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H/W/S selection criteria

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 06:03
solaris - For the benefit of us internationals who have not been able to visit the school, what is it about Chicago that you did not like ?
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 06:16
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hbs.aspirant wrote:

I agree that this is best decision for you, or people like you, Kry. There is a huge difference between you and people who love brand name. You are branded with "Stanford" already hence you can talk about not considering brand name.

People from "no name colleges" and "small companies" would not care much about anything except Big Name, specially after going through admission process and realizing how harmful it is for one's career to carry only "unknown names".


I totally agree with solaris that "fit" is discounted way too much. I think people get too caught up in "brand" for MBAs. How far does the brand really get you? Are employers (after your first job out - and even for the first job I could argue that H/S/W could even hurt with all of the Goldman/PE/MBB grads who attend those three schools and return to their firms, taking up the school's most coveted jobs anyway) really going to hire somebody based on whether Harvard vs. Wharton vs. Kellogg vs. Sloan vs. Haas is on their resume? The brands at a top 10 school (especially M7) are all strong enough where its not going to make much of a difference in your career from a pure resume perspective. Sure, among your friends, you might get a "wow" factor from "Harvard" or "Stanford", but if vanity is driving your MBA decision, then I'm not going to be able to influence you anyway.

This is not to say that H/S/W might not be a better hands-down decision school for you than Kellogg, Sloan, Haas, etc. is. H/S/W might be perfect - but it shouldn't be based on the name as the single most deciding factor. One could even argue that H/S/W are each so typecast that the stereotypes could potentially be a negative (I know a stretch that I don't necessarily even believe, but the typecasts do exist). Harvard/Stanford/Wharton all have strengths and weaknesses just like every other top 10 school. I think people put on blinders to these differences because they're star struck - but you need evaluate these schools just like you would any other. At the end of the day, if you go to one of H/S/W just for the name over another school where you would thrive more, its going to hurt you more than help you.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 06:17
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Hi bsd, my intention there wasn't to blackball GSB.

My reasons for not considering GSB are based on the abstract and the anecdotal, so you may or may not be sensitive to the same issues. That's what I was trying to say about "fit" in the last post, it's a pretty individual thing and I would encourage everyone to look into it personally. I do realize that's really hard for internationals to do.

Therefore I won't be very specific here, but some of the things I didn't feel totally comfortable with at GSB were the feel of the MBA community around campus, the "perceived superiority" of some students over others and how edgy some MBA folks appeared to become once recruiting started on campus.

bsd_lover wrote:
solaris - For the benefit of us internationals who have not been able to visit the school, what is it about Chicago that you did not like ?
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 07:35
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hbs.aspirant wrote:
I agree that this is best decision for you, or people like you, Kry. There is a huge difference between you and people who love brand name. You are branded with "Stanford" already hence you can talk about not considering brand name.

People from "no name colleges" and "small companies" would not care much about anything except Big Name, specially after going through admission process and realizing how harmful it is for one's career to carry only "unknown names".


HBS, I agree with the difference between me and others, and I have said that I am probably in the minority (though not one of the "rare" ones). But similarly, I can say the same thing about the difference between you (internationals) and those students in the US who went to a decent school or worked at a decent company (one could have went to UCLA and worked at GE, while not Ivys and Big3 Consulting, it's still pretty good), and say that there is quite a significant amount of people who do NOT need the brand name so much that they would pick brand over everything else.

