Feeling really lost and depressed, is an mba worth it for me?

Hi All,

just wanted to ask people here on whether or not a T10 mba makes sense in my situation:

  • I am currently 26 years old with 4 years of W/E experience at S&P as a credit ratings analyst (got promoted once). Went to T50 undergrad 
  • I feel stuck, tried interviewing, got some credit risk offers at banks, but realized it's not what I wanna do
  • I've been struggling with depression for 2 years due to social anxiety/isolation and just general lack of interest in my job, feel like a school environment could help with that
  • think I'm interested in something more mentally stimulating and that pays better: maybe VC, HF, AM, IB
  • I have 200k saved up (got lucky bought the dip in the stockmarket last year)

I am leaning towards applying as I feel like a reset would help me personally and professionally (I think surrounding myself with ambitious people and getting a brand name on my resume can help down the road.

My only worry is the cost, I have 200k saved but still questioning whether an mba is worth it for me and if it really has value in the long run, would appreciate it if someone could please advise

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Comments (8)

May 2, 2021 - 1:11am

Sorry too read you're having such a tough time personally.

I actually dove into this topic here. I recorded it (and there are show notes if you prefer to read) in Jan 2020, before the pandemic hit. At the time bschools were struggling, but I do discuss when is an MBA worth it. 

You may find this one worthwhile too: Application Trends to Watch in 2021, and a Look Back at 2020 [Episode 400] (accepted.com)

Linda Abraham President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting
May 2, 2021 - 4:09am

Sorry you're not in a good spot at the personal level - hang in there bud things are never as bad as you may think and I'm sure great things are in store for you. 

For what it's worth - if you're genuinely interested in those kind of career paths (buyside + AM / IB), the MBA would pay for itself after the first two years in the jobs you are looking for. After that if say, you went to IB and dont see yourself pursuing that career path going forward, you'd be much more employable for anything else you want to pursue + debt free. The big cost in all of this is the grind in those two years of high finance + recruiting during MBA, but that's where your level of ambition and personal goals become part of the equation and no one in this forum can help you with that.

Caveat: this only holds for top MBA programs where IB, AM recruit from. If you are dead-set on HF then think of something else cause an MBA wont help much with that. 

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
May 2, 2021 - 11:46am

I think you should apply. -- clearly your job isn't the right fit for you. 

Knowing that you are dealing with mental health issues, DO NOT chase prestige. You should do some heavy reflection and consider paths that may make you more fulfilled. As most careers in finance will leave you feeling rather empty. 

Best of luck man

Most Helpful
May 2, 2021 - 12:58pm

You don't say what you are doing at S&P, are you doing corporate credit? If so you should be competitive for credit research roles at banks (sell-side roles) and buy-side credit analyst roles at funds/insurance companies. Do not waste your time on credit risk roles, these are a dead end and to be avoided. Have you done the CFA charter while at S&P or no? With 4 years experience you must have good knowledge of your sector/names and be able to talk comfortably about how you rate a credit and upgrade/downgrade triggers. 

Do not waste time/money on an MBA until you have exhausted all other options. It is 100% possible for you to move to the buy side from S&P. I started my career at Fitch Ratings (corporate credit analyst) and 100% of my graduate class have moved to better jobs (including hedge funds, long only funds, desk analysts at banks, and restructuring advisors at places like Houlihan Lokey). 

Do you have access to a Bloomberg terminal at work? If so, put together a bond pitch on a name and sent it out to people and you will get some bites.

  • 2
May 2, 2021 - 6:06pm

I agree with this post. I am from a rating agency background and all my peers are in better places now (ie. Culture, pay, prestige etc): debt funds, banks, bond buyside.

Last year one of my juniors rang me and asked me whether to accept a credit risk analyst role where I work in FO. I said your are young; just be patient and continue interviewing. He got an offer at private debt arm of a very major PE firm, only after 3 months from calling me. You just need to hang on there.

You will have a lot of Nos. If you are good technically, most of hem will be in last rounds because you don't have the banking experience. Before I could get my FO offer, I had to get unchosen for at least 4 IB Associate roles in last round with all giving the background as the reason. I got unselected for a private bonds capital markets role and they knew I would be good but went with the seemingly "safe" choice.

Many many interviews after I got that one hiring manager who took the call. And imagine all rejections were in the last round!

After so much interviewing, I was in a very dark place like you. And needed people like the person who wrote the previous post and myself who would tell me, hang on there and keep interviewing. Make sure to refine your pitch every single time! The interviewing experience you get now will be so valuable in future believe me.

You are only 26, you have long way to go. You will make it where you like to be with determination.

You say that you are going through burnout. That's what happens when ambitious people feel trapped. Please see a doctor and follow their advice, get your mind to a more positive place. I got my offer when coming out of a burnout like yours. Take break between the jobs once you got an offer and go relax, take it out of your system.

Best of luck and feel free to send me msg if you need any advice on CV and interview stuff.

By the way... Recruiters will mostly come to you with shit jobs because they do not want the hussle. You have to tell them no this is it sort of next step I am looking for, guide the, and see if they bring you what you like. If not, don't answer the again go with the next. And, use LinkedIn and apply directly. I got most IB interviews through direct applications.

Chill:) It will happen. Promised.

Even the lousiest make it! Make sure not to be promoted too fast in rating agency that you get stuck in sense of success and get stuck. That's the real trap in my opinion.

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May 2, 2021 - 1:13pm

I believe Warren Buffett said the best investment he has ever made, even among all the investments that have made him billions upon billions of dollars, was investing like $10 to sign himself up for a Dale Carnegie course on how to win friends and influence people. WB said the best investment a person can ever make is in themselves. If you think you want to invest in educating yourself and investing in yourself however it may be, the rewards can be unlimited. I hope you feel better soon. If you can afford it, I would think that sending yourself back to school is a good option. Wishing you much success friend

May 2, 2021 - 1:15pm

No need to feel depressed. Happy to try to help if I can. First and foremost is to take care of yourself. We all appreciate getting to be with and work with happy and content people. Smiles are contagious

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