Online MBA - Worth It?

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KandT
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Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by KandT » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:15 pm

My industry is about dried up. I rode it to the end because the money was good (medical sales). I dont enjoy it at all anymore.

Career changes in your 40's are tough but I have always had a huge passion/fascination with sustainable energy. Started when I watched a waterwheel as a kid. I would like to pursue this as a career change.

I want to start with the end in mind but dont know how to go about it.

Would anyone who has successfully made a similar career transition be able to give me some advice?

I am thinking that the MBA gives me the opportunity to make a career transition and the knowledge I need. Quite frankly, I read so much on this subject in my spare time that the MBA will probably be a breeze.

Thank you all!

tj
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by tj » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:26 pm

Will a cheap MBA help you?

That probably depends what you want to do with it. The cheapest online MBA is most likely Georgia Southwest State.

https://www.gsw.edu/academics/schools-a ... ba-program

JBTX
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by JBTX » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:32 pm

Depends on where from. I would say an online for profit MBA is of marginal value.

An MBA is basically a business degree for people who already have another degree. What differentiates some programs are the participants, the interactive experience and networking opportunities.

I'm not sure what getting an MBA does for your goals. What exactly do you want to do at a sustainable energy company?

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Watty
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Watty » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:36 pm

What college degree do you already have?

Topic Author
KandT
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by KandT » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:41 pm

Watty wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:36 pm
What college degree do you already have?
Marketing major and a logistics minor. I have been in medical sales my whole career.

Topic Author
KandT
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by KandT » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:44 pm

JBTX wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:32 pm
Depends on where from. I would say an online for profit MBA is of marginal value.

An MBA is basically a business degree for people who already have another degree. What differentiates some programs are the participants, the interactive experience and networking opportunities.

I'm not sure what getting an MBA does for your goals. What exactly do you want to do at a sustainable energy company?
Ideally, I would like to be out in the field providing solutions on solar and as energy storage comes on line I would like to help take the peaker plant offline. There are many types of energy storage and many solutions an area could implement - basically limitless.

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KandT
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by KandT » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:48 pm

JBTX wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:32 pm
Depends on where from. I would say an online for profit MBA is of marginal value.

An MBA is basically a business degree for people who already have another degree. What differentiates some programs are the participants, the interactive experience and networking opportunities.

I'm not sure what getting an MBA does for your goals. What exactly do you want to do at a sustainable energy company?
So maybe I am lacking in electrical engineering but I dont see me picking that up in an online course. Although I have picked up books and read about battery storage, what's in development and things like micro-inverters and DC optimizers. I have a basic understanding of transporting energy and in the grid. I started with home projects like rewiring an old house I bought (20 years ago) and wired my Tesla plug back to and into the breaker box.

CZjc1330
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by CZjc1330 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:50 pm

Nope, an online MBA would not be worth it. They are cash cows for strapped institutions. In reality most MBAs are a waste of time and money. There is a glut of grads out there who can't get relevant jobs. Too many have been produced. Not enough jobs exist.
Google MBA. The good MBAs are listed, those that lead to professional benefit. There are only SIX programs worth pursuing!! :oops:
I was a university dean for 15 years and a college president for 20 years so I have some first hand knowledge.
Sounds like you have all the experience you need. Just market yourself and give your new profession a whirl.
Good luck!!

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willthrill81
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by willthrill81 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:41 am

Having taught in multiple MBA programs as a professor and being in on many conversations on both sides of the fence, I can tell you that there are only three types of MBA that still have significant added value for a large proportion of those get them: (1) an executive MBA from a solid program, (2) a 'general' MBA from one of the top B-schools, and (3) a specialized MBA.

Executive MBA programs at good B-schools really can improve students' knowledge and skills in the workplace, and networking is a huge benefit as well. Be prepared to cough up at least $70k for a good one.

A general MBA from a top B-school still tends to carry significant weight in many, perhaps even most, industries. Networking is a big feature here as well. The cost can be obscenely high though, easily $200k.

A specialized MBA that focuses on a relatively new, 'hot' area can provide students with both good skills and connections in a niche area, where the connections tend to count the most, and may be valuable to many companies interested in expanding into the new area, although this added value can degrade rather quickly if the industry quickly moves past that area or it becomes saturated with similar graduates.

A general MBA from a typical university is, in my experience, not usually very helpful from a career perspective, although you can find many instances where they were. Mine was useful to me simply because it showed me that I wanted to continue my education in a different direction, and that new direction completely overhauled my career for the better.

YMMV.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Watty
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Watty » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:58 am

KandT wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:15 pm
My industry is about dried up. I rode it to the end because the money was good (medical sales).
Just for brainstorming you might look into opportunities with companies that sell backup power systems to hospitals, medical centers, and doctors offices.

You background with working with the purchasing procedures of places like that would still be valuable which could help you get your foot in the door.

tj
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by tj » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:21 am

JBTX wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:32 pm
Depends on where from. I would say an online for profit MBA is of marginal value.

An MBA is basically a business degree for people who already have another degree. What differentiates some programs are the participants, the interactive experience and networking opportunities.

