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I just recently watched the CNBC special on HBS
and was wondering if the school is really worth the hype?

I have a lot of friends that went to ivy league schools and now regret taking on the debt only to get a job they could've gotten just by going to a nice (and much cheaper) public school...

Comments (81)

  • BuyersRemorse's picture

    It's worth it in terms of the contacts/network and multiple job offers you take away... Does that count?

  • KingJayk's picture

    You can have all of those things at any decent school. Especially, if it's a regional school and you want to stay in that region.

    I guess what I'm asking is what is so unique about HBS? Do they offer programs that other schools don't?

  • BuyersRemorse's picture

    It's about degrees. At a regional school, a 'normal' (i.e. a low) percentage of classmates will go on to extraordinary things. At HBS, its a much higher percentage. Almost all of your classmates are rich and/or brilliant and/or very charismatic...this does not guarantee professional success (far from it), but it does make it much more likely.

  • ....'s picture

    KingJayk:
    I have a lot of friends that went to ivy schools and kinds regret taking on the debt only to get a job they could've got at a nice public school...

    There's a difference between Harvard Undergrad and Harvard Business School, but either way this doesn't really add up.

    The best public schools in the nation are UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Virginia and University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. I went to one of the two in California for undergrad and go to HBS now where a lot of my peers went to ivy league undergrads, so I have a pretty good perspective.

    Let's take MBB as a proxy. Bain and BCG came to interview at my state school for internships - McKinsey didn't bother to show up. Bain hired 1 intern my junior year, McKinsey and BCG hired 0. Bain hired maybe 8 interns from Stanford for the SF office alone, and McKinsey and BCG both picked up several. The pool of students applying from Stanford was smaller than the pool applying from my state school. Technically, if I was the one student from my state school that got the Bain offer, I would have been just as well off as if I had gone to Stanford - but that doesn't mean the opportunities from both schools were the same.

    This is fairly true across the board. A student in the top 5% of Berkeley or Michigan might have the same opportunities as the average student at Harvard undergrad - but there are many firms that recruit only at HYPS. If you want to work in PE/HF coming out of undergrad, the doors are far more open at Harvard than at a state school.

    Now consider the b-school level. Remember, HBS only offers graduate degrees. MBB, BB Banks and top Tech firms were slobbering all over themselves trying to hire my peers. I would say that for every 10 students in my class that wanted an MBB job, roughly 5 got an offer for a summer internship. The only state school that really competes with HBS would be Haas (Berkeley), and that ratio at Haas is probably much less favorable. There are PE firms that recruit at HBS and Stanford that recruit literally nowhere else. Plus, the network that you get here is downright unmatched.

    There's also this to think about: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2012/05/18/schools-...

    The kicker is that an MBA from Haas (Berkeley) or Anderson (UCLA) costs almost as much as an MBA from Harvard or Stanford. It's not like undergrad you can pay $50k and go to Harvard or pay $10k and go to UCLA. State b-schools and law schools are expensive - just as expensive as private b-schools and law schools.

  • Onetwobit's picture

    From a non-target:

    If you are able to attend WITHOUT taking on a ridiculous amount of debt by personal financing and well off parents, then absolutely.

    Uncle went to Stanford (engineering) for UG and HBS for MBA and to this day claims he cannot recommend anyone to attend if the costs are a burden. He was on full athletic scholarships and would not have attended otherwise.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    An MBA from a public ivy is worth it over HBS IF you can get a 40% discount on it and IF your main plans aren't finance. Ross opens as many doors for industrial firms and manufacturing as HBS does, and it costs $50K less if you're going in-state. IMHO, manufacturing is recovering from low ebb in 2009 and will be huge in 30 years, while finance is coming down from high tide in 2007- and will probably stay that way for ~15-20 years.

    Energy is also a great sector to be in and UT Austin McCombs is a good school for that- opening more doors than Harvard or Stanford at a significant discount to those schools.

    But yes, generally speaking, HBS and Stanford charge much less of a premium over the public ivies on MBA programs than they do on undergrads, and if your goal is finance, HBS is worth that premium. Then again, a lot of kids had their sights set on Sears or General Motors back in the late '70s.

  • Relinquis's picture

    In a "career" affiliations matter a lot more than achievement. Adding an HBS affiliation is powerful if you are not currently affiliated with a prestigious university. It's similar to saying that you worked at GS, or MBB (or the equivalent in other sectors, Wachtell, Lipton in Law, etc....)

    When you meet people for the first time in a professional setting they will use these affiliations to form an impression about you. They don't usually ask/care much about what you have achieved and if they do, they seldom have the ability to measure or appreciate it. This matters the most for careers like finance or management consulting where you are selling a somewhat intangible service, less so if you actually rely on what you are able to produce, e.g. carpentry, baking, hair styling, cooking, some forms of self funded entrepreneurship etc...

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    melvvvar's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    An MBA from a public ivy is worth it over HBS IF you can get a 40% discount on it and IF your main plans aren't finance. Ross opens as many doors for industrial firms and manufacturing as HBS does, and it costs $50K less if you're going in-state. IMHO, manufacturing is recovering from low ebb in 2009 and will be huge in 30 years, while finance is coming down from high tide in 2007- and will probably stay that way for ~15-20 years.

    Energy is also a great sector to be in and UT Austin McCombs is a good school for that- opening more doors than Harvard or Stanford at a significant discount to those schools.

    But yes, generally speaking, HBS and Stanford charge much less of a premium over the public ivies on MBA programs than they do on undergrads, and if your goal is finance, HBS is worth that premium. Then again, a lot of kids had their sights set on Sears or General Motors back in the late '70s.

    you are completely insane

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Why pay more for something than you have to?

