Career advice? GE vs. DoD

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by kuyu, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. kuyu macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    I'm set to graduate with a BBA in Finance this December. The past month I've been interviewing all over the place. Right now I've got two good prospects. One is a financial analyst/management position with the Department of Defense. The other is GE's FMP program in Advanced Materials (quartz, silicones, plastics).
    --The DoD job is decent money (70-110 after 5 years), 40-50 hours a week, no moving, 36 days off a year to start, and a free MBA.
    --The GE job is amazing money (150+ after 5 years, could be over 350), 80-90 hours a week, move every ~18 months, and no MBA. But I'm told their FMP program has the same effect on a resume.
    --Both jobs have excellent opportunities for advancement

    My questions are:
    1) Is the money worth it? I don't have a wife or kids, and am not locked geographically. Does anyone here work these kind of hours? Do you have a life outside of work?

    2) Anyone been through the financial management program? What can I expect in the second interview? More questions or a case study or both?

    Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks:)
  2. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    Don't know too much about the econ field... but I would have to say the prospect of a free MBA out of the DoD job is very interesting. Being able to fall back on the degree is always good... put it this way:

    The experience the GE job will give you will be "like" an MBA, but it's still not an MBA. Say you were to apply for other jobs later, saying that you have an MBA directly translates into something a prospective employer would understand... citing experience, while incredible, might not fit their needs or is not directly relateable to what the employer wants. That experience then dictates what jobs you would be "eligible" for... whereas the MBA would be applicable to a broader spectrum of business/finance type jobs.

    I would personally go for the job that results in the actual MBA, it seems to me like it would leave the most doors open at the end.
  3. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    it all depends how much you value money/material things over time you could spend with family/friends... only you really know that of yourself.

    i personally would certainly opt for the lower money, lower hours things... i mean, you're not going to struggle exactly on 70k+
  4. jayb2000 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 18, 2003
    RI -> CA -> ME
    Security Clearance?

    If the DoD job includes a security clearance, that is worth a lot to future employers as well.

    Also, you list how much you might be making in 5 years, what about right now?
    If the difference is not that great, then the experience from DoD should get you the same pay in 5 years at GE as it would if you stayed there. Plus you would get a free MBA. Figure an MBA alone is worth $20-$40k (mostly guessing)

    Besides, GE might get another Welching and you could get laid off. DoD probably won't have that issue.

    Figure out the pay hourly, based on salary, plus benefits (including MBA) and then compare. The GE job might be very little more and you would not have an MBA. Then you need to decide if raw income is most important or having a life.
  5. djlu macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2005
    This is a tough call and I think it depends on who you are.

    1) Do you plan on staying with a company for your whole career? This is difficult to do but is easier with these two companies. That being said I would think DOD would be a lot safer.

    2) I personally like working lots of hours. I find I need to fill in my time with other things when I don't work the hours. Maybe I'm just a workaholic.

    3) A top company like GE has management programs that will put you through an MBA. If you are recognized and perform well you should be able to get into one.

    Doug Lu
  6. stubeeef macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2004
    I just left one position that offered me lots of time off for one that I work many 14hr days.

    Time off is nice, but keeping busy is good too. Being hired by GE and completing one of their programs will speak volumes later if you want it too. The employers you might go to from there will be aware of all that you have done and accomplished at GE but may not appreciate the low work load and bureacracy you were stuck with at DoD. DoD will not allow alot of free thought (I admit I am assuming that) and most open market companies MAY not appreciate it as much.

    I reccommend the more hours more pay more experience position. Put the max $$$ you can in 401k, stocks, college funds, IRA, and the market if more is left. Let time and compounding do its thing and retire at 50.
  7. cr2sh macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2002
    The difference in those two jobs is greater than just pays rates. I think you'll find working in the public sector is far more mundane, day to day, expect the same thing... than working for in the private.

    I think you have to take a look at yourself, understanding the differences in the two work cultures... and see where you fit.