Also, brand is relative. As I mentioned before, each tier of schools have a range of culture, programs, and fit that one can apply to at least 1 school in each tier that "fits" him/her, and apply based on their qualifications. Someone who likes case studies can apply to HBS/Darden/Trans-Elite schools versus someone who likes experiential learning can apply to Stanford/Haas/another Trans-Elite school. My point is similar to solaris and others in that even if you went to Darden, Haas, Ross, and other non-UE schools, it is NOT "harmful" to go to Elite schools or even some trans-elite schools for MANY people who are not internationals (I would even guess at 30-40% of a school's class). Those people apply to the best schools they can that FIT them, because one should always aspire to shoot for the top, but they do not apply across the board to all the UEs without regard to "fit" in all the aspects of what that word means. Saying that someone who has a top 20-30 undergrad (not Ivy or huge brand name), worked at a non Big 3 consulting firm (again, not a brand name), and ended up Duke or Anderson or McCombs (not UE) will have a very tough time in their career after b-school is misguided at best, and misleading at the worst. There are plenty of people who I've met and known that have gone to smaller schools and gotten MBAs at schools outside the top 10 or even top 20, and have had a successful career. Maybe not some crazy spectacular PE/MC job, but one that makes them happy and earns them a good amount of money. For most of us, that is what we're looking for.

We could argue this forever and forever, hbs, and would not come to a conclusion. You and I come from too different a background to really hold the same beliefs. Though having lived in Taiwan for many years, I have been exposed and immersed in the "take the standardized test and go ONLY to the best school your score can get you into" culture that India also shares, so I know where you're coming from. I believe our differences basically come down to "cultural" differences, in that many in the US are taught to go for what they *want* and what makes them "happy" from childhood on, instead of what has the best brand. There are definitely a good number of people who are pure brand chasers, but I would dare guess that many US born and raised people will tell you the reasons that they chose their undergrad or grad school is based on a myriad of factors (including prestige, fit, location, cost, culture, majors, etc...) and not just based on name. For Asians (East and South), many have a MUCH higher emphasis on brand name, and it's ingrained into them since childhood (I've seen and experienced the high school entrance exam frenzy). For the Chinese, many of us are told by our parents and relatives (thank goodness not mine) that if you don't get into the top 5 engineering/medical/law schools, then you're a failure and an embarassment to the family name (I'm exaggerating for dramatic effect :P). That is probably what stems one's view of whether to apply only to UEs or whether there's a selection of UE/E/Trans-Es/Near E's that fit one person.

The discussion is not meant to draw conclusions, but to throw out different viewpionts, except I would caution making very generalized blanket statements about the perceived applicant behavior and adcom behavior regarding "fit".

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 08:00
Good post Kry...

I tend to follow your line of thought as well. It's not just all brand, but how you feel you will fit with the alums, students, and career opps at each school. I think you are spot on that these differences of opinion may stem more from inherent cultural differences, rather than any truth across all applicants.

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 08:45
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kryzak wrote:
HBS, I agree with the difference between me and others, and I have said that I am probably in the minority (though not one of the "rare" ones). But similarly, I can say the same thing about the difference between you (internationals) and those students in the US who went to a decent school or worked at a decent company (one could have went to UCLA and worked at GE, while not Ivys and Big3 Consulting, it's still pretty good), and say that there is quite a significant amount of people who do NOT need the brand name so much that they would pick brand over everything else.


:-), I consider UCLA and GE as good brands, Kry. When I said people with no pedigree need a brand , I referred to really unknown schools and companies.

kryzak wrote:
one that makes them happy and earns them a good amount of money. For most of us, that is what we're looking for.


kryzak wrote:
I believe our differences basically come down to "cultural" differences, in that many in the US are taught to go for what they *want* and what makes them "happy" from childhood on, instead of what has the best brand. There are definitely a good number of people who are pure brand chasers, but I would dare guess that many US born and raised people will tell you the reasons that they chose their undergrad or grad school is based on a myriad of factors (including prestige, fit, location, cost, culture, majors, etc...) and not just based on name. For Asians (East and South), many have a MUCH higher emphasis on brand name, and it's ingrained into them since childhood (I've seen and experienced the high school entrance exam frenzy). For the Chinese, many of us are told by our parents and relatives (thank goodness not mine) that if you don't get into the top 5 engineering/medical/law schools, then you're a failure and an embarassment to the family name (I'm exaggerating for dramatic effect :P). That is probably what stems one's view of whether to apply only to UEs or whether there's a selection of UE/E/Trans-Es/Near E's that fit one person.


