2nd Thoughts About HBS

I was fortunate to be accepted into HBS round 1, and am now weighing my options. I was also accepted to Booth(w/ 70K), Kellogg(w/ 90K), Tuck (full tuition), Yale SOM (full tuition), and McCombs (full tuition). Although HBS was my top choice, I am having a tough time coming to grips with the debt load that I would likely have to take to attend the school (won't know what scholarship award is from HBS until next month).

I currently work for a major oil company and my immediate post-MBA goal is to transition to energy banking in Houston, and maybe PE following that if possible. Energy banking is attainable from every school I was accepted to, which is partly the reason I am having difficulty with this decision. However, I feel in my gut that I will most likely regret not attending HBS if I turn down the offer. If you were in my shoes, how would you approach this decision? I greatly appreciate any guidance/info from the community.

Comments (108)

Dec 24, 2014 - 4:55pm

Huge congrats on your first-world problems! The money is of course tempting no doubt, but the MBA is a LONG-TERM investment. Simply looking at immediate cost-benefit analysis is not going to suffice here. Go to HBS and don't look back. Only 10% of admits actually turn down HBS, and the vast majority of them are opting for Stanford. If you don't go, you will regret it, wondering what HBS would have been like. The prestige, network, and the experience that HBS offers is unparalleled.

Dec 24, 2014 - 6:22pm

Tough one. I'd probably choose HBS too. But you're right -- getting energy banking in Houston is easy! I know for internships last year Booth had more firms recruiting than students looking for Houston banking jobs. One good friend got five offers and I know the others were all successful (probably similar outcomes).

CompBanker

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Dec 24, 2014 - 6:54pm

Wow - what did you do to get into all those top schools?

Maybe you should write a blog post to help prospective monkeys. (Ignore this if you are a URM)

And those scholarships!

Dec 25, 2014 - 12:36am

Yeah man; this one is easy - Harvard.

"Go for a business that any idiot can run – because sooner or later, any idiot is probably going to run it." - Peter Lynch
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Dec 25, 2014 - 8:01pm

I just got into HBS and one of the Chicago schools you mention. My thought was the F500 jobs that I want are attainable from everywhere, and if I could get a scholarship from somewhere, that would make the pay cut I'd be taking more palatable.

However, after seeing the backgrounds of the other admits, spending time on campus, and doing more research, I have a really hard time seeing the answer being anywhere but HBS. The fact of the matter is that I might think really differently about what I want to do long-term after thinking about it for a couple years / meeting new people and learning new things in school. Without 100% certainty of my path, I want the HBS brand and network to fall back on, if necessary. That's worth more to me than $90k.

The only other reason I'd take somewhere else besides HBS is that I'm really adamant about trying something besides finance and consulting, and I think that might be harder to maintain that view somewhere like HBS where over half the class heads in that direction.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points
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Dec 26, 2014 - 9:23am

If you'll be living in Houston post MBA saving up to pay For those loans will be much easier than if u lived in NYC/Cali/ even Chicago. I'd take Harvard but would also consider Dartmouth, full tuition is nothing to sneeze at.

Array

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Dec 26, 2014 - 1:30pm

Harvard, don't worry about the debt load etc. I don't think it'll be as meaningful in the near term future as you thnk it currently is

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

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Dec 26, 2014 - 3:22pm

Contrary to what Illini says, debt load for an MBA should be a very minor factor when deciding which school to attend. Don't worry about the debt; you will pay it off eventually. Think LONG-TERM rather than in the myopic way that Illini thinks about it.

Dec 30, 2014 - 10:27pm

mbavsmfin:

Contrary to what Illini says, debt load for an MBA should be a very minor factor when deciding which school to attend. Don't worry about the debt; you will pay it off eventually. Think LONG-TERM rather than in the myopic way that Illini thinks about it.


When you're working an 80 hour week and still running behind, it's a good feeling to know you're debt free. It's an even better feeling to know you own your home outright. Both of these milestones will be reached two or three years faster if you get a full ride.

$200K is nothing to sneeze at. Especially if you prefer to control the speed the treadmill is running at.

You could go either way on this. I can definitely understand the desire for the options HBS gives you. For me it would be a tough call between Booth, Kellogg, and maybe Tuck, but I'm apparently the nutjob who wants to retain the option to work 50 hours/week.

Dec 26, 2014 - 3:58pm

If you want to go into energy banking then PE the debt load should not be huge consideration. You will get the big (>$50K) signing bonus after you get FT banking offer which you can immediately use to pay down debt. You will be making $200K+ and living in Texas so I would imagine you could pay back $200K in loans in 3-4 years. I think strength of brand is actually extra-important in energy banking relative to other industry groups as energy recruiting process is non-standard (at least at HBS). My friend is doing it and has had to reach out to bankers independently via alumni database. The HBS network is very strong and people have been responding to him. I suspect it would have been marginally harder to get traction at other schools. Another important consideration is that very few people at HBS want to do banking. You are competing against fewer people. There are literally 5-6 people in the entire HBS class ~1000 that are going for energy banking.

Don't expect a ton of financial aid. I didn't get any. If you make more than $125K for 2 years you are automatically disqualified from getting any aid at least in year 1.

Dec 26, 2014 - 5:06pm

No but the financial aid office will be able to provide that information if you call them. If you are below the $125K my guess is that you will get something but don't expect it to be very large. If I remember right ~75% of students get aid but I'm not sure about the magnitude of that aid. Worth also pointing out that it is easier to get aid as an EC (2nd year) because you were unemployed in prior year. I will probably get aid next year.

Dec 27, 2014 - 8:22am

That's immensely helpful info actually, thanks

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

Dec 27, 2014 - 7:46pm

Honestly, if your getting FULL tution coverage for Tuck at Dartmouth why wudnt you go there? I agree Harvard is better then Tuck but you cant really go wrong with either one, Dartmouth is also an ivy league school and one of the best business schools in the world. U will get into whereever you wanna go easily with Tuck as well.. The only difference is there is NO INVESTMENT needed for it, You get a return without investing.. The obvious choice would be Dartmouth

Dec 30, 2014 - 11:03pm

Going to side with Illini on this.

