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## MBA from Top 20 vs Top 100

This topic has 3 member replies
manishk Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
22 Dec 2011
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#### MBA from Top 20 vs Top 100

Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:40 pm
HI Gurus..

This cross road must have been encountered multiple times by some of you guys and here I am in those cross roads looking for some direction from you. I have 14 yrs of experience in Insurance/consultancy/IT and currently working as Product Manager/Analyst from last couple of years. I have been doing good but i dont see a big career path in my current organization and skill set. I have been planning for almost 5 yrs to get into an MBA program. for multiple reasons a)I dont have masters, so should get that, b) add management skills to my current experience c) take my career to next level. Married with kids its challenging to find time between demanding job and family, still I am willing to take the leap.

Now you have some background here is my dilemma, I dont have a GMAT, between finding time to study to get a 'Good score' and just being intimidated about 'exam' I'm not able to give it. Part of me feels even if i study and give the 'exam' and if i dont get a 'good score' (say <650) whats the point, since I wouldnt be eligible/qualify for top 20 MBA schools here in the US.

This makes me go back to pt a) of my reason to do MBA, lets go it from an average school that 'Does Not Require' GMAT. This would give me a masters, but may not fulfill part c) of my plan. i.e take a leap in my career path (lets say higher management, executive level) and of course compromise in a good alumini that comes with a good school.

So my question to you all, is it worth doing it from an average school and take the degree and hope my experience and my interpersonal skill can push my career up. Or do you suggest that i should take GMAT and try to get into top 20, assuming I may not get a good score (cause i have just once chance for GMAT and <2 months to study). Either ways, i want to do MBA for sure.

I'm very confused, on top of this there is a cost factor and time that i have spare given my current personal situation. I'm open to discuss and share some more insight if you can help my decide. Thank for taking time to read this...appreciated..

M

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Knitgeek Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
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Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:24 am
Hey Manishk,

So I went through a similar cross roads a couple of months back, not completely applicable as I'm in Canada and well let's face it, Canadian universities are no where near as prestigious as their US counterparts when it comes to MBA's. I will share my thought process though and hopefully it gives you some ideas.

I came back to work after maternity leave with a really big focus on building my career. I have 9 years full time experience and have been with my current employer for 15 years between my full time experience and previous seasonal work while I was in school. Long story short, I've hit a bit of ceiling in my current role and I was looking for a way to branch out. While not totally set on staying with my employer there are opportunities in the company that I can leverage with a bit more schooling. I spent a couple of months weighing pursuing my accounting designation or an MBA. At the end of the day I decided that an MBA made more sense for me.

As part of my research when I was deciding on what path to take I did a bunch of research in to both of the local "big name" universities (SFU and UBC, I'm just outside of Vancouver. I don't expect you to recognize either) and decided that either of the part time programs made the most sense for me. Both schools have strong local reputations and I wasn't looking to relocate my family. Also I opted for part time as I can't justify giving up my income for 2 years to go back to school.

I did write my GMAT. I approached it as a good primer for the work I would need to put in for b. school and a way to brush up my study skills. Both programs had modest GMAT requirements (550 min in both cases) which is pretty typical of Canadian school. There are plenty of GMAT exempt schools in my area but at the end of the day I wanted to stick to a larger "brand" and that meant sucking it up and putting in the work to write the test.

At the end of the day I opted to apply solely for SFU's part time MBA as the program fit better with what I needed scheduling wise and I liked the teaching dynamic and small class size. Now I know I opted for the less prestigious school and the newer program but in looking at my goals I knew I didn't "need" that HBS MBA (hell I debated applying just to see if I could make to an interview) to achieve. I have enough of a network and a supportive employer that wants to keep me and see me advance so getting an MBA from a locally recognized but perhaps not top school (there is a very spirited debate between the schools about that) wasn't going to hurt me.

I would say you take some time to go a little deeper in to the mechanics of your goals: Why is having a masters important to you? If you aren't able to find the time to study for the GMAT how will an MBA be different? When you say take your career to the next level, what level are you aiming for? Do you have a title/position that you are shooting for specifically or is that a more generalized statement right now (not a bad thing)?

I know I'm a bit off topic but hopefully that gives you something to think about.

Thanked by: manishk
manishk Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
22 Dec 2011
Posted:
2 messages
Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:25 am
Thanks Knitgeek,

this is a good insight and yes i can relate to my situation. A good point you mentioned about 'hit the ceiling a bit'. I see a similar situation with the current employer/role. Yes i have been thinking a lot these days to decide one way or the other.

A masters degree is definitely something i want to accomplish, long run I believe its something that may help in my career path too. I agree to your question of finding time for GMAT cause that would ultimately lead to finding time for MBA itself. As i said I am ready to take the leap, only if i'm able to figure that time and money is worth spending...if not spending time on GMAT and directly getting into a local school(that does not req GMAT) can save me something i would rather go for it... but what am I losing in exchange???

so you and everyone else i assume agree that doing from a local or top notch school, it all depends on how you network. If I'm able to get the same networking by doing from Local school and spending time in say meetup or other events. I would save big money and still be able to achieve the necessary networking and exposure as any good school???

How i see my career growing with an MBA, is that it would allow me to get into area`s i'm currently not eligible.. such as director of products, or higher leadership roles.. etc. my current role as analyst doesnt have enough scope of growth atleast with my current employer...do you guys see if an MBA from a top school can help me get there.. or it doesnt make any difference???

Sorry for adding more questions and may be to the confusion.. but seriously guys its like a cobweb in my head ...

thanks again..

Knitgeek Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
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Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:59 pm
If you are looking at specific local schools I might suggest scheduling an appointment with the recruitment office. I know for SFU they've got a really strong career services department that I will have access to for life as an alum which, while lower down my list, was a reason I liked the idea of doing my MBA there.

At the end of the day, you are never going to beat the opportunities that a top 10 MBA is going to bring you, but a lot of solid schools have really good networks as well. The only way to find out if it is what you are looking for is to go check them out and ask about the services available.

I'm not as familiar with how things work in the US, but in Canada I know that most of the GMAT exempt schools aren't always worth the cost for what you get with your MBA (both in quality of education and student/alum support) but that isn't always the case. It's important to remember that while not all MBA's are created equal, not all MBA students are created equal as well. I know people who live up to the stereotype of the clueless MBA and I know others who have an MBA from no name school who have done amazingly well for themselves. At the end of the day any credential is only worth as much work as you are willing to put in to it.

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