I disagree Kry. Cultural difference that impacts is not chasing brand, but different understanding of what is needed, and doing what makes one happy is not always the best choice. During childhood, had I studied where I fit and did what made me "happy", trust me, I would be on the receiving side of "Social Welfare", leave apart helping others.

I would say if one has an understanding of what one wants in life and better college makes it easier, it needs to be the better college. But if one has a thinking that time spent in school should be "fun" too, I agree with you that one should look for fit. It may be just my tangential thinking, but I do not care how much I do not enjoy as long as what I am doing is the best step towards my ultimate goal.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 08:56
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kryzak wrote:
HBS, I agree with the difference between me and others, and I have said that I am probably in the minority (though not one of the "rare" ones). But similarly, I can say the same thing about the difference between you (internationals) and those students in the US who went to a decent school or worked at a decent company (one could have went to UCLA and worked at GE, while not Ivys and Big3 Consulting, it's still pretty good), and say that there is quite a significant amount of people who do NOT need the brand name so much that they would pick brand over everything else.


I think your position might be rarer than you think, although I agree that the way you have approached your search is correct for you. You have some pretty impressive educational credentials already.

I think I am a good example of your description above. I went to a good quality state school, similar to UCLA. I work at a company that will be at least in the top 20 of the Fortune 500 this year. However, I work in IT, and while I am very good at what I do, I do not think that it is considered very prestigious. Therefore, while I sort of hate to admit, the brand of the school does matter to me. Not more than the educational quality, but it is an important consideration.

The aspect of "fit" that matters to me is where the school is located and whether it is good at educating people for what I want to do. Since I am mainly concerned with enhancing my general management abilities many schools qualify in the skills/academics area.

Take a look at where I applied: Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Chicago, Michigan, Harvard. They do not seem to share a common theme. Heck, maybe that hurt me at Berkeley, since they are the only school that asks you to explicitly state where you applied. However, they all make sense to me. They all (except for Michigan) are in a major metro area so my wife should be able to find a job. They all have strong recruiting ability on the West coast. They are all very good in general management and corporate strategy, and all are reasonably proficient in tech.

I am not as concerned about "cultural fit." I think in a class of 350+ people, there are going to be people of all different types, so I am sure that I will find people I work well with at any school. There will be intense people at Stanford, and chill people at Harvard. In fact, the people I met at Harvard were very friendly and laid back. My student guide did his undergrad from Georgia Tech, and really encouraged me to give HBS a shot despite my lack of "pedigree." Also, there will be people of all types in our future businesses, so I need to be able to work with people whether or not I fit in well with them.

When it comes down to it, I think that fit is mostly best for choosing between two similar quality schools. Personally, considering the cost and disruption of going back to school, I am going to go to the best school that I get into judged based on my opportunities upon graduation, including the ease of returning to the west coast. I think school brand/prestige/(whatever you want to call it) does play a role in that for someone like me.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 09:06
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I am not as concerned about "cultural fit." I think in a class of 350+ people, there are going to be people of all different types, so I am sure that I will find people I work well with at any school. There will be intense people at Stanford, and chill people at Harvard. In fact, the people I met at Harvard were very friendly and laid back. My student guide did his undergrad from Georgia Tech, and really encouraged me to give HBS a shot despite my lack of "pedigree." Also, there will be people of all types in our future businesses, so I need to be able to work with people whether or not I fit in well with them.


This is exactly the way I look at it Bherronp. I think you put it much more eloquently than I did. So, free golf lesson for you ;)
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 11:09
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hbs, to each their own. I think you may have taken my comments a bit to the extreme. I'm not saying that one should not even consider brand. Otherwise, why would I bother applying to any school that would give me ulcers waiting for the decision? :wink:

Also:

hbs.aspirant wrote:
:-), I consider UCLA and GE as good brands, Kry. When I said people with no pedigree need a brand , I referred to really unknown schools and companies.


I apologize if I misunderstood what you meant, but from the sound of your first few posts, it gave me the "H/S/W or bust" feeling. I believe that even if you have no "brand" from UG or work, a good elite school will still help you achieve what you need. No one really NEEDS UE schools, in my humble opinion. It definitely helps, but in the long run, people will be judged more on what they've done in and after school than the school they went to (as long as it's above a certain level).

