Should I do a US top20 MBA?

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  1. #1

    Should I do a US top20 MBA?

    Can you give your opinion? Thanks.

    I would like to know if I should do a fulltime top 20MBA in the US. ( I have been admitted to a local good partime MBA too). If not, how much a local mba will help in my caes? (After MBA, I want to do real estate real estate development/ real estate finance etc.) If go, how much do you think I could make with an US MBA back HK after graduation? Quite possible lower than now?

    I am a mainland Chinese working here in a Chinese company at a managerial position for about seven years. I do property leasing, managing an exhibition center. Before that I had a few years experience doing real estate development in the mainland. My native language is Mandarin and speak execellent Cantonese. I have an civil Engineering BSc from the mainland and a MSc in civil from local university with distincions. I am good at quantity.

    One of the reasons that I want to go is that there is no career advancement now in the state owned company while I lose chance to get experience in the real local HK companies. Another reason is that I want to have world perspective and western management skills as well as better speaking English.

    On the other hand, I hesitated because of the following reasons:
    1) I am as old as 35, which may be quite old to go for a fulltime MBA.
    2) The current pay is OK if not bad; I am paid more than HKD500K/annum plus residence. That means compared with others to fulltime MBA with usually lower pre-MBA salary I could face larger opportunity cost.
    3) Someone said that top 20 MBA in the US was not quite heard in HK. Local employers will only buy those top 10 or big names such as Yale if not in the top 10.
    4) My past expereience may not fit for the traditional pool of MBA people, who usually are young and will get into IB or consulting to get huge salary. So a US MBA may not help me much if working in HK. (if working in the US, an US program would be essential; however, without a greencard of US, counting on working there would be impractical unless in great booming time).

    I would like you to give your opinion.


  2. #2

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    Although, scheduling my be a hassle and stressful at times I personally belileve that working and going to school at the same time for an MBA offers the learner the ability to immediately apply and act on what they are.

    As you stated several risks one being if you leave work to return to school you may have to take a pay cut when you return to the job market. However, if you keep your position and study at the sametime you are more likely increase your salary and even be promoted while you are still studying.


  3. #3

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    i was thinking about similar stuffs ...
    its never an easy decision...

    well, judge in 1.5 years time wld the market that you want to go still need someone like you ? what position do you think you can slot into comfortably?

    one thing you can do is to get a no-pay-leave from current company (especially since its semi state owned) for you to do your mba and you can come back to the job later. also think about your family (if you have one of your own).. whether it will impact them.

    for me the answer was quite clear... current job nature: mba or not, even an emba, is not going to help me. what i am working in now, is what most mba kids are trying to get into.. so essentially it adds no value to my current job. i'll forego pay for 1.5 year which is a nobrainer.

    to do an mba/emba for me wld be more like networking and expanding future horizon.. i'm thinking about it still... but definitely i won't be taking a year off.. it will have to be a parttime degree for me!


  4. #4

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    I went through similar decisions almost 10 years ago. Although it was difficult to forego my income and incur huge debt, I took the plunge and went to a top school full time. My biggest worry back then was how to support my parents and my sister who's significantly younger than me. I can say now that I'm so glad I made that decision and I'm in a much better position to help my family even though I still am paying back all my debt!

    One of the major reasons why I decided to go was because I wanted to switch careers. Like you, I was making good money and I loved the industry I was in but I couldn't see myself doing that for the rest of my life. I thought I really wanted to be a consultant and I spent all my time securing a FT job as a consultant, which I did. After a year, through circumstances beyond my control (that was in 2000/2001 during the dot bomb era), I lost my consulting job. Completely by fluke, I landed the job I'm in now in investment management. I had never, ever thought I'd be in finance (even though I majored in finance) and I didn't even apply for a finance job when I was in business school but what I found is that a top program could give you so many opportunities that you would never even think of right now. It really opens a lot of doors for you. Of course, you still have to have all the right things but at least it opens the doors.

    Many of my friends were international students and were on a student visas but at the MBA level, especially at a top school, you wouldn't have much trouble getting sponsorship by companies, especially given your background. At the undergraduate level, it's a completely different story. My friends who have chosen to come back to HK certainly make much, much more than they did before. While they might not have made significantly more with their first job, they were able to launch their career much faster and were given many more opportunities. This is across all industries, not just finance and consulting. I know they preach this and I never believed this until recently but the network you build at business school is a huge asset. Instead of thinking about what happens right after school, think further ahead...think where you'd like to be in 10 years.


  5. #5

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    I have to agree with applefan, if you do decide to go for the MBA program, you have to go for the top program for that degree to open doors for you. People often forget that a typical resume is only looked at for about 10-20 seconds. If the program you went to doesn't ring any bells, it's not going to stick out and get you to the door. (Also, don't let money be your primary motivator because having an MBA does not guarantee you a higher level of income., get an MBA for "yourself" (because YOU want to learn more) and not as a trophy to present to your employer). Personally, I think experience is much more important in financial field than an MBA from an unknown program and little experience.

    Having said all that, just want to give you an example of a small dose of reality. While an MBA may be a good way to open some doors, ultimately it will not be what drives your career/compensation in a large organization. Many people with no graduate degrees or professional designations (i.e. CFA, CPA) but better "soft skills" and leadership ability are managing those MBA's and Ivy league graduates. Just something to think about... Ultimately it comes down to 4 questions: Can you communicate? get results? how fast? and at what cost?


  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by climber07:
    IHaving said all that, just want to give you an example of a small dose of reality. While an MBA may be a good way to open some doors, ultimately it will not be what drives your career/compensation in a large organization. Many people with no graduate degrees or professional designations (i.e. CFA, CPA) but better "soft skills" and leadership ability are managing those MBA's and Ivy league graduates. Just something to think about... Ultimately it comes down to 4 questions: Can you communicate? get results? how fast? and at what cost?
    Well said....