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Impact of undergrad institution

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Impact of undergrad institution [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2008, 19:15
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about whether or not your undergrad univ. makes you an automatic ding at certain schools. I know schools like harvard and stanford look for pedigree but is it possible to get into programs like wharton, chicago, kellogg and yale (not that yale is there with wharton, but I would imagine they are a little more conscious of undergrad univl. then others, I could be wrong) coming from a so-so state school. I know that there are always exceptions, but what schools would you say are likely place more value on this?

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Re: Impact of undergrad institution [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2008, 21:02
I dont think its an automatic ding anywhere. I think its more of a function what you do afterwards. The big name undergrad gives you a better chance of big name work experience that schools like. However, you went to a no name school but go to have a few awesome years of work experience then undergrad matters little. A decent GPA and a high GMAT score will let them know you can cut it academically. It really does go down to work experience more than anything. There are people here from colleges no one ever would have heard of but plenty of ivy leaguers who get dinged.

If you look at a big school like Kellogg, Chicago, Wharton, Columbia, or Harvard and there are going to be TONS of different schools represented.
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Re: Impact of undergrad institution [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 09:29
dghazer wrote:
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about whether or not your undergrad univ. makes you an automatic ding at certain schools. I know schools like harvard and stanford look for pedigree but is it possible to get into programs like wharton, chicago, kellogg and yale (not that yale is there with wharton, but I would imagine they are a little more conscious of undergrad univl. then others, I could be wrong) coming from a so-so state school. I know that there are always exceptions, but what schools would you say are likely place more value on this?

Somebody mentioned that Stanford's class had representation from 70 US undergrad institutions. Now there can't be 70 Ivy league schools. I read about people from community colleges getting into Stan. Also, a lot of Indians from not so famous colleges do an MS Engg from a top-20 US school and then go on to one of the M7 programs a few years down the line.

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Re: Impact of undergrad institution [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 11:53
mba07 wrote:
dghazer wrote:
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about whether or not your undergrad univ. makes you an automatic ding at certain schools. I know schools like harvard and stanford look for pedigree but is it possible to get into programs like wharton, chicago, kellogg and yale (not that yale is there with wharton, but I would imagine they are a little more conscious of undergrad univl. then others, I could be wrong) coming from a so-so state school. I know that there are always exceptions, but what schools would you say are likely place more value on this?

Somebody mentioned that Stanford's class had representation from 70 US undergrad institutions. Now there can't be 70 Ivy league schools. I read about people from community colleges getting into Stan. Also, a lot of Indians from not so famous colleges do an MS Engg from a top-20 US school and then go on to one of the M7 programs a few years down the line.


for those not quite as famililar with US colleges, there are 8 ivy league schools:
harvard
princeton
yale
columbia
brown
dartmouth
Penn
Cornell

In reading B-School profiles I've often wondered what people mean by "top Ivy" when posting since the lowest rank of these 8 schools in US news this year was 16 (Brown). Harvard, Princeton and Yale are consistently at the top of the rankings, so maybe it means one of those, but Penn (t-6) and Columbia (t-8) were both in the top 10 this year as well. Are people using Ivy more generically than its technical definition or are people using "top ivy" to signify Harvard, Princeton or Yale?

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Re: Impact of undergrad institution [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 11:56
I'd say the Ivies tend to be tiered like this:

Top Tier: Harvard, Princeton, Yale
Mid-Tier: Columbia, Dartmouth, and Penn
Bottom Tier: Cornell and Brown
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Re: Impact of undergrad institution [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 12:33
From going over resume books of a variety of schools, I definitely see a representation of many colleges, from the 'elite' ivies on down. Many, many small state schools. Admissions committees are very aware of how many people go to small state public schools for reasons besides ability (cost, need to be close to home etc.) Such constraints on a person, especially cost-wise, can be very, very different from when they are 18 vs when they are in their mid/late 20s and have had a few years to make some $$/gain some independence. I speak from personal experience on that regard.

As long as you kicked ass there(and afterwards) you definitely have a fighting shot at a top business school.

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Re: Impact of undergrad institution [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 13:06
I think ranking the ivies (other than top tier H/Y/P) is really tough. I generally think acceptance rate is a good proxy for quality. Looking at that you get: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, UPenn, Cornell... which sounds right to me. Though Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Penn i think can be reordered as one pleases. That said, any list that doesn't put Cornell last is lying to you.

