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If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother!

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If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 14:37
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 14:51
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Although I agree that the value of an MBA declines precipitously as you go down the rankings, a top 5 or bust mentality is insane for 99% of people. Vast majority of applicants need an MBA for a career switch into industries that recruit heavily from b-schools: consulting, general mangement, corporate strategy, marketing, i-banking, tech product management. For those people there's a decent number of b-schools that will do the trick. Of course, you should go to the best school you get into, but depending on your career goals and work ethic, you can go to a #15 program and still get the job you were aiming for. And of course, it also depends on how much money you're currently making, level of professional and personal satisfaction, career mobility prospects, etc.

There are some people for whom it may not make sense to go unless it's HSW, such as a portfolio manager at an elite hedge fund already making $500K+ including bonus. But as I said, those people are in the minority.

Finally, his cutoff at hsw/mit/kellogg is pretty ridiculous. Is he really saying that booth/columbia/tuck/haas are not worth it? Or for someone dying to break into nyc banking, stern is a waste of time and money? Or for someone wanting to work in healthcare in the South, fuqua is also not worth it? It's fine for him to say that you should be careful which b-school you go to, but he provides no evidence that only those 5 programs are "worth" it. In my opinion, it's a very shallow article with little meaningful analysis or insights.

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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2013, 11:25
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packet82 wrote:
rhyme wrote:
cheetarah1980 wrote:
I have yet to hear any 2nd years in the FT program say they felt at any disadvantage because PT students were also in the recruiting pool.


Give it time. You will.


And that's what kills me. There seems to be this idea that PT students are somehow inferior to FT students because they decided to keep their jobs while going to school. While looking at PT programs, I immediately knocked any program that treated PT students differently off the list.


Any program that claims there's no difference is lying. I wish I could remember the study, but there was one done some years ago that asked recruiters if they had a preference among programs. They cited full time and executive programs as preferred, followed by campus based PT programs, followed by any distance learning. The argument was something to the affect that FT students are "forced" to learn teamwork, while the other programs are generally less focused (by virtue of everyone having a different schedule). I vaguely remember a quote of something like "they are a prescreened applicant pool".

So, out the gate, there's a difference. I can also point to another study that compared network strength between PT and FT programs. I don't have the numbers in front of me but it was something like, on average, PT students knew 4 people in their particular class (of 50), while FT knew 12. At the end of the 10 week course, the FT folks knew something like 18 while the PT folks still sat at 8 or something like that. I've posted the study here before, it's interesting.

So, now you've got two very tangible differences that no program is likely to completely escape: recruiter preferences and network.

Finally, consider the perspective of a FT student at an elite: they've given up two years salary, saddled 6 figure loans, had to score in the top 10% on GMATs to have a reasonable shot at admission, and are effectively gambling on the schools ability to help them find gainful employment. From their perspective, a PT student is in an entirely different boat: there's no opportunity cost, they may well be sponsored, and the bar for admission is undeniably lower (esp if measured by avg GMAT). No surprise then that many FT students view the PT programs as cheap "back doors" into an elite program. Meet one of these PT students at a recruiting event - maybe someone who is already gainfully and happily employed and is just there "cause maybe this is better", while you are praying on an offer so that you can afford your loans - and tell me you don't feel a little animosity.

Moreover, I challenge you to find a program that really offers identical resources and support. Booth, which by several measures is perhaps the most "fair" to PT students has even closed in on the loopholes - PT students used to be able to bid on FT student courses without any distinction - that's no longer true. Unlike Kellogg which limited the course load you could take as a PT, Booth does not - meaning you can get admitted to the PT program, quit your job, and literally graduate in 2 years as if you were FT. While closing the class bidding loophole doesn't make that impossible, it makes it a lot harder to do without some big compromises. Similarly, while, technically most groups are open to both FT and PT students, in practice this isn't the case, and most PT clubs have a supposedly equivalent "sister" club to the FT club. But to my prior point on recruiters, guess which club gets the $5,000 sponsorship check from Schwab and which one gets $500 from the "Student Activities Fund"?

I'm not trying to dog PT programs - they have value, but I do thibk that theres a difference....

