Job vs MBA

I started looking at jobs this week.  Get a job vs get an MBA… hmmm…

I already have a MS in Finance, but it’s from a tier 12 school (if there is such a thing).  All my experience is in the military; useful for sure, but doesn’t directly correlate to any job on the outside.

2 years without income would not be fun (I’m married with 2 kids), but the lifetime earning potential would probably be higher with the MBA.  In the end, I think the decision will come down to whether I can find a job in the field in which I’m interested.  Since I don’t want to go into i-banking or consulting, the MBA isn’t quite as necessary.  It would be nice to get into the MBA “club” (access to the alum network), but I have to determine whether it’s worth 2 years of financial misery.

Anyone have any thoughts?


7 responses to “Job vs MBA

  1. Hello,
    I’m debating the same thing right now (albeit as an Army officer) in regards to MBA versus starting a career. I’ll be about 30 when I leave the Army (due to service academy commitment and an additional ADSO for an MS in engineering) and I am a bit hesitant to not have an income for two years. My classmates who have already left the service and entered MBA programs do remind me to look long term. I want to enter into a tech or operations focused company (think Intel or Amazon) and the best way to enter into those types of companies seems to be via a top MBA program. I have heard from people who have went to GE’s JOLP program that participating in that program while attending a part time MBA at Emory is a great option to work and obtain a good MBA. I wish you the best in your applications!

  2. Thanks,

    This debate has been raging stronger in my head recently (after reading some options on your blog, actually).

    I’ve also recently found Duke’s Cross Continent MBA which may be a good option after I find a job (maybe through a recruiter like Cameron Brooks). So many options, and only 1 life to live 🙂


    • Hi fastnhappy,
      I have spoken to a few people with the Duke CCMBA (administration and former students) and it seems like a unique program. They have a lot of military who go through the program. The administrators told me they have scholarships for about $5-10k. The students like the international perspectives and that the residencies allowed you to network with your fellow students. I’m not sure if you are eligible for the post 9/11 GI Bill but if you are the administration sent me a spreadsheet of how the costs would work. If you want it please let me know and I can email it to you. Overall you would pay about $24k and the second year zero tuition.
      John Kang

  3. They have current military who go through the program? Or former? I emailed an admissions counselor about the best way to go through with my mil-to-civ transition, but no reply yet.

    I just got the spreadsheet you’re referring to yesterday with the cost breakdown. That may change with the 2011 GI Bill changes, but they didn’t know anything about that yet.

    Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me if you can find a job you like (that’ll support the endeavor). The major downside that I saw was that the program is designed for career developers, not career switchers.

    I’ve only recently decided that I was getting out for sure (kicking around the idea for about a year), and I’m very glad I have 18 months to make plans. I’m still pretty lost.

    • I actually could not get a hold of anyone who was currently going through the program but did speak to two former students. One is an active duty USMC officer who is transitioning out and the other was a former enlisted Soldier who went to college on the military, did CCMBA while working for Booz Allen Hamilton, and is now at PwC.
      Duke CCMBA is a sweet deal with a bunch of qualifiers to the program. When I spoke to the USMC officer he liked how the program was very international and that you could bond intensively with classmates at the residencies. He told me that the content is not relatively difficult but that there was a LOT of it. He spent about 15-20 hours a week on coursework OUTSIDE of the residencies (online courses and team based projects). He said the MBA is helping him find opportunities he could not have had without the MBA.
      I don’t think you are contemplating doing the CCMBA while in the Armed Forces right? If so that may be hard to align leave with the residencies.
      I think if you want to make a significant career change the full time MBA is a great option. I have a post on the costs of various full time MBA programs on my blog you can check out. My goal post-MBA is to work in the energy industry (Solar/PV if possible) so I’m targeting business schools with strong engineering ties. Let me know if you want to talk about the transition!

  4. It looks like we’ll be transitioning at the same time (18 mo from now), so keep in touch!

    I’ve got a wife and 2 kids, so I have a lot more to think about than myself. It definitely complicates things – I know you can relate.


    • Definitely. Keep us updated on your transition from the military on your blog! I have a 3 month old and a wife so they definitely factor into the transition planning!

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