Full disclosure: I attended one of the above, and I have immediate family members who have attended all but Dartmouth.

agold wrote:
I'd say the Ivies tend to be tiered like this:

Top Tier: Harvard, Princeton, Yale
Mid-Tier: Columbia, Dartmouth, and Penn
Bottom Tier: Cornell and Brown

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Re: Impact of undergrad institution [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 13:27
In my opinion,

I think that the main way the undergraduate institution can impact is by the opportunities it affords directly out of school. At more prestigious schools, one will have more opportunities. Obviously, one can overcome this by networking their way into better opportunities after graduating, but it is harder.

The other issue I would think would be present is attending an undergraduate with a reputation may affect a school's perception of your undergrad. For example, if the school is known to be academically rigorous, an AdCom may look at ones GPA in that light. If the school isn't known at all, one might not get that leeway, even if the school was a tough grader.

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 13:31
Haven't checked US News or anything, but how do service academies compare to Ivys (especially in MBA admissions context)?

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 13:42
the military academies are ranked with the liberal arts colleges in the US news ranking, but in general I'm not sure they're really compared to other schools in the sense that they generally draw from a very different pool of applicants from other highly selective schools. it looks like at least West Point and the Naval Academy finished in the top 25 and are considered Teir 1 schools by US news.

The rankings would probably be biased against them since they include such things as average professor salary, which would be effected by military pay structures.

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 14:35
I don't think your undergraduate institution will make or break you. It's more about what you did with your four years.

I think that a high GPA from a no-name school won't be looked upon as favorably as a really high GPA from a school like MIT. But this doesn't mean that you can't have outstanding leadership experience and build a more compelling story at a no-name school than you would at MIT.

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 15:30
US News rankings are biased heavily by average SAT scores and donations by alumni.

Public Schools are ranked lower because as a state institution they have larger goals than worrying about rankings (state mandates, improve surrounding community, bring education to the masses). Private schools do not have such constraints and can try to improve rankings by adjusting incoming SAT scores. I know of a private school that decided to improve their overall score by taking the highest of section score from any sitting and combining it instead of the highest overall. They've shot up into/near the top 25 over the past several years.

Also, since people who go to private school tend to be wealthier (in absence of scholarships), they can usually afford to donate more.

Thus, I don't think US News undergraduate rankings are really indicative of the best schools. Look at UC-Berkeley for example. It is ranked extremely high (top-10) in so many subject lists (i.e. Engineering, business) but isn't even top 20 overall.

Disclaimer: i am not affiliated with UC-Berkeley at all.

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New post 20 Nov 2008, 21:01
Just an FYI, but "Ivy League" is actually an athletic distinction, not so much what people really think. I know we look at Harvard/Princeton/Penn/etc. as "Ivy" but that actual name is about the athletic conference they belong to.
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New post 20 Nov 2008, 23:19
An interesting note...I went to a very small and specialized state school. Currently there are student from my undergrad at Kellogg (of course), MIT, and UCLA (actually was in my class). So you dont necessarily have to go to Yale or Harvard for undergrad to have a shot at these schools. However, having a unique story will help.
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New post 21 Nov 2008, 09:39
My view on this is that this a natural selection process that starts early in career. The smartest people go to Top Schools (Ivy Leagues, Top Private, Top Public, Top Liberal arts, or the best school in their home country)....they tend to find better jobs.....this leads to better experience and make them stronger applicants. In other words, such people have a history of accomplishment and a top undergraduate is just one of them.

However, there are plenty of exceptions. I personally have seen two kind:
i) Those who weren't the best students but did better in the real world
ii) Those who didn't have the money to go to top schools

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New post 23 Nov 2008, 04:02
I doubt your undergraduate institution has a significant sway on your admission. If you look at it for AdCom POV, they would need to come up with some sort of scale to weigh every institution. Then you have the dillema with difference in major concentration. Would an engineering degree weigh more than a liberal arts degree? GMAT is the normalizer, it levels the playing field and give the AdCom an indication of your academic abilities.
Maybe if you are on the borderline and the AdCom has to make a subjective decision, the undergrad institution will come into play.
But I'm not the AdCom and I'm in the same boat as you. I'm just taking a wild a$$ guess.

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New post 23 Nov 2008, 14:53
I think we need to look past the generic us news and world report ranking. For instance Carnegie Mellon may not be in the top 10 overall, but they are in computer science, engineering, etc. Majoring in something technical at an Ivy liberal arts school in my opinion doesn't look as good.

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New post 23 Nov 2008, 15:58
From what I've heard, some undergraduate institutions have a reputation for grading either easier or much or rigorously. B-schools know that and when they take a look at your GPA they take that into account. A 3.0 at the Naval Academy, for instance, carries a lot more weight than a 3.0 at Harvard due to the fact that its very difficult to get less than a B- in a class at Harvard and very difficult to get a B at all at the Naval Academy.
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Re: Impact of undergrad institution   [#permalink] 23 Nov 2008, 15:58
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