First, I'd like to reply to some comments, then I'll make my own and share my experiences.
|Quoting MCIrunway (Thread starter):|
But now I think I should be working towards another degree, if I'm going to commit myself to studying, classes, tests. Then, of course, there's employer tuition reimbursement, which I don't want to waste
I would say you're definitely a prime candidate to pursue a graduate degree in your field. An MBA is not necessarily limited to undergrad business students, but having that background certainly helps. Definitely explore all of your options. Be sure you know what you're getting yourself into, in terms of time and financial costs. Our good friend NYCFlyer, assuming/hoping he gets into Columbia, will see a total tuition bill ranging from $75 to $100k, assuming he doesn't get any help. Most MBA's aren't that high, but $40k is a safe estimate these days. Also, know for sure what your career goals are and how you think an MBA (or other grad. degree) will help you...it will most likely be an interview/essay question at the school of your ultimate choice. The fact your employer will help pay is a huge help. Some b-schools offer not just an MBA, but other programs like a Master in Tax, Accounting, Int'l. Business, Finance, etc. If one of these areas interests you specifically, then it might be better to have something specific to your intended career path than a standard MBA, which might set you apart when you need it the most.
Not knowing how you peform on standardized tests, I will give you this bit of advice vis a vis the GMAT, which you will have to take: take as many full-length practice tests as you can, so that you can get through the entire 3.5 hour test without a lot of problems. Don't worry so much about the writing part, as that's scored separately. Get at least a 4, higher if possible, and a 6 if you want to go to Harvard, Wharton, etc. Anyhow, I didn't do this the first time, and got a 370/800. I practiced like crazy the 2nd time around, and wound up increasing my overall score by nearly 100 points! This really impressed the school where I applied, see my comments below.
As far as GMAT prep. goes, I recommend the Kaplan guide with the CD
software, which goes for about $38. I used the '05 edition. There are others, of course, but take this approach before spending big bucks for a class. I spent $375 for a prep. class, which was only marginally helpful. Again, it depends on you.
Here's a link that has some great info. as well, and where you'll also need to register to take the GMAT. http://www.mba.com
|Quoting NYCFlyer (Reply 2):|
I just sent in some applications! wish me luck. crossing my fingers for Columbia
Good luck, NYCFlyer!
|Quoting Yu138086 (Reply 3):|
What gets me ahead is what i have taught myself and/or learned from practical experience (ie. street smarts)
There's a lot of people just like you (my Dad is also a great example) who have learned through practical experience and have excelled in their field, and have done quite well. Another example is the CEO of my company, which is one of the largest private owners of timberlands in the US. He is a CPA, but doesn't have a grad. degree, yet he was the CFO and now CEO.
|Quoting Yu138086 (Reply 3):|
An MBA will not automatically put you in the Captain's seat... get my drift?
Agreed. Nor does it guarantee a huge raise the day after you graduate, either, and that easily applies to bachelor's degrees as well. It all depends on what the individual graduate does with it and the initiative and ability to pursue and reach their goals. Some MBA's can't manage their way out of a brown paper bag, some high school grads. can lead an army to victory. There is a famous West Point student, I can't recall his name, but he either dropped out or finished low in his class, but went on to great success in the military.
Do you mean an online degree? Or do you mean being able to find answers to sme question simply by "googling" it? If you mean an online degree, be careful and really do research into that school. Sure, they cater to working adults, but they are often not that much cheaper than a private school, and you don't get the classroom experience and networking opportunities like a traditional campus. At the very least, make sure the online school is well recognized in your region or nationwide, like Univ. of Phoenix, where I took online accounting classes, albeit not for a degree. UOP for one is regionally accredited, meaning each state where they have a 'brick and mortar' facility recognizes their programs.
Ideally, aim to get into the best school possible, preferrably one with an AACSB rating, which fewer than 40% of all b-schools have. Among other things, it means that a large number, if not all, the members of the faculty have earned their PhD. What speaks more to me are profs. that have REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE to draw upon in their lectures, as opposed to a career teacher who has never seen the inside of a real boardroom, except every Thursday night on TV
Ok...now for me.
I realized about two years ago that I had indeed reached a ceiling where I wouldn't advance further in my field, at my current company or elsewhere, without additional knowledge and skills. While I had considered grad. school before, I wanted to get some work experience first and make sure it was the right path for me.
I did the research as I suggested above, and decided that an MBA was the right step, and learned I needed to take the GMAT. I bought the books, studied on my own and didn't get very far, and then took a prep. class offered through the school where I wanted to go, Seattle Univ., just east of downtown Seattle. Two months later, I took the test and choked. I was crushed, didn't know what went wrong. Months later, after a lot of reevaluation, I rededicated myself to taking it again, and it occurred to me that the test is one more of stamina and the ability to stay focused, which is true of the entire degree process. I took one full practice test after another (they are very accurate, by the way) to the point where I felt confident. Test day came again this past January, and I increased my score nearly 100 points, or 26%. The fact I increased it that much impressed Seattle Univ. more than the actual result! It's the retake and demonstrated improvement that spoke volumes.
Currently, I applied and was accepted to Seattle U.'s MBA program, on condition that I pass their Business Calculus course, which I'm currently taking now. It also satisfies my math proficiency requirement for graduation from SU
, and a lot of other high-ranked b-schools also require a "math boot camp", I know Wharton (Univ. of PA) does.
Anyhow...hope all that helps/inspires you! Let me know if you have other questions, and above all...stay focused and good luck!
willl see this post and share her thoughts, as I believe she has an MBA from one of the UC
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!