Are top ranked MBAs a good investment for a career neither in finance nor consulting?


Molly
After reading hundreds of posts, I have the feeling that not so many people are in my situation. I am a 30 years-old French female, with a background in humanities, and 6 years of WE in an Asian developing country - including 2 years working for my government and 4 years as a Communications Director for a social enterprise.

I’d like to do an MBA because I aim to become a general manager for a middle-size social enterprise – not necessarily in Asia. I want to clarify that I don’t have an entrepreneurial spirit so I don’t intend to create my own enterprise. I definitely need to get business skills as I never attended any finance or accounting classes, and I feel that I still have a lot to learn.

Given my situation, I started to study for the GMAT a few months ago, and I found it so difficult that I became depressed about taking the test at all – and there’s not GMAT tutor or classes where I live to help.

Therefore, I decided to search for good MBAs not requesting the GMAT, and I found Nottingham University, which looks quite good to me as it has a CSR specialization, and a Malaysian campus – so I don’t need to relocate to Europe to get this degree.

However I am having second thought because on this forum, I often could read that “you should always go the best school you can”. But does this apply to people not aiming towards super lucrative careers in consulting or in finance?

For example, I saw that both INSEAD and NYU had specializations in CSR and obviously, they are great schools, but is it worth it to spend so much time (to get a high GMAT score) and money (which means a big loan for me) if I don’t plan to work in a big4/on Wall Street?

I know that people on this forum always advise to take the GMAT, no matter what, however I am really afraid that all those efforts that could lead me to a top ranked MBA would eventually make me become obsessed about how to repay my debt, and hence would make me take highly paid jobs that I would not enjoy…

I’d appreciate if someone could give me their opinion on the ROI of great MBAs in my situation.
Thanks a lot!
After reading hundreds of posts, I have the feeling that not so many people are in my situation. I am a 30 years-old French female, with a background in humanities, and 6 years of WE in an Asian developing country - including 2 years working for my government and 4 years as a Communications Director for a social enterprise.

I’d like to do an MBA because I aim to become a general manager for a middle-size social enterprise – not necessarily in Asia. I want to clarify that I don’t have an entrepreneurial spirit so I don’t intend to create my own enterprise. I definitely need to get business skills as I never attended any finance or accounting classes, and I feel that I still have a lot to learn.

Given my situation, I started to study for the GMAT a few months ago, and I found it so difficult that I became depressed about taking the test at all – and there’s not GMAT tutor or classes where I live to help.

Therefore, I decided to search for good MBAs not requesting the GMAT, and I found Nottingham University, which looks quite good to me as it has a CSR specialization, and a Malaysian campus – so I don’t need to relocate to Europe to get this degree.

However I am having second thought because on this forum, I often could read that “you should always go the best school you can”. But does this apply to people not aiming towards super lucrative careers in consulting or in finance?

For example, I saw that both INSEAD and NYU had specializations in CSR and obviously, they are great schools, but is it worth it to spend so much time (to get a high GMAT score) and money (which means a big loan for me) if I don’t plan to work in a big4/on Wall Street?

I know that people on this forum always advise to take the GMAT, no matter what, however I am really afraid that all those efforts that could lead me to a top ranked MBA would eventually make me become obsessed about how to repay my debt, and hence would make me take highly paid jobs that I would not enjoy…

I’d appreciate if someone could give me their opinion on the ROI of great MBAs in my situation.
Thanks a lot!
quote
What are the benefits of gaining an MBA from a non ranked school like Nottingham? If definitely is not any of the following:

- Taught by thought leaders in their field which you will only find at top schools like LBS and INSEAD who can afford to pay their faculty 200-300K salaries
- Network - non ranked schools do not attract bright and ambitious professionals
- Brand - for obvious reasons
What are the benefits of gaining an MBA from a non ranked school like Nottingham? If definitely is not any of the following:

- Taught by thought leaders in their field which you will only find at top schools like LBS and INSEAD who can afford to pay their faculty 200-300K salaries
- Network - non ranked schools do not attract bright and ambitious professionals
- Brand - for obvious reasons
quote
hdwnkr
My understanding, and please let me know if these are wrong

1. You wish to become a General Manager in a mid size social firm, "not necessarily in Asia"
2. You are reluctant about going down the lane called GMAT.
3. You believe that post a costly MBA, you would spend a lot of time taking away the debt from your head, which may result in working for money rather than working for satisfaction.