Prestige is a trap for people who have never made a revenue generating role. Fuck prestige. Get money.

If you are good enough to make it up the ladder, the difference between $200K debt and going to harvard versus a school like Kellogg (practically free after your IBD internship) or mc combs literally free, is a no brainer.

This is a *long-term* comment. Your degree at Harvard versus your degree from Kellogg/Booth won't make the difference in your net worth. Your actual ability to close deals/sell (IBD) or source money andcreate great transactions (PE) will.

When you walk into your O&G interviews and explain you chose a full ride at xxx school over $200K in debt at Harvard no one is going to bat an eye. They will likely respect the decision.
---

Note unles you are locked in on PE there is very minimal difference to going to harvard. To be blunt it sounds like you will have a tough time getting a solid PE job with zero actual transaction experience.

Better move:

1) go to one of the scholarship schools
2) go to O&G (best BB firm you can get) and get 1.5 years of experience the stub and the $250-290K year one pay
3) go to the buyside
4) thank god you didn't waste $350K in pretax dollars on a piece of paper
5) most importantly. What if you hate banking and finance? You gonna make $200K elsewhere out the gate? What about a recession? Still okay with $200K in debt? If you have the money however, yes the hbs degree will help to get into PE (straight) but be sure to ask the hard ?s.

PS: many people jump to the buyside after the 1.5 year to 2.5 year time period (associate) so it is certainly viable. In addition, go look up the MBAs of the people in Texas... You'll get the point.

PSS: we have an O&G overview going up on New Years. Lucky you! Ha.

PSS: @dickfuld HTown is slang for houston. He is saying that city because that is where the money is for oil and Gas banking (generally). Being dickfuld you should know this, not bleeding green today it seems... (Joke)

Dec 31, 2014 - 9:57am

WallStreetPlayboys:

Going to side with Illini on this.

Fuck prestige. Get money.

+1

Progress is impossible without change...
Dec 31, 2014 - 3:32pm

@WallStreetPlayboys ,

Your candor has been much appreciated. You mention trying to get into the best BB firm that I can get into. Everything that I have heard thus far regarding banking in Houston has led me to believe that boutiques are the way to go. What are your thoughts on this?

Best Response
Dec 30, 2014 - 11:10pm

I'd take everything with a grain of salt on the board - it is filled with people such as mbavsmfin that are so ridiculously caught up in prestige its quite saddening.

First off the whole dismissal of the 120k debt load is just silly. Current rates are ~7%, which is by no means low in my opinion. So you're racking up massive interest, ~20k just by the time you graduate, not to mention thereafter.

Furthermore a full tuition scholarship from Tuck isn't taxed, so that 120k is really like 200k in salary/earnings. Then there is the fallacy of the signing bonus - yes 50k is nice but you'll really only take home around 25k when uncle sam is through with you. Still nice but not moving the needle.

You will meet just as accomplished people at any of the programs you outlined and your career won't be any different - especially for what you are targeting. Its immature to think otherwise. One argument I can see made is since the class size is much bigger you will have more people...but bigger is probably less tight knit anyway.

Bottom line is that contrary to many of the glib comments the decision is not a no brainer. I'd talk to real friends, alumni, people in the industry, tour the schools etc. before making a final decision. Can you try to leverage the money to get money from HBS? If it was me I'd probably take the money - being debt free is such a massive weight removed and you can really make decision based on what you want not what you need. Good luck.

Dec 30, 2014 - 11:19pm

ke18sb:

I'd take everything with a grain of salt on the board - it is filled with people such as mbavsmfin that are so ridiculously caught up in prestige its quite saddening.

First off the whole dismissal of the 120k debt load is just silly. Current rates are ~7%, which is by no means low in my opinion. So you're racking up massive interest, ~20k just by the time you graduate, not to mention thereafter.

Furthermore a full tuition scholarship from Tuck isn't taxed, so that 120k is really like 200k in salary/earnings. Then there is the fallacy of the signing bonus - yes 50k is nice but you'll really only take home around 25k when uncle sam is through with you. Still nice but not moving the needle.

You will meet just as accomplished people at any of the programs you outlined and your career won't be any different - especially for what you are targeting. Its immature to think otherwise. One argument I can see made is since the class size is much bigger you will have more people...but bigger is probably less tight knit anyway.

Bottom line is that contrary to many of the glib comments the decision is not a no brainer. I'd talk to real friends, alumni, people in the industry, tour the schools etc. before making a final decision. Can you try to leverage the money to get money from HBS? If it was me I'd probably take the money - being debt free is such a massive weight removed and you can really make decision based on what you want not what you need. Good luck.

This. Word for word this.
Dec 31, 2014 - 10:14am

I mostly agree with the above, but I actually noticed a pretty big delta in caliber of backgrounds when visiting schools.

You're not going to find virtually anyone from MBB at Tuck, and I only met a couple people with PE experience (from Audax, who started as analysts) when I visited. Compare that to HBS, where those backgrounds are dime a dozen, or Kellogg/Booth, where it's still pretty common. I know that Kellogg is the most popular US school outside H/S/W for at least one of MBB, and people from more than just the Midwest go there.

I'm not a prestige chaser by any means, and if I were in OP's shoes, I would probably think about it differently than I do personally (both because I have the benefit of savings from pre-MBA PE, and different work experience). But with MBB and PE experience, I'd be pretty out of place at Tuck, let alone Yale or McCombs.

