Prepping for the GMAT

I’ve been on the fence about going back to school for a Masters Degree or an MBA – in all of the talk about balance and trying to “reduce” activities it seems crazy to think about it at this time. I’ve really got to be sure that my motivations for doing this are correct.  Google “over 40 MBA” and there are a ton of articles written over the past 5 years discouraging it- especially from a “top school” due to the debt that could be incurred.  It’s not likely that any pay increase or new job would provide a quick payback.

I’m definitely at a cross-roads in my career.  If I wish to advance as a manager, then I need to continue to be a successful manager and gain more breadth of experience.  If I wish to advance as a “program manager” – then I may hit a glass ceiling sooner as I need a Masters degree to pursue a “Sr Advisor” role or a PhD to be a “Principle”.  PhD is out of the question.  However it seems that pursuing a Masters/ MBA serves two purposes – 1) it expands my career options for the next 10-15 years and 2) gives me the personal satisfaction that I have 20 years of experience plus a graduate degree.

At the moment I’m in a Program Manager role – not by choice, but by reorg.  I was initially resistant, ego bruised, etc but this seems to be a gift of sorts.  I don’t want to walk around begging for confirmation that I’m good at what I do.  How it was handled was crap.  My personal goal is to rise to the occassion, to do what I’ve been charged to do to the best of my abilities and blow their minds . . . my longer term goal will be to get myself into a position of influence so others don’t receive the same crap handling in the future.  Maybe this will truly reduce my workload and allow me the time and energy to be truly innovative.  Looking ahead to this time next year – career wise I feel certain that I need to be on this graduate degree path.  Joey (big guy) will be in 2nd grade, Tommy (little guy) is due to start pre-K Aug 2014 so the bills will be a bit smaller, we’ll be past the Disney Cruise and Anthony’s sabbatical – so a window of opportunity seems to be opening.

Found an awesome GMAT prep program through http://www.knewton.com – took a practice GMAT exam cold and did ok.  It certainly served to make me feel old . . . 20+ years since I took advanced algebra and now I’m presented with these concepts plus new methods of test taking.  If I can put in at least 2 to 3 hours per week for the next 12 weeks – I’ll be ready to take the test for real.  If I can’t dedicate this time then I don’t have much hope of carrying a course load later!!!

Thinking about potential schools and programs – I’m trying to stay open to all possibilities.  I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.   Need to tackle those factors, approximations, exponentials, etc first!