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To MBA or not to MBA?

MrFishMrFish Registered User regular
edited October 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Sorry for long text, first 2 paras are some background about what I've been doing.

I have been living in Bangkok, Thailand for the last year and a half or so (originally from Washington, DC area), working at several internships and briefly as an English teacher at a Thai high school (never again…). My first internship was in journalism, writing for a publishing company that makes several Southeast Asia/Thailand focused publications, one of them real estate focused, the other business/politics focused (think a Thailand-specific The Economist). I had a fantastic time doing it, but the compensation was pretty low. Granted it was an internship, but compensation seems to remain low even as you advance in the field.

My next and current internship is with a major global hospitality chain, in the Marketing and Communications department for the flagship hotel. We also manage several other branches in Thailand. I draft press releases, write copy for collaterals (anything with the hotels name on it, basically. In house ads, flyers, etc.), help coordinate promotions and media events, and other stuff like that. I am enjoying this too, but am concerned about the realisticness of my employability here at the end of this internship (at the end of the year), especially considering hotels here have a cap on how many foreigners they are allowed to have on staff at any given time. My undergraduate degree is in Government and Law, so with no applicable education and what will amount to about 5 months of experience, I feel like I am not a particularly strong candidate on paper for further marketing or hospitality industry work, although I am genuinely good at it (in my opinion… I plan to ask my bosses for feedback after I’ve been here a little longer).


So, having done both of these things, I've arrived at the conclusion that I really want to make a lot of money, and want to put myself in the most advantageous position to do so.

Right now, I am considering applying for an MBA program… I have one year free tuition at my state university available to me, thanks to scholarships that roll over after graduating undergrad in three years. University of Maryland’s website says the whole degree program takes 21 months, so with one year free and in-state tuition rates, I can get an MBA at fraction of cost. However, everything I’ve read online about this says it still might not be a particularly good investment without a solid plan of how to use it, which I certainly don’t have at the moment, and to do it because I can’t find other employment at the moment seems like a really shitty reason. Now, it’s not the whole reason, I didn’t even consciously think anything like that, but trying to think about it more I can’t honestly say for sure if I would still want to do it if I felt like I was immediately employable.

So, if I do do it, I want to know what kinds of focus areas I should take for maximum monies. Right now I am really enjoying the marketing, and UMD’s MBA program does have a marketing focus, but I also really enjoyed Government and Law and I’ve discovered while I had a great time doing it, it has left me at a disadvantage now. Not that that was something I was unaware of at the time, but I guess the whole employability thing just felt less pressing then than it does now. Why did 17 year old me get to decide that!?

Anyway… Profitable focuses for MBAs? Finance? Marketing? Supply chain management? This would be for fall 2012 at the earliest, so I'll also have another year of work experience under my belt. Should I do an MBA? Or are there other applications of my skills (good writer, clever IMO, not a great ‘people person’ naturally but can turn it on when need be and be ok at it, decent at maths) to make monies that I’m not even thinking of?

MrFish on

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    ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    Generally, If you are having a difficult time finding work, and you are expecting that an MBA will be a magic token to a new an wondrous career. Then you are most likely to find yourself at the end of the program with more education, a great deal more debt and little to no additional job prospects.

    Its difficult to go to school full time, and work enough to support yourself on minimum wage. So, if you want to take advantage of 12 months of free education, and i think that may be a good idea, make sure you can support yourself so that you can make it through that time.

    As for applicability, only in a few careers will having an advanced degree at starting level be a bad thing. Anything where pay is directly tied to education, like in teaching, is iffy. As they can hire someone with less education and pay them less for the same level of experience. But in most cases having an MBA is an advantage, and if you can get one on the cheap, then maybe yes.

    Also, the MBA program may be a good opportunity to network and find some employment opportunities.

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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    An MBA doesn't inherently get you skills that allow you to transfer to new fields or industries. If you're looking to get more into marketing, an MBA won't do it. A Masters in Marketing (often offered at business schools) will. To put it in video game terms, an MBA basically lets you "level up" your job. For example, I went from a job that was coordinating a production system to managing a series of production-based projects, which includes contracts, sales, marketing, and analysis elements. I am still in the same field (Publishing), still working with the same type of things (electronic deliverables), but I got this job largely because I got an MBA and learned more about the details of doing business.

    But I found while I was searching for jobs that my background was generally Operations and most companies did not see an MBA as training for a separate field, such as Marketing, Finance, Account, whatever. Those are all elements of an MBA program, but they are not the focus.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    MBAs like any other degree, may make sense, contingent on the the schools you get into. If you can do a top 5 US MBA or INSEAD it makes sense unequivocally, and it gets fuzzier the further down you go.

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    ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    If you have an idea of where you want to go, a specific company or field for example, you might also take a look at what that or those companies look for in someone who got an MBA. What focus did you take as mentioned above or even if the program is accredited or not and by whom.

    Some companies also take special interest in people who attend specific programs. You might see what companies hire directly from your program to see if that would interest you or not in helping your chances of finding employment after completion of your program.

    For example, I know a few companies in the MN area here tend to like hiring people from the accredited MBA programs and there are only two (I believe). The University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and the University of St. Thomas's MBA program. They have the AACSB accreditation.

    I hope this helps.

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    DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    EggyToast wrote:
    To put it in video game terms, an MBA basically lets you "level up" your job. For example, I went from a job that was coordinating a production system to managing a series of production-based projects, which includes contracts, sales, marketing, and analysis elements. I am still in the same field (Publishing), still working with the same type of things (electronic deliverables), but I got this job largely because I got an MBA and learned more about the details of doing business.

    I agree with this entirely. In my experience your general liberal arts degree shows that you're an actual human being that can really write a semi-coherent 10 page paper if you totes have to. An MBA with no professional work experience doesn't really add much to this.

    It may make it "slightly" easier to get a job, but down the road it will make it a fair bit easier to upgrade your job.


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