What I've learned so far after 1 yr at a top MBA program (If I could do it over):

TheGrind
Rank: Neanderthal | banana points 2,870

The main takeaways are either headers or in bold.

If you get accepted to multiple top 10-15 schools, take "prestige" out of the equation.

I always tell the story of my good friend who passed up a full ride at Columbia to pay full freight at Wharton due to rankings. She ended up taking a corporate finance gig that she could have EASILY gotten out of Columbia. She was able to make peace w/ her decision, and loves telling people she went to Wharton, but those student loan payments are a painful thorn in her side.

At my current internship (huge global firm) there are people predominantly from Booth, Columbia, Wharton, McCombs, Kellogg, UNC, Ross, and Fuqua, as well as a smattering of other schools across the top 20. I got a chance to look at their resumes and there are two (!) 780 GMAT scorers, a handful on full rides, some ex BB and MBB, and even a former FBI agent. In fact, I'm probably one of the least accomplished folks here! Fortunately, it's hard to find any differences between us in work product. Recruiters will go after talented candidates at any top school. Your school choice will not help your chances if you are not already a top candidate. Huge lessons learned there.

Location matters:

I'm interning in Texas, and I can tell you that students from Texas schools are at a significant advantage here. If you know where you want to live post-MBA, and get into a school that you like in that area surrounded by firms for which you'd like to work, then you probably should go there over any higher ranked school much further away (all things being equal). One of my classmates wanted O&G but turned down McCombs, and he ended up spending crazy $$$ flying out there to network every week. He eventually got an offer at a top firm, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone go that hard at recruiting for anything.

Fit matters:

Again, at the top level, candidates are very hard to distinguish. I will say, though, that at a self selecting school like Tuck (which I attend), you definitely notice more of a certain type of student: outgoing, outdoorsy, laid back, less rigid, hard partying -I like to describe them as next door neighbor types who just happen to be smart. Obviously, we have a small number of stereotypical finance people and assorted douchebags but overall, they're not really representative of the student body. That said, through mingling with other schools, I noticed more of certain other types: Competitive, elitist, super driven, distant, overachieving, prestige obsessed, etc.

Again, probably not entirely representative of any one program, but let's say you've got 2,000 students and only 10% are douches: that's still 200 douches running around out there! % might be the same but the aggregate # is higher. Schools, whether intentionally or not, attract or nurture certain cultures. Don't try to force yourself into one you'll hate for sure. I know a couple of people who have cabin fever out here every weekend, and conversely I have an old army buddy at HSW who wishes he were having as much fun as I am whenever we compare notes. He just hasn't taken well to big city living, and misses the camaraderie you get with smaller groups. If it doesn't feel right after 2 visits, don't force it. Chances are the school tugging at your gut is the right one, and always go with your gut.

Don't worship "Dream Schools"

If you go in with the mentality of "School XYZ or bust", there's a good chance you'll end up disappointed. Give yourself options! Obviously certain paths require you to ONLY look at HSW but for 95% of MBA jobs that isn't the case. If you don't get into your top choice but manage to make it into another top program, count your blessings! Look at the placement stats, professors, alumni, etc of these schools: you could potentially pass up the right school for you over an obsession with your "dream school". My mindset going in was: my stats are decent, my work experience is decent, GMAT pretty good, so I'm getting in SOMEWHERE. I could care less whether it was #2 or #12. Get me in and I'll take care of the rest!

In many cases your resume, and NOT your school will determine your recruiting experience

Banking and consulting jobs won't care too much about your prior experience, but for anything else: Tech, CorpFin, Corp Dev, etc your resume and skills will be more important than your school. Going to a top school simply checks the box, but if you have no quantitative background whatsoever chances are you won't get any interviews for Senior Analyst or Finance Manager slots. If you've never touched a computer or done anything in the online space, Google, Apple, or Amazon may not come calling. Even if you're at one of their "target" schools. Your mileage may vary but those have been some of the complaints I've heard from my friends up and down the top 10.

Now good luck and happy hunting. Find the right program for you and the rest will take care of itself.

Note: For anyone interested in Leadership/Rotational programs, any school in the top 40 or so will serve you well, including strong regional programs, though some companies may be more prestige conscious than others depending on how popular they are. I've found the guide that WSO offers (Overview of Acclerated Corporate Finance Careers (FLDPs)) to be pretty effective at detailing the best course of action for this type of career. Almost 2 yrs in and my experience thus far has mirrored exactly what's in there (I'm on my 2nd rotation).

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Comments (153)

Jun 19, 2014
TheGrind:

The takeaways are in bold

If you get accepted to multiple top 10-15 schools, take "prestige" out of the equation.

I always tell the story of my good friend who passed up a full ride at Columbia to pay full freight at Wharton due to rankings. She ended up taking a corporate finance gig that she could have EASILY gotten out of Columbia. She was able to make peace w/ her decision, and loves telling people she went to Wharton, but those student loan payments are a painful thorn in her side.

At my current internship (huge global firm) there are people predominately from Booth, Columbia, Wharton, McCombs, Kellogg, UNC, Ross, and Fuqua, as well as a smattering of other schools across the top 20. I got a chance to look at their resumes and there are two (!) 780 GMAT scorers, a handful on full rides, some ex BB and MBB, and even a former FBI agent. In fact, I'm probably one of the least accomplished folks here! Fortunately, it's hard to find any differences between us in work product. Recruiters will go after talented candidates at any top school. Your school choice will not help your chances if you are not already a top candidate. Huge lessons learned there.

Location matters:

I'm interning in Texas, and I can tell you that students of Texas schools are at a significant advantage here. If you know where you want to live post-MBA, and get into a school that you like in an area surrounded by firms for which you'd like to work, then you probably should go there over any higher ranked school much further away (all things being equal). One of my classmates wanted O&G but turned down McCombs, and he ended up spending crazy $$$ flying out there to network every week. He eventually got an offer at a top firm, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone go that hard at recruiting for anything.

Fit matters:

Again, at the top level, candidates are very hard to distinguish. I will say, though, that at a self selecting school like Tuck (which I attend), you definitely notice more of a certain type of student: outgoing, outdoorsy, laid back, less rigid, hard partying -I like to describe them as next door neighbor types who just happen to be smart. Obviously, we have a number of stereotypical finance people and assorted douchebags but overall, they're not really representative of the student body. That said, through mingling with other schools, I noticed more of certain other types: Competitive, elitist, super driven, distant, overachieving, prestige obsessed, etc. Again, probably not entirely representative of any one program, but let's say you've got 2,000 students and only 10% are douches: that's still 200 douches running around out there! % might be the same but the aggregate # is higher. Schools, whether intentionally or not, attract or nurture certain cultures. Don't try to force yourself into one you'll hate for sure. I know a couple of people who have cabin fever out here every weekend, and conversely I have an old army buddy at HSW who wishes he were having as much fun as I am whenever we compare notes. He just hasn't taken well to big city living. If it doesn't feel right after 2 visits, don't force it. Chances are the school tugging at your gut is the right one, and always go with your gut.

Don't worship "Dream Schools".

If you go in with the mentality of "School XYZ or bust", there's a good chance you'll end up disappointed. Give yourself options! Obviously certain paths require you to ONLY look at HSW but for 95% of MBA jobs that isn't the case. If you don't get into your top choice but manage to make it into another top program, count your blessings! Look at the placement stats, professors, alumni, etc of these schools: you could potentially pass up the right school for you over an obsession with your "dream school". My mindset going in was: my stats are decent, my work experience is decent, GMAT pretty good, so I'm getting in SOMEWHERE. I could care less whether it was #2 or #12. Get me in and I'll take care of the rest!

In many cases your resume, and NOT your school will determine your recruiting experience.

