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  1. #1
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    Getting an MBA worth it?? (GTFIH boyos)

    So brahs, I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I've been looking for something extra to help push my career to the next level, and I feel like an MBA might be of great benefit to me. I have talked about it with a few people, and they all encouraged me to go for it. I'm an engineer by degree, but I'd prefer not to go down the purely technical route; instead, I'd like to go down the management/business route (high level/BD/strategy).

    My question is, with an MBA being such a huge commitment, would it be worth pursuing? I realize that this is the best time of my life to do it (single, couple years of work experience, etc.), so I would like to make a decision by the end of the year (I realize this is bad timing in terms of enrollment deadlines, but it is what it is).

    Cliffs:
    - OP wants to beef up career/earning potential
    - OP is considering getting an MBA to do so
    - OP unsure whether it's worth the commitment
    - OP needs good advices from his misc brethren
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    In. I'm in a similar boat. Thinking about doing a masters degree but afraid I won't get a job and end up doing what I'm doing now with a bachelors.
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    no. unless your current company wants you to get one and is willing to pay for it (or most of it).
    I put little to no thought in what i post

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    Originally Posted by CoolKnees View Post
    In. I'm in a similar boat. Thinking about doing a masters degree but afraid I won't get a job and end up doing what I'm doing now with a bachelors.
    The biggest thing getting in the way for me right now is the GMAT. I fkn hate standardized tests, was never good at them.
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  5. #5
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    Originally Posted by PeteJonesHTX View Post
    I'm an engineer by degree, but I'd prefer not to go down the purely technical route; instead, I'd like to go down the management/business route (high level/BD/strategy).
    Yes. It will be your fastest route to management. The alternative is to shift from an engineering position towards eng manager, get experience and then try to branch upwards. It will take many, many years.

    With an MBA you can get your foot into management more directly. Although in the former case, you might be able to get it funded by the company.
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    Sup fellow Texasbrah, just finishing up my MBA at McCombs in Austin right now. Got one paper left to write and two finals then I'm free and clear. A little about me.

    Undergrad: Also McCombs
    Undergrad Major: Supply Chain Management
    First Career: Procurement for various oilfield companies
    Salary: Peaked at 80k, 10% paycut to 72k when downturn hit in late 2014
    Benefits: 4% 401k match, no pension, no bonus, crappy healthcare
    Upward Mobility: Essentially zero in the medium term, was overpaid for my position and really couldn't bring myself to work hard because there was no short or even intermediate term reward in it, might get 4% raise instead of 3%, whoop de doo

    I absolutely hated my job so going to school was partially for more money and partially because I just needed a life change.

    MBA Major: Corporate Finance/Investment Management
    New Job: Treasury group for an oil major
    New Salary: 110k
    Benefits: 7% 401k match, sweet pension, good healthcare, I would imagine a bonus of 10-20% of my salary but not sure, 20k signing bonus after taxes
    Upward Mobility: High, if you crush it here in your first few years you are likely to get an international assignment that pays a crapton and then come back to a really good position after a couple years

    So all in all I got just over a 50% raise before even counting pension, bonus, better health benefits, and upward mobility. This new job should also be ten times more interesting then ordering machined parts for service companies.

    Things to consider:

    1. How much to you make now, how much does your desired career post-MBA pay?
    2. How much do you enjoy your current career? You are taking a risk that you might get a "better" job that you like less.
    3. What school can you get into? Recruiting opportunities are amazing at a top 10, really good at the next 10-20, and iffier after that. As far as McCombs goes, pretty much everyone that wants to do investment banking gets an internship and an offer for full time if they dont suck, management consulting is more competitive and only about 1/3 of people who want to do it get an internship.
    4. How much do you have saved/how much can family help? My dad paid tuition and I had about 45k saved for living expenses since I hated my career so I was very frugal. Having said that, I wouldn't worry about this much. The salary increase for a normal corp fin job like I got i worth it even if you pay your own way, and the i-bankers get a 60k signing bonus and make over 200k their first year out if you want to go that route.

