Thinking about going back to school. - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-24-2005, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking about going back to school.

Well i've been out of school for a year now. if you don't know I graduated from Michigan State last May with and Engineering degree.

Well I'm thinking about going back to school to get my MBA. I would just do night and weekend classes at one of the local colleges here. I'm thinking either Depaul or UIC. I'd like to go to Depaul, but I don't know if I had the GPA to get into it. i graduated with a 2.9.

Anyways I'm going to sign up for the GMAT soon. Anyone have any advice on this test, or any other advice about going back and getting my masters? My company pays $5k/semester for classes so hopefully that will cover a lot of the expenses.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-24-2005, 06:46 PM
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My honest advice. Think about what you want to do for the rest of your career. Are you going to stay in the corporate world or quite possibly go into your own business? I have seen firsthand, friends who spent a great deal of time going to get their MBA and in the end, they either did not do anything with it or it did not get them as far along in the corporate ladder as they thought it would.

It also depends what field you work in to. An example, my field does not put a very high premium on advanced degrees. Rather, it always comes down to experience.

As for me, I decided a few years back not to go for a Master's but, rather take the time spent going for a Master's and instead concentrate on a part-time business. In my case, REI.

Something to thing about.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-24-2005, 06:49 PM
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-24-2005, 07:12 PM
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I was in the same boat last year. I decided to wait on going for my Masters in Sturctural Engineering and see what job i got. I told myself that if the job i got would be helped by a masters then i would go back. Well I ended up getting on where a masters would have been a waste of time. I'm doing something way different than I would have guess and I'm very glad I didnt waste time with a masters. Now I know my position is unique, but I would suggest that you wait and see where you end up/plan on ending up.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 01:34 AM
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Start getting your foot in the door, experience goes a long way. Put your current degree to work.

I was thinking about being Secret Service but I just wanted to be the limo driver. You need a BS but they are thinking about making people get a Masters soon. Forget that, wouldn't you rather be driven around by Mario Andretti than Steve Erkel. That's one of the reasons Princess Diana died, they had the driver leave in a bogus car and she left in a car driven by a bodyguard (who obviously couldn't drive to save his life).

People tend to forget things learned in book long before they forget real life expierinces. That's why first hand experience, and time on the job mean so much.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 07:36 AM
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If you've got a company footing a good portion of the bill, I'd do it. I should have done this years ago. Actually, I should have just got the Masters right away, full time school.
If you've got a company footing the bill, check the fine print. Most will require a long term employment commitment and not have unlimited funding. My employer only allows about $5000/year, which at DuPaul, is about 3 classes a year.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thepro8
Well i've been out of school for a year now. if you don't know I graduated from Michigan State last May with and Engineering degree.

Well I'm thinking about going back to school to get my MBA. I would just do night and weekend classes at one of the local colleges here. I'm thinking either Depaul or UIC. I'd like to go to Depaul, but I don't know if I had the GPA to get into it. i graduated with a 2.9.

Anyways I'm going to sign up for the GMAT soon. Anyone have any advice on this test, or any other advice about going back and getting my masters? My company pays $5k/semester for classes so hopefully that will cover a lot of the expenses.
Well, first, why did you get an engineering degree? Does your reason for doing that still make sense? If so, maybe you should stick to that track rather than jumping over to an MBA track.

Why do you want an MBA? Is there something in particular that you plan to do with it, or are you just looking to get a Master's in something? It isn't worth the investment of time and money to get a Master's just to have a certificate on the wall.

IMHO, if you stick with the engineering track, you'd do well to start preparing to get your Professional Engineer license first. That opens up more opportunities than a Master's will. You can still work toward graduate school--in fact, at least in Illinois, a Master's is worth a year of experience toward the required four for licensure--but start documenting your work experience now. Also, if you plan to go for the PE, take the Fundamentals exam NOW, before you forget all the classes you took.

The GMAT isn't that bad, in my experience. If you sign up for it, use the study software they send you to practice. It is very close to the real test. You will need to be able to demonstrate both good math skills and good writing skills.

If you're going to be working while going to school, good luck to you. It is not easy. Prepare to have little free time for a couple of years. Also make sure that you understand your company's tuition reimbursement practices before you register for classes, and that you have worked them out with the school. It will save you a lot of heartache later.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 09:21 AM
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Take the GMAT cold. It's no big deal.