    I like Mustang GTs. I am willing to pay $25K for one, assuming it is a convertible. If someone comes along and offers me a Ferrari for $50K, I will probably turn them down. Sure, the Ferrari is worth a premium to me, but the Mustang GT gives me exactly what I want, and it's the kind of car that fits in perfectly in a small town like Holland, Michigan. The Ferrari might be a little more fun to drive, but again, it's not worth a 100% premium over the Mustang, and the Mustang makes me just as happy. I would rather save that $25K or do something with it that made my life happier.

    If your goal is to retire in Holland Michigan rather than NYC or some wealthy enclave in Miami, a Ferrari really doesn't do you much good. If you want to do energy or manufacturing, you can save 50% on your tuition and Ross or McCombs is just fine.

  • In reply to Relinquis
    Thurnis Haley's picture

    Relinquis:
    In a "career" affiliations matter a lot more than achievement. Adding an HBS affiliation is powerful if you are not currently affiliated with a prestigious university. It's similar to saying that you worked at GS, or MBB (or the equivalent in other sectors, Wachtell, Lipton in Law, etc....)

    When you meet people for the first time in a professional setting they will use these affiliations to form an impression about you. They don't usually ask/care much about what you have achieved and if they do, they seldom have the ability to measure or appreciate it. This matters the most for careers like finance or management consulting where you are selling a somewhat intangible service, less so if you actually rely on what you are able to produce, e.g. carpentry, baking, hair styling, cooking, some forms of self funded entrepreneurship etc...


    I'd imagine you're probably not getting into HBS unless you're already affiliated with a prestigious university though.
  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    ^^^ Lots of state school undegrads get in all the time, though it's still an uphill battle.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    ^^^ Agreed. The question is what do you plan to do with it. If it's for tooling around some rich neighborhood, ok, go with the Ferrari. If it's for drag racing, you go with the GT-R and save the money for mods.

    Networks are good in manufacturing and energy, but beyond a public Ivy, prestige isn't really all that necessary. Heck, talk with folks in Ohio or Indiana or Michigan and they'll claim UMich is a better school than Dartmouth, and a lot of them think NYU is a state school.

    So my view is that a kid debating whether to go off and work for a bricks-and-mortar F500 and going to HBS and trying to land at a hedge fund *may* (not necessarily will, but *may*) be much happier choosing UMich or UT-Austin and then following the career path that that school specializes in if that kind of career is just as enjoyable to them. There is going to be a lot of growth in energy as well as manufacturing over the next 30 years. There will be billion dollar car companies, clothing manufacturers, consumer product makers, merchant power generators, and more in 30 years that don't exist today. And a lot of them (not all, maybe not even most, but at least *many*) will be run by McCombs and Ross grads simply because that is what those schools specialize in.

    That $70K of savings can then be used to take a risk working for a newer company or even do a startup with other folks.

    To clarify, this route isn't for 80% of the forum, but a few folks reading this will be better served by this route- if they enjoy business, if they enjoy creating value, but they just don't enjoy working in finance as much as they would enjoy keeping the machinery of civilization running. For those folks, McCombs and Ross hold a significant comparative advantage, especially after you factor in the 50% break on the tuition.

  • Brady4MVP's picture

    Illini, as much as I like and respect you, your post is insane.

    Regarding the OP's post, i think redninja pretty much hit the nail on the coffin. First, grad prestige is much more important than undergrad prestige. Second, for an MBA, pedigree matters much moreso than med, phd, or even law. Those other degrees are required to practice one's chosen field, whereas you don't need and MBA to "practice" business or make tons of money. The prestige of one's mba, then, acts as a powerful signaling mechanism for employers when they decide who to interview and extend offers to. The top firms are packed with alums from the elite schools, so they intrinsically trust that adcom is accepting the "right" people who have proven themselves in the real world.

    In terms of opportunities, a few anecdotes to bear this out. As redninja said, MBB hires tons from HBS. I think mckinsey alone hired around 90 from HBS last year (roughly 10% of the entire class). And a lot of the top PE, HF, and IM, only hire from HBS/Stanford and Wharton to a lesser extent. Examples of this that I can think of are soros, paulson, viking, KKR, blackstone, carlyle, bain capital, davidson kempner, baupost, york, och-ziff, capital group, ziff brothers, etc.

    My best friend just finished his first year at a M7 (booth/kellogg/sloan/columbia). He will be interning at MBB in NYC, and during the sell weekend, he told me that the vast majority were from the other M7. There were a few from places like darden, ross, fuqua, stern. When asked, these students replied that they were one of the very few in their class to get a MBB internship. Contrast this to my friend's class, where roughly 70-80 got at least one of MBB. The difference is quite staggering. This confirms my view that even in strategy consulting, which hires a lot of MBAs, there's a big drop between M7 and the rest. And in buyside finance, there's a huge drop between HSW and the rest.

    So yes, pedigree matters a ton in business school. And HBS is totally worth the debt and opportunity costs. Turning down HBS for a state mba, so you can save several hundred grand, which in the long-term doesn't mean that much, is a completely foolish move.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Brady, you have a long history of M7 obsession. Then again, I have a long history of non-M7 obsession and we both have a long history of calling each other insane while debating some of this stuff. :D

    Most of your comment revolves around finance and consulting. What if I told you that most of the new businesses in the US over the next thirty years may very well be in manufacturing or energy? That finance is going to be a shrinking industry- perhaps almost as bad as car manufacturing or middle-class department stores were over the past 35 years?

    I think if you take some of this into account, the proposition behind a career in finance is less compelling. It has to be something that you absolutely love. I think that's true for 70% of this forum, but a lot of folks reading this may realize they enjoy building stuff and making things, and if that's the case, suddenly, these arguments about coastal prestige at hedge funds and PE shops don't matter so much.

