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is investment banking good enough for top MBAs?

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Replies to: is investment banking good enough for top MBAs?

  • sakkysakky - Posts: 14,759 Senior Member
    So while I agree that most of the full-timers, such as myself, do not return to engineering, I would suggest that this is at least in part a self-fulfilling prophecy for these self-selected individuals based on their own particular career situations. and does not necessarily suggest any blanket superiority of MBA jobs vs engineering jobs, for all individuals.

    I agree with this, but I would proffer another snippet of data, something that I talked about before. Simply put, a lot of the top engineering students in the world do not want to work as engineers. For example, take the EECS department at MIT, which is the largest and probably most prestigious department at MIT. 25% of the undergrads from MIT EECS will end up not taking engineering jobs, but rather taking jobs in consulting or banking. And that's just talking about those who actually ended up in those jobs. I'm sure there were others in EECS who wanted to get into consulting/banking, but didn't get an offer.

    Hence, what that means is that you have a large subset of the best engineering students in the world (MIT EECS students are indisputably top-notch engineering students) not wanting to work as engineers. Whether we like it or not, it seems to me that, for whatever reason, consulting and banking seem to be offering better opportunities than engineering jobs are. If that were not true, then there would be no reason for the top engineering students to want to take those jobs.

    What I think really needs to happen is that engineering companies need to make engineering jobs more appealing. Either increase salaries, or offer more interesting work, or a better ladder to management, or positions at more better locations, or so forth. You gotta do something. Otherwise, you are going to continue to see the best talent migrating to other fields.

    By no means am I saying that a blanket superiority exists of consulting/banking jobs over engineering. I am well aware that there are some crappy consutling/banking jobs and some excellent engineering jobs. For example, I would rather work as an engineer for Google than as an analyst at some no-name low-level consultancy. In fact, I personally might choose to be an engineer for Google over even McKinsey or Goldman Sachs. But I think the general trends indicate that consulting and banking are, on average, more desirable than engineering jobs, if for no other reason, for the fact that there truly are a lot of crappy engineering jobs out there - jobs that are basically deadend positions with little real chance for advancement and little excitement.

    {I'll give you one example - maintaining software code of decades-old legacy enterprise software systems for large bureaucracies like the Social Security office or a state government. Not only is that, in my opinion, a obscenely boring job, but it is also a job that, frankly, has no future. Nobody is building out new legacy systems and you're not building any new modern skills, so in these jobs, you are basically just "waiting to die"}.
    So the question is: does the analyst job per se offer enhanced MBA admissions chances? Versus whatever else the same highly capable individual might be doing?

    I think the answer to this varies. Ibanking seems to offer far more 'headroom' than normal jobs do. For example, the top Ibanker is almost certainly better off than the top engineer in terms of chances of getting into B-school, similarly to how the #1 student at Harvard is clearly better off than the #1 student at a no-name school.

    However, I agree that a middling Ibanker may have actually been better off doing something else, just like the mediocre Harvard student may have been better off going to some no-name school where he could have excelled.
  • KG974KG974 Registered User Posts: 467 Member
    "Hey 18 year old, don't act like you know anything. You are the same as epoch, a kid enjoying his college life without the stress of paying for mortgage, bills, food, insurance." Dawgie

    You have a point here, I am an 18 year old kid and my view towards life obviously is somewhat hindered.... however i do have at least a small understanding... coming from a home where my mom is a single parent 3 kids.. and income under 18k a year... while she battles cancer, the bills, and depression... now am i out in the real world yet facing these myself, No... but i do have an understanding of "stress"....


    "I was simplying giving him the truth, IDEALLY improving the world would be great. This is ideally kid, but not the real world." Dawgie

    And why not.. please explain... just because you Dawgie do not feel that your impact has meant anything on the world... should i just quit and only work to be comfortable? Is that how the world works Dawgie?.. maybe the problem is that we only look inwardly towards ourselves and our family and miss out on the Great things we can all achieve... maybe your threshhold for success is much lower .. and you dont care much about the world around you... its your life... and many people live happily like that... but you know what... Whats wrong with wanting to become Great?? Whats wrong with wanting to "Change the World"... but dont worry Dawgie.. I'm a mere 18 years of age.. what would i know... im just a "kiddie", Right?


