For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

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preciseman
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For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by preciseman »

Hi guys -

I just recently graduated undergrad from Texas A&M and am looking into MBA programs to apply to in the future. I've always wanted one..but I'm struggling a little on the timeline.

Some of my stats: currently in big 4 on the consulting side, graduated with a BBA in finance with a 3.95. Eventually looking to make a move into finance (I'm already burnt out from all the traveling in consulting after 4 months!). Should I be applying at the 2 year mark for the Aug 2018 start, or at the 3 year mark for the Aug 2019 start? Will 1 year more experience make a ton of difference for top 10 schools?

I haven't started studying for the GMAT..is it recommended to start so far out? I'm not planning on taking it for awhile since I would like to take my time in order to ensure a good score, but not really sure if its a good idea to start planning so far out as I hear MORE preparation can actually hurt you.

Also - realistically, what schools should I be applying to? I'm trying to cultivate a list of schools but would really like input from the community!

Any thoughts and tips would be really helpful!

Thanks guys!
orlandoguy
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by orlandoguy »

It's been quite awhile, but I found the good people at http://www.gmatclub.com to be the Bogleheads of the MBA admissions world. The forums are excellent and you should find all of the information you need regarding both admissions and the GMAT.

All the best.

orlandoguy
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dziuniek
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by dziuniek »

With that GPA and Big4 consulting experience you shouldn't really have a problem getting into most schools? The GMAT would be your only obstacle.

My MBA program waives the GMAT if one has 3 years of work experience, but then again, it isn't IVY, it isn't public but private, guess it isn't that great altogether, haha. That being, depending on where you chose to go, I would check whether you need the GMAT altogether? A local university / college might not require it...

A friend of mine at said school was the MBA program manager and said their criteria for admitting students was based on the following formula:

GMAT Score + ( GPA x 100)... If that number is higher than the minimum number required for admission, you are in. Again, that's just a college in my state, so YMMV.

I guess it doesn't apply for someone with a 3.95GPA and BIG4 consulting experience, as you would probably try to attend a top 20 MBA program?

If not, then are you sure you need one ?
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LiveSimple
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by LiveSimple »

orlandoguy wrote:It's been quite awhile, but I found the good people at http://www.gmatclub.com to be the Bogleheads of the MBA admissions world. The forums are excellent and you should find all of the information you need regarding both admissions and the GMAT.

All the best.

orlandoguy

The link http://www.gmatclub.com, is great something to learn, even though I am not in for an MBA ( earned one, many moons ago !)
Lamacub
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by Lamacub »

GMAT scores are good for a few years (I think it is 5). If you know you are going to have a "slower" month, you might consider using it to study for the GMAT (and if you don't score well you have time to take it again before applying). I recommend a study course of some type as you can learn tricks to save time and how to approach the questions on the exam. I don't know that a 3rd year of experience is going to make that big of a difference unless it means the GMAT gets waived as one poster above mentioned. You are thinking along the right lines as far as planning, good luck!
krannerd
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by krannerd »

I started my MBA with 2 years of experience at a top 25 school. I think that 1 more year would have made a difference for me...more experience would have made the work more relevant. If you're planning on attending a Top 10 type school...even more experience may make you a more viable candidate.

I suggest taking the GMAT right away. You're still in an "academic" mindset and that seems to dissipate pretty quickly when you're not in school. Since the scores are valid for a few years, it doesn't hurt to take it more than once. Also, the technical material in the test may be fresher in your mind now than it will be in 2 years.
bigred77
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by bigred77 »

What tier of program are you looking at? M7 programs or top Texas programs like Rice or UT?

3-4 years experience seems to be the most preferred for Full-Time elite programs.
UNCHEEL
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by UNCHEEL »

Go ahead and apply after two years. Only apply to Top-10 schools - a non-distinctive school may not improve your current job position. The 1-year program at Kellogg is great for someone who wants to get in/get out. Wharton may have the broadest course offerings and options for placing out of all the required cores if you have the background. (I chose Wharton over HBS for that reason and finished in 15 months.) If you get deferred admission to a school you like, take it. If you don't get into any program you like, try again in a year. Good luck!
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simplesimon
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by simplesimon »

I would put it off for as long as you can until you come up with really good reasons to why you want it, how it will help you, and if it really is the only thing that's left to do that will help you...not some arbitrary 2 vs 3 years out of undergrad. This will help you get the most out of your MBA experience and help you articulate to future employers what your goals are. I cannot stress how important this is.

