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Post MBA Options

 
#1 Post MBA Options
17/01/2013 19:53

NotSoYoung

Hi All,

Please Note: This is a long post but you can jump straight to the questions section below, if you wish. Thanks !

Background

I'm finishing my 1-year full-time MBA from Indian Instititute of Management in March this year.

Prior to that, I was working in private wealth management IT as a contractor for a global investment bank for 6 years (of which 3.5 years were spent in London itself). My overall experience is almost 9 years. I have good knowledge of the PWM domain as well as IT and project/people management. I did undergrad in Computer Science and graduated with Honors. GMAT score is 730.

Complication

However, MBA so far has been challenging. I'm focussing on strategy and finance but the finance part, especially accounting in the initial terms, didn't go too well and I've ended up screwing my overall CGPA (2.76/4 right now). However, strategy component has gone pretty well since beginning (>3.7) and finance has improved too in recent terms. I understand a low CGPA like that is not of much use for top consulting firms. But I'm not giving up yet and that's why I need advice from you. :)

Ambition

As you must have heard may times before :) , the idea behind the MBA was to blend the tech and business and focus on BTO consulting opportunities. I'm aiming for ACN,PwC and likes and I hope that's not too ambitious.

Current situation

I currently have an offer from a reputed global financial firm for a program manager position (AVP or higher I think though they haven't confirmed yet) in IT (reporting to the CIO directly) but it's more of the same old so I'm keeping my options open.

Questions

1. Which companies should I really target ? Would you add any more to the list ?

2. What roles should I realistically aim for - program management in technology consulting for ACN or can I actually aim for strategy and BTO type roles ?

3. Do you think a Prince 2 foundation certification or similar would help ? Anything else you think may help ?

4. I was making around 52K when I left my job in April but I'll be ok to take a pay-cut to get into my target role for long term benefit. Would you advise this action ?

Thanks in advance for your patience and advice.

Best,

NSY

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#2 RE: Post MBA Options
21/01/2013 04:36

NotSoYoung to NotSoYoung (#1)

Hi All,

Would appreciate your comments on my query.

Thanks !

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#3 RE: Post MBA Options
21/01/2013 16:34

Mr Cool to NotSoYoung (#1)

This will sound cruel, (hey _ I have at least answered your questions), but two things jump out from your post.

1> how on earth did someone asking such basic questions about their target area of employment, AT THE END of their MBA manage to get into what is a very good B-school.

2> you say yourself that you've messed up your CGPA - you may as well give up on top tier firms and accept a decent offer from any known consultancy.

When a techy does an MBA its usually to show that while they chose to apply their early years to IT, they have what it takes to master "business" skills as well (such as accountancy, marketing, etc). Sadly if you make a mess of it, then its a bit like getting a certificate to prove that you don't have a natural capability.

------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Which companies should I really target ? Would you add any more to the list ?

The ones you mention and other ones that do IT-orientated consultancy or systems integration/transformation. Basic desk research as taught in MBA courses worldwide.

2. What roles should I realistically aim for - program management in technology consulting for ACN or can I actually aim for strategy and BTO type roles ?

Prog Mgmt in IT Consultancy - Yes

Strategy - No

BTO - probably not, but little cost in trying...

3. Do you think a Prince 2 foundation certification or similar would help ? Anything else you think may help ?

NO, no, no. and frankly even asking this sort of question after a very expensive full-time MBA suggests that all your business understanding is from books. Its like trying to get a date with Miss World. You buy a Versace suit, fly to LA for a haircut, get Chanel to blend you a unique aftershave and learn anecdotes from Gore Vidal. Then just before you ask her out, you think "Hmmm - I wonder if she'd fancy me more if I wore some comedy Homer Simpson socks?"

4. I was making around 52K when I left my job in April but I'll be ok to take a pay-cut to get into my target role for long term benefit. Would you advise this action ?

No - taking a pay-cut after an expensive MBA just screams "loser". Only exception is if you choose to start your own business. Sorry - harsh but true. You've just made a huge investment. If you really need to work for LESS than before then it hasn't worked.

Moral of the story....MBA's are not quite the golden key every hopes they will be. They are great learning exercises and can also be quite life-changing (socially and philisophically) but if you expect to genuinely catapult yourself into a career orbit, then you need to make the "dean''s list " at a top 10 school.

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#4 RE: Post MBA Options
21/01/2013 17:19

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Mr Cool (#3)

MBA is generally a total waste of money and time unless you get it from somewhere like Harvard, and even then I'd say it's of dubious value.

I'd be interested to see a study showing the ROI on MBAs. I wouldn't be surprised if it were negative (taking into account a year or two's worth of lost income as well as the additional expense). Better just to get a job, do it well, and get promoted.