Banking and consulting jobs won't care too much about your prior experience, but for anything else: Tech, CorpFin, Corp Dev, etc your resume and skills will be more important than your school. Going to a top school simply checks the box, but if you have no quantitative background whatsoever chances are you won't get any interviews for Senior Analyst or Finance Manager slots. If you've never touched a computer or done anything in the online space, Google, Apple, or Amazon may not come calling. Even if you're at one of their "target" schools. Your mileage may vary but those have been some of the complaints I've heard from my friends up and down the top 10.

Now good luck and happy hunting. Find the right program for you and the rest will take care of itself.

I'll be the first to SB this. Well said.

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Jun 19, 2014

Nice post +1

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."

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Jun 19, 2014

SB'ed. Please keep on updating us through your summer and Tuck journey!

Jun 20, 2014

Really nice write up. The whole outdoorsy thing at Tuck almost scares me away a little bit. The partying aspect doesn't, though. How easy is it to travel in and out of Tuck? Take a train to the city?

Jun 20, 2014
CorpFinanceGuy:

Really nice write up. The whole outdoorsy thing at Tuck almost scares me away a little bit. The partying aspect doesn't, though. How easy is it to travel in and out of Tuck? Take a train to the city?

Put it this way: I spend quite a bit of time in Boston, which is

I also schedule my classes 2 days a week, so I do some traveling during my 5 day weekends and any breaks. As a result, Tuck's location never really bothers me. Moreover, we do party quite often. Most weekends there is some sort of costume or theme party, or oftentimes we'll just go nuts at a house party. They can get crazy. You have to make your own excitement out there, and the school does a decent job of picking these outgoing, fun loving types so you won't be bored unless you're really trying. However, if you hate cold weather, the outdoors, small towns, winter sports, AND partying, then you'd likely be miserable here. Then again I can't imagine anyone who meets that criteria putting the school on their radar in the first place haha.

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Jun 20, 2014
TheGrind:
CorpFinanceGuy:

Really nice write up. The whole outdoorsy thing at Tuck almost scares me away a little bit. The partying aspect doesn't, though. How easy is it to travel in and out of Tuck? Take a train to the city?

Put it this way: I spend quite a bit of time in Boston, which is < 2 hrs away by Dartmouth Coach and/or driving. NYC is 4 hrs away and Quebec is 3 hours away. As an aside, Quebec has probably the most beautiful (and friendly) women I've ever met in my life. As someone who grew up in NYC, I think that Tuck actually offers a refreshing change of pace.

I also schedule my classes 2 days a week, so I do some traveling during my 5 day weekends and any breaks. As a result, Tuck's location never really bothers me. Moreover, we do party quite often. Most weekends there is some sort of costume or theme party, or oftentimes we'll just go nuts at a house party. They can get crazy. You have to make your own excitement out there, and the school does a decent job of picking these outgoing, fun loving types so you won't be bored unless you're really trying. However, if you hate cold weather, the outdoors, small towns, winter sports, AND partying, then you'd likely be miserable here. Then again I can't imagine anyone who meets that criteria putting the school on their radar in the first place haha.

Definitely looking forward to starting at Tuck this August! PMing a couple of Tuck specific questions to you so I don't derail the thread.

Jun 20, 2014

Love it!
You are right about many things, particularly about the power of the resume over the school.
I have personal experience with that -- in that I didn't have a strong enough background pre-HBS, and so never could break into consulting. (Got over it pretty fast, but it just wasn't open to me).

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... away!

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Jun 20, 2014
Betsy Massar:

Love it!

You are right about many things, particularly about the power of the resume over the school.

I have personal experience with that -- in that I didn't have a strong enough background pre-HBS, and so never could break into consulting. (Got over it pretty fast, but it just wasn't open to me).

What was your background pre MBA?

Jun 20, 2014

I worked in Washington DC, first on Capitol Hill and then for the Business Roundtable (I was their first junior employee!) Eventually I parlayed the experience to a post-MBA job in public finance at Goldman, which, through a 10-year sinuous path, propelled me into a job in Hong Kong selling Taiwanese derivatives to hedge funds.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... away!

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Jun 20, 2014
Betsy Massar:

I worked in Washington DC, first on Capitol Hill and then for the Business Roundtable (I was their first junior employee!) Eventually I parlayed the experience to a post-MBA job in public finance at Goldman, which, through a 10-year sinuous path, propelled me into a job in Hong Kong selling Taiwanese derivatives to hedge funds.

That actually sounds like a pretty fascinating path! I'm curious: what prompted the final turn to admissions consulting?

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Jul 16, 2018

You actually went to HBS?

Jun 20, 2014

Great insights thanks for posting!

Jun 20, 2014
TheGrind:

In many cases your resume, and NOT your school will determine your recruiting experience

In your experience, does this hold true for H/S vs Tuck / Columbia?

Jun 20, 2014
AnalyzeThat:
TheGrind:

In many cases your resume, and NOT your school will determine your recruiting experience

In your experience, does this hold true for H/S vs Tuck / Columbia?

Betsy Massar was pretty candid a couple posts ago (scroll up) about how HBS didn't do much to help her Consulting chances.

As far as my friends at H/S go, the transitions have mostly been military to banking-which is pretty much a given at this point. Banks range from GS to Credit Suisse. It's the easiest time to get a banking offer at a top school assuming you're the least bit competent. MBB has been much harder to crack, though. HBS these days isn't enough to guarantee you MBB. the secret sauce is a top undergrad, high gpa, great GMAT-if you're missing more than 2 it's an uphill climb even with HBS on your resume. Again, recruiters care more about the candidate than school at this level. Not saying it's hopeless but it'd be wise to recruit for corp strategy roles and tier 2 consulting firms as well! You can always get MBB yr 2!

Tech on the other hand, is now suddenly "hot", so the firms are being real picky about your prior experience and citizenship status. One of my buddies got Amazon but he had worked at internet startups his entire professional career. I know of one person who got top tech coming from a completely irrelevant/unrelated background. She pulled quite a few stringS via her own personal network, though-it wasn't necessarily being at H that did it.

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Jun 20, 2014

Don't want to hijack the thread, so I will answer over here: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-...

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... away!

Jun 20, 2014

TheGrind is dropping real knowledge. It kind of throws some cold water on the whole notion of a complete career restart that an MBA should supposedly provide.

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Jun 20, 2014

It does offer a pivot point, and it does give you opportunities you could never have imagined. But sometimes you can't get the dream job or industry right away -- market forces and your own talents are part of the deal. As I wrote up above, I didn't get into consulting because at the time, I didn't have a strong enough business background even though my scores and finance grades were good enough. And then I stopped trying because I wanted to work on Wall Street.
But it doesn't instantly turn you into something that you are not.
And all of the top schools, even Stanford's career center folks admit that jumping straight into PE is hard without the requisite background, or VC unless you have an engineering/math background. And even then, VC doesn't really recruit heavily.

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... away!

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Jun 21, 2014

This is easily one of the best MBA related posts I've read on WSO. As much as I liked CompBanker's epic post on why an MBA, it was written before he started school and was a bit too idealistic and fluffy. This however is grounded in actual experience and maturity. Very well done.

I cannot add that much more value here, but I will throw in my 2 cents as a current M7 student.

1. I was utterly devastated when I did not get into my dream school, but I quickly realized that it matters very little in the real world. I actually ran into students from that school at a major investment conference, and they were bitching about how their location hurts them with respect to getting the jobs they want. This further reinforces TheGrind's point that location matters.

2. For the type of jobs I was targeting, it was clear that they cared way more about prior experience, fit, and motives for wanting this job, than what school I was at. Once you're in b-school and get that initial interview, it all boils down to your performance at that interview.

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Jun 21, 2014
mbavsmfin:

This is easily one of the best MBA related posts I've read on WSO. As much as I liked CompBanker's epic post on why an MBA, it was written before he started school and was a bit too idealistic and fluffy. This however is grounded in actual experience and maturity. Very well done.

