Quick question: just how important is the b-school's alumni base? Sure, it will be of great value in getting you in the door to that initial job, but say 10 years down the line, will it still matter?
I ask because I am an international candidate and while I will want to work in the US post-MBA, in the long-term I intend to come back. At this point I feel really strong about b-school X (I don't want to name names) but the alumni base is not that strong here. On the other hand, I like b-school Y (not as much as b-school X but liking it nonetheless), but they have a really large alumni base here. And then let's say there's b-school Z, who I'm not particularly interested in beyond the usual (places strongly into my industry of choice + prestige etc.) but for other reasons such as location and so on I am not planning to apply there.
My point is this: should b-school Y's application take precedence over b-school X's? Should I even bother with b-school Z?
Lol, you aren't naming names but you have Booth, Haas, and Stern listed on your profile. Ignoring that...
The alumni base is hugely important and arguably the alumni become more important further along in your career than immediately after school. Effectively, the alumni base is the "optionality" that many of us are seeking when deciding to get an MBA. 10 years down the line, you have the ability to call on classmates and alumni in practically every industry at various levels and functions to get insight into those career paths or assistance in preparing for those roles. Sure, getting an interview or two that way is nice as well but more than that it is the connections, resources, and mentorship you receive that's invaluable. Heck, I just finished up my first year and have already heavily reached out to alumni.
As for whether to apply to certain schools or prioritize one over the other... that's sort of a faulty understanding of the application process. The admissions process can be a bit of a crapshoot so you want to the play the odds. I'd recommend applying to the three schools and do your favorite school as the second or third application since your essays and narratives will improve a bit after writing it a couple times. Once, you get into multiple schools, then you can really make that decision on where to attend. It's remarkable how easy the decision gets after spending time at the schools during admission weekends when it appeared to be so difficult on a pros/cons spreadsheet.
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