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Postby NJ » Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:01 pm

I specialized in computational chemistry for my MS and protein crystallography for my PhD. I'm now in the first year of postdoc, also in protein crystallography.
During my undergrad, my long term goal was to get an MBA after a PhD with the aim to transitioning into research/business management in the future. I have the following questions:
1) Someone on this forum mentioned that some research companies would try to shy away from hiring a PhD with an MBA. Is that true?

2) Some other people have advised working in industry for a few years before starting on an MBA. How about doing an online MBA while doing my postdoc? I have already identified a couple of schools whose online MBA programs I'm interested in. That way, I don't sacrifice on my research, which I really enjoy and at the same time, get an MBA, which I have always wanted.

3) My postdoc lab runs like a small start-up, I think. Although that may not be entirely true, since I don't know what it is like to work in a biotech start-up. If my feeling is right, would that not provide a reasonable background of work experience for an MBA?

4) Or, should I just relax (after 10 yrs. of undergrad and grad!) for a few years, not worry about my ambition, and wait till I get a REAL JOB and higher salary before I start on an MBA? I'm 30 now. I'm only afraid that I might not have the perseverance for an MBA after a few more years.

Apologies for the long question. I hope at least one of you will have the patience for some advice.
Thanks, Dev. (PS - Forgot to mention that I have 5 papers in reasonably reputable journals, 4 of them as first author. So, my desire to do an MBA is not motivated by a lack of a reasonable level of success in my area of interest and research.)
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Postby Don » Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:55 am


You present an ineresting set of issues.

First off, run as fast as you can away from online MBA programs. An online MBA will actually destroy credibility on your CV. If you decide to go for an MBA, apply to top schools (HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Stanford, Chicago, MIT, Yale, Tuck, etc.) and go to the best one you get into.

Second, a top school is unlikely to accept you wihtout work experience in industry. So get an industry job and attack your work there with gusto so that you can have a real impact and build a broad base of experience.

Third, others might not agree, but I think the age issue you mention is real - however not fo the same reason you mentioned. When you leave MBA, you will be going for a posiiton that is not terribly senior in an organization. Many (not all!) organizations have a hard time seeing a person in their late 30's in a somewhat junior position. That said, I dont think the mid 30's is too late to being a post MBA career - mine started at 35. But be carefull - I believe (again, just my thoughts - others probably have a different perspective) a newly minted MBA in their late 30's has a harder time than a newly minted MBA in their late 20's all other things being equal.

Good luck.



Postby Andrew » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:15 pm

1. Well, since that was me, I'll clarify. Your first job will likely be in a lab due to your background. Most managers of laboratories do not have MBAs, they have PhDs. I would have some questions about your committment to science and research if you went for an MBA right out of grad school (or postdoc), and probably would hire someone who didn't take that route. Then again, everyone is not like me.

2. I'm sure some of these programs are decent, but most people will be very suspicous of them as they don't know a lot of people with these kind of degrees. I'd stay away.

3. Not a chance.

4. You need to wait for a while to get some experience, and not just because you'll get into a better program that way. The classes will be more meaningful if you know something about how your company works and how projects are managed within it.
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