Which MBA format is better? Full Time MBA vs. Part Time MBA vs. Online MBA.

Which MBA format is better? Full Time MBA vs. Part Time MBA vs. Online MBA.

Being in a business school it has become more clear to me on what MBA offers to an average student. Masters in Business Administration (MBA) offers two important things: Academic education and Networking.  Two primary reasons why one would pursue an MBA are career change and career augmentation. However there are mainly three types of program to chose that you want to pursue: Full time MBA, Part time MBA, and Online MBA.And often a valid question is asked – which MBA is right for me? Full Time or Part Time or Online.

Well this question needs to be answered from different perspective. Let’s take a closer look: Each one of the program types (FT, PT & ON) puts different weights on the amount of each part (education and networking) of the MBA so your decision should be based on which part you think will be more important. Which one you should find more important should be based on the reason you chose an MBA.

A full-time MBA program will probably give you equal parts education and networking. A part-time MBA program will give you more education than networking – probably a 65%/35% split in favor of education. An online MBA program will give you even more education than networking than the part-time program – probably a 30%/70% split.

According to me, Full-time programs always offer “better” than part-time and online programs simply because full-time means you’re 100% immersed in the action. If you want to change your career, you want as much networking as you can get. If you want to augment your career or in other words just go up the ladder without disrupting your career, you’ll want as much education as you can and as little networking as you’ll need (your work is your network in this case). In fact, if education is all you want, save yourself the cash and enroll in the Personal MBA.

Ultimately, it comes down to who you know (networking) and how well you perform when the opportunity is presented to you. All the education in the world – even from higher ranked schools (be it from Harvard or Stanford) won’t help you if you don’t know your stuff – the MBA is not a ticket to free lunch. Remeber there’s no free lunch in the world! In fact, a lot of very rich and successful businessmen and women have no more than a high school diploma.

These are just my views. Please feel free to share yours!


MBA Salary Trends: by region, by demand, by function!

I came across an excellent blog post last week on MBA salary trends and I couldn’t resist myself from putting it here for all the perspective students!

In this article we plan to look at post-MBA salaries across various industries and sectors. Naturally, these depend on the number of years of work experience, the pre-MBA profile, how well defined are the aims of the candidate and the list goes on and on and on. In fact a company called Wetfeet publishes insider guides to dream companies like Mckinsey, BCG and Booz Allen Hamilton, just to give prospective hires a flavor of what they would be grilled on in at the interview. Enough said. Hence this article will be a summary of the various salaries offered to post MBA students, with a little comment here and there from yours truly.

All data are pertinent to the year(s) 2006-7.

Salaries by Region

Almost all MBA schools give an analysis of their salaries by region. There are six major “regions” in which most schools choose to divide their data. Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Canada and the United States. They choose to leave out the entire continent of Africa and we would have been more satisfied had Asia Pacific included Australia and be labeled as Oceania. Surprisingly the middle east is left out too. Not much can be done about it anyways.

We could (instead of comparing salaries globally) compare salaries within one country region wise, e.g in the USA we could compare salaries among various regions as North East, Middle Atlantic, Midwest, South, South West and West. However even in a big country like USA, the local difference in starting post-MBA salaries is less than 2%.

After consulting various surveys and school reports an average estimation of the various salaries offered to post MBA students, region wise, is :

MBA Salary By Region

MBA Salary By Region

A point to be noted is that the above graph represents only the salaries and not the bonuses. To include the bonuses is not so simple. It depends on a number of factors like individual performance, functional area, sector, industry and so on. On wall street you might even end up with an annual bonus of half a million dollars (before 2008!!!) Hence bonuses are excluded due to the diverse and varied fluctuations in the same.
So, the regions of Western Europe and US offer among the highest salaries, and Asia Pacific among the lowest. Why? And what is the downside, if any?

A peek at the living expenses in these regions is the key to understanding the difference. In a country like UK, the expenses per month, for an average living is £1000 (US$ 1975). While in a country like India, you might have a comfortable living at INR 30,000 expense (US$ 700). Hence, the more developed the country, the more expensive is the living, and hence the higher are the salaries that MBAs command in these regions. The downside? Well, comfortable is a relative term. For me comfortable could be a log cabin in Canada, for you it might be a suite Burj-Al-Arab. Since this is an article on salaries and not individual tastes, we shall dispense with the formalities and keep the personal tastes to each his/her own.