So OP, my advice above was a little suboptimal in that I said what I would do in my shoes, but it's your shoes that count here. I'd skip McCombs because I think it pigeonholes you and I think everyone should try living somewhere a little different (I assume you're in TX now), and Yale because I don't think it gets you much that Tuck doesn't, and New Haven is a shithole. But research the other four, they're all great schools.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points
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Dec 31, 2014 - 11:38am

I was just using Tuck as an example not as a focal point - my opinion does not change for Booth at 70k or Kellogg at 90k. Again you are talking 115-150k in pretax salary dollars, 7-10k in accumulated interest before you even graduate, not to mention lower cost of living than Boston which is probably another 20-30k (33-50k pretax) over 2 years. I don't have the data in front of me but I'd be surprised is Tuck really had such a drop off in its class. Nevertheless, Booth or Kellogg shouldn't. I agree on Yale and UT but still wouldn't second guess someone that took a full ride there over HBS - debt free is the place to be. I'm not saying don't go to HBS rather it is not and should not a decision taken lightly.

If you have the background to get into HBS you pre-mba network is probably pretty legit to begin with and I'm sure those relationships are and will be deeper than the more superficial ones formed in bschool. I have friends that have gone to all the top schools, HBS included. In my experience, HBS kids by and large are just normal people that likely just got a little lucky out of the gate and got a more prestigious group out of undergrad which led to a better pre-mba buyside placement. The are still great kids and I don't mean to take anything away from them but I wouldn't put them on a pedestal either, especially relative to other M7ers.

Also, while HBS undoubtedly has the best finance opportunities out there, it isn't HBS that is getting people the jobs rather their backgrounds at blue chip BBs -> mega funds/HFs. Without that you aren't really able to take advantage of those job opportunities anyway. Conversely, with that background you will be fine no matter where you end up.

I do think that if you were buyside premba and want buyside postmba than the peer group matters but not for the reasons that most people probably would assume - ie placement. Rather, I think the real benefit is being in a day-to-day culture with people constantly talking about / producing investment ideas and pitches - in my experience I think Columbia is the best this regard. I didn't have this and I felt like I would have enjoyed being in that kind of environment more. I'm not sure I buy the whole, I did MBB and my peers didn't so I can't relate to them as much. In my experience talking about premba jobs doesn't really come up all that much and the kids that did work at such places were indistinguishable from everyone else.

Dec 31, 2014 - 2:57am

Forgive my ignorance, doesn't Dartmouth have the most responsive and useful alumni network out of all the top business schools? I thought that was the whole point, network, brand and recruiting. They've got the network, an Ivy league brand and according to other posters recruiting for Houston is relatively easy. All of this brought to you for free.

What am I missing?

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Dec 31, 2014 - 12:02pm

In my mind, over the 10yr life of that 200k debt load, it will equate to a nice house in Provence or Tuscany. @"mbavsmfin" can have his swagger, I'll take tartare avec frites and a pichet vin rose every day.

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Dec 31, 2014 - 11:14am

ArcherVice:

Forgive my ignorance, doesn't Dartmouth have the most responsive and useful alumni network out of all the top business schools? I thought that was the whole point, network, brand and recruiting. They've got the network, an Ivy league brand and according to other posters recruiting for Houston is relatively easy. All of this brought to you for free.

What am I missing?


They sure do have a network of... advocates. I think it is the east coast b-school equivalent of Notre Dame in Chicago. :)

It is a great school and a full ride there would be very very tempting. I still think Booth is worth a premium. I can't speak to Houston but Booth carries a lot of respect in the Midwest and most parts of the area between Rockies and Appalachians that I am aware of. I think Harvard is worth a premium over Booth as well.

I don't think it's worth the cost of a house, though. I'd look long and hard at Tuck and Booth. And then I would twist HBS's arm on financial aid.

Dec 31, 2014 - 12:05pm

It should be worth some leverage at HBS. Either way dropping 130-250k on the other choices boggles my mind.

Dec 31, 2014 - 9:35am

Something worth noting - if you are ABSOLUTELY sure you want to be in o&g (long-term), McCombs probably gives you the largest o&g network. Clearly, it's not HBS...but if the game plan is IB/PE in Houston, it puts you in the same conversation.

Dec 31, 2014 - 11:15am

I only know a single Tuck graduate. Actually, I knew him before he went to Tuck. When he was admitted to Tuck I lost all respect for the program. The guy was a glorified administrative assistant at my office. He was something like 28-years-old at the time and he was doing an entry-level job at my firm, and not a prestigious one (basically, ops). About 18 months after I left the firm I saw on Linkedin that he was enrolled at Tuck (and he has since graduated).

That's only a single data point out of thousands, but IF--and I stress IF--that data point is representative of the calibre of Tuck students then I'd think long and hard before going there.

On the other hand, if it were me I'd go Tuck full ride.

Dec 31, 2014 - 11:18am

DCDepository:

I only know a single Tuck graduate. Actually, I knew him before he went to Tuck. When he was admitted to Tuck I lost all respect for the program. The guy was a glorified administrative assistant at my office. He was something like 28-years-old at the time and he was doing an entry-level job at my firm, and not a prestigious one (basically, ops). About 18 months after I left the firm I saw on Linkedin that he was enrolled at Tuck (and he has since graduated).

That's only a single data point out of thousands, but IF--and I stress IF--that data point is representative of the calibre of Tuck students then I'd think long and hard before going there.

On the other hand, if it were me I'd go Tuck full ride.


When you say administrative assistant, like an analyst role w/ limited capacity? I've heard nothing but good things about exits / experiences at Tuck so your anecdote is interesting.
Dec 31, 2014 - 11:30am

CorpFinanceGuy:

DCDepository:

I only know a single Tuck graduate. Actually, I knew him before he went to Tuck. When he was admitted to Tuck I lost all respect for the program. The guy was a glorified administrative assistant at my office. He was something like 28-years-old at the time and he was doing an entry-level job at my firm, and not a prestigious one (basically, ops). About 18 months after I left the firm I saw on Linkedin that he was enrolled at Tuck (and he has since graduated).

That's only a single data point out of thousands, but IF--and I stress IF--that data point is representative of the calibre of Tuck students then I'd think long and hard before going there.

On the other hand, if it were me I'd go Tuck full ride.

When you say administrative assistant, like an analyst role w/ limited capacity? I've heard nothing but good things about exits / experiences at Tuck so your anecdote is interesting.

Like, data entry...