I cannot add that much more value here, but I will throw in my 2 cents as a current M7 student.

1. I was utterly devastated when I did not get into my dream school, but I quickly realized that it matters very little in the real world. I actually ran into students from that school at a major investment conference, and they were bitching about how their location hurts them with respect to getting the jobs they want. This further reinforces TheGrind's point that location matters.

2. For the type of jobs I was targeting, it was clear that they cared way more about prior experience, fit, and motives for wanting this job, than what school I was at. Once you're in b-school and get that initial interview, it all boils down to your performance at that interview.

This 100% I saw this play out multiple times over the course of the year, which is why I decided to post.

Jun 21, 2014

SBed!

Ok but let me confirm, because this is news to me:

If someone wants to work at a top tier post-MBA type position (for example, MBB, which would be my lofty goal if I were to do a MBA down the road) in say, Texas, you really believe that it would be better to go to McComb and do well versus going to say, Northwestern or Wharton and pitch for a Texas office? Am I understanding your statement correctly?

"You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right."

-Warren Buffett

Jun 21, 2014

No. Going to M7 over McCombs for MBB is the correct play because there are more interview slots open and thus a higher chance of getting MBB in the first place. The location plays in when you are dealing with a niche industry such as O&G for instance, and let's say the "lower" ranked school gives you a big scholarship.

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Jun 21, 2014

IMHO Asian candidates should NOT ignore prestige/rankings for fit/scholarship ... the higher the tier, the greater the percentage of recruiters open to sponsor Asians. Based on my own experience, its best to go for a Top-10/12 college if you are Asian.

Jun 21, 2014
mbaguy2014:

IMHO Asian candidates should NOT ignore prestige/rankings for fit/scholarship ... the higher the tier, the greater the percentage of recruiters open to sponsor Asians. Based on my own experience, its best to go for a Top-10/12 college if you are Asian.

I hadn't considered the situations of Asians/internationals. To be honest, from what I've seen they 're unwilling to even consider lower ranked schools and will happily mortgage the farm to go M7. They typically end up at the highest ranked school that will accept them. Also, prestige is very important in their home countries so if they ever plan on returning the brand will be essential. And you mention the Visa sponsorship issue; I just read that only 50,000 internationals even end up winning the Visa lottery each year so sponsorship is ridiculously hard to come by in the first place. I suppose for all of these reasons and more, for Asian internationals this entire thread doesn't apply!

Jun 21, 2014

No. MBB specifically doesn't often cast quite as wide a net as most other MBA jobs. M7- top 10-12 is a much safer play. I'd say for MBB and PE/VC it's a bit of a different ballgame.

It holds for most everything else, though: energy, tech, health care, regional investment banking offices (one of my buddies ended up at BAML Charlotte Lev Fin, and he says most of the other interns in that office are from Wake Forest and UNC) , CPG, Government, Media & Entertainment, Non-Profit, etc. Take a guess who Microsoft's biggest target school is for MBAs? University of Washington Foster. Got that off Poets & Quants but you should be able to confirm with a linkedin search.

Of course, the more "elite" the job, the more school brand will matter. Just make sure you're the type of candidate they'll want going in! I prob couldn't get MBB even if I'd landed at HBS, though. My undergrad grades and undergrad school brand were nothing to brag about!

Jun 21, 2014

What is the process of getting full ride for MBA? Is there a scholarship that needs separate application?

Jun 22, 2014

Depends on the school. I know Tuck and UC-Berkeley require separate essays for scholarships, for example. Other schools just automatically consider you with any application. Scholarships are usually set aside for URMs, women, and specifc candidates that schools may really want but fear will end up elsewhere. But there's no real "process" per se. I've seen scholarship offers made to all types of candidates, ranging from puny sums to full rides. Some schools are also more generous than others: Booth, Ross, Stern, Darden throw major money at folks and schools like HBS and Stanford offer generous need based aid packages. Most schools will offer some type of financial aid-though your typical students will go in leaning heavily on a combo of savings and loans.

Jun 22, 2014

Great post.

Progress is impossible without change...

Jun 22, 2014

Very nice post!

I`m an international student applying to b-school this year. My post MBA goal is IB in Houston. Would you think it is smarter for me to go to UT/Rice over, let's say, Booth or Wharton? please have in mind that I would have to network from scratch.

Jun 23, 2014
m4m4:

Very nice post!

I`m an international student applying to b-school this year. My post MBA goal is IB in Houston. Would you think it is smarter for me to go to UT/Rice over, let's say, Booth or Wharton? please have in mind that I would have to network from scratch.

Internationals who want to work in the US are better off going to the best school possible just because of how hard it is to obtain sponsorship.

So my advice would be to apply to all of them and go to the school you end up liking most. You'll be able to get Houston IB from any of them. Obviously there's a huge chasm between a Wharton and Rice so in a case like that Wharton would be the no brainer. But let's say you get into Wharton and Booth and you like Booth better even though it's ranked 1 or 2 slots lower-take prestige out. Your opps are the same then. Let's say you don't get into Wharton and Booth for whatever reason but do get into Rice and you're dead set on Houston IB...you'll likely get it.

I should clarify that by regional schools, I mean clear top 15-20 schools w/ recruiting advantages in certain regions. Obviously I would NEVER recommend picking, say, Wake Forest over Kellogg. But for certain situations-fit, money, job location, etc, Ross or Fuqua over Kellogg wouldn't be ridiculous. I know a girl who turned down a full ride at Indiana Kelley for Duke even though she wants to do CPG marketing in the midwest! That to me is nuts. These are more the types of instance i'm referring to. I don't want people ditching MIT to go to Hofstra just because they want to work in Long Island, lol

Jul 15, 2018

Great post! Thank you so much for the insight.

I am an Asian international deciding between Tuck and Wharton. My CG is consulting in my home country or Corporate Leadership Program in the US. If given the opportunity, I would prefer to work in the US after graduation. Personally, I prefer the small size, location, and culture of Tuck. But does Wharton' s prestige helps international students get a better chance of US corporate leadership jobs? (My pre-MBA is P&G management trainee and project manager of an education company in Aisa. And my career vision does not entail anything about finance.)

Given my situation, which would you recommend to choose?

Jul 15, 2018

Thanks for reading!

Given your preference, I'm not sure what the likelihood of getting that type of job (U.S. Leadership Program) is from either school; very few companies in that space will sponsor work visas. Most internationals who want to work in the U.S. end up choosing IB, Consulting, or Tech if sponsorship is what they're after.

In either case I'd pick Wharton in your situation. The larger global network would be of better use to you, not to mention the benefits of prestige in your home country in case things don't work out.

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Jul 16, 2018

Thank you so much! Truly invaluable insights.

Jul 3, 2014

Rice sends the most no. of people to Houston IB followed my McCombs. If you are dead set on IB, I would definitely recommend picking either of these two schools.

If you feel that you could get interested in consulting or non-energy roles down the road, I think you should look at other schools. Out of MBB, only M recruits at Rice and MBB picks 1 or 2 people from McCombs - who usually have a consulting background or top undergrads on their resume

Jun 22, 2014

great info, thanks for posting

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

Jun 22, 2014

Great post! I always thought the regional MBA -> regional job idea held true but until now I've always heard otherwise. Thanks

Jun 22, 2014

IMO prestige always falls into the equation. It's a simple fact that someone from H/W/S or any M7 will get more looks on aggregate than someone that went to McCombs in both recruiting and in the long term. Even if you have to take weekend trips to network I'd say suck it up and do the legwork. You worked hard enough to get into a top school so what's the big deal? No one should choose a based solely on the location of their targeted field. And on that note, what if you do an internship in O&G and you end up hating it? What then? Prestige, your alumni network and countless other benefits of attending a M7 trumps a location disadvantage hands down.

