10 Career decisions which make more sense than an MBA...

Five years ago, the society evaluated your “market value” solely based on your grades, college, and the number of degrees you owned. Thankfully, through the influence of digital age, these stereotypes are slowly finding their exit route. Today, your grades don’t matter as much as they used to and if you’re talented, you can find yourself an amazing job even with basic qualifications. Those looking to take their careers to the next level, often find themselves considering the pros and cons of taking up an MBA. For most of us, an MBA programme would either be to increase our business acumen or simply because we need that feather in our cap to show the world. Let’s run some quick numbers The cost of your MBA programme abroad would range anywhere between Rs 40 and 70 lakh, whereas an Indian MBA will cost somewhere between Rs 7.5 and 25 lakh. In India, if you happen to do an internship or a job that roughly pays around 25,000 per month, and your MBA fees happen to be Rs 15 lakh; you’ll still take five years to recover the money spent on your education. Not to mention the living expenses, and other miscellaneous costs. Add two more years, may be? In other words, MBA seems like a dicey choice. Of course, you will earn more in the future and definitely learn a lot but what are the stakes? With these points in mind, here are a few career choices that cost less than an MBA but will probably do more to advance your career: Start your own business. There’s no better feeling in this world than being your own boss. Starting your own business would not only boast your moral, but will...

How to get the most out of an MBA

For Katia Beauchamp, attending business school wasn’t just a “pivotal moment,” it was also where the Birchbox CEO found her co-founder. The pair met while attending the same Harvard Business School class and later launched beauty start-up Birchbox, which has raised $71.9 million in funding to date. Beauchamp describes her time at business school as “monumental.” Her best advice for current and upcoming students? “To really be there,” she said. “It’s a real opportunity to really question what you really want your life to be,” she said. While getting an MBA comes with a steep price tag (lost wages, tuition and housing costs to name a few), the degree can help students transition careers and move up the corporate ladder. So how should students maximize the investment? Come with an open mind It’s crucial for students to stay in their “stretch zone” rather than their comfort zone, said Maura Herson, MIT Sloan School of Management’s MBA program director. This can be a tough mental transition to make, especially for students who are used to being superstars at work and then arrive on campus surrounded by equally driven people. “If you come into it thinking you’re an expert, you’re not going to maximize your learning,” she said. Introduce yourself (on repeat…) “Equally if not more important than the knowledge you’re acquiring” is the network you’re building, Herson said. She cited the example of a student who had tea with someone new each day to get to know more people at Sloan. At the end of the day, what’s the marginal utility of one more problem set versus getting to know a couple more classmates, she added. Fight the FOMO “Everyone seems to be doing something cool or interesting so how...

MBA books for 2016

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What Employers Think of Your Online MBA Degree...

When Michael Urtiaga goes on job interviews, he regularly gets asked the question, “How were you able to balance an MBA education at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with your previous full-time job near Cincinnati?” The answer: The 36-year-old, who’s now in between jobs, pursued his MBA online through the Kelley Direct program – not by traveling to the school on the weekends, as some interviewers initially assume given that he lives about a two-hour drive away from the campus. Urtiaga says interviewers generally seem accepting of his online degree given the strong reputation of the school. Still, he sometimes needs to answer questions about the pros and cons of online learning and the real-world benefits the online program offers. “Oftentimes, you can see their faces change as you go through the conversation,” says Urtiaga, who completed his MBA last year and is now pursuing an online master’s in strategic management as part of a dual degree program at Kelley. There’s still a bit of a stigma, he says, but people usually come around when they hear some of the format’s virtues. Recruiters say most employers accept job candidates’ online MBAs from respected schools, especially now that the quality of an online MBA education at many institutions is equivalent to one on a physical campus. But in some cases, experts say, there’s still the need to educate companies about the legitimacy of many online programs. A significant portion of employers won’t even ask about the format in which the degree was earned, says Adam J. Samples, regional president of Atrium Staffing in New Jersey. Others will only dig deeper if they have a specific reason to – as in Urtiaga’s case, where they see he worked while pursuing...

