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A question for bschool students & those accepted

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A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 05:05
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So I've been looking at people's resumes from internships, school clubs and blogs. The one thing I've noticed is the strength in not only their undergrad (as Pelihu always said that schools are concerned w/protecting their brand) and work experience.

So my question is, do you have classmates who are from a crappy undergrad (non top-50) and have not so great work experience (IB, consultant @big firm, VC/PE) at your top15/16 (UE + Elite) bschool?
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 05:12
kidderek wrote:
So I've been looking at people's resumes from internships, school clubs and blogs. The one thing I've noticed is the strength in not only their undergrad (as Pelihu always said that schools are concerned w/protecting their brand) and work experience.

So my question is, do you have classmates who are from a crappy undergrad (non top-50) and have not so great work experience (IB, consultant @big firm, VC/PE) at your top15/16 (UE + Elite) bschool?


good point. it always seems like even the "poets" and so called non traditional applicants went to ivy leagues.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 05:15
kidderek wrote:
crappy undergrad (non top-50)


So the only place to get an education worth anything is at a top 50 UG ?
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 05:17
jallenmorris wrote:
kidderek wrote:
crappy undergrad (non top-50)


So the only place to get an education worth anything is at a top 50 UG ?


I think you may be saying that in jest. Sadly, I think adcoms lump anything below top 50 into one category; and that category is "may water down our brand."
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 05:21
kidderek wrote:
jallenmorris wrote:
kidderek wrote:
crappy undergrad (non top-50)


So the only place to get an education worth anything is at a top 50 UG ?


I think you may be saying that in jest. Sadly, I think adcoms lump anything below top 50 into one category; and that category is "may water down our brand."


I don't buy that. I think the under-represented schools help the MBA programs add "diversity" to the class.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 05:22
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I have read that many of the top programs aim for diversity both within demographics and undergrad institutions (even stating in their promo materials how many undergrad institutions are represented). I personally know of plenty of people from my UG (large unranked state school) who have gotten into top-tier b-schools including H/S/W. I have a feeling that if your specific "crappy" UG is not represented in their student body, they may look at you a bit more favorably. But they probably will not let in more than one or two from any given lower-tier school unless they are dealing with real superstars.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 05:52
That is my feeling too. There are many great people that go to schools that are not top 50 undergrad. The actual school rankings depend on some variables that, stastically speaking, smaller schools are not likely to be high in, but it doesn't necessarily reflect on the education given by those smaller schools.

A school in the northeast that is centuries old is going to have tradition and history that a school in the midwest does not. The longer a school is around, the more years it has to perfect it's education. I do believe that many of the schools in the northeast that are older provide a great eduction and are probably better than many of the schools in the midwest. (I choose midwest because 1) that's where i live and 2) the costal areas, east & west, were populated far ealier than the midwest and the trend continues to this day.)

One of the best things offered by some of these "top 50 schools" is the networking. This is important in finding a job and being successful, but great networking does not necessarily equate with good education. A stupid person that graduated from XYZ University can hire another stupid person that recently graduated from XYZ University. The education is bad, but by networking standards, that recent grad was able to network and get a job easily with XYZ University alumni.

Furthermore, If you compare a large school to a small school and judge the success of the large school by the number of millionaires (or billionaires as I read recently in an online article), then the larger school has an advantage purely by the numbers. If you have a student body of 65,000, you have a lot more chances that one, or many, of them will start business that grow to become huge. If the large school has 65 people that grow huge companies on their own, they have a success rate of 1 in 1000. Where as as school with 6500 people must have 1 in 100 people to achieve the "same" success rate, unless you actually look at percentages. Few people analyze this area so closely as to look at percentages. Rarely would a smaller school even get noticed, but this doesn't mean the education is crappy.

I went to a very small school and the last 2 years of my schooling, I had many classes in my major that were very, very small. (4 - 8 people total) These classes were taught by a Ph.D. Not a graduate assistant with very little experience. An incredibly smart, published, accomplished, dedicated professor with a Ph.D. To have the opportunity to sit in a class with 3 other students and the professor and discsuss political theory is amazing. You can't slack off even if you want to. In this sense, I believe the education I received is better than at a larger school. If only 4 people sign up for a class like this, most likely, it's going to get cancelled. Additionally, with a larger class, you don't have to participate unless you actually want to. With 4 people, the professor knows, and cares, who is talking and actively engaged those that didn't say anything. We all could quickly tell if someone wasn't prepared for class. It only happened about twice at the beginning of the semester as no one wanted to be embarrased like that.

