2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

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2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby tryintosave » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:37 pm

As promised, a continuation from this topic: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=109369

In summary, here is my financial situation and current year's savings budget:

Age: 23
Income: ~70k+/year (salary+bonus), another raise coming mid-year (been working fresh out of college a year ago)

401k: ~$20k in various low expenses index funds (maxed pre-tax 401k last year)
Roth IRA: ~$11k in Vanguard funds
HSA: ~$2k in various low expenses index funds (maxed HSA last year but had to use 1k for contacts and some injuries)
I-Bonds: $10k (at 2.2%, emergency fund)
Checking: ~$2k
Paid-off car: ~$30k (admittedly I was trading options during college and was lucky and made it big. No more though)

No debt

Monthly expenses: ~$1,500 * 12 = ~$18,000 ($20,000 with some allowances)
Total Annual Expenses: $20,000

Max pre-tax 401k: $17,500
Max Roth IRA: $5,500
Max HSA: $3,250
Max I-Bonds: $10,000 and another $3,000 from next year's refund
Buff-up emergency fund: $5,000 (Mango 6% savings)
Total Annual Savings: ~$45,000

Total Taxes: ~$8,000 with maxed 401k


MBA financing plan:
Assume I start MBA on Fall 2014 and repeat the same savings budget for 6 months next year.

MBA Cost Over 2 years = ($180,000) all in

Savings:
Projected 401k Balance at Matriculation (assuming very conservative 5% growth) = ($20k + $17.5k + $10k) * 105% = $50,000 (Liquidating over a period of 2 years. With the Lifetime Learning Credit, I could liquidate up to $30k annual income a year tax free) Note that withdrawal used for Higher Education purposes is qualified (e.g. no 10% penalty)
I-Bonds = $10k + $10k + $3k = $24,000 (including a year of interest ~$1,000 tax free for educational purposes)
Sell Car = $25,000 (after adding an extra year of depreciation)
Total Savings for MBA = $99,000

I'm hoping to get some scholarship (hopefully at least 10k a year, which should be very realistic) = $20k

I will also get a month's pay (unused vacation days) = ~$6k (I would liquidate $3k of my paper I-Bonds to compensate for the tax withholding and purchase the bonds back during tax filing time)

Deficit = ($55,000) - I would finance this sum with SoFi student loans (~6% alumni funding for certain schools, 0% origination fee)

Remaining emergency fund:
Roth IRA = $11k+$5.5k+$5.5k = $22,000
I-Bonds = $5k+$1.5k = $6,500
Checking = $2k+$5k+$2.5k = $9,500
Total Remaining Emergency Fund = $38,000

So if I use all my emergency fund, I would only have $17,000 in student loans.


Some caveats about the financing plan:
1. I used a very conservative fellowship/scholarship estimate ($10k/year). There's some chance that I might get more.
2. I also used a very conservative growth for my 401k (5% for the next 18 months, following David Swensen's lazy portfolio: http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Lazy_Portfolios#David_Swensen.27s_lazy_portfolio. I did zero out TIPS since I have I-Bonds and pro-rated the TIPS to stocks and bonds). There's some chance the market might perform better.
3. I did not include income from summer internship between MBA Year 1 and Year 2. This should be around $10k after living cost (income tax free since for the 2nd year I'm only converting $20k from 401k).
4. I also did not include signing bonus (common practice in management consulting) after graduating MBA which is around $20-$30k depending on the firm.

Also, there were some questions about my job. I'm pretty much an Analyst / Associate / Junior Consultant, which is an entry-level management consulting title out-of-college. People like me pretty much do all the grunt work (financial analyses, PPT deck, logistics, meetings, etc). It is very common practice after doing 2-3 years stint to get a MBA and return as a Consultant / Senior Associate. Hence the rationale for my MBA.