He basically inputted loan data into the computer in our loan servicing department.

Don't get me wrong--a nice guy. I've got NOTHING against him at all, but he was an average employee in a (probably) below average job for his age.

Dec 31, 2014 - 11:30am

Was he white/asian or URM? In either case, every b-school will have people whose admission will seem "questionable." I have said this before, and I will say it again: MBA admissions is much more driven by politics than by merit.

Dec 31, 2014 - 11:36am

mbavsmfin:

Was he white/asian or URM? In either case, every b-school will have people whose admission will seem "questionable." I have said this before, and I will say it again: MBA admissions is much more driven by politics than by merit.

Yeah, he was a URM. And that immediately struck me when I saw his enrollment, but COME ON! There have to be literally thousands of URMs who are truly qualified. Could Tuck seriously not find any other URMs who were genuinely qualified?

I would actually say that his admission into an MBA business schools<br /> ">M7 program is insulting to the intelligence.

Dec 31, 2014 - 1:46pm

Funny.

The guys with actual experience all saying don't go to hbs.

Guy with no experience no knowledge of how the Street works saying to "jump into the deep end".

"Well done is better than well said" - Benjamin Franklin

Listen to the people with actual experience OP.

As @ArcherVice said, as soon as you are about 3 years in your career it is about experience not prestige. If you have two associates at Morgan Stanley. They are going to promote the one who is the best performer... They do not give two shits if you went to Harvard versus Chicago.

They care about getting money. Not a piece of paper.

Dec 31, 2014 - 2:04pm

WallStreetPlayboys:

Funny.

The guys with actual experience all saying don't go to hbs.

Guy with no experience no knowledge of how the Street works saying to "jump into the deep end".

"Well done is better than well said" - Benjamin Franklin

Listen to the people with actual experience OP.

As @ArcherVice said, as soon as you are about 3 years in your career it is about experience not prestige. If you have two associates at Morgan Stanley. They are going to promote the one who is the best performer... They do not give two shits if you went to Harvard versus Chicago.

They care about getting money. Not a piece of paper.


Yep. This site can really fuck up your perspective with all of the bias towards prestige. The dude who started Shake Shack is worth a couple hundred million now because he opened a fucking burger joint. No prestige but the dude's got cash. My buddy's dad started a waste management company a couple of decades ago. Not sexy, not prestigious, but probably worth 100+. So many great, easier non-sexy ways to make $$ and the constant seeking of prestige will only blind you from them.

My CEO left GE for our company back in like 1985 to grind through the general management all the way to COO then CEO. Total non sexy company and industry. It was a grind. But its grown a shit load to bottom half of F500 and now he flies around in his G650 every single day. It wasn't the "prestigious" move or the sexiest company to transfer to, but he took a great opportunity and delivered results. No one gave a fuck about his non-target MBA.

Dec 31, 2014 - 3:05pm

You have to keep in mind, most of the less than realistic views on this site are coming from people who view making $500k/yr as a foregone conclusion. Why would 200k in debt matter if you were going to make millions shortly after? Why would working +80-100hr weeks and paying insane rent matter if you were able to retire at 45-50 at the latest? Those are easy trades to make with that mentality.

Not to mention threads where the OP comes in, "I just graduated and things aren't matching my expectations, what are my chances on an MFin which will get things back on track??" Somehow more schools always = better options and will always solve their problems. In short, life isn't a spread sheet and the old adage "no battle plan survives the first shot" is often truer than we'd like to believe. It's all fucking relative :-)

@"HTownOrBust" Good luck man, I don't mean to discourage you from the other great schools. Just make sure you've weighed all the factors in your decision. Harvard may be the best choice you'll ever make and you may even change your mind on Houston while attending b-school and being presented with all of the options you are facing. I think it's awesome you've gotten all of those opportunities.

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Dec 31, 2014 - 2:39pm

WallStreetPlayboys:

MD: "Your work has errors in it. The CM is done poorly. You're damaging my relationships with potential clients."

Associate: "But, But, But I went t HHAaaRRVvvaarrdd! : ( "

MD: "Get out."

Lol." it's the analysts fault, he didn't go to Harvard"

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Dec 31, 2014 - 3:28pm

Wow, thanks to everyone who has contributed to the thread thus far. This will be a tough decision, and I will carefully weigh both the short and long term implications. Ever since I began this process, HBS was the school I aimed for. I went to a non-target undergrad, so being able to add some "prestige" to my resume is important to me(even though I recognize that this matters less the further removed you are from b school). I also enjoyed my visit to HBS a bit more than the other schools, which leads me to believe that I would like the social aspect more at Harvard. Additionally I believe that HBS will provide me with a broader set of career options if I decide to change my path while in school.

Next week I will be speaking HBS' financial aid office to get an idea of what to expect in terms of scholarships. Once I have a better feel of that figure, I will be able to make a much more educated decision.

Dec 31, 2014 - 3:59pm

You are truly in an enviable spot, and I'm sure you will do fine regardless of where you go to school.

Without beating up a dead horse, I would like to add a few more points in favor of HBS. Given that you went to a non-target, HBS will go a long way in adding credibility to your resume, thus allowing you to get access to opportunities in both the short and the long-term. Everyone here agrees that you can get energy banking coming out of any those schools, but we don't know what will happen long-term. Maybe you will want to transition eventually to energy focused PE or VC. Or perhaps something totally different that you had not considered before. Or you need to leave Texas for various personal reasons. Who knows. The point is that life is utterly unpredictable, and HBS, more than any other b-school in the world, will maximize your ability to make those changes.

In terms of the social scene. Kellogg and Tuck were very similar culturally when I visited except that Kellogg is larger. Both schools are fratty, in small towns (albeit Evanston is very close to Chicago so not a totally fair comparison), very tight-knit student bodies, etc. HBS is more diverse, and the social scene is a bit more "upscale". For someone who has not had exposure to that world, HBS will both entice and enthrall you.

Dec 31, 2014 - 4:02pm

Covered numerous times on blog and here.