Why not compromise with a good b school?

There are cases where one doesn't need a B School education to prove the might - cases such as Steve Jobs, Rajiv Suri and a lot many. However, are these opportunities abundant? Yes, if you look in the right direction at the right time with the right mind and with a lot of play from the planets and stars, I suppose. However, a good education, unfortunately nowadays synonymous with a good brand name, can help you a lot. For example, you would be exposed to an alumni network, you would have a brand name that would take you places, and you would not repent later for not having taken a loan, which you eventually would have paid anyways. Most importantly, let's take a hypothetical situation. In this situation, I as an employer have two CVs in front of me. One says Insead and one says Nottingham. You might be the best fit. But, just because there is a notion in the market that Insead is the 5th best in the world, I might pick up the other CV. Unfortunately, many believe in this notion, which as a matter of fact is justified till a great extent because of the diversity that an Insead candidates bring along. This is not something that is absent from your profile. So, if you want to skip a situation later on in career where, on a global platform, you would be compared with the best of the best schools, you might want to reconsider the option of giving up on top b schools, esp. when you can make it and deserve more than many entering into these colleges.

Loans
Personally, I an't afford to buy a ticket to my dream school. But should something, that is an object that comes and goes with time, be a factor from stopping my dreams? Not at all. There are many many scholarship options available. if you have done a thorough research and have been blacklisted by the entire universe from getting a scholarship, then don't apply. Otherwise, if there is a 0..0000001 % chance of applying to it, give it your best shot. never back down!

The GMAT journey
Tell me about it. I have taken more than 2 retakes. I am not going to stop. Am i optimistic? No. But because I know that i haven't given my 100 percent. I tried preparing for the exam by myself. It didn't work. Some of us need a continuous nudge to go forward. Have you un-turned that stone by joining one of the many available courses? Answer this honestly, have you studied for 2 hours everyday for 20 days. If not, you might want to reconsider the option of giving up on top b schools, esp. when you can make it and deserve more than many entering into these colleges? Still facing issues, I am ready to help you out with a plan. there are a few other and we could all start a group. but don't give up. I used to get a score of 510. I am now at 690. It ain't that great but not less either,given my history with GMAT.

Coming to your main question, ROI. Remember, that money isn't the only investment that you would be making in this case. There is something more important - time. A B School education includes the exposure, the cohort, the education and an experience.

You will not repent your decision to do an MBA from a top 30 b School in the world.
My understanding, and please let me know if these are wrong

1. You wish to become a General Manager in a mid size social firm, "not necessarily in Asia"
2. You are reluctant about going down the lane called GMAT.
3. You believe that post a costly MBA, you would spend a lot of time taking away the debt from your head, which may result in working for money rather than working for satisfaction.

Why not compromise with a good b school?

There are cases where one doesn't need a B School education to prove the might - cases such as Steve Jobs, Rajiv Suri and a lot many. However, are these opportunities abundant? Yes, if you look in the right direction at the right time with the right mind and with a lot of play from the planets and stars, I suppose. However, a good education, unfortunately nowadays synonymous with a good brand name, can help you a lot. For example, you would be exposed to an alumni network, you would have a brand name that would take you places, and you would not repent later for not having taken a loan, which you eventually would have paid anyways. Most importantly, let's take a hypothetical situation. In this situation, I as an employer have two CVs in front of me. One says Insead and one says Nottingham. You might be the best fit. But, just because there is a notion in the market that Insead is the 5th best in the world, I might pick up the other CV. Unfortunately, many believe in this notion, which as a matter of fact is justified till a great extent because of the diversity that an Insead candidates bring along. This is not something that is absent from your profile. So, if you want to skip a situation later on in career where, on a global platform, you would be compared with the best of the best schools, you might want to reconsider the option of giving up on top b schools, esp. when you can make it and deserve more than many entering into these colleges.

Loans
Personally, I an't afford to buy a ticket to my dream school. But should something, that is an object that comes and goes with time, be a factor from stopping my dreams? Not at all. There are many many scholarship options available. if you have done a thorough research and have been blacklisted by the entire universe from getting a scholarship, then don't apply. Otherwise, if there is a 0..0000001 % chance of applying to it, give it your best shot. never back down!