Taking the GMAT now probably wouldn't hurt, but I don't think it's that hard to get over 700 especially if you got a 3.95gpa in undergrad.

What kind of finance are you trying to do? Investment banking and private equity has been traditionally the most sought after paths, although nowadays people are turning towards tech where the hours are relatively lighter. In either case it is very hard to break into it even from an elite school. I know someone that did private equity after undergrad, went to Harvard Business School, and decided to go back into private equity and interviewed at different firms every week for a year before getting a job right before he graduated. Imagine being in an entire class where everyone was just as good as you are and only a handful of you are going to get those jobs. This goes back to my first point - you need to have a very clear, well articulated reason for doing what you want to do.
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preciseman
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by preciseman »

bigred77 wrote:What tier of program are you looking at? M7 programs or top Texas programs like Rice or UT?

3-4 years experience seems to be the most preferred for Full-Time elite programs.
M7..although all of them might be a huge stretch for me. Will be applying to UT as well...I think that might be more realistic for me.
VCO
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by VCO »

Having gone to a very "elite" business school -- one thing I'd recommend is waiting until you are a bit older. I turned 30 when I did mine, and most of my fellow classmates were about that age as well. A few big benefits:

1. I found I really needed a break from working at that point in my career. Business school -- especially at the highest levels -- is in many ways a socially accepted vacation from real life. You only get so many of those prior to retirement. While I learned a lot during the MBA, I made a ton of new friends, traveled the world, and got to act like I was in college all over again. Do you really want to "waste" the experience so shortly after college?

2. Following up on #1 -- business school can be a lot of fun if you have fun money saved up. If you are having to live like a college student (e.g., Ramen noodles, cheap beer, etc.), I don't think you'll quite get as much enjoyment out of the experience as you will if you can live more like a real adult. [NOTE: this might be a bit un-Bogle-ish...but as a card-carrying LBYMs, 3-fund portfolio guy, I stand by this statement nonetheless] Perhaps more practically, if you are job-switching as part of your MBA, you definitely don't want to be panicking about how you'll be paying the rent immediately after the program ends -- much better to have some cash reserves to take your time and choose a job you'll love.

-VCO
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by Wagnerjb »

I went to a very elite B-school over 30 years ago. At that time, it was preferable to have 2-3 years of working experience and I don't see why it is different today. Whether it is 2 or 3 certainly didn't matter much for me or my colleagues.

My advice would be to take a prep course for the GMAT, the best one you can find. I took a course and my GMAT score put me in a percentile that was significantly higher than for my SAT (with no prep course....and not as much effort). You have a good job and the money for the course shouldn't be an issue. I see no reason to start studying well in advance, but I guess it can't hurt. Just don't take the course and then wait....the course is set up to finish right before the GMAT is offered.

Your GMAT score will help you sort out which schools may accept you. In my experience, most of my peers in B School were people a) from good state schools, b) with excellent grades in school, c) with good jobs at reputable companies and d) with good GMAT scores. All of those factors matter. At the elite schools, you might see the people from Rice or Stanford, but you are just as likely to see the person from Purdue or U of Illinois who worked for IBM, or the person who went to the University of Virginia and worked for PWC, or the person who went to the University of Florida and worked for Chevron.

Best wishes.
Andy
bigred77
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by bigred77 »

preciseman wrote:
bigred77 wrote:What tier of program are you looking at? M7 programs or top Texas programs like Rice or UT?

3-4 years experience seems to be the most preferred for Full-Time elite programs.
M7..although all of them might be a huge stretch for me. Will be applying to UT as well...I think that might be more realistic for me.
I think M7 is attainable for you if you crush the GMAT (700+). Apply broadly (maybe even all 7) and I think you'll have success.

Save up as well because those 2 years will not be cheap.
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carorun
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by carorun »

I'm at a M7 school now, and I think you have a very good shot. Great GPA from a good flagship state school and Big 4 experience; now you just need to crush the GMAT.