E-boutique > BB > MM > no name boutique

That said remember that deal experience is everything. We can ask around and try to find the best bank for energy specifically but we suggest you do this research yourself.

As an example, if you want to go to private equity later...

What is better?
Citigroup - you leave with 4 closed $1B+ transactions where you had a high level of responsibility
Goldman - you leave wih zero deals closed and one pending $100m transaction.

Point blank. No one will be interested in you if you're the Goldman person relative to the Citigroup person. The Citigroup guy would kill you every day for first round interviews.

So.

Go through the league tables. Not the bullshit league tables where it says "we excluded xxx to xx transactions" in some size 2 font style disclaimer.

Find the *best bankers* for your sector. Be SPECIFIC. Do you want to work on E&P deals? refineries? MLPs?

Find the best Bank/Shop for that sector.

There was another post on WSO by a MD where he says "you are your deal experience" go read it. It was #2 post of the year by SBs (we were #1 brushes shoulders off - joke).

---

So there you have it.
1) what space do you want to work in
2) which bank do you want to work for will be tied 100% to transactions/relationships. We said BB because that is likely the answer in your case *hint hint* 3) go make sure the MBA you get can get you into that interview room (practically all the ones you mentioned will).

To beat a dead horse. People on here prestige whoring are all idiots. Every single one. They don't work on Wall Street and are more likely than not 21 year old kids.

There is some clout of course, ie: do not be dumb and go to a non-target to save $25K. But again, once you are on the job... Performance > piece of paper with scribbles.

Jan 1, 2015 - 4:04am

True story -

Analyst to New Associate from HBS on a deal team: I'm totally jammed finishing up the model. Can you get the presentation printed and copied for the internal meeting.

New Associate from HBS: I didn't go to f*cking Harvard Business School to make f*cking photocopies

Global head of investment banking (a banker who is a legend on these forums) walks by and overhears the conversation. Picks up the photocopies, walks to the copier, makes them and drops them on the desk of the analyst who is finishing the model.

New Associate from HBS gets fired.

Nothing against HBS. I think its fabulous school, but once you're in the industry, an HBS diploma and a quarter will get you the NY Post. As @wallstreetplayboys says above, the only thing that matters is your performance. The networking is highly overrated as well. Once you are in the business, your professional network is determined by your capability and relationships in your field, not where you went to school, which has no real value.

For the OP, you probably know this working for an oil firm, but the Houston banking world is very cliquey and insular. Coming from a fancy east school may not hurt you, but it won't help you, and until you prove your energy bonafides, you will be viewed a bit suspiciously (less so in your case since you worked in the industry). There is a very tight UT and UChicago mafia in Houston.

Jan 2, 2015 - 10:12pm

My boss told me the other day that one of the top 2 or 3 reasons I was hired over another guy who was, frankly, probably a little smarter and a little more qualified was because the other guy sounded entitled and I sounded humble. During the interview when my boss was explaining the job he said that it included anything and everything from acquisitions to photocopies since the corporate office was very flat. And I basically said, "Hey, no problem. That's the real world."

I take the 2 or 3 minutes a day at the copy machine as a nice time to rest my eyes from the screen.

Jan 2, 2015 - 10:53pm

OP,

It sounds like you got the Consortium grants at Yale, Tuck, and UT Austin. Congratulations. Regarding where to go to school, I'd sit down and sort out what you want to get out of your business school experience.

If you are 100% sure that you want to do banking in Houston and that is your only motivation for going to school, then I'd go to either Booth or UT Austin. Booth has the best finance program, which ensures that you'll perform well during your banking internship and associate position after graduation. (As mergersandacquisitions78 states, HBS has a disappointing reputation on the Street due to ego issues and the relative lack of finance program rigor.) UT Austin will give you a lot of solid networking opportunities to help you land the offer you want.

However, if there are other things that matter to you - travel, meeting a SO, interacting with classmates of a certain background, you want to kick the tires on a bunch of different careers, etc. - then you should pick the place you're most comfortable at, regardless of cost. For example, if you met your future wife at HBS (easier to do since HBS has the most students), I guarantee you that you'd say that going $200K into debt was worth it. If you find yourself hating New England winters and your Tuck classmates, then you'll regret going there despite the full ride.

At this stage in the game, money should be used as a tool to help you get what you want. There's a lot of life left. You're young enough to recover financially from this decision.

Jan 2, 2015 - 11:04pm

computerblue:

OP,

It sounds like you got the Consortium grants at Yale, Tuck, and UT Austin. Congratulations. Regarding where to go to school, I'd sit down and sort out what you want to get out of your business school experience.

If you are 100% sure that you want to do banking in Houston and that is your only motivation for going to school, then I'd go to either Booth or UT Austin. Booth has the best finance program, which ensures that you'll perform well during your banking internship and associate position after graduation. (As mergersandacquisitions78 states, HBS has a disappointing reputation on the Street due to ego issues and the relative lack of finance program rigor.) UT Austin will give you a lot of solid networking opportunities to help you land the offer you want.

However, if there are other things that matter to you - travel, meeting a SO, interacting with classmates of a certain background, you want to kick the tires on a bunch of different careers, etc. - then you should pick the place you're most comfortable at, regardless of cost. For example, if you met your future wife at HBS (easier to do since HBS has the most students), I guarantee you that you'd say that going $200K into debt was worth it. If you find yourself hating New England winters and your Tuck classmates, then you'll regret going there despite the full ride.

At this stage in the game, money should be used as a tool to help you get what you want. There's a lot of life left. You're young enough to recover financially from this decision.


I wouldn't take advice from someone who's analyzing race and interests lies in a breeding competition.
Jan 2, 2015 - 11:49pm

Anyone who's been to 1 business school party knows exactly what I'm talking about when I mention the "breeding competitions." Huge gender imbalance = social s***tshow.

. In addition, 2 of my classmates got married to classmates they met during pre-orientation trips.