Admitted MBA’s Guide To Quitting Your Job...

Future B-schoolers: you’re a leader-in-training now; make sure to act like it. As the day you received your MBA acceptance letter recedes into memory, the actual work and logistics of preparing for school will replace the joy and relief of realizing you got into one (or more) of your target schools. Getting a graduate business degree entails a great deal of personal and professional change, some of it before you even arrive on campus. Most likely, you will be moving to a new place and leaving behind much of your pre-MBA life – including your employer. There are some relevant considerations for admitted MBAs wondering when to quit their job, along with several broader issues of timeline and prep work for business school. As for what to say to your boss, when to provide your notice, and how to behave at work as you prepare to leave, these are personal decisions that are highly dependent upon your particular circumstances (in general, though, the answers are: be nice to your boss, give two to four weeks notice, and behave like an adult). Breaking up is hard to do Like ending a relationship with your significant other, quitting your job can be awkward, intense, and in some cases even acrimonious. Unlike ending a relationship with your significant other, quitting your job doesn’t have to be unpleasant or involve any hurt feelings, though. Our friends at the Forte Foundation have a great post that covers some of the basic best practices for breaking the news to your manager, and there are plenty of good reasons to handle the process of leaving your job as delicately as possible. One of the biggest reasons is purely pragmatic: your recruiting prospects in business school and...

Is an MBA really worth it? Billionaire Tilman Fertitta has your answer...

If you’re debating whether or not to get a Master of Business Administration, billionaire Tilman Fertitta has some advice for you. “Let me just say this, God gave me a gift of understanding business, but if God didn’t give you that gift and you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to be a business person, go get your MBA,” said Fertitta, CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, which owns Landry’s and the Golden Nugget casinos. Going back to school can be a difficult decision. Getting an MBA can come with a steep price tag. Tuition at top schools can reach north of $60,000 per year in addition to lost wages while away from the workforce. But what if you have an undergraduate degree in business? “[I] don’t even care if you major in business and finance, you just don’t get a grasp of the problems and the experience unless you get your master’s,” he said about undergraduate school. “And that’s just from dealing with people over the years that were young, that had an MBA or didn’t have an MBA that I could personally communicate with.” It’s all about knowing your strengths and weakness , he said. The self-made business titan definitely knows what he’s good at, and what he’s bad at. “I know that I can’t play a musical instrument. I know that I can’t change an oil filter on a car. But you can bring me any kind of business issue or problem, and I will detect it and tell you what the problem is and the solution within a few minutes,” he said. So is business school worth it? If you know you have a knack for business, Fertitta said, “Don’t worry about it.” tilm”I’m for...

How MBA Grads Can Overcome 3 Startup Hiring Objections...

Job prospects look about as sunny as possible for 2016’s MBA grads. In fact, 85 percent of employers plan on hiring as many or more MBAs this year than last, according to The Economist. I’m sure stats like this come as welcome relief to the thousands of people who have taken on over $70,000 in debt to earn their advanced business degrees. Still, if you’re an MBA grad looking to join a startup, don’t let a positive jobs forecast lull you into a false sense of security. While you might have a degree from a top program and may even know about a particular industry inside and out, you can still be an expensive hire who might not have what it takes to make a meaningful contribution in the eyes of a founder. When founders tell me that MBA candidates aren’t “the right fit,” their objections generally often fall into a few different categories: experience, attitude, and salary. If you’re serious about getting your foot in the door at a startup, here are some tips on how to overcome these three common areas of founder skepticism. You lack the right experience It’s quite possible that you have built up a very impressive resume from working at larger companies. However, a startup might dismiss your big-name business experience because it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. A founder’s line of thinking could go something like this: “How do I know you’ll succeed when you have to complete a project with significantly fewer resources and in a shorter timeframe?” The burden is on you to convince startups that you thrive in small team environments when the deadlines are tight, and the stakes are high for a project’s success or failure. If...

