As I say with all these posts...I only speak from experience in the macro world, it could be different elsewhere.

12/31/12

Bondarb:

I have never seen a buyside investor/PM take a kid under his wing based on having gotten an MBA unless there is a pre-existing relationship (ie he knew him when he was a kid or something like that). I also dont know any PM who would consider the skills required to get into a good MBA (good grades and GMAT) as a good proxy for "talent" in the sense that it applies to the actual business. I know many more people (including myself) who became "attached" to more senior PMs who helped them who came from from low-level jobs in the business (ops, trading assistant, low-level analyst, etc) then those who succeeded on the same path from a MBA program. In fact the MBAs we hire generally are caught in an in-between situation where they dont have enough hands-on experience to really advance rapidly on their own but they are also seen as to old to catch a more senior person's eye to bring along as a mentor...it takes years to build relationships on that level and MBAs generally have spent a decade doing "something else". They also tend to be pretty arrogant despite knowing almost nothing.

As I say with all these posts...I only speak from experience in the macro world, it could be different elsewhere.

Second all of this, especially this part:

"I know many more people (including myself) who became "attached" to more senior PMs who helped them who came from from low-level jobs in the business (ops, trading assistant, low-level analyst, etc) then those who succeeded on the same path from a MBA program."

I used to think having an MBA would help with raising capital, but I've learned that is also wrong. So I really see no value to the MBA if you're already on the buy side in or near the job you want to be in. Two years of working with a good PM is a long time and very expensive to forego for an MBA.

I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: Hedge funds are an apprenticeship business. If you want to take your best shot at becoming a hedge fund BSD (however you define that), then your best bet is to get into the best firm you can and work your ass off and rise by adding value. If you demonstrate skill and network with others, you will move up over time. I can't speak to macro, but the niche of investing I work in is very small and everyone knows everyone else. Once you are "known" in the business, doors start to open up.

12/31/12

Bondarb:
jtbbdxbnycmad:
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

This is fairly accurate. Not 100%, but close enough. The MBA has a time and a place, and is much more useful in the traditional business arenas (F500, IB, MC), plus what HighlyLeveraged said, than it is for an easy transition to the buy side. In any case, this is what most people are going for anyway (perhaps not on this board, but certainly true for 80% or more of the population at the m7), and the formula WORKS.

For the buy side, there is only a round-about sort of value-add: apprenticeship businesses (investors) are fond of adopting talented 'dolphins' to mentor and groom, and a top 5 or m7 MBA acts as a proxy for a student's talent, and possibly throws in some networking as as sweetener. That's it - recruiting at a target business school (especially one where students have relevant pre-MBA experiences - this point CANNOT be overstated for the buy side) is a cost-cutting recruiting exercise for buysiders; they don't need to pay fees to a headhunter.

Regarding the educational value, for the traditional business areas (ie. ex-buyside), believe it or not the MBA does give students a generalist skill set (everyone on this board talks like an undergrad business major or as if IB pitchbook-generating skill sets were the only important thing in the world - I agree that in those cases, the educational content of the MBA isn't particularly relevant, but so what?). And that skill set IS in demand by employers, coupled with the talent-signalling effect of going to a target school.

That said, if anyone here goes into business school without calculating what it will cost and how to manage your personal finances... good luck selling your candidacy AS A MONEY MANAGER to institutional investors. Seriously, what the hell. I'm sorry about HighlyLeveraged's situation but in two years he'll be worth a quarter of a million dollars and rapidly on the upswing.

I have never seen a buyside investor/PM take a kid under his wing based on having gotten an MBA unless there is a pre-existing relationship (ie he knew him when he was a kid or something like that). I also dont know any PM who would consider the skills required to get into a good MBA (good grades and GMAT) as a good proxy for "talent" in the sense that it applies to the actual business. I know many more people (including myself) who became "attached" to more senior PMs who helped them who came from from low-level jobs in the business (ops, trading assistant, low-level analyst, etc) then those who succeeded on the same path from a MBA program. In fact the MBAs we hire generally are caught in an in-between situation where they dont have enough hands-on experience to really advance rapidly on their own but they are also seen as to old to catch a more senior person's eye to bring along as a mentor...it takes years to build relationships on that level and MBAs generally have spent a decade doing "something else". They also tend to be pretty arrogant despite knowing almost nothing.

As I say with all these posts...I only speak from experience in the macro world, it could be different elsewhere.

That sounds pretty realistic to me (the complicated in-between zone that MBA hires are in, though I'm not sure MBAs have spent a decade doing something else - usually around 4-5 years of work plus 2 years of grad school). It's a weird proposition, I'm pretty sure. As I said, the case for MBAs for the buy side is a much more roundabout one than it is for more traditional lines of business. Much more about the individual student and the individual fund.

1/5/13

Bondarb:
jtbbdxbnycmad:
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

This is fairly accurate. Not 100%, but close enough. The MBA has a time and a place, and is much more useful in the traditional business arenas (F500, IB, MC), plus what HighlyLeveraged said, than it is for an easy transition to the buy side. In any case, this is what most people are going for anyway (perhaps not on this board, but certainly true for 80% or more of the population at the m7), and the formula WORKS.

For the buy side, there is only a round-about sort of value-add: apprenticeship businesses (investors) are fond of adopting talented 'dolphins' to mentor and groom, and a top 5 or m7 MBA acts as a proxy for a student's talent, and possibly throws in some networking as as sweetener. That's it - recruiting at a target business school (especially one where students have relevant pre-MBA experiences - this point CANNOT be overstated for the buy side) is a cost-cutting recruiting exercise for buysiders; they don't need to pay fees to a headhunter.

Regarding the educational value, for the traditional business areas (ie. ex-buyside), believe it or not the MBA does give students a generalist skill set (everyone on this board talks like an undergrad business major or as if IB pitchbook-generating skill sets were the only important thing in the world - I agree that in those cases, the educational content of the MBA isn't particularly relevant, but so what?). And that skill set IS in demand by employers, coupled with the talent-signalling effect of going to a target school.