Salaries by Demand (!?)

To put it simply, the more is the demand for MBAs in any region/function the more will be the salaries they command. The greater is the number of jobs that a country can generate the more will be the competition and hence the salaries will rise. On the other hand, the more people spend the more jobs will they generate.

An average picture of demand for MBAs all over the six major regions is:

MBA Demand By Region

MBA Demand By Region

Hence, as we can see, the US generates maximum number of jobs (followed closely by Western Europe) and hence the highest demand for MBAs, who in turn command higher salaries.

Salaries by Function

Consulting or IB? That is the question. A major factor deciding your salary post MBA would be the sector you are interested in. Not to say that some sectors are better than others, but simply that some have a higher inherent growth rate than others. A descriptive representation of the salaries commanded by MBAs in different functions is: (Note: Things have changed significantly since September 2008, high paying jobs such as Investment Banking are few and declining!)

MBA Salary By Function

MBA Salary By Function

This, again, is not exhaustive. It would depend on individual performance, pre-MBA salary, skills and other factors – some of them known to us, some not.

A region and sector wise comparison for US and Western Europe shows that in any particular sector the corresponding salaries in US are higher than those in W.Europe.

Local Analysis

In the first section we saw a global REGION analysis. However to get a closer picture lets see the salaries offered by companies according to the country the company is based in. We will leave the US and Canada as is.

MBA Salary By Country

MBA Salary By Country

The USA still leads, followed by UK as a close second. It would be interesting to see if this remains after the present economic downturn

Using the graphs

We can use the two graphs, Salaries by region and Salaries by country to our advantage to get a picture of comparison of salaries, cross-function and cross-country.

We will simply average the two figures.

Lets say I want a job in the Healthcare Sector in India. From the first graph the figure for healthcare is $87K and the figure for India is $22K. We add these and get $109K. Now we halve it (seems a good way to take average comparisons). So in the healthcare industry, after an international MBA one would be looking at a salary of $54500 in India. In the Indian currency this is about 23 Lakh rupees. Decent enough. However if the same person gets a healthcare job in Singapore, the salary one could expect to look at would be ($87K+$55K)/2 = $71K. The same job in UK would fetch $92K and so on. Try it, its pretty close!

This article, although not exhaustive, does present an accurate picture of salary figures post an international MBA. Moreover, its fun to actually see the average figures in the graphs for your own function/region/country. Feel free to comment!



Too many MBA Rankings 2009- Part 2

About year and half ago I wrote a blog getting confused on too many MBA rankings. That was before getting into school. Now, after spending over 5 months at UCLA Anderson I am still confused with the MBA rankings. Sure, I would love to see my school up on the MBA rankings however every MBA ranking conveniently has its own metrics and sometimes compares apple to oranges.

For example, FT Rankings 2009 puts Indian School of Business ahead of many US B-schools. However ISB is a one year program whereas majority of US B-school are full time 2 years MBA program.  Obviously ISB grads make more money because they investment into MBA compared to those who study at US B-school is significantly less and hence the % increase in their post MBA salary compared to pre MBA salary is comparatively higher.

In addition, the size of school also matters in MBA Rankings. The big schools probably have large alumni network and hence large endowment fund. Whereas small schools have smaller alumni network and hence endowment fund. Having access to large endowment fund makes more funds to the students as financial aid (and hence probably a better show on MBA Rankings). Now this is debatable and similarly many other things are. I will cut short and put links to different MBA rankings below for easy access. Hopefully it will be useful to many prospective students.

BusinessWeek Rankings 2009 – http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/rankings/index.html

Financial Times FT Rankings 2009 – http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-rankings

WSJ Rankings – http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/MB_07_Scoreboard.pdf

Top MBA Rankings – http://www.topmba.com/research/global_200_business_schools/top_business_schools_2009/north_america/

US News Rankings – http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/grad/mba/search

Forbes Rankings – http://www.forbes.com/2007/08/16/best-business-schools-biz-07mba_cz_kb_0816bschool_land.html


Five Years to B-School: Do you really need to spend 5 years before getting into b school? V/s Are 5 years enough to get ready for b school?

