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Value of an MBA
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Sammy Offline
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Post: #1
Value of an MBA
I was curious if anyone here has any thoughts on the value of an MBA either in my specific case or generally.

I'm based in Los Angeles, and a little over a year ago I left one of the big Hollywood agencies, where I was an assistant in the digital department, to work at a digital media company. This is a fairly standard move - and I really like working in digital media. I like being at the crossroads of entertainment and technology. Eventually, I'd like to move to working in entertainment in Singapore or Hong Kong, or maybe working in the entertainment arm of a management consultancy.

I don't see myself getting promoted at my current job, so I'm trying to soak up as much knowledge and learning there that I can, before I either switch companies or get an MBA.

I'm leaning towards and MBA right now, as I think it would give me an extra tool to use in moving deeper into a more finance/consultant role. Right now, I have experience at the main talent agency in the world, as well as experience at a well respected "name brand" production company. With an MBA, I figure that I would be a natural fit for either a boutique bank aimed at the entertainment industry, or the strategy/finance branch of a studio/network or the entertainment niche at a larger bank. I don't think that kind of career will be open to me without the MBA unfortunately, as they wouldn't look past my lack of finance skill set.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I really appreciate any thing you guys say... let me have it.
05-26-2014 06:46 PM
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Big Country Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Value of an MBA
If you can get a company to sponsor you for an EMBA I'd do that. It really depends on what you intend to do, as in quit your job and go back to school full time. Finances are a big part of that decision.
05-26-2014 06:53 PM
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Kapitalist Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Value of an MBA
(05-26-2014 06:46 PM)Sammy Wrote:  I was curious if anyone here has any thoughts on the value of an MBA either in my specific case or generally.

I'm based in Los Angeles, and a little over a year ago I left one of the big Hollywood agencies, where I was an assistant in the digital department, to work at a digital media company. This is a fairly standard move - and I really like working in digital media. I like being at the crossroads of entertainment and technology. Eventually, I'd like to move to working in entertainment in Singapore or Hong Kong, or maybe working in the entertainment arm of a management consultancy.

I don't see myself getting promoted at my current job, so I'm trying to soak up as much knowledge and learning there that I can, before I either switch companies or get an MBA.

I'm leaning towards and MBA right now, as I think it would give me an extra tool to use in moving deeper into a more finance/consultant role. Right now, I have experience at the main talent agency in the world, as well as experience at a well respected "name brand" production company. With an MBA, I figure that I would be a natural fit for either a boutique bank aimed at the entertainment industry, or the strategy/finance branch of a studio/network or the entertainment niche at a larger bank. I don't think that kind of career will be open to me without the MBA unfortunately, as they wouldn't look past my lack of finance skill set.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I really appreciate any thing you guys say... let me have it.

I am not that familiar with the digital media/studio/network industry, but I have my MPA (Masters in Professional Accountancy) and I do think that it is beneficial at least in terms of getting your foot in the door in the accounting/finance world. Eventually, the landscape of business will change to basically requiring a bachelor's degree and master's degree in order to work so it's never an idea to get an advanced degree. Just my opinion though. Good luck boss.
05-26-2014 07:28 PM
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Baldwin81 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Value of an MBA
You're probably aware, but I'd suggest checking out Wall Street Playboys. Finance isn't my industry, but that website and twitter account speaks the truth and can be a really good kick in the ass.

RE: MBA...

I'm of the opinion that past a certain age (post grad) you need to get paid. The dope thing about where you are right now is that you're getting paid to learn. You will never learn more about business in a classroom compared actually working in a business, no matter the field. Doing good work and managing your relationships is what counts. To me someone with an MBA is a bit of a sucker because they paid for fake world (academic) experience in lieu of getting paid for real world experience.

More than ten years removed from undergrad I can say that every single MBA grad I've worked with or dealt with as a vendor/client is either an entitled dumbass who does shoddy work, soft, or both. Fuck an institution and stretch your game out to get to where you want to be with your experience, wits, appearance, and charm.

* An exception may be if you get some sort of scholarship to a top five school. For instance, I'd have a hard time arguing that free ride to Harvard MBA (and all those connections) would be bad. The sucker move (even for a top five school) would be going into debt for it.

"Oh but I can make that money back with my new connections from this piece of paper."

Yes, just like that vacuum that the door-to-door salesman says, "Pays for itself..."
(This post was last modified: 05-26-2014 07:48 PM by Baldwin81.)
05-26-2014 07:46 PM
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wesker Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Value of an MBA
Make sure you're getting it from a target school.
05-26-2014 08:43 PM
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maxmueller Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Value of an MBA
Harvard, Stanford or Wharton. Or forget it.
05-26-2014 09:29 PM
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Simeon_Strangelight Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Value of an MBA
(05-26-2014 09:29 PM)maxmueller Wrote:  Harvard, Stanford or Wharton. Or forget it.