Jan 3, 2015 - 2:57am

I thought I had walked into an HBS circlejerk on the first page.

mergersandacquisitions78:

For the OP, you probably know this working for an oil firm, but the Houston banking world is very cliquey and insular. Coming from a fancy east school may not hurt you, but it won't help you, and until you prove your energy bonafides, you will be viewed a bit suspiciously (less so in your case since you worked in the industry). There is a very tight UT and UChicago mafia in Houston.

This is the biggest thing to take into consideration. In fact, a lot of the energy people I networked/interviewed with in Houston were not from "the top" (HBS/Wharton/Stanford) but primarily UT. McCombs has a VERY tight-knit alumni network and people who attended there are very faithful to the school / recruit very heavily from it. Most people who pick McCombs over offers at higher-ranked schools do so because of the regional recruiting.

Currently: future neurologist, current psychotherapist Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)
  • 3
Jan 3, 2015 - 2:48pm

3 handicap:

Does anyone else think age of OP is important?

What I really want to know is if he benefited from AA?

If he is an Asian male, he is surely will be a cut above the rest even at HBS.

But if he has a lower than usual GMAT, and got in because of AA, I'm sure he is still an amazing applicant, but I don't think he will be competitive at HBS.

I've heard from a non-WSO Booth grad that AA admits tend to be very unimpressive at Booth.

Jan 3, 2015 - 3:11pm

snakeoil:

3 handicap:

Does anyone else think age of OP is important?

What I really want to know is if he benefited from AA?

If he is an Asian male, he is surely will be a cut above the rest even at HBS.

But if he has a lower than usual GMAT, and got in because of AA, I'm sure he is still an amazing applicant, but I don't think he will be competitive at HBS.

I've heard from a non-WSO Booth grad that AA admits tend to be very unimpressive at Booth.

To answer your question, yes I am a URM candidate. But with my 3.5+(In engineering), 740 GMAT, and F500 experience, I think you can rest assured that I will be just fine in the classroom.

Jan 3, 2015 - 2:57pm

For once I agree with illiniProgrammer. Getting deep into debt is the opposite of "creating optionality". If you have a change of heart in five years and you want to move/change careers/join the circus/whatever the huge debt load will make it very difficult. You likely would find yourself in the situation of saying "well if I just stick it out X more years, I can knock X off my debt...". You don't want to strap on those infamous "golden handcuffs" unless you have assurance that you are happy with your career and that the money you are making is good enough to make it worthwhile. You cannot possibly have that assurance as a first year business school student aspiring to a job you have never done, so I wouldn't lock yourself down with huge debt if you can avoid it.

Jan 3, 2015 - 5:49pm

Hahah, at someone calling Danny Meyer (the dude who started Shake Shack) a nobody with no prestige and just money. Likewise with the random analysis of URMs and crap.

As already mentioned getting into Houston banking is not that difficult. Energy and Houston both in general do not really value prestige and racking up debt to move away and then move back makes little sense. Truly dude you should aim higher than energy banking I would say, go start a services company or small producer.

Jan 3, 2015 - 8:20pm

@"3 handicap" URM refers to "Under Represented Minority." A guise through which Liberal America openly discriminates against Asians like myself and @"mbavsmfin".

@"HTownOrBust" I'm not doubting your academic abilities buddy. But let's not fool ourselves here. Your stats are impressive. Can you tell me with a straight face that an Asian American with 3.8+ Engineering major, 760 GMAT, and amazing work experience will get the offers you got? No, he won't. And that's a fact that no one here can deny.

Until the Supreme Court rules that Affirmative Action is completely illegal, I never never have a shred of respect for URM candidates at any work place or school.

Also, why are you hiding and not answering my question if you applied through the Consortium?

Let me give you a fact - even we make up 5.6% of the US population, we are punished for our overall success.

Good luck buddy. I am not doubting your ability. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can pull off a 3.5+ gpa in Engineering, but we can't ignore the blatant facts - You got the Fin Aid offers you received because of your ethnicity.

Jan 3, 2015 - 9:21pm

+1. You are an imbecile.

The real world isn't a meritocracy. People get things all the time solely because of who they know. The MBA admissions process is one of the clearest examples of this behavior. People get into certain schools because their families are big donors, their families are worth $500mm+, they work at firms that hire lots of MBA students, the CEO wrote a recommendation on their behalf, their parents are professors/deans at the school, etc. These are the people you shouldn't have any respect for. They've had all the advantages in life and yet refuse to compete on a level playing field. But no, you leave them alone because they have something you want (money, status, and the ability to tilt the field in their favor). Instead, you pick on AA, which does nothing to stunt powerful people's ability to make the process work in their favor without fail.

Frankly, the least impressive people in MBA programs are the international students who have trouble communicating in English. Why are they there? Pretty much without exception, their families are loaded.

Jan 4, 2015 - 12:11pm

computerblue:

+1. You are an imbecile.

The real world isn't a meritocracy. People get things all the time solely because of who they know. The MBA admissions process is one of the clearest examples of this behavior. People get into certain schools because their families are big donors, their families are worth $500mm+, they work at firms that hire lots of MBA students, the CEO wrote a recommendation on their behalf, their parents are professors/deans at the school, etc. These are the people you shouldn't have any respect for. They've had all the advantages in life and yet refuse to compete on a level playing field. But no, you leave them alone because they have something you want (money, status, and the ability to tilt the field in their favor). Instead, you pick on AA, which does nothing to stunt powerful people's ability to make the process work in their favor without fail.

Frankly, the least impressive people in MBA programs are the international students who have trouble communicating in English. Why are they there? Pretty much without exception, their families are loaded.

An entire paragraph of red herrings. Congratulations. THAT is impressive.

Jan 4, 2015 - 11:57am

snakeoil may be stepping on some toes with this but it's hard to argue the merit of his comments. I don't disagree that the things computerblue pointed out are also implicit 'points of discrimination,' but I don't think anyone on this board who applied to top undergrads/b-schools/law schools will argue that an AA/female/etc. has a much lower GPA/SAT/GMAT bar to hurdle. Just the way it is. Granted they also *may* have had less opportunities in life, but that's a tough thing to try to quantify.