Recently I came across the article series from Business Week titled as “Five Years to B-School”. Being in Business School right now and seen the fellow students around me I ponder on this question.  “Do you really need to spend 5 years before getting into b school? V/s Are 5 years enough to get ready for b school?” The article interestingly summerize the journey as below:

By the end of Year One, you had launched your career and found a mentor. In Year Two, you began taking on more responsibility at the office and in your extracurricular activities. Year Three brought a promotion or a move to another company. You made your mark on the job and started preparing for the application process in Year Four. Wrap things up at work in a way that leaves you in the good graces of your former employer, find a way to explain why you’re a good fit for the schools on your short list and completed your applications and start to live—and feel—like a student again by Year Five.

For me the last sentence is most close to the truth – live like a student on a thin budget and spend every week to “strategize” how you will find your next “dream” job. :) Although I may or may not agree to many points suggested in this series this series is still very informative to those who are planning to apply over next few years.

Here’s summary each year’s plan from the article.

By the End of Year One…

You should have:

• Begun developing your skill set

• Found a few mentors who have given you a better idea about the jobs you might like to do in the future

• Found a way to translate your passions into a couple of activities in which you’d really liked to get involved

• Decided how you can make an impact at the office and in those extracurricular activities and start implementing a plan of action to do just that

• Kept your mind on business by reading relevant books and articles

• Made a decision about when you’d like to take the GMAT

• Started building a satisfying, well-rounded life and career.

By the End of Year Two…

You should have:

• Shown progress in your career

• Received a promotion or taken on a project or assignment that had you in a leadership role

• Started thinking about your next career move

• Taken on more responsibility for your relationship with your mentors and built an even larger network of professional contacts

• Demonstrated initiative in one of your extracurricular activities and continued to pursue your passions whatever they may be

• Worked on any weaknesses in your academic record

• Gained either exposure or experience internationally

• Begun to save money to finance your education


You should have:

• Either been promoted where you’ve been working or moved to another company to reach the next level in your profession.

• Found someone to mentor while still maintaining relationships with your own mentors and continuing to make contact with superiors who can better inform you about the MBA and various business schools.

• Narrowed down the list of things you’d like to be doing after you complete your MBA.

• Made contact with business schools that interest you.

• Discussed your future with your loved ones and listened to their thoughts about your plans.

• Tightened your finances even more than before in anticipation of paying tuition and going without an income for two years.


You should have:

•Earned recognition on the job and broadened your experiences by taking on new roles or projects

•Narrowed your list of top business schools and thoroughly researched them

•Chosen your recommenders and either talked with them about the MBA in general or your desire to apply, depending on your relationship with each

•Begun taking note of your achievements and demonstrations of leadership in preparation for the essays and the interviews

•Researched the regions of the schools that interest you most to determine the types of jobs available, the cost of living, and the culture for you and your family if you have one

•Started applying for scholarships and any other free money to fund your MBA


You should have:

• Wrapped things up at work in a way that leaves you in the good graces of your former employer

• Become an insider at the MBA programs at the top of your list

• Come up with a clear-cut career path to share with the admissions committees

• Addressed your weaknesses as an applicant in the application

• Found a way to explain why you’re a good fit for the schools on your short list and completed your applications

• Started to live—and feel—like a student again. The MBA is, after all, just around the corner

Having looked at the fellow students around I believe the time period to be ready for a B School vary significantly from candidates to candidate as well as what you need to do (or can do) in each of those five years also vary significantly depending on the industry you’re coming from. I am sure many of you who have already passed out from B School or are currently in B School have different thoughts. I would welcome any comments!


Article Source: BusinessWeek

Back to blogging…


I can’t believe it’s been over 6 months that I havent returned to my blog. I guess I was too busy with getting adjusted to new country, new culture, new people (and add few more words with a prefix new!). However I think it’s time to be back here and shout out some thoughts! For those who might be wondering which new world I am referring to I would restate that I am currently at UCLA Anderson pursuing my full time MBA.

Every year, many students from India work hard to get into US business school and I just went through the process. (It almost looks like yesterday when I think of my application process) So, I would love to answer any questions/concerns regarding application, interview, essays, visas, finance, student loan that prospective applicants/students have. Please feel free to post your questions here and I would try to get back to them as soon as I can.

Until next time…


A long debrief – UCLA Anderson it is finally!

How are you all doing?

I received a few emails asking about updates however I didn’t have any exciting update to share so I didn’t reply. Here’s my update:

Dec 19th, 2007, 3:00pm IST – last chatted with Shirish (a fellow applicant from this Google group(GMAT_May2007). We were “hoping” for an admit from either Chicago or Wharton. We left on an optimistic note!