Starting salary for Consultant / Senior Associate at MBB (the best 3 consulting firms), Big 4 or Booz Co varies from $120-$130k. So I will be pretty much doubling my salary. Furthermore, as I previously mentioned, there is also around $20-$30k signing bonus, 10-20% performance bonus and retirement contribution / profit sharing. Pretty much pushing the first year out-of-MBA compensation to $180-$200k. I personally think it is still very worth it to get MBA from the top 10 schools. It is indeed incredibly tough to get in but I did graduate from one of the best universities in the nation with a pretty good GPA and have a pretty decent GMAT, so I think I might have some chance.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby Buysider » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:10 pm

Take this piece of advice - your compensation and ability to save money at this point in your career is a small rounding error of where you potentially could be in 10 years. If you go to a top program, your decision on staying in consulting vs. something else will swamp any optimization of your financing decisions of the MBA.

You need to ask yourself if you love consulting, like in you could see yourself doing it in 10 years, when may be you have a family/partner, etc. Most of my friends who went to MBB were out in less than 2 years. Those who had a better idea what they wanted next in life fared better than those who thought they'd make partner in 7 years. There was no correlation on who survived and who was let go other than luck.

If you love consulting, your summer job can potentially pay for your second year, if you're willing to commit early ... me, I'd wait a few more years before applying...
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby JoeJohnson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:22 pm

Are you including car depreciation, insurance, and maintenance in your current monthly expenses?

What are you going to do for health insurance while enrolled?

Edit: Lifetime Learning Credit is worth $2k/year. I'm assuming you would liquidate the 401k in 2015 and 2016? You will have income from work in 2014 and 2016 (presumably), as well as any internship in 2015. Assuming you graduate in spring 2016, you would get a $2k benefit in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Edit again: I wouldn't be comfortable in 50% stocks with a 1.5 year window until school. I wouldn't include 5% growth in the calculation either, but when you're talking about 180k program, it's not material.

Edit 3: State taxes?

Edit 4: MAGI phase out for the learning credit is currently starting at $51,000 and gone at $61,000 single. With a 20-30k signing bonus and any salary after graduation, you would have to work hard to maintain this credit in 2014 and 2016 depending on job and 401k liquidation.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby tryintosave » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:47 pm

Buysider wrote:Take this piece of advice - your compensation and ability to save money at this point in your career is a small rounding error of where you potentially could be in 10 years. If you go to a top program, your decision on staying in consulting vs. something else will swamp any optimization of your financing decisions of the MBA.

You need to ask yourself if you love consulting, like in you could see yourself doing it in 10 years, when may be you have a family/partner, etc. Most of my friends who went to MBB were out in less than 2 years. Those who had a better idea what they wanted next in life fared better than those who thought they'd make partner in 7 years. There was no correlation on who survived and who was let go other than luck.

If you love consulting, your summer job can potentially pay for your second year, if you're willing to commit early ... me, I'd wait a few more years before applying...


I'm aware of the nature of the business. It is exactly why I'm willing to take the grind early when I'm young and single. I'm currently on 100% travel schedule (Mon-Fri on the road), so I'm pretty much used to it. If I start a full-time MBA program next year, I would be 27 when I graduate. I'm not planning to stay longer than 2-3 years in MBB. I'm probably going to move to Corporate or something else and start a family then. The only firm which pays 2nd year MBA's tuition fee is Deloitte.

JoeJohnson wrote:Are you including car depreciation, insurance, and maintenance in your current monthly expenses?

What are you going to do for health insurance while enrolled?

Edit: Lifetime Learning Credit is worth $2k/year. I'm assuming you would liquidate the 401k in 2015 and 2016? You will have income from work in 2014 and 2016 (presumably), as well as any internship in 2015. Assuming you graduate in spring 2016, you would get a $2k benefit in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Edit again: I wouldn't be comfortable in 50% stocks with a 1.5 year window until school. I wouldn't include 5% growth in the calculation either, but when you're talking about 180k program, it's not material.

Edit 3: State taxes?


Current KBB value of car is $30k. I'm assuming 16% depreciation when I sell next year (hence budget says 25k). I prepaid my insurance and I'm still on extended maintenance plan.

The university will offer health insurance while enrolled.