As for the MBA, I did it for personal reasons, not professional. Professionally it can be a big handicap these days. The perception is that you have no specific knowledge of anything except what you've been working on since you started your current career.

I'm deciding what I want to pursue next. It may be Applied Mathematics because I think getting into Actuarial Science would be cool. That would help me twist more insurance money out of motorcyclists!

Oh, wait...I'm a motorcyclist.

Scrap Actuarial Science. I'm going to study Fabrication at the local community college.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 02:41 PM
 
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The GMAT isn't a killer test, but I would still prepare for it. There are tons of good books with online practice tests which are a big help. I think I used one from Kaplan.

Be ready for a disappointing math score. I don't know how to say this without it sounding kind of racist so please don't jump on me for it, but the large number of Asian people taking the test skew the math section. I am very good at math and number-wise had a very good math score, higher than my english score, but percentile wise it was lower than my english score. It ended up being a 85% math, 96% english and a combined 95%. Strange huh?

Only you can decide if an MBA is a good investment for yourself. Good luck whatever you decide to do.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 02:54 PM
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Depending on how well you do on std test, you might want to sign up for the classroom Kaplan GMAT test. It's also something to get you out of the house if you are looking for something to fill time. But if you can self pace well, then the books or even the online class are fine. You might even be able to take it cold, it depends. I took the GRE cold and did excellent. Studied my ass off for the LSAT (took a class, even) and only did barely good enough.

As for getting a master's-- IMO you should wait. It takes a few years after college to really get a handle on who you are as a worker and what you really want out of a career. I went straight thru and got my master's and while it wasn't all bad, I totally admit that I used it as an excuse to avoid real work, and it didn't do me much good since I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life anyway.

An MBA and an engineering degree are a great combination-- but you may want to wait. Aother reason for waiting-- most GOOD MBA programs nowadays REQUIRE somewhere in the range of 3-5 years work experience before they will even admit you. There's a reason for it, too. Having a good amount of project mgmt experience really helps with the MBA coursework, esp since a lot of it uses the case study method.

I mean, if your company will pay and u are just looking to fill time, then a lot of this is moot-- just go do it. But if you want to get into a really good program and really work on this is a career path, then you'll find once you start getting applications that you need to wait few years anyway.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morrand
Also, if you plan to go for the PE, take the Fundamentals exam NOW, before you forget all the classes you took.
+1 BIG TIME!

If you havent already, definitely do this! I took it while still in college and it was a breeze. Just a general touch on all of the subjects and even then i was having trouble reaching way back to general chemistry. The longer you wait the more painful it gets. And once you take it its outta the way and good forever.

<-- Brian
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 03:45 PM
 
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I have to say a agree with alot that has been said in this thread. I have an architectural engineering degree and have been thinking about going back for my structural MBA as well, but my career path doesnt required an MBA or a PE, they are looking more at my field experience. But at the same time I want my MBA and PE, I'll be waiting for my turn at school again. I took the FE during school and failed by 2 points, I regret not signing right back up to take it again. It was hard to remember the one chem class I had over the 8 math classes and endless engineering classes! I know I will need a major refresher to take ti again.

BUT, I think you should do what is right for you. Think very hard about it and look into the company policy, you might be stuck with that company for a few more years than you want to be.

Good luck, whatever you decide will be right for you!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 05:03 PM
 
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Did I here someone right that it is a waste of time.....school is never a waste of time....but I would make sure you will use what you learn in the near future.....as for school....U.I.C. I took the M.S. program there not to bad of a deal.....some long hours but mostly up to you as to how you deal with school.....was alittle hard as it was 5 years from my B.S. from Cal St. Long Beach to a masters program....brain went soft, awhile to get back into the study thing.......but school is always good...but remember as most thing life changes as do company rules over the past few years most companys in all fields go back and forth in view of real exp...or education.....so try and get both as you stated you were...work and school.....

just my .02
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2005, 05:12 PM
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Some people, like my mom, just like school. She found out in the seventies, like '78 or '79 that her factory was moving operations to two other states but, the company was willing to pay for seven years worth of education for all of the employees that did not wish to transfer to one of the other plants or was not eligible for retirement. She took the offer and, before she left the plant, she had completed a second associates, a bachelor's and her first masters'. She's since changed careers, finished a second masters, retired, and gone back to work. She's even considering a return to school.

If you're going to go back either do something that has a return or do something you really enjoy. It was just said that school is never a waste and that's probably true, unless it wrecks your home life.

Bill T., Jr.

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