    Imagine it's 1935 and you're talking to a kid with an engineering degree who really loves cars. Yes, 20 years ago, the folks who made a lot of money all worked for hedge funds and had northeastern school degrees. This kid likes money, but he is a lot more passionate about cars than managing money. Do you tell him to go to HBS, or do you tell him to go to Ross?

    With HBS, the kid graduates and *needs* to go work for that hedge fund. Meanwhile, tax rates go up, pay goes down, and eventually when he is 55, he is maybe running a pension fund or mutual fund and collecting $500K, inflation adjusted.

    OR, you tell that kid to go to Ross. He graduates and goes to work for GM because he doesn't have the same debt burden. He gets to do what he loves. He gets to work on developing and marketing the automatic transmission. Eventually, he gets to help design the Chevelle, and follow his passion- cars. And when he is 55, he finally makes COO and also makes $500K- but doing something he truly enjoys.

    If you love making cars or making stuff, you probably don't want to go to Harvard. (OK, *maybe* Stanford or MIT. *Maybe*).

    When prestige is underpriced and undervalued- like it was in the '60s and '70s, that's when you go for it. My KIDS will be going to HBS if the economic cycle plays out like I think it will- just at the time everyone will be telling me I'm insane to be paying the premium. But right now, I don't see the catalysts I need to see for growth in the financial sector and I see a lot of catalysts for growth in sectors where prestige doesn't matter as much as networks.

  • Brady4MVP's picture

    IP, I respectfully disagree with your view.

    The reason I am "obsessed" with the M7 mba is because I have seen firsthand people get jobs they NEVER would have gotten without that degree. And then there is the amazing social experience as well, which I won't get into.

    Regarding your points though. I agree that finance has lost its luster, and it's totally conceivable that buyside will not be as nearly as desirable a decade from now as it has been lately. But finance will always be around. The need for capital allocation, investments, and deal making are at the foundation of a capitalist society. Moreover, let's assume that new sectors like clean tech or hybrid cars become the hot fields of the future. How would this result in the depreciation of the value of an elite MBA? Do you really think a school like HBS will not adapt to the new environment by hiring faculty and students who are experienced in those areas? Actually, as Dee Leopold said, HBS has aggressively recruited students who worked in more "old-school" industries like manufacturing and engineering.

    I suppose if your ambition is to just make stuff, an MBA might not be as useful. But for those who want to transition from pure engineering into positions of leadership, management, and entrepreneurship, an MBA from a top school goes a long way. Again, we have a fundamental disagreement on this topic, and I totally respect your opinion.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Moreover, let's assume that new sectors like clean tech or hybrid cars become the hot fields of the future.

    I don't think that will happen. You tend to find people wearing suits and carrying fancy degrees in zero-sum industries- LIKE hybrids and cleantech, and in some ways, these industries are doomed as investments.

    Contrast this with the nuclear industry. Exelon produces more energy than all of cleantech combined with 0 carbon emissions. (Wind and solar advocates will argue nuclear produces carbon emissions from mining and construction, which is also true of wind and solar.) More importantly, it's economically viable without government intervention and the CEO is a guy with an MBA from UW Madison.

    My goals are very simple:

    1.) A career that I enjoy which tangibly helps other people more than it hurts them.
    2.) A career that provides financial stability and the ability to afford to go hang gliding.
    3.) A career that involves watching accruals. (I have dutch calvinist blood).

    For a guy like me, #3 is enough for me to say, "OK, I like finance. As long as I'm making high five figures and I'm doing something where there isn't too much debate about whether I'm making the world better or worse, I'm probably happy in that career." But for someone else who loves cars, or who loves power plants, or who loves oil rigs, the route they want to take will be very different.

    I suppose if your ambition is to just make stuff, an MBA might not be as useful. But for those who want to transition from pure engineering into positions of leadership, management, and entrepreneurship, an MBA from a top school goes a long way. Again, we have a fundamental disagreement on this topic, and I totally respect your opinion.

    I agree with you that an MBA is very helpful to go into leadership and management. But my point is that in manufacturing, you don't *need* prestige on top of that. You just need to be a competent operator and a good leader. And you need a network. In many ways, Ross actually gives you a bit of a leg up over Harvard in traditional manufacturing because of the network and the gearing of the MBA. For cleantech, OK, MIT or Stanford is a better choice, but you don't think of Boston and San Francisco as huge manufacturing centers. That's Detroit, Toledo, Akron, Cleveland, Gary, maybe Chicago and Milwaukee. And Michigan is one of the best schools for manufacturing. If the US is moving back towards manufacturing, I think you'll see a lot of CEOs with UMich Ross MBAs in thirty years, just like you saw them 40 years ago.

  • Relinquis's picture

    if you want to make stuff, an MBA is the wrong degree... if you want to own, or take "stuff" then it is a great asset provided that you're affiliated with a prestigious school. if you want to advise and work with owners or manage companies that "make stuff" you better have the right affiliations as well. it doesn't matter if the industry is autos, FMCG or finance.

    I'd rather be the guy close to the top of a corporation with a bunch of stock options than a lowly mid manager who is closer to the production. If it were my company I would try to organise it differently, but it's more likely to be just another corporation.

    The new companies are still going to grow through acquisition rather than organically and when they become of significant size they will require management with the "right" credentials / affiliations. Both of these aspects will allow the establishment (i.e. HBS/Wharton/Stanford, Ivy, MIT, etc...) people to get into these corporations. The system isn't going to change in a decade or two. Don't believe me? The British Empire doesn't exist anymore yet Oxbridge and the LSE still churn out a disproportionate number of the global establishment, from world leaders to business people and investors/financiers, etc... Who do you think is educating Asia's elite? A small Island off the Western coast of Europe. Its pretty amazing when you think about it.