Correct, I will liquidate 401k in 2015 ($30k) and 2016 ($20k). I will have 6 months income in 2014, summer internship income in 2015 and 6 months income in 2016. It might actually be better to liquidate everything in 2015 since I forgot to include signing bonus in 2016's income

Since I'm not sure where I will go for my MBA, I did not include state taxes. I did include it for my savings budget though.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby Watty » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:42 pm

The university will offer health insurance while enrolled.


Most university student plans are junk because they do not cover enough. Read the details carefully.

With the heathcare reform you should be able to buy some insurance after your Cobra runs out but you will need to budget for it.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby KyleAAA » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:48 pm

I think you're over-analyzing it. If you stick with your chosen course at least 3 or 4 years after getting your MBA you'll be able to easily pay off the loan regardless of what you decide to do now. When you have an income that high, you can just save more than the next guy. Getting an extra 1% per year from your investments is going to have much less of an impact to your final wealth as your ability to save large amounts of money.

What exactly is your question?
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby HardKnocker » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:08 pm

Sounds like a no-brainer if you can get into the school you want.
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby Dave76 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:24 pm

The job market is saturated with MBAs. It's not like it was back in the '60s, when there were just 5,000 MBA grads per year. I think the number now is around 500,000 newly minted MBAs per year.

So many schools have turned into diploma mills.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby JoeJohnson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:34 pm

The $180k cost includes your living expenses?

The only other thing I can suggest is to not get too caught up in what you think you will make after graduation based on what you read/hear. All these stats are very situationally dependent based on career path, school, etc. The stats are likely skewed in a ridiculous way as well.

GL
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby tryintosave » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:23 pm

KyleAAA wrote:I think you're over-analyzing it. If you stick with your chosen course at least 3 or 4 years after getting your MBA you'll be able to easily pay off the loan regardless of what you decide to do now. When you have an income that high, you can just save more than the next guy. Getting an extra 1% per year from your investments is going to have much less of an impact to your final wealth as your ability to save large amounts of money.

What exactly is your question?


The question is what people think about my MBA plan. From my other thread, a lot of people were commenting on my MBA plan and I just want to know their rationale.

Dave76 wrote:The job market is saturated with MBAs. It's not like it was back in the '60s, when there were just 5,000 MBA grads per year. I think the number now is around 500,000 newly minted MBAs per year.

So many schools have turned into diploma mills.


Agreed, there are many schools which have turned into diploma mills. However, for this discussion's purposes, let's assume the top 5 (Harvard/Stanford/Wharton/MIT/UofChi) and Yale SOM. I have reasonable basis to believe they are not diploma mills.

JoeJohnson wrote:The $180k cost includes your living expenses?

The only other thing I can suggest is to not get too caught up in what you think you will make after graduation based on what you read/hear. All these stats are very situationally dependent based on career path, school, etc. The stats are likely skewed in a ridiculous way as well.

GL


Correct, $180k is all in. The compensation numbers I mentioned were based on internal firm numbers, friends and other trusted sources.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby zhiwiller » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:27 pm

Dave76 wrote:The job market is saturated with MBAs. It's not like it was back in the '60s, when there were just 5,000 MBA grads per year. I think the number now is around 500,000 newly minted MBAs per year.

So many schools have turned into diploma mills.


In 2008, I lost my job and had no idea what to do with myself. My geographic area was not filled with jobs in my area of expertise. I decided I would go back to school at the local Large Public University and get an MBA while the job situation recovered.I took two semesters of it and then quit. Nothing in it was something that I had not already covered in undergraduate economics, statistics, organizational behavior. Doing case studies is fine, but it is no substitute for practical knowledge. I keep tabs with some of the folks from my cohort and they either have settled for jobs they could have landed anyway with their undergraduate degree or they've gone back to school.

Now, the program I was attending was not a "Top Tier" program, but the general opinion that the "education" part of an MBA is worthless was anecdotally confirmed. The popular opinion I always heard was that an MBA education was about networking with the other people getting an MBA education.

