Taking extra years during your MBA- will this affect PE recruitment post MBA

I'll be candid and brief so please hold judgment of tone. I have the family money to pay for as many years of school as I want. I'm burned out and I like the campus environment, it makes me happy (real happy, not just-got-my-bonus happy). If I take 3-4 years to get my MBA so I can dick around and learn about things I'm interested in (eg literature, history, art), can I still recruit for PE successfully? Brand name firm to H/S if relevant. Thanks.

Comments (5)

Most Helpful
May 9, 2022 - 8:31pm
APAE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Two better options.

  1. Create one of your own dual-degree programs.
  2. Take a venture partner or EIR role at a firm that agrees you're there on a vacation.

1. Ever seen those people on LinkedIn doing an HKS MPA and GSB MBA, or a HLS JD and Wharton MBA? There's obviously no synergy to the curriculae given the separation between the institutions, so in a way the student is absorbing the penalty of forgoing the typical year of compression where a JD/MBA is four years on campus and the MPA/MBA is three.

In your case, maximizing time on campus is actually the end goal. If money were no object to me and I was committed to the idea of a campus as the best way to recharge myself, I would defer the MBA by explaining you intend to start another degree at a different institution. I have several friends who did concurrent degrees at either the same school or different schools, and every single one of them expressed some degree of regret or frustration at not graduating with their matriculating MBA cohort. 

You're effectively paying for the network, so schools have gotten really great at building the entire two-year experience around fostering camaraderie through the design of both the academic and non-academic aspects. The three or four-year programs murder that. You spend time in a non-MBA program where there's not the same spirit, and your time in the MBA program doesn't deliver the same outcome. It's not the same friends, not the same classes at the same time, you don't have the same stuff to laugh or bitch about together.

In short, get into another school, and since it's not a coordinated program, tell both you intend to do this self-directed 'joint degree' as 100% the one followed by 100% the other. This extends your time in a campus environment while granting you the most important benefits of the MBA.

2. Last time I was on here I wrote a comment about how to do this. Basically, it's really easy if you don't need a fund to pay you. You don't get a campus experience, but you can create an impressive resume line item for yourself that is in no way stressful. I bet you're someone with a strong enough professional and social network that you know numerous people at both H/S one and two years ahead of you, so literally just jet around with them for a year.

Hell, maybe combine these two paths where you do a soft role and a three-year concurrent degree at a single institution. 

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

  • 6
May 9, 2022 - 8:42pm
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

APAE outlines a really fantastic strategy on how to pull this off. In terms of the MBA itself, you generally cannot do it in 3-4 years without a very specific reason to do so. I know MBAs grant a leave of absence to people who build successful start-ups and need to dedicate themselves to it full time before graduation (and why wouldn't they, if the business is doing well the school wants to be associated with it). I do seem to recall the administration at Booth telling me once that students are able to retain credits and graduate in up to 5 years, but that was in relation to medical leaves of absence as opposed to your situation. If your pitch is that you just want to chill and enjoy school, I don't think they would be amenable to a reduced course load - it damages the brand. And quite honestly, you'd need to explain to PE firms why you graduated in 4 years instead of 2, which likely wouldn't go over well.

Because of all this - I would really look into APAE's advice or simply do a joint degree. You'll have the university environment for an extended period of time.

Mentorship with CompBanker: https://www.RossettiAdvisors.com

  • 4
  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
May 10, 2022 - 9:26am

Getting both an APAE and CompBanker reply on my post feels like Christmas morning. Thank you both for such high quality answers. This has given me enough food for both thought and action.

May 10, 2022 - 11:25am
mrharveyspecter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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