The GMAT journey
Tell me about it. I have taken more than 2 retakes. I am not going to stop. Am i optimistic? No. But because I know that i haven't given my 100 percent. I tried preparing for the exam by myself. It didn't work. Some of us need a continuous nudge to go forward. Have you un-turned that stone by joining one of the many available courses? Answer this honestly, have you studied for 2 hours everyday for 20 days. If not, you might want to reconsider the option of giving up on top b schools, esp. when you can make it and deserve more than many entering into these colleges? Still facing issues, I am ready to help you out with a plan. there are a few other and we could all start a group. but don't give up. I used to get a score of 510. I am now at 690. It ain't that great but not less either,given my history with GMAT.

Coming to your main question, ROI. Remember, that money isn't the only investment that you would be making in this case. There is something more important - time. A B School education includes the exposure, the cohort, the education and an experience.

You will not repent your decision to do an MBA from a top 30 b School in the world.
quote
Molly
Thank you very much for your inputs.

hdwnkr, you are right about the 3 points you summarized.

When I started to study for the GMAT, it took me 2,5 hours per day, 6 days per week, for about three months. When I read about other GMAT takers' experience on the Internet, I felt bad because I did not improve as much as they did. I was desperate to see that my initial level was so bad. After 2 months of studying the quant part, I felt I improved my understanding of the exercise, but I was so slow that I got desperate since I know that it's all about endurance. It really affected my self-esteem badly. I am willing to give it another try, especially if we can start a group. Knowing that you could improve your score by 140 really gives me some hope!

Regarding scholarships, actually I thought about them when I started to study the GMAT, but after reading "the sad truth about scholarships" on this very site, I began wondering if it was not an illusion to hope getting one in a top school - I am thinking NYU, as INSEAD made it very clear on its website that there were not so many opportunities. Furthermore, I read many blogs of Inseaders and many of them mentioned their anxiety about repaying their loan, and their need to do so by securing a job in consulting - even if it was not their job dream in the first place.

Regarding the ROI, I know that money isn't all. But I still need to make sure that I can eat tomorrow while having a job that fits my wishes. Obviously, I don't want to repent about not having taken the opportunity to enter my dream school, but a good (not excellent) business school costs at least $60K (tuition fees only) and I am under the (wrong?) impression that the alumni salaries of those school reflects the average income of those going to work for big firms - which is not what I intend to do.

Nevertheless, thank you for giving me a big push: I think I'll retry to study the GMAT with less anxiety. Actually, my dream schools are NYU (but $$$ if no scholarships because of the 2-years program and NYC cost of life), INSEAD and Oxford. I may not reach that target but I'll try my best.
Thank you very much for your inputs.

hdwnkr, you are right about the 3 points you summarized.

When I started to study for the GMAT, it took me 2,5 hours per day, 6 days per week, for about three months. When I read about other GMAT takers' experience on the Internet, I felt bad because I did not improve as much as they did. I was desperate to see that my initial level was so bad. After 2 months of studying the quant part, I felt I improved my understanding of the exercise, but I was so slow that I got desperate since I know that it's all about endurance. It really affected my self-esteem badly. I am willing to give it another try, especially if we can start a group. Knowing that you could improve your score by 140 really gives me some hope!

Regarding scholarships, actually I thought about them when I started to study the GMAT, but after reading "the sad truth about scholarships" on this very site, I began wondering if it was not an illusion to hope getting one in a top school - I am thinking NYU, as INSEAD made it very clear on its website that there were not so many opportunities. Furthermore, I read many blogs of Inseaders and many of them mentioned their anxiety about repaying their loan, and their need to do so by securing a job in consulting - even if it was not their job dream in the first place.

Regarding the ROI, I know that money isn't all. But I still need to make sure that I can eat tomorrow while having a job that fits my wishes. Obviously, I don't want to repent about not having taken the opportunity to enter my dream school, but a good (not excellent) business school costs at least $60K (tuition fees only) and I am under the (wrong?) impression that the alumni salaries of those school reflects the average income of those going to work for big firms - which is not what I intend to do.

Nevertheless, thank you for giving me a big push: I think I'll retry to study the GMAT with less anxiety. Actually, my dream schools are NYU (but $$$ if no scholarships because of the 2-years program and NYC cost of life), INSEAD and Oxford. I may not reach that target but I'll try my best.
quote
Duncan
Also take a look at GMAT Tiers - strong schools for your GMAT www.find-mba.com/board/27082

If you apply early, there are some schools with great outcomes and low GMAT averages -- especially outside the USA.
Also take a look at GMAT Tiers - strong schools for your GMAT www.find-mba.com/board/27082

If you apply early, there are some schools with great outcomes and low GMAT averages -- especially outside the USA.
quote
mba hipste...
Also, look into loans. There are some organizations like Prodigy Finance that give loans to international students without a cosigner.

