It has nothing to do with that whatsoever Lich, it has everything to do with the fact that no one in my position ever goes to such schools as they do not have the prior education necessary to be competitive.
The only prior education you need to be competitive for b-school (even a top one) is a college degree from an accredited institution.
Aaah an interesting argument! I want in!
I'd agree and disagree. I sincerely doubt that a 24 year old individual with a degree from say Cornell, Harvard, Tufts, Yale, etc would be viewed in the same light as someone who, say, completed a degree at large program on a part time basis from an "accredited institution". While this meets the "requirement", it's not the same thing.
It's like the GMAT - sure the requirement is that you take the GMAT and nothing more, but meerly taking the GMAT is not enough - scoring well on it is. While, yes, a degree is the only requirement, I do think that where that degree comes from will bear weight on it's overall value and on your application.
That being said, I would agree that education is only one factor and that alone would not keep these individuals from being competitive. I think its what tends to come with these other degrees that keeps people out of being particularly competitive - in my experience, if you have a part time undergraduate degree or an AA followed by a BA, your work experience suffers accordingly. It's not that you are any less worthy, its just that you lost out on some important years in which those with the good fortune of completing a normal four year program may have had.
The people I know who have done part time BA degrees from no name universities, accredited or not, are usually much older than myself, and usually worked pretty meaningless jobs during their studies - which in some cases last several years. There are of course, exceptions to this - but like I said, I think its the "whole package" that tends to be come from these kinds of situations.
For instance, I know a guy at work... A 28 year old who spent 18 to 20 working at a carwash before enrolling in a part time program which he finished at 26, during which time he worked as an administrative assistant. He's now in a junior role, but it doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of his work experience has been menial and weak. Yes, he has an undergrad degree from an accredited institution, but ...
This person cannot, in my unscientific view, be as competitive as the person who graduated at 20, and has spent the last eight years developing themselves and being promoted.
It begs an interesting question really - does one's socio economic status dictate their odds of success at an MBA, and if so, how far back was this path laid? Again, the 28 year old BA from a part time at large institution with weakened job experience, vs the 28 year old with 8 years of experience in a field and a 4 year degree from an expensive institution? A fair playing field? Probably not.
But lets talk of something else - and a more interesting twist I think.
Is the issue really where you got your degree or is it what that degree did for you?
I think it's fair to assume that someone from a top 10 or an ivy league institution is far more likely to have great opportunities coming out of university, whereas those from a no-name institution are less likely to land a meaningful job. Not impossible of course, but just more difficult. Goldman Sachs, Bain, McKinsey, BSG, Arthur Anderson, Motorola, BMW, whatever - you'll see these firms and others like them represented more heavily at the top schools than at other ones. So, lacking these opportunities, statisically you are more likely to work for a less famous company, which may hurt your ability to move to one of the "big players".
And this makes sense right - I mean, otherwise, why go get your MBA from a top 15? There's a difference in the opportunities coming out of those schools than coming out of the Hawiaan School of Underwater Basket Weaving.
There's a question of pure geography too. Graduating from MIT and being in the boston area gives you access not only to the national recruiting but also to a strong local base. Graduating from some school built on marshland in the backcountry of Alabama, would give you likely, far less local opportunities. I really think this can make a huge difference - I know one girl with a BA in Economics, extremely bright, but can't find a decent job - the opportunities just don't exist where she lives. It's a small town, there's little to no recruiting, and graduates mostly end up in the food service industry. The issue isn't whether her degree is from Yale or not, the issue is that her degree never gave her the opportunities one from Yale might have.
And I think this is really what it comes down to - those who graduate from a top institution have access to better resources, recruiting and job prospects, all of which help them take a step in the right direction to an MBA, whereas those that graduate from a weaker institution have likely far reduced opportunities, which likely hurt their odss from the get-go. Exceptions, no doubt, exist.
So to recap:
1) I've made little sense
2) My jaw kind of hurts but I dont know why and it's irritating me
3) School choice probably does matter.