Case Study: MBA offers choice and opens avenues

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I come from an Indian family, and I was always supposed to be a doctor. I had a BSc in biochemistry from the University of Birmingham. I decided to go into the pharmaceutical industry - which caused some dismay. Then in the US one summer I was exposed to the IT industry. When I decided to stop working and do an MBA, everyone thought I was mad, but my family's values supported the whole notion of education. My wife was also working in the pharmaceutical industry, and she took some convincing. But we had no children and financially we were in a position where we could afford it.

Because of my industry background, the general feeling was that I would go into management consulting. All the big consulting firms recruit at LBS, and I had the possibility of a summer job in consulting lined up.

I didn't even know who Goldman Sachs were. They called after getting a CV book from LBS, whose careers department is very strong, and they saw about 10 people who they thought looked interesting for their investment banking division. I spent 12 weeks working in their investment banking division in the summer between the two years of the MBA.

It was a fantastic job, and had I been five years younger and not married I would have done it. It gave me a chance to learn a lot about myself and what I wanted. I was pretty up-front with them. I said it was a fantastic environment, but not for me. They were very good and encouraged me to look at other divisions and other banks. They wanted me to have all the information to make the right long-term decision. I ended up in the equity division and it was the right choice.

I don't think people realise that there is a chance of recouping the high cost of the MBA as early as the summer, when you obtain a paid job. After the first year of working you are at your highest price/earnings ratio, but there is a danger that employers want to know why you have not secured a job offer by then. I believe if you haven't got a job three months after finishing your MBA, you may have passed your sell-by date. When I was looking at places to do an MBA, only one school would give me the figure for how many people did not get jobs after finishing an MBA. LBS said the figure was six out of 200. I decided to take that chance.'

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