I am a part-time student, in consulting, and honestly hate my life sometimes. A lot of my classmates are Big 4 consultants, and they manage, but I would recommend going full time. For part time or full time, I think 3 years of work experience is usually the minimum. If you start prepping for the GMAT now, I think a Fall 2018 start is realistic. By that point, you may have been promoted at your firm which will help with your application and post-b school job search.
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preciseman
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by preciseman »

simplesimon wrote:I would put it off for as long as you can until you come up with really good reasons to why you want it, how it will help you, and if it really is the only thing that's left to do that will help you...not some arbitrary 2 vs 3 years out of undergrad. This will help you get the most out of your MBA experience and help you articulate to future employers what your goals are. I cannot stress how important this is.

Taking the GMAT now probably wouldn't hurt, but I don't think it's that hard to get over 700 especially if you got a 3.95gpa in undergrad.

What kind of finance are you trying to do? Investment banking and private equity has been traditionally the most sought after paths, although nowadays people are turning towards tech where the hours are relatively lighter. In either case it is very hard to break into it even from an elite school. I know someone that did private equity after undergrad, went to Harvard Business School, and decided to go back into private equity and interviewed at different firms every week for a year before getting a job right before he graduated. Imagine being in an entire class where everyone was just as good as you are and only a handful of you are going to get those jobs. This goes back to my first point - you need to have a very clear, well articulated reason for doing what you want to do.
Thanks for the advice! I would definitely wait..but the problem is the opportunity costs grow exponentially the longer I wait. At age 30, I'll most likely be at a director level in consulting ($300k+ annual salary) and be in the running for partner. At that point, the payback of the MBA literally does not make sense financially.

Also - I'm not sure I could last another 8 years or so. Its extremely difficult to maintain any kind of social life when your gone monday-thursday or monday-friday.

I'm going to target investment banking specifically. Really interested in more financial modeling and using it as a launchpad for corp development/senior management at F500 companies. I could probably move into a similar type of role if I stayed in consulting, but I'd love to do it without all the traveling.
Last edited by preciseman on Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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preciseman
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by preciseman »

UNCHEEL wrote:Go ahead and apply after two years. Only apply to Top-10 schools - a non-distinctive school may not improve your current job position. The 1-year program at Kellogg is great for someone who wants to get in/get out. Wharton may have the broadest course offerings and options for placing out of all the required cores if you have the background. (I chose Wharton over HBS for that reason and finished in 15 months.) If you get deferred admission to a school you like, take it. If you don't get into any program you like, try again in a year. Good luck!
I was thinking about apply at the 2 year mark..but I want to make sure that is the most OPTIMAL decision before I do it. Once I start asking for reference letters...the people at my office will know that I will plan to depart. I might even get fired once they find out because I don't "align with the long term view" of the business. So I might not even have that option to apply a second time!
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by simplesimon »

There is no "optimal" time. I don't think the number of years of work experience has any significant weighting on your admissions. It's just that people usually "feel" like switching after a few years and want to use the MBA to do it. Your undergrad degree is in finance and you're four months into the job...can you not try to make that switch into finance now?

You say two conflicting things: you'll most likely be a director at age 30; you don't think you'll last another 8 years.

Do you think you'll survive investment banking 80-100 hour work weeks if you can't handle consulting travel and the lack of a social life?

You may look good on paper, but everything you're saying right now will be blown up during interviews. Sure you can fake it, but you will be in this exact same situation after an MBA...burned out and looking for a new job, only at that point you can't do another MBA to get a break.

My main point is to really consider every option. I think you should only do an MBA if you feel like you "have to" if you're worried about the financial aspects. Run the numbers and what do they tell you? If I had to guess you won't break even until about 10 years post-MBA.
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cfs
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by cfs »

Why not NOW?

Why wait? The time to apply is when you are working on your BA, you already have a double and you are stretching it to a triple, you keep on running as hard as you can to third base which in this case is your MBA, you are motivated, you have all your previous books, you have all your previous power point presentations, you have all your previous research papers, nothing can stop you because you know that you can do it . . . the play is not even close, you are safe at third base!!!! Good luck.

Wishing all my BH shipmates a Feliz Navidad.
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patrick013
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by patrick013 »

I rec'd a full corporate tuition scholarship, in other words
they paid the tuition, except the last course, because we
lost a big customer and cost cutting was the call of the day.

If you think it'll help go for it, learn something. But on the other
hand, I know CPA's that are painting houses.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle
Nathan Drake
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by Nathan Drake »

preciseman wrote:Thanks for the advice! I would definitely wait..but the problem is the opportunity costs grow exponentially the longer I wait. At age 30, I'll most likely be at a director level in consulting ($300k+ annual salary) and be in the running for partner. At that point, the payback of the MBA literally does not make sense financially.