To your question about ROI, look at average salary stats for the schools you're looking at and then do the math. The average salary of NYU grads for instance is $114k, so you can reasonable expect to assume that you'll be getting a salary in that range when you graduate. Depending on what kind of money you're making now that may or may not be worth it.
Also, look into loans. There are some organizations like Prodigy Finance that give loans to international students without a cosigner.

To your question about ROI, look at average salary stats for the schools you're looking at and then do the math. The average salary of NYU grads for instance is $114k, so you can reasonable expect to assume that you'll be getting a salary in that range when you graduate. Depending on what kind of money you're making now that may or may not be worth it.
quote
exxoXYZ9
I am also looking to do an MBA for a career in social enterprise, but I want to study in the US. Besides Yale (which I will definitely apply for), which other MBAs are out there? I will also apply to Harvard because of its status among CSR professionals, but I would also consider something lower profile that's more specialized as well. Honestly, I don't know if I am that interested in being surrounded by consulting-type people.
I am also looking to do an MBA for a career in social enterprise, but I want to study in the US. Besides Yale (which I will definitely apply for), which other MBAs are out there? I will also apply to Harvard because of its status among CSR professionals, but I would also consider something lower profile that's more specialized as well. Honestly, I don't know if I am that interested in being surrounded by consulting-type people.
quote
Duncan
Why an MBA rather than something more focused on social enterprise? USC has a specialsed masters in social enterprise. UT McCoombs, Colorado State and Brandeis some mind as well.
Why an MBA rather than something more focused on social enterprise? USC has a specialsed masters in social enterprise. UT McCoombs, Colorado State and Brandeis some mind as well.
quote
exxoXYZ9
Thanks, I will consider this advice. What do you think of the Brandeis MBA?
Thanks, I will consider this advice. What do you think of the Brandeis MBA?
quote
Duncan
It looks perfectly designed for your goals. A very good friend did his masters there and was delighted. Very supportive. Great classmates.
It looks perfectly designed for your goals. A very good friend did his masters there and was delighted. Very supportive. Great classmates.
quote
Molly
Also, look into loans. There are some organizations like Prodigy Finance that give loans to international students without a cosigner.

To your question about ROI, look at average salary stats for the schools you're looking at and then do the math. The average salary of NYU grads for instance is $114k, so you can reasonable expect to assume that you'll be getting a salary in that range when you graduate. Depending on what kind of money you're making now that may or may not be worth it.


Well, the average salary you mentioned for NYU grads seems to be related to people going into finance of consulting. That's why I am not sure that I will be able to get the same salary range, hence my question about investing so much money for an MBA from which I would probably get a very small ROI - given my career goals. I completely understand it's worth getting the best education you can but I don't want to get a huge debt out of it...
[quote]Also, look into loans. There are some organizations like Prodigy Finance that give loans to international students without a cosigner.

To your question about ROI, look at average salary stats for the schools you're looking at and then do the math. The average salary of NYU grads for instance is $114k, so you can reasonable expect to assume that you'll be getting a salary in that range when you graduate. Depending on what kind of money you're making now that may or may not be worth it.[/quote]

Well, the average salary you mentioned for NYU grads seems to be related to people going into finance of consulting. That's why I am not sure that I will be able to get the same salary range, hence my question about investing so much money for an MBA from which I would probably get a very small ROI - given my career goals. I completely understand it's worth getting the best education you can but I don't want to get a huge debt out of it...
quote
Ayon
@Molly

Apologies for speaking out of turn. In my opinion you are using an incorrect parameter to define "Best education" and hence targeting top schools. For the general population the best education translates into top school since the assumption is that a Top tier school would provide you a better education than let's say a 2nd tier school. Average Salary is perceived statistics that's used to justify the outcome of a better education.