Our past experiences shape our views of the world, and it would be hard to put ourselves in each other's "shoes" :P. In the end, choosing schools to apply to is a very personal decision that one should make for him/herself. I'm not trying to convince anyone otherwise, other than to just throw out another data point and tell people that looking for "fit" (whatever it means) is an important aspect, though definitely on the "be all, end all" solution. For some people (like hbs and bher and dosa), the brand will help them succeed in reaching their ultimate goal. For others (like myself and river), brand is good, but fit is more important.

I hope this discussion (and bherronp's great post) has given future applicants a good view of all the people out there and what they seek in their b-school experience. Definitely go for the best school you can go for, and apply for some reach schools (just to challenge yourself), but if you can also consider the fit in terms of location, program, weather, people, culture, etc., definitely do that. If brand is of the utmost importance, then more power to you too.

Cheers to everyone who provided such a great discussion! I will try to capture both viewpoints in my own profile to archive it for future folks. This thread has already been added to the knowledge vault too. Kudos to y'all!

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 18:59
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To build on what Kry said...to me brand is not that important. I understand some people care more about brand name that goes with them for their rest of their life than the two years they spend at a school. When I choose my undergrad my mother had a fit, I had an SAT that could have gotten me into any school, I was top 5% of my HS, had tons of AP classes, was very involved...yet I decided to go to a school that was so "below" where my peers in high school went that my mother cried. She wanted me to apply to ivy league schools not some crappy state school. I choose it for very specific reasons, my bro graduated #1 in his class and was probably the most focused person I ever met...I was the complete opposite I was a complete screw off. I mean I would skip classes to go skiing, and my studying and homework usually was done in home room or between classes. I personally made the decision to go to a military school where I would spend 2-3 months at sea a year, as much as it sucked at the time I know I would not be the person I am today without the discipline that taught me.

If someone needs brand to even out lack of brand pre-mba trust me that would be me. My background is about as unelite as it can be. I went to a school that most people that live within 20 minutes of it dont know it exists. I dont work for a big blue chip company...I work for the government. I do have an interesting career that relates to my future career goals. I know with some work any elite or near elite could get me to where I want, I have confidence that my passion for what I want to do and knowledge of the industry would help get past not having a fancy name. I have done it before, I could do it again, where I work they hirer fewer than 100-200 applicants a year and a lot of those are from "better" school than mine. Yes its easy to claim all this since i am going to be attending an UE next fall but I managed to get into Kellogg despite having names on my resume most people would roll their eyes at and think nothing of. So if I can get into Kellogg, I am confident I could reach my career goals without going there...but yes admittedly by being prescreened by an UE it will give me a huge step up finding that first job...from then on its all on my shoulders. 5 years after graduating no one will care where I got my MBA from other than where I went as they hit me up for donations.

Personally fit was THE very big deciding factor. H/S/W all would have fit everyones career goals but to be honest as great a school as HBS is I could never go there, no need to explain why since its all based on feel and not fact...basically I grew up near Boston and to me it has had such a negative image my whole life I could get past that. Wharton, the whole cultural rep didnt get me enthusiastic at all...another school even if I got in there is no way I would have taken it over Kellogg knowing what I know now. Maybe if I had met a Wharton student as passionate as Rhyme was with selling GSB (that guy all by himself probably got at least 10 people on here excited about applying to GSB) I would have applied but I didnt. I totally understand the vast majority of people go to the school held in the highest regard that they get into but like Kryzak I know I wouldnt.

I think in a way schools know who fits in well in their programs, my personality and background is perfectly matched with Kelloggs perceived reputation. I know I got that across fairly well in my essays, which is probably what really helped with my success. Even if you dont care about fit a lot of schools do. Yes HBS doesnt have to worry about fit as much since 90% of the folks that get admitted are going to show up. But for the rest of the schools where 1 in 3 people wont show up they want to maximize their yield and do that by admitting people who "fit." If you believe you fit at one school, then picking between it and a peer school you are going to pick the one that is most comfortable (lacking a scholarship).