I'm bi-winning. I win here, and I win there.

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Jun 22, 2014

I agree 100% with this. I'm of the mind that for mba, prestige trumps all, and you should always go to the best school you get into. The exception would be if you get into schools of relative equal caliber and you pick based on culture, money, etc. Or if there is an extenuating personal circumstance involved. Other than that you should opt for prestige because one thing I realized was just how powerful an elite MBA brand can be in terms of the opportunities you get access to and how potential employers view you. I've gotten interviews from firms that would not have even looked at my resume pre-MBA.

Jun 23, 2014

As a rule of thumb, the more elite the job, the more elite the school you should pick, that's definitely true. But you don't have to be at an M7 to achieve great career success depending on what you want to do. For example, if you get into Kellogg and get a full ride to Duke, and you want to do Consulting in a Southern office, either one will do the job. Regional offices always reserve a significant % of slots for target schools in the area based on their recruiting agreements, and being a top candidate at one of those target schools immediately gets you a hard look.

Now there are companies with enough reach that distance isn't a problem-plenty of my classmates scored internships in places as far away as California and Washington, and I'm in Texas, lol. But at my office, even though many top 10-12 schools are represented, I'd say an easy 50-60% come from McCombs, if not more.

If the better brand is far away and as a result not a major on campus recruiting site, prepare to do crazy leg work. I'm talking about weekly flights cross country at the last minute-thousand dollar plane tickets or more not including hotel stays-just to do case competitions, schmooze with execs, do another round of interviews, or have an office visit. My buddy doesn't regret it, but he wishes he had budgeted for it beforehand. He had to get some additional funds from his parents to make it happen and because of the erratic recruiting schedule he didn't even have the job offer in hand until well into the spring. I don't need to tell you how stressful it was for him to keep up with classes, miss classes, see the rest of us get offers, disappear on weekends when group projects were due etc. But he only wanted to do that ONE thing. And it paid off. Obviously, situations will vary.

Jun 23, 2014

Thanks. Interesting perspective. I'm an overall competitive candidate for a top program - good stats + under represented demographics. I was just wondering if there's a possibility that a regional program with $$ might be a better deal than a top program if you are dead set on staying in that particular region. You can spend all day reading different forums with different points of view though.

Jun 23, 2014

SB.

Jun 23, 2014

So you're saying my life is a lie??

Jun 23, 2014

Precisely.

Atleast you can wear your HBS jacket to bars and obtain sexual favors from women for eternity.

Jun 23, 2014

Very insightful but I'd take this with a grain of salt.

A few observations:
The X school or bust is heavily reliant on the person in question and why they're going to business school. If you're at a top PE firm, its pretty much useless to go to any business school other than H/S and to a lesser degree W. Similarly, if you're in IT in India and you want to work on Wall Street in banking in New York, you'll do just fine by going to any of the M7 so a H/S/W or bust isn't really as useful a strategy for you.

Bucketing the Top 15 in one category is a bit misleading, and frankly detracts from your credibility a bit and leads me to believe that you went to one of the bottom 5 in that cohort (not that it matters). There is an ocean of a difference between the #1 and #15. Unlike undergrad where there is a broad spectrum in the quality of schools you can go to (i.e., choose Harvard > Cornell > Vassar > Fordham > Utah State), in b-school there is the top few, the top 10, and everyone else. Putting HBS and McComb/Tepper/BYU/Kelly (I had to google these) in the same category is ridiculous. Frankly, putting HBS and NYU/Cornell/Yale is ridiculous. There is an ocean of a difference between H/S/W and the rest, and there is a large lake between H/S and W. Once the M7 mile marker disappears, you need two connecting flights to get to any of the other schools.

Again, like I said above, all these are considerations depending on your circumstances. If you don't work in finance and want to get into banking, you can potentially get there by going to a non-M7 b-school. If you work in finance/banking and you want your MBA for yourself/to do consulting/start-up/some other reason, M7 not a bad place to go. If you're already on the buyside and want/need your MBA, if you go to a non-HSW that juts doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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Jun 23, 2014

I'm a HUGE prestige whore (cried like a newborn baby after getting dinged at my dream college and b-schools), but I think you sort of misread the OP's post.

He's NOT saying that the top 15 schools are all equivalent or that you should turn down HBS to attend Cornell. Rather, he's saying that at the big post-MBA feeder firms, there's a surprising amount of people from a wide array of schools, not just the top few.

I STRONGLY disagree with your assertion that there's an "ocean" of a difference between HSW and the other M7. For like 95% of jobs there is very little difference between going to HBS or Booth. Yeah, if you want to work at Paulson, Baupost, Och-Ziff, York, etc., then you should do HBS or Wharton at the worst. But that is irrelevant for most MBAs. There is obviously a social cache/prestige/network effect that comes with going to say HBS, but that's a different topic altogether from getting a cushy post-MBA job.

Jun 23, 2014

My main point here is that the advice to take prestige out of the equation if you get accepted to multiple top 10-15 MBA programs is preposterous.

Second, OPs example of his friend that made the Wharton over Columbia decision is also a bit misleading, IMO.

Just because she got a job out of Wharton that people from Columbia also had access to doesn't mean Wharton = Columbia. I'd relate it to law schools. Commonly held truism: if you want to work in BigLaw, you need to go to an elite law school. But I have friends who got their law degrees from horse shit law schools who graduated with jobs at Wachtell/Skadden/Cravath... how does that work? By that logic if you started at Skadden post-law school and graduated from Penn Law, turned down a full-ride to St John's law school and now work with someone with a law degree from St John's, you made the wrong decision by choosing Penn over St Johns? C'mon. I get that (Wharton less Columbia)

I feel like there are 2 very different WSO audiences, each of which has a vastly different circumstance. The first is the non-banker/non-consultant trying to get into banking/consulting. The second is the UG to Wall Street candidate going to bschool after their pre-mba buyside gig.

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Jun 23, 2014

Not much of a difference between Wharton and Columbia for 95% of finance jobs you'll want, and that difference shrinks even further particularly for top candidates going in. You'd probably find an equal number from both schools at top banks or AM firms. I doubt you'd find an equal number of Penn and St. John's grads at Cravath! And I doubt you'd find St. John's anywhere near the US News top 10. A more apt comparison would be turning down a full ride at Penn Law to pay full freight at Columbia Law when both get you into Cravath in similar numbers! (just guessing here).

Those gaps on the spectrum you mention tend to be overstated for all but a few of the most elite gigs. The real gap comes from the resumes of the candidates themselves. Obviously HBS is HBS. something like 20% of fortune 100 CEOs have gone there and they run the buyside. But the school graduates 1,000 folks a year. So yeah, the best of the best (or most connected) at the top will get all of the press, but the other 800-900 folks end up at the same places the rest of the top 10-15 go. That's probably a bitter pill to swallow if prestige is your thing, but at this level, recruiters aren't so easily impressed.

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Jun 23, 2014

Your assertion that the other 800-900 people from HBS end up at the same place as everyone else is very misleading.

I have worked on Wall Street for a handful of years and been heavily involved in the recruiting process through the MBA level and I'll tell you when I was at a well regarded bank, we hired predominantly HBS/Wharton MBAs, with a stray McComb kid here or there. And when I was at a tier 3 bank... that ratio was almost the other way around... and I can assure you the HBS kids we had at the Tier 3 bank were not anywhere close to the kids we had at the Tier 1 bank. So while the McComb kid can feel good about getting the same job as the kid from HBS, the HBS kid was a dunce among his peers and the McComb kid is a standout among his. Put another way if you fail at HBS you'll end up at the same place as someone who succeeds at McCombs. Now maybe I'm being facetious, but that is directionally accurate.