In Top schools - as in other schools - the best salary goes to Consulting / Finance roles. The Salary factor is dependent more upon the role and location and less upon a school brand name.
To illustrate, I am working in a Consulting firm specializing in Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT). Most of the employees are recruited from MIT and some from Dartmouth. They are paid $xx,xxx for Senior Analyst role (usually for undergrads), $1xx,xxx for Consultant level (for MBA) roles. Now, we would believe that the 6 figure Consultant level salary is a byproduct of the result of getting MBA from MIT or Tuck. However, that's not the case. I did my MBA from College of William and Mary (W&M) it appears in FT rankings once in 4 year and 70 something pretty much elsewhere for the MBA program.

However, I also got the $xxx,xxx salary for Consultant role. My colleague did a joint degree MBA-MS from Boston University he also got the same $xxx,xxx salary for Consultant role. The difference between a MIT, and a W&M MBA is the more on the student side less on the education - in strict sense of teaching delivered by professors.

Majority of students at MIT are more driven than majority of students at W&M. (W&M still have 20-25% of amazingly driven people). Those 20-2% of driven people usually bag Consulting / Finance roles and earn in 6 figures. But not all, we had one student go to Nepal to work for a solar power startup. Salary was decided by the location, and the role - $yy,yyy- less than what an undergrad makes in US. Of course. It wouldn't have mattered if that student was from MIT or NYU, that company simply did not had the money to pay someone say $60,000 which would have been equivalent to 2 years of inventory.

The drive that I spoke of above, is usually perceived to be reflected by various carrier and academic accomplishments. GMAT plays a big role here - in most cases. I took the GMAT 4 times over a span of 3 years. my scores were 600,610,630,630. Every admission director (and director of GMAC) I talked with tried to convince me that there is a correlation between GMAT score and academic performance during the program.

People still assume that there is a further correlation between academic success during a Master's and post graduate salary. But here I was with a flawed GMAT score, coming from an over-represented community (Indian Engineering Male), yet I got a 3.7 GPA and a $xxx,xxx salary.

So am I an outlier? or an exception to the rule? High GMAT score > High GPA > High Salary? Maybe - Maybe not. It really comes down to what you and I accept to be a conventional wisdom, and when-where-and-how we choose to challenge it.

I challenged at the GMAT level. One of my friend is frustrated with a GMAT score of 720 since he is not able to get into NYU, UNC etc. and he absolutely believes that he cannot reach success (they way he defines it Higher salary), by attending 2nd tier schools.

My colleague who works in Nepal is absolutely thrilled by her experience there. That's what she wanted to do. As per her definition of success she is right there.

We might keep on talking about ROI, GMAT etc. But all of the students agree that MBA provides a much needed set of lenses (Financial - ROI, Macroeconomic, Marketing - break even, Supply Chain - inventory, Operational - Lean) to look at a particular situation. No other education can equip students with these many lenses.

From your point of view - ROI. No a MBA from NYU and a job in Asia in a non consulting/finance/oil & gas/PE role won't be a good decision.

Unless NYU provides you with tons of scholarship, or your company decides to pay you 5 times the salary prevalent in that location.

Understand that you can't have it both ways. you'll have to relax the assumption of "great" for your MBA. NYU is great because as conventional wisdom dictates. Driven people > higher GMAT, professional achievement. Driven people > Great jobs. Great jobs > higher salary.

If it's education that you want - a 2nd tier or a state university would provide you with a similar experience without burning a hole in your pocket. However, in that case, you definition of Great MBA should be Great Education! So a Penn State is as great as NYU.

Hope it helps.
Ayon
@Molly

Apologies for speaking out of turn. In my opinion you are using an incorrect parameter to define "Best education" and hence targeting top schools. For the general population the best education translates into top school since the assumption is that a Top tier school would provide you a better education than let's say a 2nd tier school. Average Salary is perceived statistics that's used to justify the outcome of a better education.

In Top schools - as in other schools - the best salary goes to Consulting / Finance roles. The Salary factor is dependent more upon the role and location and less upon a school brand name.
To illustrate, I am working in a Consulting firm specializing in Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT). Most of the employees are recruited from MIT and some from Dartmouth. They are paid $xx,xxx for Senior Analyst role (usually for undergrads), $1xx,xxx for Consultant level (for MBA) roles. Now, we would believe that the 6 figure Consultant level salary is a byproduct of the result of getting MBA from MIT or Tuck. However, that's not the case. I did my MBA from College of William and Mary (W&M) it appears in FT rankings once in 4 year and 70 something pretty much elsewhere for the MBA program.