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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2013, 17:41
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I actually found this the most telling quip:

"The sad reality is that an MBA is not as valuable today as it was 30 years ago. Stanford University published data stating that from 2005 to 2008, over 94% of graduates had jobs by graduation. However, since then, only about 75% of graduates had jobs lined up at graduation. Stanford is a top MBA program, so you can imagine it being worse at other schools. "

There are a HUGE number of reasons one might postulate for this shift (that have nothing to due with decreased return)

* Stanford has grown in reputation as an excellent entrepreneurial school, perhaps a greater percentage of students are electing not to pursue a job right out of the program
* Perhaps a shift in the reporting methodology (i.e. perhaps its now defined as of the entire class, whereas it may have previously been defined as a % of those seeking employment - which is what most programs do)
* A change in the overall risk tolerance of students
* A change in the definition of "at graduation" (if you read the details of many employment reports you'll find its usually defined as within 3 months of graduation)
* A change in the % of students self-reporting
* The data range he chose seems cherry picked, why 2005 to 2008? Why not 2004 to 2009? Or 2000 to 2010? Or for that matter, compared a decade ago to the current decade? (Edit I now see Optimistic Applicant made this exact argument and actually bothered to look up data... kudos)

You could go on and on and on.... but the most peculiar claim is that since Stanford is "down", then the conclusion one should draw is that its "worse" at other schools. Common, thats just a basic fallacy. Show me aggregated data from the top 20 schools over a long period of time that shows a measured and controlled decrease, normalized against recessionary impacts, and I'll buy the argument. This is akin to the guy who says that school X placed 2 more people at Bain than school Y, thus, school X is better for recruiting.

And of course, the idea that the top 5 is all that matters seems pretty silly. The average staring salary at Booth this year for Chicago based job is $130,000. That hardly seems bad. Even so, why the elitism? For someone making $40K a year and going to $80K a year at a 2nd or 3rd tier school, the benefits are just as tangible.

My conclusion is that he's entire article is myopic, poorly researched platitude intended to garner discussion by putting forth an unpleasant and theoretically controversial view.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 17:46
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The part I found the funniest was when he said "the top five programs: Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Kellogg." Anyone else notice that he couldn't bear to list Harvard or Stanford first?

Honestly, this whole article was just drivel inspired by a flawed WSJ piece. Take a look at P&Q for some real data and journalism on the value of the MBA.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2013, 08:25
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An absolute moron wrote:
The sad reality is that an MBA is not as valuable today as it was 30 years ago. Stanford University published data stating that from 2005 to 2008, over 94% of graduates had jobs by graduation. However, since then, only about 75% of graduates had jobs lined up at graduation.

The U.S. economy was booming from 2005-2008, and we have been in a tremendous recession since. The dip from 94% to 75% is CLEARLY signficantly impacted by the poor performing U.S. economy...

Image

Also, the “value” of an MBA is largely determined by the increase in opportunity post-MBA vs. pre-MBA. While I agree that post-MBA benefits aren’t as good as 2005-2008, I would argue that the pre-MBA opportunities aren’t either…


A pretentious d-bag wrote:
Many of my classmates from the Wharton Class of 2002 complain that their MBA was only valuable during their first job out of school. Once they went looking for another job, no one really cared what school they went to or how well they performed at the school. It was as if their degrees were rendered meaningless in all future jobs.

So, once you’re in the door at a company, there is no difference in value for a Top 5 MBA vs. any MBA. I've heard that before and I'm sure it's true. However, it definitely weakens the initial ‘if not Top 5, don’t bother’ argument...


A guy who tricked the Wharton admissions committee in 1999 wrote:
Some classmates who work at startups actually hide the fact that they have an MBA from their work colleagues. Most startups look down on candidates with an MBA. They do not consider MBAs “rebellious” enough to be part of a startup or they find them lacking in core skills needed in an early stage startup: engineering, fundraising experience, bootstrap-marketing expertise, previous startup experience.

This only supports a don’t bother with ANY MBA argument and does nothing to distinguish Top 5 vs. any.


A pathetic excuse for a writer wrote:
Twenty years ago, an MBA candidate would be competing with just his classmates for a job. However, today, he also has to compete with those graduating from the school’s executive and part-time programs.

So, twenty years ago, MBAs used to be a more effective way to differentiate yourself. Sure, I buy that. However, increased competition is not a logical reason not to pursue an MBA, specifically if you’re seeking a position that virtually requires the degree (i.e., consulting, i-banking, brand management, LDPs, etc.)


A guy who cannot think logically wrote:
Finally, the economic conditions that exist today have resulted in companies paying less and hiring less. MBAs just cannot get the job offers that their peers got several years before. An even more painful fact is that most employers now only hire a few MBAs and only recruit from a select few schools. So, those students going to second-tier MBA programs are finding fewer job opportunities at top firms.

