How low-ranked/easy/bad does an MBA have to be before it becomes a net negative to go?

fc200v's picture
Rank: Baboon | 139

*Understand that I'm a bit more liberal in what I'd accept as a reasonable MBA path because I'm in corporate finance and not in capital markets.

I know a lot of you dream of going to a top 10 MBA and that's not realistic for most of you considering the low acceptance rates. Maybe some of us need a reality check and consider a lower ranked program. At the same time, I wanted to hear stories from people who saw coworkers/friends/relatives go into an MBA and come out with zilch because the MBA was just too weak.

Case in point: I was looking for an MBA program in Florida and I thought "why not check out Miami?" Supposedly, it's ranked 96th in the country. What are there? 300, 400, maybe 500 MBA programs in the USA? Surely this has to be decent if it's in the top 20% right?

One web site reported that recent MBA grads at University of Miami have a 36% chance of finding a job within 3 months of graduation. If that's true....WTF!? Why would anyone slam down tens of thousands of dollars for such a poor network and such a poor resume padder? Employers must think those graduates are *worthless*.

Region: 
United States - South

Comments (50)

Sep 21, 2014

1) Depends on your starting point. If you're making $30k a year, a lot more programs are "worth it" than if you're making $100k pre-MBA.
2) I don't know much about miami, but most top-100 programs have ATLEAST 2/3 finding jobs within 3 months of graduation. Many are considerably better, it's usually a salary issue, not employment issue.
3) For Corp finance, I'd recommend a top 25 school. Schools like Foster and such would be good enough for what you want to do. Aside from that, if you want to do a worse school, the recruiting is VERY local, so just find one close to the company you want to work at.

Sep 21, 2014

I work at major F500, and T50 is good enough for Corp Fin at F500.

Sep 22, 2014

You say you are in corporate finance but what do you want out of it? A lot of corporate finance peeps are in the top 20, including HSW. Really depends on what you want. If you want to go to another company to do the same thing, you can probably get a PT MBA just to get the extra step to get promoted. If you want the most "prestigious" job, aka IB/Consulting, or the most prestigious company, aka Google, Amazon, the top 20 is a much better choice.

Sep 22, 2014

I think if you want to live in a specific city but don't have any significant connections in that city, then an MBA could be a good way to do that.

I went to a school in the Midwest but work in FL. My undergrad alma mater has a weak alumni base in FL, so I have been considering going to a school like U of Florida for an MBA just because it is relatively inexpensive and has an extremely strong alumni network in FL.

With that said, I really am not convinced it's a great use of my time and money, but I could see a justification for going to a school outside of the top 25 for the reasons cited above. I think you just have to be really certain that you are going to "settle down" in a particular area - and you don't already have exceptionally strong connections in that area.

Sep 22, 2014

If you're a non-American, I would advise you not to apply to a college outside the top-10/12 i.e. it is advisable not to apply to a UNC/Emory/McCombs.
This is because of:
1. the reduced quality of the jobs.
2. the small number of jobs for graduates that require sponsorship.

Best of luck :)

    • 1
Sep 27, 2014

In my opinion, it depends on the job that you want to get out of it. If you want to go corporate finance for a large prestigious company (e.g. Google, IBM, etc.) a top 20/25 or a regional school next to their office will make that a lot easier because they're me apt to recruit there. Also, your preMBA pay makes a difference. As opsdude said, if you're making $30k before a lower ranked school can help you get access to noobs that can pay more. On the other hand, if you're making 100k, then a smaller number of schools will have the recruiting access to jobs above that pay threshold.

Sep 28, 2014

Negative value is a low bar and I think if you take a program seriously it's hard to argue that knowing more people is negative value...