Dec 19th, 2007, 8:00 pm IST – received a ding from Chicago

Dec 20th, 2007, 8:00 pm IST – waitlisted from Wharton

I hadn’t received invitation from any other schools that I applied in Round 1(or in some cases November round) till that point of time. I never thought I would be applying to any school in January round and I was not prepared at all. I was quite anxious. I was very short of time if I had to apply in Round 2 because the deadlines were around January 2nd/3rd. So I had less than 2 weeks to prepare apps from scratch.

I went through all the remaining schools and zeroed on 4 schools: UCLA (Jan 2), Ross (Jan 3), NYU (Jan 15) and Haas (Jan 31). I had done some basic research done for all except NYU but nothing in depth to create winning essays. Someone how I managed to submit my essays for UCLA Anderson & Ross

On January 3rd I received interview invitation from Cornell. I was excited and tried to do my best for preparation for an alumni interview in Mumbai. Among all this I dropped idea to apply for NYU as it was getting too difficult to concentrate on an interview plus 2 applications (NYU & Haas).

Cornell interview was not less than a horrible experience. The guy was into FMCG sector and had no clue (or appreciation) about what I do/or have done. I pretty much knew the outcome and that’s what I received after a week – a ding. Cornell system doesn’t even notify you by email that you’re rejected!

I focused on Haas app. According to me it is/was my best application of the year. I submitted the app on Jan 31st and then completely focused on my current job lowering my expectations to “nothing” from B schools.

I didn’t receive any notification or invitation from any of the 3 schools (Anderson, Ross, Haas) by March 10th. On March 15th I received the very familiar ding from Ross without interview! Now I had almost lost all hopes as UCLA decision deadline was March 28th. With less than 2 weeks to go another ding was expected.

On March 17th after a really busy day I saw an email inbox stating from UCLA Anderson. I told myself – “here it comes, another ding”. Now I had become very indifferent to dings so I just opened the email. It said “we liked your application on paper and want to one of our representative to meet you!” In all this negative feeling I forgot I could have seen the subject which read “UCLA Anderson MBA interview invitation”. I didn’t know whether to be happy or not because I had 3 interviews prior without any fruitful results.

I contacted admission office asking when I can schedule the interview since the decision deadline was March 28th. They said “you can schedule interview by 31st March. In this case you will receive your decision a ‘little’ late”. I scheduled my interview on March 31st in Mumbai. Till now I didn’t count how much I had spent in my aspirations for MBA in terms of application fees and flight expense. But now I had started counting. But just as an impulsive gambler can not stop himself from gambling I decided to spend another few thousands for flight to Mumbai.

March 26th: Wharton decided to release its decisions a day in advance. For some it brought good news. For some it didn’t. I belonged to the 2nd category – another ding.

March 31st went in a flash. My flight reached Mumbai on 4:30pm. I was in my interviewer’s office by 5:15pm; interview started on 5:30pm and by 6:00pm I was out. The interviewer asked all the questions which created doubts – “why UCLA over Haas/Stan/MIT”, “+ves of UCLA & -ves of UCLA”, “What subjects!”. Overall conversation didn’t last too long because my interviewer had another meeting to attend. But he was very courteous enough to apologize for a “rushed” job. I told myself “a rushed job is going decide how tough I would be in future!”

Just before interview I had received an email from UCLA that they never received my transcript & certificate copy which I had already sent in January. This time I sent the copy with one of my friend who was returning to CA on March 31st. I got an acknowledgement on April 3rd that they received my docs.

Another wait had begun – this time it was for outcome of UCLA & hoping for an interview invite from Haas. I scheduled a family vacation from April 11 to April 16. On April 11 early morning (4:30am) just before sitting in car I checked my emails. To my surprise I had received an invitation from Haas. I couldn’t believe myself as Haas deadline was on April 30 and getting invite from Haas was next to impossible because they declared openly that their spots were almost filled…

I was going on vacation so I can’t schedule my interview anytime soon. I was given the deadline to complete the interview by April 26th. My interviewer was a “busy” person in his business (later on I found out that he joined his family business just 8 months back and was still finding out what his role would/could be!). So the only date available for him to interview was April 26th. I confirmed with Haas and they said they will give me decision as soon as they receive my interview feedback. I again, with a lot of hesitation, booked my flight to Mumbai. Now I was counting how much I would spend on coffee and sandwiches during my journey to Mumbai – Managing Finance you know!

