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Journey to my MBA

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The talk with the Wife

One thing I'll never totally get is a wife. Women, I get, but a wife... different story. I thought we talked about my going for my MBA and had agreed to have here 100% support. Turns out, she wanted to have a talk about that 100%. Like many things in life, it came down to having a pretty hard interview with my wife about why MBA and why now, why it's important to me and why I felt that I would benefit from it knowing that I'm already at a management level in my IT career as it is. I joked that my B-school interviews will probably be easy compared to tonights talk. I think the seriousness of it hit her when it put pressure on us financially. She's thinking 2 years of school means lean years. I agree. Thing is, we've been living lean for about 3 years now and frankly she's hoping to not have to. We have no Credit Card debt, no auto loan debt and are just dealing with rent. We have a house in Orange County California that brings in about $400 extra income ( rent minus mortgage and other costs) from out tenant there. We are renting ourselves because we can't afford to buy here. But mostly I think it's that I don't think it's a good investment to buy a home in the heart of Silicon Valley right now. It might go up.. but by how much compared to the doubling in price I experienced in my home in Orange County over the last two years.

Ok so I digressed. Jane isn't too hot on selling the house. Although, doing so would pay for my education and living costs two-three times over. Worst case scenario, we sell the house. First scenario, deferred interest student loans and equity loans.

So today, she finds out for the first time that school is about $30k per year. With living costs, I told her that most MBA grads of top schools come out with 150k to 200k debt as a norm. She was shocked, mordified and had a hard time swallowing the figure. She's thinking, live lean for 3 years or so, move to another state potentially and leaving friends or comfort zone, possibly not finding a good job for herself (She loves her job now) and potentially dealing with kids in the next few years so no extra income... hmmmm She's thinking my husband better be taking this MBA thing as serious as a heart attack, but moreover, that my motivation and confidence of going this direction is really what I really enjoy and benefit from. I say YES big time. Nearly every close friend and co-worker I've ever worked with have all said that the leadership/business track is where I belong and I've always believed it to be true all along anyway. I get juiced up when groups and business runs profitably well. I stay awake at night thinking about strategy, coaching, sales strategies, politics at work, doing things more efficiently and more cost effective all the time. I'm always reading and researching and I'm always open to new ideas from other leaders and from those I lead.

She needs time to let it sink in. Good thing I did a spreadsheet analysis last night to show her I've been doing my homework on this stuff. I created a list of the 21 schools I was most interested in. I documented the average GMAT score, GPA admittance from undergraduate, Cost of education per year, Ranking, Total students enrolled and average 1st year salary of students graduating from these schools.

I think I'm beginning to take the 30 school tier as my goal. Basically, no matter which school I go to I explained to my wife, the costs will be about the same except for in-state California schools. Would the money we invest be better used at a school with statistically better return on my career direction and financial compensation instead of a lower ranked school, where generally this is not the case?

I think a top 30 school is a good justification for the money, effort and sacrifice. Anything less is harder to justify knowing our financial condition and what my wife is willingly supportive of.

This means I have to hit a 700 at a minimum. There's is no longer a question as to my goal for the GMAT. I'm adding some graphs in following blogs to show some graphs I got that show acceptance based on GMAT scores.

I'm going to take the GMAT and see what kind of help I'll need to get to hit the 700 mark if at all necessary.

Oh yeah, about my undergrad situation. The counselor at the student affairs office was out today with a family problem. The staff person she was going to get approval from was also gone as I got a little aggressive in getting another counselor to get involved on this issue to get me to the right people. If the two key people are gone, what can you do? I called UCSC and they wouldn't let me sit in the class without paying and if I did pay, they said that a refund was not available. Refunds were allowed only 7 days before 1st day of class. No partials either.

So, I have the following options.
1) Continue to work with my counselor and undergraduate for approval for the class and see if UCSC will still let me join the class even in the 3rd week.

2) Wait till Fall quarter of a local school and take the class as a part time student and foregoe work. See why my wife is leary about this living lean thing?

I researched various schools in the area today. I found that nobody teaches the class I need over the summer. Only in the Fall 2004 quarter. After looking at the schools in the area, I found the following results:
Hayward University: No summer teaching of course. Fall, yes (Sept 23-Dec 12)
Deanza: Don't teach a class of the caliber that I need.
San Jose State: No summer teaching of course, Fall, yes (Sept-Dec 20)
UC Santa Cruz Main campus: No summer, Fall, yes (Aug-Dec)
Guess I could have checked Stanford, Berkely, UCSF but I figured that UCSC would be pretty reflective of what I'd find elsewhere. Besides applying to them would probably take my whole summer because of the one class. Doesn't seem worth the effort when I need to focus on GMAT.
Looks like I'm screwed if I want to apply to any B-School in the first rounds if I'm not able to get the class approved at UCSC extension.

Stay tuned.... we'll see how tommorrow goes.


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