Exactly - MBA by an Elite school, otherwise it is not worth much.

Better do CFA and CAIA - both are international degrees and cost you only the study material and the standardized international tests.

An MBA costs you an exorbitant amount of money, while a CFA & CAIA just costs you your time and effort. Also the tests are adjusting the passing levels on results of students worldwide - meaning you actually compete against the Chinese in a way. But that is also the reason why it is so highly valued. Either way - if you study hard you will pass anyway - at least there your effort is rewarded and you don't have to pay through the nose to get a degree that is ultimately almost worthless by most schools.

With the CFA and CAIA you have a better chance at securing a good job than with the average MBA. Harvard MBA is of course better, but if you don't have 100.000$ lying around then this is the way to go.

Also you might want to check out international accounting degrees as well as STEM degrees.

Good info also on http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/

Ah - another point is that the CFA and CAIA are international degrees and you can just as well get a job in Berlin, in Moscow or in Hong Kong.
(This post was last modified: 05-27-2014 02:28 AM by Simeon_Strangelight.)
05-27-2014 02:27 AM
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Post: #8
RE: Value of an MBA
If you can get into a top school, then go for it, otherwise don't waste your time. USC and UCLA might be ok for your industry, but I have no idea about your industry, I'm just speculating based on geography so do your homework.

MBAs get a lot of hate but an MBA from a top school really does make a wise investment if you're not already making over six figures.

I've got the dick so I make the rules.
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05-27-2014 04:38 AM
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Vice Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Value of an MBA
(05-26-2014 07:46 PM)Baldwin81 Wrote:  * An exception may be if you get some sort of scholarship to a top five school. For instance, I'd have a hard time arguing that free ride to Harvard MBA (and all those connections) would be bad. The sucker move (even for a top five school) would be going into debt for it.

Not the first time I've heard this but... I'll be honest... I don't understand when people say they won't get into debt even for Harvard. I mean, really? Scholarships for HSW are incredibly rare. That Harvard brand will make a huge difference in lifetime earnings.

Is ~$180k in debt really not worth it for Harvard/Stanford/Wharton? I personally would gladly pay full tuition not just for HSW but for INSEAD/LBS/Oxford's Said as well.
(This post was last modified: 05-27-2014 10:54 AM by Vice.)
05-27-2014 10:53 AM
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anonymous123 Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Value of an MBA
I've never heard of anyone smart enough to actually get an acceptance letter to Harvard turning it down just because of the fear of a little student debt.

This is kind of like when people say they would never want to be an investment banker at a top tier wall street firm because the lifestyle is too hard...easy to say when there is no bid.
05-27-2014 11:00 AM
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Baldwin81 Offline
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RE: Value of an MBA
Vice / anonymous123,

Points well taken re: paying for a top school like Harvard.

After writing the post I thought, Damn, would you really advise someone not go to HBS just because he'd have to pay?
(This post was last modified: 05-27-2014 11:29 AM by Baldwin81.)
05-27-2014 11:16 AM
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Ensam Offline
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RE: Value of an MBA
The worth if an elite MBA is an interesting question. My guess is someone who's driven enough to get accepted would succeed with or with out it. You figure the real cost is the tuition + forgone income. So probably close to $500k opportunity cost. I could see someone forgoing that option. That's enough money to start a business or make a play somewhere else.

It's kind of a moot point though - the only people who apply are the ones who think it's worth it. And the ones who don't think it's worth it will never know if they could have gotten in.
05-27-2014 11:20 AM
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Simeon_Strangelight Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Value of an MBA
(05-27-2014 11:20 AM)Ensam Wrote:  The worth if an elite MBA is an interesting question. My guess is someone who's driven enough to get accepted would succeed with or with out it. You figure the real cost is the tuition + forgone income. So probably close to $500k opportunity cost. I could see someone forgoing that option. That's enough money to start a business or make a play somewhere else.

It's kind of a moot point though - the only people who apply are the ones who think it's worth it. And the ones who don't think it's worth it will never know if they could have gotten in.

Elite MBA (Harvard, Yale) is the only one that pays with near perfect accuracy. The ROI is not derived purely by the job you get, but also by the connections, the background and the status that it gives you for high-level positions at Wallstreet and the corporate world.

I would only recommend going into debt for Ivy League MBA or Law or decent STEM studies. Whether you go 35.000$ for a decent STEM course or 150.000$ for Harvard is irrelevant, as long as you will earn sufficiently afterwards.

Otherwise the basically free CFA, CAIA, CIPM or some international accounting courses are the way to go in business.

