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Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:42 am
by rdmayo21
I will be graduating from undergraduate in electrical engineering in May. Recently, someone informed me about this opportunity: http://www.memphis.edu/cdmba/. Do you think doing something like this would be a smart decision? I have one year of work experience and live in Tennessee.

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:49 am
by NYBoglehead
You need to do a cost-benefit analysis on this. What will this degree provide. Is shelling out X number of dollars upfront going to produce a return on this investment?

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:01 am
by rdmayo21
NYBoglehead wrote:You need to do a cost-benefit analysis on this. What will this degree provide. Is shelling out X number of dollars upfront going to produce a return on this investment?
The program is fully-paid, so there's no cost. Here are some of the program features:

-Fully-paid tuition, all books, a laptop computer, and a generous stipend of $36,000.
-Internships with FedEx throughout the 21-month period of the program with 10-hour work weeks during the semesters and 40-hour work weeks in the summer between years 1 and 2.
-Full-time employment upon successful completion of the degree and internship (required 2-year job commitment).

So, I guess I should be evaluating whether or not the time commitment required for the MBA would be better spent doing a full-time job?

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:04 am
by NYBoglehead
Wow, that sounds like an awesome deal. I guess the time commitment is the only thing needing evaluation in that case.

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:07 am
by nisiprius
I guess I should be evaluating whether or not the time commitment required for the MBA would be better spent doing a full-time job?
No, I think you should be evaluating whether you want to have an MBA degree.
  • Is this subject material that you find fascinating?
  • Have you been reading popular books about it for pleasure?
  • Do you often say "I wish I had an MBA?"
  • Have you been made uncomfortable for a good long while by not knowing it?*
If you don't love the material, you aren't really going to learn it well, and however effective it is in dazzling someone who reads your résumé, if you don't really know the material well, it isn't really going to make you more effective in your job.

Also, not to put too fine a point on it, it sounds as if this program is pretty closely connected to the Memphis-based corporations that sponsor it, and might be most appropriate if you know which corporations those are, and already know that you're interested in working there.

*"Never learn anything until you find you have been made uncomfortable for a good long while by not knowing it; when you find that you have occasion for this or that knowledge, or foresee that you will have occasion for it shortly, the sooner you learn it the better, but till then spend your time in growing bone and muscle; these will be much more useful to you than Latin and Greek, nor will you ever be able to make them if you do not do so now, whereas Latin and Greek can be acquired at any time by those who want them."--Samuel Butler

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:43 am
by cheese_breath
Your undergrad degree will be in EE. How does an MBA fit into your career plans? Are you more interested in a technical or business career path, or still exploring alternatives?

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:10 pm
by Rupert
It's impossible for us to give you good advice on this subject without actually knowing you and knowing what is motivating you to consider this option. That being said, here are some questions to consider: Do you have any background in business at all? For example, did you minor in a business field, such as economics or finance? If you don't have any formal background in business, then why do you think you would be successful in MBA school? I suspect most of your classmates will have undergraduate degrees in business. Also, what sort of personality do you have? Generally speaking (I may be over-generalizing, but I don't think so), business schools cater to extroverted folks who like to work in groups. If you're introverted and hate group projects, then you might be miserable in an MBA program.

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:39 pm
by bradleyEE
In general I wouldn't be overly concerned about pursuing the MBA degree with an engineering undergrad. However, whether you took business classes during your undergrad is a very valid question. If not, there may be some prerequisites that need to be taken which don't fall into the normal degree path. Note also that they prefer 2 years of professional experience for admission. That doesn't mean they won't accept you, just another factor to consider.

As previous posters have suggested, your career aspirations need to be taken into account when evaluating this program. If you want to be on the business side of affairs, upper management, etc then an MBA may very well suit your goals. If, instead, you would prefer technical design it most likely does not align. If your goal is a mix, perhaps a project lead type position, industry experience is going to play a large role as well, so having an MBA and no experience isn't going to automatically qualify you for that type of position. You should also consider that this program will take 2 years to complete, followed by a 2 year commitment to an employer, most likely in a business role. If you would like to pursue a technical career that will take you out of that industry for 4 years.

Another option you can consider is to pursue full time employment. Many employers offer a tuition reimbursement plan, which can vary widely from business to business. You could then pursue an MBA either in a nights/weekends or online format, while at the same time gaining valuable industry experience.

Just some things to consider...

As an FYI, I graduated with my BSEE in May of 2010 with a minor in Business Management. I am currently a little over halfway through my MBA, which was put on hold for a bit with a job change. Had I not changed jobs I would have completed my MBA, at no cost to me, in 2-3 years while working full time.

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:20 pm
by Clearly_Irrational
rdmayo21 wrote:The program is fully-paid, so there's no cost.
Two words: Opportunity Costs

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:25 pm
by stan1
As a fellow engineer, let me offer you my career path. I graduated with a BS in EE. I worked part time during summer and Christmas breaks in engineering-related jobs. Upon graduation I took an engineering job in an organization that had a strong career development model. As a junior engineer I was rotated through several assignments in different departments for the first year. At first I did 100% technical work, but over the course of the next 5 years I slowly shifted to doing about 50% technical and 50% project management. After about 10 years I went to work at a different part of the company (in a different geographic location) and was still doing technical work (architecture, concept initiation, technical reviews) and also getting involved in sales to large customers as well as budgets and corporate engineering and management process development. At this point my employer paid for me to get an executive MBA in a 2 year program (classes met all day on Fridays). After 15 years I was doing program management (leading negotiations with suppliers, sales, budget as well as product development). At the 20 year mark I was in a Vice President role managing 300 separate projects in my organization and am often called on to assist with solving the most challenging technical problems my organization faces.

Throughout my career my technical skills have been invaluable. Engineers learn how to solve problems, and that's a critical skill to have that's of value everywhere in the organization.

My overall recommendation would be to get real, hands-on work experience doing engineering, and then if you decide you like doing management look into getting an MBA full time or part time.

However, with the program you describe I think a key decision criteria would be whether you want to stay in Memphis. If you would likely be working for one of the companies that participates in the program you might as well get the degree while you are doing internships. If your plan is to leave Memphis I'd make the break now.

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:21 am
by ThatGuy
I have no idea how respected they are, but another potential option could be a Western Governors University MBA.
Western Governors University wrote:Another critical source of support is our National Advisory Board (NAB). The NAB is comprised of representatives from prestigious corporations and foundations that provide ongoing support and advice to the university. Current members include:

AT&T
CenturyLink
Dell Computer
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Google
Hewlett-Packard
Hospital Corporation of America
Lumina Foundation
J. Willard and Alice S.
Marriott Foundation
Microsoft
Oracle
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Simmons Media Group
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
SunGard Higher Education
Tenet Healthcare
Wasatch Property Management
Zions Bank

Re: Customer Driven MBA?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:24 pm
by XtremeSki2001
rdmayo21 wrote:Full-time employment upon successful completion of the degree and internship (required 2-year job commitment).
Just be careful as you'll be at the companies disposal. They can change your position, make you transfer, work long hours, etc.