Thinking of going back to grad school for an MBA, advice/thoughts needed. (long)

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ryan_C, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. Ryan_C

    Ryan_C Second Unit

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    Hey guys,

    I am tossing around the idea of going back to grad school for my MBA.

    Here's my situation. I am 28, unemployed currently, and living with my parents in FL. I have a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering that I got in Dec. '99 from NC State. Since then, I have been laid off twice. I worked for Nortel Networks for 16 months out of school, was unemployed for about 7 months, then got a job at a recreational boat company that only lasted 4 months before they laid me off (restructure). I haven't been able to find a job since May of '02, due to the economy and my limited experience I am assuming.

    I was planning on going back to get my MBA later on, when I was with a good company that would pay for most/all of it. Since I am going on almost two years with no job, I have been tossing around the idea of going back now.

    Has anyone else done this? I will have to take the GRE first obviously (or whatever test you need to get into an MBA program). But my concerns are taking out MORE loans for out of state tuition (I want to go to school somewhere where it's cold and there are mountains preferably. I don't want to stay in FL at any rate), I have more bills now then when I was in college, etc. Do some MBA programs have grants or work study programs you can get?

    I honestly don't even know where to begin to looking. I have glanced at the MBA program at University of Vermont, and plan on calling them this week for information.

    I would really appreciate any thoughts and advice any of you might have on this. Thanks for taking the time to read this long post, it's appreciated!
     
  2. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Ryan,

    What is drawing you towards going for your MBA right now? With the amount of experience you have, which isn't that much, most employers would probably pass over you for a management position regardless of degree. I hate to be a downer, but it is better than going even further into debt and not realizing a better paying position.

     
  3. Ryan_C

    Ryan_C Second Unit

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    Justin,

    My reason for looking into my MBA now is two fold. One, I have always wanted one to go with my engineering degree, that way I have the technical aspect as well as the business aspect. Second, I would rather be furthering my education possibly opening career doors later, rather than working the part time, $7.00/hr job I am doing now.

    I am sure I am getting passed over like crazy b/c of my limited experience, but there is nothing I can do. I can only do so much to sell myself to potential employers.

    I just want to be doing something to further my career, whether it's a job in my field or more school. Can't get a job, so school seems to be a wise choice.

    BTW, I have looked into an advanced engineering degree. I wanted to get some work experience to see what I was interested in before doing that. So far haven't found anything that interests me more than an MBA.
     
  4. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    Ryan, I've had my EE degree since 1979. In 1980, I started working on my MBA part-time, paid for by the companies I worked for and completed it in about 5 years.I was in no rush as I was still working as an engineer, but interested in being qualified for a broader number of business areas. As it has turned out, most of my career has been spent in procurement, now supply chain.

    The advice I give to engineers, and my kids (son number 2 has his application into NC State for ME) is that a BS in engineering is not sufficient anymore to insure that you will be competitive over time. An advanced degree is required. That degree can be in engineering or a business area depending on what your interests are.

    There are signs now that the economy may be turning around. Unfortunately this has not led to companies returning to strong recruiting programs yet. You will be competing with other engineers that are in the job market as well as new grads coming out.

    If you have limited experience you may be more competitive with some MBA courses under your belt, especially if you can show strong grades when hiring starts again. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but I always take the perspective that the more you can offer an employer in terms of unique skills or diverse skills, such as an engineering/MBA combination the better.

    Obviously, only you know your personal situation and can best determine what is right for you.
     
  5. Joe D

    Joe D Supporting Actor

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    If you are going to go back to school you should continue your engineering education by pursuing a degree in Paper Science Engineering, that will get you a good job.

    I suggest that you do some research on the degree and the field and I think you will find positive results.
     
  6. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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  7. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    Just an FYI, my Ivy-league MBA program had only a 66% placement rate last year. That means that 1/3 of the people who forked over $150k to a top-tier school still couldn't find a job.

    I would recommend the networking route as well. Companies are hiring. You just need to find the right "in". Good luck!
     
