Already at Top 3 I.Bank (MS, GS, JPM). Do I want an MBA?

Hello WSO,

Not completely new here, but first post. Basically after a LOT of work and many ups and downs I managed to secure a position as an i banker at one of the top three after graduation (perhaps one day I'll write my "success story"). Before I start with them later this year, I am currently studying for the GMAT as I now consider that with a good score I actually have a shot at getting into one of the top 5, and the score is valid for 5 years.

While researching I found that so many people want top MBAs to be able to have a shot at firms like the top 3 i banks. I can't find much about people from these firms who want to get one. I was curious to know what you guys think about going for a top 5 MBA 4-5 years down the road considering that I am already in.

Consider variables like going for PE vs staying in the bank, short term advancement vs long term credentials... etc.

Thanks guys!

**My UG school was in Boston but it is not a prestigious school like Harvard or MIT, not even close to target.

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Comments (6)

Feb 14, 2018 - 9:51am

So many people want top MBA's to be able to have a shot at firms like the top 3 i banks because so many people are not in your position. They were not able to secure positions at one of those firms from undergrad and likely will not be able to without getting an MBA.

People in your position do not go get their MBA's so that they can stay in banking. They usually do 2+2 then go get an MBA with the goal of getting back into PE on a partner-level track. I don't see any downside to taking the GMAT now as if you get a good score, you won't have to take it again when you are working and comparatively much more busy.

Feb 14, 2018 - 10:00am

From your response I take that top MBA is a logical step if going for the buy-side route. Do you think there is any reason to get one if you want to stay in banking?

How about in the very long run? It seems like the higher ups of any large company, more often than not have a prestigious MBA on their CV.

Feb 14, 2018 - 10:13am

It might be a logical/the only step if the buy-side firm pushes you out after two years however, some firms might offer you a partner level track without an MBA.

If you can get promoted to Associate in banking without getting an MBA then it might not make sense to go get one as the opportunity cost will be much higher at that point.

In the very long run, it is probably helpful. However, I do believe you can be a successful Banker/Investor/Operator without one. You are correct that most higher ups do have an MBA. However, most people with MBA's are not and will never be higher ups. It is not a guarantee of success, merely a facilitator.

Feb 14, 2018 - 10:06am

Yes, there are people who are pursuing an MBA to break into FO positions at top BBs or EBs. There are also folks who are working at top groups in IB, PE & even HFs that still want to get an MBA, despite how prestigious their current position is. However, the decision to get an MBA is unique to an individual's own path.

A full-time MBA program is a huge opportunity cost, sacrificing 2 working years and taking out considerable sums of money to finance the journey. We all know the main objective after attending is to make a lot more money than we used to make and unlock doors that were previously closed. However, an MBA also provides lots of immeasurable value as well, such as making lifelong friends in your cohort, a decorated alumni base to reach out to and the flexibility to switch careers should one choose to.

There's no harm in taking the GMATs now since your score lasts for 5 years, and when those 5 years are nearing, the idea of an MBA may or may not appeal to you anymore. In the meantime, excel in your new role, build valuable relationships with your colleagues and pay it forward to those who helped you along the way.

Feb 14, 2018 - 10:14am

This is a pretty simple ask. Do you want to consider PE as a career path or do you want to stay in banking? You already took the GMAT and you are at a top 3 bank, so you will get buyside interviews even if you're not looking for them. Since you already took the GMAT, if you manage to get a buyside job, applying for an MBA will be as easy as getting recommendation letters / writing an essay / being active in the community. If you goal is to stay in banking, getting an MBA is an unnecessary and costly waste of time.

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