Warwick Executive MBA (London) and questions about changing careers


Hello,

I am 29 years old and from a non-traditional background based in the UK looking at pursuing an MBA. I have a law degree and have practised as a lawyer in London in a relatively niche area for four years (with two years prior to that being a trainee, so six years' experience in total) with increased seniority / responsibility.

I got to a stage about a year ago where I realised how pigeon holed I have been (it happens in this sector) and also how unhappy I am professionally. Also, after spending time on a client secondment, I yearned to move into a more commercial / strategic role and to be very frank, I have truly hated the practise of law since I got into the profession and concluded that I need to move out of the industry before it is too late. I worked with a coach to identify my skills sets and what I wanted to achieve and what skills and experience I felt I wanted to build.

Where I landed was that I think I see myself working in consulting or general management in particular sectors in the future, but I want to learn fundamentals of business and management, finance, leadership and organisational change in order to make that transition. I felt doing a business related masters or MBA would be the best option to allow me to:

- Pick up broader skills in finance, marketing, strategy
- Take on a more strategic / bigger picture role in a business
- Have more options in terms of mobility / flexibility in terms of work location (I am very stuck at the moment because of the jurisdiction specific nature of the work)
- generally have more options career wise.

Unfortunately, at the stage I am at, no programmes which are reputable in London would consider me for a MiM as I have too much on paper experience, even though my experience is legal rather than directly business related. Clearly my age would cause issues with their course to job stats post-graduation. It's frustrating as there are top schools like LSE / Imperial I could theoretically have gotten into had I applied directly after my undergraduate degree eight years ago.

Anyway, I have looked into Warwick's Executive MBA programme in London and it appeals to me in the sense that I think Warwick is a good brand, it is more affordable than London Business School (there's no way I can take almost two years off at those fees) and I can try to fit it around my day job IF I can get my employer on board with giving me some flexibility in my work schedule which I am going to try to negotiate. I sent some provisional emails to them through their CV-check function to see if I'd be able to apply, and they suggested I should which has given me some hope.

However, I wanted to understand:

- Are my goals realistic given I am from a non-traditional background?
- Would business schools accept someone with my background?
- What is the reputation of Warwick's EMBA London MBA? Could this course, upon completion, help me transition out of the law into something a bit broader and more commercial such as consulting?

Thanks,

PH
Hello,

I am 29 years old and from a non-traditional background based in the UK looking at pursuing an MBA. I have a law degree and have practised as a lawyer in London in a relatively niche area for four years (with two years prior to that being a trainee, so six years' experience in total) with increased seniority / responsibility.

I got to a stage about a year ago where I realised how pigeon holed I have been (it happens in this sector) and also how unhappy I am professionally. Also, after spending time on a client secondment, I yearned to move into a more commercial / strategic role and to be very frank, I have truly hated the practise of law since I got into the profession and concluded that I need to move out of the industry before it is too late. I worked with a coach to identify my skills sets and what I wanted to achieve and what skills and experience I felt I wanted to build.

Where I landed was that I think I see myself working in consulting or general management in particular sectors in the future, but I want to learn fundamentals of business and management, finance, leadership and organisational change in order to make that transition. I felt doing a business related masters or MBA would be the best option to allow me to:

- Pick up broader skills in finance, marketing, strategy
- Take on a more strategic / bigger picture role in a business
- Have more options in terms of mobility / flexibility in terms of work location (I am very stuck at the moment because of the jurisdiction specific nature of the work)
- generally have more options career wise.

Unfortunately, at the stage I am at, no programmes which are reputable in London would consider me for a MiM as I have too much on paper experience, even though my experience is legal rather than directly business related. Clearly my age would cause issues with their course to job stats post-graduation. It's frustrating as there are top schools like LSE / Imperial I could theoretically have gotten into had I applied directly after my undergraduate degree eight years ago.

Anyway, I have looked into Warwick's Executive MBA programme in London and it appeals to me in the sense that I think Warwick is a good brand, it is more affordable than London Business School (there's no way I can take almost two years off at those fees) and I can try to fit it around my day job IF I can get my employer on board with giving me some flexibility in my work schedule which I am going to try to negotiate. I sent some provisional emails to them through their CV-check function to see if I'd be able to apply, and they suggested I should which has given me some hope.

However, I wanted to understand:

- Are my goals realistic given I am from a non-traditional background?
- Would business schools accept someone with my background?
- What is the reputation of Warwick's EMBA London MBA? Could this course, upon completion, help me transition out of the law into something a bit broader and more commercial such as consulting?

