Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Late Stage MBA Application Process - Josh Moritz - Part 5

I asked alot of people about what they thought of going for an MBA in your late 40s or even your 50s. I turned to one of my virtual networks, Marketing Executive Network Group, (see: http://www.mengonline.com/) to find out what my peers thought.

It was an enthusastic response. Within hours of my posting, I had more than 50 responses and within a day over 70. One MENG colleague I did not know, looked up my phone number and called me from San Francisco to give me advice. Some it was negative, most of it was very positive and sometimes cautionary.

I found the summary of that requst, here it is. (If you want to see some the emails, please contact me.):

Thank you all that wrote in. The request generated more than 50 responses in few hours. Here are the findings:

1) Amongst responders, it was about 40 to 2 in favor of the EMBA (the others were more informational and not offering a comment one way or the other). In order of positive mentions:

a. Intellectual development
b. Expanding horizons
c. Network opportunities
d. Career development (valuable mid-career development especially
within the same industry and company)
e. Improved current professional situation
f. People not in favor said that it was age and where you are in your career vs. opportunity

costs that might make an unprofitable endeavor - see points 10 and 11 below-the older you are the harder the payback
i. Headhunters seem to be neutral on a later career MBA. But they do say it never
harms to have the credential especially as a consultant or as a tie-breaker for a job
ii. On theother hand, new knowledge could make you more valuable to an organization
-seems to refresh the brain (like I said, they seem kind of wishy washy)

2) People in favor of the EMBA were not just enthusiastic but effusive, even gushing about their programs even if they were not the name brand schools: it was about knowledge,

network and career. Age ranged from late 20s through their late 40s

3) It's hard work, 20 to 25 hours per week outside of class

a. Make sure your significant other and your family buy into you doing this. You must carve
out time for school, work and family if you are so situated

4) Columbia had the most frequent and most favorable mentions withstrengths in finance and

5) People love Thunderbird even though none of the Thunderbird attendees did the distance
learning MBA program, and even if some did not get jobs right out of the program

6) Only two people knew about Babson. One of them an instructor was quite impressed with the
program and students

7) People from SMU, U of Texas, Drexel, Rutgers all thought their programs were great and did
great things for their careers

8) The NYU EMBA had one favorable mention. It is widely seen as strong in finance (the lack of
mentions may reflect that MENG is a marketing group of people, not a finance group of

9) Name brand is important to the outside world. For example, a person from one of the top ranked programs in 2000 mentioned that he is introduced in meetings as having attended the XXX EMBA . Others made the same comment

10) One person cautioned that they cost much more than the regular programs offered by the same school, nearly 40% to 50% in most cases.

a. This leads to the cost benefit analysis discussion brought up by two people
b. If it is that more expensive, you have to be sure to leverage itvthat much more

11) Several people suggested that at a late career path, you might want to consider less
expensive certificate programs that focus on 4 or 5 courses in a specific area, such as finance or direct marketing.

a. On the MENG Site there is a document called "MENG-Saw Sharpening" that outlines a

number of educational opportunities outside of the graduate school environment

12) Make sure the program has a network that is open to networking, a strong Alumni association, an administration that stresses networking and post graduation collaboration, the students themselves, strong career services, post graduate seminars. Not every program in the top 100 has this- so investigate carefully. Strong network mentions included Columbia, SMU, Texas (not an EMBA mention), Rutgers, Thunderbird

a. There seems to be an issue with some programs that people become friends for life, but not business associates. This is not a common theme in most responses, but it came up a couple times.

13) In doing any online or offline course work, make sure it is accredited by strong regional and national associations

a. State accreditation is not considered good, especially if you want to teach
b. Regional - done by six regional agencies that are part of the National Board of Education. These degrees are recognized at all accredited institutions. The six agencies are NEASC, NCA, MSA, SACS, WASC, NWCCU. Do a google search to find these agencies and their list of schools
c. AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) Top tier of accreditation for business programs.

My take-away from all of this:

1) Its about the knowledge, the friends and network you make
2) The payback is up to the individual and how they leverage it at any age
3) Less expensive alternatives exist, but they are very focused
Thanks to all.
Much appreciated.
Joshua Moritz

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