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Old 05-06-2011, 10:26 AM   #1  
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Default MBA to facilitate career change

I'd like to find out if anyone has recently used an MBA to help them make the jump from the flight deck to the business world (I'm interested in social enterprise and strategic mgmt). I've been researching a few part-time programs, but as I talk to more and more students and alumni, I'm starting to realize that the career services offered to part-time students may not be enough for someone who's looking to switch careers. Any opinions on part-time vs. full-time programs and the debt, opportunity costs, etc. associated with each?

Also, have any FOs succesfully navigated the application process to some of the more selective programs? I'm having a hard time integrating quantitative measures into my work experience ("100% pass rate" and "no accidents or incidents" doesn't really seem to cut it)

Any thoughts/opinions /insights appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:50 AM   #2  
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As someone who made the jump from flying to the business world I would caution you to look very carefully at whatever program you choose. The job market being as tight as it is these schools will tell you exactly what you want to hear to get your money. By career services, what specifically can they provide in terms of helping you gain employment? I would make sure the advanced degree will pay off. In my particular field an advanced degree proved to not translate into enough money to make it worth at this point. Steer clear of online degress and make sure to go to a reputable program. Best of luck and avoid debt!!!!!
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:42 AM   #3  
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The schools I'm looking at have good employment stats -- over 90% of 2010 grads employed within 3 months of graduation, and an average total compensation around 120k right out of school. Debt is my biggest question right now. I finally started making enough to put a good dent in my undergrad and flight training debt, so I'd like to get it all paid off before I take out more loans. On the other hand, the opportunity cost for each year I spend sitting in the right seat of an RJ is about 80-90k. It doesn't make a lot of sense to keep slugging it out at such a low wage and delay taking a huge step forward.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:32 AM   #4  
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Not to be skeptical (devils advocate here) but I would want to speak to someone who actually got this $120k a year job. I felt the same way, low wages and the future did not exactly look promising. The opportunity cost only exists if you actually get a job making that much money. The corporate environment has changed quite a bit in the last few years, more with less etc. Many high paying jobs are disappearing and being replaced with lower salaries, I have witnessed this at my current employer. I have 5 people that I know that went to reputable MBA programs and did not start out anywhere near $120k. Average was anywhere between 60-80k depending on the field. In your pricing don't forget to factor in interest charges on your loans.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:39 AM   #5  
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Yeah, I hear what you're saying. I'm not sure where to find aggregate employment data other than the school's own reports. In any case, I made an incorrect assumption when I came up with the 120k -- I added added average salary, average signing bonus, and other guaranteed compensation. But only half of the graduates got signing bonuses and even fewer had additional compensation. Even so, the average salary alone was around 95k. I know nothing is guaranteed, but statistically, it looks like a mistake to to further delay career advancement in order to be debt free. Anyway, thanks for your insight.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:54 PM   #6  
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Sounds like you have a plan, best of luck. You will miss the flying but I doubt you will regret your decision to pursue a new profession. Not to mention a large increase in income.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:12 AM   #7  
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Like anything else, you will make more after you get a few years of experience...this depends on personal motivation and aptitude, which you have to judge for yourself. Best of all, if you change employers you generally stay in your same salary range...as opposed to starting over as a reserve FO on new-hire pay.
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:45 AM   #8  
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Hi Todd,

I agree with Pielut and would caution you to consider only highly regarded institutions. Unless you have previous business/management work experience, you will normally start at a slight disadvantage when compared with your classmates when it's time for job hunting. Having an MBA from a respectable university gives you the credibility you need to compensate your lack of managerial experience.

As for quantifying your accomplishments to fit the applications, you need to get creative. Getting in these schools requires strong sales skills (selling yourself) and having the confidence that you are just as qualified as the next applicant, who has a degree in finance from Wharton and 2 years ibanking experience at Goldman. I'm not sure what your background or GMAT looks like, but to get in the top schools I think you need to create a "storyline" of how your previous accomplishments in the aviation industry give you the transferrable skills that are needed to succeed in the business world.