Thanks,

PH
quote
Judging by the details you provided (lawyer who is ambitious and keeps getting promoted), you look like an ideal candidate for Management Consulting firms. They would love someone with your profile. In fact, Consulting firms always look for lawyers and not necessarily to handle law-related duties. The skills/.training you receive as a lawyer are easily transferrable to that industry with or without an MBA.

I know it would be an unpopular opinion in this board (with many MBA consultants promoting the advantage of the degree), but in your case I don't even think you need an MBA to get into strategy consulting. Consulting firms hire experienced professionals that have alternative degrees (PhD, Law degree). They will supply you the training you need to succeed in that role. You have the "raw intellectual firepower" they will value. Unlike fields like Investments, strategy consultants are generalists - it is more important that you have the complex thinking and negotiation skills required to succeed in that role. If you really need an MBA for knowledge, then you can always do a distance learning course which will be much cheaper than an executive MBA.

It would be different if you somehow wanted to get into Investment Banking or Asset Management. For those careers, you might be better off getting a full-time MBA to fully transition to the role through an internship. But management/strategy consulting is so similar to law practices, you will be surprised how well you will fit in. You can google "transition from lawyer to consulting" and there are literally hundreds of articles on how to do the transition without an MBA.

[Edited by smartcanada on Jan 05, 2020]

Judging by the details you provided (lawyer who is ambitious and keeps getting promoted), you look like an ideal candidate for Management Consulting firms. They would love someone with your profile. In fact, Consulting firms always look for lawyers and not necessarily to handle law-related duties. The skills/.training you receive as a lawyer are easily transferrable to that industry with or without an MBA.

I know it would be an unpopular opinion in this board (with many MBA consultants promoting the advantage of the degree), but in your case I don't even think you need an MBA to get into strategy consulting. Consulting firms hire experienced professionals that have alternative degrees (PhD, Law degree). They will supply you the training you need to succeed in that role. You have the "raw intellectual firepower" they will value. Unlike fields like Investments, strategy consultants are generalists - it is more important that you have the complex thinking and negotiation skills required to succeed in that role. If you really need an MBA for knowledge, then you can always do a distance learning course which will be much cheaper than an executive MBA.

It would be different if you somehow wanted to get into Investment Banking or Asset Management. For those careers, you might be better off getting a full-time MBA to fully transition to the role through an internship. But management/strategy consulting is so similar to law practices, you will be surprised how well you will fit in. You can google "transition from lawyer to consulting" and there are literally hundreds of articles on how to do the transition without an MBA.
quote
Duncan
SmartCanada might be over estimating the practical value of this person's experience. Lawyers have big differences in their work.

The LBS or Cass Executive MBAs will be a better target for this poster. The return is much higher. They would not need to leave their job to take most EMBAs.
SmartCanada might be over estimating the practical value of this person's experience. Lawyers have big differences in their work.

The LBS or Cass Executive MBAs will be a better target for this poster. The return is much higher. They would not need to leave their job to take most EMBAs.
quote
SmartCanada might be over estimating the practical value of this person's experience. Lawyers have big differences in their work.

The LBS or Cass Executive MBAs will be a better target for this poster. The return is much higher. They would not need to leave their job to take most EMBAs.


Hi Duncan,

Thanks for your response - I know you post a lot on this forum so value your input.

The cost of LBS does put me off but is obviously the best. I have a mortgage and would be really reluctant to take on more debt by way of Future Finance / Prodigy loans.

I'm just not sure which school would be best for my profile i.e. lawyer, trained at a top firm, Russell Group law degree, practise a non-corporate / banking area of law. I have a feeling LBS is mainly finance / consultant types. Would this be LBS and Cass, rather than Imperial / Warwick?

Do you rate both the EMBA and full-time MBA programmes at Cass and if so, do you rate them higher than Warwick's EMBA in London? Would a Cass MBA allow me to transition into management consulting with my professional experience?

There are also a few general questions I have about the application process (if I may):

1. Would my legal experience count as experience the schools require as professional experience?

2. Do I have sufficient time to prepare for and sit the GMAT for a September 2020 course start? This would be relevant for full-time MBA programmes requiring a GMAT (i.e. full-time LBS, Cass and Imperial). Or is it a bit too late given prep time? I know some allow you to submit applications and sit GMAT later as long as you confirm you've booked your test date.

