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I'm seriously considering taking a part time MBA program somewhere in the Bay Area, but I'm just wondering how big of a difference is there between getting into Berkeley as opposed to SJSU or SCU? I don't want to kill myself getting into a elite school like Berkeley (it was hard enough enough the first time). So, I'd like to hear from others' experiences and opinions. If the difference between elite and non-elite isn't that substantial, I'd be more than happy to get into a non-elite school and be able to concentrate on work and academics.
From what I've read and heard, I think it really depends on what you want to do with the MBA. If you just need an MBA to get that promotion at your company, a non-elite school would probably be fine. However, if you're planning to change careers or want to get a better job with a more prestigious employer in your current field, an elite might be better.
I'm just wondering how big of a difference is there between getting into Berkeley as opposed to SJSU or SCU? I don't want to kill myself getting into a elite school like Berkeley (it was hard enough enough the first time)
If the difference between elite and non-elite isn't that substantial, I'd be more than happy to get into a non-elite school and be able to concentrate on work and academics.
The difference between elite and non-elite is very, very substantial. Consider the faculty quality, curriculum, professional development opportunities, alumni network, learning experience, post-MBA salary increase, and recognition of having graduated from a top program (as opposed to a "me-too" school). I don't know what your career goals are but I'm not one to encourage another to settle for second best.. just my thoughts...
As for the overall time & effort spent applying to a top school: Let's say the additional time taken to apply to an elite program is ~200+ hours more. Let's say the the "list price" is about the same between an Elite public such as Berkeley and a private such as SCU(?), USF, etc.
In my opinion, if you're going to fork out the same amount of cash you might as well go ahead and "kill yourself" to get into the program that gives you the highest possible ROI. (sad attempt at a joke, no offense intended).
Everyone boils this down to ROI, rankings, who's brother now makes $1,000,000,000,000,000 USD a minute, etc.
I'm going to be the jerk here and tell you to go where you want. Sure, a top *insert arbitrary number here* school might open a few more doors, get you in touch with a few more folks, or any other number of perceived benefits. But at the end of the day, if you hate every waking minute you spend there, it will do you very little good.
Find the school that you fit best in. Which school fits your post-MBA career goals, makes your life easy enough to succeed without being a hermit, and any other metric that is important to you.
There is a top-25 school that I visited and met with some alum and I wouldn't go there if they paid me to. Really. I'd easily take SCU over them without a second thought. Why? The fit at the other school would make both of us miserable. This isn't the golden ticket into the Wonka factory that most people make it out to be. Knowing that, make the best decision for you based on going where you can contribute and succeed.
Thanks for the responses everyone, I really appreciate it. Do you guys think that real-world experience compensates for the prestige of graduating from an elite school? Cause I'd be comfortable going to a non-elite school knowing that with enough work experience, eventually I'd be look at equally compared to someone who did come out of an elite school.
Do you guys think that real-world experience compensates for the prestige of graduating from an elite school?
Depends on how far your real-world experience takes you. You can be the CEO of Merrill Lynch but still not have the prestigious H/S/W diploma hanging on your wall (I believe Stan O'Neal got his MBA from Fordham).
Cause I'd be comfortable going to a non-elite school knowing that with enough work experience, eventually I'd be look at equally compared to someone who did come out of an elite school.
Again it depends on what factors you wish be compared - is it recognition, paycheck, job title, industry, job expertise, managerial ability? Also, what constitutes as "enough" work experience to be considered on par with a H/S/W graduate.. I don't know.
To paraphrase Hjort, remember the MBA is neither a condition for nor determinant of future success. That's the best answer I've found so far. You might not work for _______(prestigious Fortune 500 company) as an Executive VP, but you could still be a great manager elsewhere earning buckets of cash and enjoying an excellent quality of life.