Or just study economics at the cheapest College you can find and start working for a corporation ASAP. If you succeed they might sponsor you your MBA later on. That will likely not be Harvard, but it does not matter, since they are paying for it and it is the usual routines that they have in order to give you the stamp of approval for future promotion.

At least that was how it worked in the past - but things are changing fast now and they are cutting back everywhere except in China.
(This post was last modified: 05-27-2014 12:10 PM by Simeon_Strangelight.)
05-27-2014 12:09 PM
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Brian Boru Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Value of an MBA
I agree with the previous comments. Unless you can get into a top school, forget it. The impression I've gotten from MBA students is that the real benefit of business school is the good ol' boy network.
05-27-2014 02:07 PM
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testos111 Offline
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RE: Value of an MBA
The decision to do an MBA was the worst one I ever took. I'm just glad I had a blast those two years, but as far as knowledge is concerned, it should be a complete no unless it's from an elite institute.

The things taught in MBA are just impractical dross thrown around by gurus like Philip Kotler who've made a name by twisting the basics of marketing and selling, and coming up with fancy terms and theories.

Finance is still decent, but then you'd rather go in for a CFA.

I always believe that one can really get satisfaction from their jobs when their role is specialized. Because specialized knowledge can be improved by further practice and use.

MBA jobs on the other hand tend to be geared towards general management that don't provide this kind of satisfaction.
05-27-2014 02:48 PM
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cibo Offline
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RE: Value of an MBA
You do an MBA for three things:

1) Networking
2) Credibility
3) Education (and is the weakest of the 3)

Honestly, if your MBA is not from a top 10-15 world school than I would be hesitant to recommend it. That said there are very strong benefits to a top MBA.

Let me tell you about what's its been like 4 years after my grad/business school from two top 10-15 schools. After I graduated undergrad I did some legal clerking for an attorney but it was a dead end gig. I tried to get a real job and couldn't even get a sales role at a shitty transport company. The economy then went to hell. And left the country to do my grad/business school in Europe, which is a bit more grad schooly.

After my degree(s), I got into a top internet company and worked there for a bit. I later moved on to being a consultant. I then returned to the states and worked for another F500 company. And now I've started up my consulting firm. Even after working for a lot of well known companies, people still look at my education. People know getting jobs are not always based on merit so a top school adds a lot of credibility. The value of a good MBA is not for internal promotion because everyone knows how good you are. An MBA is about convincing people who don't know that you are good. I can tell you I dont have to work nearly as hard to convince people i know what im doing when i just flash my resume. Id be the first to admit that your resume doesnt mean you'll do a good job and i have hired an amazing programmer who worked at a sandwich shop but most people look at brand names.

The other part is network. Most of my team ive hired and earlier client leads have either come from places I worked at, people who went to the same school as me, or referred from those two groups. It also makes it easier to pitch a client when you have a school better than or the same as them since you can talk shop or BS. Sometimes they might even get a bit starstruck. Im still the same dumbass I was for the most part but now people for some reason listen to me more. Further, you learn a lot about yourself being in a team all the time and hanging out with others. This is probably the most enjoyable part of business school. The real sense of comradery.

The last part is education. And as I said its the weakest. When you get out of business school, your MBA is pretty fucking worthless unless you maybe start a company. Why? Because its too broad. You know a bit of everything but nothing of substance which is why i went for a second masters in statistics (1 year masters in europe). You absolutely need to get some specialization for your first real job. However, what will happen over time is that because most people hate theory, big picture, and cross discipline thinking, you will start to out compete them as you gain experience. At first, it will be a slight lead for a task, but over time, it gets pretty massive of a lead. when I started out I was using pretty much only my stats degree. At this point in my own company, I probably use 1/3rd my statistics degree, 1/3rd work experience, and 1/3rd my management degree and will probably increase on the management stuff. Ive starting writing a business plan for the first time in like 3 years. I had to dig out my notes to remember what i used to do to analyze and forecast with.

That said there are many good business education materials online for free. But one thing that people doesnt always consider is that even if MBA doesnt necessarily make complete dollars sense, you can take a break from the workforce and no one will penalize you. Think of it as going back to college but knowing how to really take advantage of college. Its a nice two year break that may at worse be a little less than break even and at best catapult your career. I work from home now, and goddamn all that time and money I paid is worth it for the ability to wake up mid day and bring in some decent cash.
(This post was last modified: 05-27-2014 07:06 PM by cibo.)
05-27-2014 07:02 PM
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Andy_B Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Value of an MBA
The value of an MBA is precisely equivalent to who you meet at the school.