A name-brand school is just that...a name brand. People at that school will tell you they do so much more to give a quality education than rely on their name. Education goes way beyond a name and I believe those that judge a school's ability to provide an edcuation simply by it's size and name are shallow.

raabenb wrote:
I have read that many of the top programs aim for diversity both within demographics and undergrad institutions (even stating in their promo materials how many undergrad institutions are represented). I personally know of plenty of people from my UG (large unranked state school) who have gotten into top-tier b-schools including H/S/W. I have a feeling that if your specific "crappy" UG is not represented in their student body, they may look at you a bit more favorably. But they probably will not let in more than one or two from any given lower-tier school unless they are dealing with real superstars.

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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 06:48
I went to a barely top 50 UG, had a somewhat crappy GPA, and will be headed to Michigan. I have had a very strong and effective career history, but it is in IT at a not so prestigious (not google, apple, microsoft) large company.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 06:52
Without meaning to sound negative, I think it may be even more dire than people think for state school applicants. I went to a top 5 - 10 state school that is an absolute power house in its region. It's probably one of the 5 or 7 best schools overall in the western half of the united states.

When I started looking into going to a top 5 b-school, the first thing I did was comb through the alumni database looking for people who had gone to the schools I am interested in. It was a really short list, and when I spoke to them a pattern emerged: Almost everyone I spoke to said they had been one of one to three people from our school who had been admitted in their year. My boss went to Harvard in the early 90's, and he was the only one out of a class of 900. I also have a friend currently at Stanford, and she claims to be the only one she has seen from our school in her year. Granted, the size of my study is only about ten people, but the pattern is telling. I think if you fit this background, you basically have to hope that you are one of the best one to three applicants from your school in your year in order to get in.

It's kind of discouraging that UCLA / UW-Madison / UVA / U Washington and other top state schools are so poorly represented at top b-schools. I wish that when I was in high school, someone had told me that what you get on the SAT basically determines the rest of your life.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 06:58
sudden wrote:
I wish that when I was in high school, someone had told me that what you get on the SAT basically determines the rest of your life.


Not quite, but I see where you're going with that.

Anyway, my point wasn't limited to undergrad institution. It was a combination of non top 50 undergrad + avg work exp. Do we stand a good chance at the top 15? Or are we the exceptions to the rule?
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 07:09
kidderek wrote:
Anyway, my point wasn't limited to undergrad institution. It was a combination of non top 50 undergrad + avg work exp. Do we stand a good chance at the top 15? Or are we the exceptions to the rule?


I wouldn't say "a good chance" but it's doable. I went to one of the schools I referenced above and work for a brokerage firm that no one outside of my region has ever heard of (although it is the best in my region) and almost got in this year. I applied to H / W / S / Chi / Col and interviewed everywhere but H and was waitlisted at two of the others. I am below the average age, and have the school + non-brand name firm working against me and still almost pulled it off. I think if it were an average application year, I would have made it, but this was probably the worst year in history to apply as a white guy working in financial services.

Another interesting anecdote: I was talking to my boss about his experience at H, and he said the people he knew who made it in from state schools were actually smarter than the average Ivy grad he went to school with -- probably because they had to swim so hard upsteam to get in from a state school background. I'm not making an argument that state school people are better than Ivy grads, just that in his experience, you basically have to be "over qualified" to make it into HBS from a state school (meaning you have to be freakin off the hook good to get in since they won't cut you any slack whatsoever).
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 07:22
sudden wrote:
I wouldn't say "a good chance" but it's doable. I went to one of the schools I referenced above and work for a brokerage firm that no one outside of my region has ever heard of (although it is the best in my region) and almost got in this year. I applied to H / W / S / Chi / Col and interviewed everywhere but H and was waitlisted at two of the others. I am below the average age, and have the school + non-brand name firm working against me and still almost pulled it off. I think if it were an average application year, I would have made it, but this was probably the worst year in history to apply as a white guy working in financial services.

Another interesting anecdote: I was talking to my boss about his experience at H, and he said the people he knew who made it in from state schools were actually smarter than the average Ivy grad he went to school with -- probably because they had to swim so hard upsteam to get in from a state school background. I'm not making an argument that state school people are better than Ivy grads, just that in his experience, you basically have to be "over qualified" to make it into HBS from a state school (meaning you have to be freakin off the hook good to get in since they won't cut you any slack whatsoever).


Ok, now I kinda remember your profile. Tough year yes, but you applied to strictly M7 schools so it was going to be tough for you either way. Good luck next year, if you're reapplying.

And I completely agree w/your 2nd paragraph.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 07:55
I went to a tiny (800 students or so) specialized state school that wouldnt even be in the top 1,000. The only saving grace was it was an usual school that provided a very unique experience and is considered the top school for what it is. I then went to work for the US government which isnt exactly a blue chip work place (maybe 75 years ago it was). With these "hurdles" I still got into a UE...

