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Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-13-2006, 11:59 PM   #1
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Offered a "free" MBA

I put applications to some MBA programs and the first decision just came back...a well-known private university in Texas offered me full tuition for 2 years. It's a decent program but is second-tier, not a top 20, and not much of a national reputation outside of the south. On the other hand, being able to graduate without any debt is attractive, and I'm not interested in the types of super-high-comp jobs (think I-banking and mgt. consulting) that traditionally recruit from the Ivies.

Worth considering?
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-14-2006, 06:54 AM   #2
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

I guess you have to ask yourself what your ultimate aim is and whether a free ride at this school would be a help or a hindrance in getting there. If you take the "free" ride, you will still be out two years worth of earnings, so you had better get some return on this investment.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-14-2006, 07:27 AM   #3
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

I agree with the previous poster.... lost income is a cost...

But, if you plan on going full time anyhow, that is a wash....

SO, how much would it cost at the University of your choice How much difference would you think it would make on a resume salary wise??

Unless you are from one of the Ivys, most MBAs are about the same from what I can tell... unless you go to Phoenix online... so take the free education and start your career without much debt... I assume you will have to pay for housing and meals...
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-14-2006, 11:18 AM   #4
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Why would he do it unless the payoff was bigger? I would think an MBA would give you at least $20,000-$30,000 more than bachelors to be worth it...........
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-14-2006, 09:14 PM   #5
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

I was faced with a similar choice ten years ago - Ivy league top 10 MBA program, or top 20 regional with full tuition paid. I opted for higher ranked school because breakeven was shorter, even though I was paying my own tuition. Average starting salaries were just that much higher coming out. After the fact, this turned out to be a great decision - my summer job paid all of one years tuition, and my signing bonus from my full time job after getting out paid the second - these opportunities would not have been available at the regional school. I was interested in the investment banking/ consulting gig (did one for summer, the other after graduation) so it worked well for me. YMMV.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-19-2006, 01:30 PM   #6
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Just found out that I was accepted to another MBA program...no word on if there will be any scholarship money, but now I wonder if I should apply to some higher-ranked schools before the application deadlines. When I started out, my goal was to stay in Texas after the MBA, but now I think that I may someday want to go back to the east coast.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-19-2006, 01:41 PM   #7
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
Just found out that I was accepted to UT Austin's MBA program...no word on if there will be any scholarship money, but now I wonder if I should apply to some higher-ranked schools before the application deadlines. When I started out, my goal was to stay in Texas after the MBA, but now I think that I may someday want to go back to the east coast. Is UT too regional?
Apply to some other schools. Cost you very little and will give you options. If you want to do part time, you can go to NYU and still be at a top 10 program.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-19-2006, 02:00 PM   #8
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
Just found out that I was accepted to UT Austin's MBA program...no word on if there will be any scholarship money, but now I wonder if I should apply to some higher-ranked schools before the application deadlines. When I started out, my goal was to stay in Texas after the MBA, but now I think that I may someday want to go back to the east coast. Is UT too regional?
Not that it should influence your decision, but I want to be sure you are aware that the McCombs School of Business at UT is named for Billy Joe "Red" McCombs, who started his business career as the youngest Edsel dealer in the US (age 25).

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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-19-2006, 04:37 PM   #9
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
Just found out that I was accepted to UT Austin's MBA program...no word on if there will be any scholarship money, but now I wonder if I should apply to some higher-ranked schools before the application deadlines. When I started out, my goal was to stay in Texas after the MBA, but now I think that I may someday want to go back to the east coast. Is UT too regional?
Nope....
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-19-2006, 05:22 PM   #10
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Soup, if this is your first master's degree, then by all means, go for a gold-plated one. If you think two years is too long what with your background in accounting, you can think about places like INSEAD or IMD which offer one-year MBAs that are perfectly suited to people who already have business undergraduate degrees.

BTW, I know coming from me, this advice is weird, but I have already had my gold plating at a top engineering school, and I can say without reservation that it was a worthwhile experience. However, my aim now is quite different. I just want to learn some business skills and use it to run my own show in a few years. If I were 7 years younger and didn't have a master's already, then I'd take the traditional route.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-24-2006, 08:06 PM   #11
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

I did this a few years ago at UNC-CH (not a top 10 school, but usually in the top 20 depending on the poll). It cost me about $50k when it was all said and done.

Besides the tuition, the other costs you should consider are:
1. Daytime or Executive (night/weekend)? The impact to your personal life is huge if you go nights and weekends (I speak from experience), but you can keep your job and current earnings.
2. Going nights/weekends will decrease the amount of energy you can put into your normal job -- so don't expect to get big promotions or take on new tasks during your time in school.
3. If you get an EMBA, you will likely not the get the initial earnings boost straight out of school (due to lack of recruiting for embas).
4. Enjoyment/Personal Satisfaction -- I got a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction from my program. Even if I never make up the tuition in increased wages.