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#5 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 10:54

Anon MCs to Mr Cool (#3)

Mr Cool - you're cool, great answer.

I totally understand where you're coming from and don't understand why more people aren't doing a 1yr MA/MSc just after their degree? I know its not as recognised, but it was great in helping me get into a great FI grad scheme all those years ago which in turn set me up career wise.

I have worked with (and had a couple working for me) MBA types before and unfortunately Mr Cool is right, unless you were hot stuff before the MBA it really doesn't suddenly make you into Mr Exec.

In the UK, it definitely seems to me that you just have to get your MBA from LSE or one of the other top Uni's or else you better ensure you just enjoy it as there'll be no clear benefit.

Anon

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#6 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 12:01

Happy to Anon MCs (#5)

Anon, that assumes that people coming out of university have a reasonably well-defined plan in place, which many do not. Many scientists, lawyers, engineers etc initially take a different path and then find that an MBA is the optimal route into a business career.

The 'being hot stuff before' and 'attending a top school' arguments are linked. The point of the applications process is to funnel out those that are not 'hot stuff' so that the top schools can continue to send out good candidates and maintain their relationships with the top recruiters. It is self-perpetuating and many people that attend a lesser ranked school thinking they need to 'learn' MBA content do not understand that the curriculum is not particularly important. In that regard it is fine to 'just enjoy the two years' at a top school. Of note, the LSE is not a top school as it does not offer an MBA

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#7 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 13:15

Mr Cool to Happy (#6)

Happy, interesting point if view. Strangely I 100% agree with half if it and 100% disagree with the other half!

Currently on a very, very, very senior and important steering committee which having already bored the pants off my is now boring the naked butt off me.

Will ruminate on this and revert when I have a fully keyboard available...

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#8 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 13:17

DiamondSea to Happy (#6)

In the UK, young people who are looking to get jobs outside of academia (i.e. real world jobs if you want) do not waste their time on MAs and MScs for good reasons: the desirable grad schemes of IBs, consultancies, professional services firms and even big firms do not value a master's over a bachelor's at all. It's just a waste of time. They hardly value a quantitative degree over a *takes deep breath* humanities one.

I agree with BEP that MBAs are incredibly overrated. Especially, dare I say it, since a lot of them now have quotas for minorities of whatever kind and blah blah blah.

The point Happy makes is exactly why MBAs were pretty much invented: it was a way to give a business education (and a shot at a seat in a board of directors or better chance to start their own business) to people who had an educational background other than business but needed to know about management/business/economics to make the next step in their careers.

To the thread opener:

PwC and ACC ambitious with an MBA? If your MBA is from a top school (and it is) it's somehow wasted on a Big4 or ACC (in Europe), they don't particularly value that unless you are aiming at specific strategy-MBBish teams within them. Or trying to make Director straight away...

To your questions:

1 - It can't hurt too much to apply for strategy houses, can it? They like people with top 5% GMAT scores (congrats on that, since these days more and more questions in the test do not count, it's all the more random!)

2 - with an MBA you are overqualified for programme management alone (you'd have to be pretty desperate), strategy roles would make more sense

3 - no, because of point 2, if you end up doing programme management stuff after an MBA you have clearly underachieved

4 - I doubt an MBA should aim at anything less than 80k a year (GBP), which would be manager in a Big4 I believe...

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#9 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 13:53

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to DiamondSea (#8)

Also, don't forget that the extra income (post-MBA) comes at a price: high paying jobs typically come with responsibility or stress. So not only have you paid to do the MBA and not earnt anything in the meantime, but you also have to pay the price of doing a more demanding job if you then subsequently wish to get any sort of payback.

It all just sounds like a bad deal to me.

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#10 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 15:10

Anon MCs to Happy (#6)

Hi,

Technically LSE does offer one jointly with others:

https://lfylive.lse.ac.uk/lfy/tc/enquiries/enquiry.html?a=4&q=549&searchString

The TRIUM Global Executive MBA seamlessly blends thought leadership and world class business instruction from three world renowned universities: NYU Stern School of Business, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and HEC School of Management, Paris.

Rgds Anon

However, I still think Coolio got it right.

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#11 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 15:12

DiamondSea to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#9)

+1

The only real guarantee with an MBA is the loan/debt and the hours you have to work to repay it.

Not exactly the "make your money work for you" principle...

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#12 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 16:08

Happy to Anon MCs (#10)

Ok, so technically they offer one, but certainly not one of the top ones that people should be targeting - so I stand by what I said

And that is the point for me. MBAs are like cars - there are tons of them out there, good, bad and middling. But good or bad or middling can only be defined if the ultimate goal is also defined.

