To MBA, or not to MBA?

105 Replies

@Christopher Christian Funny, I can relate in some way to your status as I want to go deeper into real estate but I am not sure what is the way there, I currently have a few payed properties but i got them not from too Sophisticated methods but from Appreciation (I STARTED YOUNG). THE BIG MONEY AS You MENTIONED COMES FROM COMMERCIAL AND WHY DONT YOU START WORK WItH A DEVELOPER TO LEARN FROM OTHERS experience, instead of getting more debt. Just my opinion

Christopher - My .02 cents...

When going for my MBA I had to look at what I would get from it. Are you sure that an MBA would get you the new job? In my role in a fortune 400 company the answer was...maybe, however; I also looked at my peer group in my field and the other departments in the company I could work in. The MBA was really the minimum if I wanted to advance and being in my specialty for 15 years had classified me as a channel expert. So, I got my MBA - so far after 1 year no change mostly due to it having to make sense for me but it was recognized by the Executive team and let to some internal executive training that required international travel. 

With all that said, do some homework in your peer group. Talk to some higher level managers that lead teams in your desired area, and see if the company has an education benefit that you can use. In my case they did so just my time and effort to get there. 

I also think that like other's here that you have to jump in. Hope some of that was helpful and enjoy the comments from others. 

@Christopher Christian I am currently facing the same issue with my bachlor's degree, so less money but still a similar problem. Thanks for posting this question, the discussion has been really helpful. What I eventually settled on was going to the cheapest college I could find, debt free. Masters is obviously more expensive, but if you could get it from a less renowned place (USNH has an online accounting master's degree, for example) you may see a large amount of the benefits for a fraction of the cost, opening up the rest of your budget for real estate investing. Let us know what you decide and how it works out for you! 


I was in a similar situation a few years back before I decided to start my MBA. My advice is 100% go for it. However, I'd tweak your plan slightly. There is enormous value in obtaining an MBA but I don't think the value added from RU (at $60k) is significantly more than other options that can cost well under $35k. Additionally, I think the name on the degree is much less important given that your 38 and likely have connections within the industry you desire to work in.

That is just my opinion! I received my MBA from Oklahoma State University and wouldn't trade the knowledge gained for anything. Good luck!


Devin Fakner

Not sure what everyone else said but if you want to be an RE investor, I don't think having an MBA or a GED means much of anything.   I've bought and sold $100+ million in RE and never had anyone ask me to show them my deploma

Which is good since I'm a dropout. 

Account Closed Solid advice. I do not yet have a concrete REI plan, but generally speaking, buy and hold multi-family is the space I'm most interested in. My plan is to find a three or four family and live in one of the units to get started, then figure out how to move into larger multi-families moving forward. I don't see myself being able to generate 40K in additional gross income in those two years, honestly. This is a tough call.

Thanks so much for your response and good wishes, and best of luck with the Master's! 

@Alexander Wardell It sounds like you are on the right track! One of my reasons for considering the MBA was also to have as many options available as possible. My plan was always to get started by house hacking. I want to find a three or four family property and live in one of the units. The issue is that properties are so expensive out here! A friend of mine in the area recently sold his two family for $700K. There was also a three family on my street that sold for around $550K. Even if I do an FHA, it is difficult to save enough for a down payment, closing costs and a starting reserve for unexpected costs. I'm with you, though. Plenty of people have done it, so there has to be a way.

Best of luck with the Master's and landing that first deal!

@David Galy That is great advice. My company also offers $5,000 in tuition reimbursement. Climbing the ladder at my current job to get a higher income is definitely something I've considered. I'm just really itching to switch industries and get a W-2 job in the real estate field.

Thanks for the reply!

@Cam Lednar Thanks for the reply! I have not applied to the jobs I'm trying to get into yet, mainly because they seem to require some prior experience. For example, a real estate acquisitions analyst role I was looking at required a Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 2-5 years of prior experience in investment banking or real estate. Being a corporate finance guy in the music industry, I have experience in neither. Sometimes I see roles that will require a couple of years of experience OR an MBA, so I was hoping the MBA would help with the lack of specific experience. But who knows? Maybe it is possible to make the jump via self-education and networking. I guess my best bet would be to try and meet people who are currently in these roles and get their take. 

