MBA Mikey: Is B-School Right for Me?

I get a shocking number of DMs asking me about business school: Is the MBA worth it? Would you take a free ride from a less sexy program? Can I break into banking/PE/VC after graduating from X school? Are Johnson and Kenan-Flagler really as bad as you make them seem? (The answer to that last one is NO, for the record).

This being the Wall Street Oasis crowd, I'm going to throw out some finance-friendly pieces of advice based on my own experience and the experiences of friends.

For context, I worked in operating and investing roles for 5 years before starting my MBA. I liked the work, but didn't love the stage, and did an MBA for a few reasons:

  1. Take a vacation from real life while I've got my youth, some money, and no responsibilities
  2. Figure my shit out: having bounced between paths, I needed some distance from the day-to-day to figure out what I was really looking for professionally
  3. Learn some of the stuff I'd missed: no pre-MBA career path teaches you everything, and I needed to fill out the proverbial toolkit while I was still relatively junior
  4. Meet great people. Everyone talks about networking, but that's what you do with the Oak Hill MD you met in Palm Beach, not with your new friend from your MBA cohort.

So, from my perspective, the MBA makes sense for any/all of the reasons above. But it is, after all, a vocational school. You shouldn't go unless you can leave with a better/higher-paying/more fulfilling job than you entered with. Given that, here's Mikey's guide to the optimal MBA seekers:

  1. Petey the Pivoter: Petey started out on a decidedly unsexy career path. He worked in audit/insurance sales/internal consulting/public sector…you name it, and now he wants to make bank and drive a Range Rover. Petey's a great b-school candidate, because he can start on even footing with other MBA applicants when applying for roles in consulting, banking, general management (like Proctor & Gamble, for example). As long as Petey busts his ass, nails the technical, networks with the hiring managers, etc., he'll have a good chance at pivoting into a role that can turn into a great career or serve as a launchpad for other, less conventional things.

  2. Vito the Veteran: Vito served the country proudly for many years. A West Point grad, Vito knows as much about the private sector as Mikey does about attending Elizabeth Warren rallies. Business school is a crash course in econ, accounting, marketing – all the basic. Vito needs this crash course because when he pairs some hard skills with his unparalleled leadership training, he'll be an absolute weapon in business. On a side note, the guy spent the last decade living in barracks in the middle of nowhere – this gives him flexibility to get excited about roles in less sexy cities, opening up even more fertile hunting ground for this job search. He simply doesn't mind being in Cincinnati.

  3. Back Office Betty: Betty has all the right names on her resume. Most recently, she crushed it at JP Morgan. Or did she? Dig deeper, and you'll find that Betty worked in the Wilmington office, meandering through back office tasks all day. Now, she's ready for a transition to the front office. M&A? Hell yeah – Betty is ready. An MBA from a solid program gives Betty the credibility she needs to approach her former employer and competitors as a viable candidate for roles making hundreds of thousands doing deals, not a fraction of that in compliance.

Anyway, I'll be back next Wednesday for a Q&A. In the meantime, find me on Instagram @MBA_Mikey. I make memes about the MBA experience, the stereotypical MBAs you'll run into, and post-grad life back in the real world. See you there.

Comments (17)

 
Funniest
Jan 10, 2020 - 2:59pm

will getting an m7 mba make my dad love me?

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Investment Banking Full-time Analyst Programme (London) at JPMorgan Chase. After a thorough review of your application, we regret to inform you that we are unable to move forward with your candidacy at this time.
  • 4
 
Jan 11, 2020 - 11:16am

who else is supposed to pay for it?

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Investment Banking Full-time Analyst Programme (London) at JPMorgan Chase. After a thorough review of your application, we regret to inform you that we are unable to move forward with your candidacy at this time.
 
Jan 10, 2020 - 3:07pm

Do you think the declines in applications would have the effect on acceptance rates that would logically follow? Excluding HYP, think the rest of the top 15. It seems to me that full employment, drop in international applicants, along with the perceived value (or lack thereof) an MBA is dragging apps.

I'm hoping if the question I asked happens to be true I would have a shot at some places I wouldn't have pre application declines.

 
Most Helpful
Jan 10, 2020 - 3:25pm

Statistically speaking you are correct. The drop in application volume is making the top programs slightly easier to get into. It's not going o turn straw into gold, but it does make a difference. it also makes the schools compete more vigorously for the candidates they really want.

I just did a podcast on this topic, admittedly less wittily than OP, but if you are interested in my take, please either read the show notes or listen to "Is an MBA Worth It, or Is the Sky Falling Down on the MBA Degree? "

Best,
Linda

Linda Abraham President, Accepted | Contact Me | Admissions Consulting
  • 3
 
Jan 11, 2020 - 2:09am

MBA_Mikey:

I get a shocking number of DMs asking me about business school: Is the MBA worth it? Would you take a free ride from a less sexy program? Can I break into banking/PE/VC after graduating from X school? Are Johnson and Kenan-Flagler really as bad as you make them seem? (The answer to that last one is NO, for the record).

