Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back to school!

I’ve barely been out of college for a year, yet the thought of going back for grad school fills me with unspeakable dread. I know, however, it’s something I must do and soon because my family, work and personal obligations will only continue to increase.

I briefly considered going to get an advanced degree in PR or communications, but from what I’ve heard from others it sounds like many of these programs are very focused on theory. While I understand that there is some value to learning theory, I don’t think it would be something I would really be able to enjoy (yes, I do believe I need to enjoy what I’m learning!).

I’ve heard a number of people recommend an MBA as a great advanced degree for PR practitioners. It exposes you to more aspects of business, and helps you better understand how companies work. I’m pretty sure that I want to stay in PR my whole career, but am not sure if getting an MBA will really put me on the fast track to an executive PR position (which is my ultimate goal). I know that an MBA will enhance my business acumen and make it so that I can better speak the language of business.

I’m about 99 percent certain that I will pursue an MBA, but am unsure of whether to go back full-time or part-time in an evening or weekend program. I’ve heard that full-time is better from a recruiting standpoint, but I’m comfortable in my job at GM and don’t foresee leaving the company anytime soon. I’m interested in hearing whether or not anyone has heard anything about the quality of education from an evening or weekend MBA program compared to going back full-time. Is there a difference? Is one preferable to the other? An executive MBA program is out of the question for me because I don’t want to get the average seven years of experience before going back to school.

What do you think? I welcome any input! GMAT preparation tips are welcome too!


Anonymous said...

Hey Adam,
In my opinion, if you can go back full-time, you should. I may be biased though since that is what I plan on doing. :) I don`t know too much about weekend/evening programs, so I can`t comment.

GMAT tip-You are not allowed to use calculators on the exam. My GMAT prep book decided to exclude this fact for whatever reason...What I did was for the verbal section was I read "The Elements of Style" by EB White and then I got out a lot of math books from the public library. Also, since the testing company that creates the GMAT exams also does ACT, you could check out some ACT books and work out some more math from them.

Teresa Asevedo

jodi said...

There's so much to think about. I went full time, right after undergrad, and still got a lot out of it. However, I graduated 10 years ago (yikes) and am going to be paying student loans for many more years.

If you go part-time, you will definitely save money even if your company won't pay for it - just by still earning a paycheck while going to school.

Many part time programs are excellent. You'll be peers with many people who have great jobs in different fields, so you'll be able to learn from their experiences. And, you won't have to be too stressed about finding a job when it's over.

I'm no help with the GMAT (I look it on pencil & paper, way back when) and my MBA is in finance, so no help with PR either. But, I truly believe you'll be able to use an MBA in anything you do.

Michael Beaton said...

Evening MBA at Michigan in Ann Arbor was great . . . I'd recommend if you want to keep working and take on a courseload. It's hard work and the drive isn't great if you want to goto Ann Arbor (although they do offer classes in Dearborn at their Commerce Park Extension). Good Luck. Michael Beaton

Annalisa and Chris said...

I would consider going part time at wayne state or with an online course in a hybrid program - one that is business focused but also features a strong communications courseload... talk to Travis about his MA program... otherwise - I would strongly advise MBA as the way to go.... and there are many part time/evening classes available.

good luck. it's totally worth it.

csrollyson said...

Adam, I'll offer another perspective. If you are set on PR, you may already be involved in the most important place you could be. I observe that PR is going to be transformed by Web 2.0, and the last place you want to go is school, which is generally eons behind. For more on this, check out my coverage of Edelman's talk: http://tinyurl.com/ysegh7

PR is a discipline whose traditional MO will diminish rapidly as transparency grows. One scenario for PR is that it will morph into helping organizations to be transparent more gracefully. If you want to get part of that, the best place is on the front lines. Maybe your challenge will be trying to get mentored and to grow your role at GM or to look elsewhere.

Hope this helps!