However, I also got the $xxx,xxx salary for Consultant role. My colleague did a joint degree MBA-MS from Boston University he also got the same $xxx,xxx salary for Consultant role. The difference between a MIT, and a W&M MBA is the more on the student side less on the education - in strict sense of teaching delivered by professors.

Majority of students at MIT are more driven than majority of students at W&M. (W&M still have 20-25% of amazingly driven people). Those 20-2% of driven people usually bag Consulting / Finance roles and earn in 6 figures. But not all, we had one student go to Nepal to work for a solar power startup. Salary was decided by the location, and the role - $yy,yyy- less than what an undergrad makes in US. Of course. It wouldn't have mattered if that student was from MIT or NYU, that company simply did not had the money to pay someone say $60,000 which would have been equivalent to 2 years of inventory.

The drive that I spoke of above, is usually perceived to be reflected by various carrier and academic accomplishments. GMAT plays a big role here - in most cases. I took the GMAT 4 times over a span of 3 years. my scores were 600,610,630,630. Every admission director (and director of GMAC) I talked with tried to convince me that there is a correlation between GMAT score and academic performance during the program.

People still assume that there is a further correlation between academic success during a Master's and post graduate salary. But here I was with a flawed GMAT score, coming from an over-represented community (Indian Engineering Male), yet I got a 3.7 GPA and a $xxx,xxx salary.

So am I an outlier? or an exception to the rule? High GMAT score > High GPA > High Salary? Maybe - Maybe not. It really comes down to what you and I accept to be a conventional wisdom, and when-where-and-how we choose to challenge it.

I challenged at the GMAT level. One of my friend is frustrated with a GMAT score of 720 since he is not able to get into NYU, UNC etc. and he absolutely believes that he cannot reach success (they way he defines it Higher salary), by attending 2nd tier schools.

My colleague who works in Nepal is absolutely thrilled by her experience there. That's what she wanted to do. As per her definition of success she is right there.

We might keep on talking about ROI, GMAT etc. But all of the students agree that MBA provides a much needed set of lenses (Financial - ROI, Macroeconomic, Marketing - break even, Supply Chain - inventory, Operational - Lean) to look at a particular situation. No other education can equip students with these many lenses.

From your point of view - ROI. No a MBA from NYU and a job in Asia in a non consulting/finance/oil & gas/PE role won't be a good decision.

Unless NYU provides you with tons of scholarship, or your company decides to pay you 5 times the salary prevalent in that location.

Understand that you can't have it both ways. you'll have to relax the assumption of "great" for your MBA. NYU is great because as conventional wisdom dictates. Driven people > higher GMAT, professional achievement. Driven people > Great jobs. Great jobs > higher salary.

If it's education that you want - a 2nd tier or a state university would provide you with a similar experience without burning a hole in your pocket. However, in that case, you definition of Great MBA should be Great Education! So a Penn State is as great as NYU.

Hope it helps.
Ayon

quote
exxoXYZ9
It looks perfectly designed for your goals. A very good friend did his masters there and was delighted. Very supportive. Great classmates.

This is good to hear, thanks!
[quote]It looks perfectly designed for your goals. A very good friend did his masters there and was delighted. Very supportive. Great classmates. [/quote]
This is good to hear, thanks!
quote
Logan
Well, the average salary you mentioned for NYU grads seems to be related to people going into finance of consulting. That's why I am not sure that I will be able to get the same salary range, hence my question about investing so much money for an MBA from which I would probably get a very small ROI - given my career goals. I completely understand it's worth getting the best education you can but I don't want to get a huge debt out of it...

You're right, to some degree. The higher average salaries of the top schools are certainly driven up by the consultants and the financial professionals, and those with your career goals may make the average, or even less than the average. It depends on a whole range of factors, including the firm you go into, the role, and sometimes just pure luck.

I mostly agree with Ayon's well thought out response above. From a statistical viewpoint, though, Ayon is an exception. Very few W&M grads will make the same money as NYU grads; if they did, W&M would be ranked much higher. But he is right in that conventional wisdom isn't always the actual "truth" as far as these things can be predicted. Certainly, going to NYU would give you better chances of getting higher salaries over the long-term, but as we all know these things differ by all sorts of other variables.

