Why I Want an MBA

I’m a 20 something financial analyst working in Silicon Valley. I started blogging in last year after going through one of the most difficult times in my life. I was laid off from a consulting job at a Big Four firm, my kidneys stopped working, and I nearly lost my health insurance while recovering. Blogging became one of my therapeutic outlets to cope with all of these issues.

I made my decision to go to begin studying for the GMAT and to go to a top business school last spring. My goal: to score above 700 on the GMAT and to get an MBA from one of four schools: Harvard, Wharton, Berkeley’s Haas, or UCLA’s Anderson School. I’m taking the GMAT on Oct. 15th at exactly noon.

Why the MBA and why now?

I now have the time to study for the test. My current job is pretty laid back as I no longer have to bring work home. I basically work nine-to-five and have ample amounts of free time during the day. In May when I began studying for the GMAT I forecast that if I spend 30 minutes a day for two months, I should be prepared to take the test, which by far demands the largest time commitment of applying to business schools. The remainder of the application process could probably be squeezed into a weekend.

My goal is to get into the tech industry. Right now the economy still sucks. The top business schools around the country are achieving job placement rates of around 60%. (I don’t even know how crummy the rates are for lower-tier schools).  But with the top schools in mind, you’re essentially paying $50,000 for two years to get a generalist degree that doesn’t provide a practical skill set.  Not only that, but you’re giving up income that on average is around $70,000 a year for most business school attendees. When you add it all up, and consider that you’re paying $240,000 total just to get a degree, the thought of not landing a job afterwards makes your stomach turn. Looking at the job placement rates today, about 40% of business school grads have stomach flu.

So why am I going to get my MBA?

After getting laid off from work, I made the decision to put my career on hold and focus on improving my healthBut as I’ve sat around in my decent-but-not-so-great job, putting in my regular nine-to-five days (not a single hour more), and not caring about my career path or standing within my company, I had a very profound revelation:

Putting your dreams on hold can drive you insane.

I will never be satisfied with my career until I have the respect and standing of an MBA grad.

With that, I said goodbye to this summer and said hello to the GMAT. After a steady month of work prepping for the test, I felt almost burned out. It’s just so difficult to stay motivated and energized throughout this process. My social life wasn’t that great to begin with, and the GMAT has made it somewhat non-existent.  Going into this, I knew there would be a number of sacrifices, including:

3 Months of My Life – Knowing that my GMAT studying, while intense, would end at some point made it much easier for me to commit and make this one of my goals. That said, I needed to give up 3 months of my life.  Lately, I’ve barely had time to go see movies and have dinner with friends. It’s tough turning down your friends in exchange for working on math problems about triangles and memorizing grammatical idioms.  Even my Xbox has gotten little traction in recent months. Hopefully, I’ll be able to look back at these three months and take solace in the fact that I’ll never have to do this long-term test prep study ever again.

My Career – My focus on work has been slowly deteriorating, as I try to get out by 5 pm every night to allow more time to study.  My taking the GMAT and going to business school is essentially a middle finger to my current job and a promise to myself that I will find something better the next time I play career musical chairs.  While I honestly don’t dislike my job that much, I know I need one with better career potential.

My Hygiene – Don’t worry, I’m still showering regularly.  But my apartment and the inside of my car are definitely a mess.  It’s tough to fit in laundry, dishes, and other chores when you have a pile of GMAT books strewn about your floor and hundreds of OG problems still left to complete.

My Health – Before the GMAT, I often attended classes at the high- end gym my company pays for. I was also playing tennis six hours a week. Now both of those activities have diminished significantly on my schedule. I haven’t picked up my tennis racket in more than a month. My weak tennis game is probably powder puff by now.

This Blog – Blogging and business school are probably my two top passions right now.  The problem is, whenever I blog, I feel like I’m cheating on my GMAT studies and vice versa.  The GMAT obviously takes precedent, so if you notice the quality of my posts going down…

This post is adapted from Random Wok, a blog written by Mako from Silicon Valley. You can read all of his posts at Random Wok.

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