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Old 10-11-07, 03:41 PM   #1
charlie bucket
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Going back to school for my MBA

I'm 29 years old and married with a one year old son and another baby due next month. I work at a full time job 9-5. I'm looking to go back to school and get my MBA with a concentration in Management Information Systems.

I feel like being out of school several years now puts me at a disadvantage. Plus the extra time I have to spend may be difficult for my family.

Is there anyone who has been in a similar situation? Any words of wisdom or advice before I start this process?

Thanks in advance.

PS - Haven't even taken the GMATs yet
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Old 10-11-07, 04:49 PM   #2
ChiTownAbs, Inc
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where?
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Old 10-11-07, 06:47 PM   #3
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Your absence from school won't put you at a disadvantage. Most MBAs have been out of school at least 4 years.
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Old 10-11-07, 07:32 PM   #4
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My husband got his MBA while we were raising our oldest son. We missed his graduation because I had our second the day before... The only advice I have is... not to take too many classes in the fall. It leads right into the Christmas holidays. It took a couple of semesters to get the system down, but it was much easier when he only took one course during the fall ... 2 in the spring and one or two during the summer. It took him the full 5 yrs. He could have done it in 3.. but we wanted to have some kind of life.. so he spaced it out.
Granted, this was 20+ yrs ago but I think it would be just as stressful today as it was back then. We were fortunate enough that I didn't have to work.. looking back, that would have added more stress... but we would have found a way to work it out. His company reimbursed us 100% tuition and books. Which was a huge help.
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Old 10-11-07, 08:00 PM   #5
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Consider schools on:

1. The name
2. The network
3. Training

The most important things are the first two....the 3rd will take care of itself at a decent program.

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Old 10-11-07, 09:55 PM   #6
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Being out of school won't put you at a disadvantage. MBA programs are very relaxed and require minimal effort-- especially compared to undergraduate degrees. Someone will tell you something, you'll think "oh, that's a good idea" and that's it. There's no real work or memorization or effort... more just passive absorption of ideas. You'll still take tests and write up case studies, but those aren't very difficult at all.

The real value of an MBA program is the people you meet. You'll be exposed to all kinds of interesting people, and you have to learn to work effectively in that type of diverse setting.

In terms of which school to attend, there are two options: the first is the "checkmark" school. Those are schools you attend just to get a check mark next to "MBA" on your resume (i.e. to get promoted to jobs that require an MBA). These are typically smaller, local school and online programs. Also, most night programs fall into this category.

The second type of school is the "get ahead" school. At these types of schools, you'll meet influential people (or people who will be influential) and the alumni will open doors for you. These are the bigger, more well known schools.

In terms of education: it's not much different. You'll learn basically the same thing, maybe the professor at the bigger school will have some more stories from big industry, but in general it's about equal.
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Old 10-12-07, 09:29 AM   #7
charlie bucket
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. Much appreciated.

I live in northern NJ and am looking to go local. Possibly Montclair State since it is close to where I work.
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Old 10-12-07, 09:33 AM   #8
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don't know how Montclair State ranks, but i'd bet the NY schools rank higher
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Old 10-12-07, 10:17 AM   #9
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Charlie --

A couple of questions:

1) Are you looking at full time or part time?

2) Is your company paying for the degree? Will they pay for an out of state or a private degree?

3) Why are you going for the MBA? Is it to change career paths, get ahead in your current job, or to switch companies and make big bucks?


Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy
don't know how Montclair State ranks, but i'd bet the NY schools rank higher

Again, I don't know the rankings, student profile, salary information, or job placement success (all of which are very important and should impact your decision) but from a cursory view...

Positive: I took a look at the faculty and was fairly impressed. In that department, it seems like there are a number of faculty from the big name schools, and most seem to be actively publishing. I actually knew some of the names.

Negative: The admission criteria seems to be very lax. For instance, a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a 500 GMAT score will get you admitted. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a 600 GMAT scores guarantees admission. These are very low standards, which may indicate a low quality of student (and remember, unlike most places, the quality of the other students is very important in an MBA program because that dictates your "network value"). The alternative explanation is that they could have a lot of upper management students (usually executive MBA students) who have been out of school a long time. These types of individuals usually have low GMAT scores (lack of time to study and lack of recency). You need to look into this issue further.
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Old 10-12-07, 10:37 AM   #10
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Montclair is where I got my undergraduate degree. Nice campus, very nice looking girls, no clue about the MBA program. Sorry.
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Old 10-12-07, 11:02 AM   #11
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charlie bucket: From my various questioning re: MBAs here and some research, getting an MBA is almost useless unless it's from a top school unless you know it can directly help you at your current job. For example, you work for Amalgamated Positronics International, and they said, "Go get an MBA from XYZ A&M and come back in two years, you'll be a manager and make $X more, and we'll pay for 80% of tuition." Something like that.