    I, personally, could not work for the government.

    I've got a "friend" who works for the DoD, the travel is nice... he gets around, nice hotels, comfortable... but he gets really bored with what he's doing. There isn't a lot of room for creativity and break out of the box thinking in public sector positions.

    That's my take on it. I'm sure some gov. employee will speak up and argue with me though.

    Of course, from the looks of your signature... you're used to making poor decisions.

  8. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    The DoD job looks like a winner to me. The MBA is attractive, and the DoD looks good on a resume (though obviously GE is no slouch there).

    I'd shoot myself if I had to work 80-90 hours - that's half the hours in a week!

    You'd be spending half of your life at work.
  9. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    My wife worked for G.E. for several years, went through the FMP program and its amazing what it has done for her. At her recent job she was the only one who didn't have to get an interview with the President of the company because of her FMP - as long as the people who hire you know and understand what its all about, its a great thing to have.

    If you want to know more about the FMP program, PM me with your email and I'll have my wife tell you more about it.

    As for DOD, its not a bad thing, but it is the government - and you'll come across more people who are there just to have a job as opposed to getting people who might care a little more about what they do. But you do have more flexibility and free time. Is the DOD job in DC? The housing market is crazy and the traffic nuts. We moved from there a year ago and its only gotten worse.

    And in most cases, any finance job is always going to be more than 40 hours a week. If that's important to you, then you need to make the decision now and go for the DOD job. If you ever get to the private sector, it will always be more time...

  10. cr2sh macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2002
    Hah. I worked 1000 hours of overtime last year... mostly spikes of 80, 90, 100 hour work weeks.

    I did some sub-work for NASA last year, worked 112 hours in a week.. running around on the Cape with a badge. God, it was awesome.

    I really enjoy working that much, balls to the wall, take no prisoners, get it done now, mentality. I thrive on it. When it's 7am and I'm driving back to the hotel.. having worked all night, I have to be up in a few hours to meet the other crew. :)
  11. kuyu thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    The DoD job does have security clearance. They said I had to account for every minute of my life for the last 7 years. They will interview my parents, neighbors, etc.

    Dod starts around 35-45 with great benefits and automatic promotions/raises for the first 3 years. Most of the current workforce is scheduled to retire in the next 5-7 years. The younger employees I met were all very cool and laidback. They do a lot of stuff outside of work together.

    I think GE is around 50-60 starting. Not sure about benefits. The FMP forms the talent pool from which future GE leaders will emerge. It's a very competitive environment. Everyone I met is extremely intelligent and driven.

    Thanks for the input thus far!

    edit: the DoD thing is in Indianapolis, with some travel. GE would likely be in New England, but it could be anywhere.
  12. stubeeef macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2004
    I don't consider myself a work-a-holic but this was a vacation day for me, but ended up working anyway, just got in from an endoscopy procedure (ERCP) at the Lake Norman hospital (clayj will know where that one is). Got home after 9:30pm. The staff was VERY appreciative, and I cemented some relationships that I wanted to build, made 2 doctors very happy and my boss said that he will not charge me a vacation day even though I did not do anything till 3pm.

    I got to help save the day (tonight) and I could continue working all night no problem. Work is not bad, just working for ignorant ingrates, ego maniacs who are inept, for no money and no future-that is what is bad.

    I say take the GE job, work hard, kick some a$$ and retire early. I have 20 gov experience with the Navy, wouldn't trade any of it for the world, but it is not the same as experience the private sector can offer.
  13. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    Take what interests you...I mean, what's the point in life if you hate what you do every day? What are you going to do with millions of dollars if you can't enjoy every day?

    Personally I think that the GE job will pay'll have much more breathing room for out-of-the-box thinking than if you work for the government. GE is looking to make innovations and win against their competitors, the Department of Defense will most likely be futzing around with some extremely slow and bureaucratic processes. Now, I don't know the details of these jobs, but if what I speculate is true, then the GE job has an extra perk: a lot of cash to invest for the future, because <materialistic mode>who can pass up that Aston Martin W16 Vanquish. :D </materialistic mode>
  14. mac-er macrumors 65816

    Apr 9, 2003
    If you have the choice between private sector and government jobs....always pick the government job. Department of Defense is the way to go.