If I were you I would examine (through LinkedIn or some other data-rich tool) all the execs, managers, etc. working in the companies you are interested in, and see where they did their MBAs. It might turn out that while a big name school might seem to be a good option, there are many others which would actually be better.
[quote]Well, the average salary you mentioned for NYU grads seems to be related to people going into finance of consulting. That's why I am not sure that I will be able to get the same salary range, hence my question about investing so much money for an MBA from which I would probably get a very small ROI - given my career goals. I completely understand it's worth getting the best education you can but I don't want to get a huge debt out of it...[/quote]
You're right, to some degree. The higher average salaries of the top schools are certainly driven up by the consultants and the financial professionals, and those with your career goals may make the average, or even less than the average. It depends on a whole range of factors, including the firm you go into, the role, and sometimes just pure luck.

I mostly agree with Ayon's well thought out response above. From a statistical viewpoint, though, Ayon is an exception. Very few W&M grads will make the same money as NYU grads; if they did, W&M would be ranked much higher. But he is right in that conventional wisdom isn't always the actual "truth" as far as these things can be predicted. Certainly, going to NYU would give you better chances of getting higher salaries over the long-term, but as we all know these things differ by all sorts of other variables.

If I were you I would examine (through LinkedIn or some other data-rich tool) all the execs, managers, etc. working in the companies you are interested in, and see where they did their MBAs. It might turn out that while a big name school might seem to be a good option, there are many others which would actually be better.
quote
Molly
@ Ayon
@ Logan

Thanks for the input; it really gave me a lot to think about.

To make things clearer, I've thought about doing my MBA in a top tier school not only to get the 'best education' possible but also to make sure that my future employer will know the brand name. Indeed, I intend to keep on working in diverse foreign countries - not only in Asia - during my whole career, and I consider a good MBA a master key that will open the doors of companies throughout the world. I speak many languages but it seems that it is not sufficient anymore to allow me to find a nice job abroad, hence the importance of choosing wisely my MBA...

I mentioned NYU because I really like their program, their approach, and I'd love having the opportunity to spend a couple of years in NY - I don't care if I am not allowed to stay in the US longer than one year after the end of studies since I want to continue travelling in other continents. I think that a name like "NYU" (or Oxbridge, INSEAD, etc.) will certainly ring a bell for all employers of all countries - more than Penn State - and therefore open doors that are closed to me at the moment.

But would 2nd or 3rd tier school do the same? I am not so sure. As Logan mentioned it: Ayon is probably an exception...

This is my whole dilemma: 1/ pay a lot for the MBA; gain the great liberty to be able to work almost everywhere I want; but with the "sacrifice" of repaying a huge debt for over 10 years given the medium salary I expect to get, or 2/ pay less for the MBA; cross fingers that potential employers know the school or trust an unknown MBA, less daily financial concern.

Examining LinkedIn months after months helped me decide that I should go for the brand name. I just hope that I will not regret this choice for the next ten years - in your thirties, it's not fun anymore to eat plain pasta everyday...
@ Ayon
@ Logan

Thanks for the input; it really gave me a lot to think about.

To make things clearer, I've thought about doing my MBA in a top tier school not only to get the 'best education' possible but also to make sure that my future employer will know the brand name. Indeed, I intend to keep on working in diverse foreign countries - not only in Asia - during my whole career, and I consider a good MBA a master key that will open the doors of companies throughout the world. I speak many languages but it seems that it is not sufficient anymore to allow me to find a nice job abroad, hence the importance of choosing wisely my MBA...

I mentioned NYU because I really like their program, their approach, and I'd love having the opportunity to spend a couple of years in NY - I don't care if I am not allowed to stay in the US longer than one year after the end of studies since I want to continue travelling in other continents. I think that a name like "NYU" (or Oxbridge, INSEAD, etc.) will certainly ring a bell for all employers of all countries - more than Penn State - and therefore open doors that are closed to me at the moment.

But would 2nd or 3rd tier school do the same? I am not so sure. As Logan mentioned it: Ayon is probably an exception...

This is my whole dilemma: 1/ pay a lot for the MBA; gain the great liberty to be able to work almost everywhere I want; but with the "sacrifice" of repaying a huge debt for over 10 years given the medium salary I expect to get, or 2/ pay less for the MBA; cross fingers that potential employers know the school or trust an unknown MBA, less daily financial concern.

Examining LinkedIn months after months helped me decide that I should go for the brand name. I just hope that I will not regret this choice for the next ten years - in your thirties, it's not fun anymore to eat plain pasta everyday...
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