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AKICILJ

So, I'm thinking pretty seriously about going back to school part time and getting an MBA. The eventual goal is to get a fairly well paying job working full time for someone (not freelance).

The part I loved the best about some of my past jobs were learning a fairly complicated system, then making a best match between what the system had to offer and what the customer needed. I enjoy retail sales, but that's not likely to lead to "well paying" work. I like Customer Service, but ... same deal.

Looking over all the options, it seems like Marketing best matches things I love to do with jobs other people are willing to pay for. Cruising through job postings, experience matters (so running my own shop was good, and my decades of time with the book and comic industry is great) but education is also critical. And I haven't been to school since 1981.

Using the web to research school options, Argosy University is an easy commute, offers both classroom and distance learning, and is very upfront about their costs and options. Both UW and Seattle University offer an MBA program, but are less informative about what it covers or how much it costs, although it looks like UW is about twice the cost of Argosy.

My questions for you:
1) Would you think this is a good direction for me to try?
2) Can you point me to a good resource for comparing schools? The Business Week lists (for example) don't seem to break down by physical location much, and neither Argosy or Seattle U is listed at all. I would dislike to put in the time and money only to find that an MBA from my chosen school is disregarded.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
ladyjestocost
May. 17th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
MBA
I know nothing about this at all, but my bet is that a lot of what you want from an MBA school is networking, and the UW is the region's premier school for that sort of thing. Furthermore, everyone knows the UW. Unless the business school is really dreadful, this is probably like buying IBM - nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.

That said, Seattle U is also well-known and respected. I'd also think about calling some of the places with open positions and asking what they're looking for as far as education goes - whether it's just a plot coupon, or if specific schools count.

But again, I know nothing about business school!
beamjockey
May. 17th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
Re: MBA
Wow. Education as plot coupon.

I never thought about it that way before, but it's distressingly logical.
ladyjestocost
May. 17th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
Re: MBA
I'm not really that much of a philistine! It's just that Alice is more interested in the degree as a means to her goal, I think. Therefore she should make sure to collect the right plot coupon.

Do I think liberal arts degrees with no known job future are worth it for themselves? Hell, yes! says the BA+grad school in Art History - a degree with so little in the way of job applicability that it's a joke on NPR.
alicebentley
May. 17th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
Re: MBA
"plot coupon" was a new term for me - but now that I've read more about it, it's a new term for an old friend of a concept.

And yes, I think of the MBA as a ticket to getting through Human Resources rather than an end goal itself. I'm not at all sure that the jobs I would be going for would even need the new-to-me information. However, I bet I will enjoy the experience.
daddy_guido
May. 17th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
Well, since i'm smack in the middle of what you're pondering....

I looked at schools based on name/reputation, and was informed by many people that unless you're going to a "top tier" school, it is unlikely anyone will be impressed by the name alone. So, Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, etc. After that, you're looking for three things.
1. is the school real, and accredited? University of Phoenix degrees are considered a joke. Most "online only" schools are looked down on.
2. Does the school offer a program that covers the focus you want? I looked at Notre Dame, but found out that the program was heavily into finance and analysis, not so much the marketing and human capital management. Though it was a more recognizable name, the Chicago business campus does not carry the prestige of the main school.
3. Does the school have an active alumni network? If you're looking for business relationships down the road, your B-school chums are going to be a top resource. So are the alums from your school.

in general, any degree from an accredited school will carry some punch.
the alum network is almost more important than the school rep.

For example, I'm at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Probably if I were applying for a job in New York or LA no one would have ever heard of the school. In the midwest, however, it's considered a good school, and lots of companies like Abbot, Motorola, CDW, etc send their managers to LFGSM. So, the school carries big weight in the area I plan to be living for the next 20 years or so. I like the smaller classes, they have a balanced curriculum, and a very active alum network (in Chicago)
alicebentley
May. 17th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
From the web view of things, it looks like both Seattle U and the UW have MBA Marketing options, and both have pretty good alumni involvement. Argosy is not listed with the AACSB, which looks to be the big player in accreditation so I'm kinda ruling them out at this point (despite, or because, they are a lot less expensive than the other two).

When it comes time to hunt down the new job, I'm hoping/planning to stay in some phase of the entertainment field - books, comics, anime, movies, etc. But that's quite a bit of time from now.
bedii
May. 17th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
If memory serves, the UW managed to climb into a "ten best" list of Business Schools in the USA several years ago and may even have made it to number one. Beyond that, all I can say is that the architect that designed their building must have had a serious hate on for anyone looking at the outside...
alicebentley
May. 17th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
The UW website mentions major construction and additional classes coming up in 2009 - perhaps adding chaos to the mix right now, but hopeful for the future.

For true architecture love/hate it's hard to beat the hexagonal building at the Chicago Campus of the U of Illinois. I was going to write "the Arts Building", but it had changed purposes twice just in the time I was there, and that was almost thirty years ago.
apostle_of_eris
May. 17th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
How much is this about an MBA, and how much about breaking into marketing?
As a successful business owner, you already have serious real-life credentials for anyone who cares to look.
If this is primarily about breaking into Marketing, lean on everyone you know either in marketing directly or with marketing connections, and ask them how they suggest you try breaking in. All of us here know that as a veteran fan, you are one handshake away from a truly remarkable array of talent and Big Names. For that matter, maybe someone can suggest something which fits your wish list better than marketing. There must be a lot of odd niches out there.
(Sheesh, just ask the attendees at potlatch who they can potentially call to Do Lunch, and you have a good fraction of the foundation of the 21st Century. Ask Kevin Kelly or Stweart Brand for a job. etc.)
isherempress
May. 17th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Well, yes, but...
I think you make a good point -- that personal connections and real-life experiences can be very useful -- but so far, that combination hasn't worked to get Alice into a viable working situation that brings in a reliable, steady paycheck. An advanced degree on top of the connections and experience would, I believe, be enough to tip the balance...

I'm with daddy_guido on this, Alice: go with the school that is accredited, offers coursework in the area in which you'd like to focus, provides name recognition, and has an active alumni network in the region where you want to work. I think that either SU or UW would provide a decent education.

I noticed that Joan Eslinger extended an invitation for me to join her LinkedIn network last year, and I only just got around to accepting it. That invitation was probably Joan's last -- and best -- gift to me, because she connected me to an incredible number of Big Names in Silicon Valley, any one of whom might one day need the services of an independent information professional. And at least now I have a toe wedged in the door...
apostle_of_eris
May. 17th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Well, yes, but...
but so far, that combination hasn't worked to get Alice into a viable working situation
ah -- additional data.
I didn't know that this had already been getting worked on for a while, and re-reading the post, I don't think it's there.
So I'll back off to the (pretty obvious) position that networking and arm-twisting ought to continue in parallel with the academic route.

& I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask everyone for a LinkedIn connection . . .
dizzydava
May. 19th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
In your weighing of options, do find out which school has the best record in placing graduates into new jobs. Some schools do very little to help their grads find work, while others go out of their way.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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