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Business school is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Tuition and fees often top $100,000 and at full-time programs, students may forego a salary for up to two years. So how do people decide when, whether and where to go?
The Wall Street Journal put the questions to M.B.A. hopefuls Jonathan Pan, 28, and Ben Shellhorn, 29, both currently awaiting their admission decisions. Also joining the discussion was Chad Troutwine, co-founder of admissions consulting firm Veritas Prep.
Edited excerpts from the conversation follow:
WSJ: Jonathan, you have some offers and are all still waiting to hear from some schools. Which way are you leaning right now?
Joe Schram/The Wall Street JournalJonathan Pan
Mr. Pan (Senior consultant at Ernst & Young LLP, former army officer, married with one child. Applied to 14 schools this year. Last year was rejected from three schools and waitlisted at one.): I'm questioning the entire process! At this point, I'm just collecting offers. What really interests me is entrepreneurship, but do you need to get an M.B.A. if you want to be an entrepreneur?
Joe Schram/The Wall Street JournalChad Troutwine
Mr. Troutwine: There is nothing that requires an M.B.A. If you think you're ready to start a business right now, then maybe [an M.B.A.] is not the right choice. If you want to be an entrepreneur, but you don't know what that entrepreneurial idea is, the time that you spend in an M.B.A. classroom, using that as your laboratory to try things out, could be enormously helpful.
WSJ: There are two different costs associated with business school, the financial cost and the opportunity cost. How much is finance a factor for you?
Joe Schram/The Wall Street JournalBen Shellhorn
Mr. Shellhorn (Operations manager at BR Guest Hospitality. Applied to 17 J.D./M.B.A. dual-degree programs this year. Last year was rejected from the four M.B.A. programs to which he applied.):It's definitely a consideration. It possibly would...