Jan 4, 2015 - 12:14pm

I would recommend contacting people from each respective institution in your desired field(s) in order to glean as much insight as possible from people who have first hand knowledge.

[quote=patternfinder]

Of course, I would just buy in scales.

[/quote]

See my WSO Blog | my AMA

Jan 4, 2015 - 12:31pm

Let's ignore the casual racism of the likes of @"snakeoil" for a second and go back to one important question the OP asked where I can be helpful.

Boutiques like TPH, Evercore and Simmons do have a great presence on the oil patch and punch above their weight. I would, however caution the OP about focusing on these boutiques for the simple reason that they tend not to have a great culture of assimilating MBA-hires with no banking experience. You are expected to hit the ground running with little to no training. I've seen many good MBAs choose these firms (or Lazard or Greenhill or Moelis etc.) and fail because they don't get the training or the support as they are figuring their way around the industry.

OP may be better off at a firm with more of a tradition of hiring and assimilating MBAs, which is ultimately a cultural thing; it simply isn't fair to expect someone who has never worked in banking to be up to speed immediately. This is more GS, MS, JPM, Citi, CS, etc.

Jan 4, 2015 - 3:39pm

Again agree with @mergersandacquisitions78 we stated the following in the above comments for a reason.

"2) which bank do you want to work for will be tied 100% to transactions/relationships. We said BB because that is likely the answer in your case *hint hint*

Anyway, just glad the OP is not going to pay $200K for a piece of paper that will give him the exact same base salary and exact same position as the rest of the associate class.

---

The racism stuff that this has devolved into is hilarious at best and depressing at worst. Regardless of how someone gets into a school you have to ask yourself one question.

"What can you personally do about it?"

The answer is nothing if you are benefiting and... the answer is also nothing if you lose from it.

You can't control it. So don't worry about it.

Getting angry over something you cannot control is equivalent to the bad analysts/associates who slam their desks when FactSet/CapitalIQ/Bloomberg doesn't refresh their data pull fast enough.

If you are going to get angry over things you cannot control, you will not last long in any stressful environment.

Jan 4, 2015 - 6:57pm

Exactly. No one, except for those that did energy PE before HBS.

What people time and time again don't realize is its not HBS getting people jobs its their background - HBS just obviously has a lot of legit backgrounds. A Big 4 / IT consulting / F500 / consulting background with a 3.9 and 760 isn't getting you any closer to the buy side coming from HBS is it would from UT - ain't happening except for extremely rare circumstances.

Way too many people on WSO need to learn the difference between causation and correlation.

Jan 4, 2015 - 7:24pm

Welp this thread is officially dead. @goodbread and @ke18sb put the nails in the coffin.

If OP decides to go to HBS for some unknown reason (maybe he doesn't like money), under no circumstances do you tell any interviewer that you had multiple scholarships. They would think you're an idiot.

Jan 5, 2015 - 9:10pm

@"WallStreetPlayboys" I agree with you on that. Worrying about things that you can not control is the easiest way to be miserable. But if there is one issue that just drives me insane, it is Affirmative Action, and how deeply unfair it is to Asian Americans. Let me make it clear though - it is not just a Asian American thing for me. It's a question every American being equal, regardless of their race.

What if @"HTownOrBust" is a blonde 1st generation American whose rich parents immigrated from Argentina, but he got in just because his name is "Jose Lopez." What if he is the son of a rich and respectable African American family? Should he be given admissions priority whose parents run a small Asian corner store in some American city, and saved every penny they could to send their children to college?

But things can be done about it. Look at California and Michigan, they passed ballot measures outlawing Affirmative Action. Who knows, someday Affirmative Action might be banned in the whole country.

Seriously, this is my pet issue. And I will always be involved in trying to ban Affirmative Action, whether it's donating money or time. If I ever win the lottery or become rich in someway, I plan to start a B School scholarship fund solely for Asian & White Americans. (Men & Women)

@"Striderite33" Thanks!

@"HTownOrBust" OP got the admits and the scholarships he got because of his race. A similar candidate who just happened to be Asian American (bad luck!) probably did not get those admits or scholarships because of his race.

Jan 5, 2015 - 9:12pm

If you know that you can get the job that you want from any of the schools that offer to give you full tuition, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Why pay when the job is what matters

Jan 5, 2015 - 11:57pm

@snakeoil

If you realize you cannot do anything about it but you put up a long diatribe explaining how much you hate it... You still care quite a bit.

This is unhealthy. Not trying to be a monk but you should really read a book called the guide to rational living. Inequality is everywhere. You can't do crap.

Also agree with others, the worst MBA students are international people who have rich parents but really don't know anything.

Jan 6, 2015 - 10:43am

@snakeoil I do think a 3.9 engr and 760 GMAT is competitive anywhere, any race.... so enough of the idiotic assumptions, of course they may not receive as much aid $ but that's somewhat irrelevant to future career prospects and admission into the actual institutions. You can have an issue with AA but taking it out on the people who take advantage of the opportunities given to them is asanine, this world is competitive, if u had some competitive advantage you'd do the same (who knows u might). The part about not respecting ANY URM who works hard to receive offers similar to OP is what is truly appalling, your assumption is that every URM is unqualified or less qualified than you are, that is the kind of arrogance that disgusts me, and anyone with self awareness. You sound like a little bitch crying and whining and I'm honestly sick of people like you and mbavsmfin using AA as a reason to be racist, it is just you justifying your bigotry. I can't believe you've turned this thread about OPs great accomplishments in getting accepted into those schools into a race discussion, but that's what u were looking to do the whole time, as you questioned him on it right off the bat, you seem insecure. I can't believe your retarded premise that an Asian with a 3.5+ engr, and a 740 GMAT wouldn't be competitive, it is total bull, should we say that Asians that aren't 4.0/ 800 GMAT are all doomed? Lol what a crock.