    I would definitely recommend going if you can get into a top 20 school and you aren't happy with your current career. I am much more content with my station in life than I was two years ago. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Edit: Didn't even talk about the experience. It was a great two years. Lots of smart, like minded people all in the same place in a college campus environment. Lots of partying but everyone is mature and generally positive so it's really fun. I hear the top schools can be mroe cutthroat and have a lot of overly career minded douches. McCombs (and I think other second tier schools) was extremely cooperative and collegial at all times.
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  7. #7
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    Finished mine about 1.5 years ago. Its definitely a lot of work juggling it with a full-time job, but Im happy I did it. For me, it was a long-term play to position myself for higher level management positions in the future. Having an MBA will help you stand out from others who dont.

    Like others have said, debt is a big consideration if your company isnt paying for it. Mine covered about 80% of it, so the money wasnt a concern for me. In fact, I saw it is a big value - basically a benefit that added to my total compensation.

    I also considered doing an MBA right after finishing undergrad, so it was also a personal goal for me. Aside from the professional doors it can open, I found it personally fulfilling to accomplish my goal. I found a lot of the content, especially larger projects and case studies, to be interesting, so it wasnt a terrible way to spend my time.

    But yeah, GMATs absolutely suck. Give yourself a lot of time to prep and learn how to take the test. I was on a short timeline to take it, so I definitely could have done better with more preparation.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by texansfankillme View Post
    Sup fellow Texasbrah, just finishing up my MBA at McCombs in Austin right now. Got one paper left to write and two finals then I'm free and clear. A little about me.

    Undergrad: Also McCombs
    Undergrad Major: Supply Chain Management
    First Career: Procurement for various oilfield companies
    Salary: Peaked at 80k, 10% paycut to 72k when downturn hit in late 2014
    Benefits: 4% 401k match, no pension, no bonus, crappy healthcare
    Upward Mobility: Essentially zero in the medium term, was overpaid for my position and really couldn't bring myself to work hard because there was no short or even intermediate term reward in it, might get 4% raise instead of 3%, whoop de doo

    I absolutely hated my job so going to school was partially for more money and partially because I just needed a life change.

    MBA Major: Corporate Finance/Investment Management
    New Job: Treasury group for an oil major
    New Salary: 110k
    Benefits: 7% 401k match, sweet pension, good healthcare, I would imagine a bonus of 10-20% of my salary but not sure, 20k signing bonus after taxes
    Upward Mobility: High, if you crush it here in your first few years you are likely to get an international assignment that pays a crapton and then come back to a really good position after a couple years

    So all in all I got just over a 50% raise before even counting pension, bonus, better health benefits, and upward mobility. This new job should also be ten times more interesting then ordering machined parts for service companies.

    Things to consider:

    1. How much to you make now, how much does your desired career post-MBA pay?
    2. How much do you enjoy your current career? You are taking a risk that you might get a "better" job that you like less.
    3. What school can you get into? Recruiting opportunities are amazing at a top 10, really good at the next 10-20, and iffier after that. As far as McCombs goes, pretty much everyone that wants to do investment banking gets an internship and an offer for full time if they dont suck, management consulting is more competitive and only about 1/3 of people who want to do it get an internship.
    4. How much do you have saved/how much can family help? My dad paid tuition and I had about 45k saved for living expenses since I hated my career so I was very frugal. Having said that, I wouldn't worry about this much. The salary increase for a normal corp fin job like I got i worth it even if you pay your own way, and the i-bankers get a 60k signing bonus and make over 200k their first year out if you want to go that route.

    I would definitely recommend going if you can get into a top 20 school and you aren't happy with your current career. I am much more content with my station in life than I was two years ago. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Edit: Didn't even talk about the experience. It was a great two years. Lots of smart, like minded people all in the same place in a college campus environment. Lots of partying but everyone is mature and generally positive so it's really fun. I hear the top schools can be mroe cutthroat and have a lot of overly career minded douches. McCombs (and I think other second tier schools) was extremely cooperative and collegial at all times.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I really do enjoy my current role, but I feel like I'm leaving money on the table, so I've started looking for new opportunities.

    My company will not help pay for an MBA, and pretty much all my savings are in my 401k, and still not enough to cover the cost of an MBA - not sure if it'd be worth adding to my student loan debt to fund it. My brother is in college right now, so I don't expect my folks to help me out financially, nor should they feel obligated to since they already helped me out in undergrad.

