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£60k loan to cover MBA cost??

#1 £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
21/10/2012 22:55


As you may have gathered from the subject of my post, I'm quite keen to get into Management Consultancy...

I have 5 years of engineering industry experience and a 1st class honours degree in Engineering from an ok university but despite making applications to more or less all of the well known consultancies I've had no luck getting to interview stage. From doing some research I get the impression that doing an MBA could greatly improve my chances, provided that I go to a top business school (ie LSB, Insead or similar)... I've done some research and the cost of an MBA at one of these schools is about 50-£60k. As I don't have that sort of money lying around I was thinking about taking out a loan to cover the cost. I know it's a lot of money but its a debt I don't mind having if it gets me onto the career path I want to be on.

The only reservation I have about taking out the loan is the fear of the MBA course not doing for me what I expect it to (ie. not actually improving my chances of getting into consultancy, or at least improving my career prospects and future earning potential). To be honest I'm not too concerned about getting into an MBBB firm, I'd be perfectly happy at Deloitte, CapGemini or similar.

Could some of the people in the know please give me some advice on whether doing the MBA would be a good idea considering my situation and whether I should consider doing the MBA at a cheaper and less prestigious institutions considering the fact that I'm not aiming for one of the MBBB consulting firms.

Apologies for the lengthy post, any comments would be appreciated.

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#2 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
21/10/2012 23:03

UKCONTRACTOR to Barnes83 (#1)

You don't need MBA to get into Deloitte or Capgemini......and MBA from LBS or Insead would definitely improve your career prospects at any company depending upon how best you can capitalize on your learning and network developed during your studies.

Remember MBA from LBS would be for 15-21 months so if you are on £50K salary now...add opportunity costs of £60K-£90K in addition to £60K of tution fees and living expenses....So overall cost of MBA could be anywhere from £120K to £150K.....

But if you are capable and smart enough MBA from LBS can see you making millions before your retire.....


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#3 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
21/10/2012 23:26

Barnes83 to UKCONTRACTOR (#2)

Contractor, as I previously mentioned, I haven't managed to get an interview with Deloitte, CapGemini or similar companies in my current situation which is exactly why I'm considering the MBA.

I'm not too concerned about the cost of the course, I just want to get out of my current career and into a role that offers better learning opportunities and long term prospects. I do think I'm capable so if as you say an MBA from LSB or Insead could see me making millions in future, the investment of £120 to £150k to achieve this would seem like quite a bargain.

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#4 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
21/10/2012 23:56

big mac to Barnes83 (#3)

You don't need a MBA to get into the Big4...have you thought about trying to apply for a smaller niche firm and then revisting the Big4 option....that's what I did and its paid off quite well..

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#5 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
22/10/2012 00:02

Barnes83 to big mac (#4)

Big Mac, Can i ask what industry you entered a niche firm from?

I have actually started looking into applying to smaller firms and think that may be the route i'd have to use to get into the industry. In case this doesn't work however, I think i'll start applying for MBAs now so that my application is processed for entry in the next academic year if I don't manage to get into the industry beforehand.

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#6 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
22/10/2012 09:06

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Barnes83 (#5)

I wonder what the Dragons on Dragons Den would say if they were offered the chance of a MBA for £120K financial cost including lost earnings. It's such a bad proposition it's unreal. Imagine how long it takes to pay that back! And the effort and hard work involved in doing so! And that assumes the MBA is even recognised by employers to the extent that it gets you more pay anyway (very doubtful at best)!

"I'm out"...

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#7 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
22/10/2012 10:20

Tony Restell ( to Barnes83 (#5)

A few observations that I hope will be helpful:

  • The top business schools have very demanding entry standards. Most successful applicants will be high flyers from Oxbridge or will have got a first - or be exceptional in some other way - having been to another of the most highly regarded universities. A first from an OK university may simply not cut it. I would usually expect those in the running to study at a top business school to also interest the Big 4 (if not MBBB), so the fact that you aren't securing any interviews sounds alarm bells to me.
  • Unless there is a real sector-experience talent shortage, the larger consulting brands will always be more eager to hire someone who has prior consulting experience (than taking a chance on someone with the sector expertise but no track record in consulting). However, there are tons of small consulting firms in the market - and the bigger players usually seem very happy to take on people who've gained their consulting spurs at these smaller firms. Provided the assignments you've worked on and the client base you've served looks credible, the fact you've consulted with a small practice isn't a no-no. So I would second the suggestion that you look at joining a smaller firm as a route into a Big 4 type organisation longer term.

If you need a list of smaller firms to target, suggest downloading our Definitive Guide To UK Consulting Firms if you don't have it already. It's free for download from:

If you do decide to go down the MBA route - and find yourself choosing between schools a notch below INSEAD, LBS, etc. - then be rigourous in your research. Check with the careers services how many of each class in the last few years have joined a reputable consulting firm upon graduation; and which consulting firms present on campus / do something to actively target hires from that school. I encounter so many people who've done an MBA from a lowly school, with the expectation it'll open the doors to consulting for them. It's really disheartening to tell them their chances of success are negligible, but that's the reality. Any half decent careers service should be able to answer the questions above - or failing that, use LinkedIn to research where the alumni of particular schools typically end up. If it's not in the types of firms you'd aspire to joining then simply don't pursue that avenue.

Hope this is helpful and good luck.

Tony Restell

Founder, and

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#8 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
22/10/2012 20:52

Barnes83 to Tony Restell ( (#7)

To Tony Restell and the partner with the Bushy Brows, thank you, that really is great advice and it's given me a lot to think about. I've already started looking into roles with smaller firms and you're both right, their entry requirements seem a lot less stringent compared to some of the bigger players in the industry so that's where I'll be focusing my efforts from here on.

With regards to the MBA, I've got quite a while until the beginning of the next academic year so that gives me plenty of time to investigate the matter properly and decide on the best course of action to take. Hopefully by then I'll already be in with a smaller firm and the MBA route will seem like less of a necessity. Thank you both once again for your advice, I really appreciate it...

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#9 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
23/10/2012 01:12

big mac to Barnes83 (#5)

I work in FS so started of in IT at a bank, then moved to a software dev company. From there I moved to a niche firm and now I'm at a Big4, not even in IT advisory...all with my bachelors from a small unknown (globally) university.

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#10 RE: £60k loan to cover MBA cost??
24/10/2012 17:13

I to Tony Restell ( (#7)

Hi Tony,

I looked at the MBA survey. I plan to apply to business schools very soon ia. I doubt the results of the survey are very accurate as it says here:

"The important caveats are that this methodology excludes data for people who joined these firms post-MBA and have since left; and similarly includes those people who were with McKinsey, BCG or Bain prior to their MBA, were sponsored through an MBA and now have returned to their employer as part of the sponsorship deal (without having to undergo the MBA selection process)."

I suspect most INSEAD MBA grads who go to MBB are sponsored. It is difficult to change careers in a one year program I have heard.

So my question to you is: I have consulting experience in a very niche area (insurance/pensions), which is not strategy focused. I'd like to get into a strategy role. Do you think INSEAD is a better choice than US business schools (in terms of cost-benefit, opportunity cost).

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