My sports car is great for showing off but bad to leave at airports as people steal the badge - does that mean my sports car is bad, or that all sports cars are bad?

My 15 year old Fiesta is bad for showing off but great for leaving at the airport in the knowledge that it will still be there when I got back - does that mean my fiesta is bad, or that all fiestas are bad?

Depends on my ultimate goal I guess...

For MBAs, if you simply want to learn the curriculum - go to the cheapest school that teaches the content

If you want to work at McKinsey - go to a top school

Two very different goals, two very different schools, two very different experiences...

Either of the above MBAs could be a waste of time and money, IF expectations are not met by experience and outcome. Equally, either could be a fantastic use of time and money, IF expectations are met by experience and outcome.

The comments above stating that all MBAs are a waste of time and money are pretty simplistic...

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#13 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 17:28

DiamondSea to Happy (#12)

If I wanted real MBA experience/skills I'd rather work for a strategy house unpaid for one year or so. It'd cost you less than an MBA and you'd probably learn more and open more doors with that name on the CV than with just the title.

And to be honest, such practices could well be started in the future. Goldman Sachs and Clifford Chance (for many the most prestigious IB and lawyer's firm around) are already known to pay their graduates less than their competitors (at least it was so a few years ago) knowing that people will be happy to put up with a lesser salary to get a more prestigious name on the CV/better experience.

Take it to the extreme and I can see "unpaid internships" to be a possibility in the future...

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#14 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 17:48

Matrix to DiamondSea (#13)

Take it to the extreme and I can see "unpaid internships" to be a possibility in the future...

Apparently this has been the norm in the states for years and common practice in media/PR industries in the UK for quite a while and only just becoming more mainstream in consultancy and banking...certainly I have noticed this, not just by undertaking an unpaid internship myself but also some veterans reactions. Some have been genuinely quite surprised this was the route that many entry level people have to take to get a foot on the ladder.

As for an MBA vs. unpaid experience in a top firm, I have often thought that myself. If they were a game of rock, paper, scissors surely good experience will always beat this bit of paper if not on the high sunk costs alone?

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#15 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 17:54

Camster to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#4)

BEP,

I don't agree.

If you're a professional golfer or a professional footballer (or the likes), then the opportunity cost of doing an MBA programme..... well, self-explanatory.

An MBA from a top school (INSEAD, etc.) definitely adds value. I'm sure you can find ROI calculations online, but we can do one if you like.

The network you build is also priceless. I did the Sloan Masters programme (not MIT). Great networking opportunity. So much so I also have the Columbia alumni to call on. Definitely complements what I had before the Sloan programme.

The fact that I'm bored with what I do and don't really know where I see myself in 3 years even..... that's just me suffering from a severe case of mid-age crisis - LOL!

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#16 RE: Post MBA Options
22/01/2013 18:19

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Camster (#15)

I'd actually be quite interested to see some ROI calculations...

How much does an MBA cost? £60,000? (based on LBS data - http://www.london.edu/programmes/mba/feesandfinancing.html)

Then say you lose 2 years salary @ £60K/year

Assume living costs would have to be paid for in any event

So cost is around £240K?

Then after the MBA, how much would the salary go up by? To pay back in 10 years it would have to go up by at least £26K (taking into account interest rates etc)? And that's just to break even. So really you would need to get to £86K to break even, and say £100K to actually get a return and make it worthwhile. So, more or less doubling one's salary from an already pretty good starting point. Is that realistic, especially in today's job market? How much more stress would it involve?

Genuinely interested to see a more accurate set of assumptions/calculations

Do employers actually value an MBA? One from Harvard, sure, but from University of Westminster or wherever? Does it actually make any difference to job prospects whatsoever - to the extent that one can boost one's income by at the very very least £30K or so per year?

It seems like a lot of money to spend, and you really need a really good increase in salary post-MBA to make it worthwhile... so I'm curious as to whether people really do get any sort of payback from it

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#17 RE: Post MBA Options
23/01/2013 07:33

Camster to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#16)

Hi BEP,

Agreed, hence why I mentioned top school.

My youngest sibling's friend worked for GS, got the boot at the height of the crisis. Went to do his MBA at a top school, graduated when things were still rather bad, got a role with a 50% hike from his previous base. In a different country.

Employers still go to these top schools to hire.

You know, the very experience itself is worth the money. Also, you might find your wife :)

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#18 RE: Post MBA Options
23/01/2013 09:28

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Camster (#17)

"Y’know, I seen me a mermaid once. I even seen me a shark eat an octopus. But I ain’t never seen no phantom female MBA student."

;)

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#19 RE: Post MBA Options
24/01/2013 10:14

DiamondSea to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#18)

Again, I'd never get so much in debt for an MBA.

