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I’m On My Way to Grad School


Some of you may have heard that I’m contemplating grad school. That’s right, I’m looking to take my degree to the next level and achieve my MBA in Finance. You might be thinking, “Why would you spend 2 years going for your MBA when you could be making money online?”

Why The MBA?

It’s true, if I focus my efforts toward my online income, I could probably earn 6-figures after just a couple of years. But, there’s also a chance that I would earn less – so much of my income is dependent on one single search engine that it’d actually be a little stupid to take the risk. The second reason for the MBA is this – with the high percentage of retirees leaving my place of employment, there will be many opportunities to move into an executive-level position. Having an MBA will definitely increase my odds of moving up through the company. Plus, did I mention that the company pays for this schooling? You can actually achieve an MBA from a plethora of excellent online universities as well, and they allow you to be in control of your schedule. Furthermore, you can even transfer credits between online and physical universities, making it easy for you to earn your MBA on your own terms. It’s less expensive than brick and mortar education and it might just change your life for the better.

Ahhh, the GMAT

So what comes before grad school? The beloved GMAT of course. I actually took this spiffy little test yesterday – here’s a little piece of advice for those of you that are thinking about going to grad school. Don’t wait until 2 weeks before the GMATs to start studying . It’s much too hard of a test.

For my MBA, I had two schools in mind. One of them is local and the other one is an hour away and much more prestigious (but it comes with a price tag of course). Based on my scores on the test (which weren’t terrible, but not quite top-notch), it looks like I’ll be sticking around locally. 😉

Benefits of Staying Local

Remember I mentioned that my company would pay for the school costs? Well, while that is true, once the costs go above $5,200 in a single year, our state requires that the student pays tax on the reimbursement. So, let’s say that I got an amazing GMAT score and was headed to a large institution that costs $60,000 total. I would only get reimbursed for $42,000 of that expense. That’s $18,000 out of my pocket!!

Now, this local school is starting to look much more appealing. The total cost of the schooling is about $22,000, which means that my contribution will be about $6,600. That, I can handle, and I’m certain that I’ll be seeing a return on that investment.

My classes will start in the fall, and I can’t wait to start learning! Any advice?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Congrats and I think your decision making is spot on for this one.

    • Thanks Jai. I’m looking forward to the classes actually. I’m sure I’ll learn alot that will be applicable to my work, not to mention the possibility of advancement. 🙂

  2. I hope Mrs. LAMF is on board – most likely it will mean you are busy from August to May/June. Good luck – I’m sure you can juggle multiple things at once. You’re already doing it.

    • She is on board, and actually, I think she might go back to school at the same time!

  3. Derek,

    If you do amazing on the GMAT and get into a top tier school it will be worth the out of pocket expense. I believe the MBA is on worth as much as the perception of the institution you’re getting it from.

    The Average Harvard MBA makes 115k, the average is much much lower once you get out of the top 10 schools.

    The real value is the network / connections you gain while at the school.

    • Haha, well I don’t think I’ll be going to Harvard. I do agree with your comment though! The only problem is the high cost of the top tier schools….

  4. Congratulations. And don’t procrastinate in school

    • Haha, thanks! Yeah, not procrastinating is actually pretty good advice for me.

  5. Congrats! I think you made a great choice going with the local school.

    • Thanks bogofdebt! I think I made the right choice too. This way, my wife can go back to school with me too! 🙂

  6. Congrats! I’m in grad school at the moment. I originally started so I could return to the field of teaching. My license expired and I needed to get a few classes under my degree in order to renew it. As of June, I’ll have enough classes to do that but the problem is two-fold. 1 – I no longer want to put myself into debt to achieve another degree and 2, I actually don’t want to go back to the classroom. I’d rather do speaking engagements on financial education and teach financial literacy classes.

    Sorry to take over your comment section. I think I might just right a post about this today at my own blog.

    • Congrats on going to grad school to you too! And, good luck with the speaking engagements! I know there’s a market for that out there – let me know when you make it big!

  7. Having just finished up my credential (which was 37 units post-BA and doesn’t count towards a Masters!) I’d say make sure you manage your time wisely. Don’t wait until the last minute to turn in assignments or read text books. I went part-time for my credential and made sure to have plenty of time set aside for studying. Of course, I only accept A’s as a grade, so maybe I was just an over-achiever. 😉

    • Thanks for the advice Little House. I will be juggling quite a few things when school starts, so time management is key!

