Software from Shitty or PTMBA from tier 1

In a fix. What should be the preference if I am looking for money (easier route to make money out of the 2 options), MS in software engineering or MBA? I do not have a background in software engineering but am a civil engineer so have done my math in college. I have received an admit from a shitty university however, software engineering having a great future prospect, nothing is shitty after all correct? I also have an admit from Ross School of Business for PTMBA as well. Probably would end up taking the consulting/corp.fin. route post MBA. What should I pursue in order to make money and grow faster? Do MBA and pursue Management Consulting/corp.fin without a tech./software background (would that make me decent money with good future growth prospects?) or opt for software engineering (MS from mediocre uni) keeping in mind the demand and future prospects? Where would I make more money straight outta college (after Ross MBA or after MS in software from mediocre?) What has better growth prospects (money-wise and opportunity-wise)??

Comments (7)

FinnesseGod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

First off - I would argue advanced degrees are not equivalent to MBAs. MBAs in themselves are tools used to rerecruit with 50-75% of the value derived from the network met on campus, the resources as well as the alumni network. 

If I were in your position, I would look into exit ops of both programs. MBA schools in particular post statistics about where their graduates end up working; you could see how many of them make it into tech or a software engineering position. The schools have an abundance of clubs and resources, I would imagine you could minor in some data or software courses. The education of software engineering may not be mutually exclusive to the other college/university. 

An MBA offers a foundation for re-recruiting with MBA-only internships that offer greater conversion to full-time. This may offer more lucractive and seniority when going back to the workforce post graduate studies. 

As for the other college/university, the pros is that it will probably cost a lot less than the MBA. If you're interested in Software Engineering over business strategy or business and technology blend, it may offer more relevant content and concepts as well. The only downside it is may not have the same structured recruitment portal nor resources of a top MBA school leaving you to network with alumni or other firms and be far more active in your approach for post graduate career opportunities. 

Both come with pros and cons, but it really depends on what you value: is money invested a big consideration, do you see value in the business education you would need to take on, are you more interested in software/technical skill set and willing to recruit from a less structured environment, and have you done research into post graduate placements at both of these places. 

e2bmonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agreed. I am inclined towards getting an MBA but trying to play devil's advocate here. Exit ops seem better out of MBA from Ross however, don't you think MBAs are the ones that have been majorly affected by the layoffs this season? Do you think the importance and use case of MBA grads is diminishing whereas for software engineering, just the sheer number of opportunities available in each and every industry more so negates the reputation of the university altogether? Are future prospects better for software engineers than MBAs? Again talking in terms of making money and seeing a higher salary growth over say a 10-year period.

Who, in your opinion, would grow faster over 10 years (again, each to his own but asking in broad terms), software developers/engineers or MBA grads working in consulting/finance? Fuck (pardon my french) the word "interest" since that really doesn't matter to me.

FinnesseGod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Here's my two cents on that. 

People are not equal. You may excel at certain things over others. For instance, the vast majority of folks on this forum excelled in accounting, economics or finance and thus had a greater interest in their education and put more care into these courses than other fields. You may go into software engineering for the money, but slowly grow frustrated or grow a disdain for the field if the conceptual challenges are far greater than your current expectations. 

Picking a career for the money is like picking a wife by her looks. The appearance of wealth and income depends heavily on you and your performance in those roles. Also, keep in mind that very few people stay in one career over their entire tenure. I've known consultants that went into technology companies as Product Managers and Software Engineers that went into Consulting at the associate level.

Rather than basing your future plans on salary expectations that could fluctuate wildly (as they did for the software engineers laid off from Meta), think about the work you want to do, the skill set you want to build and decide from there regarding your future plans. Simply wanting wealth is too vague - if you value the work that software engineers do, and you think you can excel and become an average or top performer within that role, then by all means, go for it. I know I would be frustrated as hell (and still am) by linear algebraic logic and higher level statistical analyses and proofs required to understand the foundational logic of computer science.    

e2bmonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think you answered my implicit question. All the time I am hearing that software guys have it easy but I felt like I wasn't meant for it. I hate logic and coding. I find finance easier. But by your response software sure is a twister. I guess it all comes down to work-life balance but if one isn't able to solve problems, then eventually he might end up spending more time on the problem that he is solving through logic, math and coding.

The sheer number of software engineers at a big tech firm does reduce workload however, individual work assignment are individual work assignments.

Going by your logic, I guess I am interested in learning finance or getting into management consulting (math/statistics without coding).

FinnesseGod, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm glad I could help you approach this from a more holistic angle. 

I think your value of work-life balance is important, so I would steer clear of pure finance positions like Investment Banking in particular. The post below mentioned how Corp. Fin may be a great fit for you to apply financial concepts. Corporate Finance or Corporate Development positions use the core concepts of corporate finance, but offer better WLB. Consulting is known for protected weekends (though they work you pretty hard in the weekdays ~8-8/9-12 - for some weeks/projects and ~9-5/6 for others.

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Lester Freamon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want the most money and don't care about anything else, I think software is the way to go. I'm a CPA who dabbles in data and am astounded at some of the money being thrown at developers. The way I look at it is the ceiling is higher in finance (barring some crazy event, like becoming a founder of a unicorn or other huge exit), but the floor/average outcome is much lower. To make what a lot of SWEs make in total comp, I'd have to at least be cracking VP+ at most companies, which isn't easy to do. Even if you have skills, the problem is that there's plenty of people who have the skills and only so many spots, so a lot of moving up at that point becomes political and how you're perceived, which isn't always in your control. 

The exception to this is if you go into consulting/IB. In those cases, the comp is pretty much the same, if not much higher, but you're also working a shitload to earn that paycheck. 

Therefore, I'd say that:

1. If good living to you means making high $1XX,XXX-mid-$2XX,XXX for most of your career with pretty lax hours and you like finance more, go the corp fin route, especially if you're not hell-bent on living in expensive, Tier 1 cities like NYC/LA/SF.

2. If good living to you means living in one of those Tier 1 cities and clearing at least $3XX,XXX-5XX,XXX, but you also don't want to spend your life working, go SWE

3. If you have the same expectations as choice 2, or higher, and are hellbent on maximizing comp at all extent and/or you love finance, get your MBA and go into IB

For me personally, I think option 1 or 2 is good. I chose 1 because I like finance and am fine with not being in a major city once I'm settled. If I cared about that and needed a much higher paycheck to pay rent in SF, I'd go with software engineering personally, and a part of me wishes I did do it. I love finance, but there's just so much bullshit in the business world. I'm sure SWE has it's politics and nonsense too, but at least there's also a ton of opportunity to be an individual contributor and cash in big paychecks that you can invest and retire early with. In finance/business, you have to be a Manager/Exec to make big money because pretty much anyone can do a DCF and the work just isn't technical enough to limit supply.

Smoke Frog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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