If where you want to work values you having that degree, then that's what you have to do. But wow is $180k expensive. Make sure you are getting 180k worth of value for it.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby marbat » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:52 pm

You're basically me. I've been battling with the MBA question myself recently, and I'm not 100% sure if it's worth it from a purely financial perspective.

Even going from $70K to $140K is not doubling your TAKE HOME, which is what really matters. You aren't paying for business school with salary, you're paying with after-tax money. And the opportunity cost of not working is huge. If you want to go the MBB route, why not apply to MBB now? If you want to end up in a Corporate Strategy role, why not apply to one now? Not saying it's likely, but you can get offers for both without an MBA, coming from a non-MBB consulting firm (I did). It's a lot less appealing to apply for an MBA when my base salary is already over $100K (did not include signing bonus/performance bonuses/retirement contributions/etc. - which are on the same level as the post-MBA ones you mentioned). In the end I think it's still something I want to do even if it isn't financially sound - only you can come to that decision after much thought.

Some additional MBA points:

  • Don't underestimate how hard it is to get into a top business school from a consulting firm without the MBB pedigree.
  • Don't go to a business school ranked lower than 10 on this list. MAYBE stretch it to 15 or 20, but I wouldn't. You'll need to click the link twice for it to work.
  • You won't really learn anything new in an MBA program, especially if your undergrad is business-related. There are 3 reasons to go: 1.) Meeting people, 2.) On-campus recruiting, 3.) Taking a 2-year "vacation" from working.
  • Health insurance may be an issue.
  • On-campus recruiting is brutal. At my current job we got over 500 MBA applications for our ONE summer intern spot. There's a very real possibility you don't get that MBB job coming out of school.

Worry less about how to finance it, and worry more about whether or not to go at all. Someone like you who is motivated, works at a decent consulting firm, and graduated from a strong undergraduate institution will unlikely ever be in financial trouble unless they make truly questionable financial decisions. Taking out loans for a top-tier MBA with the intention of going into MC is not truly questionable. It might not be the optimal route, but it essentially guarantees you will never be in the poorhouse. Personally, I would not be pulling money from my retirement accounts to pay for an MBA - would rather take loans. You'll be glad you had the tax-privileged space later when you're making more money than you know what to do with. Let compounding interest work its magic, and don't bother screwing with your asset allocation (assuming you can get a decent rate on student loans).

edit: Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about business school or careers in general. Although this forum is good for understanding effective investing, people are not necessarily as well-versed about careers in strategy consulting.
Last edited by marbat on Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby Bob's not my name » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:07 pm

JoeJohnson wrote:MAGI phase out for the learning credit is currently starting at $51,000 and gone at $61,000 single
I believe those are the 2011 numbers. The believe the 2013 numbers are $53,000-$63,000.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby stoptothink » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:02 pm

zhiwiller wrote:
Dave76 wrote:The job market is saturated with MBAs. It's not like it was back in the '60s, when there were just 5,000 MBA grads per year. I think the number now is around 500,000 newly minted MBAs per year.

So many schools have turned into diploma mills.


Now, the program I was attending was not a "Top Tier" program, but the general opinion that the "education" part of an MBA is worthless was anecdotally confirmed. The popular opinion I always heard was that an MBA education was about networking with the other people getting an MBA education.

If where you want to work values you having that degree, then that's what you have to do. But wow is $180k expensive. Make sure you are getting 180k worth of value for it.


I can't say that I have first-hand experience, but I do have two close friends who completed their MBA at Stanford and Harvard Business School, both will absolutely echo this sentiment. My best friend starts at Wharton this fall, if it wasn't for the fact that his current employer is footing a large part of the bill and paying him a full-time salary for working part-time(very part-time) while he does it, I don't think he would have even considered it. Knowing dozens of MBAs, I can't say I have ever heard any of them actually say the education part was fullfilling. Many made great connections, but the actual education component?

Personally, there is no way I'd consider an MBA unless an employer was covering the cost. But then again I already have a PhD (from a top program in my field) that realistically hasn't done a lot for my career.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby tryintosave » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:40 pm

marbat wrote:You're basically me. I've been battling with the MBA question myself recently, and I'm not 100% sure if it's worth it from a purely financial perspective.