If I had that money, I'd just invest it...

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#20 RE: Post MBA Options
24/01/2013 12:04

Happy to DiamondSea (#19)

Again, I'd never get so much in debt for an MBA.

If I had that money, I'd just invest it...

And that is a totally pointless statement in the absence of any context.

For you, investing may be the best ROI, for many others the MBA may deliver a far better return. As I mentioned above, comments like this are, at best, simplistic...

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#21 RE: Post MBA Options
24/01/2013 12:22

baykus to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#16)

Then after the MBA, how much would the salary go up by? To pay back in 10 years it would have to go up by at least £26K (taking into account interest rates etc)? And that's just to break even. So really you would need to get to £86K to break even, and say £100K to actually get a return and make it worthwhile. So, more or less doubling one's salary from an already pretty good starting point. Is that realistic, especially in today's job market? How much more stress would it involve?

This is entirely feasible, and pretty much the career path if you end up at a top consultancy or IB. For those that crack this it is entirely worth the investment. I know people who took (initial) paycuts as well as the MBA investment to land these jobs, and I assure you they are pretty good at doing ROI calculations.

Which takes us back to Happy's point, that if this is what you're aiming for you'd better go to a school that gives you a chance of this happening. The people I've seen who got MBAs from 2nd/3rd tier schools got absolutely nothing out of it except debt and missed career progression.

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#22 RE: Post MBA Options
26/01/2013 08:06

Evil Consultant to Happy (#20)

And that is a totally pointless statement in the absence of any context.

For you, investing may be the best ROI, for many others the MBA may deliver a far better return. As I mentioned above, comments like this are, at best, simplistic...

Yeah, agree with Happy here. An MBA is like any other investment; a proposition based on risk. One or two people will make a fantastic return, some will make a sensible return, some will break even and a few will see little or no payback.

On a personal note, my MBA will have paid for itself in about another year (including lost salary) at least partially because I got a scholarship to study and my first employer paid me a good starting bonus. It has enabled me to maintain a fairly decent rate of salary growth over the past few years where most of my former colleagues have faced single-digit payrises at best and many have effectively had their salaries frozen. That said, I know that there are plenty of people that I studied with who will have had little or no payback from their time at business school.

EC

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#23 RE: Post MBA Options
26/01/2013 18:36

apple to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#16)

Mr. Eyebrow man your Maths seems a little off here. Your figures are £60K course costs for 2 years plus 60K lost salary for 2 years = £240K.

LBS is £57K for the full programme; and pre-MBA salaries are around £33K which is before tax so lost income is say £25K per year. That makes a total of £107K.

Perhaps you need to get yourself an MBA to understand finance better?

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#24 RE: Post MBA Options
26/01/2013 20:41

DiamondSea to apple (#23)

240k included 60k for tuition fees.

Sure ALL pre-MBA salaries are 33k, the salary of a graduate at a Big 4, right...

¬¬

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#25 RE: Post MBA Options
27/01/2013 13:50

apple to DiamondSea (#24)

>240k included 60k for tuition fees.

Well it is not very clear which is tuition versus other expenses but net result is the same. Bushy estimate £240K. Realistic estimate £107K.

>Sure ALL pre-MBA salaries are 33k, the salary of a graduate at a Big 4, right...

Average pre-MBA salaries are £33K according to this:

http://www.topmba.com/articles/jobs/mbas-salaries-expectations-and-reality

Of course there may be some on £60K and some on £20K. Big4 salaries are in the top 5% of graduate salaries. Many people study MBAs precisely because they are not in the top 5% of earners but aspire to be.

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#26 RE: Post MBA Options
27/01/2013 20:54

DiamondSea to apple (#25)

I'll never believe that stat even if it came from a website with research made by God, published by Jesus and double-checked by Saint Peter.

UNLESS we are talking MBAs of a non-top school (i.e. top 30, maybe top 40 of the FT list).

Which I really guess is the case, I trust ANY MBA will double your salary if you are on 20-30k...

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#27 RE: Post MBA Options
28/01/2013 09:14

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to DiamondSea (#26)

I thought grad salaries were more than that in the 90s?

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#28 RE: Post MBA Options
28/01/2013 12:02

DiamondSea to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#27)

Big4s pay about 25k-27k for audit and tax graduates I believe, consulting kids are around 32k.

When we talk about MBA, one thing are those in the top 30, top 40 to stretch it, schools, one thing is the "MBA in Arts at the Cwdyffgh college of arts in Western Cornwall" and the hundreds of likes.

The stats provided just above probably look at these two completely different worlds as if they were one, hence their doubtful usefulness/veridicity IMO.

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