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  1. #1

    A question about Duke MBA program

    My best friend got his Degree in electrical engineering at State, back in 2011. He's at a Crossroads in his career, and his boss suggested he go back for his MBA at HIS alma mater which is Duke. Is there anyone who can tell me what he can expect during that time, he's really on the fence about it (time and money wise he's a newly wed and he literally hasn't taken a vacation since he graduated) and some fresh perspectives are something i could bring back to him.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    NC
    Quote Originally Posted by newclasspack View Post
    My best friend got his Degree in electrical engineering at State, back in 2011. He's at a Crossroads in his career, and his boss suggested he go back for his MBA at HIS alma mater which is Duke. Is there anyone who can tell me what he can expect during that time, he's really on the fence about it (time and money wise he's a newly wed and he literally hasn't taken a vacation since he graduated) and some fresh perspectives are something i could bring back to him.
    Honestly? If he can stomach the experience, he'd probably get a similar education and opportunities at a 40% discount in price by going to UNC Kenan-Flagler.

    Full disclosure: I am working on a PhD at UNC in the School of Public Health some years after getting an engineering degree from Duke. The decision was easier for me because (a) there is no School of Public Health at Duke and (b) the in-state cost of the UNC SPH is 10+ times lower than that of a private school. So I fully understand if others' mileage differs in terms of their willingness to go to Chapel Hill. But I can say that going to a graduate program is a VERY different experience than undergraduate. There are/were certainly UNC fans in my program, but a good majority either don't care about UNC or have their own undergrad affiliations. It's not like he'd be on an island at the school. There may even be some State grads in his cohort.

    Now, some may argue that summer internships will effectively reduce the costs of attendance. But even if half of the cost gets covered (and I suspect that is unlikely), that's still a big outlay of money (Duke is ~$60K per year).

    My wife has an MBA, and based on her experiences I think that he'd find he'll still have more family time than he would have compared to his engineering school days. At least during the academic portion of the calendar. Depending upon what type of internship(s) he seeks, the story could change when he's doing those.

    It also depends on what he wants to do with his life. I wouldn't lay down $100K+ if I wasn't sure what I wanted. Business school can be valuable, but if it is a "change for the sake of change" type of thing, I'd look at a career change rather than going into business school without a plan. Obviously plans can change in school, but it's better to have an idea of what you want to get out of the program when you're spending that much money on it. If he has a plan with the program, that's a different story.
    Last edited by CDu; 08-10-2016 at 03:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    The City of Brotherly Love except when it's cold.
    Quote Originally Posted by newclasspack View Post
    My best friend got his Degree in electrical engineering at State, back in 2011. He's at a Crossroads in his career, and his boss suggested he go back for his MBA at HIS alma mater which is Duke. Is there anyone who can tell me what he can expect during that time, he's really on the fence about it (time and money wise he's a newly wed and he literally hasn't taken a vacation since he graduated) and some fresh perspectives are something i could bring back to him.
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Honestly? If he can stomach the experience, he'd probably get a similar education and opportunities at a 40% discount in price by going to UNC Kenan-Flagler.

    It also depends on what he wants to do with his life. I wouldn't lay down $100K+ if I wasn't sure what I wanted. Business school can be valuable, but if it is a "change for the sake of change" type of thing, I'd look at a career change rather than going into business school without a plan. Obviously plans can change in school, but it's better to have an idea of what you want to get out of the program when you're spending that much money on it. If he has a plan with the program, that's a different story.
    It also depends on what he wants to do and where he wants to be. Fuqua has a much stronger national reputation with multinationals and in banking and finance. UNC is fine for working in the Southeast.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    NC
    Quote Originally Posted by 77devil View Post
    It also depends on what he wants to do and where he wants to be. Fuqua has a much stronger national reputation with multinationals and in banking and finance. UNC is fine for working in the Southeast.
    This is very true. The long and short of it is this: think long and hard about what you want to get out of the program. Spending $120K and the foregone earnings due to going back to school is only a good idea if you have a good idea what you will do afterwards.

    If he does, then he should be able to relatively quickly assess whether the degree is worth it. If he doesn't know or have a good idea (which is normal in one's mid-20s), then I would say that now is not the right time to be dropping some serious cash.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Honestly? If he can stomach the experience, he'd probably get a similar education and opportunities at a 40% discount in price by going to UNC Kenan-Flagler.

