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Graduate School hesitation - MBA or CS/Data Science?
#1
I have a (soon to be completed) BACS from TESU and I am looking at grad school options.

Data science, machine learning, AI... are fascinating to me, and the jobs should be plentiful, but I'm concerned about starting from scratch in a brand new field, having to work my way up from nothing, and possibly encountering ageism, which seems to be an issue in tech. I also do not want to be a software developer. 

The other option would be to get an MBA from a good school, and parlay my way into a non-customer service executive job, possibly going after a C-suite job. The money and perks do sound good, but does an MBA still open doors? Plenty of evidence that it might be outdated.

Any insight or advice?
----
TESU BA Computer Science 114/120 credits
TESU BA Psychology 104/120 credits
TESU ASNSM Mathematics 62/61 credits
Aiming for December 2019 Graduation
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#2
I would opt for the MBA and leverage my existing experience to move into a more management role. You will earn more that way and experience less ageism..
GRADUATE

Master of Theological Studies, Nations University (In Progress..)
MITx to ALM in ES: Management, Harvard University (Planned...2021)


UNDERGRAD

Sep 2019 Grad...

BA Computer Science, TESU
BA Liberal Studies, TESU
AS  Natural Science and Mathematics, TESU  

SL (27 Cr): Eng Com I II, Ameri Gov, Reli, Nutri, Envi Sci, Cul Ant, Med Ter, IT Fund
Shmoop (18 Cr): Hist Tech, Hu Sex, Med Lit, Bible Lit, Prof Wrtng, E-Com
Sophia (11 Cr): Col Alg, Info Tech, Pub Speak, Effe Teams, Manag Con
TEEX (5 Cr): Cyb Ever, IT Prof, Info Risk Man  Aleks (9 Cr): Beg. Alg, Inter. Alg, Trig
ED4Credit (3 Cr): Man Info Sys   CPCU (2 Cr): Ethics
TESU (4 Cr): Corner, Capstone  Study.com (39 Cr): Pres. Skills, C Prog, Disc Math, Comp Arch, Op Sys, DB Man, Sys Analy, Calc I, Forensic Sci, Geometry, Intro Prog, Data Str
B&M (46 Cr)



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#3
Maybe it’s me but I feel ageism is going more and more away as this industry is maturing. Very anecdotal, but I don’t feel you will encounter this as much as you think. If you have a master from GA tech, if you pass the company tests, I would be surprised if you don’t get the job in the current market. My advice would be to get a reputable master if you are afraid of ageism. That will probably help to get internships too.

Can you leverage an MBA and your experience to move in more traditional management? You are in a better position than us to know that, an online MBA, that does not leverage local networks, will certainly be more in the required check in a box category.
TESU BACS, Expected 2019, 117/120.
----
UPenn MCIT (Accepted in 2018, see story here).
NAU MCIT (Accepted in 2018, not pursuing)
TESU BSBA, 2018.
TESU ASNSM in Computer Science, 2018.
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#4
For myself, I grabbed a BSBA and associates as check the box degrees. For professional growth, I am working towards the BACS and semi decided to go with a Bio or Math second major at TESU.

By the time I reach mid 40's, I'll work towards a couple of Masters but these would be competency based and online. I want my undergrad from a state university instead of an exclusively online college or university.

My recommendation is to work on three things. 1) Your degree of choice that will get you into the profession of choice.
2) Get some years of experience under your belt in that field. 3) Get additional certifications, such as Business/IT.
Done: TESU ASNSM Biology, ASBA/BSBA (ACBSP Accredited in 2017)
Working on: TESU BA Biology & Computer Science
Deferred: **Deciding on several Masters/PHD programs**

2018 BALS and BSBA Spreadsheet using mainly SL/Study.com (post#28,31)
The Basic Approach | DegreeForum Community Supported Wiki
~Review Beginners Guide sticky for info on TESU BALS/BSBA in 4 months (post #16)
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#5
(05-28-2019, 03:05 PM)NolaRice Wrote: I have a (soon to be completed) BACS from TESU and I am looking at grad school options.

Data science, machine learning, AI... are fascinating to me, and the jobs should be plentiful, but I'm concerned about starting from scratch in a brand new field, having to work my way up from nothing, and possibly encountering ageism, which seems to be an issue in tech. I also do not want to be a software developer. 

The other option would be to get an MBA from a good school, and parlay my way into a non-customer service executive job, possibly going after a C-suite job. The money and perks do sound good, but does an MBA still open doors? Plenty of evidence that it might be outdated.

I've been in technology for a few decades as an engineer, manager, and executive. If you want to get out of your current role and into something else, you should start by determining where your passions lie. You mention data science, machine learning, and AI... those are great and very popular right now. Though if you don't want to be a software developer you are going to have a hard time in those areas since that is what employers want. In my experience, you'll really need a doctorate-level degree in data science if you want to be hired into a purely analytical data science role. If you want to do machine learning or AI, you'll need to be a software developer... there is no way around that.

An MBA can still open doors, but the majority of its value stems from the reputation of the school and the connections you make while earning it. It also looks good on a resume, particularly for people who are looking for management or consulting gigs. An MBA won't open executive-level doors unless you have significant experience in your domain to back it up (and you know the right people, of course). But it can help you get you a solid mid-level management role somewhere.

Honestly, having a master's degree from GA Tech will likely open more doors than an MBA. Particularly if the MBA isn't from a top 10 rated school or if it's from an online-only degree program.

As for ageism, you'll find most of that in technical roles. Particularly the more hands-on of a role you are trying to get into. If you already have a great resume in the field that is one thing, but if you're a new grad without industry experience at 40+ you're probably going to have trouble being taken seriously in a lot of technical fields. If you do get hired, it will probably be in project management or people management rather than an engineering role similar to a younger graduate, though that will also depend on what your degree (or area of focus for an MBA) is in.

Keep in mind that regardless of ageism, it becomes much harder to switch careers the older you get since you won't have much (or any) experience in the new field and you probably won't be willing to work for peanuts like an early 20's college grad will. In this case, I recommend trying to find a good mentor in the industry or field you're most passionate about moving into. The right mentor can open a lot more doors than any degree.

(05-28-2019, 03:51 PM)posabsolute Wrote: Maybe it’s me but I feel agism is going more and more away as this industry is maturing. Very anecdotal, but I don’t feel you will encounter this as much as you think.

Oh, ageism is very much alive and well. Particularly in highly competitive areas like San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Although it depends more on the particular type of company and role you're trying to fill. Once you're hired though, that becomes less of an issue as long as you're a good cultural fit and work well with the younger staff. The people who usually have the hardest problem with ageism are folks switching careers and those who don't mesh well with younger generations.
In Progress: MBA (IT Management), Western Governors University (31/35cu | Sep 2019)
Up Next: Perhaps an MSCS or a DBA/DM/Ph.D.

Complete:
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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