3. What is the best way of preparing for the GMAT?

4. My main question that I don't seem to be able to answer - how do I go about getting references for for full-time programmes (one of which most schools will ask for a current employer to provide) without tipping off current employer that I'm thinking of leaving later in the year to do an MBA? I am not going to be asking for any financial support, so is it just a frank conversation as to these are my professional goals, this is what I am applying for, please can you help me with references? Obviously, for part-time programmes, it's a bit easier as you wouldn't be saying you're leaving. But then I may apply for part-time programmes and full-time - so it it just a case of being strategic and using different referees?

Thanks very much - I really appreciate it. I've made a decision that this is what I want to do from September 2020, it's just a case of cracking on with it and the hardest part I think is discussing this with my employer as I think they would be quite surprised by it - not many lawyers seem to do this from my research as a means of pivoting, unless I'm wrong which could be likely!
[quote]SmartCanada might be over estimating the practical value of this person's experience. Lawyers have big differences in their work.

The LBS or Cass Executive MBAs will be a better target for this poster. The return is much higher. They would not need to leave their job to take most EMBAs. [/quote]

Hi Duncan,

Thanks for your response - I know you post a lot on this forum so value your input.

The cost of LBS does put me off but is obviously the best. I have a mortgage and would be really reluctant to take on more debt by way of Future Finance / Prodigy loans.

I'm just not sure which school would be best for my profile i.e. lawyer, trained at a top firm, Russell Group law degree, practise a non-corporate / banking area of law. I have a feeling LBS is mainly finance / consultant types. Would this be LBS and Cass, rather than Imperial / Warwick?

Do you rate both the EMBA and full-time MBA programmes at Cass and if so, do you rate them higher than Warwick's EMBA in London? Would a Cass MBA allow me to transition into management consulting with my professional experience?

There are also a few general questions I have about the application process (if I may):

1. Would my legal experience count as experience the schools require as professional experience?

2. Do I have sufficient time to prepare for and sit the GMAT for a September 2020 course start? This would be relevant for full-time MBA programmes requiring a GMAT (i.e. full-time LBS, Cass and Imperial). Or is it a bit too late given prep time? I know some allow you to submit applications and sit GMAT later as long as you confirm you've booked your test date.

3. What is the best way of preparing for the GMAT?

4. My main question that I don't seem to be able to answer - how do I go about getting references for for full-time programmes (one of which most schools will ask for a current employer to provide) without tipping off current employer that I'm thinking of leaving later in the year to do an MBA? I am not going to be asking for any financial support, so is it just a frank conversation as to these are my professional goals, this is what I am applying for, please can you help me with references? Obviously, for part-time programmes, it's a bit easier as you wouldn't be saying you're leaving. But then I may apply for part-time programmes and full-time - so it it just a case of being strategic and using different referees?

Thanks very much - I really appreciate it. I've made a decision that this is what I want to do from September 2020, it's just a case of cracking on with it and the hardest part I think is discussing this with my employer as I think they would be quite surprised by it - not many lawyers seem to do this from my research as a means of pivoting, unless I'm wrong which could be likely!
quote
Judging by the details you provided (lawyer who is ambitious and keeps getting promoted), you look like an ideal candidate for Management Consulting firms. They would love someone with your profile. In fact, Consulting firms always look for lawyers and not necessarily to handle law-related duties. The skills/.training you receive as a lawyer are easily transferrable to that industry with or without an MBA.

I know it would be an unpopular opinion in this board (with many MBA consultants promoting the advantage of the degree), but in your case I don't even think you need an MBA to get into strategy consulting. Consulting firms hire experienced professionals that have alternative degrees (PhD, Law degree). They will supply you the training you need to succeed in that role. You have the "raw intellectual firepower" they will value. Unlike fields like Investments, strategy consultants are generalists - it is more important that you have the complex thinking and negotiation skills required to succeed in that role. If you really need an MBA for knowledge, then you can always do a distance learning course which will be much cheaper than an executive MBA.

It would be different if you somehow wanted to get into Investment Banking or Asset Management. For those careers, you might be better off getting a full-time MBA to fully transition to the role through an internship. But management/strategy consulting is so similar to law practices, you will be surprised how well you will fit in. You can google "transition from lawyer to consulting" and there are literally hundreds of articles on how to do the transition without an MBA.


