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Is which school you go to really a big deal?

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Is which school you go to really a big deal? [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2013, 19:01
I go to Oregon State University and for financial reasons it will really benefit me to go to grad school there. However, OSU is not on any of the top business school lists and one site says median starting salary for MBA grad is around $55,000 where as other schools are looking at $100,000 plus (also double or triple the tuition). So my question is now days how big of a deal is the name on your diploma? Are employers looking for people from the top schools over state schools? Any insight or opinions on this would be much appreciated!
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Re: Is which school you go to really a big deal? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 03:33
LCiochon wrote:
I go to Oregon State University and for financial reasons it will really benefit me to go to grad school there. However, OSU is not on any of the top business school lists and one site says median starting salary for MBA grad is around $55,000 where as other schools are looking at $100,000 plus (also double or triple the tuition). So my question is now days how big of a deal is the name on your diploma? Are employers looking for people from the top schools over state schools? Any insight or opinions on this would be much appreciated!


The short answer to your question is an emphatic YES, the school you go to matters very much, especially in the short run immediately after b-school. That said, I suppose it really does matter what you want to do. You mention starting salaries and in particular OSU's starting salary vs. top business schools starting salary, and make no mistake that is no coincidence. Top companies recruit at the top schools so if you are looking to go into investment banking, management consulting, or general management at a top company, then I would imagine it would be very difficult to do with an MBA from OSU.

However, if you want to stay in Oregon and don't necessarily aspire to the above mentioned career fields, then perhaps staying in state and saving on tuition makes more sense.
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Re: Is which school you go to really a big deal? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 06:51
I must agree with PanchoPippin. In the absence of some other defining achievement, the school you attend will be a proxy for your intelligence and authority on various subjects. Even late in one's career, she is often introduced at public speaking events as a graduate of such-and-such business school. People need a reason to pay attention, and your alma mater sends a signal (however subconsciously) to tune in or tune out.

OP, ask yourself this: If you were looking for the most talented young professionals, which business schools would you visit? There are simply too many nooks and crannies in this world to look everywhere, so recruiters have to draw the line somewhere. There is an underlying assumption that a rational applicant will show preference for higher-ranked schools, and the success of our applicant-school matchmaking system would fall apart if applicants didn't do this. Therefore applicants should apply to a range of schools, and it is in the best interest of both applicants and recruiters for applicants to matriculate at the "best" schools they get into. After all, schools can't control who applies. During the three phases of the application process (selecting which schools to apply to, admitting students from applicant pool, selecting which school to attend), agency shifts from student to school and back to student again. If you decide now to attend OSU for your MBA, you're opting out of the whole process. I recommend at the very least applying to a few other schools.

EDIT: I myself went to a large, economically convenient state school. I regret it. Everything in this post occurred to me after the age of 23.

PanchoPippin, perhaps you could add something to this discussion by explaining why you chose Tuck over Kellogg and Booth? Were there financial or social considerations?
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Re: Is which school you go to really a big deal? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 09:28
NonYankee wrote:
PanchoPippin, perhaps you could add something to this discussion by explaining why you chose Tuck over Kellogg and Booth? Were there financial or social considerations?


I'm not sure if you meant to imply that choosing Tuck over Kellogg/Booth is an unconventional choice (BB has weighed in that in his experience people tend to choose Tuck over non H/S/W schools), but after my research I roughly judged the top 16 schools in the following 3 quality catagories:

HBS/Stanford

Wharton/Sloan/Tuck/Kellogg/Booth/Columbia

Fuqua/SOM/Darden/Johnson/Haas/UCLA/Stern/Ross

As you can see, from my view Tuck vs. Kellogg vs. Booth were equal in terms of quality so it came down to fit. I really liked the enthusiasm that Tuck students had for their school and didn't get the same vibe from Kellogg. Whereas Tuck seemed to be many folk's top choice, I got the vibe that Kellogg was where people "ended up" if they didn't get into another top 10 school. For Tuck vs. Booth, Tuck's rural location was actually a plus for me and I liked that Tuck offers just one program, as I feel like it contributes to more school spirit and a more cohesive alumni network.
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Re: Is which school you go to really a big deal? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 10:43
PanchoPippin, I didn't mean to imply anything exactly, since I also personally see schools in the same broad categories, but some applicants might not see things the way we do. I myself applied to Tuck and would have gladly matriculated.

Thanks for your comment. There are lots of aspects of Tuck that make it more appealing than other schools (engagement of network, career pay, alumni giving, focus of program, etc.), but there are other aspects that might deter some applicants. I think Tuck is probably the most polarizing top school.
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Re: Is which school you go to really a big deal? [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2013, 11:50
Yes rank when it comes to business and law school is really important. The top firms and companies recruit the top b-school students.
Re: Is which school you go to really a big deal?   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2013, 11:50
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