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Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different?

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Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2009, 18:03
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Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different?

"Students at every school are largely modular. We seem cut from similarly ambitious, overachieving cloth, and share common skills."

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Re: Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different? [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2009, 19:40
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I think Xenok hit it on the head...companies that recruit at core schools still get loads of applications. Talking with some recruiters/alums their companies would get 100-200 resumes (GM type roles). Of those maybe 8 - 12 get closed list interviews. Then out of the 16-24 interviews they conduct on campus, they give out their offers...sometimes none and sometimes they will give out 10 or more. If a company wants to bring in 20 people from half a dozen core schools they could be looking at 1000 applicants for those positions. They have to weed through to find the people who are serious about the company and the job, and are not just using it as a backup for M/B/B.

Companies also have cores, not just because senior managers or the MBA program manager are alums of the school. A lot of it has to do with students from there are a known entity. They know admission at those schools are going to basically ensure them a certain level of candidate and that students will on average graduate with a certain level of skills. Plus they have developed reputations with students that attracts them, I can tell you that different companies have very different reputations. Overall in the real world they may all be seen as impressive companies you would want to work for...but talking with people who interned or alums who work(ed) there you may get a very different image of what its like as an employer. So students do a lot of self selecting, I did not apply to some very impressive companies because I felt I would hate working there. If I was at another school I would be swayed by the image and probably would have applied off campus to them. I would be willing to go to a school i wasnt happy about because it would be great for my career but I think accepting a job I wouldnt be happy with is a completely different thing.

My advice, if you are choosing between different schools...if you want an industry that recruits MBAs (IB, MC, CPG, healthcare) go to the school with the strongest placement in that area and that has the most on campus stuff (providing there is a big difference). If companies recruit MBA's heavily but not at that school its going to be extremely hard to break in. I got 2nd round interviews off campus and then my ding basically was sorry we loved you and think you would be a great fit unfortunately we are only bringing a small intern class on this summer and will only be taking people from our core schools. So if you have half a dozen companies you would love to work for and 1 recruits at school A but 5 recruit at school B...go to school B. However, if you want something that recruits very few people (eg alt. energy) then its not as big of a factor.

After all the honest answer about why you are getting an MBA is because you want to have a great career not to learn some ground breaking material. If you want that go get a phd.
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Re: Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2009, 18:14
The degree is the same no matter where you go. What you learn is probably very similar at the top schools. However, career opportunities is what sets the elite and ultra elites apart. Companies have core schools for a reason, not because if you are at an ultra elite you are going to have some amazing course that will allow you to be the CEO of a fortune 50 company in 20 years. They do it because the school does a huge part of the selection process for them. Basically if you are at a top 5 or 10 or whatever a company recruits, you are pre-screened to a significant degree. Thats not to say everyone going to HBS is going to get an amazing job or that someone going to a top 20 wont have the same position as someone who graduated from HBS.

Rankings aren't a great reason to pick a school, but you better realize there is a reason there are schools at the top...its not because they have some amazingly different curriculum. Its because their grads are in the most demand, go to the top companies, get paid the most, and typically have the greatest success during their careers.
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Re: Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2009, 18:41
Interesting article nink.

It makes you wonder if the top MC/IB companies will ever change the schools they recruit from? I can't imagine any of today's top-5 schools all of a sudden dropping in rank, so how do the schools that are improving over time (like Yale for instance) break in?
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Re: Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different? [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2009, 02:43
isa wrote:
Interesting article nink.

It makes you wonder if the top MC/IB companies will ever change the schools they recruit from? I can't imagine any of today's top-5 schools all of a sudden dropping in rank, so how do the schools that are improving over time (like Yale for instance) break in?


I think to some extent it's a virtuous cycle (or vicious cycle depending on your point of view). Company X recruits more heavily at School Y, so Company X has a lot more School Y alumni, which influence it to recruit at School Y, etc.
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Re: Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different? [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2009, 08:51
Jerz wrote:
isa wrote:
Interesting article nink.

It makes you wonder if the top MC/IB companies will ever change the schools they recruit from? I can't imagine any of today's top-5 schools all of a sudden dropping in rank, so how do the schools that are improving over time (like Yale for instance) break in?


I think to some extent it's a virtuous cycle (or vicious cycle depending on your point of view). Company X recruits more heavily at School Y, so Company X has a lot more School Y alumni, which influence it to recruit at School Y, etc.


I guess you can break the cycle if School Z manages to get an alumni really high up and uses his pull to bring more School Z into Company X.

Hate this XYZ stuff, let's just say Yale will never go up. JK. But I think a really good example is Columbia, they had a terrible 80's, scandles and school problem brought them down. They are climbing back up now through ED, yield protection, rolling admission, yada yada....
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Re: Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different? [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2009, 16:57
I think the intent of the author was to break that cycle Jerz mentioned, although I think he unintentionally did a terrible job of doing that.

His main arguments can be summarized as such:
1) the education in all MBA schools are similar
2) therefore you can find qualified guys outside of the UE and Es.

I don't disagree with those statements at all, however I did he miss the mark here. If I'm a HR guy for a very desirable company (e.g. Goldman, Apple, etc.) I need a good reason to go recruiting off the beaten track. Say I plan to recruit 10 MBAs this year, and I already get 1000 applicants from the top 10 or 15 schools, what's the incentive for me to go looking harder? By saying "Hey, we're good too. We received the same education, we also have qualified people, come take a look!" isn't really going to help. The HR guy is probably going to think, if they are all about the same, skip the risk and recruit only at the premium schools. The risk to reward ratio is terrible using the author's logic. The HR guy is going to keep thinking "No one ever got fired for hiring a Harvard guy."

IMO, I think for the lower ranked schools to move up, they should actually seek to differentiate themselves, maybe by specialization. Instead of saying "We're the same as the M7 schools!" perhaps a strategy that says "We're not as good as the M7 schools, but in Finance (as an example), we're just as good as Wharton/Booth/Stern!" might be more effective.
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Re: Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different? [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2009, 18:27
That guy is certainly well intentioned, and makes a somewhat valid point (though I'm not sure it is the point that he sets out to make), but he comes off sounding so bitter throughout that it wrecks any credibility that he might have.

Ultimately, he has to realize this:

If I'm an HR person with a limited amount of time and budget looking to get the best people possible to for my company, I have to seek out the places where I am likely to find the highest achievers that I can reasonably expect to come to my company if I extend them an offer. What I'm looking for is those sorts of people in high concentrations, to minimize the costs (time and money) of searching. Then, if there are really great people from other, lower concentration, places I expect them to find me and/or be brought to my attention through my network. In a world absent of costs it would be great if Goldman could do recruiting at every top 50 school, because every three years they might find a superstar at Minnesota. Then, of course, the guys at school 51 would be making posts like this cat from Tepper. Unfortunately, the cut was made before that. My suggestion is that if his friends really are superstars that they all go network their way into GS and make it a core school. I promise, if Goldman starts to find consistently high quality people (over a period of time) showing up on their radar from CMU they'll start showing up at the school to recruit.



As a small disclaimer, I don't hate CMU or think that it sucks.

Last edited by dharmabum on 07 Apr 2009, 19:50, edited 1 time in total.
Re: Are MBAs from Top Schools So Different?   [#permalink] 07 Apr 2009, 18:27
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