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Comments by YACCS
Monday, October 23, 2006

Waaaah. My MBA program is hard.

The reason you get an MBA

I have found hell on earth -- an "MBA program"

After taking out such a huge student loan, can I really walk away from this, or do I have to see it through?

By Cary Tennis

Oct. 23, 2006 | Dear Cary,

Last year I got into a big-name, fancy-pants business school for an MBA on the East Coast. I started school in August, and I hate it so much I cry daily at home, at school in the bathroom (where my classmates/snakes can't see me), on the walk home. I snap at my parents, my siblings, my friends. I was supposed to be in the wedding of an otherwise lifelong friend and I backed out two days before in a panic induced by a looming midterm. (Yes, we already have had midterms, designed to fail out at least 10 percent of the class. I don't exaggerate when I say I think some professors here are sadists.) The love of my life is in another city, and I left him to come here, and now I don't remember why I came at all. I am watching myself turn into a creature I despise, and I feel too cowardly to do the only thing I can think to do, which is walk away.

I'd like to take my $70,000 in debt (student loans are expensive) and head to Vermont, or West Virginia, somewhere where there is grass and perhaps some horses too. Maybe even Maine, where I can see the ocean again. This past week I have been dutifully attending employer information sessions, visiting one stale presentation, with perfectly coiffed and suspiciously happy people jumping up and down and cooing about their jobs, after another. Manic. They are manic, and they remind me of the students I spoke with last year who persuaded me to come to this terrible, terrible place. We are all graded against each other, on a fake, forced curve where a 90 percent understanding of the material does not mean an A, but could actually earn me a D minus depending on how my classmates perform. A few days after every test, quiz, project, etc., the professors send out breakdowns of scores so that we can compare ourselves with the performance of our classmates and therefore learn how we rate. I have watched people lie and cheat in numbers so high that it leaves no doubt as to how and where the future Kenneth Lays are trained. I used to love school. I love my undergraduate institution with a sense of gratitude for the opportunities and support and guidance those wonderful people (the professors, administrators, students) gave me.

I thought grad school, even an MBA program, would be the same.

I was wrong.

So it sounds simple, right? You could tell me to just drop out and walk away. But how the hell do I pay off my loans? Drop out now, payments come due: $800-plus per month. And MBA dropouts are not exactly a hot commodity on the job market. How will I make ends meet and how will I begin to reconstruct the relationships that have already perished? Maybe I am just being a baby and need to toughen up. There is no small part of me that screams, "Stay the course! Survive, make it through, get your degree, get a job to pay off the loans, and then the world is yours! Don't let them chase you away!" But the thought of having to work with those manic people, or even worse, my classmates, and then slave away to pay off these monstrous debts, and spend years doing so before I can be free again, is more than I can bear.

I really don't think I should drop out, but I really don't think I can make it through. Can you give me a plan, a set of sayings to live by, something to fold in my pocket and pull out when I am crying in the stalls outside my accounting class? Can you help?

Cary's advice isn't horrible, but there is a bit of a Drama Queenism here.

Hell on earth is visiting the families of the men who died under your command. It's not going to a top MBA program.

What exactly the fuck did she think an MBA program was about? Did she think it was about nice people planning to help the world? That's why people go to MPA programs, like my friend did at Columbia. Did she not realize that this was the way school was? Love of her life? Not really, but if it makes her feel better, say so.

Look, maybe I'm grumpy this morning , but my sympathy for people in an MBA program is between little and fucking none. You go to them for one reason: to make lots more money. If she wanted to change the world, she's in the wrong program. My bet, if there was no curve, she'd be really happy.

posted by Steve @ 8:21:00 AM

8:21:00 AM

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