Is an MBA right for me?


Hi,

Hoping for some advice, I'm 27 years old, w/o degree but have 5 years’ experience in product & proposition management/ownership/development in large global businesses. I'm accountable for multimillion £ UK categories and deliver various strategic products/projects. I have been leading on category performance, P&L and strategy/development for the last 3 years.

I have realised that my skills and passion are within strategy, consulting and management activities, but to take on more of these responsibilities, typically requires years of experience or relevant qualifications.

I'm keen move into consulting (Big 4 ideally) for c.5/6 years, with a view to potentially exit consultancy into a senior management position back in industry. I have worked very hard to get where I am today despite the lack of formal education, but acknowledge it may be necessary to progress further.

I’m hoping for some advice on the best route to achieve this considering my experience and education. Options I’ve found include the below, I’m hoping you can help me understand which of the below are feasible, and if there are any viable alternatives I have missed:
- MBA from a top UK business school
- MBA from second tier business school
- Chartered Management qualification
- Professional consulting qualification
- Senior Leadership training/FastTrack programme in a business
- Enter consulting at a more junior consulting level (backwards step)
- Enter consulting firm in a Product Owner role & transition after a couple of years
- Or something else/combination of the above

I’m also a little concerned about a couple of things which I’m hoping you can take into account/provide advice on:
- Unsure on MBA eligibility
- Significant loss of salary would be very difficult to manage
- c.£70k (London) / c.£65k (outside London) as a minimum (+/- 2k)

Thanks

Hi,

Hoping for some advice, I'm 27 years old, w/o degree but have 5 years’ experience in product & proposition management/ownership/development in large global businesses. I'm accountable for multimillion £ UK categories and deliver various strategic products/projects. I have been leading on category performance, P&L and strategy/development for the last 3 years.

I have realised that my skills and passion are within strategy, consulting and management activities, but to take on more of these responsibilities, typically requires years of experience or relevant qualifications.

I'm keen move into consulting (Big 4 ideally) for c.5/6 years, with a view to potentially exit consultancy into a senior management position back in industry. I have worked very hard to get where I am today despite the lack of formal education, but acknowledge it may be necessary to progress further.

I’m hoping for some advice on the best route to achieve this considering my experience and education. Options I’ve found include the below, I’m hoping you can help me understand which of the below are feasible, and if there are any viable alternatives I have missed:
- MBA from a top UK business school
- MBA from second tier business school
- Chartered Management qualification
- Professional consulting qualification
- Senior Leadership training/FastTrack programme in a business
- Enter consulting at a more junior consulting level (backwards step)
- Enter consulting firm in a Product Owner role & transition after a couple of years
- Or something else/combination of the above

I’m also a little concerned about a couple of things which I’m hoping you can take into account/provide advice on:
- Unsure on MBA eligibility
- Significant loss of salary would be very difficult to manage
- c.£70k (London) / c.£65k (outside London) as a minimum (+/- 2k)

Thanks
quote
Duncan

Any of these paths could work, and it would take a more detailed assessment of the gaps between what you can show now and what you need to show in that future role. If you were to use management education as the pathway, then the best investment would be the best business school for the firms you are targeting after action to get to a qualification needed to enter. 

I would look now at level 5/6/7 NVQ qualifications, which are at degree level and might be acceptable to schools. Sadly the OU Professional Certificate in Management is being withdrawn, which was a good fit fr your needs. Perhaps check with schools about degree equivalent qualifications they have accepted recently. The ILM Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership is a common option for people wanting to show the ability to study at the postgraduate level. 

