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Old 02-10-2012, 07:11 AM
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,834,609 times
Reputation: 42860


It might matter in some fields, such as Law. On the other hand, the most successful person I know is at the senior management level for Northrop, and she actually went to the University of Phoenix. I nearly died laughing when I first heard that--but she's had the last laugh, since she's done quite well.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:20 AM
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When I evaluate an applicant's education, here's what I look for:

5. Quality of the program. As long as they come from a decent school, then it shouldn't be an issue. Any state program is sufficient. If they come from a nationally recognized program, then that might give them a boost, but it isn't the overriding factor many make it out to be. On the other hand, if it come from a "diploma mill" (GET YOUR DEGREE NOW IN: ACCOUNTING, INFORMATION SECURITY, NURSING...) then this will hurt them (plus the issue they may be walking in with a huge student loan debt)
4. Geographic diversity. This town is awash in graduates from UVA and UMD. Not that I don't explicitly hire them, but if my clients include the entire U.S., then I want my workforce to reflect this fact.
3. Diversity of experience: A candidate that has some variety is better than one who's an "inch wide and a mile deep". For example, a candidate with an AS in System Administration, BS in Comp Sci, and MS in Comp Sci would be a good fit for a highly technical position but has no growth potential.
2. Relevance to the field: Does this person's degree bring something of value? It doesn't need to be explicitly in the field. For example, if I'm hiring for an Information Security position, a candidate with an MS in Behavioral Science makes an interesting possibility.
1. Appropriate balance with experience. This is the most important factor. A candidate with a new MS with several years experience would make a stronger candidate for a mid-level position with potential to senior positions. Otherwise too much school with insufficient experience will make a candidate less attractive. OTOH, a candidate for a senior position that hasn't been in school in the last 10 years is also marked down.

I hope this helps,
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:15 AM
92 posts, read 168,352 times
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Originally Posted by Mike10 View Post
I am thinking about going to grad school soon for a masters and eventually a MBA.

I plan on continuing my occupation in the private sector for companies like Northrop, Booz Allen, etc.

Does it really matter where you attend?
I don't think it does for the purposes you have stated in this thread. I would be very careful about the "bang for the buck" factor -- don't overspend or go into huge debt. George Mason might be a good choice if you're a Virginia resident -- for example, a GMU MBA costs roughly half what a GWU or Georgetown MBA costs.

I've been in the area for a long time, and in your field I don't think it matters much where you got the degree, only that you have the degree. Employers will care about performance, not pedigree. There are plenty of senior executives with degrees from "non-prestige" schools. More of a problem for you, perhaps, is that defense companies and Federal consulting have lots of engineers and retired military, and it is not clear that you have either of those experiences. (If you do, then I am not sure why you want to bother with a Masters or MBA at all -- you should already be "competent on paper".)
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:24 AM
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,834,609 times
Reputation: 42860
Speaking about the "bang for your buck" two nearby schools recently made the list of Top Values in Education.

On Kiplingers List, UVA came in 3rd nationally and William and Mary came in at #4.

Best Values in Public Colleges, 2011-12

On the Princeton Review list, UVA was awarded the #2 slot. This is actually a slip for UVA; for the previous two years it was considered the #1 value in the nation.

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