Sep 28, 2014

Guys, going by US News ranking, where do you think is the bar where consultancy firms / I-Banks would just say "no"? To make it a level-playing ground, let's assume that a student at such a school has 730ish gmat score (above the median score for top-schools), a really good GPA as well (ranks at the top of his class), and has good communication skills

Sep 28, 2014

The bar is exactly between the 33rd and 34th ranked schools on the US News rankings. I know for a fact that all major consulting firms and IBs use this and make no exceptions at all. Ever.

Sep 28, 2014
gogetit:

Guys, going by US News ranking, where do you think is the bar where consultancy firms / I-Banks would just say "no"? To make it a level-playing ground, let's assume that a student at such a school has 730ish gmat score (above the median score for top-schools), a really good GPA as well (ranks at the top of his class), and has good communication skills

Depends on the firm. But here, this (imperfect) data will help you:

http://poetsandquants.com/2014/01/17/where-top-mba...

Generally when you get outside the top-14 it becomes nearly impossible to get MBB (they'll take maybe 2-3 per year)...but 2nd tier firms will still bite in relatively large numbers at schools like Georgetown.

Oct 3, 2014
OpsDude:
gogetit:

Guys, going by US News ranking, where do you think is the bar where consultancy firms / I-Banks would just say "no"? To make it a level-playing ground, let's assume that a student at such a school has 730ish gmat score (above the median score for top-schools), a really good GPA as well (ranks at the top of his class), and has good communication skills

Depends on the firm. But here, this (imperfect) data will help you:

http://poetsandquants.com/2014/01/17/where-top-mba...

Generally when you get outside the top-14 it becomes nearly impossible to get MBB (they'll take maybe 2-3 per year)...but 2nd tier firms will still bite in relatively large numbers at schools like Georgetown.

there's also a big drop after dartmouth.

Here's the % MBB from each of these schools, based on the data in the link:
Harvard: 66%
Stanford: 75%
Chicago: 42%
UPenn: 55%
Northwestern: 50%
MIT: 62%
Columbia: 47%
Dartmouth: 63%

DECENT SIZED DROP

Duke: 27%
UC-Berkeley: 24%
Cornell: 25%
Michigan: 23%
Virginia: 40%
UCLA: 23%
New York: 17%
Carnegie: 15%
Yale: 21%
UNC: 12%
Texas: 7%
Indiana: 3%
Emory: 11%
Georgetown: 6%
Washington U: 9%
U Washington: 3%
Vanderbilt: 5%

(obviously I added the emphasis around the drop)
(edit: maybe you could argue there's a smaller step change down after yale, too)
(edit2: to be clear, the step change in MBB recruiting occurs after M7 + Dartmouth)

Oct 2, 2014

Lol slow down, champs.

I'm in corporate finance making mid-50s /year doing business analysis and financial analysis (in the Baltimore region), which is like 90-100k in NYC. I don't think I have a future in anything really "prestigious" like PE, HF, or Consulting

I'm shooting for something lower, like being promoted at my own firm or working in the non-financial sector. It doesn't even have to be something as big as IBM or Amazon but yeah that'd be more my speed than Bain or something.

Corporate financial/business analyst looking for career/MBA/CFA advice.

Oct 2, 2014
fc200v:

Lol slow down, champs.

I'm in corporate finance making mid-50s /year doing business analysis and financial analysis (in the Baltimore region), which is like 90-100k in NYC. I don't think I have a future in anything really "prestigious" like PE, HF, or Consulting

I'm shooting for something lower, like being promoted at my own firm or working in the non-financial sector. It doesn't even have to be something as big as IBM or Amazon but yeah that'd be more my speed than Bain or something.

In your case, I almost would say don't get an MBA. If I were you, and your company wouldn't promote without an MBA (mine doesn't), then I would jump ship to another company. For what its worth, I'm applying to full time programs for a career change, but that doesn't seem like a good case for you.

Oct 3, 2014
fc200v:

Lol slow down, champs.

