Need advice on what to do next in my career. Second tier masters or an MBA (SMU Cox) after Bocconi and UIUC?

So I hold an undergraduate degree from bocconi and was an international student at the uni. I was pretty sick of living in italy for 4 years back then so i came back to my country in 2019 after pursuing a customer analytics internship at an italian bank. In my home country i worked at a luxury retail startup for a year and then for 6 months at Kering on a contract. In the middle i kept doing some internships or projects at decent firms for a month or so. Unfortunately, Kering asked me to shift to a brand and handed me another contract for 6 months. At that point i was frustrated with being paid 300 dollars a month in my country while all my friends were either in i banking in london after bocconi or were in consulting in Milan. I decided to move abroad but Covid hit. Additionally, no one in my country really knew about bocconi and the HR used to ask me if it was an online university (pretty much on the same level as Uni of Phoenix). The bocconi alumni network was super unhelpful as well. The career services used to tell me Covid had hit and i had no job offers so i decided to pursue an online masters from UIUC in management. The cost was only about 9.5k for the entire program. I was really distraught at that point as I was being treated as a graduate from a tier 5 uni and was being offered 200 dollars a month in my country. The only reason I got into Kering and was because my previous boss had put in a good recommendation. 

Everyone told me that an online masters is a mistake etc but surprisingly, for the first time in my life, I realised the use of a decent brand name on your CV. People used to tell me in Italy that bocconi was really respected etc but the respect seemed to be limited to Italy and some professional circles in Europe. I felt like my degree was worthless in this part of the world and I didnt have the rights to work in Italy. The salaries were terrible there anyway. 

Even though it was an online degree, I loved my experience with UIUC. The profs were great. The alumni network was huge and super helpful. Lot of people put in recommendations for me at Big 4s, etc. Surprisingly i got a call from JLL Strategy consulting and they were willing to offer 900 dollars a month, a 3x bump from my previous salary. The director told me that he was about to go to UIUC for his masters too when he was young. The Head of capital markets was also from UIUC. The interviewer asked me what it was like living in Urbana and he had lived in Chicago but i told him that my masters was online; he didn't seem to mind. Anyway I joined the firm in 2022 and worked there for a year and 2 months. I left last month due to a health reason and am currently recovering in my home town. When i reflect on it I think i wouldn't like to go back to consulting. I am an introvert and i dislike meeting clients. These clients were sharks who would eat you up; im talking about the largest developers in the country, PE funds like Blackstone and KKR. The great part of JLL was that from the first month, they used to take Associates to client meetings and I used to be working on a new project ranging from retail to hospitality every month. I also used to get a lot of interview calls from places like CBRE, Wework etc who offered me positions with a minimum raise. Anyway, that brings me to today. I have the following questions- 

1) I don't want to live in my country anymore due to personal reasons. The salaries are very low and it the competition is fierce. The cost of living is extremely high in the financial center of the country. Due to graduating from UIUC, I have the option of applying for the High Potential Visa for the United Kingdom which allows me to work in the country for 2 years. I was wondering if this makes sense and if the current job market would allow me to secure a job in the country, albeit for 2 years. The second option is to migrate to Canada but I heard that the job market is pretty dismal there too. 

2) The second option is to get an MBA or a business analytics degree from the US or Europe. I have always enjoyed working with data. Even at JLL, I hated ppt but was good at building data scraping tools for the team to use using python etc. I am also amazed at how the industry still uses excel for large databases etc. i do enjoy working on R, Python, SQL etc and have taken some courses at uni as well as online and wanted to get into analytics. I think consulting is not a good fit for me hence was wondering if MSBA programs would be good for me.

3) I had applied to the msc in business analytics at SMU Dallas on a whim and they offered me a 10k scholarship. I seem to be weirdly attracted to the school. I know it is not top tier but was wondering if it is worth it for me to spend 34k on a degree from SMU. There are some schools like Duke, SMU, Ivey which i really like ever since I was a high school student. But does SMU make sense for an international student? 


Wow, you've had quite the journey! It's clear you've got a lot of grit and determination, which are key traits in the world of finance. Let's break down your questions:

1) Moving to the UK or Canada: Both countries have strong economies and opportunities in the finance sector. The High Potential Visa for the UK could be a great opportunity, especially if you're interested in working in London, a major global finance hub. However, it's important to research the job market and living costs in both countries to make an informed decision.