I hate to say it but falling into a trap about just the brandname is probably going to lead to disappointment for most people. Fewer than 10% of folks will probably get into HBS this year, standford be lower than HBS. All the schools in the top 10 will bring almost the same exact group of recruiters. A lot of people recruiting at HBS also recruit at Duke/Ross/Darden. Yes they will take hire people but if they didnt hire people they wouldnt show up to recruit. So if you get into on of those you have great opportunities, you may have to do some more kissing up and work a little harder...but you can pull it off if you work at it. Also I think some people think that if they have the HBS name on the resume its going to get them every job they want for the rest of their life but thats not true...10 years from now you could have HBS top 5% student on your resume but if you dont do anything during your 10 years post MBA then some guy/gal who went to Duke and has accomplished far more since graduation is going to get that job over you anyday.

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 19:15
Wow river, very well said. As usual, you get the point across much better than I do. And similar to bherronp (even though the views are different), you both have great stories to illustrate your points. Thank you for the post!

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 19:46
riverripper wrote:

If someone needs brand to even out lack of brand pre-mba trust me that would be me. My background is about as unelite as it can be. I went to a school that most people that live within 20 minutes of it dont know it exists. I dont work for a big blue chip company...I work for the government.


"You are underestimating your school and career and the role these two would have played in your admission." Trust me, after reading this I asked one of my american colleague (55 year old well educated person) and told him about your profile, and he said that military schools are perceived to be top notch and well reputed in academic facilities. Also, you work for THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, and not just another job, but fuel nuclear submarines (if I remember your profile correctly). Man, you are seriously modest if you think yourself a lower profile.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 20:58
hbs.aspirant wrote:
Well, I can provide an example here. I am not looking forward to get recruited from school. Now I applied only to Stanford, since after my research I found electives and programs matching my intended field, a professor who is an authority in exactly what I want to do and Stanford alumuni at the right places where I need contacts. So it only makes sense for me to try for Stanford, if I am risking (seriously) 2 years of my life. My plan is that if I do not go to Stanford, I will study part time at Fuqua, since I live and work at a commutable (4 hours) distance from there. For me, there are 2 tiers, Stanford and every other school.

And I agree I started my B-school process like a reputation crazy person, do I need to say anything beyond my id? Yes, just one more, I did not know there is a famous B School named Stanford GSB until 5 months back.


Very interesting to look back in this thread and see that you seem to have taken a similar approach (sans the "culture" and location part) as river and myself. Obviously, you are a successful enough person with enough experience that you will do great things with "just" a Fuqua EMBA degree. :) (I say that as my belief and without any sarcasm)

BTW, so why didn't you apply to HBS and Wharton? I'm very curious now. (again, a sincere curiosity)

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 21:48
kryzak wrote:
hbs.aspirant wrote:
Well, I can provide an example here. I am not looking forward to get recruited from school. Now I applied only to Stanford, since after my research I found electives and programs matching my intended field, a professor who is an authority in exactly what I want to do and Stanford alumuni at the right places where I need contacts. So it only makes sense for me to try for Stanford, if I am risking (seriously) 2 years of my life. My plan is that if I do not go to Stanford, I will study part time at Fuqua, since I live and work at a commutable (4 hours) distance from there. For me, there are 2 tiers, Stanford and every other school.

And I agree I started my B-school process like a reputation crazy person, do I need to say anything beyond my id? Yes, just one more, I did not know there is a famous B School named Stanford GSB until 5 months back.


Very interesting to look back in this thread and see that you seem to have taken a similar approach (sans the "culture" and location part) as river and myself. Obviously, you are a successful enough person with enough experience that you will do great things with "just" a Fuqua EMBA degree. :) (I say that as my belief and without any sarcasm)

BTW, so why didn't you apply to HBS and Wharton? I'm very curious now. (again, a sincere curiosity)


PM'd you Kry.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2008, 22:14
Thanks HBS. Pm-ed you back.

