Monday, April 4, 2011

I got in, now what?

So I was recently accepted to a top-5 MBA program.  A business school that makes mommy and daddy proud and will be a great long-term investment for my career.  I'm going.  Sent in the deposit and applied for financial aid.  Popped some champagne and had a good celebration.  Now I'm looking at the price tag and trying to keep my jaw off the floor. 

I've never had any debt before and, although I know it's hardly realistic, I don't want to start now.  My dream goal is to graduate with zero debt.  No credit card debt, no car loans, no personal loans and no student loans.  Of course the first three are easy - it's what I've been doing for years.  It's the last one, no student loans, that's going to be a sticking point.  But I can dream, right?

Anyone out there tried to do something like this?

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  1. Be first in your class at the end of the first year.

    Be the student who did the most for the school.

    Offer serious review sessions before finals for students who are having difficulty (review your review with the faculty before you give it)

    The second year will cost you nothing.

  2. A worthy goal! I've been putting together Top 5 applications myself for Fall 2012 and have desires similar to your own. After all, what's the point of gaining the vocational freedom offered by these programs if you simply become a slave to interest in the process?
    I'll be following your progress closely. You've earned a spot on my RSS feed.

  3. Matt, great to hear from someone else who feels the same about student loans and great point about freedom in your career. I wish you the best of luck on your applications.

  4. I just found your blog via Get Rich Slowly. I'm interested to read along as you start your degree. I just graduated from college - 5 years, including one abroad, on full academic scholarship - and am starting graduate school. I'm in engineering, so I'm getting paid to go to graduate school, but the finances of living in California were still a little scary . . . But your goals are quite lofty and I'm sure your progress will be inspirational!

  5. This is really great goal you have! And I read from another post that you got a fantastic grant to help you. Brilliant.

    I had a similar goal before I went to school (wharton) in 2008 and here was my experience:

    I saved 250k - with 180 of that in cash. I also worked in banking on my internship in the summer of 2009 so I had a nice supplement there.

    The obvious advantage was that I had the luxury of making choices about my activities during school, about my chosen career path etc etc without the worry about loans or debt etc - not everyone could do the same and I think that may put a dampener on the whole bschool experience

    However, and to my immense surprise, bschool is a LOT more expesive that your budget could ever capture. I simply had no idea that a rugby trip to Argentina was even going to be on the agenda! And right now, it is "easy" to say you would never strech your budget that way, believe me when you have these types of amazing options available to you, you will say "yes" at least once. And what a shame if you didn't suck the marrow while you had a chance. I'm sure glad I did because life after school sucks ;)

    I'm not sure what school you are going to, but my suggestion would be to see if you can talk to some second years and hear what trips and programs they took part in, how much those cost and pick and choose a couple you would like to get involved in. Budget for them with a +20% buffer. I can't explain why that happens (we were all financial modeling geniuses after all, but not one of us could get these budgets right - oh, that's right we were drinking copiously at the time).
    - Budget for the parties and alcohol. I had no idea just how frivolous we could get. It's just that everyone is catching their second wind after years of being focused and hard at work to get into b school. Budget a lot because even if you are not a big drinker, you will be going to many "themed" parties (I think I spend 1000 bucks on costumes for these things over my blissful tenure)
    -Basically have a great time. You will realize quickly that you simply won't be able to do everything you want to at school. Pick a few things that bring you the greatest happiness and focus. Just don't let money be the deciding factor about how you choose to build those great memories.

  6. Impressive goal! Good luck trying to accomplish it! I just graduated and unfortunately have over $100k in debt - yep, sucks. But my goal is to pay it all back in 3 years and I'm doing some pretty drastic things to make sure I succeed.

    You don't go into specifics here but I think the main thing with graduating bschool with no debt comes from the planning and discipline before you actually get in. I try to tell people that all the time. I wish I'd known better.

    My So-Called Corporate Life

  7. Go for it. I'm working on a debt free PhD right now. It's been tough telling no to going out to other students in my program, but I'll be glad not to have their student loans at graduation.