Also - I'm not sure I could last another 8 years or so. Its extremely difficult to maintain any kind of social life when your gone monday-thursday or monday-friday.

I'm going to target investment banking specifically. Really interested in more financial modeling and using it as a launchpad for corp development/senior management at F500 companies. I could probably move into a similar type of role if I stayed in consulting, but I'd love to do it without all the traveling.
Fellow ag here. You're comments seem a bit naive. The attrition rate in your industry is high, and very "up or out". Very few are making $300K director level salaries at 30 from those that start out, if any. And a smaller fraction of that pool makes partner.

You mention that you're already burned out of consulting....yet you want to move into investment banking? Hard to maintain a social life when not only are your weekday hours worse than consulting, but you don't even get your weekends.
lad
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by lad »

+1 to simplesimon, VCO, and Nathan Drake.

I did my MBA early at a mid-tier school. I regret it. I would have gotten much more out of it with 3-5 years of work experience. I think I also would have chosen a different area, or possibly even a different degree entirely had I waited. I studied more of what I knew v. what eventually came to interest to me. That's often what happens when you're 22 with a year of work experience.

Also, your assumptions need a bit of reining in. I hire big-four consulting firms. None of the directors / partners are 30. There are some who are maybe 35; the majority are older, and at least in the field I'm in, tend to have a mix of consulting firm and corporate-side experience. And if you are the amazing person who makes director / partner with $300k of income, why do you need an MBA?

In my opinion, education has a shelf life of about 10 years. I care much more about what people do with their education than where they went to school or what degree they have. On my team, there are people with bachelor's degrees who manage people with MBAs or PhDs. I've also fired an MBA from a top-tier school and replaced the person with someone with an art school degree but a lot of practical experience.

I echo the other comments, be clear on why you're doing an MBA. If consulting is burning you out, why not stay until the 1.5 or 2 year mark and then try to go in-house somewhere? Working on both sides of the fence is an interesting experience, especially prior to b-school. Good luck!
jjdubbles
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by jjdubbles »

First, a little background on me for context... I went to a top 5 MBA program, and I had 3 years of work experience (1 yr in investment banking and 2 years in private equity) prior to starting bschool. I went to a top 3 undergrad and had 700+ GMAT. I got turned down by 5 of the M7 schools (which was a humbling experience to say the least!). I've been at one of the Big 3 (i.e., Mck, Bain, BCG) consulting firms since graduating from business school about 5 years ago.

To answer your question directly, I would target 3-4 years of work experience if you are looking at one of the M7 schools. I'd say only ~20% of my class had 3 years of experience or less, so I was definitely in the minority. In regard to taking the GMAT, do it as soon as you can. I took it within 6 months of graduating college, at which time I still felt like I had the test taking mentality in me. I can't imagine trying to get back into test taking mode a few years after undergrad.

Also, what do you mean by Big 4 consulting? I assume you are not at McK, Bain or BCG. From an admissions perspective, those three brands will carry the most weight from a consulting experience standpoint (especially at HBS, Wharton and Stanford GSB), but still plenty of Deloitte/Accenture (guessing you are at one of those) have success applying to M7 schools.

Lastly, I have a couple pieces of unsolicited advice. First, stay at your current job for at least a year. That will look better for bschool applications. Maybe you can try to find an in town study so you don't have to travel as much (I worked on several in town projects during my years in consulting, and it certainly makes the lifestyle a bit more sustainable). Secondly, I'd encourage you to think long and hard about investment banking. While consulting has the downside of travel, investment banking has the downside of VERY long hours (i.e., 90+ per week). You might not be traveling in IB, but your life will be consumed by it... at least from my experience.

In response to a couple of posters who mentioned waiting as long as possible to do MBA... I personally would disagree. The opportunity cost can get extremely high if you are moving up fast in your career. I'm talking several hundred thousand dollars..