While the bottom 20% of HBS and the top 30% of X b-school may end up at the same place, and there are people from X b-school that get primo gigs (i.e., top 50% of HBS kids end up at the same place as top 2% of kids from X bschool), that is not to say X = HBS.

The reason people go to HBS (besides it being a school their grandmother and everyone else recognizes, as opposed to say getting your MBA at Darden)... is because of the opportunities it affords you. And it affords you much more than the same seat at all but 1-2 other programs. If the argument is that the difference is negligble, I think the statistics belie that claim.

If the difference between a Wharton and Columbia MBA is so de minimis than why is that the median comp is nearly 15% in Wharton's favor? They are as good a comp as any right? Both have a hard finance bent. Columbia should actually do better with its proximity to NYC.

Yes, I haven't gone to business school and maybe that somehow detracts from my credibility (although I'd again say that hiring for a job rather than vying for it, would make you more credible, not less). But I don't think getting rejected by Harvard/Wharton/Stanford and then claiming a negligible difference between HSW and your school/its peers somehow makes you credible.

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Jun 24, 2014
Marcus_Halberstram:

Your assertion that the other 800-900 people from HBS end up at the same place as everyone else is very misleading.

I have worked on Wall Street for a handful of years and been heavily involved in the recruiting process through the MBA level and I'll tell you when I was at a well regarded bank, we hired predominantly HBS/Wharton MBAs, with a stray McComb kid here or there. And when I was at a tier 3 bank... that ratio was almost the other way around... and I can assure you the HBS kids we had at the Tier 3 bank were not anywhere close to the kids we had at the Tier 1 bank. So while the McComb kid can feel good about getting the same job as the kid from HBS, the HBS kid was a dunce among his peers and the McComb kid is a standout among his. Put another way if you fail at HBS you'll end up at the same place as someone who succeeds at McCombs. Now maybe I'm being facetious, but that is directionally accurate.

While the bottom 20% of HBS and the top 30% of X b-school may end up at the same place, and there are people from X b-school that get primo gigs (i.e., top 50% of HBS kids end up at the same place as top 2% of kids from X bschool), that is not to say X = HBS.

The reason people go to HBS (besides it being a school their grandmother and everyone else recognizes, as opposed to say getting your MBA at Darden)... is because of the opportunities it affords you. And it affords you much more than the same seat at all but 1-2 other programs. If the argument is that the difference is negligble, I think the statistics belie that claim.

If the difference between a Wharton and Columbia MBA is so de minimis than why is that the median comp is nearly 15% in Wharton's favor? They are as good a comp as any right? Both have a hard finance bent. Columbia should actually do better with its proximity to NYC.

Yes, I haven't gone to business school and maybe that somehow detracts from my credibility (although I'd again say that hiring for a job rather than vying for it, would make you more credible, not less). But I don't think getting rejected by Harvard/Wharton/Stanford and then claiming a negligible difference between HSW and your school/its peers somehow makes you credible.

Marcus if someone is BB IBD + upper MM PE, would Wharton be worth it or would it be better to look for direct senior associate positions elsewhere if one gets rejected from H/S? What if wharton were replaced with kellogg/chicago/columbia (assume other schools are non-starters?). Looking to go back to similar level PE after

Jun 24, 2014

Depends why you're going to bschool. If you're planning on doing a start-up or something else less conventional, and you really want to go to business school, go wherever the fuck you want.

If you want to do PE/HF, or even think its a fairly decent probably you'll end up back there, you'll have a very hard time if you dip below Wharton. While the guy who posted above referenced how Columbia GSB places into PE/HF quite well because of its proximity to NYC, my experience has not held that to be true. I've met zero post-MBA's in PE from Columbia GSB. I've met one guy at a decent HF... and he got seed money to start his own fund from one of the scion HF managers before he even graduated, so I don't think it would have mattered if he was getting his MBA at the University of Antigua.

Yes, there's a broad spectrum of PE and HF shops out there... but for all of the well regarded/well know places, the above is true. Considering you're coming from a top MM shop, I'd assume you're not shooting for the $110mm PE fund started by a former HIG guy or a 2-man operation HF with uninspiring potential and an unremarkable track record.

Jun 24, 2014

Ok. I'm actually at one of these b-schools, went through recruiting, and know people who have placed into these jobs. But apparently you know more than any current MBA because you supposedly are in a "hiring" position.

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Jun 24, 2014

I said I don't know any, I didn't claim to know every person under the sun. Nor did I say I'm the standard for MBA hiring stats, I did however disagree with the moron who claimed that unless you've gone to b-school you can't have a valid opinion on the hiring trends of a MBAs from top b-schools.

So chill the fuck out. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

Jun 29, 2014
Marcus_Halberstram:

I said I don't know any, I didn't claim to know every person under the sun. Nor did I say I'm the standard for MBA hiring stats, I did however disagree with the moron who claimed that unless you've gone to b-school you can't have a valid opinion on the hiring trends of a MBAs from top b-schools.

So chill the fuck out. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

So instead, you're saying that you're the guy who thinks that their firm's hiring practices are reflective of every single other firm?

Not really sure what you're getting at.

Jun 29, 2014

You're not hurting my feelings at all. I just have to correct you because you are saying inaccurate stuff, and I don't want WSO posters to be misled.

Jun 25, 2014
Marcus_Halberstram:

Depends why you're going to bschool. If you're planning on doing a start-up or something else less conventional, and you really want to go to business school, go wherever the fuck you want.

If you want to do PE/HF, or even think its a fairly decent probably you'll end up back there, you'll have a very hard time if you dip below Wharton. While the guy who posted above referenced how Columbia GSB places into PE/HF quite well because of its proximity to NYC, my experience has not held that to be true. I've met zero post-MBA's in PE from Columbia GSB. I've met one guy at a decent HF... and he got seed money to start his own fund from one of the scion HF managers before he even graduated, so I don't think it would have mattered if he was getting his MBA at the University of Antigua.

Yes, there's a broad spectrum of PE and HF shops out there... but for all of the well regarded/well know places, the above is true. Considering you're coming from a top MM shop, I'd assume you're not shooting for the $110mm PE fund started by a former HIG guy or a 2-man operation HF with uninspiring potential and an unremarkable track record.

Thanks, this is similar to what I have heard as well. Good to get clear advice on here which isn't the typical "It's more about you thank your school/bank/mba/whatever" stuff that you hear around here

Jun 27, 2014
Marcus_Halberstram:

Your assertion that the other 800-900 people from HBS end up at the same place as everyone else is very misleading.

I have worked on Wall Street for a handful of years and been heavily involved in the recruiting process through the MBA level and I'll tell you when I was at a well regarded bank, we hired predominantly HBS/Wharton MBAs, with a stray McComb kid here or there. And when I was at a tier 3 bank... that ratio was almost the other way around... and I can assure you the HBS kids we had at the Tier 3 bank were not anywhere close to the kids we had at the Tier 1 bank. So while the McComb kid can feel good about getting the same job as the kid from HBS, the HBS kid was a dunce among his peers and the McComb kid is a standout among his. Put another way if you fail at HBS you'll end up at the same place as someone who succeeds at McCombs. Now maybe I'm being facetious, but that is directionally accurate.

You're not getting it. Aside from how atypical your experiences are from what happens on the rest of the street -- and, by everyone's estimation including my own, they seem to be -- the McCombs standout will continue to succeed while the dunce of HBS will continue to struggle. Thus, the two students end up at the same place for their first job, and the standout from UT will likely outperform the dunce at HBS over the course of their careers.

In other words, it generally doesn't matter where you go except for all but the most coveted non-banking finance jobs. There is plenty of M7 (and even top 15) representation at the top firms, and your MBA brand will never be enough to save you from your own incompetence, especially after you leave your first post-MBA job (which, by the way, usually happens within 2 years of graduation).