    Just out of curiosity, I saw that the average GMAT score for admits to McCombs is 700. Is that pretty accurate? Thanks again!
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by Jhuth13 View Post
    Finished mine about 1.5 years ago. Its definitely a lot of work juggling it with a full-time job, but Im happy I did it. For me, it was a long-term play to position myself for higher level management positions in the future. Having an MBA will help you stand out from others who dont.

    Like others have said, debt is a big consideration if your company isnt paying for it. Mine covered about 80% of it, so the money wasnt a concern for me. In fact, I saw it is a big value - basically a benefit that added to my total compensation.

    I also considered doing an MBA right after finishing undergrad, so it was also a personal goal for me. Aside from the professional doors it can open, I found it personally fulfilling to accomplish my goal. I found a lot of the content, especially larger projects and case studies, to be interesting, so it wasnt a terrible way to spend my time.

    But yeah, GMATs absolutely suck. Give yourself a lot of time to prep and learn how to take the test. I was on a short timeline to take it, so I definitely could have done better with more preparation.
    Thanks bro. What also appeals to me is the networking potential that exists in an MBA program. You have a bunch of like-minded people around the same age who have connections themselves, so I think it'd be a great way to meet people who could possibly hook me up at some point in my career.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by Luc1fer View Post
    Yes. It will be your fastest route to management. The alternative is to shift from an engineering position towards eng manager, get experience and then try to branch upwards. It will take many, many years.

    With an MBA you can get your foot into management more directly. Although in the former case, you might be able to get it funded by the company.
    My pops got his masters in engineering management. He moved from being a supervisor in his 20's to a VP position. It took him 30 years but thats expected. He's in the automobile industry but was never an engineer or anything, strictly just management. Just thought I would chime in as this could be a good option considering your undergrad is engineering.
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    Originally Posted by PeteJonesHTX View Post
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I really do enjoy my current role, but I feel like I'm leaving money on the table, so I've started looking for new opportunities.

    My company will not help pay for an MBA, and pretty much all my savings are in my 401k, and still not enough to cover the cost of an MBA - not sure if it'd be worth adding to my student loan debt to fund it. My brother is in college right now, so I don't expect my folks to help me out financially, nor should they feel obligated to since they already helped me out in undergrad.

    Just out of curiosity, I saw that the average GMAT score for admits to McCombs is 700. Is that pretty accurate? Thanks again!
    Sounds about right, but remember that around half of people are below average. Mine was 740, but I had a pretty lackluster career. I wouldn't worry about taking on debt. Let's say you need 100k in debt at 6.7% interest. That's 6700 in debt service a year. My salary went up 38k which is already well worth it, and if you go management/strategy consulting like you mentioned in the first post, you'll make around 130-140k with 40-50k bonus. 100k in debt is chump change for that, you could pay it off in two years. You could pay it off in one year if you chased the money and did i-banking.

    If you're already an engineer making 100k the line is a little closer, but your salary will still go up by at least 50 if you get a consulting job.
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    From what I gather from WallStreetOasis, worth it if you want to break into the top companies (MBB, Goldman, etc) and do something different than what you're doing now. So going into management makes some sense, but consulting or banking makes better sense.

    Given that you get a top 14-25 MBA and your company help pay for it. And by default if it's a career changer it's the 2 year full time program.

    I have a MBA, albeit not from a top school. I work in healthcare admin / corp finance. It was meh. Bought me my entry but that was about it. Was that or the CPA route but fuk accounting
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    yes it's worth it

    paying for it completely out of pocket though, probably not worth it. Either way, the first step is the GMAT. Have fun boyo Lol
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    Originally Posted by JustAGuy94 View Post
    My pops got his masters in engineering management. He moved from being a supervisor in his 20's to a VP position. It took him 30 years but thats expected. He's in the automobile industry but was never an engineer or anything, strictly just management. Just thought I would chime in as this could be a good option considering your undergrad is engineering.
    I have actually heard about this before. Something to look into for sure. Tbh I wasn't the best engineer at my office lol probably one of the worse ones, but I moved into a new, less technical role with the company a while back and have really enjoyed how much broader my job scope is now (more meetings, more training, more interaction with various departments in the office, have learned a TON about the business that I never had the chance to in engineering, the list goes on).