    Full disclosure: I am working on a PhD at UNC in the School of Public Health some years after getting an engineering degree from Duke. The decision was easier for me because (a) there is no School of Public Health at Duke and (b) the in-state cost of the UNC SPH is 10+ times lower than that of a private school. So I fully understand if others' mileage differs in terms of their willingness to go to Chapel Hill. But I can say that going to a graduate program is a VERY different experience than undergraduate. There are/were certainly UNC fans in my program, but a good majority either don't care about UNC or have their own undergrad affiliations. It's not like he'd be on an island at the school. There may even be some State grads in his cohort.

    Now, some may argue that summer internships will effectively reduce the costs of attendance. But even if half of the cost gets covered (and I suspect that is unlikely), that's still a big outlay of money (Duke is ~$60K per year).

    My wife has an MBA, and based on her experiences I think that he'd find he'll still have more family time than he would have compared to his engineering school days. At least during the academic portion of the calendar. Depending upon what type of internship(s) he seeks, the story could change when he's doing those.

    It also depends on what he wants to do with his life. I wouldn't lay down $100K+ if I wasn't sure what I wanted. Business school can be valuable, but if it is a "change for the sake of change" type of thing, I'd look at a career change rather than going into business school without a plan. Obviously plans can change in school, but it's better to have an idea of what you want to get out of the program when you're spending that much money on it. If he has a plan with the program, that's a different story.
    For full time, sure. But if you're looking at executive programs, UNC is the same cost as Duke ($107K for weekend, $120K for global).

  6. #6
    Full disclosure: I don't have an MBA.

    When I looked at Duke's program, I had missed the window of opportunity.
    What I mean by that is the advertised average salary coming out of Fuqua was significantly less than what I was already making.

    I don't doubt I would have learned a lot, there was no tangible ROI.

    My best friend did his executive MBA at Vanderbilt.
    Between job expectations and school, he averaged 4-5 hours of sleep per night for two years and basically did not see his family during that time.
    He'd say that sacrifice was worth it.

    If you have clear expectations what you need to invest and what you expect in return, it will help the decision making process immensely.

    Some companies offer to pay for an MBA in return for some commitment/loyalty from the individual- like don't leave for 2-4 years after getting the degree.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO
    What do you expect from an MBA? Well, you expect great jobs and wonderful career opportunities. Otherwise, you would stay in the labor force or study something that you truly loved, like religious studies or philosophy (or Old Norse poetry).

    Here is a strong opinion formed over several decades:

    (a) The curriculum is similar at almost all MBA programs, and there are a lot of good profs in college teaching everywhere.

    (b) It's about "networks." First, the fairly formal employer and alumni network that provides access to jobs and career opportunities, not to mention entrepreneurial business ventures when they occur. Second, the network of fellow students, which will follow you the rest of your life. This is also a big deal.

    I had a close relative get an MBA at a large city university. It was a good education, but the school of business had no network whatsoever. She was totally on her own when she graduated. Getting a good deal on an MBA is a bad strategy if the school and degree don't bring huge career opportunities.

    I know a little bit about Fuqua and was impressed when Bloomberg Business Week rated it the number one business school two years ago. The rating, surely controversial at Wharton, Harvard, Kellogg and Stanford, was due to the rep of the grads among employers. Uhhh, this is the Duke reputation for turning out graduates who are really good at teamwork.

    I don't know a darn thing about UNC Kenan, but I would sure want to know where its grads went to work and how many CEOs are Kenan grads.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  8. #8
    I have an MBA from Georgetown, and recruited at Fuqua for several years until my firm (a Dow component) stopped recruiting there a few years back. A couple observations.

    - I really like Fuqua grads, but the school's career services (that worked with recruiters) needed an upgrade. There were logistical issues that shouldn't happen at a school of that caliber (recruiters missing flights because the school couldn't get them a cab, double-booked interview rooms, wrong sized rooms booked for employer presentations, etc.). I was bummed about that because the students pay a lot of money for access to top firms, and that stuff makes a difference. This was several years ago, so things may be much better now.

    - Like most top schools, many of the students will be aiming to go into the "big three" career fields: management consulting, finance (either banking or corporate finance), or brand marketing. I feel like too many MBAs have tunnel vision when it comes to these tracks, and forget stuff like energy, real estate, sales, etc.

    - I went full time (and wound up with the company I interned with over the summer). My salary increase from my pre-MBA salary was 50%, although total comp increase was more like 35-40% because I was receiving large performance bonuses at my previous job.