That said, if anyone here goes into business school without calculating what it will cost and how to manage your personal finances... good luck selling your candidacy AS A MONEY MANAGER to institutional investors. Seriously, what the hell. I'm sorry about HighlyLeveraged's situation but in two years he'll be worth a quarter of a million dollars and rapidly on the upswing.

I have never seen a buyside investor/PM take a kid under his wing based on having gotten an MBA unless there is a pre-existing relationship (ie he knew him when he was a kid or something like that). I also dont know any PM who would consider the skills required to get into a good MBA (good grades and GMAT) as a good proxy for "talent" in the sense that it applies to the actual business. I know many more people (including myself) who became "attached" to more senior PMs who helped them who came from from low-level jobs in the business (ops, trading assistant, low-level analyst, etc) then those who succeeded on the same path from a MBA program. In fact the MBAs we hire generally are caught in an in-between situation where they dont have enough hands-on experience to really advance rapidly on their own but they are also seen as to old to catch a more senior person's eye to bring along as a mentor...it takes years to build relationships on that level and MBAs generally have spent a decade doing "something else". They also tend to be pretty arrogant despite knowing almost nothing.

As I say with all these posts...I only speak from experience in the macro world, it could be different elsewhere.

You basically mean they are lazy? You do not need to sugarcoat or say "in-between" or "stuck". Plain and simple having a decade of experience doing "something else" should allow one to get a heads up on the kids in the backoffice who just got used to working, should allow them to catch and create value faster, figure out what is of importance etc.. Any MBA failing to do this at your firm is shear lazy and refusing to adapt to the environment they are in.

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

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.

12/28/12

I meant fantastic in the sense of the reputation of the program, the experience, and the theoretical (or real) connections you make. As I said, the content itself is a commodity at best for most of the classes you will take. It seems like we agree on that.

You can say the same thing about the CFA Charter (which I have) -- the content is poor (if not outright wrong in many cases) but it can still open some doors.

I'm a value investor, but I also use technical indicators like the 50 day moving average. The 50 dma is irrelevant in and of itself, except to the extent that lots of other people look at it, which makes it highly relevant. So it is for MBA / CFA to some extent, just not as much as in prior years, and neither one replaces the "intrinsic value" the candidate brings to the table in terms of real skills.

12/28/12

I consciously choose to never go the MBA route. I had the requisite stats/background for a top school, but I could never justify the opportunity cost for what I viewed as a 2 year vacation, at least that's how most of my friends (of similar backgrounds that went to H/S/W) treated it. If you've already worked in IB, you have most of the skills that you would learn in a MBA program. If you went about it right, you should also have a pretty solid network.

I stayed in banking from analyst -> VP before leaving to start my own company (non-finance). I had opportunities to jump to the buyside, but I never took them for one reason or another, mostly because late-stage PE was of no interest to me and the couple VC offers I got had some questions marks around them. The thing I realized is that since most of my friends have attended top b-schools, I can simply leverage their networks.

I do think that I was not considered for a couple of jobs over the years that I would have been a great fit for because I didn't have a MBA, but I'm mostly glad that I never got a MBA because the cost may have prevented me from being in a position to pursue my current path.

12/28/12

What are people's thoughts about attending an MBA program for a non MBB/IB job? Is it still a requirement if your aim is a F500 rotational job or tier 2 consulting (Deloitte/Accenture/Booz)

12/28/12

You're in a good spot. I'm just post school (following 3 yrs of IB) and still on the hunt and have piled up considerable debt - exactly where you were a few yrs ago and I'm hoping to be back to zero like you within a few yrs (tho on the HF/investment management side, not PE). I may have no equity value at this point but my TEV is through the roof.

Think about this - you got to travel a ton, meet amazing people, think about life for a bit, learn new things, not have a boss for two years. I know I'm biased bc I made the same choice, but I think you're downright more interesting than someone who didn't take that time to go to school.

You'll make plenty of money in your life to be happy. And best of all you didn't sell (all) of your 20s to an investment bank. If you met your future wife at grad school too (as I did) well that's pretty well priceless.

Fine to vent but all told this seems like a pretty first world problem :) You can be proud of what you've done.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

12/28/12

It's things like this that make me not even bother applying to early admission programs like 2+2. The prospects of a career in PE beyond a pre-MBA associate stint look pretty awful and the only two careers I think b schools are useful for getting into (consulting and IB) are what most of us are trying to get into out of undergrad.

"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." - Jobs

12/28/12

Highlyleveraged, I am sorry to hear your current situation, but given your story and progressive track record, im sure all will work out for the better.

I am 23 Yo, just out of undergrad and looking to get into a full time role in the field that I want (energy trading), given your 1 decade of experience over younger guys, are there any advice you can give us?

such as mistakes to avoid, things you wish you could have done which would help you get ahead of peers in terms of life and work?

This goes for the other older guys who are willing to drop some wisdom for the benefit of the younger guys, i think it will do many of us some good :)

12/28/12

TheHoustonFlight:
Highlyleveraged, I am sorry to hear your current situation, but given your story and progressive track record, im sure all will work out for the better.

I'm not getting this sentiment. Sorry for his current situation? You mean his mid 6 figure PE job in his early thirties and the ability to do basically what he wants going forward? He's in a fantastic situation. And this whole attitude that is displayed in his posts ITT are kind of foolish. So you don't have a lot saved yet? Either do a lot of people. But he makes an extremely large amount of money and has more than enough time and career ahead of him to be in a better spot than 99.9% of people even on WSO, let alone the general population.

I'm sorry you don't have millions in the bank and the ability to retire before 40. But neither does anyone else. You are in a good spot. Stop with the pouty nonsense.

12/28/12

Did you wash out every bad memory in Time Square today, so you can start your new year like you were just born today. The world has not ended and you can start moving up little by little in the future. Good luck!

I'm feeling like a star, you can't stop my shine---Ridin' Solo

12/28/12

Not to be an ass, but I just think you overspent at your MBA, and are still in a situation that most people in the world would want to be in. Think big picture, think of the starving kid in Cambodia who's thinking of how to get his next meal, think of how little all of this would mean eventually. I reckon you had a great experience at your MBA program - that's what matters. A massive net worth will only give you fleeting sense of accomplishment and you'll want to aim for something you don't have. I'm as ambitious as they come (like most of us on here), but it's helpful to have perspective.