Thank you very much for this contribution - may I ask whether you would suggest I simply apply for management consulting firms in the UK? I looked at the profiles of many at the big 3 and it's mainly Oxbridge - I only went to a Russell Group and only have an undergraduate law degree rather than any specialist degree. Not sure of the particular firms I could look at and I'd be hesitant about going into an 'analyst' role - I'd rather try and get an MBA and go in slightly more senior.

Thanks
[quote]Judging by the details you provided (lawyer who is ambitious and keeps getting promoted), you look like an ideal candidate for Management Consulting firms. They would love someone with your profile. In fact, Consulting firms always look for lawyers and not necessarily to handle law-related duties. The skills/.training you receive as a lawyer are easily transferrable to that industry with or without an MBA.

I know it would be an unpopular opinion in this board (with many MBA consultants promoting the advantage of the degree), but in your case I don't even think you need an MBA to get into strategy consulting. Consulting firms hire experienced professionals that have alternative degrees (PhD, Law degree). They will supply you the training you need to succeed in that role. You have the "raw intellectual firepower" they will value. Unlike fields like Investments, strategy consultants are generalists - it is more important that you have the complex thinking and negotiation skills required to succeed in that role. If you really need an MBA for knowledge, then you can always do a distance learning course which will be much cheaper than an executive MBA.

It would be different if you somehow wanted to get into Investment Banking or Asset Management. For those careers, you might be better off getting a full-time MBA to fully transition to the role through an internship. But management/strategy consulting is so similar to law practices, you will be surprised how well you will fit in. You can google "transition from lawyer to consulting" and there are literally hundreds of articles on how to do the transition without an MBA. [/quote]

Thank you very much for this contribution - may I ask whether you would suggest I simply apply for management consulting firms in the UK? I looked at the profiles of many at the big 3 and it's mainly Oxbridge - I only went to a Russell Group and only have an undergraduate law degree rather than any specialist degree. Not sure of the particular firms I could look at and I'd be hesitant about going into an 'analyst' role - I'd rather try and get an MBA and go in slightly more senior.

Thanks
quote
Duncan
Your legal experience counts with schools but won't be as highly valuable to employers. That's why an MBA will help. Assuming you are around London then an EMBA is a smart choice, unless your family life rules that out. Cass is much better than Warwick in Londo. Because you have a better designed course and the resources of the whole school. The FT rankings are useful.

Lower GMAT scores work for the EMBA. At LBS you have a floor of 600 rather than 700 for the FT MBA. Search this board for GMAT resources.
Your legal experience counts with schools but won't be as highly valuable to employers. That's why an MBA will help. Assuming you are around London then an EMBA is a smart choice, unless your family life rules that out. Cass is much better than Warwick in Londo. Because you have a better designed course and the resources of the whole school. The FT rankings are useful.

Lower GMAT scores work for the EMBA. At LBS you have a floor of 600 rather than 700 for the FT MBA. Search this board for GMAT resources.
quote
Your legal experience counts with schools but won't be as highly valuable to employers. That's why an MBA will help. Assuming you are around London then an EMBA is a smart choice, unless your family life rules that out. Cass is much better than Warwick in Londo. Because you have a better designed course and the resources of the whole school. The FT rankings are useful.

Lower GMAT scores work for the EMBA. At LBS you have a floor of 600 rather than 700 for the FT MBA. Search this board for GMAT resources.


Hi Duncan

Many thanks for your response.

Warwick seems to be higher rated than Cass in almost all of the rankings on the FT: http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/rankings

Unless I am missing something and Warwick’s Executive MBA at the Shard is considered a separate school from Warwick’s actual campus in Warwick and consequently is not ranked?

Thanks
[quote]Your legal experience counts with schools but won't be as highly valuable to employers. That's why an MBA will help. Assuming you are around London then an EMBA is a smart choice, unless your family life rules that out. Cass is much better than Warwick in Londo. Because you have a better designed course and the resources of the whole school. The FT rankings are useful.

Lower GMAT scores work for the EMBA. At LBS you have a floor of 600 rather than 700 for the FT MBA. Search this board for GMAT resources. [/quote]

Hi Duncan

Many thanks for your response.

Warwick seems to be higher rated than Cass in almost all of the rankings on the FT: http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/rankings

Unless I am missing something and Warwick’s Executive MBA at the Shard is considered a separate school from Warwick’s actual campus in Warwick and consequently is not ranked?

Thanks
quote
Duncan
Look at http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/executive-mba-ranking-2019 and compare the salaries
Look at http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/executive-mba-ranking-2019 and compare the salaries
quote

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