Hint on career move: EMBA? Online MBA? Alternatives?


Dear community,

I need a hint on my next career move:
29yo engineer, pretty smart, always first of the class.
Working in Switzerland. 5y work experience after MSc (always managing people). Not fluent in local language (yet).
Dream job at a prestigious international organization. Very good work-life balance. Net salary savings after all living expenses 6k+€/month.
I’m losing interest in Engineering, getting more and more passionate about business. In my spare time I study a lot of that, but nothing related appears on my CV.
Career progression in my organization is possible, but salary increase is very slow and ceiling is close. I manage several projects and people, but I’m on the technical side.
I’m thinking of taking an MBA, but the opportunity cost is too high to leave my job, which I actually like.
More details here: https://www.reddit.com/r/careerguidance/comments/ief07j/does_an_online_mba_make_sense_any_better/

My goals:
- To keep learning about management and business, having something prestigious on my CV to prove it. (My CV is a TOP one in my field, I wouldn’t like to “dilute it” with some low-level school).
- To have the option of leaving my job anytime if I find a more interesting one, with better salary and growth perspectives.
- To build a safety net for when I may be forced to leave my organization (could be in 6 years from now)
In this respect, an MBA would open many more job opportunities, both in a couple of years and in 6 years from now. On top of this, I would actually profit from the experience also in my daily managerial job.

Options:
- WBS MBA by distance learning (although 1st in the online MBA ranking, WBS is 43rd in the FT ranking…anything better that I could do without leaving my job?)
- EMBA (is there any top program where 5y work experience is enough? Maybe ESCP? What if I wait 1 more year? Does an EMBA make sense for me?)
- Any other suggestion? I just started looking and I would really appreciate some guidance

Thank you very much

Dear community,

I need a hint on my next career move:
29yo engineer, pretty smart, always first of the class.
Working in Switzerland. 5y work experience after MSc (always managing people). Not fluent in local language (yet).
Dream job at a prestigious international organization. Very good work-life balance. Net salary savings after all living expenses 6k+€/month.
I’m losing interest in Engineering, getting more and more passionate about business. In my spare time I study a lot of that, but nothing related appears on my CV.
Career progression in my organization is possible, but salary increase is very slow and ceiling is close. I manage several projects and people, but I’m on the technical side.
I’m thinking of taking an MBA, but the opportunity cost is too high to leave my job, which I actually like.
More details here: https://www.reddit.com/r/careerguidance/comments/ief07j/does_an_online_mba_make_sense_any_better/

My goals:
- To keep learning about management and business, having something prestigious on my CV to prove it. (My CV is a TOP one in my field, I wouldn’t like to “dilute it” with some low-level school).
- To have the option of leaving my job anytime if I find a more interesting one, with better salary and growth perspectives.
- To build a safety net for when I may be forced to leave my organization (could be in 6 years from now)
In this respect, an MBA would open many more job opportunities, both in a couple of years and in 6 years from now. On top of this, I would actually profit from the experience also in my daily managerial job.

Options:
- WBS MBA by distance learning (although 1st in the online MBA ranking, WBS is 43rd in the FT ranking…anything better that I could do without leaving my job?)
- EMBA (is there any top program where 5y work experience is enough? Maybe ESCP? What if I wait 1 more year? Does an EMBA make sense for me?)
- Any other suggestion? I just started looking and I would really appreciate some guidance

Thank you very much
quote
Duncan

Do you have any specific goals, such as an industry, role or country focus? That would help you to see where the path is easiest. Warwick DL and ESCP EMBA serve totally different markets. 

Do you have any specific goals, such as an industry, role or country focus? That would help you to see where the path is easiest. Warwick DL and ESCP EMBA serve totally different markets. 
quote

In terms of country, ideally, I'd like to stay in Switzerland/Italy and neighboring countries. But I wouldn't exclude any European country a priori (in fact my partner is finishing a Masters' in London, so that may also end up being an option).

All the rest is difficult to say:
In terms of role, Today I'm a cross between project engineer/system engineer/project manager. Essentially, I solve problems of various kinds and optimize processes, and I like to do so.
I can speculate that I would enjoy working or a few years in an MBB consulting firm. Maybe one day ending up COO of a nice company developing innovative products/services. But this is pure fantasy for now.