Things went horribly wrong on April 26th . My scheduled flight of 12:15pm got delayed to 3:15pm and my interview had to be rescheduled from 4pm to 6pm. I travelled through whole Mumbai and reached Hilton Hotel by 5:30pm. The interview lasted for about 1 hour 15 minutes. The length of the interview was encouraging. But the questions were unexpected. The first question was “forget about work, resume, goals; tell me what do you in you free time because that’s the most important thing”. At the end of the interview I had no clue what to expect.

April 29 – still I didn’t hear back from UCLA.

April 30, Wednesday: (A) I didn’t hear back from Haas. (B) In response to my one week old email to UCLA I was informed that “A decision is reached and you will be informed later in the day or latest by Friday”

May 1st – no news from Haas.

May 2nd (late Friday night)– (A) I didn’t receive any email from UCLA (B) Haas informed me that they didn’t receive my interview feedback so they will be late.

That was the longest weekend for me. I was in May and I had no clue whether I am going to Bschool or not.

May 5th, Monday: It was exactly 5weeks post my interview with UCLA and more than 2 weeks after my Haas interview. I was on visit to our office in another city. On my way back in company car I checked my personal emails after midnight (I use wireless data card so I can use the internet on the move! I told myself – “what move? I don’t know what will be my next move”). There was an email from UCLA.

This time I didn’t make the mistake to ignore the subject and it helped too. The subject said “Congratulation from UCLA”. The hard work and wait was finally paid off. I had received an ‘admit’. I didn’t know how to express joy, who to call as there were other people in the car. For the next 2 hours I waited endlessly to reach my home and break the news to my parents. I reached home 4am. Mom opened the doors. I just hugged her and told her “I am going”. She immediately understood. Moms always seem to know what their children want to say! That night I was very tired but I couldn’t sleep.

May 15th: I was still waiting on Haas to reply. They still didn’t have any decision for me. May 16th: Late night just before I went to bed I received an email from I was waitlisted from Haas as they didn’t have enough spots for this year. I was very disappointed because I really liked that school

May 17th: Early morning, still coming out from Disappointment of last night, I received an email from UCLA. It said “Based on your merit you’re awarded $35,000 fellowship for total 2 years” This amounts to almost half of my tuition fees! I was elated.

May 23rd: I waited for almost a week for Haas but still no decision.

May 30th: Decided to forget about Haas.

So, here are the updates from me till now. I am now waiting for my I20. I received an email a couple of days back from UCLA that my I20 is ready and they will send it very soon. Twists and turns of some of the events in my life in last few months again reminded and reinstated my faith into the famous Rocky lines “It ain’t over till it’s over”

Sincere apologies for such a long email, but it wasn’t easy to comprehend updates over 6 months in just a few sentences. And since it’s not a b school essay I don’t need to worry about its length! I look forward to hearing from others.

Next updates when I get my I20 and Visa date! :)

Done with TOEFL

I wrote my TOEFL today. Overall I think I did well and expect a good score (110+) however I was greatly disappointed by center’s facility.

There were plastic chairs and keyboards with hard keys. 5 PCs were setup on a single table, which allows complete freedom to cheat if one wants to because all candidates receive same questions of one batch. (TOEFL is not adaptive like GMAT so everyone gets same questions!). Luckily the headphones were not so bad but I was asked to sit in place exactly opposite to an open window which caused lot of reflection and was really hard to read in RC. I could hardly complete it! By the way they didnt even offered pens to candidates. I had to use my own pen (luckily I took 2 with me).

I faced extra questions in Listening but overall the difficulty of questions was not more than what you find in official guide. I think TOEFLSIM tests were more difficult in RC and less comprehensible in listening. Oh I forgot – you really have to speak loudly to make sure your response is recorded properly. Don’t be shy; just shout out loud! Writing was easy (especially after GMAT essays!)

Overall a much easier test compared to GMAT! My advice would be to take 2 practice tests before actual exam and taking lot of notes on lectures/passages during exam. This can help you tremendously. I will post links and other resources for TOEFL on blog later…

I am going back to continue work on my HBS app…

Posted in TOEFL. Tags: . 4 Comments »

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.