    "You are what? A high school graduate just going into college or a freshman in college? Don't speak kid, theres nothing wrong with improving the world, except the fact that most people are struggling just to support themselves and feed their family." Dawgie

    Yes as ive said before i am going to be entering my Frosh year of College. "Dont Speak Kid"... hmmmm now thats quite an interesting comment.. i'll leave that one be. You are right, many peope are struggling to support themselves.... but now would many of these ppl be on College Confidential??.... not likely...... there are many many bright ppl on this site.. many of whom will go on to do great things..... i dont think that comment should be directed towards this audience... b/c really its not relevant to many of the ppl here.. not to say that it isnt true in regards to the normal population....


    "When the hell did I belittle his ambition? Once again you are a child, don't get all high and mighty on me kid. Trying to throw some Mark Twain quote at me, as if I give a **** about him" Dawgie

    I think your tone explains that one Dawgie... and stop tryin to belittle me w/ your language.. come on now whos being childish ... IF you treat ppl w/ respect, then they will do the same with you... and the Mark Twain quote i feel reflects much of the culture i live in ... ppl constantly telling me or anyone else just to do whats "expected"... be average.. theres nothing wrong w/ that.... but you knwo what ... i dont see mediocrity as being "ok"... if you want something big... then why not go for it?.....

    "Wait till you get into the real world kiddy. Finally, learn to read please. I didn't even mention anything about his ambition, only common knowledge of people that pay their own BILLS." Dawgie

    I know you never mentioned his ambition... but everythin in your previous post suggested it.

    "Epoch you truly suck, you need to grow up and understand when you start working 40hrs + people are trying to survive and live a comfortable life, not CHANGE THE WORLD."

    now if that isnt crushin ambition , i dont know what is.... well i have some idea of money.. considering half my check every week goes to my MOM.. then the other is used to pay for car insurance/ Gas/ and Food for our house....

    But remember.... im Only 18... so i dont know anything....
  • WildflowerWildflower Registered User Posts: 1,254 Senior Member
    Can we please focus on the topic (you know who you are)?

    I frankly don't care if you work five jobs and go to school, or if you hate 18 year olds and their idealism. Getting over arguments of that sort only shows, at best, immaturity. Just let it die...and if you have something to contribute, adress the topic.

    Otherwise, great thread:D
  • bobby100bobby100 - Posts: 1,048 Senior Member
    Go to a top college. Get an ib analyst job for 2 yers. Get a client to hire you in a different part of the world for 2 years. then apply to top b scools.
  • racnnaracnna Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    do you NEED to apply to a b school?
  • WildflowerWildflower Registered User Posts: 1,254 Senior Member
    "do you NEED to apply to a b school?"

    Is this kid serious?!?
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,486 Senior Member
    This is familiar ground, from the engineering sub-forum, but:

    It seems to be true that certain IB and consulting jobs are disproportionally appealing to many entrants to the workforce. Whether this is due to the nature of the work, future prospects, immediate or future remuneration prospects, or all of the above.

    But this impacts prospective employers of liberal arts majors far more than employers of engineers. Investment banks are "equal opportunity" poachers of talent; their recruiting efforts, and their appeal, are not limited, or even primarily directed, to the MIT recruiting department. For every individual an IB poaches away from an engineering career, there are 5 (or whatever) more than this liberal arts majors poached away from ad agencies, newspapers, or whoever else would otherwise employ them for a salary more closely aligned to what they are actually worth.

    Many MBAs do not get offers from elite investment banks or consulting firms. So to say that investment banks are more appealing than engineering firms to some engineering students does not mean that MBA jobs ubiquitously are more appealing. Not all MBA jobs are investment banking jobs, or have equal appeal.