I'm not sure what getting an MBA does for your goals. What exactly do you want to do at a sustainable energy company?
Georgia Southwest State, the cheapest online MBA that I know about, isn't for profit. It's a public university part of the University of Georgia.

Stick5vw
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Stick5vw » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:19 am

What online program are you looking at?

There are tons of one-off online MBA courses available and the content is pretty good. For example, Harvard has a bunch of online courses if brand name is important to you (Google “HBS online”). Many other big name MBAs now have some content online for mass consumption though I don’t think very much of it will be focused in your desired field of Solar energy. You can also look at Coursera.

There are pros and cons. Pros: cheaper; can study at your own pace and fit into your busy schedule. Cons: some may prefer a live classroom atmosphere; relatively limited networking opps; some content may be “stale” - once the online lectures are recorded, they may not be updated again for several years.

I’ve never done any MBA classes previously but assume the online classes are slightly less comprehensive as well. Nonetheless having taken a few of these classes I have enjoyed the change of pace and have definitely learned a decent amount. YMMV so be sure to look at the courses available to you.

You might want to also start networking with people in your new field and get some advice on the possible ways you can transition from Medical sales. Are you looking to continue in sales or do you also want to shift away from that as well? The challenge I would see for you is less about having typical MBA knowledge, but rather showing you have some grounding in the technical aspects of solar energy. Maybe there are more specialised courses you can take in that area?

Ddd7651
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Ddd7651 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:55 am

I have seen many specialized MBA programs as mentioned. If you get an MBA with a concentration in "Information Systems or Related Field", that would help distinguish you perhaps. I am not sure what all specializations are out there but check concentrations in your area of study and see if something tailored to that is available.

CZjc1330
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by CZjc1330 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:08 am

Tons of useful information and advice here. Clearly contributors are intelligent, knowledgeable and trying to help. MBA programs were oversold although in the beginning they were worthy of consideration. Many benefitted. Not any more; be careful. If you can't go to one of the excellent schools be very cautious.
I suggest building on your knowledge and strengths. :sharebeer

CZjc1330
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by CZjc1330 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:09 am

Tons of useful information and advice here. Clearly contributors are intelligent, knowledgeable and trying to help. MBA programs were oversold although in the beginning they were worthy of consideration. Many benefitted. Not any more; be careful. If you can't go to one of the excellent schools be very cautious.
I suggest building on your knowledge and strengths. :sharebeer

StandingRock
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by StandingRock » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:14 am

I don't know how an MBA would help with a career in sustainable energy at all. Unless you are just trying to jump into some mid level management job of any kind, which may or may not have anything to do with sustainable energy.

Nowizard
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:21 am

Another, related issue is what type of financial compensation you require. If this is a passion you can indulge without reference to significant compensation, that allows a broader consideration of potential entry points, and an educational program can be chosen from the perspective of an actual job or potential move within a company. Otherwise, an on-line MBA is likely to be more beneficial in terms of personal knowledge than anything else. I do disagree with the comment that there are only six schools that truly benefit, having relatives with both top one/two and top fifteen MBA's, but do agree there is a vast difference between salary and networking as reputations decline. However, there are also tendencies for smaller companies to hire from nearby, university locations. This may be partially due to paying lower salaries and partially to local bias.

Tim

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willthrill81
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by willthrill81 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:51 am

StandingRock wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:14 am
I don't know how an MBA would help with a career in sustainable energy at all. Unless you are just trying to jump into some mid level management job of any kind, which may or may not have anything to do with sustainable energy.
I think that there are a few MBA programs that specialize in sustainability. One of those might be valuable if the program also has very close ties to firms in that area.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

stoptothink
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:29 am

CZjc1330 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:50 pm
Nope, an online MBA would not be worth it. They are cash cows for strapped institutions. In reality most MBAs are a waste of time and money. There is a glut of grads out there who can't get relevant jobs. Too many have been produced. Not enough jobs exist.
Google MBA. The good MBAs are listed, those that lead to professional benefit. There are only SIX programs worth pursuing!! :oops:
I was a university dean for 15 years and a college president for 20 years so I have some first hand knowledge.
Sounds like you have all the experience you need. Just market yourself and give your new profession a whirl.
Good luck!!
I always thought that a top-10 MBA would absolutely be worth it, no questions asked for the networking alone, but one of my best friends is a Wharton grad and he talked my ear off recently about how he thinks it might not have been worth it. Unequivocally he believes the education part was not worth it, and 5yrs out he is discouraged about the doors it opened, but maybe that is because he is still sitting on a substantial pile of school loans? Be interesting to hear what he thinks in 5yrs or so, when those loans are paid off and he should be hitting his peak earning years.

jb1
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by jb1 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:34 am

Sure it might look good, but I think its a waste of money.

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Cyclesafe
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Cyclesafe » Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:11 am

At mid-career a complete waste of effort unless you are in a top specialized program AND already have a relevant / acceptable job waiting for you.