Jun 29, 2014

If you are going to be a dunce, it doesn't matter where you get hired, so that isn't a fair comparison.

His point was it is going to place you a helluva lot better than McCombs. What you do with that, is up to you. Wife's "BFF" only has a two year degree and probably makes more than most of this board, so I get what you are trying to say. But I think you missed his point.

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Jun 29, 2014

But but what are her exit opportunities?!

Jun 29, 2014

We are about to get firebombed by some b-schoolers lol

Jun 30, 2014

Even when you're talking about HBS and McCombs (20th ranked or so?), the comment about placement is only true to an extent. The margin of error is a lot lower for the McCombs student, but there are few opportunities (outside of VC / PE / highly-specialized finance) available to the HBS student that aren't realistically available to McCombs student... and there's an indiscernible difference in placement between HSW and the rest of the top 10 for those roles. When talking about students from the top 10, competence will almost always have the largest impact on career trajectory after the first post-MBA job -- usually independent of a school's given network. That was the original point.

Jun 23, 2014
TheGrind:

Not much of a difference between Wharton and Columbia for 95% of finance jobs you'll want, and that difference shrinks even further particularly for top candidates going in. You'd probably find an equal number from both schools at top banks or AM firms. I doubt you'd find an equal number of Penn and St. John's grads at Cravath! And I doubt you'd find St. John's anywhere near the US News top 10. A more apt comparison would be turning down a full ride at Penn Law to pay full freight at Columbia Law when both get you into Cravath in similar numbers! (just guessing here).

Those gaps on the spectrum you mention tend to be overstated for all but a few of the most elite gigs. The real gap comes from the resumes of the candidates themselves. Obviously HBS is HBS. something like 20% of fortune 100 CEOs have gone there and they run the buyside. But the school graduates 1,000 folks a year. So yeah, the best of the best (or most connected) at the top will get all of the press, but the other 800-900 folks end up at the same places the rest of the top 10-15 go. That's probably a bitter pill to swallow if prestige is your thing, but at this level, recruiters aren't so easily impressed.

Just started working at a F100 and since I have nothing to do, I am looking at the org charts and looking at the Exec biographies.

Granted, this is just one sample size, but going to a good school/good B-School does not matter. Our Exec committee is made up of people who went to the likes of CUNY's, well not exactly, but of a similar caliber.

Past summer I worked at a BB and it was completely different. Finance/Consulting firms are prestige whores - F500 not at all.

I am going to conclude from my very short experience that at F500 your school's prestige does not matter at all. If you are willing to go and run that new plant in Angola or Kazakstan - you'll on a better path to becoming CEO than going to HBS.

//QED

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Jun 23, 2014

Sorry man but your logic and examples are downright horrible (Penn/St John vs CBS/W, really). Also, you haven't even been though the process and thus really don't have a first hand experience to form your opinion - rather research and secondary sources. The only ocean gap is your point of view from reality and that of the OP.

Only on WSO can someone argue against a well written advice piece based on hypothetical unfounded prestige claims. So amazing.

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Jun 23, 2014

I'd argue that someone that has worked with and recruited/hired top MBAs is in a better position to opine on where you'll be able to get a job coming out of your [insert business school here] program, vs. someone who has applied to a bunch of b-schools, and that accepted the best school that gave him/her admission... and is now claiming that he was better off having not gone to the schools that didn't let him in anyway (with respect to OP).

Also if I wanted to work in banking (like most of the people on WSO do) I'd place more value on someone who has already done what they are trying to do vs. someone who is either trying to get there currently, or who's peers are trying to get there.

I'm more amazed at your level of stupidity.

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Jun 23, 2014

Looks as if you're arguing several points I didn't actually make. I've stated time and again that as a rule of thumb, the more elite the job you're after, the more elite the school you should aim for and that certain paths require HSW. That's a given. What of everyone else, though?

Also, buyside jobs are a tiny portion of all MBA jobs. The average HBS student wouldn't so much as get a look at one of these firms. And quite frankly, not everyone will get into HBS. Then what? If you want to work at McKinsey or something I've got news for you: you have a pretty decent shot coming out of Yale SOM if you're the type of candidate they like. 10 out of the class of 2013 alone. Not bad for a class size of ~260. Just do a linkedin search and see for yourself. You want Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley or Cargill? Check out the numbers that Darden gets in. You want to work in entertainment? Check out the critical mass of UCLA alum at the major studios.

And you're right. I'm not at HSW. I'm at Tuck. People here get whatever they want simply because their resumes matter more in the grand scheme. Because I'm in a national fraternity, I have friends up and down the top 20-and what I did was simply compile their anecdotes (and complaints) to create a set of general guidelines. Nothing here is absolute, and I always qualify with "depends on what you want to do and your situation". I celebrated with many of them as their acceptances poured in, and overall I'd say 80% plus within the "bottom half" of the top 15 have gotten what they wanted careerwise and I haven't witnessed any big dropoff in satisfaction from those who had the gall to turn down M7 schools, though to be fair only like 2 turned down W and none turned down H or S-HSW is pretty impenetrable. Furthermore, I know a good number who chose higher ranked schools for the prestige but got overwhelmed when they saw who they ended up competing against in their classes for those closed list slots! It's why I always emphasize that you make sure you assess how competitive you are for the jobs you want in the first place. I firmly believe that that matters more than which school you end up attending (again, within reason).

TL:DR I know, but you get my drift, lol

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Jun 23, 2014

Forget the prestige, the only reason you are going there is to get a better job so in my view the recruiting statistics should be the number one criteria to rank your target shools, maybe a few other aspects could affect the ranking as well but job placement was my first one

Jan 2, 2015
antmavel:

Forget the prestige, the only reason you are going there is to get a better job so in my view the recruiting statistics should be the number one criteria to rank your target shools, maybe a few other aspects could affect the ranking as well but job placement was my first one

Agree 100% with the overall sentiment, but I'd also say that "fit" is going to be a big factor. At some schools job offers don't even take place by formal interview sessions and job fairs, but the interested firms will talk to their alumnus professors in the school's finance department and ask them to recommend their top two or three students. It's going to be difficult to have your name come to mind if you aren't a good cultural fit for that school.

Jun 23, 2014

I agree with most of your points Grind BC I have many friends who attend or graduated from M7 schools, who have said similar things. I, myself, considered b school recently and after meeting many Wharton students, I came away unimpressed and questioning the whole idea of b school FT. Everyone has different reasons for attending b school and I noticed that many "need" b school to change their lives, self confidence, etc. My friend recently passed on HBS for similar reasons.

Ultimately job searches come down to individual's resume BC the same caliber of firms are recruiting for the same positions at top 15 b schools. Yes, there are some firms that will only recruit from HSW, but those firms and oppts are the significant minority.

Jun 23, 2014

Throw me into the pile of people who made "bad decisions", I chose Tuck over Kellogg despite the latter being ranked higher *gasp*.

I'm targeting MBB, Parthenon, etc on the consulting side along with GM/Strat gigs with a few prominent F500 companies. For me given that placement is fairly similar, I chose based on fit, so Tuck was a relative no brainer for me. Additionally, while I didn't apply to HBS, it is probably the only business school I would have gone to over Tuck.

I get the need for tiers within the top 14 b-schools, but outside of certain finance jobs, the placement of the top 8 to 10 programmes are pretty much on par.

Jun 23, 2014
GlobeTF:

Throw me into the pile of people who made "bad decisions", I chose Tuck over Kellogg despite the latter being ranked higher *gasp*.

I'm targeting MBB, Parthenon, etc on the consulting side along with GM/Strat gigs with a few prominent F500 companies. For me given that placement is fairly similar, I chose based on fit, so Tuck was a relative no brainer for me. Additionally, while I didn't apply to HBS, it is probably the only business school I would have gone to over Tuck.