Anyway, apologies if this was a bit too direct, but I hope it is helpful. Best of luck on GMAT and applications!! :sharebeer
Traveler
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by Traveler »

I went to a top 50 business school (i.e. not elite) graduating in 2001 and even back then virtually all of my peers had at least 3 years of work experience. Most of us had 4+.
I do question that if you're already burned out on consulting travel and lack of a social life, how are you going to manage 75+ hour weeks in finance? That allows for little social life despite living and working in the same city. I honestly can't imagine working 75 hours a week on a regular basis. That is 11 hours a day every single day or 15 hours a day M-F. That means something like 8:00am-7:00pm every single day or 6:00am-9:00pm M-F. I don't know how they do it and if they calculate their hourly wage rate they are likely shafting themselves on the value of their time and the quality of their lives. I personally think there's more to life than work and making money that you have no time to spend/enjoy.
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by EagertoLearnMore »

Decide where you would like to apply and look at requirements for the MBA program in your particular MAJOR. Find out if you are missing any prerequisites for that field so that you could work on them before starting the "official" MBA program. Amazon and other sources sell GMAT review courses if you want to study on your own or join a group. As an undergraduate Finance major, you should have all of the basic prerequisites covered for an MBA in Finance. Checking online should provide all the necessary course requirements for each major.

It's more perseverance than difficulty especially if you pursue an evening program following a long day at work.
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by stainlessworks »

I went to a no-name MBA program (with about 4 years work experience). I earn about $85-90K a year (4 years out of undergrad).
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preciseman
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by preciseman »

Nathan Drake wrote:
preciseman wrote:Thanks for the advice! I would definitely wait..but the problem is the opportunity costs grow exponentially the longer I wait. At age 30, I'll most likely be at a director level in consulting ($300k+ annual salary) and be in the running for partner. At that point, the payback of the MBA literally does not make sense financially.

Also - I'm not sure I could last another 8 years or so. Its extremely difficult to maintain any kind of social life when your gone monday-thursday or monday-friday.

I'm going to target investment banking specifically. Really interested in more financial modeling and using it as a launchpad for corp development/senior management at F500 companies. I could probably move into a similar type of role if I stayed in consulting, but I'd love to do it without all the traveling.
Fellow ag here. You're comments seem a bit naive. The attrition rate in your industry is high, and very "up or out". Very few are making $300K director level salaries at 30 from those that start out, if any. And a smaller fraction of that pool makes partner.

You mention that you're already burned out of consulting....yet you want to move into investment banking? Hard to maintain a social life when not only are your weekday hours worse than consulting, but you don't even get your weekends.
I'd say this varies from shop to shop. My group has quite alot of directors that are sub 30 years of age. There are 3 partners (out of 150 total staff in the practice that aren't even 40 yet!)

One of the other main things I wanted to clarify was that a driving factor of the MBA is to switch industries that I will be working in. I'm currently doing work in the oil and gas industry, but thats not where my true interest lies, as I'm more interested in the high tech industry. It was just easier to land to work in the oil and gas business because of my school's proximity to Houston. So I'll definitely be targeting all the majors on the west coast!
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preciseman
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by preciseman »

Traveler wrote:I went to a top 50 business school (i.e. not elite) graduating in 2001 and even back then virtually all of my peers had at least 3 years of work experience. Most of us had 4+.
I do question that if you're already burned out on consulting travel and lack of a social life, how are you going to manage 75+ hour weeks in finance? That allows for little social life despite living and working in the same city. I honestly can't imagine working 75 hours a week on a regular basis. That is 11 hours a day every single day or 15 hours a day M-F. That means something like 8:00am-7:00pm every single day or 6:00am-9:00pm M-F. I don't know how they do it and if they calculate their hourly wage rate they are likely shafting themselves on the value of their time and the quality of their lives. I personally think there's more to life than work and making money that you have no time to spend/enjoy.
My hours are pretty much already like that if you factor in the travel, ha! About 12 hours per day monday-friday and anywhere from 15-20 hours a week in the air/airport/uber working. I'd rather pull those hours at a desk with more than 1 monitor instead of hunched over on a laptop with 2 guys snoring next to me on the plane!
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preciseman
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by preciseman »

simplesimon wrote:There is no "optimal" time. I don't think the number of years of work experience has any significant weighting on your admissions. It's just that people usually "feel" like switching after a few years and want to use the MBA to do it. Your undergrad degree is in finance and you're four months into the job...can you not try to make that switch into finance now?

You say two conflicting things: you'll most likely be a director at age 30; you don't think you'll last another 8 years.

Do you think you'll survive investment banking 80-100 hour work weeks if you can't handle consulting travel and the lack of a social life?