Your guide to acing an MBA interview

The average MBA interview lasts about 45 minutes. In those 45 minutes, you’ll need to convince the school that they were correct in showing interest in you and that you’ll be able to contribute something meaningful to the cohort that they’re designing for the next year. While the essays tend to be the part of the MBA application process that causes the most trouble for applicants, the interview tends to cause the most confusion as applicants struggle to know how to prepare. Over the years, we’ve developed some proven techniques to help applicants breeze through the interview for their top choice MBA program. Follow our Five Ps to guide you in acing your MBA interviews. PREPARE There’s no way around it. In order to have the answers you need on hand, you’ll need to prepare. Know your resume back and forth—this means you’ll also need to prepare anecdotes about times you’ve experienced failure, faced ethical dilemmas or received negative feedback. In addition, have a set of questions that you’d like to ask the interviewer. If you can work them into the interview, great. If not, then the interviewer will likely ask you at the end of the interview if there’s anything else you’d like to know about the program. You can ask your questions then. PRACTICE The anecdotes that you choose to prepare for the interview might sound great in your head or look good on paper, but you won’t know how they’re going to perform during the interview until you practice saying them aloud. You shouldn’t memorize your anecdotes or your responses to likely questions in the interview process—you’ll sound stilted and a little fake. However, you should have the basic storyline down pat and be able to...

Cheap MBAs: Costly for some

THERE’S no such thing as a free lunch. That maxim should be ingrained in the minds of business-school students, attuned to the notion of opportunity cost or Milton Friedman’s economic theories. Yet to believe the American non-profit University of the People (UoPeople), run by Shai Reshef, an Israeli entrepreneur, something close to a free lunch could soon be available to prospective MBA students. On March 15th the university opened applications for an MBA without tuition fees that it plans to launch in September 2016. That much is admirable, and certainly should be applauded. But don’t prepare to burn Friedman’s 1975 tome yet: there’s still no such thing as a free lunch. One hundred successful applicants will be enrolled onto the 15-month distance-learning course, and will be asked to pay just $200 for each of the 12 courses they will take as part of the programme. That is still a pittance, and a minuscule fraction of the cost of an MBA at the sort of business schools ranked by The Economist. “The cost of an MBA today is so expensive that many people who are qualified to achieve it cannot afford it,” Mr Reshef said when announcing his plans. Certainly, business schools can be rarefied places. So the development of a legitimate MBA at a low cost could be beneficial. Russell Winer, professor of marketing at NYU Stern and the leader of the MBA programme at UoPeople, told The Economist that the establishment can offer a cheaper programme than most by being online-only and lean-staffed. It also has the backing of faculty members from other big business schools, including INSEAD, Wharton and Oxford, all of whom have helped develop the curriculum. And yet the devil is in the detail. Some...

When Is The Best Time To Apply For Your MBA?

The business school application process is intense, and with good reason. Getting an MBA is a significant investment in time and money. Going into the process without giving it a lot of thought beforehand is a recipe for disaster. If you aren’t prepared for the b-school experience, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the opportunity. But when you go into it deliberately, after a lot of careful thought, getting an MBA can be a life and career-changing move. Here are five questions you need to be able to answer “yes” to, before you’re ready to apply: 1. Do you know your post-MBA goals? It’s not a good idea to go to business school in order to figure yourself out, or to get away from the working world for a bit. Most MBA programs move very fast, and if you want to take full advantage of the experience, you’ll need to have a plan. Think about where you want to be in five years. Not just in your career, but where in the world you want to be, and what you want your life to look like. Do you want to work globally, start a business of your own or move into higher management positions within your current organization? 2. Do you know how an MBA will help you accomplish those goals? Lower-tier schools and diploma mills may be happy to admit anyone who seems interested and can foot the bill, but top business schools want to know that you have given a lot of thought to the prospect of getting an MBA. They are looking for students who will take the opportunity seriously, and reflect well upon the school as alumni. When you know how an...

6 career moves that are worth more than an MBA...

