What does HBS/GSB have that Wharton doesn't?

I've been soul searching before applying to business school this year, and I'm really trying to get to the bottom of what HBS and GSB offer that Wharton doesn't. From what I've read, everywhere basically says "Prestige" but when I press into the details/go deeper, the answers are that everything seems very similar-- for example, the network is the same (or better) depending on your industry, the career outcomes/opportunities are the same outside of a select few opportunities at HBS/GSB (that frankly, I wouldn't qualify for anyways from my LMM PE fund), the international exposure is the same, etc. etc.--all I hear is "H/S is better but on a detail level, Wharton is the same."

What gives? What am I missing here? Is it really just prestige? 

 

Lived there for years, career wise - yeah quite a limiting place. But it's a fun city (food scene is great, nightlife is okay / not the greatest) and very affordable vs. bigger cities (high end neighborhoods in Philly are also still substantially cheaper than similar places in Boston / DC).

 

The ability to say you went to a small school just outside of Boston 

 
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The answer is different for different types of people. In the IB + PE crowd, HBS/GBS are viewed as having more prestige. In terms of actual outcomes, the top 2 + 2 candidates at those schools have access to a handful or two of firms who don’t go anywhere else. Lone Pine or Baupost might reach out to you for an interview. That won’t happen at Wharton. But outside of the couple handfuls of firms, you have access to all the other elite options from W. With your background it functionally won’t matter - but we work in a space where people are innately highly competitive and so if everyone else (including the 2+2 MF PE top ranked person who wants a shot at Lone Pine) is prioritizing HBS/GBS, then others do the same.

 

I have a buddy at W that interviewed at Lone Pine and Baupost. Said they pulled his name out of the resume book but don't post to their OCR. Seems like the only firm that IM folks at W don't get calls from is Soros. I still agree that there may be some opportunities that H/S gets that W doesn't, but like the poster, I'm also trying to suss out what they are and if people with the "right profile" are better off just going direct.

 

It may not be so much something that H/S have, but that W lacks; I think a good deal of it comes down to what's happened in the recent era (i.e. the past 10 years), as prior to that, it seemed W was percieved much closer to H/S than it is now. 

We've seen tech getting bigger and taking over as a large employer of intellectual talent. There've been numerous postings/discussions on WSO comparing tech vs finance to the point where we can pretty well assume there is a talent war between Wall Street and Silicon Valley. This in and of itself has likely hit W harder than H or S, as H/S seem like better geared for tech.

Also, keep in mind the toll the financial crisis took on Wall Street. Everything from massive layoffs to defunct financial institutions certainly painted the financial industry in a different light to many. Given W's focus on finance, it's natural to assume the school would take a hit.

Lastly, location is affecting things too. Obviously S is in Silicon Valley which is certainly very beneficial given the proliferation of tech mentioned earlier. H being in Boston also gets a fair amount of tech exposure, at least a lot more than W does in Philadelphia.

 

Agreed with this take. It's very similar to how HLS has fallen to #3 in the law school crowd, and some people will only refer to YLS/SLS as one tier these days. But then again, this just shows rankings are not cemented in stone, and it ebbs and flows over decades (who thought Stanford would be the most coveted B school in the 80s?). Wharton was probably preferred to GSB in the height of the banking hype. So who knows what will happen in the next 10-20 years.

All that being said, realistically 99% of opps available at H/S are open to W, including the top buyside opps. Harvard Law is still Harvard Law, Wharton is still Wharton.

 

Nothing substantial. Wharton in many cases is on par with HBS / GSB, just with more finance bros. GSB is probably the best school for tech / aspiring entrepreneurs. HBS is probably the best in the world if your goal is to get a corporate leadership post MBA (have a professor at my school who was from HBS and it's by far the best class I've taken in my life: my career goals changed quite a bit with my conversations with him and his in-class exercises that focused on EQ).

I don't attend any of these schools but if I somehow had an acceptance at all 3 but go to a school in the T15-T25 range, it would be a very close call between GSB and HBS due to long term career goals.

 

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