    There can be uncertainty with private sector. All it would take is someone like Ken Lay (Enron) or Chuck Conaway (Kmart) to send GE (and your job) down the toilet in two seconds flat. And before someone says that wouldn't happen to GE....people thought the same thing about Enron.

    Or a simple downturn in GE's business or a reorganization or a spin-off or a merger.

    Plus, government retirement is nice!
  15. kuyu thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    I just got a verbal offer from the DoD. I'm going to meet with GE this Wednesday and Thursday.

    I'm leaning heavily towards DoD, but I'll see what GE has to say. Thanks for all the input. The dichotemy of opinions really reflects my own dilemma.
  16. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    Real quick, I work for DoD. It's good work. I work at an office of counsel, and the work is varied and there is a lot of responsibility, but some down time as well. Like others have said, security clearance is worth its weight in gold - especially if you even come back east.

    I assume you would be at DFAC? As long as you don't screw up my paycheck, I wish you the best of luck if you go government (if you go GE, good luck anyway).
  17. kuyu thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    Yeah, the job is with DFAS (I assume that's what you meant). Don't worry, I'll see that you're pay is skimmed first thing.;)
  18. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    how ambitious are you?

    i am ex-dod (during graduate business school) and i found it boring and very room for mental growth and you have to really, really, really dumb yourself down...did i mention you have to dumb yourself down?????

    if you work for a private corporation, the experience (better than any mba) and money you make (which can more than easily pay for any mba program) will put you on a path of acceleration, but it can burn you out if you are not totally ambitious

    search your soul and find what makes you happy
  19. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    also realize that the type of people you meet in a top of the line private corporation, and the mba types you meet there (harvard, penn, stanford, university of chicago) will be totally different than the people you meet at dod and the few mba's that are there (from state schools and correspondence/internet mba programs)

    but beware that if you take the harvard mba path in a company like ge...and they will send you there if you are good, realize (and i am not kidding here) that you will be both the richest and youngest person in just about any cemetary you get buried in

    you have to be in love with the idea of dying young while working big hours and being a total business/corporate warrior
  20. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    one more story from my past

    i had a friend whose dad was a vp of a major fortune 500 company...but his wife, an enrolled agent with an accounting a finance bs degree, made more money in three months during tax season than he did all year

    and she worked 20 hour days from her home/office in those tax months

    the work is there if you want it, and most people don't want it
  21. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Here's my take.

    I'm a VP (for the past 4 years) and spend about 60 hours a week at the office and probably another 15-20 working at home. Before that, I was a manager and worked 50+ hours a week. I do have somewhat of a life outside work and the money is awesome. I look at it this way, with careful planning with my financial advisor, I'll be able to retire very comfortably in 7 years (I'm 43 now) and at 50, I will have the freedom to do whatever it is that I want. I'll probably start my own business then and take some very loyal co-workers with me.
  22. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
    if the DoD offers a clearence, take that job. definitely worth it.
  23. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    I agree with this suggestion. ;) :)

    Do you realize what a clearance cost? :eek:
  24. macEfan macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Forbidden, you do not have access to that server
    I think the GE one is better. GE is a great company that has no chance of going bankrupt any time soon. It also is very large. Plus you can make $$$ and be able to buy a new apple product every year :D
  25. Hoef macrumors 6502a


    Jul 11, 2004
    Houston, TX..... (keep walking)
    Let me get this clear .... at GE you start with $150k and that will be $350k in 5 yrs? .... If so, take it! .... I know investment bankers making less working 120 hrs a week. Do it till you have enough cash in the bank and then do an MBA at a top tier school ..... DoD MBA sounds like a dud to me

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