Dumb idea? Leave MF for a non H/S MBA?

Realize there are countless posts on MBA tradeoffs, but couldn't find anything on this...

Currently at a megafund in NY. I think an MBA could really help me hone some skills that will pay off later in my career - BUT I don't have the GMAT score / background / leadership experience to get into Harvard or Stanford. I want to work in large-cap PE long term, but from what I see, it's extremely difficult to get a post-MBA role at a megafund without going to H/S, and maybe W.

Really don't want to leave New York (GF of 5 yrs, all my friends, most of my family), which naturally draws me to Columbia or Stern... but both skew to banking. Not many folks in PE, and essentially no one at the larger funds. I'm sure I'll feel pretty dumb if I go spend a couple years in business school just to get locked out of the very industry I left.

There's a path for me to stay at my current fund. No guarantees if I leave for an MBA. Am I dumb to abandon my current gig for an MBA if my goal is to return to a megafund afterward?

Comments (19)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

Do not leave my dude

  • 2
Dimonfan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am just thinking out loud.

You are in MF PE, say you grind GMAT for about 6 months, you should be able to get a stellar score.

Get involved in some activities (Consult a admissions consultant→Yeah drop that hard earned 10k) and figure out a story, HS or W should be very much doable in some time in the future, unless of course there is nothing else pushing you out.

Long term, the MBA may help you along your MF PE career or thereafter + the fun. 

Good luck!

  • Associate 1 in Consulting

Just try a few times for HSW. A decent number of people apply multiple times to these 3 schools.

  • 1
tothemoonyyds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Consider you are working at an excellent MF now, why can't you spend time in getting a decent GMAT score and networking with PE alumni in H/S to get in? Some H/S graduates I know don't even have experiences like you, I'm sure you can definitely get it if you commit to these two schools.

In terms of leaving NYC, for me Boston is not far away and you can always come back after graduation.

Again I think reaching out to H/S alumni would be a great way to help you figure out.

  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other

Did top BB, top MF PE, and a year at a hedge fund before just applying R2 to MBA programs. 

Assuming you're a white or Asian male, H / S are increasingly difficult to get into and I wouldn't count on having a good shot with a GMAT score below 760. W you should have a good shot at if you get 730+ but you'll need to get some extracurricular experience - try finding a junior board to join. Also would highly recommend applying in R1 v R2, despite what adcoms say about them being equal chances - there are limited seats for this bucket of applicants and vast majority apply R1 so there simply aren't as many openings in R2

Most Helpful
mrharveyspecter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm generally a proponent for people doing an MBA, which I know is somewhat of a hot take, but after looking at your situation, I would advise against it. If you said something along the lines of "I'm burnt out, don't think I want to do PE anymore, I'm ok going down market to a MM fund for the lifestyle, I'm from tier 2 city and want to end up there long term, etc" then I'd say take the 2 years off, have a good time, and use the time to focus on what you want to do.

In your case, if you know you want to stay in NYC, have roots here, are at a fund that you like and will promote you without an MBA...then you really have no reason at all to go. An MBA will really not help you hone many skills to be completely honest. I think you'd be dissapointed by the classes, even at a H/S. Would you have fun and build a great network? 100%. But that's about it. Also, if you have a long term GF, that also reduces some of the appeal to B-School. Way more fun to be single, even if your partner is ok tagging along on trips, events, etc. 

As I said, I'm all for B-School, even if it doesn't make the most economic sense, but I really think that unless you have some stronger reason for going, you're better off staying put. 

  • Associate 1 in RE - Comm


Interesting take. Apologies to bounce back on that post, but I can't really figure advice anywhere else.

Would you mind giving me feedback about my profile ? Actually got a similar one to OP, as I am working for a MF as well, but within their Real Estate team. I am a Western European that graduated with MSc and now living in London.

Ideally I would like to bounce back in the US in REPE, but I wouldn't mind transitioning to RE IBD for a few years before that (I started in investments). Only caveat is I got a family (1 kid), and I am already an associate so most likely will be a senior associate by the time I will get accepted (and 30/31 YO too).

As a white male, working in finance, and as an international that need to get sponsored to stay in the US thereafter, does it worth it? Would you also say that my profile can be attractive for BBs/EBs as they tend to sponsor a decent number of internationals?

Many thanks for the help.

mrharveyspecter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think my answer would generally be the same for you. The big thing for you is being international and needing sponsorship. I think you'd need to accept that there's probably a 80%+ chance that you end up in banking instead of PE. My international friends really struggled with PE recruiting, mainly just because if you need sponsorship, you need to work for a MF or UMM fund that will sponsor you, so your options are severely limited. You have the MF experience on your resume, so you'll be in about as good of a position as anyone, but it's still a crapshoot. Who knows what type of real estate cycle we'll be in during your recruiting cycle, so there's a chance your options are even more limited or that firms just aren't hiring for post-MBA roles when the time comes.

With that said, banking should be relatively easy from an M7/Top 10 school, so if you're ok with going back to being an Associate at a bank at 30/31 with a family, then go for it. Sounds like you'd be better off just taking your promotion and staying put, but ultimately it's up to you and your individual situation. Again, as I said above, if you have a family, you're really not going to be as plugged into the B-School party/network scene, so you lose out on what I think is the biggest value add of the MBA. My MBA friends who had kids were really not involved in much/any of the social events, which is to be expected. With that said, they got two years to spend a majority of their time raising their kids, so that could potentially be a huge plus for you... just some considerations to weigh.

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

Another humble brag post, these are now becoming quite commonplace around here.

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

I know right; how dare he flex that he has a long term girlfriend on lonely Smoke Frog

  • 4
TheGrind, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Generally when one already has a job that most MBA grads are after, it's not advisable for them to pursue an MBA themselves

Dancing Bear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Earum quos rerum ipsa et. Voluptatem molestias impedit et sapiente placeat et.

Voluptatem qui voluptatem qui eveniet mollitia. Placeat commodi earum aut qui velit labore reiciendis. Doloremque velit magni dolores odio est cupiditate ducimus sapiente. Autem cupiditate est minus molestiae qui nulla. Suscipit sunt ut quam. Sapiente error architecto rerum quae voluptas eos pariatur.

Incidunt enim eius qui fugit ea est iste aliquid. Et assumenda est exercitationem fugiat. Porro numquam qui voluptates. Qui hic quis dolorem sapiente quos reprehenderit tempora.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

May 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International (▲01) 99.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽01) 99.1%
  • William Blair (▲12) 98.7%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▽01) 98.2%
  • Lazard Freres (+ +) 97.8%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

May 2023 Investment Banking

  • William Blair (▲04) 99.5%
  • Lincoln International (▲11) 99.1%
  • Canaccord Genuity (▲18) 98.6%
  • Stephens Inc (▲12) 98.2%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 97.7%

Professional Growth Opportunities

May 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International (▲01) 99.5%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲06) 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽02) 98.6%
  • Lazard Freres (▲15) 98.2%
  • UBS AG (▲19) 97.7%

Total Avg Compensation

May 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (32) $396
  • Associates (148) $260
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (11) $198
  • 1st Year Analyst (279) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (90) $170
  • Intern/Summer Associate (46) $166
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (205) $92