Even going from $70K to $140K is not doubling your TAKE HOME, which is what really matters. You aren't paying for business school with salary, you're paying with after-tax money. And the opportunity cost of not working is huge. If you want to go the MBB route, why not apply to MBB now? If you want to end up in a Corporate Strategy role, why not apply to one now? Not saying it's likely, but you can get offers for both without an MBA, coming from a non-MBB consulting firm (I did). It's a lot less appealing to apply for an MBA when my base salary is already over $100K (did not include signing bonus/performance bonuses/retirement contributions/etc. - which are on the same level as the post-MBA ones you mentioned). In the end I think it's still something I want to do even if it isn't financially sound - only you can come to that decision after much thought.

Some additional MBA points:

  • Don't underestimate how hard it is to get into a top business school from a consulting firm without the MBB pedigree.
  • Don't go to a business school ranked lower than 10 on this list. MAYBE stretch it to 15 or 20, but I wouldn't. You'll need to click the link twice for it to work.
  • You won't really learn anything new in an MBA program, especially if your undergrad is business-related. There are 3 reasons to go: 1.) Meeting people, 2.) On-campus recruiting, 3.) Taking a 2-year "vacation" from working.
  • Health insurance may be an issue.
  • On-campus recruiting is brutal. At my current job we got over 500 MBA applications for our ONE summer intern spot. There's a very real possibility you don't get that MBB job coming out of school.

Worry less about how to finance it, and worry more about whether or not to go at all. Someone like you who is motivated, works at a decent consulting firm, and graduated from a strong undergraduate institution will unlikely ever be in financial trouble unless they make truly questionable financial decisions. Taking out loans for a top-tier MBA with the intention of going into MC is not truly questionable. It might not be the optimal route, but it essentially guarantees you will never be in the poorhouse. Personally, I would not be pulling money from my retirement accounts to pay for an MBA - would rather take loans. You'll be glad you had the tax-privileged space later when you're making more money than you know what to do with. Let compounding interest work its magic, and don't bother screwing with your asset allocation (assuming you can get a decent rate on student loans).

edit: Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about business school or careers in general. Although this forum is good for understanding effective investing, people are not necessarily as well-versed about careers in strategy consulting.


Thanks for this very helpful advice! It looks like we are indeed very similar. I have a couple of friends in MBBs so hopefully getting an interview should not be that hard. The only reason why I do not want to make a move now is because they told me most of them would have to get MBA (be it for promotion or as a "life goal") at some point in the future, so it makes more sense to get it out of the way now. Of course, if your base salary is over $100k and you're in MBB already, getting a MBA is not as attractive.

The 3 reasons you outlined are exactly why I am going to get my MBA. I believe a MBA's value is to create a strong network of professionals which will carry me well into the future. Especially if I can go get my MBA at one of the top east coast schools (H/W MIT), my alumni network would be very strong. I am also aware of the risk of not getting a MBB job. I do know a couple of managers at the other major non-MBB consulting firms (including mine) which offer similar or slightly lower salary, so I do have a couple of aces up my sleeves.

I personally believe tax-deferred space at my age is very overrated (mostly due to low marginal tax bracket). My rationale is the following:

Right now, my marginal tax bracket is 25%. By maximizing my pre-tax 401k annually and using them for my MBA when I have minimum income, I'm saving 25%*$50,000 = $12.5k in taxes and assuming I wipe out the loan a year after I graduate: 6%*3*$50,000 = ~$7.5k in interest (approximation of amortization schedule). That's around $20k in savings.

vs. $50k invested at 7% annually. After 3 years (the same time period as I wipe out the loan from above), it would become $61k. That is only $11k in gain and the whole thing is still taxable! The $7.5k in student loan interest would wipe out pretty much most of the gain.

Notice also from my financing plan that my Roth IRA remains untouched. Now, I believe that Roth space is very valuable at any age.