In terms of industry, up to now, I've mainly worked for no-profit organizations, research institutions, and manufacturing companies. The industry is not particularly relevant for me, as long as I'm well paid to have fun working with them.

An observation:
I realize that it is important to answer those questions, and I also realize that my answers are rather vague, but honestly, I think that all this will radically change after an experience like an MBA/EMBA.

Essentially, I see this experience as an opportunity to buy call options for a different future, that I may or may not exercise, according to many variables that I will evaluate subjectively on the fly. I'm still rather young and in the face of uncertainty, I would like to keep open as many doors as possible.

While those are my thoughts of today, I realize that there may not be a perfect program for my profile and that some compromise will have to be done.

(I'm not in any way limited to the 2 programs I mentioned earlier, that was only a first idea. Also, let's not consider the cost of the program as a showstopper in our investigation).

In terms of country, ideally, I'd like to stay in Switzerland/Italy and neighboring countries. But I wouldn't exclude any European country a priori (in fact my partner is finishing a Masters' in London, so that may also end up being an option).<br><br>All the rest is difficult to say:<br>In terms of role, Today I'm a cross between project engineer/system engineer/project manager. Essentially, I solve problems of various kinds and optimize processes, and I like to do so.<br>I can speculate that I would enjoy working or a few years in an MBB consulting firm. Maybe one day ending up COO of a nice company developing innovative products/services. But this is pure fantasy for now.<br><br>In terms of industry, up to now, I've mainly worked for no-profit organizations, research institutions, and manufacturing companies. The industry is not particularly relevant for me, as long as I'm well paid to have fun working with them.<br><br>An observation:<br>I realize that it is important to answer those questions, and I also realize that my answers are rather vague, but honestly, I think that all this will radically change after an experience like an MBA/EMBA.<br><br>Essentially, I see this experience as an opportunity to buy call options for a different future, that I may or may not exercise, according to many variables that I will evaluate subjectively on the fly. I'm still rather young and in the face of uncertainty, I would like to keep open as many doors as possible.<br><br>While those are my thoughts of today, I realize that there may not be a perfect program for my profile and that some compromise will have to be done.<br><br>(I'm not in any way limited to the 2 programs I mentioned earlier, that was only a first idea. Also, let's not consider the cost of the program as a showstopper in our investigation).
quote
Duncan

You should take a top full-time MBA if you want to be able to make the sort of transition you describe. IMD and Bocconi are obvious choices. 

The analogy with options does not work. Different MBA are not convertible into one currency. The various schools and programs serve different labour markets.

You should take a top full-time MBA if you want to be able to make the sort of transition you describe. IMD and Bocconi are obvious choices.&nbsp;<br><br>The analogy with options does not work. Different MBA are not convertible into one currency. The various schools and programs serve different labour markets.
quote

Thank you very much for your answer, Duncan.

I see your point.

Indeed, I got promoted not long ago, and in case I didn’t get the job, my base plan was to aim at INSEAD full-time MBA (I’m in the French-speaking part of Switzerland).


Now I realize that I’m doing a well-paid job that I don’t mind, but I feel a bit sad because I feel I already arrived: I can already see my future if I stay in this position…and without the thrill of the unknown and continuous personal growth, it’s not fun anymore. I think I can do much more, but to get a more business-oriented job, either in my organization or elsewhere, a good qualification on the CV would be very helpful.


I need to keep learning, and I’m doing so in my free time, but I was hoping to continue my efforts within a degree that can later be useful on my CV.


On the other hand, I’m not ready to leave my job.

First, I’m in charge of a big project which still needs my guidance.

Second, it would be too risky for me. I struggle to justify it to myself.



So, with the constraint of not leaving my full-time job, what is left on the table? I'm afraid only sub-optimal solutions...