    Originally Posted by texansfankillme View Post
    Sounds about right, but remember that around half of people are below average. Mine was 740, but I had a pretty lackluster career. I wouldn't worry about taking on debt. Let's say you need 100k in debt at 6.7% interest. That's 6700 in debt service a year. My salary went up 38k which is already well worth it, and if you go management/strategy consulting like you mentioned in the first post, you'll make around 130-140k with 40-50k bonus. 100k in debt is chump change for that, you could pay it off in two years. You could pay it off in one year if you chased the money and did i-banking.

    If you're already an engineer making 100k the line is a little closer, but your salary will still go up by at least 50 if you get a consulting job.
    Damn, 740?? That's pretty fkn good. I'd be shooting for a 700 for sure, but I know I have a lot of studying ahead of me. Luckily my roommate has literally 20+ GMAT prep books that I can use.

    That's a good way of looking at it. I'm only making 64k now after two years with the company, and bonuses have been crappy due to the hardships we've been faced with.
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    Do you intend to stay in the engineering sector? Then an MBA really is a good way to grab attention on the resume and set yourself apart from the other engineers. It will build you towards management as well.

    The one thing that I can't stress enough: Don't place yourself under any kind of financial stress/burden while pursuing it. I got my mba from TCU in Ft. Worth but did it on a part-time basis of evenings and weekends, while still working at the same time.

    It worked out big time for me - went from engineering consulting to working in management in the petrochemical field. However, if I were to do it over again I'd prolly have done UT-Arlington or something similar so as to avoid any debt.
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    Good luck bro
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    Originally Posted by PeteJonesHTX View Post
    So brahs, I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I've been looking for something extra to help push my career to the next level, and I feel like an MBA might be of great benefit to me. I have talked about it with a few people, and they all encouraged me to go for it. I'm an engineer by degree, but I'd prefer not to go down the purely technical route; instead, I'd like to go down the management/business route (high level/BD/strategy).

    My question is, with an MBA being such a huge commitment, would it be worth pursuing? I realize that this is the best time of my life to do it (single, couple years of work experience, etc.), so I would like to make a decision by the end of the year (I realize this is bad timing in terms of enrollment deadlines, but it is what it is).

    Cliffs:
    - OP wants to beef up career/earning potential
    - OP is considering getting an MBA to do so
    - OP unsure whether it's worth the commitment
    - OP needs good advices from his misc brethren
    I am an engineer as well. I have a BSME and MSME.

    The big three in careers are doctor, lawyer, engineer. Engineering, as you know, is the most efficient of the three as you can start earning after 4 years and in many cases you are not required to achieve a professional certification(passing your boards) to begin work. The cons are the upside can be lower than lawyer and doctor.

    You are already working and earning cash. Promotions are not guaranteed with an MBA so how to run a break even? How to judge the $100,000 cost of getting an MBA? You are already working and the completion of an MBA isn't a req't to begin work. The advanced degree is a req't for Doctor/Lawyer.


    So the simple decision making is:

    If your company will pay for MBA and if only cost for you is time, get MBA.
    If your company will not pay for MBA, don't get an MBA.


    I work in a fortune 500 manf company in design engineering. 0% of mgmt. in my dept. of 200 people has an advanced degree. 0% of the next level up has an advanced degree. My director has an MBA.
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    Originally Posted by LurkoLantern View Post
    Do you intend to stay in the engineering sector? Then an MBA really is a good way to grab attention on the resume and set yourself apart from the other engineers. It will build you towards management as well.

    The one thing that I can't stress enough: Don't place yourself under any kind of financial stress/burden while pursuing it. I got my mba from TCU in Ft. Worth but did it on a part-time basis of evenings and weekends, while still working at the same time.

    It worked out big time for me - went from engineering consulting to working in management in the petrochemical field. However, if I were to do it over again I'd prolly have done UT-Arlington or something similar so as to avoid any debt.
    As of right now, I do plan on staying in the engineering sector...but you never know. So would you say that it's better to "settle" for a lower-ranking program to forego the larger debt I would accrue from a top-ranked school?