I get the need for tiers within the top 14 b-schools, but outside of certain finance jobs, the placement of the top 8 to 10 programmes are pretty much on par.

Congrats on your decision! You'll be happy to know that out of our recent graduating class, something like ~25% got MBB and over 1/3 got Consulting. They killed it. Those numbers are about the same for internships at my class as well. Both Tuck and Kellogg are consulting powerhouses in terms of placement so again, this was def. a case where fit and other circumstances could be considered.

Jun 23, 2014

Deleted, duplicate.

Jun 23, 2014

With all due respect, you're totally off base here. First, as a current M7 mba student who went through finance recruiting, I can tell you affirmatively that for finance jobs, the gap between Wharton and Columbia is a small one. If you narrow that down to NYC finance jobs, the gap becomes almost non-existent. In fact, the Columbia location actually plays an advantage in terms of easy access to firms, both large and small. For example, I know for a FACT that a lot of NYC based hedge funds, PE shops, and asset management firms that don't do on-campus recruiting posted jobs on the Columbia Business job board but not at Wharton. Of course, Wharton is a better school OVERALL, but in certain areas the gap isn't that big.

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Jun 23, 2014

You actually know people who went to b-school to improve their self-confidence? Wow.

Jun 23, 2014

I met many who went to b school BC they needed something prestigious to cling on to and talk about in social circles. I don't have any friends that fit into that mold, but I've attended enough Thursday night mixers to know who falls into that category. They are the type that wears their HBS, Wharton etc etc t shirt well past graduation.

Jun 23, 2014
IvyLeagueVet:

I met many who went to b school BC they needed something prestigious to cling on to and talk about in social circles.

Dude, look at the first half of your username.

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Jun 23, 2014

Man, if I were at HBS I would be wearing the black class/section jacket almost every day. Heck, I wear my non-HBS M7 shirt and backpack every other day; my good friends give me a ton of shit for it, but it's all good.

Jun 23, 2014

Is this sarcasm? I truly hope.

Jun 23, 2014
mbavsmfin:

Man, if I were at HBS I would be wearing the black class/section jacket almost every day. Heck, I wear my non-HBS M7 shirt and backpack every other day; my good friends give me a ton of shit for it, but it's all good.

And this is the worst kept secret of WSO.

Any long time reader of WSO knows that @"mbavsmfin" is Brady.

Jun 23, 2014
snakeoil:
mbavsmfin:

Man, if I were at HBS I would be wearing the black class/section jacket almost every day. Heck, I wear my non-HBS M7 shirt and backpack every other day; my good friends give me a ton of shit for it, but it's all good.

And this is the worst kept secret of WSO.

Any long time reader of WSO knows that @mbavsmfin is Brady.

Yup. I thought the exact same thing. This comment + crying about not getting into HBS + the absurd knowledge about every b school = Brady.

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Jun 29, 2014

I think grad school generally helps, and I think choosing Tuck to save money over Wharton or Harvard is just as valid a decision as spending more for a better school.

If you get an MBA and you wind up with a nice job in finance, you went to the right school.

Jun 23, 2014

As someone that went to a Top 15 program after spending 2 years in Oil & Gas engineering (and now am a Finance Manager) I would say the last point is spot on. I noticed most people would be selected for roles based on their previous experience. That being said the school matters for certain roles and for certain companies but all that information is on their sites ahead of time so it shouldn't be a surprise.

Jun 23, 2014

Finaly people starting to realize that it's the knowledge that matters not the school name. Took you a while.

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

Jun 23, 2014

Uh, not quite. Your prior experience matters a lot, yes, but the school name is critical in getting you that initial access. My knowledge base and experience were no different earlier this year than it was the year before when I was not in b-school. But my b-school pedigree allowed me to get interviews at firms that previously would not have even looked at me.

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Jun 25, 2014

huge help, and huge thanks to op!
Although I'm not going into MBA and going into MSA(MAcc), this really solidifies my idea and decision!
again, Thanks!

Jun 27, 2014

Great points and I agree that for most jobs, M7 schools have similar opportunities.

For anyone reading from outside of the US though, Marcus makes an important point and I'll reiterate the issues that my classmates from other countries were unaware of coming in.

Although prior experience matters, friends who were strong candidates for PE jobs (buyside in their home country,etc) were just naware how much more extensive harvard, stanford and to a lesser degree wharton's PE networks were compared to ours. This distinction should not be minimized.

Throwaway 111: At Columbia, many of those coming from PE want to go into HF, especially those in the value investing program, and they place well in HFs. Those from well known PE firms did get great PE /direct investing jobs afterward (top megafunds, family offices, etc).

So - is Columbia worth it? It didn't hold my friends back, but their prior experience played a greater role in their success. Those i know from top PE firms would all do it over again for the personal benefits, but professionally, I imagine they could have accomplished the same jump without school, so it comes down to whether the personal network justifies the tuition for you.

also fyi- friends from top consulting firms had a difficult time even getting interviews without visas ( excluding consulting and banking), and had no idea recruiting would be that restrictive. Some people succeeded, but many went back to their firms/home countries. Its important to be prepare for this and network ahead of recruiting. This applies to any US MBA program.

Jun 29, 2014

Glad I stumbled onto this topic!

I am 100% sure I want to live in Texas after my MBA. Where would you draw the line at choosing a higher ranked school over McCombs? For example, Ross and Fuqua are higher ranked than McCombs but not sure how much pull they have for getting a marketing/tech job in Texas. I'm leaning towards applying to M7+McCombs.

Jun 29, 2014

If you're 100% sure about living in texas post-mba, just do m7+mccombs. Ross/Darden/Fuqua/Yale/Anderson are marginally "better," but not superior to the point that it outweighs the texas location of mccombs. If you get into M7, ESPECIALLY HSW, you need to go even if McCombs gives you money.

Jun 30, 2014

Texas is one of those weird states where no one cares about schools outside of Texas all that much since the networks here pretty much dictate everything; it's kind of like its own country in that regard, lol. Most hiring managers and execs you meet will have gone to a handful of TX schools and they look out for their own (Incidentally, I noticed the same is true for Big Law out here as well, and you know how snobby Big Law is!). I would personally draw the line at M7, and maybe throw in Berkeley and Yale (their names are real strong internationally in case i leave the door open-i ultimately plan on working overseas anyway).

Jun 30, 2014

How far is Tuck "below" the other M7 schools? Is Tuck closer to Columbia than to Stern?

Almost all of the female MBA students are in a relationship when they arrive, right? Are there many hot girls at Dartmouth in general? If you're 27, is it inappropriate to date an undergraduate? Are there mixers with the Med School (Geisel)?

Is Tuck a target for the IBD divisions of all the top banks, i.e. GS/JPM/MS? If you're European / from the Middle East, will the BB's in NYC be willing to interview you and potentially sponsor your H1B Visa? And what will they do if you lose in the H1B lottery after 12 months on the job - send you to London?

Jun 30, 2014
El Lebani:

How far is Tuck "below" the other M7 schools? Is Tuck closer to Columbia than to Stern?

Almost all of the female MBA students are in a relationship when they arrive, right? Are there many hot girls at Dartmouth in general? If you're 27, is it inappropriate to date an undergraduate? Are there mixers with the Med School (Geisel)?

Is Tuck a target for the IBD divisions of all the top banks, i.e. GS/JPM/MS? If you're European / from the Middle East, will the BB's in NYC be willing to interview you and potentially sponsor your H1B Visa? And what will they do if you lose in the H1B lottery after 12 months on the job - send you to London?

Let's see if I can answer these in order:

1) Not far at all. They're actually quite similar. Tuck's compensation numbers, for example, tend to surpass most of the M7, but that's more likely because we have a much smaller % of students going after things like non-profit and government work relative to other schools, so take that w/ a grain of salt. Honestly, I haven't noticed any considerable advantage or disadvantage within the top 10 unless we're talking PE/VC/HF. It's also prob easier to score one of those "hot" west coast tech jobs out of HSW and Sloan, but even then I've got a decent number of classmates who managed to do so. The internationals had a rougher go of it, though.