12/28/12

MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

alpha currency trader wanna-be

12/28/12

watersign:
MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

So watersign what is it you do now? Genuinely curious.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

12/28/12

frgna:
watersign:
MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

So watersign what is it you do now? Genuinely curious.

Seconded.

12/28/12

frgna:
watersign:
MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

So watersign what is it you do now? Genuinely curious.

I know im opening up the can of worms here for all the elites to attack me, but I work in marketing. And no, im not a sales person. And yes.. I know everyone thinks marketing people are dumb, which I agree to some extent but I work on the 'data' side of things. Herp derp.

Do I like it? Ehh..not really. I'd much rather work in finance, but honestly..there is no way in hell I would take on debt, especially in this economy.

STEM degrees are worth it...sort of.

Taking an unpaid internship or working for a garnished wage in a career position is a better investment than spending 50K-100K to get a degree.

Just remember this..every year the price of college goes up, and every year, wages go down.

alpha currency trader wanna-be

12/28/12

watersign:
frgna:
watersign:
MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

So watersign what is it you do now? Genuinely curious.

I know im opening up the can of worms here for all the elites to attack me, but I work in marketing. And no, im not a sales person. And yes.. I know everyone thinks marketing people are dumb, which I agree to some extent but I work on the 'data' side of things. Herp derp.

Do I like it? Ehh..not really. I'd much rather work in finance, but honestly..there is no way in hell I would take on debt, especially in this economy.

STEM degrees are worth it...sort of.

Taking an unpaid internship or working for a garnished wage in a career position is a better investment than spending 50K-100K to get a degree.

Just remember this..every year the price of college goes up, and every year, wages go down.

This is just horrible advice. You're working a job you don't like and can't move to another field because you don't have the necessary qualifications. No legitimate finance job is going to take someone without a degree. Gone are the days of book runners becoming partners at large banks. The bar has been set at bachelors and whether it's worthwhile or not from an educational perspective is fairly irrelevant. You face a large uphill battle without a degree. For every 1 that makes it without there's probably a 100 or more working the same dead end minimum wage job.

Also wages are going UP for the highly educated fwiw.

12/28/12

Quaneaser:
watersign:
frgna:
watersign:
MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

So watersign what is it you do now? Genuinely curious.

I know im opening up the can of worms here for all the elites to attack me, but I work in marketing. And no, im not a sales person. And yes.. I know everyone thinks marketing people are dumb, which I agree to some extent but I work on the 'data' side of things. Herp derp.

Do I like it? Ehh..not really. I'd much rather work in finance, but honestly..there is no way in hell I would take on debt, especially in this economy.

STEM degrees are worth it...sort of.

Taking an unpaid internship or working for a garnished wage in a career position is a better investment than spending 50K-100K to get a degree.

Just remember this..every year the price of college goes up, and every year, wages go down.

This is just horrible advice. You're working a job you don't like and can't move to another field because you don't have the necessary qualifications. No legitimate finance job is going to take someone without a degree. Gone are the days of book runners becoming partners at large banks. The bar has been set at bachelors and whether it's worthwhile or not from an educational perspective is fairly irrelevant. You face a large uphill battle without a degree. For every 1 that makes it without there's probably a 100 or more working the same dead end minimum wage job.

Also wages are going UP for the highly educated fwiw.

When you factor in debt, hardly. College today is actually derailing alot of people from careers because only those with wealthy parents can afford to work for free to get experience. It's kind of hard to work for free or work for a garbage wage when you're staring down the barrel of 50K in debt and want to pay it back so the interest doesn't bury you. I'd say from every college there are maybe 100-150 people who get internships at F500 companies, the rest either intern at smaller scab companies or do 'sales' or 'social media' internships ...lol.

I know people that are highly educated too, with masters degrees in clown subjects like psychology and English.

I'd say for every college grad that gets a job (STEM degree or not) there is 20 others slinging lattes while those people who didnt go to college in the first place are in a better position financially.

Those dumb kids from high school who went to trade school and now work as plumbers and mechanics?

They probably take home more money than most of the people on here.

Debt is a killer. Plenty of people get by without degrees.

alpha currency trader wanna-be

12/29/12

watersign:
Quaneaser:
watersign:
frgna:
watersign:
MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

So watersign what is it you do now? Genuinely curious.

I know im opening up the can of worms here for all the elites to attack me, but I work in marketing. And no, im not a sales person. And yes.. I know everyone thinks marketing people are dumb, which I agree to some extent but I work on the 'data' side of things. Herp derp.

Do I like it? Ehh..not really. I'd much rather work in finance, but honestly..there is no way in hell I would take on debt, especially in this economy.

STEM degrees are worth it...sort of.

Taking an unpaid internship or working for a garnished wage in a career position is a better investment than spending 50K-100K to get a degree.

Just remember this..every year the price of college goes up, and every year, wages go down.

This is just horrible advice. You're working a job you don't like and can't move to another field because you don't have the necessary qualifications. No legitimate finance job is going to take someone without a degree. Gone are the days of book runners becoming partners at large banks. The bar has been set at bachelors and whether it's worthwhile or not from an educational perspective is fairly irrelevant. You face a large uphill battle without a degree. For every 1 that makes it without there's probably a 100 or more working the same dead end minimum wage job.

Also wages are going UP for the highly educated fwiw.

When you factor in debt, hardly. College today is actually derailing alot of people from careers because only those with wealthy parents can afford to work for free to get experience. It's kind of hard to work for free or work for a garbage wage when you're staring down the barrel of 50K in debt and want to pay it back so the interest doesn't bury you. I'd say from every college there are maybe 100-150 people who get internships at F500 companies, the rest either intern at smaller scab companies or do 'sales' or 'social media' internships ...lol.

I know people that are highly educated too, with masters degrees in clown subjects like psychology and English.

I'd say for every college grad that gets a job (STEM degree or not) there is 20 others slinging lattes while those people who didnt go to college in the first place are in a better position financially.

Those dumb kids from high school who went to trade school and now work as plumbers and mechanics?

They probably take home more money than most of the people on here.

Debt is a killer. Plenty of people get by without degrees.

