Long story semi-short:

Attended a semi-target for undergrad during the late 90's internet boom. Got hooked on tech early after a sophmore year internship. Started my own successful internet business while a junior (raised high six figures in angel funding). Nearly failed out of school senior year because I was never there. I was too busy running the business. Dot-com bubble burst. Successful company went bust. Graduated a year late with crappy grades.

Fast foward six years and I applied to business school with a high GMAT/low GPA combo (including a couple F's) and scattered job experience at a bunch of no-name start-ups. Struck out with most b-school apps, but snuck into a school at the bottom of the top-20. Worked my @ss of in b-school, interned at one of M/B/B. Graduating in May and headed back to one of M/B/B in the fall.

During my internship, I was very conscious of the fact that I was pretty much the only person in my "class" without an undergrad degree and/or MBA from one of H/Y/P/Dart/Stanford/MIT/Amherst/William/Swat. Is there anyone here who has worked at a prestigious consulting firm who can tell me if I will be treated differently or viewed as an outsider because of my less prestigious background? How do you feel about people with backgrounds such as mine? Do you respect someone who clawed there way in from the outside or do you suspect that they are just not as capable as you and your more pedigreed peers?


Comments (3)


If you perform well, nobody will care. If you're at the bottom of your class, some might be tempted to say 'look at this kid's background, this isn't surprising.' What you do at work will always trump what you did at school.

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Not sure who you think frequents these forums, but there are just as many "non-target" v. whatever. Look, most people searching for these jobs at the MBA or undergrad level are very ambitious and bright: true, a degree from a "top" institution makes you much more mobile (bigger alumni base, traditions, reputation, brand, etc.), but trust me, once you get into it, it is what you do that people will be reminded of.

I've only been working a couple months now, and already I've seen a kid from Yale get canned just as fast as a kid from Lehigh U. Maybe you won't know the same people, etc. but you can fix the background things by being personable, having a good sense of humor, etc. The prestige falls away fast if you can't show you can do the work.


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