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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people will judge you primarily by how good of a worker you are. when you're at one of these firms, you realize really quickly that there are some people with extremely prestigious degrees who are literally dumb as rocks. others who aren't as dumb, but still people you don't want to be working with, because they've got their heads shoved so far up their asses they can't see daylight.

and then there are some with "bad" degrees who are extremely bright; and others with poor degrees whom you suspect only got there cuz of connections.

if you're hard to work with and not bright/capable of doing a good job, your degree will compound the issue. if, on the other hand, you aren't...nobody will care.

that being said, you'll still probably feel a bit of a chip on your shoulder. i definitely noticed it from some colleagues with your kind of background; but hey, everybody has their issues. i think it was mostly in their head, not in everybody else's.

the one caveat i would make is that i don't know how this changes your ability to rise to partner though, since that is mostly sales and convincing your clients to pay you 300k to do 3 weeks of work. at that level, having an impressive degree would help, i suspect, but i don't know.

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