    Unless you have the capital to be able to do things on your own terms (or if your business doesn't need the capital) you're going to need to rely on others and this is where affiliations matter.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    The new companies are still going to grow through acquisition rather than organically and when they become of significant size they will require management with the "right" credentials / affiliations. Both of these aspects will allow the establishment (i.e. HBS/Wharton/Stanford, Ivy, MIT, etc...) people to get into these corporations. The system isn't going to change in a decade or two. Don't believe me? The British Empire doesn't exist anymore yet Oxbridge and the LSE still churn out a disproportionate number of the global establishment, from world leaders to business people and investors/financiers, etc... Who do you think is educating Asia's elite? A small Island off the Western coast of Europe. Its pretty amazing when you think about it.

    Sure, but Ross, UW Madison, and Perdue have a disproportionate representation among manufacturing CEOs, and the networks and ownership are all geared around these midwestern schools plus perhaps Northwestern. So the networks switch as you go into different industries. Looking at oil, most of the guys have backgrounds from Rice or one of the UT schools.

    M7 schools are great for consulting, finance, and cleantech, but I have my doubts about how these industries will do over the next 30 years.

    Midwestern utility and manufacturing stockholders and the C-level managers in place aren't impressed the same way that Asians are by big names. We look for sober analysis, an understanding of the customer, and an understanding of the manufacturing process. The ability to walk down the assembly line, know most of the guys' names, know how their kids are doing, and be able to step into about 1/3 of those roles and start assembling stuff if someone needs to take a break. That is leadership and command at a manufacturing company, and Ross simply has the better network to get you into the roles that eventually lead to the C-level at those kinds of firms. It's even more true with UT-Austin or Rice and the energy business. The oil patch is crawling with UT alumns and they seem to inhabit every nook and cranny of the C-suites where you would expect Ivy League MBAs at a New York bank.

  • Relinquis's picture

    I see where you're going, but even the firm you mentioned, Exelon, has quite a few senior executives who have done the AMP at HBS or have an Ivy league education. (Assuming we're talking about the same Exelon).

    I don't see how you would be at a disadvantage wanting to get into these sectors coming from HBS, or other highly ranked schools.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    I haven't seen much of that; maybe. The CEO of their largest division, ComEd, is a former lineman who got a part-time engineering degree from NIU thirty years ago. There is very little emphasis on prestige and a very strong emphasis on operational competencies. You tend to see that at firms that arguably create economic value.

    You're at a disadvantage because of the student debt you carry and because the term "Harvard" is a bit of an isolating term when dealing with factory workers. You need to be a leader for these folks, and all things being equal, big names put you at a bit of a disadvantage. You need to be approachable and down to earth while at the same time understanding how the system works, how it *should* be working instead, and what the customer wants. You need a network of managers and directors on these boards. Harvard doesn't give you any advantages here that Ross doesn't already give you. And in some ways, the name hurts you when your rank and file are factory workers rather than bankers.

    HBS is a great school for consulting and finance. For manufacturing or energy, though, the state schools become very competitive:

    EG the big three oil companies:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_Tillerson

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Mulva

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_S._Watson_(Chevron)

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    ^^^ UT Austin alumn.

    UT Austin alumns running oil companies are like Notre Dame alumns making partner at Chicago accounting firms. They're f***ing everywhere.

  • seedy underbelly's picture

    Lol OP's a troll, guys.

    First, next to no one takes on debt to attend Harvard College. In fact, Ivies are very often cheaper than state schools thanks to awesome financial aid. My first year cost me less at Columbia than it would have at a public uni in Canada (public universities in Canada are less than half the price of their US counterparts).

    Second, HBS costs exactly the same or, in some cases, lesser than a state school MBA thanks to various scholarships.

  • Relinquis's picture

    IP,

    Do you think you'll be able to appropriate enough of the profits / revenues at one of these energy companies in the manner that financiers and consulting employees do in their industries? You don't control the means of production as a manager or engineer at an energy company, you do as an investment banker, trader or consultant.

    How are you going to get paid unless you make it to the C-suite to one rung below it?

  • In reply to Relinquis
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Relinquis:
    IP,

    Do you think you'll be able to appropriate enough of the profits / revenues at one of these energy companies in the manner that financiers and consulting employees do in their industries? You don't control the means of production as a manager or engineer at an energy company, you do as an investment banker, trader or consultant.

    How are you going to get paid unless you make it to the C-suite to one rung below it?


    Idunno. How did the prior UT Austin grads make it to the C-suite?

    And if oil is your passion and it pays decently- not necessarily amazingly, do you care if you could make more at a hedge fund? I certainly wouldn't. And if I do well, anyways, I still make it to the C-suite.

  • Aimez's picture

    HBS is for risk averse individuals, and based on opportunity cost and average earnings after HBS you will pay your student debt off within 2 years if you have your stuff together, and assuming you went into debt to join.

    There are better schools, but not everyone knows they are better. Comes down to a keynesian beauty contest for me. I think everyone expects the average opinion to be that HBS is the best, so I'm happy with that. Plus a MBA from HBS will generally move a resume to the top of a pile.

    50% of students at HBS are there with scholarships and financial aid.

    I would go there for a second, for either a MBA or Law degree, if I had the liquidity and resources. That said, I'm not a highly risk-orriented person. Yes, I can put that money in a start-up, but when 90% of start ups fail in the first year, and 99% within 10 years, my risk is higher for a potential reward than it would be at HBS.

    And I don't really ever want to go into manufacturing, maybe because in my country manufacturing is being subsidised by the resources boom. For me it's about more than money.

  • In reply to ....
    GutShot's picture

    redninja:
    KingJayk:
    I have a lot of friends that went to ivy schools and kinds regret taking on the debt only to get a job they could've got at a nice public school...

    There's a difference between Harvard Undergrad and Harvard Business School, but either way this doesn't really add up.