If your career plan is to become a hedge fund trader or play some other role in the financial services business, you probably need an MBA just as the price of admission. If that’s you, don’t bother reading this post. For everyone else, you may be considering an MBA program as a way to increase your business acumen, enhance your personal brand, and make yourself more competitive. If that’s the case, there may be some cheaper and better alternatives. Let’s run some quick numbers. Tuition and fees for a two year degree program at a top private college will cost you about $120,000. If you earn $50,000 a year, you won’t be making $100,000 during that time. If your living expenses are $45,000 a year, you’ll still need to pay that $90,000. In other words, an MBA from a top business school could cost you as much as $320,000. Invest that amount at an annual return of 5%. and you’ll have roughly $2.3 million when you retire in 40 years. With an MBA, of course, you will earn more in the future. According to New Accountant, an MBA will earn a CFO an estimated $463,440 in extra lifetime income. But that’s only an extra $11,586 a year, which compounds over 40 years to only $1.6 million. Of course, if you get your MBA from a lower tier school, tuition and fees will be less, and you may get your current employer to pay some of your costs. Still, even if you earn the degree in your spare time, there’s still lost opportunity cost. With that in mind, here are six career moves that cost lest than earning an MBA but will probably do more to advance your career and...

3 Ways International Students Can Strengthen U.S. MBA Applications...

The U.S. is a popular destination for those from around the globe who want to pursue higher education, and prospective business school students are helping lead the trend of studying in the U.S. Fifty-two percent of prospective students for graduate business programs attempted to study outside their country of citizenship, up from 40 percent in 2010, according to the most recent data from the Graduate Management Admission Council. This growth is seen mostly among Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern citizens, the report states, and the U.S. is the top region of choice. “Schools want diversity in their programs. You want people from all different places,” says Erin Town, director of MBA admissions at University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. With such a strong interest in U.S. MBA programs from overseas candidates, getting into school is often a competitive process for international applicants. Business school admissions experts offered these three tips to help prospective students improve their chances of getting accepted. 1. Connect with current students: Prospective MBA candidates interested in Foster, which typically has between 30 and 35 percent of full-time MBA students who are international, should try to speak with current students from a similar background, says Town. “If you can talk with someone who’s from your home country and get a feel for their experience here, what they like about the program, how they’re spending their time,” and then mention the conversation in an application, she says, “that really impresses us and shows us they’re very interested in Foster.” When 30-year-old Ting Tseng was applying to business school, speaking with students helped her decide which program to attend. “I talked to several Foster alumni, and they were all very helpful and willing to share,” says Tseng, a...

Here’s Why Goldman Sachs, Citi, Credit Suisse Are Snapping Up IESE B-School MBAs...

Pascal Michels likes to think of himself as a market maker. For some MBAs, technology firms have replaced banks as the employer of choice. But while investment banking is down as a career, it’s not out. “We make sure we educate MBAs about the opportunities,” says Pascal, associate director of career services at Spain’s IESE Business School. And the opportunities are seemingly plentiful. Investment bank recruitment has surged at IESE, beating all records since before the financial crisis in 2007/08. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Nomura are all recruiting, Pascal says. Thirty-one job offers were made by investment banks in 2016 to IESE’s MBAs, up from 22 the year before. Of the 61 IESE MBAs who applied for jobs at investment banks, 19 received at least one offer. Some received as many as four. Elle Connor, an associate recruiter at Morgan Stanley in London, says IESE is one of the investment bank’s three elite target schools. “The MBA profile brings something a little more niche to the floor, and has a more mature approach to certain situations. That’s why we continue to grow our MBA hiring,” she says. It is a similar story at Nomura. Sam Price, a Nomura graduate recruitment associate, says: “We target IESE Business School” along with two other European-based schools. Nomura values MBAs, he says, because “they can bring in some experience. The traditional route to the associate level would be through years as an analyst. An MBA is already at the associate level”. Andrea Hayem joined Morgan Stanley in June 2015 as a summer associate. The IESE MBA believes the business school was key to her landing the job. “Career services supports you throughout...

