Sunday, May 28, 2006

Switching Careers

I keep thinking about whether to switch from Technology to Finance when I go to b-school. On the one hand, I think I would enjoy leaving the technology arena, while entering a field that would let me leverage my technology experience. At the same time, it's somewhat intimidating to think about practicing in a field that I know so comparatively little about. I'm reading a bunch of books (hedge fund stuff, trading, 'My Life as a Quant' even though I don't want to do quant analysis. etc) in the hope that I can gradually get more up to speed.

On the other hand, I know that I could be successful if I simply kept climbing the corporate ladder in technology. I feel confident that by the time I'm in my forties or fifties, I could reach the executive level of a major technology corporation. But would I feel successful if I did so? Despite the number of times we've all heard the advice to 'do what you enjoy', what I fundamentally enjoy is not software, but the feeling of winning and the pride that comes from successfully achieving something difficult -- both of which I happen to get from developing software and from managing other developers. Would I get that same enjoyment out of a financial career? It's difficult for me to speculate.

But if I don't want to switch careers, why invest in business school at all? With a combined direct cost plus oppotunity cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, it's an expensive investment. It's certainly possible that I simply want the prestige of having an MBA, and my idea of switching to finance is just a post-hoc rationalization.

Accurate introspection is difficult.

4 Comments:

Blogger Benny said...

Many people do an MBA and keep the technology track. The reason for that is that the higher you get, more business you will talk and less tech.

Anyway, I am afraid only 1% go to technology after the MBA.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Marina said...

You don't really have to make that decision yet. Wait until you take a few Finance classes in school and then figure it out. Parts of Finance are intertwined in all aspects of executive/managerial positions but a pure Finance role is often too numbers driven without much business operations feel to it.

12:11 PM  
Blogger UniQpath said...

have you given a thought on why you want to pursue finance, why finance appeals to you? What exactly in finance appeals to you?

12:51 PM  
Blogger Suser McLoser said...

I sort of understand where you are coming from. While I enjoy "figuring things out," I'm not sure if this means I really belong in technology either... I'm also not sure how it may appear to adcom to be a career switcher...does that appear inconsistent to them I wonder?

5:00 PM  

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