  8. Ooh, exciting! Good luck to you! The only advice I have, is to know going in that they make college kids much younger these days. When I went back for some classes at 32, I swear some of the kids roaming the campus looked to be about 14… 😉

    • Lol. I’m starting to realize that too! It doesn’t help that I’m 6’8″… everyone look tiny and young to me. 😉

  9. Derek,
    Congratulations on your decision. From what I have seen about you, you’ll be teaching others as much as you are learning.
    And as you will be a little older than some of the students, do be brave and ask questions in the classroom. What I found when I went back to school was that many of my younger classmates were uncomfortable asking questions… and education is far too expensive not to get the most out of it. Best of luck… but I don’t think you’ll need it!

    • Ha, good advice about asking questions! I think you’re right. At this point, I really won’t care what my classmates think about me. I’ll be asking a bunch of questions! 🙂

  10. Sounds like a well thought out plan. Congratulations on pursuing your MBA!

    • Thanks TOD! I can’t wait!

  11. Congrats on grad school. I received my masters in finance and I hated the GMAT. My only advice is that grad school is totally different than undergrad. All of my professors knew we worked FT jobs so the homework wasn’t too bad. Of course getting used to homework again is another story!!

    • I’m glad to hear that there might not be too much homework. Hopefully I have professors that understand that I have a life too!

  12. I’m in basically the exact same position right now. I took my GMAT last fall and I’ll start graduate classes (completely paid for by my employer) in finance this fall!
    Best of luck!!

    • Sounds like you and I are one in the same regarding our education. Good luck on your classes!

  13. Yes, more schooling :). In my line of work a Master’s Degree was required. It was definitely worth it. I invested about $7,000.00 for my program and I made that back in the first year moving from what I used to do to what I do now!
    I think you are on the right track, especially since you are looking ahead to others retiring and potential openings coming.

    • Sounds like you did it right too! Thanks for the comment!

  14. Derek, my advice is to go to the BEST SCHOOL POSSIBLE! If you are going to spend 2-3 years, you might as well go for the best. Trust me on this!

    Prestige carries a lot of weight!

    • Yes, I do want to go to a great school, but there really aren’t any top-notch schools in my area, and I’m not sure that taking off from work is the solution right now either… It really is a tough call.

      • Either way, congrats, and I’m sure you’ll learn a lot and have fun!

  15. I took the GMAT two weeks ago, and didn’t fare as well as I’d like. Going to try again before they change the test in June! Any tips?

    • Hmmm, tips? I would say take a bunch of practice tests – I got a study book from the library that helped quite a bit, but honestly, the actual test was way harder than the practice tests. Time management is huge too. With the practice tests, you get a pretty good feel for how much time you’ve got to complete all of the questions. Good luck!

  16. Congrats. It is going to be an interesting journey. I would say, make sure you stay on top of your studies. You aren’t as young as you were. You know have other responsibilities in your life that can take up your time. Balancing both can be hard but it is possible. Coming up with a plan ahead of time will work wonders.

    • Good advice Miss T. I just have so many things going on, but we’ll be tackling some more house projects here soon, so hopefully I won’t have to think about it too much when classes start.

  17. The local school definitely sounds like the better bet. I’d go back to school if an employer paid for it too!

    • It really is a great deal. I’d be dumb not to take them up on it!

  18. Good luck. Grad school is a worthy investment and I applaud you for going back now. I entered grad school (in engineering) right after undergrad so it was a bit easier as I didn’t have to make any lifestyle adjustments. Stay focused and you will do well.

    • Thanks! I look forward to taking the classes. It should be a good time, and it will help me move up in my career.

  19. I say go for it! I’ve had my MBA for six years now. A graduate degree is something that will follow you around forever. Not to mention you DO learn some things that will benefit you in any career setting. It has been a benefit for me – I say do it!

    • Thanks for the encouragement MMD! Always love the comments!

  20. Congrats on this decision. The grad degree will definitely open up a few doors and I bet it will also help you run the blog more as a business as well. Did I read correctly that you took the test yesterday and already know how you did?

    • You did read correctly. The test is on the computer and your score is displayed at the end. I’m not overly satisfied with my results, but what can I expect for studying only 2 weeks before the test happened?

  21. I guess starting a family has been moved to the back burner for a while.

    • Haha, I don’t think that was ever on the front burner! 😉

  22. There are a few Yakezie bloggers in Grad school right now. So you can definitely do blogging and grad school at the same time…just a bit to juggle I suppose.

    Good luck with everything!! Learning is very exciting–I am a student for life, and sounds like you are just as passionate about it as well.

    • I didn’t use to think that I’d be a student for life, but now I’m starting to change my mind. I miss learning!

  23. Congrats on going back to school. I did my MS online. Have you considered any online MBA schools?

    As far as advice: study hard but don’t let school consume you for the next couple of years.

    • I haven’t considered any online MBA courses. I’m not sure that I’d be disciplined enough to complete all of the work. I will study hard, but I won’t let school consume me – never did. 🙂

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