If this isn't the case, match your proven skills set to other possible acceptable opportunities and hustle, hustle, hustle. There is nothing offered in an MBA that work experience and active curiosity doesn't naturally provide. Especially an online MBA. Might even do you damage.
"Plans are useless; planning is indispensable.” - Dwight Eisenhower

HawkeyePierce
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:25 am

IMO, an MBA is only worth the price these days if you go to a top program with the understanding that you're paying for access to a network.

If you're just looking for the knowledge, remember back to Good Will Hunting. Pick up Josh Kaufman's "The Personal MBA" and read through both it and its recommended reading list. You'll save yourself tens of thousands of dollars and won't suffer the opportunity cost of being out of the workforce (though that may not be an issue with an online program).

https://personalmba.com/

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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Boglegrappler » Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:43 am

My perspective on this is some decades old, but I believe it still applies.

I doubt that an online MBA gets you anything.

What you get from high level traditional MBA programs is a general education regarding business thinking and framework, PLUs, the big thing---you get to interview with multiple established companies actually looking to hire people into their management and operating ranks. That is more important than the "networking" you hear discussed.

So, the value of any MBA program is directly related to what organizations will hire you from it, and whether you're interested in those positions. It's really that simple.

I have no idea how someone with an online MBA gets hired.

stoptothink
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:49 am

Boglegrappler wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:43 am
I have no idea how someone with an online MBA gets hired.
I think the only way an online program makes sense is if it is a pre-req for a promotion with your current employer. 2 of my 4 managers are currently doing part-time MBAs (1 executive and 1 online), both partially subsidized by the company and I'll be able to get them an automatic salary bump when they're finished. In that case, you do whatever is cheapest and fastest, for instance https://www.wgu.edu/online-business-deg ... ogram.html .

misterjohnny
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by misterjohnny » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:45 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:49 am
Boglegrappler wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:43 am
I have no idea how someone with an online MBA gets hired.
I think the only way an online program makes sense is if it is a pre-req for a promotion with your current employer. 2 of my 4 managers are currently doing part-time MBAs (1 executive and 1 online), both partially subsidized by the company and I'll be able to get them an automatic salary bump when they're finished. In that case, you do whatever is cheapest and fastest, for instance https://www.wgu.edu/online-business-deg ... ogram.html .
This is correct. The only other time an online MBA can make sense is if you are already in a finance field (lets say Business Management at a large company) and you want to move up in that field (but not at current company). Many big companies do electronic sorting of a applications and resumes where "MBA required" is still a filter. I'm not sure it would work financially unless current employer helps pay for it, but in many cases it is "required" to get past the electronic screener. And it doesn't matter where it is from.

Sconie
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Sconie » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:53 pm

Given your background, skills and aspirations, I'd say that an online MBA would not be worth it.
I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. - Alan Greenspan

khangaroo
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by khangaroo » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:25 pm

As a recent MBA graduate from a general state school, I would highly recommend NOT pursuing an MBA if you're looking to enter a different industry. I did an in-person MBA but I couldn't imagine that effects would be different if it was online. I had my MBA partially paid for by my employer and stayed with the same employer as well.

Several of my classmates were in transition mode and they are still struggling to find jobs in industries that they wanted to transition into e.g., healthcare into supply chain. They thought the MBA would help give them leverage and a resume booster to switch industries but it was definitely not the case.

With that being said, there were some that were successful in switching careers but they got the opportunities because of relationships and connections made in the MBA class. I'm not sure how strong the bonds will be with an online MBA cohort but I would be weary.

I would recommend instead looking at getting a certificate or post-bac degree to get connections within the industry and help get your foot in the door. The things you learn in MBA school could be, phrasing Will Hunting, gotten with a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library. Please don't drop tens of thousands of dollars getting an online MBA, it is not worth it.

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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Camp Shore » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:24 pm

I did an on-line MBA, Webster University. I wanted the challenge of it, I'm glad I did it. It wasn't about a career change for me.

Are you looking for a credential to help get into a new field, or are you more interested in the knowledge you might gain? You might want to consider some courses ( not necessarily from a B school) focused on specific areas you think would help you. I think there are a lot of people who take a few courses but don't intend to finish the degree.

stoptothink
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:49 pm

khangaroo wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:25 pm

The things you learn in MBA school could be, phrasing Will Hunting, gotten with a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library. Please don't drop tens of thousands of dollars getting an online MBA, it is not worth it.
I am pretty sure one my best friends, a Wharton grad, used the exact same quote when my wife asked if he thought his MBA was worth it.

Chrono Triggered
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Chrono Triggered » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:36 pm

Have you considered entrepreneurship instead?

Oakwood42
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Re: Online MBA - Worth It?

Post by Oakwood42 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:43 pm

CZjc1330 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:50 pm
Nope, an online MBA would not be worth it. They are cash cows for strapped institutions. In reality most MBAs are a waste of time and money. There is a glut of grads out there who can't get relevant jobs. Too many have been produced. Not enough jobs exist.
Google MBA. The good MBAs are listed, those that lead to professional benefit. There are only SIX programs worth pursuing!! :oops:
I was a university dean for 15 years and a college president for 20 years so I have some first hand knowledge.
Sounds like you have all the experience you need. Just market yourself and give your new profession a whirl.
Good luck!!
+1

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