    The best public schools in the nation are UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Virginia and University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. I went to one of the two in California for undergrad and go to HBS now where a lot of my peers went to ivy league undergrads, so I have a pretty good perspective.

    Let's take MBB as a proxy. Bain and BCG came to interview at my state school for internships - McKinsey didn't bother to show up. Bain hired 1 intern my junior year, McKinsey and BCG hired 0. Bain hired maybe 8 interns from Stanford for the SF office alone, and McKinsey and BCG both picked up several. The pool of students applying from Stanford was smaller than the pool applying from my state school. Technically, if I was the one student from my state school that got the Bain offer, I would have been just as well off as if I had gone to Stanford - but that doesn't mean the opportunities from both schools were the same.

    This is fairly true across the board. A student in the top 5% of Berkeley or Michigan might have the same opportunities as the average student at Harvard undergrad - but there are many firms that recruit only at HYPS. If you want to work in PE/HF coming out of undergrad, the doors are far more open at Harvard than at a state school.

    Now consider the b-school level. Remember, HBS only offers graduate degrees. MBB, BB Banks and top Tech firms were slobbering all over themselves trying to hire my peers. I would say that for every 10 students in my class that wanted an MBB job, roughly 5 got an offer for a summer internship. The only state school that really competes with HBS would be Haas (Berkeley), and that ratio at Haas is probably much less favorable. There are PE firms that recruit at HBS and Stanford that recruit literally nowhere else. Plus, the network that you get here is downright unmatched.

    There's also this to think about: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2012/05/18/schools-...

    The kicker is that an MBA from Haas (Berkeley) or Anderson (UCLA) costs almost as much as an MBA from Harvard or Stanford. It's not like undergrad you can pay $50k and go to Harvard or pay $10k and go to UCLA. State b-schools and law schools are expensive - just as expensive as private b-schools and law schools.

    I've found that many folks from state schools who have the right stuff can make their own opportunities, M/B/B on campus recruiting be damned.

  • In reply to Aimez
    sayandarula's picture

    Aimez:

    There are better schools, but not everyone knows they are better.

    you believe there are better business schools than HBS? care to elaborate on which ones and how you are quantifying "better"? do you mean better "bang for your buck", opportunities available for graduates, or quality of education?

    i've always had the feeling that HBS was a tad overhyped, so i'm genuinely curious here.

    Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

  • In reply to sayandarula
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    sayandarula:
    Aimez:

    There are better schools, but not everyone knows they are better.

    you believe there are better business schools than HBS? care to elaborate on which ones and how you are quantifying "better"? do you mean better "bang for your buck", opportunities available for graduates, or quality of education?

    i've always had the feeling that HBS was a tad overhyped, so i'm genuinely curious here.


    Booth is ranked higher in Businessweek and PPP-adjusted, their graduates make more.

    Again, with two of WSO's characters pertaining to a street on the East Coast, I am not going to be able to win a fight against the coastal bias here, but there are a number of schools out there that people turn down Harvard for- including UT Austin. The rate probably isn't more than 20-30% before you get to scholarships, but some folks prefer MIT over HBS, Stanford over HBS, ND over HBS, Chicago over HBS, Oxbridge over HBS, and Wharton over HBS. And more importantly, every good firm wants a wide diversity of thinking. They want folks from Chicago and Stanford as well as Harvard and probably Oxbridge to attack problems from different angles. All things being equal, it's better to be a solid candidate from Rice than to be that same level from Harvard- because you were trained to think differently and spot different problems at Rice.

    So I have never really been impressed by the view that HBS is the best choice for everyone. It is one of several good choices, and a good dozen or so MBA programs get kids who turned down Harvard- and made the decision *wisely*. Ross and UT Austin are two of those schools along with the rest of the M7 ex-Columbia.

  • In reply to sayandarula
    lifeofpurpose's picture

    sayandarula:
    Aimez:

    There are better schools, but not everyone knows they are better.

    you believe there are better business schools than HBS? care to elaborate on which ones and how you are quantifying "better"? do you mean better "bang for your buck", opportunities available for graduates, or quality of education?

    i've always had the feeling that HBS was a tad overhyped, so i'm genuinely curious here.

    HBS has the best brand internationally and I would go there if i could (just for the brand). But the quality of the education isn't the best. HBS claims that their graduates come out "thinking" differently and better than the rest, but the fact is that someone graduating from Booth, MIT or Wharton will know more and have more solid skills. The problem with HBS is that they don't try to diversify the skills, it is 100% business-case which is great to learn how to make decisions but I believe you need to supplement that with some harder courses. They are not training experienced executives, they are training un-experienced 26 year old students who still need to learn the technical stuff before making a decision.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    burnsy's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    I like Mustang GTs. I am willing to pay $25K for one, assuming it is a convertible. If someone comes along and offers me a Ferrari for $50K, I will probably turn them down. .

    you crazy

    "All things are difficult before they are easy"
    - Thomas Fuller

  • Spalding Get Your Foot Off the Boat's picture

    @ Brady - you're right, IP must be insane... the Mustang / Ferrari example alone fails basic arbitrage logic, anyways, regarding the interesting material above:

    In terms of your comments regarding MBA program placement for the M7 and next tier, I'm interested to know what your thoughts are in terms of how both groups place in finance roles. It appears that both the M7 and the next bunch (i would think: NYU, Ross, Darden, Fuqua, UCLA) place plenty of students in IB Associate roles, but that the M7 grabs the lions share of the quality buy side roles. Is this consistent with what you've seen and heard?

