Should I pursue an MBA?
January 31, 2013 11:58 AM Subscribe
Please help me evaluate whether or not I should aim to go to business school (many personal details inside).
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm going to try to lay out the facts and keep the editorializing to a minimum. Anonymous due to the detailed information provided below. I am 23.
~1.5 years into my first job out of college at a 'second-tier' management and technology consulting firm (heavy on the technology, light on the management).
Currently gross ~75k annually. Promotion expected in about half a year (not a huge raise). The work is okay, but I'm looking for something more... challenging/analytical/problem-solving oriented. I think I can spin my experiences fairly well in an interview situation, but don't really feel that I've learned much from this job.
3.34 GPA from a top 3 undergrad school.
Major was in engineering.
SAT (if it helps - haven't taken GMAT yet) was M800/V800/W720
~70k in liquid savings, currently retirement funds. My current work/living arrangement allows me to save a large percentage of my income (>50% of my gross). This amount could change in the future but let's assume it won't.
Potential for career acceleration and a salary jump (If I'm going to be a corporate drone, I want to be a well-compensated one). I'm not really passionate about work, and I think I could derive some satisfaction from any 'strategic' or analytical corporate role. I would probably not be averse to going back into consulting, as long as it was more strategy-focused or analytical/data-driven than what I'm doing now.
There's no pretty way to say this, but I'm also motivated by prestige. Most of the time it isn't very important to me, but the thought of a path to being one of the 'best and brightest' type of thing tends to appeal to my ego when I'm feeling unaccomplished in my current situation.
Business school is expensive and the ROI is debatable. I have concerns about being able to handle the academics and the networking - most people like me and I'm friendly with my coworkers, but I'm definitely not outgoing or extroverted.
I also don't specifically know what I want to do with my career, and I keep reading that an MBA is not something you should pursue without a well-defined plan.
I'm also not sure that I'd be able to step up to the challenge academically. I'm ~95% sure that I should have been in therapy or on medication for anxiety during college, and I'm afraid those issues will come back once I return to a stressful environment. My academic record was spotty in college (as evidenced by my GPA) due to severe procrastination regarding deadlines and TONS of anxiety-ridden days/weeks/months. I've excelled at work (I think in large part due to the structured responsibilities of a job), but I still tend to procrastinate heavily on administrative tasks that don't directly impact my job performance.
If I don't apply to business school, I'll probably start applying for appealing jobs at smaller companies (I'm also interested in data analyst positions don't really have the quantitative/coding background - I like programming, Excel wizardry, data visualization, etc. but I don't have an advanced statistics background or a strong programming foundation).
The compromise is to prep for the GMAT now, take the GMAT, apply for new jobs, then apply to an MBA program later on or if it doesn't work out. I'm leaning towards doing this anyway, but I want to hear what the levelheaded denizens of AskMe think about business school in this situation. Also relevant - do I even have a shot at a top program? I know my GPA and academic record could be a problem. Thanks!