You may look good on paper, but everything you're saying right now will be blown up during interviews. Sure you can fake it, but you will be in this exact same situation after an MBA...burned out and looking for a new job, only at that point you can't do another MBA to get a break.

My main point is to really consider every option. I think you should only do an MBA if you feel like you "have to" if you're worried about the financial aspects. Run the numbers and what do they tell you? If I had to guess you won't break even until about 10 years post-MBA.
Time will only tell if I can handle the hours..still planning on staying in consulting for the next 2.5 years and the hours aren't that much less!

The MBA and IB is simply a launchpad for me to move into senior roles in a different industry vertical than I am in now. I most likely won't be staying for longer than 2-3 years. They know its extremely high turnover, and that for a majority of people coming in, the path to MD just isn't something they are looking for in terms of a career.

Highly doubt a 10-year payback, I've run my numbers and calculate its more 3-5 years, depending on which bucket I'll land in at end-of-year for bonuses.
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preciseman
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by preciseman »

jjdubbles wrote:First, a little background on me for context... I went to a top 5 MBA program, and I had 3 years of work experience (1 yr in investment banking and 2 years in private equity) prior to starting bschool. I went to a top 3 undergrad and had 700+ GMAT. I got turned down by 5 of the M7 schools (which was a humbling experience to say the least!). I've been at one of the Big 3 (i.e., Mck, Bain, BCG) consulting firms since graduating from business school about 5 years ago.

To answer your question directly, I would target 3-4 years of work experience if you are looking at one of the M7 schools. I'd say only ~20% of my class had 3 years of experience or less, so I was definitely in the minority. In regard to taking the GMAT, do it as soon as you can. I took it within 6 months of graduating college, at which time I still felt like I had the test taking mentality in me. I can't imagine trying to get back into test taking mode a few years after undergrad.

Also, what do you mean by Big 4 consulting? I assume you are not at McK, Bain or BCG. From an admissions perspective, those three brands will carry the most weight from a consulting experience standpoint (especially at HBS, Wharton and Stanford GSB), but still plenty of Deloitte/Accenture (guessing you are at one of those) have success applying to M7 schools.

Lastly, I have a couple pieces of unsolicited advice. First, stay at your current job for at least a year. That will look better for bschool applications. Maybe you can try to find an in town study so you don't have to travel as much (I worked on several in town projects during my years in consulting, and it certainly makes the lifestyle a bit more sustainable). Secondly, I'd encourage you to think long and hard about investment banking. While consulting has the downside of travel, investment banking has the downside of VERY long hours (i.e., 90+ per week). You might not be traveling in IB, but your life will be consumed by it... at least from my experience.

In response to a couple of posters who mentioned waiting as long as possible to do MBA... I personally would disagree. The opportunity cost can get extremely high if you are moving up fast in your career. I'm talking several hundred thousand dollars..

Anyway, apologies if this was a bit too direct, but I hope it is helpful. Best of luck on GMAT and applications!! :sharebeer
This is perfect! A few follow up questions:

1) Since I'm from a public university, what range on the GMAT should I REALLY be targeting? People say that 700+ is fine for M7, but since my school brand and work brand isn't the strongest it can be, would a 750+ give me a substantially better shot? I guess my question is how much of a marginal benefit would each incremental GMAT point be worth in the eyes of a counselor?

2) When did you tell your managers that you are interested in business school? How did you get them to write letters of recs, and at what point in the b-school application process did you ask? Were you ever reprimanded when they found out you would be leaving? Any horror stories to anyone you might know?

3) Did you ever work with a business school advisor? And take a GMAT course? Did you find the fees worth it?

I am FOR sure going to stay in consulting for at least a year! My "exit" plan is to go get my MBA! Thanks for all the help.
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simplesimon
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by simplesimon »

So you want to move into the tech industry, not necessarily be in a finance function, but you think going IB is the way to break into tech and then into corporate development?

If the end goal is truly corporate development in tech, stay in consulting. Network hard in your current firm and try to make connections on the coastal cities and see if you can eventually get transferred to an office that focuses on tech.

IB will typically lead to other finance jobs like private equity. Your chances are slim If you try to get into corporate development after IB post-MBA as you will be competing with top candidates from the Big 3 consulting firms (MBB). If you do get an MBA, shoot for MBB post-MBA, not IB (this will require a top 10 school).