Thanks for the advice, and best of luck with the B-school applications!   

I'm not on the level as most of the people replying but I can't see how getting a MBA would be beneficial. A common question seems to be "do you wan't to have a high paying salary or to be wealthy?". Once I knew the answer to this question for myself I began to discover what I actually wanted. 

@David H. Thanks for sharing that. One of the reasons I'm considering the MBA is so I can transition out of the industry I'm currently in (music business). My idea was to get a job at a large real estate firm to learn the industry, network, and to earn a higher income in order to benefit my personal real estate investing. The thought was that I would create synergies between a W-2 job in the real estate industry and my personal real estate investing. There is something to be said about just grinding it out where I am and moving forward with real estate investing now, though. It makes a lot of sense and something I am very heavily considering.  

Thanks for the response!

@Christopher Christian Apologies I should have read your post better, I didnt realize you were pursuing the MBA to switch careers, I thought you were just looking to move up quicker in your own discipline. In that case it may be worth it. If you are in a field that isnt providing the funds you need than I can seeing going the mba route can be worth it. It actually sounds like a good idea.
Originally posted by @Mark Danforth :

I'm not on the level as most of the people replying but I can't see how getting a MBA would be beneficial. A common question seems to be "do you wan't to have a high paying salary or to be wealthy?". Once I knew the answer to this question for myself I began to discover what I actually wanted. 

Amazing quote.  I totally agree.  I left a job that I had mix 6 figures, and a few years at low 7 figures.  It was commission and not salary but it was still a job.  When I decided to go multifamily, I knew I could never have a 'real' job again

Want to know what my RE "MBA" was?   Buying an 8 unit when I had no clue what a lease looked like.  Amazing how much how fast you learn when you jump into the deep water. 

One more thing I should add. If you could get into a top 7 MBA program, and wanted to do investment banking or management consulting, your chances of getting hired in those fields at your age is slim to none. They hire younger people for those roles who they think will work over 80 hours a week. One exception may be academia. If you want to get a PhD in Business than getting an MBA from a top 15 or so school could help springboard you in a PhD program, but you still have to have top GMAT scores for that. 

If you're serious about FI do this: Forget about the MBA, opportunity costs are too high. Leave NY. You can easily make that salary in a different city and cut your living expenses in half. When you move, start your portfolio with a house hack. With a strict budget and strategic investing you will be halfway to FI by the time you would be graduating with your MBA. In 10-15 years quit your job and invest full time from a beach somewhere.
@Christopher Christian I obtained my MBA in my mid 30s but the company I work for offers tuition reimbursement. Perhaps you’ve check this out with your employer, but I would only pursue it if there was something like this being offered. Otherwise, the sooner you can get started in real estate the better. There’s a wealth of information (Forums, podcasts, etc) on this site alone. Best of luck to you!

literally sitting in an MBA class right now distracting myself with BP. Have not learned anything useful and will graduate next semester. If you cant get started with 60-70k salary you should move. 

If your goal is to build a real estate portfolio I wouldn't go for the MBA. You can buy a multifamily with your current income just wont be in your first choice of living. You need to start networking and go to all these meetups in your area. You can partner up with someone by putting up the cash and loan or other ways depending on how you structure it. If you don't have the cash for a down payment, you need to start saving up move to a smaller apartment, make sacrifices some where to save up the cash. You can do this in the time you were thinking of going for the MBA. 

Best of luck.

I have considered it on a numbr of occasions while I was a w2 employee.  Ultimately, I did a spreadsheet and considered what the pay back period would be.  It would take most of my career to cover the cost, not to mention the time lost during the program.  If your employer is going to fund it and allow work time, then it may be worth it.

If you are interested in private RE investing for yourself, there is no reason.