Once again, the “value” of an MBA is relative. While it’s true that hiring and salaries have been down for MBAs, so has the job security and promotion/raise opportunities for those who continue to work…again, the benefit post-MBA is less than prior years, but so are the opportunity costs…
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2013, 12:07
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rhyme wrote:

Any program that claims there's no difference is lying. I wish I could remember the study, but there was one done some years ago that asked recruiters if they had a preference among programs. They cited full time and executive programs as preferred, followed by campus based PT programs, followed by any distance learning. The argument was something to the affect that FT students are "forced" to learn teamwork, while the other programs are generally less focused (by virtue of everyone having a different schedule). I vaguely remember a quote of something like "they are a prescreened applicant pool".



I was speaking mostly with regard to support from the school. Kellogg for example doesn't even let their part time students go through recruiting. If I'm spending $100k+ at a school, I'm not going to be treated like a second class citizen. End of story.


rhyme wrote:
So, out the gate, there's a difference. I can also point to another study that compared network strength between PT and FT programs. I don't have the numbers in front of me but it was something like, on average, PT students knew 4 people in their particular class (of 50), while FT knew 12. At the end of the 10 week course, the FT folks knew something like 18 while the PT folks still sat at 8 or something like that. I've posted the study here before, it's interesting.

So, now you've got two very tangible differences that no program is likely to completely escape: recruiter preferences and network.



ok, and? I would imagine that varies highly by school and isn't really something you can generalize. You take the exact same number of classes in a PT program as you do in a FT program. If anything, the 18 month executive programs should be looked at as what they are, a cash grab by schools.

In the end, the network offered is exactly the same. The degree offered is also the same. A PT person can look people up in the alumni database just like a FT alum can. PT may or may not know fewer people from their graduating class, but that's really only part of the picture. I'd imagine Chicago would have more of a difference than other schools though since Chicago doesn't really do cohorts like other schools do. So, maybe that's a bigger issue at your particular school than it would be at others.

I know at Haas, the students in the evening class I was at appeared to know most of the people in their classes pretty well. Then again, Haas has a pretty small program. So, that might be a bit over-accentuated in their classes.

rhyme wrote:

Finally, consider the perspective of a FT student at an elite: they've given up two years salary, saddled 6 figure loans, had to score in the top 10% on GMATs to have a reasonable shot at admission, and are effectively gambling on the schools ability to help them find gainful employment. From their perspective, a PT student is in an entirely different boat: there's no opportunity cost, they may well be sponsored, and the bar for admission is undeniably lower (esp if measured by avg GMAT). No surprise then that many FT students view the PT programs as cheap "back doors" into an elite program. Meet one of these PT students at a recruiting event - maybe someone who is already gainfully and happily employed and is just there "cause maybe this is better", while you are praying on an offer so that you can afford your loans - and tell me you don't feel a little animosity.



I don't want to start an argument here, but I really fail to see how giving up two years of salary makes someone a superior student. Bad at the math behind opportunity costs, sure, but better? At any of the decent PT programs you'll still need to score in the top 10% or so on the GMAT to have a decent shot at admission, so that's not radically different. The classes are exactly the same, so there's no difference there. Sponsorship isn't really common in PT programs anymore aside from the $5300 some companies offer. Exec programs are almost always sponsored though. So, how are they better?

Haas for example has a 23 point spread between the GMAT scores of the avg FT and PT student. Yeah, FT programs get more applications. That's mostly due to the fact that a FT student can move and thus can apply to 5-10 programs should they care to.

Other than that, everything else on the list seems to come down to some sort of jealousy. They're better because they took two years off from work? Great for them, but two years out of the workforce doesn't automatically make you better. Don't put PT students down because they decided to work an extra 20 hours a week and get the same degree you did in 3 years time instead of 2. I'm sure the time spent doing club activities is wonderful, but I have a mortgage to pay and airfare to pay for to get to school every week. Oh, and I have 4 clients that expect deliverables too.

There is absolutely nothing 'back door' about getting in to the part time programs. Your own alma mater, Booth, says the admissions requirements for the FT and PT programs are exactly the same. Is admissions somehow lying? A 20 point GMAT difference can also be explained by the fact that in my experience at least, PT programs put a lot more emphasis on your current career than a FT program would. So, the GMAT score isn't weighted as heavily.

rhyme wrote:

Moreover, I challenge you to find a program that really offers identical resources and support. Booth, which by several measures is perhaps the most "fair" to PT students has even closed in on the loopholes - PT students used to be able to bid on FT student courses without any distinction - that's no longer true. Unlike Kellogg which limited the course load you could take as a PT, Booth does not - meaning you can get admitted to the PT program, quit your job, and literally graduate in 2 years as if you were FT. While closing the class bidding loophole doesn't make that impossible, it makes it a lot harder to do without some big compromises. Similarly, while, technically most groups are open to both FT and PT students, in practice this isn't the case, and most PT clubs have a supposedly equivalent "sister" club to the FT club. But to my prior point on recruiters, guess which club gets the $5,000 sponsorship check from Schwab and which one gets $500 from the "Student Activities Fund"?