But I would nevertheless be very interested in your opinion on this matter



Many thanks

[Edited by memento_audere on Sep 07, 2020]

Thank you very much for your answer, Duncan.<br><br><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">I see your point.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">Indeed, I got promoted not long ago, and in case I didn’t get the job, my base plan was to aim at INSEAD full-time MBA (I’m in the French-speaking part of Switzerland).</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal"><o:p></o:p></p><br><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">Now I realize that I’m doing a well-paid job that I don’t mind, but I feel a bit sad because I feel I already arrived: I can already see my future if I stay in this position…and without the thrill of the unknown and continuous personal growth, it’s not fun anymore. I think I can do much more, but to get a more business-oriented job, either in my organization or elsewhere, a good qualification on the CV would be very helpful.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal"><o:p></o:p></p><br><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">I need to keep learning, and I’m doing so in my free time, but I was hoping to continue my efforts within a degree that can later be useful on my CV.</p><br><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">On the other hand, I’m not ready to leave my job.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">First, I’m in charge of a big project which still needs my guidance.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">Second, it would be too risky for me. I struggle to justify it to myself.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal"><br></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">So, with the constraint of not leaving my full-time job, what is left on the table? I'm afraid only sub-optimal solutions...</p><br><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">But I would nevertheless be very interested in your opinion on this matter<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal"><br></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;line-height:normal">Many thanks<o:p></o:p></p>
quote
Duncan

The project doesn't need you. The risk is lower with an top MBA than your current job. 

The project doesn't need you. The risk is lower with an top MBA than your current job.&nbsp;
quote

On the fact that the project doesn't need me, I agree with you.

On the fact that the risk is lower with a top MBA I'm not sure...it depends on the definition of risk...
What's the average salary straight after such MBA? How many years to recuperate from something like -250k€?

I was hoping in finding something "in between" the 2 extreme scenario of ALL or NOTHING. But I see that you are for the ALL-IN option.
I understand very well your thinking, but being directly involved makes it not an easy decision for me 1f605

On the fact that the project doesn't need me, I agree with you.<br><br>On the fact that the risk is lower with a top MBA I'm not sure...it depends on the definition of risk...<br>What's the average salary straight after such MBA? How many years to recuperate from something like -250k€?<br><br>I was hoping in finding something "in between" the 2 extreme scenario of ALL or NOTHING. But I see that you are for the ALL-IN option.<br>I understand very well your thinking, but being directly involved makes it not an easy decision for me&nbsp;:sweat-smile:
quote
Duncan

In your current job, you are tied to the outcomes of your employer and its clients. One asset: more risk. In a top MBA you are essentially guaranteed to find excellent work, and there's a 90% or so chance that would will find it by the end of the degree or very soon after. Most students double their salary over two or three years. 

If you are planning on working 25 years after your MBA, then you have a very positive return even if your opportunity cost is 250k. The Forbes ranking shows most people with top MBAs have a positive RoI in a few years. 

But, for example, isn't the idea of a better job and better life also worth the financial investment? 

And of course there is something in between: you can spend less. LBS is cheaper than Harvard. HEC is cheaper than LBS. Bocconi is cheaper than HEC. Manchester is cheaper than Bocconi. 

In your current job, you are tied to the outcomes of your employer and its clients. One asset: more risk. In a top MBA you are essentially guaranteed to find excellent work, and there's a 90% or so chance that would will find it by the end of the degree or very soon after. Most students double their salary over two or three years.&nbsp;<br><br>If you are planning on working 25 years after your MBA, then you have a very positive return even if your opportunity cost is 250k. The Forbes ranking shows most people with top MBAs have a positive RoI in a few years.&nbsp;<br><br>But, for example, isn't the idea of a better job and better life also worth the financial investment?&nbsp;<br><br>And of course there is something in between: you can spend less. LBS is cheaper than Harvard. HEC is cheaper than LBS. Bocconi is cheaper than HEC. Manchester is cheaper than Bocconi.&nbsp;
quote
mba hipste...

Yes, look at it in terms of ROI - average salaries you can find in the FT ranking - just do the calculation. 

Looking at some of the comments on that thread on Reddit, it's not really just about the name of the school on your CV - it's more that with a top school, especially at an in-class, full-time MBA, you have access to their career services which will help connect you with their recruiters. Not to mention the post-MBA support and alumni network. 

Yes, look at it in terms of ROI - average salaries you can find in the FT ranking - just do the calculation.&nbsp;<br><br>Looking at some of the comments on that thread on Reddit, it's not really just about the name of the school on your CV - it's more that with a top school, especially at an in-class, full-time MBA, you have access to their career services which will help connect you with their recruiters. Not to mention the post-MBA support and alumni network.&nbsp;
quote

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