I understand where you're coming from now, and your reasons are very valid and well thought out, and I fully respect your choices. But like I said in my PM, you, me, dosa, river, bherronp, any every single person on this forum has a somewhat unique viewpoint (even if they are similar) on how we approach this process. Thus, when we bring up our beliefs, it should be just that, our own opinion. I would recommend against generalizing by saying "brand is the only thing that matters" or "fit is everything, nothing else matters" (the two extremes) for anyone trying to bring their perspectives forward.

All in all, this has been a great discussion and I have learned a lot (and thought about it a lot) from you all. I guess this is how we learn in business school, eh? :) I look forward to more discussions like this (in person and on this forum) in the future for the benefit of us all!

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2008, 04:20
I am considering applying to HBS in R3. R1 and R2 was not an option for me for reasons that are irrelevant for this discussion. However, I am concerned about effort (both on my part and the part of my recommenders) vs. probability of success.

Here are the parametres (in my mind):

1) As at end Aug. '08, I will have 9.5 years of professional WE. For the Class of 2005, 18.2% of the students that accepted jobs had > 5 years WE. Let's therefore assume that on avg 20% of the class has > 5 years WE. Note: I'm not taking into consideration the rumors that HBS is currently particulary unfriendly towards applicants over the age of 27!

2) I am an international applicant. % of international students at HBS has been consistently around 33% mark for the past 7 years.

3) Of the total slots available, let's assume that 20% are still available in R3.

4) Let's assume avg. acceptance rate is 15%.

Therefore, in its crudest form, my probability of being accepted in R3 is 20% * 33% * 20% * 15% = 0.2%!!!

I believe that I have a strong, unique profile and applying next year is not an option for me.

So, one part of me is thinking, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take!", and the other part of me, having already gone through a hectic set of R2 applications, is wondering whether my (and my recommenders') time would be better spent swinging my bat at a "different ball", so to speak!

So, I put it to the floor, oh wise ones! :wink: I would greatly appreciate your thoughts!

Note: for what I hope to do post MBA, I believe that HBS will provide me with the best opportunities. However, any of the other schools to which I've applied (Wharton, LBS and Kellogg) would get me 80% of the way there. That said, I would prefer not to get into a "Why HBS" debate! :)
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2008, 04:22
HBS, I didnt go to a federal service academy, I went to a small state school that was military (fewer than 1,000 students total). I doubt anyone in the adcom office ever even heard of it unless they vacationed on Cape Cod. Yes it gave me a lot of interesting stuff to talk about but I dont think any of my stories of sailing around the world will have an adcom think its better than anything someone from Princeton says. My job is interesting but honestly government employee has a huge stigma with it. Its typically viewed as a lazy person who couldnt cut it in the "real world."

Let me put it this way no matter who H/S/W select going there your background is what makes or breaks recruiting in many ways. Do you think a person who was a VP at a bank before grad school is going to lose out to a job to a software or electrical engineer? I dont care if the VP goes to Duke and the programmer (Electronics designer) goes to HBS...the banker guy is getting the choice job everytime. Pelihu has had incredible success at Darden, which while a great school would never be considered on par with the UE schools. Why? Because his background is very strong for what they are looking for and recruited very well.

Yes a bigger name school is probably more important for career changers but even then brand is not going to 100% assure you of a highly desirable job. There are folks that go to all these top schools that dont get jobs even close to what they were hoping for when they walked through the door. No matter the name on the front of your sweatshirt its going to be up to you to get that job...if you are a career changer you have to sell how your background helps that company not just what the school has taught you.

If your background doesnt interest an elite company then no matter where you go then you arent going to get hired. They see your resume and if it has nothing that they are looking for then getting on the closed list is going to be tough. Enough companies recruit at all the schools that you will probably find one that likes your background but its not necessarilly going to be your top choice. If everyone at HBS got their first job they would only end up at GS, McKinsey, Google, and then PE/HF/VC firms but they dont.