Well that's just it. The trade off between FT and PT programs is of the extracurricular variety. FT students get to be involved with more of the clubs and the like. PT students get to have 2 years of career advancement that FT students don't get.

Yeah, if you're looking to wildly change careers, you're better off going FT. You'll have the internship between the years and it'll make the transition a lot easier.

If you're looking to move up or maybe change gears a bit, PT, while more difficult to juggle, can make more sense. You move 2 more years up the ladder. Depending on your salary, can shave several hundred thousand dollars off the opportunity costs, and tuition is completely tax deductible.

As for Chicago's class bidding loophole, I agree with their decision 100%. If you're applying to a PT program, you damn well better go part time. Don't lie your way in to PT admissions and decide to go full time.

rhyme wrote:

I'm not trying to dog PT programs - they have value, but I do thibk that theres a difference....



Well, you may not wanted to dog PT programs, but you certainly spent several paragraphs saying how FT programs are superior in every way shape and form (in your opinion).

Yes, there is a difference and it has nothing to do with one being 'better' than the other. If you want to radically change industries, FT makes that much easier. If you don't, PT offers some significant advantages.

The one exception to this being banking. I doubt any wall street banker would ever have the free time to work full time and go to school. So, full time schooling really is your only option. That said, there's a hell of a lot more to an MBA than just banking.

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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 20:06
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I am still stuck on how this guy earned a Wharton MBA. The poor logic and reasoning skills demonstrated by this article remind me of USA Today reporting.

The content is poorly supported with unverifiable facts. There are also many inconsistencies throughout the article regarding the "value" of the MBA, which is not clearly defined. The broadness of the discussion of the value of an MBA as a whole only serves to weaken the overall argument because it undermines the statement that top 5 programs are still valuable.

The startup focus of the article is way off in left field and is very limiting in support of his conclusion. I was also surprised to read the statement: “However, most MBA programs do a poor job of preparing students for the uncertain economic reality we live in today, which makes an MBA a poor investment.” What? There is no support for this viewpoint. I am shocked that he does not provide a concrete example with a more realistic time horizon for evaluating “value”. Laughable. The scariest part of this article is that he was part of the adcom. Yikes.

I want to include this article as support for an application to Wharton. I would include an analysis of the logical errors and a statement that I would never embarrass Wharton like this guy.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2013, 17:57
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Let's pretend his thesis was this: "If you can't go to one of YOUR top 5 MBA choices. don't even bother." For me there were only about 7 business schools that I would choose to attend. Outside of those (of which only 1 or 2 is "top 5" by his standards), I probably would have decided not to get my MBA. I'm curious if others feel the same way.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2013, 06:14
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Jay Bhatti sounds like another ignorant Wharton tool that would not pass the "airport test" in any interview that I would administer. I guess by attending a second tier institution like "Ross," I probably made the worst decision in my life.....

I would like this guy to talk to my Ross MBA 2 mentor who came from an education non profit background and now will be taking a full-time job at Bain Consulting next year, or another classmate who worked as an accountant who will be going to JP Morgan Ibanking. I bet they think their "second tier" MBA education was worth the investment. Also, the thought that Chicago, Tuck, Haas are "not worth it" is simply ridiculous.

Part of the reason for why I decided to attend Ross over much higher ranked schools that I was admitted to was because I felt that the culture here is very down to earth and non-arrogant. The fact that this guy represented Wharton on the admissions committee and is now writing articles disparaging other incredible MBA programs (many of which will have at least some graduates that will be 10 times more successful than him) is just bad taste and reflects poorly on his character. But, its a free country and he can write whatever garbage he wants online.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2013, 23:25
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Two words about Wharton - Donald Trump.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2013, 02:27
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Part of the reason MBA brand is getting diluted is because of the several programs offered by 1 school. If they want to create PT MBA then they should decrease the number of FT enrollment. Imagine 2000 Booth MBAs graduating every year, won't that dilute the brand. Princeton is still highly regarded because it has not climbed up the MBA bandwagon. The closest thing it offer is Masters in Finance and the program has around 25 students every year.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2013, 08:23
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AbhiJ wrote:
Part of the reason MBA brand is getting diluted is because of the several programs offered by 1 school. If they want to create PT MBA then they should decrease the number of FT enrollment. Imagine 2000 Booth MBAs graduating every year, won't that dilute the brand. Princeton is still highly regarded because it has not climbed up the MBA bandwagon. The closest thing it offer is Masters in Finance and the program has around 25 students every year.


