In addition to MBA decision season, this time of year is all about basketball. If you are one of the millions of hoops fans out there, you may be wondering where you can get a great graduate business education and also a seat at some great basketball games. Here's a ranking of schools where you can have both.
The Olympics are inspiring. No matter what country you’re rooting for, the level of competition and amount of preparation and skill on display makes us all want to do better. Leveraging this example during your business school application process can bring results worthy of a medal ceremony. When choosing where you will apply, therefore, don’t be afraid to go for the gold.
Cornell’s early admission decisions for their one-year MBA will be released in a few days, so even if you did not apply to this program, it’s essentially the starting gun for this year’s results. Since over the next several weeks and months applicants the world over will be getting good and bad news from their target schools, it’s a great time to prepare yourself to receive the responses. Will you be getting a “yes” from your top choice?
Ok so there’s lots to talk this time of year regarding school selection, application strategy, essay writing, recommendations, and resumes, but let’s daydream for a minute that you have been accepted into your school of choice. Have you considered yet how you will make the move to business school and where you will live? It’s not a bad idea to start thinking about this lifestyle choice early in the process.
In the ever-increasing competition amongst the world’s top business schools, there are several ways each school tries to stand out from the crowd. For the longest time, the best schools could rely on reputation alone, and the flood of top students matriculating at these schools coupled with the incredible opportunities for graduates with top firms on the backend made for a nearly permanent lofty position in the rankings tables. As the demand for the MBA heated up, however, and the philanthropic investment in these schools climbed, each program found itself with plenty of money in their endowment pool to plow back into the program. What has resulted is a facilities arms race that now extends well beyond the top ten or twenty business schools.
This post is going to feel like its about Wharton, but its not - not really. I'm prompted to write it because of Wharton, but it is about a larger issue, which is whether or not you should have a takeaway when you see that an MBA program is going all in on its marketing. Should you read into it or ignore it? And if you do search out some meaning, is it is good or bad thing when a business school suddenly seems to have hired a new marketing whiz who knows how to game the headlines? Let's dive in.
One of the main challenges at the schools with both part time and full time programs has nothing to do with rankings, but rather with job placement. Getting your MBA is mostly about landing that dream job at the end, and the last thing a graduating MBA needs to worry about is whether or not they will be able to land one. But this can sometimes be exactly the challenge at schools with large part time programs. In fact, since these schools often have a far larger part time program than their full time program, there is sometimes a glut of graduating MBAs at these schools who are competing against each other for jobs from both tracks.
It may sound strange to think of a school having a personality, but the culture found within the walls of the most popular business schools can vary just as widely as the personalities of people.
Finding the right fit between a school’s culture and your own personality can be tricky and is not something you can ignore if you want to be happy and maximize your potential in an MBA program.
Of course “knowing thyself” is the first step in finding a good match with any institutional program.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you thrive in a competitive environment or do you prefer to operate with an “everyone wins” approach? Do you have a learning style that is energized in the classroom from lectures and discussions, or do you come alive through hands-on, experiential learning? These considerations can help you tune into the programs which will align with the way you are wired, but they don’t even begin to address all the things you should consider. Simple phase of life situations can also affect how well you will dovetail with an MBA program. For example, some programs have mostly single students, while others have a large population of married students, even many with children. Often, schools with more single students do more social events where you end up hanging out with your classmates after classes or on weekends. Does that sound appealing or like your worst nightmare? Even the average number of years of work experience at an MBA program can radically affect that school’s culture, since age is often correlated to maturity and level of seriousness.
Once you do a thorough self-assessment and have a strong feeling for your personal preferences, you can begin to assessment of the schools themselves.
Some schools have a similar culture, and are sometimes associated with each other, such as HBS and Darden, or Fuqua and Kellogg, but don’t think that such reputations mean these schools are exactly the same. Subtle differences can sometimes make a big difference. As an example, Chicago Booth is often compared to Wharton, but did you know that at Wharton, students are ranked? This creates a healthy competition amongst students, but could also add stress to your time there. Often, feedback from Wharton students indicates they are fairly miserable during the program, but tend to enjoy their post-MBA careers more than other program’s graduates.
As we have mentioned before, the best way to ascertain the personality of each school is to visit in person.
Surfing a school’s website or even chatting with current or former students will only get you so far, but visiting a school, sitting in on a class and personally interviewing faculty, staff and students can reveal insights which are otherwise elusive or superficial if only viewed from the outside. You would never marry someone without dating them first, and you should be thinking of b-school in a similar way. Making the wrong decision could derail your career and seriously impact your post MBA happiness. Let us guide your school selection process—you might be surprised how much it can help.
Finding the best MBA programs in the world is not a difficult task. To be sure, resources abound which slice, dice and rank top programs from just about every angle imaginable. The digital age has made this process even easier. In fact, there is so much data out there, one can quickly get mired down in “analysis paralysis,” in the absence of a perspective. Your main focus, however, should not be to find the best programs, but rather to find the best programs for you. How can you do this?
Today we are going to take the term "Safety School" and put it through the shredder. Reasonable minds can probably disagree on what the term should mean, but what I want to do is explain why I personally do not believe that "Safety School" should be part of an MBA applicant's lexicon.
First, the term is used incorrectly about 90% of the time. When applicants say "safety school," what they often mean is "a school that is really good but that hopefully I have a better chance to get into." If you are using the term this way, just as a shorthand, that is fine but make sure that it's clarified with anyone you are working with, such as your consultant. The real use for "safety school" should probably translate more or less to "a sure bet." With college applicants - due to the pressure to be enrolled on an exact timeline (following high school graduation, of course) - a "safety school" is a very real thing; you simply have to pick some programs that you are sure to get into. Often this means a program from that student's home state, sometimes with sheer numerical thresholds (lacking holistic admissions processes). If you go to school in California and have a certain matrix of GPA and test scores, you can feel "safe" about getting into certain Cal-State programs. That's a safety school. Ross and Duke Fuqua are not safety schools. Now, what if you are using the term in the right way?