I agree there are probably too many people going for degrees. BUT you're arguing this point on possibly the worst forum. This whole thread is about the value of a Wharton MBA not an undergraduate English degree at Ball State. There are 120+ people each year from Upenn undergrad doing investment banking alone, and tons more doing jobs better than F500 and magnitudes better then sales. If you dropped out of a crumby college and are making it good for you, if you dropped out of a good school and are doing well still good on ya. But for almost everyone, getting a degree at a good school is probably the best investment you can make in yourself.

12/29/12

Quaneaser:
watersign:
Quaneaser:
watersign:
frgna:
watersign:
MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

So watersign what is it you do now? Genuinely curious.

I know im opening up the can of worms here for all the elites to attack me, but I work in marketing. And no, im not a sales person. And yes.. I know everyone thinks marketing people are dumb, which I agree to some extent but I work on the 'data' side of things. Herp derp.

Do I like it? Ehh..not really. I'd much rather work in finance, but honestly..there is no way in hell I would take on debt, especially in this economy.

STEM degrees are worth it...sort of.

Taking an unpaid internship or working for a garnished wage in a career position is a better investment than spending 50K-100K to get a degree.

Just remember this..every year the price of college goes up, and every year, wages go down.

This is just horrible advice. You're working a job you don't like and can't move to another field because you don't have the necessary qualifications. No legitimate finance job is going to take someone without a degree. Gone are the days of book runners becoming partners at large banks. The bar has been set at bachelors and whether it's worthwhile or not from an educational perspective is fairly irrelevant. You face a large uphill battle without a degree. For every 1 that makes it without there's probably a 100 or more working the same dead end minimum wage job.

Also wages are going UP for the highly educated fwiw.

When you factor in debt, hardly. College today is actually derailing alot of people from careers because only those with wealthy parents can afford to work for free to get experience. It's kind of hard to work for free or work for a garbage wage when you're staring down the barrel of 50K in debt and want to pay it back so the interest doesn't bury you. I'd say from every college there are maybe 100-150 people who get internships at F500 companies, the rest either intern at smaller scab companies or do 'sales' or 'social media' internships ...lol.

I know people that are highly educated too, with masters degrees in clown subjects like psychology and English.

I'd say for every college grad that gets a job (STEM degree or not) there is 20 others slinging lattes while those people who didnt go to college in the first place are in a better position financially.

Those dumb kids from high school who went to trade school and now work as plumbers and mechanics?

They probably take home more money than most of the people on here.

Debt is a killer. Plenty of people get by without degrees.

I agree there are probably too many people going for degrees. BUT you're arguing this point on possibly the worst forum. This whole thread is about the value of a Wharton MBA not an undergraduate English degree at Ball State. There are 120+ people each year from Upenn undergrad doing investment banking alone, and tons more doing jobs better than F500 and magnitudes better then sales. If you dropped out of a crumby college and are making it good for you, if you dropped out of a good school and are doing well still good on ya. But for almost everyone, getting a degree at a good school is probably the best investment you can make in yourself.

I do agree that Ivys are worth it..and yeah.. I was referring to crumby state schools.

I'd be willing to bet that getting an econ degree @ Princeton with the right mindset is a better investment than getting an engineering degree at xzy state school.

Here's the thing..most people that are struggling with debt went to shitty colleges, not Ivys..lol

alpha currency trader wanna-be

12/29/12

watersign:
frgna:
watersign:
MBA's are the same as undergrad degrees..worthless.

I always chuckle when I see posts like this..you're smart enough to get all these fancy degrees but not smart enough to figure out how to make it through life without an over priced piece of toilet paper? (a degree)

I thank god everyday I dropped out of college.

Here's a tip for any monkeys who are in school or about to mortgage their future for an "MBA"

Figure out how to get someone to pay you to learn.

Most formal Education is marxist filth.

So watersign what is it you do now? Genuinely curious.

I know im opening up the can of worms here for all the elites to attack me, but I work in marketing. And no, im not a sales person. And yes.. I know everyone thinks marketing people are dumb, which I agree to some extent but I work on the 'data' side of things. Herp derp.

Do I like it? Ehh..not really. I'd much rather work in finance, but honestly..there is no way in hell I would take on debt, especially in this economy.

STEM degrees are worth it...sort of.

Taking an unpaid internship or working for a garnished wage in a career position is a better investment than spending 50K-100K to get a degree.

Just remember this..every year the price of college goes up, and every year, wages go down.

I currently go to a target school with 95%+ of my expenses paid by financial aid since my parents make

12/28/12

So, in summary, don't attend an MBA unless your employer has a gun to your head.

Did you go for the MBA because no PE shops would pick you up from IBD?

12/29/12

BTbanker:
Did you go for the MBA because no PE shops would pick you up from IBD?

Correct, and also because I needed a "brand" on the CV. The thing is that people are so easily impressed by a fancy MBA degree so it really plays to your advantage. I got so many meetings with CEOs and people in PE by starting cold emails with "I'm a recent MBA graduate from X, etc."

By the way - I'm just venting/ranting. I'm from a blue collar family and started in BO and somehow moved to M&A thanks to some luck, good timing and networking. I know 99.99% of people are worse off than me.

Just saying that the MBA thing is a big marketing scam so watch out. Make sure it makes sense financially for you. Get ready to be disappointed by the content. Focus totally on the network. Have a clear plan when you get in. Don't get brainwashed.

Finally - if you're paying yourself, you'll realise how unfair the world can be, but its a very good business lesson. Examples:
- friend says she wants to work for an NGO in Asia in essay. Gets full scholarship from the school (they give money based on essays). Ends up at Goldman. 20 more examples like those.
- sponsored fellow countryman mckinsey guy gets a full government scholarship (that I didn't get), buys a flat in Brazil with scholarship money
- entrepreneur mate gets full scholarship from school because he is an entrepreneur with no fixed income and wants to do something "social". But comes from wealthy family worth $2bn, stays at the Ritz for the entire 2 years. He is now selling his own wine after buying a couple of wineyards.
- Bunch of third world county people get multiple scholarships, diversity grants, etc. Of course your salary is low in Tanzania. But if your dad owns the local diamond mine, and you just got a job at a big 4 to "look proper" for your MBA application, do you really need to get that grant?
- Other ways to make money: get cosy with the guys handling the grant process, siphon out money from the student clubs (no body checks)

12/29/12

HighlyLeveraged:
BTbanker:
Did you go for the MBA because no PE shops would pick you up from IBD?