    I'm applying to schools this fall and am currently trying to think through whether it's worth my time to apply to some of these non M7's as safety options since I really don't want to delay my start beyond 2013 - would appreciate any thoughts on this

  • wellfunded's picture

    It seems like a lot of HBS's value comes from the name-brand. Most people don't pay much attention to the whole ranking stuff and all that, but saying you're a Harvard MBA grad is pretty much universally equated to "highest quality." Schools like Stanford and Wharton might have equal recruiting/academics, but it seems like the names aren't quite as widely esteemed nationwide among people who don't focus on these things (i.e. most people). Not saying it's fair/justified or that it won't change, but the name "Harvard" has some mystique to it in our society.

    That said, I don't really have any knowledge about the more direct value of bschools. Would you guys say there are some advantages of Stanford/Wharton/Kellogg over HBS? Some people have told me that the smaller class size (HBS's most recent class is ~3x as big as Stanford's) makes the network you gain "tighter," if that makes any sense..Agree?

  • In reply to Gate_Crasher
    seedy underbelly's picture

    Gate_Crasher:
    Over-rated.

    Usually those who bash HBS are those who have no chance of ever getting in.

  • Marked to Market's picture

    I love the IP vs. Brady debate.

    I also love the IP world view in which the rust belt states take over the world due to resource scarcity.

    As much as I love these things, I'm going to actually comment on the question about HBS and whether it's worth it. My totally anecdotal view, based on the people I know who have gone or are going to HBS, is that it is sometimes worth it. I realize this is a very, very bland statement, but I think it's the most honest answer to the question. Some people seem to do really well coming out of there, but I've met very few people who went in without a good background and came out with an offer people on this forum would brag about (partly because even if the place is a giant target, you do compete to some extent with your classmates for job offers).

    This doesn't even touch the mid to late career stuff. The other side of all the random people on here from weird backgrounds succeeding beyond anyone's expectations is that people, even the ones lucky enough to be on "The Path", will fail. They fail as PMs at hedge funds, they fail as consultants and some of them probably even fail in some random burn out job in corporate development after they finish failing as PE partners or SVPs in banking.

    None of this means HBS is a bad idea, but it certainly isn't the kind of thing Brady seems (seemed?) to think it is.

  • In reply to ....
    melvvvar's picture

    redninja:
    KingJayk:
    I have a lot of friends that went to ivy schools and kinds regret taking on the debt only to get a job they could've got at a nice public school...

    There's a difference between Harvard Undergrad and Harvard Business School, but either way this doesn't really add up.

    The best public schools in the nation are UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Virginia and University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. I went to one of the two in California for undergrad and go to HBS now where a lot of my peers went to ivy league undergrads, so I have a pretty good perspective.

    Let's take MBB as a proxy. Bain and BCG came to interview at my state school for internships - McKinsey didn't bother to show up. Bain hired 1 intern my junior year, McKinsey and BCG hired 0. Bain hired maybe 8 interns from Stanford for the SF office alone, and McKinsey and BCG both picked up several. The pool of students applying from Stanford was smaller than the pool applying from my state school. Technically, if I was the one student from my state school that got the Bain offer, I would have been just as well off as if I had gone to Stanford - but that doesn't mean the opportunities from both schools were the same.

    This is fairly true across the board. A student in the top 5% of Berkeley or Michigan might have the same opportunities as the average student at Harvard undergrad - but there are many firms that recruit only at HYPS. If you want to work in PE/HF coming out of undergrad, the doors are far more open at Harvard than at a state school.

    Now consider the b-school level. Remember, HBS only offers graduate degrees. MBB, BB Banks and top Tech firms were slobbering all over themselves trying to hire my peers. I would say that for every 10 students in my class that wanted an MBB job, roughly 5 got an offer for a summer internship. The only state school that really competes with HBS would be Haas (Berkeley), and that ratio at Haas is probably much less favorable. There are PE firms that recruit at HBS and Stanford that recruit literally nowhere else. Plus, the network that you get here is downright unmatched.

    There's also this to think about: http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2012/05/18/schools-...

    The kicker is that an MBA from Haas (Berkeley) or Anderson (UCLA) costs almost as much as an MBA from Harvard or Stanford. It's not like undergrad you can pay $50k and go to Harvard or pay $10k and go to UCLA. State b-schools and law schools are expensive - just as expensive as private b-schools and law schools.

    go bears

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    Brady4MVP's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    sayandarula:
    Aimez:

    There are better schools, but not everyone knows they are better.

    you believe there are better business schools than HBS? care to elaborate on which ones and how you are quantifying "better"? do you mean better "bang for your buck", opportunities available for graduates, or quality of education?

    i've always had the feeling that HBS was a tad overhyped, so i'm genuinely curious here.


    Booth is ranked higher in Businessweek and PPP-adjusted, their graduates make more.

    Again, with two of WSO's characters pertaining to a street on the East Coast, I am not going to be able to win a fight against the coastal bias here, but there are a number of schools out there that people turn down Harvard for- including UT Austin. The rate probably isn't more than 20-30% before you get to scholarships, but some folks prefer MIT over HBS, Stanford over HBS, ND over HBS, Chicago over HBS, Oxbridge over HBS, and Wharton over HBS. And more importantly, every good firm wants a wide diversity of thinking. They want folks from Chicago and Stanford as well as Harvard and probably Oxbridge to attack problems from different angles. All things being equal, it's better to be a solid candidate from Rice than to be that same level from Harvard- because you were trained to think differently and spot different problems at Rice.

    So I have never really been impressed by the view that HBS is the best choice for everyone. It is one of several good choices, and a good dozen or so MBA programs get kids who turned down Harvard- and made the decision *wisely*. Ross and UT Austin are two of those schools along with the rest of the M7 ex-Columbia.