Having gained admittance to Chicago Booth, Berkeley Haas and Kellogg (part-time) as well as HBS and INSEAD full-time programs, I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to get accepted. Feel free to PM me and I'd be happy to share some insights. I ended up going with one of the part-time programs (yes, I turned down HBS) simply because I wasn't ready to quit flying.

As for compensation, the figure you quoted is certainly common in many industries. In fact, I've seen starting salaries as high as $150-160k, mostly for either ibanking, consulting or some top silicon valley companies (ie. Google). Average is probably close to $110k, although you can't really look at the class average... you need to look at it by industry. I haven't seen anyone going into consulting starting at less than $115-120k (we're talking strictly Big 3s). By the same token, those going into non-profits probably earn less than $90k (yes, as crazy as it sounds, there are folks who are getting an MBA to go into non-profit... which might give away which school I'm attending...)

Having said that, I would caution you against chasing the $$$, or doing the MBA only for the extra income. It would be the same as a flight student who gets into flying only for the travel benefits, or a regional pilot who picks Great Lakes for the fast upgrade. The grass is not always greener on the corporate side and, as you'll learn in your first-year organizational behavior course, money is a very poor motivator so pick something you enjoy!

Best of luck.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:39 PM   #9  
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Thanks Palgia, PM sent. I can understand turning down HBS if one of the other programs aligned more closely with your academic and professional goals -- if you turned them down so that you can maintain a professional flying career, you're a more dedicated aviator than I!

Rick, the lack of career portability in the airlines is a big consideration for me (along with a general lack of control over our own personal career progress).
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Old 10-27-2020, 12:45 PM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palgia841 View Post
Hi Todd,

I agree with Pielut and would caution you to consider only highly regarded institutions. Unless you have previous business/management work experience, you will normally start at a slight disadvantage when compared with your classmates when it's time for job hunting. Having an MBA from a respectable university gives you the credibility you need to compensate your lack of managerial experience.

As for quantifying your accomplishments to fit the applications, you need to get creative. Getting in these schools requires strong sales skills (selling yourself) and having the confidence that you are just as qualified as the next applicant, who has a degree in finance from Wharton and 2 years ibanking experience at Goldman. I'm not sure what your background or GMAT looks like, but to get in the top schools I think you need to create a "storyline" of how your previous accomplishments in the aviation industry give you the transferrable skills that are needed to succeed in the business world.

Having gained admittance to Chicago Booth, Berkeley Haas and Kellogg (part-time) as well as HBS and INSEAD full-time programs, I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to get accepted. Feel free to PM me and I'd be happy to share some insights. I ended up going with one of the part-time programs (yes, I turned down HBS) simply because I wasn't ready to quit flying.

As for compensation, the figure you quoted is certainly common in many industries. In fact, I've seen starting salaries as high as $150-160k, mostly for either ibanking, consulting or some top silicon valley companies (ie. Google). Average is probably close to $110k, although you can't really look at the class average... you need to look at it by industry. I haven't seen anyone going into consulting starting at less than $115-120k (we're talking strictly Big 3s). By the same token, those going into non-profits probably earn less than $90k (yes, as crazy as it sounds, there are folks who are getting an MBA to go into non-profit... which might give away which school I'm attending...)

Having said that, I would caution you against chasing the $$$, or doing the MBA only for the extra income. It would be the same as a flight student who gets into flying only for the travel benefits, or a regional pilot who picks Great Lakes for the fast upgrade. The grass is not always greener on the corporate side and, as you'll learn in your first-year organizational behavior course, money is a very poor motivator so pick something you enjoy!

Best of luck.
Hi palgia,

Could you please send me a PM? I am unable to because I've just joined this forum.

I would greatly appreciate any tips and strategy on getting admitted to top MBA programs. I am an airline pilot with a finance degree set on a permanent career change outside aviation.
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