I'm in corporate finance making mid-50s /year doing business analysis and financial analysis (in the Baltimore region), which is like 90-100k in NYC. I don't think I have a future in anything really "prestigious" like PE, HF, or Consulting

I'm shooting for something lower, like being promoted at my own firm or working in the non-financial sector. It doesn't even have to be something as big as IBM or Amazon but yeah that'd be more my speed than Bain or something.

If you're currently happy with your job (or worst case, you may not be in love with it, but you don't hate your situation), then it may not be worth going full-time. What you may want to look into is a part-time program in your area (Maryland) or weekend part-time in DC (although I think Georgetown's is only an evening program). That way, you aren't giving up an income while going to school, and you can still move up within your firm or move on according to whatever non-financial sector jobs you're interested in.

    • 1
Oct 3, 2014
MBAApply:
fc200v:

Lol slow down, champs.

I'm in corporate finance making mid-50s /year doing business analysis and financial analysis (in the Baltimore region), which is like 90-100k in NYC. I don't think I have a future in anything really "prestigious" like PE, HF, or Consulting

I'm shooting for something lower, like being promoted at my own firm or working in the non-financial sector. It doesn't even have to be something as big as IBM or Amazon but yeah that'd be more my speed than Bain or something.

If you're currently happy with your job (or worst case, you may not be in love with it, but you don't hate your situation), then it may not be worth going full-time. What you may want to look into is a part-time program in your area (Maryland) or weekend part-time in DC (although I think Georgetown's is only an evening program). That way, you aren't giving up an income while going to school, and you can still move up within your firm or move on according to whatever non-financial sector jobs you're interested in.

I have a very good friend in marketing at F500's (probably F50s but I don't feel like looking them up) in the cpg world-think P&G, Coke, Pepsi-who went for his MBA part time, slightly older at a top 50ish state school (probably comparable to Maryland) and it definitely helped him with his career. If that's your career goal, although in finance not marketing, don't listen to everyone on here who's GS TMT/Blackstone PE or bust. Like @mbaapply recommends I'd do the part time to not lose income but if you're making $50k now, get an MBA and can make $100-120k pretty soon thereafter it's worth it. Lower ranked MBA programs aren't worth it for someone coming from IB or MBB consulting because there's a good chance they're already making almost $200k and the jobs they'd get out of UMBC would be a downgrade monetarily but if you're a mere mortal as you described (no offense meant) it'll help your career and the roi will pan out.

Oct 7, 2014
MBAApply:
fc200v:

Lol slow down, champs.

I'm in corporate finance making mid-50s /year doing business analysis and financial analysis (in the Baltimore region), which is like 90-100k in NYC. I don't think I have a future in anything really "prestigious" like PE, HF, or Consulting

I'm shooting for something lower, like being promoted at my own firm or working in the non-financial sector. It doesn't even have to be something as big as IBM or Amazon but yeah that'd be more my speed than Bain or something.

If you're currently happy with your job (or worst case, you may not be in love with it, but you don't hate your situation), then it may not be worth going full-time. What you may want to look into is a part-time program in your area (Maryland) or weekend part-time in DC (although I think Georgetown's is only an evening program). That way, you aren't giving up an income while going to school, and you can still move up within your firm or move on according to whatever non-financial sector jobs you're interested in.

Right - I like my job right now and I think it would be foolish to give up

A) the salary
B) the career momentum

to go to a full-time program. The only way that would make sense, is for me to go to a top 10 MBA program full time, and if I thought I was that good, this thread wouldn't exist lol

My question to you is how realistic is it that a guy jumps from 50 to 110 coming out of Georgetown? Presumably, I'd be a senior financial/business analyst at that point pulling in 75k. What kind of job would I shoot for on graduation day and what kind of payscale would that carry?

Yeah, I'm not immortal....I'm a strong mortal. By my calculations, I'd only have to increase my base income by 9k just to break even, and that's not including soft benefits like resume boosting, networking, pride, fun etc

Corporate financial/business analyst looking for career/MBA/CFA advice.