    Originally Posted by HoustonMiscer View Post
    Good luck bro
    Thanks brah!
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    Originally Posted by starscream606 View Post
    I am an engineer as well. I have a BSME and MSME.

    The big three in careers are doctor, lawyer, engineer. Engineering, as you know, is the most efficient of the three as you can start earning after 4 years and in many cases you are not required to achieve a professional certification(passing your boards) to begin work. The cons are the upside can be lower than lawyer and doctor.

    You are already working and earning cash. Promotions are not guaranteed with an MBA so how to run a break even? How to judge the $100,000 cost of getting an MBA? You are already working and the completion of an MBA isn't a req't to begin work. The advanced degree is a req't for Doctor/Lawyer.


    So the simple decision making is:

    If your company will pay for MBA and if only cost for you is time, get MBA.
    If your company will not pay for MBA, don't get an MBA.


    I work in a fortune 500 manf company in design engineering. 0% of mgmt. in my dept. of 200 people has an advanced degree. 0% of the next level up has an advanced degree. My director has an MBA.
    Thanks for breaking it down, fellow ME brah. My company won't pay for it, but as mentioned I am looking for new employment, so hopefully I can find a company that will help pay.
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    There are only two instances where it's worth it:
    a. You get into a Tier 1 program (Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Sloan, Kellogg, Stanford, Tuck, Ross, Fuqua, etc.)
    b. Your current company is paying for it

    Outside of that you can beef up your skills for free using MOOCs.
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    Originally Posted by PeteJonesHTX View Post
    Thanks for breaking it down, fellow ME brah. My company won't pay for it, but as mentioned I am looking for new employment, so hopefully I can find a company that will help pay.
    Promotions are based on your work xp, if you have a good attitude, if you do good work. Not so much advanced degrees. The people that have advanced degrees get them because they are higher quality people in general; the advanced degree is a filter. How to separate the best people have degrees because only the best people can get the degrees? Were they the best people already before they got the degree?

    On a different topic, if you're looking for new employment now is a great time for you to jump if you're 26. 22 y/os start out according to whatever the HR chart says, $50000/yr .. $65000/yr .. whatever. There is a big jump on the HR chart after 5 years xp which is close to where you are at.
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    Originally Posted by PeteJonesHTX View Post
    As of right now, I do plan on staying in the engineering sector...but you never know. So would you say that it's better to "settle" for a lower-ranking program to forego the larger debt I would accrue from a top-ranked school?



    Thanks brah!
    If you want to stay in engineering and you're just trying to get a the MBA box checked then get your company to pay for a cheap lower tier program. Going back full time is a way to hit reset on your career while getting a pay increase to do it. If you are looking to get into high level business development/strategy, you don't do that from the engineering career path. At your current salary it's a no brainer financially. But if you want to stay engineering/technical, I wouldn't bother.

    If i were you I might go on linkedin and look for people with MBA's who were in engineering previously and ask them for their thoughts on their experience. People assume no one wants to talk to them, but everybody loves talking about themselves.
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    Originally Posted by texansfankillme View Post
    If you want to stay in engineering and you're just trying to get a the MBA box checked then get your company to pay for a cheap lower tier program. Going back full time is a way to hit reset on your career while getting a pay increase to do it. If you are looking to get into high level business development/strategy, you don't do that from the engineering career path. At your current salary it's a no brainer financially. But if you want to stay engineering/technical, I wouldn't bother.

    If i were you I might go on linkedin and look for people with MBA's who were in engineering previously and ask them for their thoughts on their experience. People assume no one wants to talk to them, but everybody loves talking about themselves.
    To amend the bolded part, make sure the program is AACSB accredited. That way at least 75% of the material will be consistent, with the only differences being alumni network and instructor philosophies/experiences.
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    Originally Posted by PeteJonesHTX View Post
    As of right now, I do plan on staying in the engineering sector...but you never know. So would you say that it's better to "settle" for a lower-ranking program to forego the larger debt I would accrue from a top-ranked school?
    YES.
    In the technical sectors, no one cares where your degree is from as long as it's not from an online sorta place. I've worked at (or worked with) engineering companies where the leads would have degrees from UNT in denton, tx, or TWU, while junior members would have Rice or Princeton degrees. Chit, when I was in consulting, the vast majority of people I knew went to Texas Tech.