The MBA as a whole is getting diluted because every two-bit former community college has one now and they accept anyone with a pulse, not because Booth graduates a lot of students. As long as the school allows only qualified students in to their program, it will remain highly regarded. Haas for example is working on an expansion to bring their full time class from 240 to around 300 students. I highly doubt they're going to drop in the ranking as a result.

As long as the students are qualified, a larger program can be an advantage since the network will be larger.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 14:58
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Yeah, his top 5 is too arbitrary. So Booth, Columbia and Tuck are chopped liver?
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 15:09
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Stupid, stupid, stupid, especially considering many programs ranked #20-30 have the best ROI's overall. Sounds like a douchebag Wharton elitist to me.

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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 15:31
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The author sounded quite pretentious throughout the article, especially with the whole "Wharton Class of 2002" classmates piece. Totally unnecessary.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 16:13
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This is frivolous drivel! Most people have reasons to get an MBA other than belonging to an exclusive club. And how does he come to the conclusion that "most startups (i.e. 51% or more) look down on MBAs"? If you find an anti-MBA startup, don't join it because they will probably not be around for long. And those that make it... Google, Apple, Microsoft... General Electric, Ford Motor Company (or better known as the Forturne 500) et cetera.... hire tons of MBAs.
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Last edited by lahai1dj on 15 Jan 2013, 18:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 17:38
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lahai1dj wrote:
This is fivilous drivel! Most people have reasons to get an MBA other than belonging to an exclusive club. And how does he come to the conclusion that "most startups (i.e. 51% or more) look down on MBAs"? If you find an anti-MBA startup, don't join it because they will probably not be around for long. And those that make it... Google, Apple, Microsoft... General Electric, Ford Motor Company (or better known as the Forturne 500) et cetera.... hire tons of MBAs.



I'm currently doing work for a tech startup, and yes, the founders do look down on MBAs. They believe that without strong technical skills, you are adding very little value to a startup. This is actually true in the early stages, when a startup is working on building up its platform, scaling, and continually modifying various features. Of course, once it matures and actually becomes a viable business, they should hire MBAs or at least those with strong business acumen. Mark Zuckerberg's disastrous tenure as Facebook CEO is just one example of the limitations of techies. However, this issue is completely tangential, so I don't want to digress away from the main topic.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 17:51
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kingfalcon wrote:
The part I found the funniest was when he said "the top five programs: Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Kellogg." Anyone else notice that he couldn't bear to list Harvard or Stanford first?

Honestly, this whole article was just drivel inspired by a flawed WSJ piece. Take a look at P&Q for some real data and journalism on the value of the MBA.



Yup, I noticed that immediately and laughed my butt off. I thought nyu stern students had the biggest inferiority complex, but wharton students are not doing themselves a favor by writing garbage such as this.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother! [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2013, 18:30
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Shawshank wrote:
lahai1dj wrote:
This is fivilous drivel! Most people have reasons to get an MBA other than belonging to an exclusive club. And how does he come to the conclusion that "most startups (i.e. 51% or more) look down on MBAs"? If you find an anti-MBA startup, don't join it because they will probably not be around for long. And those that make it... Google, Apple, Microsoft... General Electric, Ford Motor Company (or better known as the Forturne 500) et cetera.... hire tons of MBAs.



I'm currently doing work for a tech startup, and yes, the founders do look down on MBAs. They believe that without strong technical skills, you are adding very little value to a startup. This is actually true in the early stages, when a startup is working on building up its platform, scaling, and continually modifying various features. Of course, once it matures and actually becomes a viable business, they should hire MBAs or at least those with strong business acumen. Mark Zuckerberg's disastrous tenure as Facebook CEO is just one example of the limitations of techies. However, this issue is completely tangential, so I don't want to digress away from the main topic.



Perhaps I am defining startup more broadly, as an organization <5 years old, pre IPO, with fewer than 50 people. Certainly, if you want to join a start up in someone's basement and volunteer your time as a computer programmer post-MBA, then don't get an MBA, it's superfluous. Startup's need revenue too, and angel investors, VCs and other sources of capital prefer to see someone thinking of future revenue at the helm (such as an MBA). On the other hand if the funding comes from the founders bank account or from Mom and Dad, then there may be discomfort with MBAs... more likely because they cost a lot of $$ to hire and Mom and Dad only have so much in their 401k.
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Re: If you can't get into a Top 5, don't even bother!   [#permalink] 15 Jan 2013, 18:30
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