    In other words, Investment banking jobs seem to have disproportionate appeal to many majors, no need to single out engineering in this regard. The engineering firms don't need to increase their compensation, job attractiveness, etc, any more than the legions of other types of companies, who ALL lose the employment battle to the investment banks, need to. In the case of engineering, the poaching is limited to only some individuals at a few schools. In the scheme of things this might not be considered such a significant "brain drain" to cause the employers to lose much sleep about it. Fortunately for them, the I banks are really interested in only a small number of engineering types, and IMO, vica versa. The skillsets in many cases do not align well with the available jobs.
  • DawgieDawgie Registered User Posts: 1,576 Senior Member
    I'll shut up when you work 40 hours a week child. Mr "Do you ened to apply to a b school". For you that might be a good idea, since your parents pay it for it and all. CHILD
  • sakkysakky - Posts: 14,759 Senior Member
    Many MBAs do not get offers from elite investment banks or consulting firms. So to say that investment banks are more appealing than engineering firms to some engineering students does not mean that MBA jobs ubiquitously are more appealing. Not all MBA jobs are investment banking jobs, or have equal appeal.

    This is true, but consider this thought exercise. If we went around and offered immediate admission to a top MBA program to a bunch of graduating engineering students, I strongly suspect that a lot of them, probably most of them, would take it. If this is true, and I believe that it is, then that basically means that engineering students, on average, prefer to get top MBA's than to be engineers.

    The complicating issue is that, obviously, most engineers (just like most people of any major) can't get into a top B-school, either right after they graduate, or at any other time in their career. But presuming that they do have such an opportunity, I believe most of them would take it, even thought that might mean only a (according to the stats), a 60-70% chance of landing a consulting or banking job after getting that top MBA. They might get that top MBA and wind up as, say, an operations manager. But that still seems to be quite appealing to many, perhaps most engineers.
    In other words, Investment banking jobs seem to have disproportionate appeal to many majors, no need to single out engineering in this regard. The engineering firms don't need to increase their compensation, job attractiveness, etc, any more than the legions of other types of companies, who ALL lose the employment battle to the investment banks, need to. In the case of engineering, the poaching is limited to only some individuals at a few schools. In the scheme of things this might not be considered such a significant "brain drain" to cause the employers to lose much sleep about it. Fortunately for them, the I banks are really interested in only a small number of engineering types, and IMO, vica versa. The skillsets in many cases do not align well with the available jobs.

    Well, actually, I do think that engineering should be singled out here if, for no other reason, then because the nation's political and business leaders are the ones singling it out. They are the ones who are going around saying that more Americans ought to be studying engineering. They are the ones saying that the country is in danger of losing its technical edge if more Americans aren't more technically savvy. And my response to all that is simple - if you want more Americans to be engineers, you have to incentivize them to do it, either through better pay or better career progression, or whatever it is.

    Nobody goes around talking about how the country needs more journalists, or more personal trainers, or more cosmetologists, or more massage therapists, or any of these other jobs. Nobody goes around saying how the country needs more people who major in American Studies or Leisure Studies or Peace and Conflict Studies or Physical Education, etc. It is engineering specifically that seems to be drawing heat. I am especially tired of hearing these complaints from American business leaders. They say they want more Americans to major in engineering, but they're not willing to raise the pay of those engineers or otherwise make engineering a more rewarding career path. That's a willful ignorance of basic free market economics which dictates that if you want more of something, you have to be willing to provide incentives for more production of that thing. If you are not willing to provide those incentives, then fair enough, then you should be satisfied with the current level of production.
  • cbreezecbreeze Registered User Posts: 4,522 Senior Member
    There's really no hard and fast rules regarding top MBA school admissions. Two anecdotal examples..
    DS has a classmate going to HBS this fall. This friend graduated from undergrad Wharton two years ago and worked for Ford's finance department. He was also accepted by University of Chicago and Northwestern.

    DD has a classmate who just finished 3 years IB analyst for Lazard. He's also going to HBS in the fall.

    They don't fit the general profile of the candidates having 4-5 years of work experience.
  • KG974KG974 Registered User Posts: 467 Member
    while that is true... i believe there was a post before showing the percentages.. and i believe 18 or so percent at w/ever school it was had only 2 to 4 years of experience.... which is roughly 1 outta 5.... soo thats not too surprising...
  • gellinogellino Registered User Posts: 3,017 Senior Member
    From what I saw in getting an MBA are the people with only three years experience are generally the smartest people in the class, if for no other reason, because their application had to over-compensate for having less work experience than everyone else.
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