Otherwise, it's not very useful.

Not trying to be a dick, just repeating what I've heard numerous, numerous times.
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Old 10-12-07, 12:23 PM   #12
charlie bucket
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matta
Charlie --

A couple of questions:

1) Are you looking at full time or part time?

2) Is your company paying for the degree? Will they pay for an out of state or a private degree?

3) Why are you going for the MBA? Is it to change career paths, get ahead in your current job, or to switch companies and make big bucks?
Matta - thanks for the feedback

I need to go part time because I'll need to continue to support my family. My company will probably help but I'm not too concerned about the cost because I'll have some parental help as well.

I mentioned Montclair State because location is important for me. I need to be somewhat close to home and not have to trek into the City everyday after work. That commute would be terrible.

I'm basically looking to further my career so that I can make some better money to better support my family. I'd like to tell my wife that she doesn't have to work anymore.

Right now I work for a web company maintaining web sites and I'm not really sure how far its going to get me. I would like to stay in the internet/e-commerce field though because I like what I do.
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Old 10-12-07, 12:26 PM   #13
charlie bucket
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bus
charlie bucket: From my various questioning re: MBAs here and some research, getting an MBA is almost useless unless it's from a top school unless you know it can directly help you at your current job. For example, you work for Amalgamated Positronics International, and they said, "Go get an MBA from XYZ A&M and come back in two years, you'll be a manager and make $X more, and we'll pay for 80% of tuition." Something like that.

Otherwise, it's not very useful.

Not trying to be a dick, just repeating what I've heard numerous, numerous times.
I appreciate the advice. It may very well be better to find a company like you mentioned.
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Old 10-12-07, 12:42 PM   #14
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I also wanted to echo The Bus' comments. Unless you have a specific reason for getting an MBA from your employer it is essentially useless to get an MBA from non top 25 school (unless there happens to be a specific company in the US that pulls from a specific school you want to work at). Case in point, the WSJ had an article 3 weeks ago about the 1,000s upon 1,000s of law students graduating with no job, no prospects and if they had any prospects they would only make $40-50k. Not quite what they envisioned when going to law school. The reason is that these people were going to 2nd and 3rd rate schools (like Brooklyn Law School, no offense) and not finishing in the top 5-10% of their class. I would find that article if I were you and read it as it may give you some perspective for your decision.
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Old 10-12-07, 12:50 PM   #15
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you can get a job if you go to brooklyn law, but you have to be realistic. when i did jury duty i liked the defense attorney and looking him up. he went to CUNY law school and was probably making nice money defending drug dealers. he was dressed much better than the prosecutor

there is also a lot of contract law to do in NYC like co-op closings that probably pays pretty good, but not as sexy as corporate law in the financial district.

if i were to go for an MBA i would first study for the GMAT until i was sure i can score better than 99% of the other people taking it. than take it, get a good score and apply to a good school.
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Old 10-12-07, 12:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy
i would first study for the GMAT until i was sure i can score better than 99% of the other people taking it. than take it, get a good score and apply to a good school.
al bundy in 30 years....





-p
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Old 10-12-07, 03:42 PM   #17
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Forget about age, I think getting an MBA puts you at a disadvantage.
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Old 10-13-07, 09:07 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neiname
I also wanted to echo The Bus' comments. Unless you have a specific reason for getting an MBA from your employer it is essentially useless to get an MBA from non top 25 school (unless there happens to be a specific company in the US that pulls from a specific school you want to work at).
Like I said, there are checkmark schools and career building schools.

Echoing neiname's comment, if you're going to pursue an MBA, you might as well go to a top school. I would consider a "Top" school as either a top 25 ranked MBA program or one of the upper tier business schools in your geographical area.

For instance, in Atlanta there are two Top 25 MBA programs (Georgia Tech and Emory). However, I wouldn't flinch at a Terry (UGA) MBA, because eventhough it's somewhere around #50, people in Atlanta still treat it as a top area school (since it's the 3rd best in the area, and has a lot of graduates).
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Old 10-13-07, 09:34 AM   #19
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since the OP is in NJ i would recommend Stern. I also met someone from Carnegie Mellon who made nice money doing basically nothing
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Old 10-13-07, 10:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy
since the OP is in NJ i would recommend Stern. I also met someone from Carnegie Mellon who made nice money doing basically nothing
My friend went to Stern. Here's what he had to say:

"Stern is alot of fun and their are alot happy hours and stuff. It is not the best place to go if you are strapped for cash. Also, the alumni networks and career services aren't really that good unless you have experience in the area that you are looking to enter post-mba."
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