The internet (and newspapers) are flooded right now with articles about making New Year’s resolutions. Some are about money, others focus on continued educations and a ton are about dropping those last 10 pounds that have been hanging around for a year — or five.
Instead of making a stupid goal that I’ll give up on within six weeks, I’m focusing more on crafting a larger life plan. In 2014 I’ll turn 25 and feel it’s the time to decide the big “what’s next?”
Unlike many of my peers I’m not interested in some of the more typical next life steps like moving in with a significant other, getting engaged or making babies. I still have issues letting my roommate use my pots and pans without going, “No, no, no that’s mine!” So it seems as if I’m not ready to share everything in my life with another human who is expected to be sleep in MY room.
Hey, at least I know myself.
You may be wondering what is this “larger life plan” I speak of? Good question. I’m not entirely sure myself. One of the biggest questions I’ve been wrestling with for a few months is: to MBA or not to MBA?
Currently, I hold bachelors degrees in journalism and theatre. Clearly, that makes me the ideal person to listen to when it comes to all things finance! (Yes, please read sarcastically).
You may remember I have a bit of a turbulent relationship with math, which scared me off from majoring in anything that required more than a easy-to-pass math class. As my passion for not only learning about finance but sharing the knowledge continues to grow, I’m trying to figure out how exactly to have the credentials to be a credible source. Ultimately, I’d want to be able to help people as a job not just through my writing.
You wouldn’t go to a doctor just because she decided later in life she wanted to help sick people and read a bunch of books and started a moderately successful blog.
Here is where my simplistic thought process stands with an MBA:
Network (I’ve harped on how important this one really is for a career)
Expanded job opportunities
Potential to avoid a glass ceiling later in my career
I can feel the cogs turning in some of your heads who want to tell me there are ways to cut costs — like online courses or cheaper schools or grad assistantships/residence life work or trade indentured servitude to have a company pay or even instate tuition.
Before I continue, there are a few stipulations to my MBA thoughts. The ROI for an MBA education is clearly highest if you go to top tier and a top 30 program would be my goal. I have the undergrad transcript to be competitive, but would need to have an excellent score on my GMAT. Naturally, this would require a serious dedication to study two to three hours a day for a few months. With a 40+ hour a week job, this blog, freelance work and a social life — something would have to give in order to make room for studying.
I’m not interested in an online program. I also work best with a more traditional (in-person) education. Plus, online would negate a lot of the networking opportunities.
There are state schools (like UNC) with top tier programs and instate tuition, but that would mean moving and living instate for a year before even getting in. Yes, this would be an option but I’d have to make a decision relatively soon and it’s bit of a “put all your eggs in one basket” scenario.
Cost-of-living is another important consideration. Going to a school in New York City would mean continuing to live with an high financial burden, while moving to Durham or Atlanta would more manageable. Then again, I’d have to pay for the cost of moving and buying a car.
Obviously, there are other options. I could look into becoming a CFP (certified financial planner) instead of going back for a costly education that could more about management tactics than how to help people handle their financial assets.
Is your head hurting yet?
This is just a small taste of the mental debates I’ve been having in my head for the past few months which is why I’m using 2014 to truly start crafting out an action plan instead of just resolving to read more and practice Mandarin.
So tell me, what do you think? To MBA or Not to MBA?