    HBS accepts roughly 1,000 each year and enroll around 900, for a yield of 90%. This is the HIGHEST yield among any graduate or undergraduate program in the country, higher than harvard med, yale law, harvard undergrad, harvard law. Given that only 100 people turn it down (mostly for stanford) there are VERY few who are turning down HBS for schools like ut austin, duke, notre dame, oxbridge, and even booth/kellogg. A friend of mine was on student adcom at wharton, and he told me that in a given year, no more than a dozen in a class of 800 turned down HBS. And wharton is considered a top 3 mba program in the world.

    Fairly or unfairly, the HBS brand is coveted by employers. One can make a reasonable critique that HBS alumni don't do significantly better than alums from lower ranked b-schools. But given that the mba is primarily used to transition into something better and polish one's resume, such an argument is sort of moot.

  • In reply to Marked to Market
    Brady4MVP's picture

    Marked to Market:
    I love the IP vs. Brady debate.

    I also love the IP world view in which the rust belt states take over the world due to resource scarcity.

    As much as I love these things, I'm going to actually comment on the question about HBS and whether it's worth it. My totally anecdotal view, based on the people I know who have gone or are going to HBS, is that it is sometimes worth it. I realize this is a very, very bland statement, but I think it's the most honest answer to the question. Some people seem to do really well coming out of there, but I've met very few people who went in without a good background and came out with an offer people on this forum would brag about (partly because even if the place is a giant target, you do compete to some extent with your classmates for job offers).

    This doesn't even touch the mid to late career stuff. The other side of all the random people on here from weird backgrounds succeeding beyond anyone's expectations is that people, even the ones lucky enough to be on "The Path", will fail. They fail as PMs at hedge funds, they fail as consultants and some of them probably even fail in some random burn out job in corporate development after they finish failing as PE partners or SVPs in banking.

    None of this means HBS is a bad idea, but it certainly isn't the kind of thing Brady seems (seemed?) to think it is.

    You make great points, and I agree with them. Contrary to popular opinion on WSO, I never claimed that HBS is a golden ticket to lifelong success. Most HBS alums will be mediocre. Sure they will have good jobs and make comfortable six-figures, but they will not become superstars by any stretch of the imagination. That is however true for any school and not especially relevant to the question the OP posed.

  • In reply to Spalding Get Your Foot Off the Boat
    Brady4MVP's picture

    Spalding Get Your Foot Off the Boat:
    @ Brady - you're right, IP must be insane... the Mustang / Ferrari example alone fails basic arbitrage logic, anyways, regarding the interesting material above:

    In terms of your comments regarding MBA program placement for the M7 and next tier, I'm interested to know what your thoughts are in terms of how both groups place in finance roles. It appears that both the M7 and the next bunch (i would think: NYU, Ross, Darden, Fuqua, UCLA) place plenty of students in IB Associate roles, but that the M7 grabs the lions share of the quality buy side roles. Is this consistent with what you've seen and heard?

    I'm applying to schools this fall and am currently trying to think through whether it's worth my time to apply to some of these non M7's as safety options since I really don't want to delay my start beyond 2013 - would appreciate any thoughts on this

    The other schools do ok with banking, but even there, students have a tough time with the bulge bracket groups in NYC. When it comes to decent buyside jobs, anything outside of the M7 is a death knell. I was at a conference last year, and there were quite a few MBAs from stern, fuqua, haas, and they all lamented how they get virtually no buyside recruiting. They were all smart competent guys; I felt bad for them. It was one of those moments when I realized just how important MBA pedigree is.

    The schools you mentioned like ross and haas, for example, actually do quite well in areas like tech product management, consulting, etc. Finance, moreso than tech, marketing, manufacturing, is VERY pedigree driven.

  • FreezePops's picture

    Does anyone else find it bizarre that two people who have neither done MBAs, nor are likely to go in the near future spend this much time arguing about which ones are the best.

  • IvyLeagueVet's picture

    The rule for MBA remains, top 8-10 or skip it. Yes, you have some niche industries that recruit out of the norm, but it isnt the majority.

    MBA is the one degree about pedigree cuz you dont learn anything. Ask a HFer or PE guy and it always is about pedigree and a 2 year "break".

    Finance is temporarily contracting, wait for Dodd Frank to get repealed by the 1st Repub Prez. Hence, the different levels of implementation across IBs. Prop hasnt gone away, it just moved to other parts of the world or HFs. And HFs need markets and guess who will be collecting the commishs for those markets.

  • In reply to seedy underbelly
    Gate_Crasher's picture

    seedy underbelly:
    Gate_Crasher:
    Over-rated.

    Usually those who bash HBS are those who have no chance of ever getting in.

    Calling it over-rated is bashing Harvard ?

    I suggest you take a deep look inside of you and ask why do you feel the need to defend a venerable money gobbling institution online anonymously when no one really cares about your opinion especially Harvard.

    I was merely stating my opinion. And to label it bashing showcases how immature and insecure you are.

  • TheBigBambino's picture

    My two cents (and seeing as I haven't attended B-School yet it's not worth much more...

    I am only shooting for top 10. Having family members who taught at HBS and brothers who finished MBA's at top 10's recently none of us like HBS. The most valuable thing I see out of it is the brand recognition and to some extent the network. However, a couple PE MD's I know with HBS MBA's have said the network is so big it annoys them. HBS is doing such large class sizes they literally get 5-10 calls or e-mails a day from new guys asking for help.

    Personally I plan to apply to the following:
    Stanford
    U Chicago
    Duke
    INSEAD
    UPenn
    Harvard
    Oxford (not top 10 but particular to an industry i like)

    I've also heard the argument that Harvard to an extent has not adapted to the changing global context of business. For example my brother just did the cross-continetal MBA at Duke were he took classes in 8 different countries doing regional in and international case studies - to me this blows HBS out of the water.

    Regardless, HBS is and will always be great, I just can't say it's in my top 3 choices.

    "If you want to succeed in this life, you need to understand that duty comes before rights and that responsibility precedes opportunity."