Oct 7, 2014

There are regional targets that are easier to get into, but you need to plan on living in that area.

Oct 7, 2014

I found a hard copy of the report for class of 2013: The average was 102k (not bad), but it didnt offer a breakdown of full time vs part time. I read in Businessweek a comment from a part-timer who was complaining how the part-timers get no love from the career center :(

Corporate financial/business analyst looking for career/MBA/CFA advice.

Oct 7, 2014

I've seen people not get much career-wise out of lower tiered MBAs and others do spectacularly well for themselves. It all depends on what you want to get out of it and the stats for your particular school. Any program worth looking at will post their placement stats several months after each class wraps up, look closely at these. You'll be able to see average starting salaries, bonuses, and other comp by region, industry, function, etc. as well as placement rates and what companies are hiring students. Use this as your metric, much more important than a ranking # in US News in my opinion. If the stats look good for what you hope to make and want to do, then go for it, otherwise steer clear.

Oct 7, 2014

All depends, if you want a generic F500 role, a top 50 may be plenty if you want BB in then you probably need a top 10.

Oct 7, 2014

Employment reports and financial aid matter.

Oct 7, 2014

Top 10 for BB? Are you kidding me?

What about for MM or boutique?

Oct 7, 2014

Yes, if you want to be pretty comfortable you're looking at M7, Haas, Tuck, Fuqua, Stern and Yale. Johnson, Anderson, Tepper, Kenan-Fagler and the like are semi-targets.

Oct 7, 2014

All depends where you are now, and where you want to go... Respected and successful - pretty broad terminology. If you want PE/HF out of school - M7 (probably just H/S/W to be safe). If you want BB IBD - Top 25 (top 15 to be safe). Consulting - top 25. F500 - top 50.... And just remember, you can easily be respected and successful w/o an MBA.

Oct 7, 2014

Sorry I forgot about Darden, it is also a target

Oct 7, 2014

University of Texas

Array

Oct 7, 2014
reformed:

University of Texas

By "bad" I mean one not in the top 20. Examples would be Tulane, Notre Dame, Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State, Brigham Young, etc.

Oct 7, 2014

Look into state schools in the midwest or south. Some of those programs place well locally and are not that hard to get into.

Oct 7, 2014

Why do you want to do IB? Why do you think you can do IB?

Oct 7, 2014

Examine your motives.

Oct 7, 2014

Rutgers, Pace University maybe.

I Got a dollar and a dream...

Oct 7, 2014

Rutgers, Pace University maybe.

I Got a dollar and a dream...

Oct 7, 2014

Look into some schools outside of US. For example, some top Canadian MBA programs like Ivey, Queens, or Rotman MBA. Or other Canadian MBA programs like UBC, York etc. There are chances of going to IB from all those school, and they usually do enjoy out of country applicants.

Oct 7, 2014

http://poetsandquants.com/2013/04/19/great-b-schoo...

I'm impressed by the real answers and lack of flaming / trolling

Oct 7, 2014

Vanderbilt's program places pretty well into IB and I think it's 25 or 30.

Oct 7, 2014
idontwearglasses:

Vanderbilt's program places pretty well into IB and I think it's 25 or 30.

Vanderbilt's undergrads place fairly well. I would not say the same is true for their MBA candidates.

xoxo

Dirk Dirkenson:

Shut up already. Your mindless, reflexive responses to any critical thought on this are tedious. You're also probably a woman, given the name and "xoxo" signoff, so maybe the lack of judgment is to be expected.

Oct 7, 2014

i've come across a few MBAs from Notre Dame and Emory in BB IBD. needless to say they are the exception not the rule.

i would advise against an "IBD or bust" approach.

Oct 7, 2014

On this forum, it's generally top 15 with the sweet spot schools being Stern, Duke, UVA, Cornell, Yale, UCLA, and Ross, and M7 being reaches

Oct 7, 2014
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Oct 7, 2014