2)Actually, most of the guys arrive in relationships, too, so that partially offsets those 60-40 "MBA ratios". You'll find that one of the worst kept secrets of MBA land is that relationships, for the most part, tend not to matter too much in these environments. Hooking up still takes place at an astonishing rate. Plenty of hot girls at Dartmouth overall when you combine the med school, various masters of public health programs, the b-school, engineering school, and Phd students. And I don't personally see why a 27 yr old couldn't date a 22 yr old senior, but in general it doesn't happen often. The schools tend to sit in silos and your schedule will be filled to capacity most days. I think I've been to one undergrad frat party my entire time here. And yes, you'll have the occasional grad school mixer, but again, you have to do your own hunting. The bottom line, though, is that people are people, so "dating" out here isn't particularly difficult. And if you're willing to go for townies it's a slam dunk.

3) All of the top banks recruit here. Don't take my word for it; just do a linkedin search and see for yourself. Don't know the actual breakdown of who went where offhand, but I'm 99% sure that every single person who wanted IB in my class got it, and that goes for internationals. Honestly, if there ever was a year to break into banking, especially at a BB, this is it. You'll get in from any top school. I imagine the consequences of losing the Visa lottery have not changed, but I'm hardly the source for that info.

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Jun 30, 2014

I don't attend Tuck, but I second TheGrind's post. I seriously looked at Tuck and even visited and liked everything about it. The finance recruiting is strong, much stronger than people give it credit for. It does particularly well with Boston Asset Management and private equity and absolutely crushes in consulting. Its tech presence is slowly but surely rising as well. My only beef was the small class size but the upside of that is the intense bonding experience and super loyal alumni network.

As for dating, a lot of relationships get broken up in b-school. I could go on about this, but basically women at top schools realize that they will never again be in an environment with such a high concentration of smart accomplished alpha men who have their shit together. This inevitably results in them dumping their boyfriends back home and starting fresh. The main problem is that all the guys are targeting the single attractive ones, so you gotta move quickly. And by quickly, I mean by the end of orientation and certainly by the end of the first month of school. If you wait past that, she will be taken, and you would have lost your chance.

My b-school is part of a university with tons of graduate and professional programs. Unfortunately, inter-school mixers are rare, so you really gotta go out there and find your own opportunity (hmmm, sounds a lot like networking and getting a job). From my experience, however, women at these other schools absolutely love MBA guys because they assume that we are successful and will be making a lot of money. The MBAs are also way more social and attractive than say guys from law, med, Phd programs, so that helps as well.

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Jul 2, 2014
TheGrind:

Honestly, if there ever was a year to break into banking, especially at a BBthis is it. You'll get in from any top school.

A naive question - Why is that?

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Jul 2, 2014
someusername:
TheGrind:

Honestly, if there ever was a year to break into banking, especially at a BBthis is it. You'll get in from any top school.

A naive question - Why is that?

Jul 2, 2014

Could have sworn I left an answer in here to your question but ah well. long story short, due to a number of reasons ranging from the effects of the recession to its tarnished reputation, the boom in consulting and tech etc- it isn't nearly as popular as it was 6-7 yrs ago. The ones going into it now are either truly passionate or are internationals after a Visa, so if you're at a target school it's your ball to drop. Every single one of my classmates as well as all but a handful of my friends (military, frat, MBA circuit) up and down the top 15 who recruited for BB IB got it.

Jul 2, 2014

Agree 100%. Banking is pretty easy to get these days. I'd estimate of my class probably 90%+ of those that tried for banking got banking. Consulting and Tech were the huge draws though had lower hit rates. Consulting was probably 33-50% and Tech was decently difficult as well. It wasn't overly popular and defiantly categorized as a "bro" thing.

Jul 3, 2014

Yup. BB IB has been fairly easy to get. BB S&T on the other hand is nearly impossible for MBAs.

Jul 3, 2014

GS put the kibosh on MBA recruiting for SnT years ago and everyone followed suit. Makes sense BC biz model doesn't allow for it and MBA is pretty fucking useless for trading.

GS switched their SnT Associate recruiting to mostly veterans. They have been piping recently separated military with no MBA into Associate roles in Securities for 3 years now and the program has been a hit, of course, with other US BBs following suit.

Jul 2, 2014

TheGrind & mbavsmfin: Thanks so much for your comments!! Much appreciated. What about the Europeans in your programs? Are they currently doing summer internships in NYC? Or in London (if the latter, did they do so by choice or because the companies preferred to send them back)? Did they face harsh restrictions on which companies they could interview with due to their Visa status? Do they want to stay in the U.S.?

Jul 2, 2014

Tons of Europeans at my school. Most are doing internships in the states and they prefer being in the U.S. for the most part. The exception seems to be those who are returning to previous employers, family businesses, etc. I'm not a Visa expert, but from what I've heard the Visa issue is a huge problem for full-time jobs.

Jul 2, 2014

"I'm not a Visa expert, but from what I've heard the Visa issue is a huge problem for full-time jobs."

-- Is this true for banking / consulting as well? They're usually pretty liberal with visas / moving you to London etc.

Jul 2, 2014

Well, let me clarify my statement. Perhaps "huge" problem is an overstatement. First, most banking and consulting firms are not going to hold that against you during the hiring process. However, I do know people who had to transfer to an office abroad if they could not get the Visa issue resolved. It's a pain in the butt but not a career dealbreaker. So my earlier statement was a bit exaggerated.

Jul 2, 2014

I am fairly confident that visas were a nonissue for banking at my school. Relatively the same for consulting, though I'd guess it was easier to get hired into the home country (LatAm/Asia). Generally the way it works is companies say whether or not the sponsor visas. I know not all companies did and that created some headaches on trying to figure out which ones did but for the most part pretty much everyone that wanted to stay stayed. Might a bit of a headache navigating the process but apart from that I don't think it was a huge problem in securing jobs.

Jul 3, 2014

Great, thank you all for the info!

Jul 4, 2014

Good read

Jul 6, 2014

TheGrind & mbavsmfin: Again -- thanks so much for your thorough answers. According to the websites for top 10 MBA schools, tuition + "other fees" (Health, Computer, Board, etc.) ~ 70K. Total budget is usually ~ 95K. Was 25K (2.8K / month) enough for you to cover rent/utilities, food, personal, transportation during your first year? Did you live frugally? Will it handicap your social life if you only want to participate in events on or close to campus, i.e. if you're unwilling to pay for a learning expeditions to Dubai, weekend trips to Miami, etc.? Also, most MBA's in IBD earn 21K (8,333 dollars / month * 2,5 months), right? How much money do MBA students usually save over the summer?

Jul 6, 2014

I think ~3k a month on average is sufficient. Some months you will spend more others less (though this depends on where you are living). As far as trips are concerned, those can tack on an additional 5-10k. I personally didn't do them because I'm well traveled and thought they were a waste of money, especially for what you could do with the equivalent on a personal trip. That said, tons of people do them and they are good bonding experiences.

As far as the summer is concerned, you need to bear in mind that there are taxes so that 21k will probably really be like 14k. You might also be in a situation where you are paying double rent for the summer (I did). The bright side is that banking signing bonuses were 50-60k; however, again you will only see about half of that. Some banks paid them earlier than others but I think most people had the money by December.

On a side note, consulting salaries are significantly higher with lower signing bonuses. A lot of corporate jobs have higher salaries with pretty decent signing bonuses too.

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Jul 6, 2014

Can you give us some exact compensaiton numbers for post MBA IBD, MBB, and Corporate positions?