  • In reply to wellfunded
    UFOinsider's picture

    wellfunded:
    saying you're a Harvard MBA grad is pretty much universally equated to "highest quality."

    This is the basic starting point of why I'm aiming for a better grad school than my state school alma mater. The really focused kids are just as smart, but the ivies don't have to constantly prove it, they are free to just do what they're there to do. Having options open up by virtue of the program instead of me pestering people would be a nice change: I'm simply tired of fighting for what others have handed to them. I've personally never been recruited for anything, and not having to hunt everything down would perhaps soften the hard edged mental approach I've taken up these last few years...I'm not exactly happy being on full 'on' mode all the time...it's exhausting.

    My original goal in coming to NYC was to open up more opportunities. Will I get into a top five? I don't know, but I'm reasonably certain I'll get into a better school than if I'd taken a job as an admin at a local employer these last few years. Will I go into IBD? I'm doubting that more and more, I'm not sure it's worth the payoff. But I can definitely say that I'll have more choices than if I hadn't finished college and worked so much these last few years.

    You tend to get what you pay for, and I'd definitely like the options such a school affords. Also realize the level of support and guidance in all of the little things is vastly superior: the secondary education of just being in that environment is a big plus. I'm not sure how I feel about racking up a huge debt, but I'd definitely avoid being penny wise and pound poor again. In the big picture, it's just money and I'll gladly spend it to improve my overall state of life.

    One thing I've noticed with talking to professionals in a variety of fields though, is that most people who don't go to the most elite schools do just fine. But they also tell me that pushing for the best possible opportunities while young makes a dramatic difference over long stretches of time. The entry point for the first couple of jobs takes far less work, thus freeing one up to really focus on what they WANT to do as opposed to only what is barely possible.

    In the big picture, everyone's got their reasons, but the school is impressive and deserves it's reputation

    Get busy living

  • In reply to Brady4MVP
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Brady4MVP:

    HBS accepts roughly 1,000 each year and enroll around 900, for a yield of 90%. This is the HIGHEST yield among any graduate or undergraduate program in the country, higher than harvard med, yale law, harvard undergrad, harvard law. Given that only 100 people turn it down (mostly for stanford) there are VERY few who are turning down HBS for schools like ut austin, duke, notre dame, oxbridge, and even booth/kellogg. A friend of mine was on student adcom at wharton, and he told me that in a given year, no more than a dozen in a class of 800 turned down HBS. And wharton is considered a top 3 mba program in the world.

    (Anecdotally, there are a number of programs out there- probably including CS theory at Stanford and many programs at Princeton that have higher yields.)

    Regardless, you can't get around the fact that 100 students turn down HBS every year, usually for other schools in the M7. These are bright kids known for making rational decisions, and they often have a very good reason for going elsewhere- sometimes paying full price to do so. HBS, or any other school for that matter, is neither necessary nor sufficient for being a generally successful person.

    Fairly or unfairly, the HBS brand is coveted by employers. One can make a reasonable critique that HBS alumni don't do significantly better than alums from lower ranked b-schools. But given that the mba is primarily used to transition into something better and polish one's resume, such an argument is sort of moot.

    Sure, but so is Chicago, so is Stanford, and if I do my tech startup, my most coveted graduates will probably be from Berkeley and Georgia Tech, not Harvard. You get a nice mix of good cultural fit, low entitlement mentality, and brilliance (if obnoxious stubbornness) from state school engineers.
  • In reply to IvyLeagueVet
    happypantsmcgee's picture

    IvyLeagueVet:
    The rule for MBA remains, top 8-10 or skip it. .

    Disagree as any rational person would go to Darden, Ross, etc.

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    melvvvar's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    Brady4MVP:

    HBS accepts roughly 1,000 each year and enroll around 900, for a yield of 90%. This is the HIGHEST yield among any graduate or undergraduate program in the country, higher than harvard med, yale law, harvard undergrad, harvard law. Given that only 100 people turn it down (mostly for stanford) there are VERY few who are turning down HBS for schools like ut austin, duke, notre dame, oxbridge, and even booth/kellogg. A friend of mine was on student adcom at wharton, and he told me that in a given year, no more than a dozen in a class of 800 turned down HBS. And wharton is considered a top 3 mba program in the world.

    (Anecdotally, there are a number of programs out there- probably including CS theory at Stanford and many programs at Princeton that have higher yields.)

    Regardless, you can't get around the fact that 100 students turn down HBS every year, usually for other schools in the M7. These are bright kids known for making rational decisions, and they often have a very good reason for going elsewhere- sometimes paying full price to do so. HBS, or any other school for that matter, is neither necessary nor sufficient for being a generally successful person.

    Fairly or unfairly, the HBS brand is coveted by employers. One can make a reasonable critique that HBS alumni don't do significantly better than alums from lower ranked b-schools. But given that the mba is primarily used to transition into something better and polish one's resume, such an argument is sort of moot.

    Sure, but so is Chicago, so is Stanford, and if I do my tech startup, my most coveted graduates will probably be from Berkeley and Georgia Tech, not Harvard. You get a nice mix of good cultural fit, low entitlement mentality, and brilliance (if obnoxious stubbornness) from state school engineers.

    when you are talking about cal and gtech, you are correct, because you are talking about value creation.

    most of finance is value transferrence, in which pedigree and crap like that count. the more vacuous the field, the more important the pedigree. look at law, finance (non-quant/non-trading, that is) and economics. they get the biggest hardons for the H-bomb because they know that it's all politics and bullshit.

    if i was going to angle for a value transferrence job, hells fucking yeah i'd double down and take on debt to get my HBS degree.

    i know 5+ HBS grads well, and not one of them impresses me in the least, intellectually. but they are all earners, don't kid yourself.

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