Correct, and also because I needed a "brand" on the CV. The thing is that people are so easily impressed by a fancy MBA degree so it really plays to your advantage. I got so many meetings with CEOs and people in PE by starting cold emails with "I'm a recent MBA graduate from X, etc."

By the way - I'm just venting/ranting. I'm from a blue collar family and started in BO and somehow moved to M&A thanks to some luck, good timing and networking. I know 99.99% of people are worse off than me.

Just saying that the MBA thing is a big marketing scam so watch out. Make sure it makes sense financially for you. Get ready to be disappointed by the content. Focus totally on the network. Have a clear plan when you get in. Don't get brainwashed.

Finally - if you're paying yourself, you'll realise how unfair the world can be, but its a very good business lesson. Examples:
- friend says she wants to work for an NGO in Asia in essay. Gets full scholarship from the school (they give money based on essays). Ends up at Goldman. 20 more examples like those.
- sponsored fellow countryman mckinsey guy gets a full government scholarship (that I didn't get), buys a flat in Brazil with scholarship money
- entrepreneur mate gets full scholarship from school because he is an entrepreneur with no fixed income and wants to do something "social". But comes from wealthy family worth $2bn, stays at the Ritz for the entire 2 years. He is now selling his own wine after buying a couple of wineyards.
- Bunch of third world county people get multiple scholarships, diversity grants, etc. Of course your salary is low in Tanzania. But if your dad owns the local diamond mine, and you just got a job at a big 4 to "look proper" for your MBA application, do you really need to get that grant?
- Other ways to make money: get cosy with the guys handling the grant process, siphon out money from the student clubs (no body checks)


great, thanks for the info. +1
12/29/12

HighlyLeveraged:
Just saying that the MBA thing is a big marketing scam so watch out. Make sure it makes sense financially for you. Get ready to be disappointed by the content. Focus totally on the network. Have a clear plan when you get in. Don't get brainwashed.

Thanks for the advice, OP. Has HBS made a marketing case study about itself yet?

HighlyLeveraged:
Finally - if you're paying yourself, you'll realise how unfair the world can be, but its a very good business lesson. Examples:
- friend says she wants to work for an NGO in Asia in essay. Gets full scholarship from the school (they give money based on essays). Ends up at Goldman. 20 more examples like those.
- sponsored fellow countryman mckinsey guy gets a full government scholarship (that I didn't get), buys a flat in Brazil with scholarship money
- entrepreneur mate gets full scholarship from school because he is an entrepreneur with no fixed income and wants to do something "social". But comes from wealthy family worth $2bn, stays at the Ritz for the entire 2 years. He is now selling his own wine after buying a couple of wineyards.
- Bunch of third world county people get multiple scholarships, diversity grants, etc. Of course your salary is low in Tanzania. But if your dad owns the local diamond mine, and you just got a job at a big 4 to "look proper" for your MBA application, do you really need to get that grant?
- Other ways to make money: get cosy with the guys handling the grant process, siphon out money from the student clubs (no body checks)

Sweet, would love to hear more stories about money-making scams. The adcom is clearly a bunch of 9-to-5 idiots.

1/4/13

HighlyLeveraged:
BTbanker:
Did you go for the MBA because no PE shops would pick you up from IBD?

Correct, and also because I needed a "brand" on the CV. The thing is that people are so easily impressed by a fancy MBA degree so it really plays to your advantage. I got so many meetings with CEOs and people in PE by starting cold emails with "I'm a recent MBA graduate from X, etc."

By the way - I'm just venting/ranting. I'm from a blue collar family and started in BO and somehow moved to M&A thanks to some luck, good timing and networking. I know 99.99% of people are worse off than me.

Just saying that the MBA thing is a big marketing scam so watch out. Make sure it makes sense financially for you. Get ready to be disappointed by the content. Focus totally on the network. Have a clear plan when you get in. Don't get brainwashed.

Finally - if you're paying yourself, you'll realise how unfair the world can be, but its a very good business lesson. Examples:
- friend says she wants to work for an NGO in Asia in essay. Gets full scholarship from the school (they give money based on essays). Ends up at Goldman. 20 more examples like those.
- sponsored fellow countryman mckinsey guy gets a full government scholarship (that I didn't get), buys a flat in Brazil with scholarship money
- entrepreneur mate gets full scholarship from school because he is an entrepreneur with no fixed income and wants to do something "social". But comes from wealthy family worth $2bn, stays at the Ritz for the entire 2 years. He is now selling his own wine after buying a couple of wineyards.
- Bunch of third world county people get multiple scholarships, diversity grants, etc. Of course your salary is low in Tanzania. But if your dad owns the local diamond mine, and you just got a job at a big 4 to "look proper" for your MBA application, do you really need to get that grant?
- Other ways to make money: get cosy with the guys handling the grant process, siphon out money from the student clubs (no body checks)

Your original post was tremendously insightful and this comment was also of huge value. Thank you for your candid observance; this site is made exponentially more productive by honest people such as yourself telling it like it is.

1/4/13

HighlyLeveraged:
BTbanker:
Did you go for the MBA because no PE shops would pick you up from IBD?

Correct, and also because I needed a "brand" on the CV. The thing is that people are so easily impressed by a fancy MBA degree so it really plays to your advantage. I got so many meetings with CEOs and people in PE by starting cold emails with "I'm a recent MBA graduate from X, etc."

By the way - I'm just venting/ranting. I'm from a blue collar family and started in BO and somehow moved to M&A thanks to some luck, good timing and networking. I know 99.99% of people are worse off than me.

Just saying that the MBA thing is a big marketing scam so watch out. Make sure it makes sense financially for you. Get ready to be disappointed by the content. Focus totally on the network. Have a clear plan when you get in. Don't get brainwashed.