Remember brand doesnt make the person...just look at our President (he's an idiot by the way) and where he graduated and then look at someone like Jack Welch and his background.

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2008, 06:31
mantymooney wrote:
I am considering applying to HBS in R3. R1 and R2 was not an option for me for reasons that are irrelevant for this discussion. However, I am concerned about effort (both on my part and the part of my recommenders) vs. probability of success.

Here are the parametres (in my mind):

1) As at end Aug. '08, I will have 9.5 years of professional WE. For the Class of 2005, 18.2% of the students that accepted jobs had > 5 years WE. Let's therefore assume that on avg 20% of the class has > 5 years WE. Note: I'm not taking into consideration the rumors that HBS is currently particulary unfriendly towards applicants over the age of 27!

2) I am an international applicant. % of international students at HBS has been consistently around 33% mark for the past 7 years.

3) Of the total slots available, let's assume that 20% are still available in R3.

4) Let's assume avg. acceptance rate is 15%.

Therefore, in its crudest form, my probability of being accepted in R3 is 20% * 33% * 20% * 15% = 0.2%!!!

I believe that I have a strong, unique profile and applying next year is not an option for me.

So, one part of me is thinking, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take!", and the other part of me, having already gone through a hectic set of R2 applications, is wondering whether my (and my recommenders') time would be better spent swinging my bat at a "different ball", so to speak!

So, I put it to the floor, oh wise ones! :wink: I would greatly appreciate your thoughts!

Note: for what I hope to do post MBA, I believe that HBS will provide me with the best opportunities. However, any of the other schools to which I've applied (Wharton, LBS and Kellogg) would get me 80% of the way there. That said, I would prefer not to get into a "Why HBS" debate! :)


mantymooney, the math is flawed - you have a much higher percentage of getting in than 0.2% (given the assumption that everyone has an equal probability of getting in).

The problem is that mixing parameters incorrectly leads to false probability calculations. Confusing % of applicant pool with acceptance rate and then with your % of getting in can lead to errors.

1st: Acceptance Rate (AR) = 15% acceptance rate * (% of admits remaining for R3/%of applicants applying R3). This does not weight your profile - but is probably the best estimate you can make given the available data

2nd: To do the calculation that you are trying to (weight your profile) you need information you don't have (and may not exist), i.e. what the # of "slots" left are for people with your profile (if there even is such a thing) What you can determine is probably that 30% * 20% = 6% of the R3 application pool is like you (international with > 5Y WE). However, this is as far as you can go.

The 1st equation is probably the best. If you assume that 10% of slots are remaining and 20% of applicants are still applying - you get a rate of about 7.5% acceptance for R3. However, even these assumptions are total guesses.

Basically - don't count yourself out - and I guarantee that your evenly weighted probability of getting in is higher than 0.2%. Now, as a R3, International, >5Y WE, people like you are about 20% * 33% * 10% (% of app pool in R3) = 0.6% of the total applicant pool. But this represents your uniqueness in the pool, not the probability of you getting in. (This could potentially benefit you rather than hurt you)
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2008, 10:24
riverripper wrote:
Remember brand doesnt make the person...just look at our President (he's an idiot by the way) and where he graduated and then look at someone like Jack Welch and his background.


LOL! Quoted for truth. :lol:

Manty: As long as you know that your chances will be very low at HBS, especially in R3, and are prepared to put in the effort even with those low chances, I would urge you to go ahead. I'm a strong believer in not having that "what if" moment 5 years down the road. If you get rejected, so be it, you tried your best and it's their loss. But if you don't try, you'll always wonder, "would I have gotten in?"

My 2 cents.

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2008, 10:41
kryzak wrote:
I'm a strong believer in not having that "what if" moment 5 years down the road. If you get rejected, so be it, you tried your best and it's their loss. But if you don't try, you'll always wonder, "would I have gotten in?"


Heck thats pretty much the reason I applied to Stanford and Harvard. That and I apparently hate money and like to waste it.
Re: H/W/S selection criteria   [#permalink] 01 Feb 2008, 10:41
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