As I gain more experience and climb the ladder in the corporate world, it is more likely that my marginal tax bracket will go up rather than down. I understand that the strategy is to withdraw when I retire but let's say I will retire in 40 years. Assuming I max my pre-tax 401k at $17.5k a year, that is equivalent to $700k in contribution. Assuming I live until 88 (25 more years), that is already $28k taxable income a year from contribution only (ignoring any earnings)! Add the taxable portion of social security (if it still even exist) and I will still be taxed at least at the 25% marginal tax bracket (assuming the tax brackets remain the same which is unlikely due to increasing Federal Government deficit. At some point, someone will have to pay for it).

Now if I was a politician, since Bogleheads constitute probably <10% of the nation's population (a very big chunk of the nation's population do not have any retirement at all), it is very favorable for me to devise a wealth transfer mechanism from people with massive retirement to people with little retirement (I would have 90% support). Perhaps tax-free distribution for the first $30k annually then "special" tax rate for anything above it. I would also phase-out the tax-free earnings from Roth IRA depending on the Roth IRA size.

That being said, if I believe I can get a significant savings from liquidating my 401k now, I would do it in a heartbeat.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby Buysider » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:29 pm

Also, check out this website:

http://www.generationtax.com/mbataxdeduction.html

From memory, consulting may be tougher, but about 20-30% of the Americans at my school deducted their tuition. I did, but the value wasn't too much, since my income was low in the middle year and i couldn't shift too much of my tuition payments into the year I graduated.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby skibbi9 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:35 am

Waiting to hear back on my MBA applications (top 12 schools)

You'd be on the young end of MBAs at the upper schools. Do you have a good undergrad? Are you community involved? Have you taken the GMAT yet (if you're a white US male with a traditional backround you're going to need a 680+ for top5 program)

180 seems on the upper end for the 22month budgets but I guess that means you'll be doing every elective trip. We're currently budgeting for about 150k total cost. Will be seeking as much loans as possible, quite a few places after school have interest free loans or loan foregiveness. Should be cheaper to defer the payment in this case.

fit and feel are a big part of the process, you wont get into any of these schools without an interview and on campus visit is also pretty much required.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby holyvatican » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:13 am

tryintosave wrote:I could liquidate up to $30k annual income a year tax free


I think you can only do this for one year.

Don't forget that by the time you quit your job to go to school, you already have a half year's worth of salary - so it will most likely to be taxed at your marginal. The same thing happens to your year 3 withdrawal for the last semester's tuition and living expenses.

skibbi9 wrote: (if you're a white US male with a traditional backround you're going to need a 680+ for top5 program).

at least you are not an asian US male with a traditional background which will require 750+ :(
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby bigred77 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:45 am

A few thoughts I wanted to share...

Understand that a top tier MBA is awsome and is even more valuable to someone like you who wants to do consulting at one of the most prestigious US firms. Understand also that the network and On Campus Recruiting are far and away THE most valuable attributes of attending one of these schools. If you have contacts within MBB already your not getting as much bang for your buck. Also, since you said this in an earlier post "I'm not planning to stay longer than 2-3 years in MBB. I'm probably going to move to Corporate or something else and start a family then" You will almost certainly be worse off (strictly financially speaking) by going top tier.

You're chances of getting in Top Tier will go up dramatically if you wait a year or two longer. if you kill the GMAT and have 4-5 yrs experience it will put you at an advantage. If you have a sub 700 GMAT and only 2-3 yrs experience it will likely be a crapshoot for you. There are TONS of consultants applying every year and you need to find a way to stand out.

If your long term goal is to move into an in-house corporate strategy role (say when your in your early 30s) then you do not need this MBA. You should focus on industries and firms you want to work for and start applying now. If you get and entry level role inhouse at a F500 strategy group (which you will probably be well qualified for in a year or 2) and you see you need an MBA to move up your company will probabaly have programs in place for you to do so on their dime, while also working and gaining additional years of experience, continuing salary, savings, and insurance, etc.