  8. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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  9. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    I'm just curious, but what did you do for two years when unemployed? I mean honestly, how you can just sit there and do nothing all day? Those are some nice parents. If that happened to me and I had to move back home, they would make me work at McDonalds before I just sat around all day.
     
  10. Ryan_C

    Ryan_C Second Unit

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    Thanks for all the suggestions guys, please keep them coming if you have more.

    I definitely wasn't looking at an Ivy League MBA, just a "normally" priced one from a state college or university. No private schools or Ivy League, too cost prohibitive.

    Steve,
    I haven't been living with my parents for 2 years, just the past 11 months. When I got laid off from Nortel, I couldn't do anything for 4 months until my severance pay was over. Then stayed in my apartment job hunting for 3 months until I got my last job. When I lost my last job, I managed a gym for 6 months to keep the bills paid while job hunting again. Finally got tired of barely making it on my own and moved in with my parents. I am now working part time again, but for awhile after moving in I was just sitting around while trying to find either permanent or part time help. I am not a slacker, don't worry. [​IMG]
     
  11. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    I recall reading an article in a business journal not too long ago which stressed that one should not seek an advanced degree unless they know EXACTLY how it will pay off in their career. I know too many people with advance degrees doing absolutely nothing with them.
     
  12. Ryan_C

    Ryan_C Second Unit

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    Drew,

    That's true as well. One of my engineering professors in college told me that an engineering degree paired with an MBA was a solid combo, simply b/c you have both the techinical aspect and the business aspect to offer potential employers. I would agree with this. I can make things better on the manufacturing floor, but I would like to learn more about the business side and how WHAT I do on the floor affects the rest of the company, if that makes sense. Reason I want an MBA.
     
  13. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    Ryan, sorry, when you said jobless for 2 years I assumed you really meant jobless. Good to hear you were doing some small part time work [​IMG] .
     
  14. Joe S

    Joe S Second Unit

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    Ryan, at your age, I'd go back to school for that Master's Degree. Either that, or change fields if you feel the need.

    I've been out of work for a year now. I'm still collecting unemployment, but that will end in a month or so.

    I'm 51 and worked as an Electrical Engineer, mostly writing software, until the company I was with for almost 10 years closed. There just haven't been many Engineering jobs in this area and the companies that have openings seem to be very picky. I've only had 2 interviews and they were in the first half of the year.

    Anyway, the former employees of the company were recently qualified for "training" under the Trade Adjustment Act- we lost our jobs due to foreign competition. This means I can go back to school full time and they will pay for it and continue to pay me unemployment for up to two years (while in school). Sounds like a great deal, but right now I'm having a hard time choosing another field. I have about two weeks to decide and get things rolling.

    I have a few possibilities in mind and plan to visit some local colleges next week. I don't think I will pursue a Master's Degree at my age, but that's just my thoughts. Got to anticipate what kind of jobs will be available here in a year or so.

    Any thoughts on jobs in the medical field- inhalation therapy, radiology, etc? Perhaps an optician?
     
  15. James Slade

    James Slade Second Unit

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    Ryan,

    I graduated in 2000 with and Industrial Engineering degree. I went to work for JDS Uniphase. It was great while it lasted. I was then out of work for 13 or 14 months. Then I took a job I knew I wouldn't like just to get back to work. I did that for three months, then got a job I really like.

    It seems to be easier to find a job when you have a job. I got my job through networking. I will be starting a grad degree paid for by my employer next year, then maybe another.

    I guess I just wanted to say I've been there. It will get better. I have had all the thoughts you are thinking. I went to many MBA info sessions at local universites. I didn't do it. Getting back to work was what I really wanted to do, not get back to school.

    When I do take a degree, I don't plan on doing the MBA, maybe engineering management instead. Everyone has an MBA. During my short working experience I have come across many poor engineering managers, seems like an oppurtunity to me.

    In Canada going through a contracting company seems to be a good way to get into some great companies. Kind of allows for a trial period, before you hopefully get hired fulltime. This is what I did.

    Good luck, it has to get better.

    Also, I would like to say not working is a hell of a lot harder than working at a place like MacDonalds. Things just aren't this simple most of the time.
     

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