    If you're going into finance or other sectors, maybe name recognition counts for something. But in my experience in the STEM fields, simply having the degree counts - the place you got it from isn't relevant. I've got $20k left in student loans that I'd much rather spend on models n' bottles.
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    Originally Posted by LurkoLantern View Post
    In the technical sectors, no one cares I've got $20k left in student loans that I'd much rather spend on models n' bottles.
    Step 1. school
    Step 2. pay off debt
    Step 3. pay for sugar babies
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    Originally Posted by texansfankillme View Post
    If you want to stay in engineering and you're just trying to get a the MBA box checked then get your company to pay for a cheap lower tier program. Going back full time is a way to hit reset on your career while getting a pay increase to do it. If you are looking to get into high level business development/strategy, you don't do that from the engineering career path. At your current salary it's a no brainer financially. But if you want to stay engineering/technical, I wouldn't bother.

    If i were you I might go on linkedin and look for people with MBA's who were in engineering previously and ask them for their thoughts on their experience. People assume no one wants to talk to them, but everybody loves talking about themselves.
    I didn't mean that I want to stay in a technical role, more that I would prefer to stay within an organization whose business is based on engineering (construction, oil and gas, etc.). I feel like having an engineering background coupled with a better understanding of business/management would get me far in this type of org.
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    Originally Posted by PeteJonesHTX View Post
    I didn't mean that I want to stay in a technical role, more that I would prefer to stay within an organization whose business is based on engineering (construction, oil and gas, etc.). I feel like having an engineering background coupled with a better understanding of business/management would get me far in this type of org.
    Sure, but the higher up the management chain you go, the less relevant the engineering skills are.
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    Originally Posted by BioDiver View Post
    There are only two instances where it's worth it:
    a. You get into a Tier 1 program (Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Sloan, Kellogg, Stanford, Tuck, Ross, Fuqua, etc.)
    b. Your current company is paying for it

    Outside of that you can beef up your skills for free using MOOCs.
    What's a MOOC?

    Originally Posted by starscream606 View Post
    Promotions are based on your work xp, if you have a good attitude, if you do good work. Not so much advanced degrees. The people that have advanced degrees get them because they are higher quality people in general; the advanced degree is a filter. How to separate the best people have degrees because only the best people can get the degrees? Were they the best people already before they got the degree?

    On a different topic, if you're looking for new employment now is a great time for you to jump if you're 26. 22 y/os start out according to whatever the HR chart says, $50000/yr .. $65000/yr .. whatever. There is a big jump on the HR chart after 5 years xp which is close to where you are at.
    Just over 2 years work experience + an internship. Started working at 24... :/

    Originally Posted by LurkoLantern View Post
    YES.
    In the technical sectors, no one cares where your degree is from as long as it's not from an online sorta place. I've worked at (or worked with) engineering companies where the leads would have degrees from UNT in denton, tx, or TWU, while junior members would have Rice or Princeton degrees. Chit, when I was in consulting, the vast majority of people I knew went to Texas Tech.

    If you're going into finance or other sectors, maybe name recognition counts for something. But in my experience in the STEM fields, simply having the degree counts - the place you got it from isn't relevant. I've got $20k left in student loans that I'd much rather spend on models n' bottles.
    What do you have against Texas Tech, brah? With this in mind, I think University of Houston might be a good option. Would still rather do UT, A&M or Rice, but if the cost-benefit ratio doesn't justify a more prestigious program then I might as well not accumulate unnecessary debt.
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    Originally Posted by Luc1fer View Post
    Sure, but the higher up the management chain you go, the less relevant the engineering skills are.
    I agree, but having that combined skill set - I feel - will enable me to get that far. Obviously I am young, so my assumption could be very wrong...
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    Originally Posted by PeteJonesHTX View Post
    I agree, but having that combined skill set - I feel - will enable me to get that far. Obviously I am young, so my assumption could be very wrong...
    I certainly don't think it's bad to have it. To have an understanding of how software works, competitive threats, pitfalls in engineering projects etc. but you don't need to be a proficient coder.
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