5 Awesome Benefits Millennials Gain From Their MBA...

Congratulations! You’ve earned your undergraduate degree and have started your very first job out of college. Those all-nighters have finally paid off. After receiving my B.A. in English and Political Science from The University of Texas at Austin, I decided to put my degree to good use and sell women’s shoes at Nordstrom for six months. I eventually went back for a Masters Degree and found out that a background in English can actually get you far in the startup world as a Content Marketer. But enough about me. The point I’m trying to make here is that college grads don’t always know what career path they wish to pursue straight out of college. If you aren’t going to law or medical school directly after your undergraduate studies, you are suddenly left with a variety of random options and job paths. This in mind, millennials today are recognizing the value of pursuing a higher degree of education. Of course, additional degrees aren’t necessary in order to be successful, but they can open a door of opportunities that otherwise would have remained closed. Consider an MBA, for example. Sure, there are many well-known entrepreneurs (i.e. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg) who have remained “MBAless” and have had wildly successful careers. Unfortunately, not all of us have what it takes to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Time for an MBA? Paul Ollinger, stand-up Comedian and Author of the new book, You Should Totally Get an MBA: A Comedian’s Guide to Top U.S. Business Schools, uses humor as a vehicle to provide business school applicants (of all ages) with great advice about what it takes to earn an MBA. After receiving his MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Ollinger decided to write...

Navigating Your Career Journey After The MBA

Having taught and talked with many MBA students, I am struck by an observation. Some students see their first job as the destination, rather than the beginning of a very long journey with the destination (the final point on their career trek) to occur decades in the future. This makes some sense. Many planned after college to work for a few years, apply for graduate school, attend graduate school, obtain an internship, and then get a job. What seems to a 19-year-old a very long and arduous process (taking more than 10 years) culminates with the attainment of a job that often can increase their income two- or three-fold. However, the first job places them at the bottom of another mountain. It is not the pinnacle. To understand how to think about a career journey, I talked with Debra Bass, the President of Johnson and Johnson’s Global Baby Franchise Organization, who has crafted an interesting journey from Procter and Gamble to JNJ, after obtaining her MBA from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Management. Below, Debra shares her thoughts on how to think about a career. 1. Your career is a lattice … and not a ladder. In reality, there is never just one path to achieve your career aspirations. Putting pressure on yourself to pick the “right” path is unnecessary. 2. But start with a destination. It’s important to think of your career as a journey with a North Star destination point—one that can guide you toward a vision of your future but enable you to take multiple different paths to get there. While your North Star doesn’t need to be hard and fast at age 28, it should provide a direction for you to move toward....

A cheap way of hiring MBA graduates

MBA students are adept at putting a value on long-term cash flows. New research suggests this mentality is also present in their evaluation of job offers — particularly if an alumnus of their business school is doing the recruiting. Professors from NYU Stern and MIT Sloan found that students securing a job through a member of their institution’s alumni network received a starting package worth 16 per cent less than those recruited through more traditional — and more impersonal — campus hiring events. They took that lower offer after being comforted by the fact it originated from a former student on the same top programme, argues NYU Stern’s Jason Greenberg, co-author of the research — to be published in Sociological Science — with MIT Sloan’s Roberto Fernandez. “The jobs coming through the alumni channel are perceived as having significantly better growth potential,” he says, linking this preoccupation with long-term cash flow to the net present value calculations that are a staple of MBA courses. “They are willing to take less today for a job that has better prospects in the long run.” As well as giving a clearer view of what the job entails, an approach from an alumnus can offer a reassuring vision of what the young graduate’s career might look like in a few years’ time. “You get a window into your potential future.” How can recruiters exploit this bond of trust? Prof Greenberg suggests that smaller employers who cannot afford the hoopla of on-campus hiring could use their MBA graduates to target young prospects in their old classrooms. But the strategy may not yield long-term savings: even net present value addicts will at some point demand to be paid the prevailing market rate. Read full story:...