2) Pursuing an MBA or a Business Analytics degree: If you enjoy working with data and have a knack for Python, R, SQL, etc., a Business Analytics degree could be a great fit. It's a growing field with high demand for skilled professionals. An MBA, on the other hand, could provide a broader business education and potentially open up more diverse career opportunities. It really depends on where you see your career heading.

3) SMU Dallas: While SMU might not be a top-tier school, it's still highly respected and has a strong alumni network. The scholarship is also a big plus. However, as an international student, it's important to consider factors like job placement rates for international students, visa regulations, and whether the curriculum aligns with your career goals.

Remember, the best choice depends on your personal goals and circumstances. It might be helpful to reach out to alumni or current students from the programs you're considering to get their perspective. Good luck with your decision!

Sources: University Of St. Andrews experience? Opinions?, My future after Bocconi?, European Master in Finance programmes (pre-experience), Second MBA?

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

I don't have good points to offer you but here are my random thoughts. 

  • You need to go to work and stop fucking around.
  • MBA only when you have the average years of experience from a top school (LBS,INSEAD, etc)
  • No reason not to go for HPI if you want to live in UK. I am Canadian and would agree with what you say re Canada. 
  • Stop taking random degrees. Never heard of SMU. 

Thank you for your reply. What is the scope in Canada after MBA degrees from UofT, UWO, SFU etc? What about the degree colleges like George brown or Seneca? I keep seeing people standing in lines to get basic jobs on Instagram shorts etc. Bocconi is pretty popular in the UK hence it makes sense for me to go there but I don’t think anyone in Canada would’ve heard of it or UIUC 


I don’t think degrees are going to solve your problem. Network. Getting yet more degrees from colleges are not worth your time. They’re extremely easy academically. As for MBA programs, as the comment above said, get some work experience. It doesn’t matter where you went to school, it looks bad if you keep going to school without getting a job. Makes employers think you’re just doing it because you can’t land a job. It’s not about the brand name I can assure you. The job market is tough and you just need to put yourself out there more. There’s dozens of people who went to top schools applying for jobs. Prestige only takes you so far.

Most Helpful

What country? I think you need to get 2-3 years of real work experience under your belt before going back to school, if you even need it at all. I made it to IB and PE pretty quick out of undergrad and don’t plan to ever get an MBA unless I’m forced to. You should be able to find a similar job once your health recovers. Take this time to self study (it’s free aside from opportunity cost) and make sure you’re ready to join a firm for the long haul. I think people lean on education too much when you really don’t learn how to do these jobs in a classroom. Better to fuck than watch.



What country? I think you need to get 2-3 years of real work experience under your belt before going back to school, if you even need it at all. I made it to IB and PE pretty quick out of undergrad and don’t plan to ever get an MBA unless I’m forced to. You should be able to find a similar job once your health recovers. Take this time to self study (it’s free aside from opportunity cost) and make sure you’re ready to join a firm for the long haul. I think people lean on education too much when you really don’t learn how to do these jobs in a classroom. Better to fuck than watch.

I guess you are right however everyone I know from my high school has escaped my country (India). Even at my previous job the amount of money I was earning was 800-900 euros a month was lower than the internship I had in Milan and the cost of living was the same in both cities. Plus I was placed up with people from tier 4 unis with completely different backgrounds. I see education as the only way of escaping India. Having lived abroad for years, I prefer the lifestyle there. Job growth in India is really challenging. There are millions of people fighting for one single job. My health went to shit just after a year of living in Mumbai. The pollution, the lack of quality control in food, the traffic and the dirt plus a shitty work environment all got to me. It’s not like the money was a motivating factor too. I could hardly make ends meet. I know this may sound negative but it is the reality of my country. 
tier 1 firms like Goldman etc only hire the deans list students from IITs and IIMs hence I have no chance. I know friends who were working at RBS, Barclays etc in India who went to canada and are earning more as truck drivers than back office risk guys here. 

oh and the bosses here treat you like their bitch and you’re paid peanuts. 


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