I agree with the points about opportunity cost but if its truly something you want to do, then the dollars shouldn't matter. Again, slow it down and really explore all options (you're getting that exposure here on BH) so that you're laser focused (you don't seem that way now) and you'll crush the interviews.
jjdubbles
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Re: For people with a MBA..when should I be looking to apply?

Post by jjdubbles »

preciseman wrote:
jjdubbles wrote:First, a little background on me for context... I went to a top 5 MBA program, and I had 3 years of work experience (1 yr in investment banking and 2 years in private equity) prior to starting bschool. I went to a top 3 undergrad and had 700+ GMAT. I got turned down by 5 of the M7 schools (which was a humbling experience to say the least!). I've been at one of the Big 3 (i.e., Mck, Bain, BCG) consulting firms since graduating from business school about 5 years ago.

To answer your question directly, I would target 3-4 years of work experience if you are looking at one of the M7 schools. I'd say only ~20% of my class had 3 years of experience or less, so I was definitely in the minority. In regard to taking the GMAT, do it as soon as you can. I took it within 6 months of graduating college, at which time I still felt like I had the test taking mentality in me. I can't imagine trying to get back into test taking mode a few years after undergrad.

Also, what do you mean by Big 4 consulting? I assume you are not at McK, Bain or BCG. From an admissions perspective, those three brands will carry the most weight from a consulting experience standpoint (especially at HBS, Wharton and Stanford GSB), but still plenty of Deloitte/Accenture (guessing you are at one of those) have success applying to M7 schools.

Lastly, I have a couple pieces of unsolicited advice. First, stay at your current job for at least a year. That will look better for bschool applications. Maybe you can try to find an in town study so you don't have to travel as much (I worked on several in town projects during my years in consulting, and it certainly makes the lifestyle a bit more sustainable). Secondly, I'd encourage you to think long and hard about investment banking. While consulting has the downside of travel, investment banking has the downside of VERY long hours (i.e., 90+ per week). You might not be traveling in IB, but your life will be consumed by it... at least from my experience.

In response to a couple of posters who mentioned waiting as long as possible to do MBA... I personally would disagree. The opportunity cost can get extremely high if you are moving up fast in your career. I'm talking several hundred thousand dollars..

Anyway, apologies if this was a bit too direct, but I hope it is helpful. Best of luck on GMAT and applications!! :sharebeer
This is perfect! A few follow up questions:

1) Since I'm from a public university, what range on the GMAT should I REALLY be targeting? People say that 700+ is fine for M7, but since my school brand and work brand isn't the strongest it can be, would a 750+ give me a substantially better shot? I guess my question is how much of a marginal benefit would each incremental GMAT point be worth in the eyes of a counselor?

2) When did you tell your managers that you are interested in business school? How did you get them to write letters of recs, and at what point in the b-school application process did you ask? Were you ever reprimanded when they found out you would be leaving? Any horror stories to anyone you might know?

3) Did you ever work with a business school advisor? And take a GMAT course? Did you find the fees worth it?

I am FOR sure going to stay in consulting for at least a year! My "exit" plan is to go get my MBA! Thanks for all the help.
Happy to help! In regard to the GMAT, do as best as you can. I think that there are diminishing returns after you hit 740 or so. Probably not worth it to spend a ton of hours studying to get that up to 770. That time would be better spent working on essays. Doesn't matter about the public university, especially since you have a stellar GPA.

I was an associate at a private equity firm before bschool, and the associate program was typically 2-3 years. I told managers about 6 months before I started applying and everyone was very supportive. This conversation can be a bit difficult, so it is all about framing (e.g., I'm leaving this job to develop new capabilities, etc.... as opposed to: I hate working here and need to get out so bschool is a good option :-). I have heard horror stories here, but most of those have been from people coming from cut throat corporate cultures. Consulting, IB, PE firms are all used to younger employees leaving to go to business school.

I did not work with a bschool counselor... I didn't think that was worth it. Frankly, I think that these counselors are the most helpful for foreign students who might not be as comfortable with the English language, and thus the essays. I did not take a specific GMAT course, but I did hire a private tutor for ~5 sessions to help me with the math section. The GMAT has a specific type of question (in how it is structured) in the math section that doesn't exist on any other standardized tests. We focused solely on those questions. I found the Manhattan GMAT prep books very helpful.

Good luck!
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