Business school curriculum is generally BS. MBAs are notorious for coming out of school with zero management skill.
05-27-2014 07:28 PM
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sonoran_ Offline
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RE: Value of an MBA
Bump,

So we have come to the conclusion that an MBA ( emphasis on the "business administration") is valuable more for the networking/prestige than the education. Would this be the case for the following scenario:

- MBA but with focus on BUSINESS ANALYTICS electives ( courses such as business intelligence, data mining, big data).
- From a (no name) university in South Asia
- For someone who has no real job experience or tech experience
- Has a life science degree
- Is looking to work in business analytics but doesnt want to go for another 3-4 year analytics bachelors or couldnt get into an MSc Business Analytics program.
04-07-2018 01:55 PM
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SteezeySteve Offline
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RE: Value of an MBA
No name university in Asia sounds like a waste of time and money. I dont see that helping you with job placement in America. Unless it has prestige and sends alumni to good jobs within asia.

Do the research and find out where alumni from the specific program end up.

04-07-2018 02:50 PM
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Dragan Offline
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Post: #20
RE: Value of an MBA
If the employer pays for it might be worth considering. Otherwise, probably not.
04-07-2018 03:20 PM
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edlefou Offline
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Post: #21
RE: Value of an MBA
MBAs are a waste of money unless you go to a top-5 school, it can be worthwhile.

Look at Tim Ferriss' Real World MBA posts to get an idea on a better way to do it.
04-08-2018 08:30 AM
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JohnQPublic Offline
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RE: Value of an MBA
MBAs can be really valuable for certain jobs, especially management consulting and investment banking. Those jobs will also pay you enough to not worry about the debt. There's also some finer filters you can apply to which schools are worthwhile. For sure Harvard is all around the best as far as prestige goes, but Stanford has a less vanilla reputation of being undoubtedly the best and a lot of Stanford MBAs want to do startups or work in Silicon Valley. For Marketing, Kellogg (Northwestern) is generally considered the best, UCLA is good for the entertainment industry, for quant stuff University of Chicago has a great reputation and a totally non-Ivy League, Thunderbird business school (in Arizona or something) is really good for international business mainly due to its big network around the world.

I think the key factors for how much you'll get out of it are:
1) Where you went to undergrad
2) what kind of job you had before and for how long.
3) what you want to do with it after

(1) and (2) are going to play a big part in how successful you are in getting your dream job if you're going for blue-chip companies or high paying jobs. (3) is probably the most important. If you don't know why you're going, it's a big investment to make if you're just hoping it will help you find out.

I know a guy who went to a pretty good undergrad school, but nothing super then decided to get an MBA. He got rejected by all the top American business schoools and only got accepted by one in a 2nd world country (not Western, not 3rd world) where he only applied on a whim because he was there for work a lot and thought it was a cool place. So he went there beacuse he really wanted to learn finance and make money and he was super good at math. After he graduated he moved to London got a job in finance and made tons of money. So it can work if you have a good plan.
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2018 12:08 PM by JohnQPublic.)
04-08-2018 11:59 AM
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bws8118 Offline
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Post: #23
RE: Value of an MBA
If you get an MBA at a good school along it looks good. Do you need one...probably not.
04-08-2018 03:52 PM
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Peregrine Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Value of an MBA
Quote:- MBA but with focus on BUSINESS ANALYTICS electives ( courses such as business intelligence, data mining, big data).
- From a (no name) university in South Asia
- For someone who has no real job experience or tech experience
- Has a life science degree
- Is looking to work in business analytics but doesnt want to go for another 3-4 year analytics bachelors or couldnt get into an MSc Business Analytics program.

What MBAs are good for:

1) Career change to a "prestigious" industry, e.g. engineering to finance/consulting
2) Qualifying for a promotion
3) Meeting de facto job requirement in industries that highly value prestige (see #1)
4) Networking for the above
5) Re-living the glory days of college

What MBAs are not good for:

1) Learning things (you can learn that shit at the public library)
2) Getting a job that doesn't care about prestige (e.g. basically anything that is not finance, consulting, or upper management in tech)

So to answer your question, the answer is no. You can learn business analytics for free on the internet, and I don't care what degree or certifications you have. I can tell whether you have the technical ability to do the job in a one hour interview.
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2018 06:28 PM by Peregrine.)
04-08-2018 06:27 PM
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qwertyuiop Offline
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Post: #25
RE: Value of an MBA
T14 to break into finance or consulting (could also be missing something here -- maybe there's a hidden niche?) . Otherwise NOPE. it will not teach you to run a business.

If you want business acumen get a b2b sales job. Nothing teaches you business acumen more than talking trying to make deals all day.
(This post was last modified: 04-08-2018 06:35 PM by qwertyuiop.)
04-08-2018 06:34 PM
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