Finally - if you're paying yourself, you'll realise how unfair the world can be, but its a very good business lesson. Examples:
- friend says she wants to work for an NGO in Asia in essay. Gets full scholarship from the school (they give money based on essays). Ends up at Goldman. 20 more examples like those.
- sponsored fellow countryman mckinsey guy gets a full government scholarship (that I didn't get), buys a flat in Brazil with scholarship money
- entrepreneur mate gets full scholarship from school because he is an entrepreneur with no fixed income and wants to do something "social". But comes from wealthy family worth $2bn, stays at the Ritz for the entire 2 years. He is now selling his own wine after buying a couple of wineyards.
- Bunch of third world county people get multiple scholarships, diversity grants, etc. Of course your salary is low in Tanzania. But if your dad owns the local diamond mine, and you just got a job at a big 4 to "look proper" for your MBA application, do you really need to get that grant?
- Other ways to make money: get cosy with the guys handling the grant process, siphon out money from the student clubs (no body checks)

Themistocles:
Congrats on paying down your debt by age 32. Most MBAs take 10 years of more.

You nailed it: "apart from the network". This is what it is all about. Here's an example: A young partner at my fund got canned for not closing a single deal in 2 years, he now works at a bigger and better fund and got that job through his b-school buddy two month after leaving my fund.

Think of the massive downside protection you have. If you start your own business, you suddenly have access to a number of funds from your network. And if it doesn't work, you'll always have that powerful network to leverage.

Don't be too disappointed that you didn't "get rich quick", you actually have, you just invested a lot of capital into your education and network -- and you did it at the right time. And the dividends from that investment are going to start flowing at an increased pace starting now (that you have paid down your debt).

I currently go to an M7 school. These are about the only reasons to get an MBA - learning how the world really works at this level, how ridiculous/random life is, how deceitful people can be when careers are at stake, and how to network. I would also add self-discovery to it.

To all of the posters saying that an MBA is worthless, I would have to disagree. Too many posters above think that making tons of money throughout your career is preordained. It is not. Unfortunately, not everyone makes partner at a well performing PE fund or becomes a PM at a reputable HF. Most people will fall short of that goal -- some will fall far short. In a rather roundabout way, Themistocles' post is spot on. Even in an incredibly lucrative industry like PE, at some point in life you have to create value if you want to get paid a ton of money and have a successful career over the long run. Not all of us are able to. An MBA gives you more bites of the apple due to the network and the brand associated with a top school. And frankly, if you're going to be a legend in any field, the MBA expense is really a drop in the bucket financially and emoitionally over the long run.

Also, networking is a big help in a client service industry like PE, where top performers have proprietary deal flow and/or access to the best and biggest LPs. How do you get deal flow and LP access? Networking.

1/7/13

computerblue:

I currently go to an M7 school. These are about the only reasons to get an MBA - learning how the world really works at this level, how ridiculous/random life is, how deceitful people can be when careers are at stake, and how to network. I would also add self-discovery to it.

To all of the posters saying that an MBA is worthless, I would have to disagree. Too many posters above think that making tons of money throughout your career is preordained. It is not. Unfortunately, not everyone makes partner at a well performing PE fund or becomes a PM at a reputable HF. Most people will fall short of that goal -- some will fall far short. In a rather roundabout way, Themistocles' post is spot on. Even in an incredibly lucrative industry like PE, at some point in life you have to create value if you want to get paid a ton of money and have a successful career over the long run. Not all of us are able to. An MBA gives you more bites of the apple due to the network and the brand associated with a top school. And frankly, if you're going to be a legend in any field, the MBA expense is really a drop in the bucket financially and emoitionally over the long run.

Also, networking is a big help in a client service industry like PE, where top performers have proprietary deal flow and/or access to the best and biggest LPs. How do you get deal flow and LP access? Networking.

Unfortunately, while I congratulate you on having a clear view on why and what you want to get out of your MBA education, there are still a sizeable crowd of prospects and even current students who harbor larger-than-life believes of what an MBA (even a M7 one) will do for them. A lot of it is lack of research/due diligence, but also the prevalence of outdated information floating around on the web.

I personally SEE the value of an MBA, but I think the opportunity cost of MBA means the investment in such education is in fact justifiable to a MUCH NARROWER audience than the schools would like to have the general crowd out there to believe.

1/7/13

larasing:

Unfortunately, while I congratulate you on having a clear view on why and what you want to get out of your MBA education, there are still a sizeable crowd of prospects and even current students who harbor larger-than-life believes of what an MBA (even a M7 one) will do for them. A lot of it is lack of research/due diligence, but also the prevalence of outdated information floating around on the web.

I personally SEE the value of an MBA, but I think the opportunity cost of MBA means the investment in such education is in fact justifiable to a MUCH NARROWER audience than the schools would like to have the general crowd out there to believe.

Good points. Of course the value of a MBA will not meet everyone's expectations. It's not a magical cure all.

Like many degrees, the MBA is truly for the risk averse. While the addressable market is lower than it has been historically, I still believe that many people will gain value from the MBA for the simple reason that most people in their 20s and early 30s don't really have a clear idea about what they want to do with their lives. Most people are also poor predictors of the future. The world changes - jobs and industries that will be available 20 years from now have not been created yet. Employee turnover is also higher currently, meaning that people's best laid plans are less likely to come to fruition.

Therefore, I think the addressable market should be high for the simple reason that people can't predict their future motivations and desires as well as the future economic landscape. If you know exactly what you want to do with your life personally and professionally and an MBA is unnecessary to accomplish those goals, then don't get it. But I believe that only describes a minority of the population in their 20s and 30s.

I would say that most of my classmates really don't know what they want. While some of this is due to the bad economic environment, it's also due to the fact that many of them are nothing more than great competitors. They want things because other people also want them (especially if the popular things pay well). If working for Goldman IBD, MBB, or VC is the hottest, most prestigious thing around, then they will do everything possible to snag an offer from them - even if they'd prefer to do something else. Family concerns also come into play. Classmates have to consider their SOs/spouses when deciding whether to do IBD or work for Kellogg's in Battle Creek, MI.