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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-25-2006, 06:53 AM   #12
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
Just found out that I was accepted to UT Austin's MBA program...no word on if there will be any scholarship money, but now I wonder if I should apply to some higher-ranked schools before the application deadlines. When I started out, my goal was to stay in Texas after the MBA, but now I think that I may someday want to go back to the east coast. Is UT too regional?
As a fellow Texan I think that any degree from UT or TAMU sells well within the state. In my limited experience (no MBA but lots of middle mgmt exposure), there is a "premium pay" for only the big name schools -- Harvard, Northwestern, etc. Companies also treat these grads with a bit of reverence which undoubtedly gets them opportunities mere mortals would not get. A UT MBA is better than a nightschool MBA from UH which, in my experience, gets no notice at all.

Would you learn more at Harvard? Maybe, maybe not. I've worked around a lot of MBAs that don't understand supply and demand or basic human nature. I still get a chuckle out of the expensive "branding campaign" my former company went through to improve the image of our commodity chemical business. I lost my job when are continuing losses forced a sale.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-29-2006, 04:52 PM   #13
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Five years ago- before I started law school, I would have told you that school was the greatest investment you could make and you should get the best education you could afford because in the end it would come back to you.

Today I have changed my story. Mostly because of the lifestyle choices I made since starting school. I made the decision to go to the Tier 1 school and am paying for it (not in any sort of figurative way- I just mean I came out with 100K in student loans). I recieved a great education and could have probably worked anywhere I wanted. But at the same time my goals changed. I am much more interested in spending time with my family and money is no longer the motivating factor in my life. I could have gotten nearly any job I was considering if I decided to go to the lower tiered school and come out with a fifth of the debt. Now I have all that debt and a fancier plaque and I sort of wish I didnt go to the school I did.

Most of this might change for you. If you really want to get to a high earning power as your way to FIREing it might make sense for you. My goal for FIREing is to live well below my means and ride my bike to w*rk so my wife can stay home, volunteer, hang out with her friends and oh yeah, make some mean brown bag lunches for me and we can live a very calm life. Im not saying one way is better than the other but its a matter of choice.

As for me- looking back I would have chosen the cheaper school. Most people dont have any degree and your earning power will increase regardless. But Im not sure it all depends on money.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-29-2006, 05:07 PM   #14
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Deetso's story shows that it's not the MBA, it's how you use it, that makes the difference. There are certainly some spheres in which the Tier 1 MBA is key. They include finance.

I am a physician and I have an EMBA from an AACSB accredited school that was ranked #2 several years ago. I took a year off work to do it. A colleague of mine has a two year MBA from a Tier 1 school. He worked through the course. His tuition was about 4 times mine. We have used our new skills in different ways but I would say we have had equally interesting opportunities as a result. He has to work harder than I do to pay off the tuition debt!

I can't speak of his job satisfaction; but mine has increased enormously. If you are in healthcare, you already have a professional designation. An MBA will open doors, but a Tier 1 MBA is not something that will make or break your career.

Do what feels right for you!
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-30-2006, 06:38 AM   #15
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deetso
But at the same time my goals changed. I am much more interested in spending time with my family and money is no longer the motivating factor in my life.
I think the biggest surprise of my life was how quickly family can become the top priority and derail one's career intentions. I never ever saw that one coming.

Unfortunately the impact doesn't really hit home, so to speak, until the cute little one you're holding with such awe and love looks sweetly into your eyes and throws up all over you.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-30-2006, 12:13 PM   #16
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

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Unfortunately the impact doesn't really hit home, so to speak, until the cute little one you're holding with such awe and love looks sweetly into your eyes and throws up all over you.
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-30-2006, 01:25 PM   #17
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

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Originally Posted by 2B
As a fellow Texan I think that any degree from UT or TAMU sells well within the state. In my limited experience (no MBA but lots of middle mgmt exposure), there is a "premium pay" for only the big name schools -- Harvard, Northwestern, etc. Companies also treat these grads with a bit of reverence which undoubtedly gets them opportunities mere mortals would not get. A UT MBA is better than a nightschool MBA from UH which, in my experience, gets no notice at all.

Would you learn more at Harvard? Maybe, maybe not. I've worked around a lot of MBAs that don't understand supply and demand or basic human nature. I still get a chuckle out of the expensive "branding campaign" my former company went through to improve the image of our commodity chemical business. I lost my job when are continuing losses forced a sale.
Funny, but I must have missed that "Got TNT" ad campaign!
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA
Old 12-30-2006, 07:58 PM   #18
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Re: Offered a "free" MBA

I would think its would still carry some weight to have options even if you choose to not shoot for the king of the hill j.o.b. spots
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