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Is a top MBA worth it? Please advise.

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Manager
Manager
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Joined: 08 Sep 2011
Posts: 176
Location: Thailand
Concentration: Strategy, Entrepreneurship
Schools: Sauder '16 (A)
GMAT 1: 700 Q45 V41
GPA: 3.29
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 27 [0], given: 21

Is a top MBA worth it? Please advise. [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2013, 00:51
Last year I applied to two 2nd tier business schools, one in the US and one in Canada. I like Vancouver and UBC is a well known university, so I opted to go there. I've paid my deposit. But I have been reading a LOT about the job situation in Canada and graduates from top schools taking lower salaries and below-MBA positions just to have a job. What is worse, consulting (my short-term career goal) has decent placement but Canadian schools are also competing with the likes of HBS and co. for MBB position. My career goal for 5-7 years down the line is to run my own business.

Many are advising me to forget the MBA this year, and to apply to top programs next year. Seeing as I would like to work in consulting for a few years, I understand that aspect of the argument. But I would like to be an entrepreneur in the long-term. Is the prestige/brand then worth it? I come from Asia and will ultimately come back to Asia. Will my slower return on the investment be worth it then? Is the "better" alum network worth it?

I am rambling a bit now but I would certainly appreciate everyone's opinion, especially since I am struggling to come to terms with foregoing an acceptance and some scholarship money to go through applications all over again.

Thanks :)
Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Joined: 18 Apr 2013
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Re: Is a top MBA worth it? Please advise. [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2013, 05:50
Expert's post
Hi westsidah408,

The short answer is that the top ranked schools place more into the top ranked consulting firms. The exception to this is if you go to a very specialized program and a firm has an offering that would benefit from MBAs at that program (e.g. a 20 - 30 ranked school that is strong in supply chain).

If your long term goal is to own your own business, there are many schools of thought out there. The advice I provide my clients is that to start your own business you need not only the know-how and skills, but the network. That is what makes or breaks most endeavors. It is not to say lower ranked programs do not turn out highly successful individuals, but the odds merely rest with the top tier MBA programs.

If your goal is consulting (and at a top firm at that) then yes, you need a top ranked MBA. There are ways around this if you attend UBC this fall (there always are, it comes down to who you know) but it will be much harder.

I hope this helps. If you have more questions or something specific you'd like to discuss regarding consulting, either reply to this or send me a private message.

Have a great day,

Bhavik
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Bhavik
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Critical Square | MBA Admissions Services

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Manager
Manager
avatar
Joined: 08 Sep 2011
Posts: 176
Location: Thailand
Concentration: Strategy, Entrepreneurship
Schools: Sauder '16 (A)
GMAT 1: 700 Q45 V41
GPA: 3.29
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 27 [0], given: 21

Re: Is a top MBA worth it? Please advise. [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2013, 00:12
Thanks for your response, Bhavik.

I am wondering how crucial the network of MBAs (even from top schools) will help entrepreneurs establish their companies. Would you then recommend a school such as Babson over top-ranked b-schools for entrepreneurship?

Thanks.

CriticalSquareMBA wrote:
Hi westsidah408,

The short answer is that the top ranked schools place more into the top ranked consulting firms. The exception to this is if you go to a very specialized program and a firm has an offering that would benefit from MBAs at that program (e.g. a 20 - 30 ranked school that is strong in supply chain).

If your long term goal is to own your own business, there are many schools of thought out there. The advice I provide my clients is that to start your own business you need not only the know-how and skills, but the network. That is what makes or breaks most endeavors. It is not to say lower ranked programs do not turn out highly successful individuals, but the odds merely rest with the top tier MBA programs.

If your goal is consulting (and at a top firm at that) then yes, you need a top ranked MBA. There are ways around this if you attend UBC this fall (there always are, it comes down to who you know) but it will be much harder.

I hope this helps. If you have more questions or something specific you'd like to discuss regarding consulting, either reply to this or send me a private message.

Have a great day,

Bhavik
Expert Post
MBA Admissions Consulting
User avatar
Joined: 18 Apr 2013
Posts: 715
Location: Chicago, IL
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 107 [0], given: 0

Re: Is a top MBA worth it? Please advise. [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2013, 05:45
Expert's post
Good morning,

That's a great question! I'll address it in two parts.

Network: network is critical no matter what you choose to do. The network gives you insight into the school's culture, it provides context for what your experience will be while in school, and it gives you an indication of the reach you will have after graduating. Many of the top programs boast very tightly knit alumni networks (e.g. Tuck - notoriously strong in this department, but smaller than others). As an entrepreneur your network will give you the inroads you need if you pursue venture capital or look to sell B2B. Also, it gives you a network of potential mentors and sponsors which can be very beneficial. And last but not least, the strength of your network is a testament to the brand of your MBA. Simply put, network is one of the most important parts of your MBA.

Babson: the tl;dr version - no. And here's why. Babson has a great entrepreneurship program and it is ranked #1. However, rankings alone don't speak much to the total value of that program. There are quite a few things to consider. For one, how is the rest of the MBA program and the broader school structured? Do they also value innovation and creativity? For example, look at MIT. They are founded on innovation. They define it. So entrepreneurship there has a very real and tactical role. Companies are started there and you get to work across programs and schools with cross functional teams to launch your ideas. Secondly, the brand. If you ever go before a VC firm or present your business case, the degrees of you and your partners count for a lot. Will VCs respect Babson, sure, it's a great school. But will it look better with it saying Stanford GSB? Without a doubt. Lastly, what opportunities does the school open up? Not only through the network parts which I mentioned above, but also through the program itself. Do they have strong community ties to local entrepreneurs and VC/PE firms? Can they get you the exposure locally, regionally, and nationally that you are looking for? I'm not saying Babson fails on all these criteria or it is a bad program, please don't get me wrong. I just believe there are far higher ranked programs that also provide a much stronger foundation despite a lower rank in entrepreneurship specifically.

There is a whole school of thought that true entrepreneurs don't need an MBA (and I won't get into that here, I think both sides can be the right answer depending on the person) but an MBA also provides you with the skills and education you need beyond just an entrepreneurship certificate. How is the school on general management? On finance? On marketing? As someone looking to branch out on their own, look for programs that bring the best to bear on all these topics.

Does that help?

Bhavik
_________________

Bhavik
Managing Partner

Critical Square | MBA Admissions Services

Web | Blog | Free Resources | Facebook | Twitter

Sign up for a free consultation today!

Was this post helpful to you? Give a Kudos and let me know!

Re: Is a top MBA worth it? Please advise.   [#permalink] 29 Apr 2013, 05:45
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