12/29/12

i'm 30 and just finished up my m7 mba in may. i'm pretty apathetic about the entire experience but it did help me land an expat job in asia with an mnc - my original goal. i worked out an arrangement with my pre-mba employer to work on a consulting basis at a nice rate during school even now and took the tuition tax deduction also. currently, net positive around 50k. but i didn't have a wife and kids to support and traveled probably slightly less than my average classmate. definitely helps to go to school in a city where you can still make some money part-time during the 2 years.

12/29/12

what puzzles me is why and how the cost of attendance is so damn expensive at MBA programs. I understand medical schools being expensive - they use lots of expensive equipment, expensive labs, clinics, trainings, etc so the cost of attendance that they demand is at least justifiable.

MBA? What the fuck? Not sure why they need to charge 60-70k a year just on tuition. And the tuition keeps going up each year. At MBA programs, It just takes a professor in front of like 200 students to lecture about "general management", which is a load of bull shit anyway. No expensive labs, no expensive equipments, no expensive trainings, etc required to teach students in an "MBA" program. Why are schools so damn expensive?

Even if you attend a top 10 MBA, paying full sticker price for it is a very risky bet I'd think... what if you strike out at consulting and IBD from M7 MBA and have 200k school debt? You are screwed if that happens.

12/29/12

Do the math.

From every graduating class at HSW, ~33% will go into consulting and ~33% will go into banking.

Of the 33% that go into consulting, 10% will stay on to make partner. The other 90% will move on voluntarily or be coached out. Industry jobs are the most common option for them (e.g. getting a job with a client).

Of the 33% that go into banking, 20% will stay on to make md. 20% will end up in pe or hf. The other 60% will end up in an industry job or some other endeavor.

I know that people will dispute these numbers with anecdotal evidence, but generally speaking, they are reasonable.

12/29/12

I can only speak of macro HF-World but i find an MBA not only to be worthless but actually a hindrance....learning enough to be a portfolio manager (which is what everyone wants to do when they start) in macro requires alot of time on the job and expertise in markets that cannot be taught in a classroom. We do hire some MBAs but they come in as analysts and usually have a tough time moving beyond that because unlike someone like me who had been in the business for 7 years in various jobs when I was 30, they are totally green and it takes them a couple of years before they can even "speak the language" and get whats going on.

12/29/12

Each situation is very different, I personnally never believed that a MBA was the right path when you just wanted to get promoted from analyst to associate however for someone like me who was doing general management in a small firm overseas with no corporate or recruiting visibility it has enabled me to interview with top consulting and banking firms to eventually land a job there...now I am also 32, I still have $50k debt and no assets, but the cost of the MBA is nothing compared to my increased revenues for the next 30 years...this decision is a NPV one, not a 2-3 years view...

However, there is absolutely no interest in joining a MBA programme outside of the top 10-15. Outside of these, the money is totally wasted in my opinion...cost will be 80% of the top MBA but the opportunities will be 10% of the top ones...

12/29/12

1. IBD
2. HF / PE
3. MBA
4. Greatness

12/29/12

Any takers on the value/need of an MBA if you're not aiming for an IB/MBB? If you're hoping for something like a F500 leadership program or a tier 2 consulting firm?

12/30/12

Though I'm not sure if your situation represents the majority, thanks for the mind-blowing thread OP.

"I'd like to start my own business but I feel old, broke, tired and abused by greedy partners." This is not a uncommon sentiment. You will be fine.

The Auto Show

12/30/12

Killer thread, thanks very much to the OP and all of the others who gave valuable input. The path of my career has probably just been altered.

12/30/12

double post

12/31/12

Opportunity cost of an MBA is way too high if you're already on the right path. If you're not, then it makes sense.

I used to be a "HBS or bust" kinda guy. Now I don't even think HBS is worth it (cue lengthy screed from Brady).

12/31/12

Why not trade futures part/time man? I see this happen all the time with MBA's at least the ones I know. It's a waste of your time to take sh*t from an MD while you could trade futs and then get into a business you actually enjoy.

Ordering a salad at McDonalds is like paying a hooker for a hug.

12/31/12

Why not trade futures part/time man? I see this happen all the time with MBA's at least the ones I know. It's a waste of your time to take sh*t from an MD while you could trade futs and then get into a business you actually enjoy.

Ordering a salad at McDonalds is like paying a hooker for a hug.

12/31/12

Why not trade futures part/time man? I see this happen all the time with MBA's at least the ones I know. It's a waste of your time to take sh*t from an MD while you could trade futs and then get into a business you actually enjoy.

Ordering a salad at McDonalds is like paying a hooker for a hug.

12/31/12

The above comments remind me a question once asked by a HF guy: 'how can you be comfortable with something deriving >90% of its value from intangibles?'

It's funny I haven't seen any meaningful defence of MBA from someone in banking, consulting and PE, or at least from 'Business School Barrage'.

The Auto Show

1/1/13

From the gist of this thread it seems the opportunity and financial costs of even a top 3 MBA may not be worth it for certain industries such as HF/IM, but M7 MBAs can really help people get access to MC and IB. With the right background, it also sounds like MBAs will also be helpful in moving up in PE unless someone is directly promoted to a Post-MBA associate position.

But what about entrepreneurship? If you've worked in IB/PE for 4-5 years and want to start your own fund or business sooner than later, is the network from obtaining a H/W/S degree worth the 2 years of extra work experience you could have gained (excluding financial costs)? Because it really sounds like PE funds themselves are starting to value the experience more, Im also curious to hear whether investors highly respect an elite graduate degree?

1/1/13

well, I go to a top 5 MBA and I have to say that I don't regret it (i wasn't sure about going for it). Now, let's remember that MOST people at top MBAs are not doing the PE route. A lot are career switchers and all the top industries require an MBA (MC, IB and F500 rotational).

I have to say that one of the main reasons for dong my MBA was the brand name of the institution. If I had gone to a top undergrad school and worked in IB I most probably wouldnt have done the MBA. However, all the MBAs I know have a reason for being there. There is no one that is like "oh well, i wanted an MBA...". So if you don't have a solid reasons for pursuing an MBA then dont do it.

And at my bschool, we actually do learn stuff. I know that other top schools are just full of fluffy touchy feely shit, however if you do want to learn, there are some bschools that try to add value to their students.