This being the Wall Street Oasis crowd, I'm going to throw out some finance-friendly pieces of advice based on my own experience and the experiences of friends.

For context, I worked in operating and investing roles for 5 years before starting my MBA. I liked the work, but didn't love the stage, and did an MBA for a few reasons:

  1. Take a vacation from real life while I've got my youth, some money, and no responsibilities
  2. Figure my shit out: having bounced between paths, I needed some distance from the day-to-day to figure out what I was really looking for professionally
  3. Learn some of the stuff I'd missed: no pre-MBA career path teaches you everything, and I needed to fill out the proverbial toolkit while I was still relatively junior
  4. Meet great people. Everyone talks about networking, but that's what you do with the Oak Hill MD you met in Palm Beach, not with your new friend from your MBA cohort.

So, from my perspective, the MBA makes sense for any/all of the reasons above. But it is, after all, a vocational school. You shouldn't go unless you can leave with a better/higher-paying/more fulfilling job than you entered with. Given that, here's Mikey's guide to the optimal MBA seekers:

  1. Petey the Pivoter: Petey started out on a decidedly unsexy career path. He worked in audit/insurance sales/internal consulting/public sector…you name it, and now he wants to make bank and drive a Range Rover. Petey's a great b-school candidate, because he can start on even footing with other MBA applicants when applying for roles in consulting, banking, general management (like Proctor & Gamble, for example). As long as Petey busts his ass, nails the technical, networks with the hiring managers, etc., he'll have a good chance at pivoting into a role that can turn into a great career or serve as a launchpad for other, less conventional things.

  2. Vito the Veteran: Vito served the country proudly for many years. A West Point grad, Vito knows as much about the private sector as Mikey does about attending Elizabeth Warren rallies. Business school is a crash course in econ, accounting, marketing – all the basic. Vito needs this crash course because when he pairs some hard skills with his unparalleled leadership training, he'll be an absolute weapon in business. On a side note, the guy spent the last decade living in barracks in the middle of nowhere – this gives him flexibility to get excited about roles in less sexy cities, opening up even more fertile hunting ground for this job search. He simply doesn't mind being in Cincinnati.

  3. Back Office Betty: Betty has all the right names on her resume. Most recently, she crushed it at JP Morgan. Or did she? Dig deeper, and you'll find that Betty worked in the Wilmington office, meandering through back office tasks all day. Now, she's ready for a transition to the front office. M&A? Hell yeah – Betty is ready. An MBA from a solid program gives Betty the credibility she needs to approach her former employer and competitors as a viable candidate for roles making hundreds of thousands doing deals, not a fraction of that in compliance.

Anyway, I'll be back next Wednesday for an AMA. In the meantime, find me on Instagram @MBA_Mikey. I make memes about the MBA experience, the stereotypical MBAs you'll run into, and post-grad life back in the real world. See you there.

I'm living proof of #3 and happy to answer any questions about BO/MO to MBA

 
May 24, 2020 - 6:41pm

I'm in a FO trading role (Structured Rates Trading, to be precise) in India at a large European bank. How easy/difficult, will Iit be for me if my Goal is to do a MBA from M7, and switch to tier 1 BB?

 
  • Research Analyst in AM - Equities
Jan 17, 2020 - 8:56am

I am happy in my current role - an equity research analyst at a mid size asset management firm (~5 years out of ug) However, while I would I enjoy staying in my current role/firm for as long as possible, I am not confident in the long term prospects here or in the industry in general.

I have contemplated doing the CFA, but it wouldn't be too useful outside the industry so I haven't gone that route yet but still on the table.

I don't think a full time MBA makes sense considering where I am in life and due to the fact that I am not looking to switch industries immediately. Which leads me to the option of a part-time/online MBA at a top 15 school. Which I would consider as a hedge if my current role/industry doesn't pan out 5-10 years down the road.

My question would be is it worth the time and money for a part time MBA if you are not expecting to get an immediate impact from it? Also how do employers view the part time MBA 5-10 years post earning it. I've held the view that it would look the same on a resume as a full time, but could be incorrect there.

 
Jan 21, 2020 - 4:37pm

You should definitely consider a part-time MBA. Depending on where you are located and what sort of flexiblity you have to take classes (evenings, weekends, Fridays) there are a lot of great options. In the end, an MBA from a top school is the same MBA whether you did it part-time or full-time.

Susan Cera Director of MBA Admissions Stratus Admissions Counseling - www.stratusadmissions.com FREE Profile Evaluation - www.stratusadmissions.com/consult
  • 1
 
  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
May 24, 2020 - 6:54pm

Please include figures to support this (e.g. Near and long term outcomes for part-time MBA grads v. Full-time) , as from publicly available information, this seems categorically false ...

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