I'll put it this way, which position would you rather be in at 30:

A.) Top tier MBA. Graduated at 27-28. liquidated much of your net worth to pay for it but still had a +20k net worth at graduation. Ended up making 180k at MBB for 2-3 yrs and were able to save 50k per year and your net worth is now 125k - 200k. Your looking to move in house at this point.

B.) Continue your current savings plan of 45k per year for the next 7 years, maybe even increasing it slightly as your salary increases. Go in house in an entry level role at 24-25. Have the company pay for a second tier PT MBA which you graduate from at 29. Get promoted to Senior Strategy Analyst and have the job you say you want at 30. Your networth is hovering around 500k. You are so far and away ahead of your peers its not even funny.

Just food for thought
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby Bob's not my name » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:51 am

holyvatican wrote:
tryintosave wrote:I could liquidate up to $30k annual income a year tax free
I think you can only do this for one year.
I don't believe that's true. Can you cite something?
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby skibbi9 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:48 pm

holyvatican wrote:
tryintosave wrote:
skibbi9 wrote: (if you're a white US male with a traditional backround you're going to need a 680+ for top5 program).

at least you are not an asian US male with a traditional background which will require 750+ :(

I understand your point but once you're over ~720 its all approximately the same. becomes more fit for you, school, the class.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby tryintosave » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:24 pm

Buysider wrote:Also, check out this website:

http://www.generationtax.com/mbataxdeduction.html

From memory, consulting may be tougher, but about 20-30% of the Americans at my school deducted their tuition. I did, but the value wasn't too much, since my income was low in the middle year and i couldn't shift too much of my tuition payments into the year I graduated.


Thanks for the link. Like you said, this is possibly dangerous in my case. The chance of IRS auditing you would increase quite significantly.

skibbi9 wrote:Waiting to hear back on my MBA applications (top 12 schools)

You'd be on the young end of MBAs at the upper schools. Do you have a good undergrad? Are you community involved? Have you taken the GMAT yet (if you're a white US male with a traditional backround you're going to need a 680+ for top5 program)

180 seems on the upper end for the 22month budgets but I guess that means you'll be doing every elective trip. We're currently budgeting for about 150k total cost. Will be seeking as much loans as possible, quite a few places after school have interest free loans or loan foregiveness. Should be cheaper to defer the payment in this case.

fit and feel are a big part of the process, you wont get into any of these schools without an interview and on campus visit is also pretty much required.


Wow, good luck! I think my undergraduate is very good (3.85 GPA from top 5 school in the nation). My ECs are also pretty significant I believe and I do have 730 GMAT. 180k is indeed on the upper end. I like to put buffer in my expenses since I would like to enjoy and savor my MBA experience as much as I can. I think your plan sounds great but be very careful with loan forgiveness program: it's subject to the whim of Congress (i.e. it can be disallowed at any time). I believe there was a loan forgiveness for doctors or something back then which was disallowed due to unsustainable funding. I honestly believe it is more likely than not to happen eventually due to the possibility of widespread federal student loan default akin to the mortgage crisis in the near future.

holyvatican wrote:
tryintosave wrote:I could liquidate up to $30k annual income a year tax free


I think you can only do this for one year.

Don't forget that by the time you quit your job to go to school, you already have a half year's worth of salary - so it will most likely to be taxed at your marginal. The same thing happens to your year 3 withdrawal for the last semester's tuition and living expenses.


Correct, it is only for one year. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and just do the whole $50k in one year (eating the 15% marginal tax).

bigred77 wrote:A few thoughts I wanted to share...

Understand that a top tier MBA is awsome and is even more valuable to someone like you who wants to do consulting at one of the most prestigious US firms. Understand also that the network and On Campus Recruiting are far and away THE most valuable attributes of attending one of these schools. If you have contacts within MBB already your not getting as much bang for your buck. Also, since you said this in an earlier post "I'm not planning to stay longer than 2-3 years in MBB. I'm probably going to move to Corporate or something else and start a family then" You will almost certainly be worse off (strictly financially speaking) by going top tier.