Array

  • 4
Jan 6, 2015 - 5:45pm

If you go to HBS, I think you'll feel great (at least in the short-term)... they'll pump you up, you'll drink the kool-aid and wonder how you could have ever gone anywhere else. Then comes recruiting and the reality that HBS by itself probably won't get you anything extra over the other top schools (except in extremely limited cases). You'll intern in summer and start work on equal footing with peers that went to all those schools. After working for 2-3 years, you'll realize nobody cares where you went to school, you're probably not taking over the world, and while you like your job you also have other priorities in life and in your career and there is a big (opportunity) cost to having those financial commitments. And you'll be a bit annoyed.

If you go to Tuck/Booth/etc. you may feel a little uneasy about the decision, wondering if you'll regret it... until you get to school and realize that it's basically the same group of people at all these top schools. Then that school will pump you up, you'll drink the kool-aid and wonder how you could have ever gone anywhere else. You'll get the same internship/job out of school and will have the same career trajectory. After working for 2-3 years, you will have a much easier time telling the boss off, taking extra risk, starting your own firm, etc. without all those financial commitments.

Easy enough to run the (post-tax) numbers on the decision, but it's a life decision. With all that said, I know I would've chosen HBS personally... but I didn't get money anywhere, so I just have to be a bit annoyed.

Jan 7, 2015 - 7:36am

IBPEHFVC:
but I didn't get money anywhere, so I just have to be a bit annoyed.

I would assume you are white or Asian then.

And @"HTownOrBust" don't worry, I am applying to B School after you graduate.

I would also hate to be in class with someone who got in because of their race/ethnicity.

Jan 6, 2015 - 6:20pm

I have to agree with snakeoil here - the applicant obviously benefited in getting scholarship money from the schools he got in to because he applied through the Consortium. Not to take away from his accomplishments, but obviously a weaker pool than the general candidate pool.

Jan 6, 2015 - 7:46pm

19218698:

I have to agree with snakeoil here - the applicant obviously benefited in getting scholarship money from the schools he got in to because he applied through the Consortium. Not to take away from his accomplishments, but obviously a weaker pool than the general candidate pool.

That "weaker pool" was much, much more likely to face discrimination and/or economic hardship than whites and Asians. I'm not the biggest affirmative action supporter in the world, but to imply that all of us were born with the same opportunities is absurd.

  • 1
Jan 6, 2015 - 7:57pm

CF1988:

19218698:

I have to agree with snakeoil here - the applicant obviously benefited in getting scholarship money from the schools he got in to because he applied through the Consortium. Not to take away from his accomplishments, but obviously a weaker pool than the general candidate pool.

That "weaker pool" was much, much more likely to face discrimination and/or economic hardship than whites and Asians. I'm not the biggest affirmative action supporter in the world, but to imply that all of us were born with the same opportunities is absurd.

Additionally, HBS, Booth, and Kellogg(the three programs I'm now considering) aren't even a part of the consortium. Looks like this topic has run its course. I appreciate the insight and advice from those who stuck to the topic at hand. @"snakeoil" , I hope you get that rid of that chip on your shoulder at some point. I know you're applying to b school in the future, but you are precisely the type of person I'd hate to be in class with.

Jan 7, 2015 - 10:02am

CF1988:

19218698:

I have to agree with snakeoil here - the applicant obviously benefited in getting scholarship money from the schools he got in to because he applied through the Consortium. Not to take away from his accomplishments, but obviously a weaker pool than the general candidate pool.

That "weaker pool" was much, much more likely to face discrimination and/or economic hardship than whites and Asians. I'm not the biggest affirmative action supporter in the world, but to imply that all of us were born with the same opportunities is absurd.

Yep, because those evil KKK members embrace Asians as brothers-in-arms...

Jan 7, 2015 - 12:37pm

@"HTownOrBust" as someone based in Texas and who will be matriculating to HBS this coming year, maybe you did overcome more because of your ethnicity, but I don't believe in systemic affirmative action. As others have said, there are also Asians and Caucasians that come from low income or otherwise disadvantaged backgrounds. Anyways, obviously a very hard decision to make, but if you want to do energy investment banking in Houston even going to Rice's Business School would be okay.

Jan 7, 2015 - 1:01pm

19218698:

@HTownOrBust as someone based in Texas and who will be matriculating to HBS this coming year, maybe you did overcome more because of your ethnicity, but I don't believe in systemic affirmative action. As others have said, there are also Asians and Caucasians that come from low income or otherwise disadvantaged backgrounds. Anyways, obviously a very hard decision to make, but if you want to do energy investment banking in Houston even going to Rice's Business School would be okay.

Dude who gives a rip about whether or not he struggled? His stats are near top notch: difficult major, great gpa, great GMAT, great job, anyone of any race would be competitive with this profile, you guys need to stop trying to act as if he is a 3.0 student with a marketing degree and a 670 GMAT that got into HBS.

Array

  • 2
Jan 7, 2015 - 5:59pm

I'm going to go on a different route.

Do you have some idea which firms you want to work for? Ideally the answer is going to be both yes and that you've done some networking into those firms.

Call those firms up and get some feedback. Again, ranking and prestige are hardly the end all be all. Depending on your specific career goals your odds may be better at attending either the highest ranked school(some firms care only about that), whereas others will provide you a better networking opportunity. That's why it's important to factor your relationship with specific companies into your decision.

There's even a few niche firms where school isn't that important. For example, one firm in particular that I'm talking to has been quickly rising in NYC, and they recruit by targeting BB veterans to fill their experienced positions and using networking and feeder agencies/military headhunters to fill their entry level positions with former officers. Literally the only way to get into the firm is to be VP level from a Bulge Bracket or a retired officer.

Jan 7, 2015 - 11:31pm

It's a fucking biz school for God's sakes so go to the 1 that was your top pick.

You'll meet mediocre admits at every b school (HSW included), you'll meet prestige whores who "need" that prestige, but 3 years out, no one will give a fuck where you went to b school. Your track record trumps all very quickly after you receive your shiny MBA.

Jan 8, 2015 - 12:22am

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