Monday, July 04, 2005

There Is No Turning Back

There is really no turning back once I pay the the 10% deposit to start my MBA at Cambridge. The loan has been approved with conditions, while the results for grants/scholarships will be out soon (keeping fingers crossed, hoping to get a good amount, if not full scholarship). I will also delay my professional exams by a year and maybe more. And I will be having a large liability to service for the next few years (so no big purchases for a while, yup bye bye to that nice looking SUV) and maybe would have to work elsewhere (the Ringgit's weak position may make it impossible for me to stay here).

This path, is a risky one, if without the grants/scholarships. It's almost like betting everything, and putting myself up for a big fight.

And like everything in life, there are no guarantees. And the Cambridge MBA will not guarantee me the career of my choice. I am fully aware that it is just a nice passport to have in the job market, but at the end of the day, it all depends on what I have to offer and what I can give.

I have more or less decided on my career top career choices (yes I want change and put whatever brains I have to better use) I will whittle this down to only 2 sectors by December this year :
1. Management consulting
2. Corporate finance/investment banking
3. Financial services/accounting advisory
4. Non-profit (think World Bank, IMF, etc)

Which is why I am firmer on my choice now. Not too sure, a bit shaky still, but firmer. The reasons are as follows :
1. The sectors recruiting from Cambridge is wider. There are MNCs, industries, consultancies, investment banks, non-profit, financial services, et cetera. What makes it more attractive is, it attracts top consulting firms and investment banks while no such firms (expect for Fidelity) recruit from Thunderbird.
2. ROI is good, expected payback discounted is 3-5 years based on reasonably reliable statistics and personal contacts.
3. Opportunity to work abroad (change of environment) while the Thunderbird option requires a 2 years residency in Malaysia upon graduation, which leaves me with no choice
4. Someone may flame me for this, but the quality of students seem much better in Cambridge compared to Thunderbird. Higher GMAT, more work experience.
5. Access to Cambridge : leadership seminars (world class speakers), resources, debating (yes I want to try, again :P)
6. Smaller classes : only about 100 students per intake compared to 350-400 per intake at Thunderbird (3 intakes a year).
7. The discussion board for Cambridge MBA is lively. And there is continuity from current student to future students via handover of Special Interest Groups, etc. The Thunderbird discussion board has been disappointing, with only things for sale and room for rent mostly.
8. Both schools have an international flavour, so this is even.
9. I think the consulting projects approach in Cambridge is more value-added as I have no prior experience in such things.
10. Cambridge versus Arizona

I know Cambridge isn't a top school, but at the moment, it looks like the better choice. It may seem silly, throwing away a full tuition fee waiver and a prestigious grant (only need to cough up 20-30% of cost) though. Yes, the grant is a world reknowned name, well-known for fostering cultural and academic exchange with many accomplished men and women in its alumni. And Thunderbird is not too bad a school too, and is considered premier for it's international management expertise.

So yes, my current leaning is both ideal and practical. And yes, it seems like it will lead me to the career path I want for the next half decade or so. It comes with financial risk, and some uncertainty and having to move away for a while.

I am close to making a decision. But not yet. There is still some breathing space while I iron out the loan's conditions and agreement. I hope I will do what is right, if there is such a thing.


At July 04, 2005 2:46 pm, Blogger Solbi-wan Kenobi said...

Good points... Good luck to ya, mate!

(and being a UK grad, I'd be the last to flame you on point no.4! LOL)


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