Any of these paths could work, and it would take a more detailed assessment of the gaps between what you can show now and what you need to show in that future role. If you were to use management education as the pathway, then the best investment would be the best business school for the firms you are targeting after action to get to a qualification needed to enter.&nbsp;<br><br>I would look now at level 5/6/7 NVQ qualifications, which are at degree level and might be acceptable to schools. Sadly the OU Professional Certificate in Management is being withdrawn, which was a good fit fr your needs. Perhaps check with schools about degree equivalent qualifications they have accepted recently. The ILM Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership is a common option for people wanting to show the ability to study at the postgraduate level.&nbsp;
quote

Thanks Duncan, really useful information! 1f44d


If further education (level 7) followed by an MBA makes the most sense, I'm more than happy to take that route, but I am conscious of the amount of additional time that would add to my journey. 
Are you aware of any less education/qualification intensive options to make the transition to MC which I have missed?

And also is it likely that I could make the transition directly, based on industry experience, into a management consultancy within the next year, without any reduction in salary, or is it more likely that I'd have to take a significant salary drop taking this route?
Thanks1f642

Thanks Duncan, really useful information!&nbsp;:thumbsup:<br><br>
If further education (level 7) followed by an MBA makes the most sense, I'm more than happy to take that route, but I am conscious of the amount of additional time that would add to my journey.&nbsp;<div>
</div><div>Are you aware of any less education/qualification intensive options to make the transition to MC which I have missed?<br><br><div>And also is it likely that I could make the transition directly, based on industry experience, into a management consultancy within the next year, without any reduction in salary, or is it more likely that I'd have to take a significant salary drop taking this route?</div><div><br>Thanks</div><div>:slightly-smiling-face:<br></div></div>
quote
StuartHE

I think the point here is that any of these routes could work and, perhaps, you might even be hired by a consultancy now. The question is really about which sort of consultancy you want to work for and how senior a role you want. If you are aiming at the very top, you will need to make a substantial investment. 

The salary question is tricky: maybe you have the skills now to hit the ground running at a higher level, in which case you probably won't need to take a hit in salary. But perhaps you will need to take a discount.... and that seems fair if you are saving the opportunity cost of s MBA at LBS or Oxbridge. 

The desired 8% salary premium for London sounds odd. London costs 50% more than the regional hubs, so 50k in Birmingham is more than 70k in London!

I think the point here is that any of these routes could work and, perhaps, you might even be hired by a consultancy now. The question is really about which sort of consultancy you want to work for and how senior a role you want. If you are aiming at the very top, you will need to make a substantial investment.&nbsp;<br><br>The salary question is tricky: maybe you have the skills now to hit the ground running at a higher level, in which case you probably won't need to take a hit in salary. But perhaps you will need to take a discount.... and that seems fair if you are saving the opportunity cost of s MBA at LBS or Oxbridge.&nbsp;<br><br>The desired 8% salary premium for London sounds odd. London costs 50% more than the regional hubs, so 50k in Birmingham is more than 70k in London!
quote

Thanks Stuart,

Totally understand opportunity cost of not choosing an MBA, it almost certainly hinders employment & salary, at least in the short term, if not permanently.

Regarding salary, I live within commuting distance of London with a number of local firms and regional satellite offices nearby so my choice is local vs London, rather than the presumably typical London vs other major hub (Birmingham/Manchester etc).

Therefore cost of living will not change, only factor is additional travel / slight increase in daily expenditure, hence the modest increase. 

I appreciate your response, makes sense to focus a little more on some of the boutique consultancies to understand which, if any, might be suitable big 4 alternatives..

Thanks Stuart,<br><br>Totally understand opportunity cost of not choosing an MBA, it almost certainly hinders employment &amp; salary, at least in the short term, if not permanently.<br><br>Regarding salary, I live within commuting distance of London with a number of local firms and regional satellite offices nearby so my choice is local vs London, rather than the presumably typical London vs other major hub (Birmingham/Manchester etc).<br><div><br></div><div>Therefore cost of living will not change, only factor is additional travel / slight increase in daily expenditure, hence the modest increase.&nbsp;<br><br>I appreciate your response, makes sense to focus a little more on some of the boutique consultancies to understand which, if any, might be suitable big 4 alternatives..</div>
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