1/4/13

lifeofpurpose:
well, I go to a top 5 MBA and I have to say that I don't regret it (i wasn't sure about going for it). Now, let's remember that MOST people at top MBAs are not doing the PE route. A lot are career switchers and all the top industries require an MBA (MC, IB and F500 rotational).

I have to say that one of the main reasons for dong my MBA was the brand name of the institution. If I had gone to a top undergrad school and worked in IB I most probably wouldnt have done the MBA. However, all the MBAs I know have a reason for being there. There is no one that is like "oh well, i wanted an MBA...". So if you don't have a solid reasons for pursuing an MBA then dont do it.

And at my bschool, we actually do learn stuff. I know that other top schools are just full of fluffy touchy feely shit, however if you do want to learn, there are some bschools that try to add value to their students.

From my second hand sources of information at H/S/W though, even MBA as a career change option is increasingly limited as stringent hiring condition has forced a lot of recent grads back to their old profession (if they were IB/consulting before).

1/1/13

When I went to visit Wharton's MBA program, one of the tour leaders was laughing that 80% of the incoming students wanted to do PE and only 8% or so ended up there. Even coming with past experience, targeting PE/VC only is somewhat unreasonable when IB/MC are already very competitive career paths even in top MBAs.

1/1/13

What percentage of the class has pre mba PE experience? I'm guessing the portion of applicants who do have pre mba PE experience end up getting a PE post mba position after their mbas?

1/1/13

To 317...., I went to a top 10 program and very few had PE experience. A decent amount went into PE post graduation. It helps for the network and name, rightly or wrongly.

To OP, you're not in a bad shape. I'm in the same position (financially), as are many of my former classmates, Regardless of whether the cost is wothwhile or not, it's in the past and you have a good future ahead of you. Don't fret it. To be able to tell your CEO "this is what i believe and if you don't like it, you can s*ck it" is priceless, even if it costs a few hundred grand. You'll be fine, keep your head up.

1/2/13

If you can't do an Ivy MBA and have the job out of school to pay off the debt, just do the CFA...
Believe it or not, @ 32 you're still young and all this education and experience can be put to good use you just have to find the right avenue
Hope that you're wife is really a partner and will hang in there and support you and raise your child until you find your footing

1/2/13

I'm sure others can comment, but the major PE shops (and certainly HF's) will NOT pay you extra for that MBA, regardless of where its from. Anyone considering an MBA in the post-2008 world should be well-aware of this fact. Shops are fine with you having an MBA but they don't look at you as any better, experienced, more likely to add to the bottom line, and thus do not pay a dime more for an MBA vs non-MBA employee.

Also, don't assume "well they may not pay me more, but all the competition will have an MBA so I need one too just to get an offer and be 'competitive'". This isn't true. Shops are paying you for production, they're measuring from day-one how much you'll add to the bottom line. Speak with the big PE recruiting firms and you'll hear they see the same when told to find candidates.

That said, an MBA does offer value (my opinion) but HOW MUCH is a big judgement call depending on personality and career path. Considering this can drastically affect your financial situation and thus likely marriage and happiness for the next 10-15 years, just make a measured, careful decision you're in love with. Don't do this lightly.

1/2/13

Come on man, not to be rude, but surely there is another way to put your years of experience to work outside of taking on debt and working in finance? I know plenty of part-time futures traders who rake $5k a month. Just my 2 scents

Ordering a salad at McDonalds is like paying a hooker for a hug.

1/2/13

A couple of observations:

-All of the people responding to this thread are running NPV calculations on IB/HF/PE salaries. I have never attended a business school (undergrad or MBA) and haven't really perused data, but I seem to recall that the average starting salary for grads from the top programs was in the $125k range. If Consultants/F500 people get bonuses of $25-$50k and post-MBA bankers/PE guys start out with bonuses of $125-$200k, and the OP has no assets at 32, think about how screwed the person doing brand management for some F500 making $140K all in is doing?

-For the MBA guys that say their future earnings will be higher in T+5 years can you please elaborate on that math? If you want to sell services to corporations (IB/Consulting) I can see how if you have lots of former classmates that are executives it could be beneficial. It seems that would be T+15 or T+20 though.

-Having a "network" means jack shit as an investor. The absolute worse manager I know is on the phone all day every day and is always picking up the "hot hedge fund trade" of the day. If Dan Loeb and David Tepper were in Lyondell, he was in Lyondell... six months later. If there was a really popular post on the VIC/SumZero he had a postion. The best one I know lives and works far away from wall street and spends all of his time researching businesses.

-This was a long thread... I almost never respond to posts outside of the HF forum but I am glad I read all of this.

1/3/13

Why all the discussion about 500k 2y MBAs.. surely a 1y MBA (e.g. Insead or IMB) is a much better option given the discussion above?

1/3/13

musto430:
Why all the discussion about 500k 2y MBAs.. surely a 1y MBA (e.g. Insead or IMB) is a much better option given the discussion above?
They don't have nearly as much cachet in the States as they do internationally.

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

1/4/13

APAE:
musto430:
Why all the discussion about 500k 2y MBAs.. surely a 1y MBA (e.g. Insead or IMB) is a much better option given the discussion above?
They don't have nearly as much cachet in the States as they do internationally.

Not to mention this board isn't an accurate representation of most business school students. A large number are not coming from IBD or buyside firms and sacrificing $150k+/year salaries. For those, like myself, who are switching careers the 2 year program is essential. The work experience between school years will be key in getting full time employment on graduation.

1/4/13

APAE:
musto430:
Why all the discussion about 500k 2y MBAs.. surely a 1y MBA (e.g. Insead or IMB) is a much better option given the discussion above?
They don't have nearly as much cachet in the States as they do internationally.

I think musto was implying that Insead students are likely not targeting US jobs and therefore take less of a financial hit. Can anyone speak to the value prop of international one year programs?

1/4/13

Coming from a non-ivy undergrad, MBA still necessary

1/4/13

An MBA is a management degree. It is not a finance degree. Half of the curriculum focuses on broad management topics and basic finance. The other half is composed of electives that might include health care, IS, or marketing or whatever. So why is it such a shock that its usefulness for non management positions in highly specialized industries is questionable?

Networking? Join a country club and be less awkward.

1/4/13

Aei ho theos geometrei

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