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Somethings to think about...

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Somethings to think about... [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2008, 18:19
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I think every year people talk about what schools are moving up and who are moving down...as if the brand image of a school changes so drastically year to year. With b-weeks rankings coming out next week and huge changes in the employment landscape for MBAs there are some interesting things to think about

One factor you can’t change in schools ability to attract the best talent is location. You can't pick up Tuck and stick it in a place that far more applicants would enjoy than Hanover NH. While some schools are hurt by location (I would say Tuck and Cornell are both great schools whose location probably doesn’t help them much)...others definitely are helped by location. I mean look at Haas, it’s a great school and the fact that Stanford (which is small and the hardest school to be admitted too) is the only on that coast that is stronger than Haas surely must give Haas a big boost from people who want to bay area but can’t pull the Stanford admit. So it helps them attract high caliber students. If you ever look at where the M7 are, all are in large cities and all locations either have great career opportunities in the area or are close to those job locations.

Schools brand takes a long time to develop and schools try not to let any other schools make too big of a move before countering that. For example facilities... In a few more years MIT and Kellogg will both have new buildings (MIT is building theirs now and Kellogg is supposed be getting placed on the lake overlooking the city). Stanford is building a whole campus for the b-school. For the last several years Chicago's facilities has been the star attraction in the b-school world, soon Ross and MIT will have new buildings which may top it...followed by Kellogg and Stanford who will up the bar again.

Of course it goes beyond buildings. A school will poach the top professors from another school...that school then does the same and recruits one from them or goes after another school’s professors. One school gets a huge chunk of money and the high rollers at other schools start cutting checks to their alma mater. You better believe every top school is calling their wealthiest alums right now saying hey Chicago just got 300 million we need to raise money to compete with them.

However, recent history in the outside world is definitely taking many image issues of MBAs out of the hands of the schools. For years banking jobs have been driving many b-schools and banks images are facing a backlash now. A lot of folks look at MBAs who ran these banks as the greedy criminals and it definitely will hurt certain schools reputations for training these people. I have already read several articles that blamed HBS alums and bankers in MBA holding bankers for ruining America. It’s hard to tell how long or how great of an impact the recent banking crisis will have on the MBA degree. Will some schools hurt more than others...maybe in a few more years we will know.

Where will schools go from here? Major banks were the largest sources of jobs from almost all the top 10 schools. What careers will these few thousand people go into now. Yes banks still will exist and they will continue to hire grads but with increased oversight limiting the ability to generate huge profits and long hours but less pay will certainly make these jobs less attractive. I think the schools that manage to take care of their grads the best for this and reposition themselves for the future of the MBA (whatever that is), will probably be the ones that make up the top schools in the future.

Yes the brands of the top schools will probably pull them through these times but there is the possibility of some going down the ladder (I don’t think it will be that big of a drop for any top school but you never know). However, the current situation may provide some schools a great opportunity to make a move and if they position themselves well they really could move up the ladder. Schools in the 10-20 range weren’t nearly as reliant on the big banks and exotic investment vehicles as a bunch of the top 10 schools have been. Can they leverage their recruiting companies to move up or will those companies bail for higher ranked schools where they can now competitively attract talent that in the past would turn down offers for “greener pastures?”

Just some things to think about when B-weeks rankings come out and people all talk about who is up and who is down. This year’s shake up may be nothing compared to next year’s because remember last year things weren’t quite so bad.
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Re: Somethings to think about... [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2008, 20:39
riverripper wrote:
I mean look at Haas, it’s a great school and the fact that Stanford (which is small and the hardest school to be admitted too) is the only on that coast that is stronger than Haas surely must give Haas a big boost from people who want to bay area but can’t pull the Stanford admit. So it helps them attract high caliber students.


Yes, I'm going through weeks' worth of posts right now (Thank goodness for Thanksgiving break!), so digging this one up because it was a very thoughtful post by river (as always :) ).

Also quoting the above line because it's probably one of the first times river has mentioned Haas without me prodding him. :lol:
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Re: Somethings to think about... [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2008, 06:53
A good post.. thanks for bumping; not sure how I missed it the first time around.

It will be very interesting to see what happens with the banking industry over the next few years with regards to recruiting at Top schools... I can't help but think there will be a lot more competition for consulting jobs in the near term.

~Sam

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Re: Somethings to think about... [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2008, 07:46
River,
I think that Tuck and Cornell's locations are kinda a two way street. Many people turn down other schools to go to Tuck because of it's unique culture, which I think would be very difficult to build in a big city. I don't know to what extent the limits on their applicant pool are balanced by this effect, but it's probably present.

One thing that I've thought about recently is that with the shift of the US economy to more service based one of the primary exports of the US has become financial and management expertise. With the current crisis so deeply rooted in failure of our financial system and high profile management failures has our brand been perminently tarnished in these areas? Finance obviously is going to take a hit, but what about consulting? This is not the first time in recent memory that the management of American companies has been shown to be overwhelmed by greed to the exclusion of all other factors. At some point I worry that people are going to stop listening to us.

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Re: Somethings to think about... [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2008, 09:06
Personally, I can agree or disagree.

I can agree that schools like Tuck and Cornell (how long until Cornell’s business school gets named after Sandy Weill just like their med school? Or is he broke now that Citi stocks are almost penny stocks…) are located away from major metro cities. Therefore, it might prevent some applicants from accepting their offers to study there. However, employers (that come to recruit) that recruit at Tuck/Cornell’s undergrad level also recruit at their MBA level. Many of these employers purposely travel all the way to NH/NY in order to hire bright graduates of these programs. Also networking through its alumni network is huge. So I don’t think one should choose not to attend these schools because of their location.

But then there are third tier MBA programs that attract students even though they are not nationally or highly ranked. However because these schools are located in large cities with many potential employers, many applicants apply to these schools as either their safety choice or even main choice.

For example, schools like DePaul (Chicago), Drexel (Philly), Baruch (NYC), and UConn (Stamford) are widely considered third tier MBA programs. However, these programs are popular for many students because of their geographic location and easy access to potential internship opportunities…..

So I think the answer really depends on the each applicant’s preference and each school’s advantage.
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Re: Somethings to think about...   [#permalink] 01 Dec 2008, 09:06
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