This is a valid point. However, I think having a top MBA distinguishes myself from hundreds of other MBB consultants trying to move to corporate. The alumni strength would also make it easier to branch off to other fields (Private Equity, Venture Capital, etc) in case I get bored in Corporate.

bigred77 wrote:You're chances of getting in Top Tier will go up dramatically if you wait a year or two longer. if you kill the GMAT and have 4-5 yrs experience it will put you at an advantage. If you have a sub 700 GMAT and only 2-3 yrs experience it will likely be a crapshoot for you. There are TONS of consultants applying every year and you need to find a way to stand out.


I have a few unique, distinguishing factors which I cannot share because they can rather easily identify myself. However, some additional information: 730 GMAT, 3.85 GPA from top 5 univ and my company is one of the "feeder" companies to HBS: http://poetsandquants.com/2011/08/15/top-feeder-companies-to-harvard-business-school/2/

bigred77 wrote:I'll put it this way, which position would you rather be in at 30:

A.) Top tier MBA. Graduated at 27-28. liquidated much of your net worth to pay for it but still had a +20k net worth at graduation. Ended up making 180k at MBB for 2-3 yrs and were able to save 50k per year and your net worth is now 125k - 200k. Your looking to move in house at this point.

B.) Continue your current savings plan of 45k per year for the next 7 years, maybe even increasing it slightly as your salary increases. Go in house in an entry level role at 24-25. Have the company pay for a second tier PT MBA which you graduate from at 29. Get promoted to Senior Strategy Analyst and have the job you say you want at 30. Your networth is hovering around 500k. You are so far and away ahead of your peers its not even funny.

Just food for thought


This is a great point! However, to be fair, the savings rate after I graduate and get a job at a top consulting firm should increase significantly:
1. MBB retirement contribution and/or profit sharing = ~15-20% annual salary (my current firm's is laughable)
2. My savings rate would around 1.5x (so ~70k, considering the higher tax rate) if I'm making double my gross.

So I believe my networth will only be ~$50,000-$100,000 behind the situation B. In the long run though, I think having a top MBA will definitely edge out not having it.

Bob's not my name wrote:
holyvatican wrote:
tryintosave wrote:I could liquidate up to $30k annual income a year tax free
I think you can only do this for one year.
I don't believe that's true. Can you cite something?


Here is the calculation:
Ordinary Income = $30,000
Standard Deduction = ($6,500) (2015 forecast number considering COLA)
Personal Exemption = ($4,000) (Again, 2015 forecast number considering COLA)
Capital Loss = ($3,000)

Assuming no deductions, taxable income is $16,500. Then taxes should be around: ($9,500*10%) + ($7,000 * 15%)= $950 + $1,050 = $2,000. Subtract $2,000 due to Lifetime Learning Credit and hence $30k tax free.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch09.html#en_US_2011_publink1000178586 mentions that no 10% tax penalty for qualified higher education withdrawal (it is easy to rollover 401k to Trad. IRA when I quit).

Thanks for the responses everyone! They definitely made me revisit and adjust my MBA plan.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby Bob's not my name » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:56 am

I had a reading problem. I understand what you're saying.
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Re: 2 Years Out of College, MBA Plan

Postby jon-nyc » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:20 am

Just to chime in -

I'm currently a partner at a top strategy firm. Was formerly a partner in Big 6 (as they were in those days), worked for an investment bank in between.

Some comments on some of the advice you've received:

- I agree a top-10 MBA is worth the expense if you want to go consulting and move to corporate strategy at some point. I disagree with the poster who said to skip the degree and start applying for strat roles. You will have a much easier time getting that job with the degree and after a few years of consulting experience. In fact you'll find getting a job offer from a client is pretty easy.

- I disagree with an above poster that you should decide if you love consulting and want to make partner before taking the plunge. In fact, I strongly disagree. THe top tier consulting firms are great places to launch a career in the upper echelons of management. This can be a great path to take even if you never want to make partner or principal.

- I would be wary of getting an MBA from a non-top-10 program unless it was going to be paid for by a current employer.
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