Honestly, I dont think people can use their schools as an excuse for lack of success in applying. Its possible but you just need to work that much harder at it. Obviously a top brand school gives you a better job at a choice gig coming out of UG which then makes it easier to get into a b-school. But its possible to get into any school no matter where you come from. That said I would say the vast majority of my future classmates come from top schools.

Another thing to consider is the regional reputation of an UG. A large local state university is likely to place best in its local area.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 20:10
I believe a lot of it is based on what you've done in your work experience (and somewhat in your UG) that proves you're a "superstar". The UG you went to is only one factor, but not the be-all and end-all of getting into a top-15 school.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2008, 23:37
I went to a small liberal arts school (like 200 people in my class), and nobody has heard of my school outside the state that it is in. It is barely top 100 in the US news rankings. And I got like 3.3. GPA at this stupid school :oops:.
And yet I made it to top 10-15 b-school only 2 years after graduation.
Oh, and my SAT was 1000 :oops:

So I think there are many other factors that influence the adcom decision, it is not all about your stats and your undergrad
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2008, 04:52
Examples like this are exactly why I don't give much weight to the brand dilution theory.

Darden2010 wrote:
I went to a small liberal arts school (like 200 people in my class), and nobody has heard of my school outside the state that it is in. It is barely top 100 in the US news rankings. And I got like 3.3. GPA at this stupid school :oops:.
And yet I made it to top 10-15 b-school only 2 years after graduation.
Oh, and my SAT was 1000 :oops:

So I think there are many other factors that influence the adcom decision, it is not all about your stats and your undergrad

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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2008, 05:02
jallenmorris wrote:
Examples like this are exactly why I don't give much weight to the brand dilution theory.
Darden2010 wrote:
I went to a small liberal arts school (like 200 people in my class), and nobody has heard of my school outside the state that it is in. It is barely top 100 in the US news rankings. And I got like 3.3. GPA at this stupid school :oops:.
And yet I made it to top 10-15 b-school only 2 years after graduation.
Oh, and my SAT was 1000 :oops:

So I think there are many other factors that influence the adcom decision, it is not all about your stats and your undergrad


I disagree. You can't list an exception to the rule and restate it as if it were the rule. I get it, it's possible. My question is what the majority of the class looks like.

rr snuck this one in:

riverripper wrote:
That said I would say the vast majority of my future classmates come from top schools.



BTW, nice jump in score from SAT to GMAT, Darden2010.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2008, 05:24
Its useless to stress out about how much our undergrad hurts our chances. Its safe to assume the bulk of top schools classes are made up of students from top undergrads. They were a self selecting group to begin with.

Unless we have solid stats on the acceptance/rejection rates amongst lower-tier undergrads and what proportion of the applicant pool came from these schools, everything is just word-of-mouth or isolated personal experiences.

Naturally, somebody would get scared to find out that there are only a couple people from their alma mater represented in the student body of the top schools.....but would this fear be justified if they were to find out that very few people from their alma mater applied in the first place? Of course not.
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2008, 05:28
also I know of one person from my undergrad that just got in W (he graduated 2004 from undergrad), and there is one other person from my undergrad that is graduating from Darden this year.

... so I would say that getting in a top b-school from a no-name undergrad is not that much impossible as people think it is :)
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2008, 06:01
I agree with the statement that the top UG schools are selective to begin with. There are so many factors at play in this discussion it seems impossible that any rule would be true often enough to remain a rule.

If you look at statistics, largers schools = larger population, so having 8 or 12 people from one top UG at H or W or S should not be that surprising. A handful of people from a student body of tens of thousands is still a small %. But 1 or 2 from a student body of 800 is more impressive.

I think we're equating "easier, or more likely, to get in" with the number of people from an undergard institution when it is a matter of having a larger pool of people at those larger undergrads from which to pull quality applicants. Furthermore, if someone has to choose between Huge Unviersity and Small Liberal Arts University/College, that person is likely to be a great student at either place. It might actually serve that person better to be 1 of the very small handful of big fish in the small pond rather than be one of a few dozen stellar students at the larger university. When it comes time to compete at b-schools, the adcom might look at 24 applicants from Huge U and the 10th or 11th of those is still impressive, but may not get admission if 8 others are already admitted. Whereas if that person was the only one from the small school, that person is likely to stand out much more because there isn't anyone else with that person from that school that stands out quite as much.

Do you want to be a big fish in a big pond or big fish in a small pond?
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Re: A question for bschool students & those accepted   [#permalink] 01 Jul 2008, 06:01
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