    - At least when I went, even top MBA programs were giving relatively large merit scholarships, especially for students with high GMAT scores. I had about half of my tuition covered with scholarships.

    - I'm a big fan of full time programs. Truthfully, I enjoyed the MBA experience more than I did my undergrad experience at Duke. I had great classmates, strong profs, and we did a ton of neat activities (consulting projects in South Africa, case competitions at other schools, meals with famous CEOs and political figures, etc.). To me, the cost represented more than just an investment in my career and future earning potential, but buying an experience I would only do once, and really enjoyed.

    - I also enjoyed the exposure to top companies. I received interviews with Nike, Sony, Google, 3m, Miller, Coors, Toyota, IBM, Pepsi, Mars, and several other top brands. For many of these companies, MBA recruiting was the primary way to get in.

    - That said, a lot of the glory years of MBA recruiting are gone. My firm is in New York, and I often meet Fuqua/Georgetown interns from other NY companies. I don't see many booze-cruises or golf outings for interns anymore, even at firms like Goldman.

    - I would say one of the biggest factors in choosing a school is which employers have recruited on-camps there in the past. At least when I attended, schools listed all of that. My FiL teaches at William & Mary's MBA program, and they simply don't get the same recruiters as a school like Darden. Yes, there are plenty of other ways to find your way into a company that doesn't come to campus, but a bunch of top companies sponsoring on-campus events and holding on-campus interviews is generally a good sign the school is doing something right.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Forest Hills, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by Reisen View Post
    I have an MBA from Georgetown, and recruited at Fuqua for several years until my firm (a Dow component) stopped recruiting there a few years back. A couple observations.

    - I really like Fuqua grads, but the school's career services (that worked with recruiters) needed an upgrade. There were logistical issues that shouldn't happen at a school of that caliber (recruiters missing flights because the school couldn't get them a cab, double-booked interview rooms, wrong sized rooms booked for employer presentations, etc.). I was bummed about that because the students pay a lot of money for access to top firms, and that stuff makes a difference. This was several years ago, so things may be much better now.

    - Like most top schools, many of the students will be aiming to go into the "big three" career fields: management consulting, finance (either banking or corporate finance), or brand marketing. I feel like too many MBAs have tunnel vision when it comes to these tracks, and forget stuff like energy, real estate, sales, etc.

    - I went full time (and wound up with the company I interned with over the summer). My salary increase from my pre-MBA salary was 50%, although total comp increase was more like 35-40% because I was receiving large performance bonuses at my previous job.

    - At least when I went, even top MBA programs were giving relatively large merit scholarships, especially for students with high GMAT scores. I had about half of my tuition covered with scholarships.

    - I'm a big fan of full time programs. Truthfully, I enjoyed the MBA experience more than I did my undergrad experience at Duke. I had great classmates, strong profs, and we did a ton of neat activities (consulting projects in South Africa, case competitions at other schools, meals with famous CEOs and political figures, etc.). To me, the cost represented more than just an investment in my career and future earning potential, but buying an experience I would only do once, and really enjoyed.

    - I also enjoyed the exposure to top companies. I received interviews with Nike, Sony, Google, 3m, Miller, Coors, Toyota, IBM, Pepsi, Mars, and several other top brands. For many of these companies, MBA recruiting was the primary way to get in.

    - That said, a lot of the glory years of MBA recruiting are gone. My firm is in New York, and I often meet Fuqua/Georgetown interns from other NY companies. I don't see many booze-cruises or golf outings for interns anymore, even at firms like Goldman.

    - I would say one of the biggest factors in choosing a school is which employers have recruited on-camps there in the past. At least when I attended, schools listed all of that. My FiL teaches at William & Mary's MBA program, and they simply don't get the same recruiters as a school like Darden. Yes, there are plenty of other ways to find your way into a company that doesn't come to campus, but a bunch of top companies sponsoring on-campus events and holding on-campus interviews is generally a good sign the school is doing something right.
    This summary is spot on. I can't speak for Fuqua, but the observations here are accurate, including the focus of most students.

    I have my MBA from Wharton ('77) and went immediately into public accounting with Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte). As you'd expect, I was almost the only one choosing that path. I suffered economically vs those going into consulting or investment banking, but have never looked back. (I retired last year as an audit partner after 38 years with the firm.) I viewed it as a post-graduate degree for someone with far less business experience entering the MBA program than many others.

    As noted by Fuse, companies and firms often offer the MBA as either a benefit or privilege for high performers...with self-amortizing notes to ensure retention for a period of time (e.g., three years).

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