To follow up on the “should you expand your list?” post from yesterday, we start with an email sent in long ago by a Brave Supplicant of yore:
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you that I truly enjoy reading your posts; they are entertaining & informative.Now, the numerous books you have written are focused on the American prestigious bschools. Do you foresee yourself writing similar books about top bschools in France in the near future? I am experiencing difficulty finding third-party information about French institutions. What little I do find are not adequate– they don’t tell me what each of the schools are “known for”, what type of candidates they seek, the culture of these institutions etc.Some of the institutions and programs that are of interest to me are:1) Grenoble Graduate School of Business– MSc Finance2) Toulouse Business School– MSc Banking and International Finance3) Rouen Business School- MSc in FinanceThank you!! A post about anyone of those would be greatly appreciated!
We can appreciate this. There’s a lack of information on many programs once you move outside the Top 30, or are exploring other business-y master’s programs that aren’t the traditional MBA. Unfortunately EssaySnark doesn’t know much about these three programs either, for the same reasons: There’s just not that much interest in them. If someone were to come to us asking about the “best bschools in France” we would’ve naturally rattled off INSEAD or maybe HEC Paris. Certainly these three are also in the category of “good schools” but they’re not ones we’re intimately familiar with.
The perhaps inconvenient truth of the matter is, if you’re considering any off-the-beaten-path school and you’re having trouble finding information about it, the best thing you can do for yourself is go visit the place. That’s right, we just gave you an assignment to go on a trip to France.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll undoubtedly be saying it again: School visits are critical to help you understand what a program is about. There’s truly no other way of knowing what a school’s culture is without visiting. And school culture is critical in helping you understand if you will fit in there or not.
Another blunt-force method of finding out if a school might be right for you is to look at their employment recruiting report. Most schools publish lists of employers who came on campus and industry/function where recent graduates were hired into. This data can be invaluable in helping you match up whether a school can help you land the type of opportunity you’re looking for coming out.
One word of warning: If there’s truly no information about a school available on the Web, that may in fact mean that it’s a poorly-ranked program. (We’re not trying to imply this about the three schools listed at the top of this page – it’s simply a side comment since we’re on the subject of lesser-known programs.)
You don’t need to go to a Top 10 school in order to get a great education, however opportunities coming out are often commensurate with the school’s reputation. Employers need to have heard of the school in order for there to be a wide variety of interesting positions recruiting on campus. If you’re not planning on leaving your current geography after bschool, and if you’re not trying to make big jump or switcheroo in your career, then the local university might be a fine option – probably there’s a lot of regional companies with a recruiting presence there. If you want to go further in life, then the school in your backyard may not offer that type of mobility. The minimum requirement in terms of educational quality is that your school should be AACSB-accredited (or similar).
A major advantage of applying to a lower-ranked program? If your profile is decent, you should not have too much trouble getting an offer. You would probably not even need to go through an expensive admissions consulting process, for example, in order to gain entry to a good-but-not-great program. If you wanted to get your essays reviewed just to make sure you’re not committing some egregious mistake, then fine, but frankly if you’re already a regular reader of this blahg, it’s probably not necessary. You should be able to equip yourself with enough knowledge from the resources offered here to do a good-enough job on those essays that they’ll want to admit you. Yes, the competition is that much less at these schools.
Of course, that also implies that the caliber of student you’ll encounter is somewhat lower than you’ll find at the H/S/Ws of the world… but there are tradeoffs everywhere in life, and sometimes the students at next-ranked programs are even more motivated to do great things than their counterparts at the especially elite institutions.
Keep your options open, do your homework, and you’re bound to find the place that’s right for you.
To directly answer the question asked by long-ago emailing BSer: No, we won’t be writing essay guides on those unusual French schools. We would like to do one for LBS at some point, but it’s unlikely to happen in the next few weeks or even months. We also want to do Chicago, and update the Kellogg guide — we’ve gotten requests for those. And Yale. And Duke…
Alas, as you can see, there are far too many great schools out there for even the ‘Snark to stay on top of! We don’t know dates on when – or whether – any of these will see essay guides, particularly now that we’re hot and heavy in essay season.
The current list of available essay guides is in our Bookstore, available at Amazon and other channels (note that you don’t need to own a Kindle in order to use the Kindle ebook versions – you can view them in a player on your PC or Mac).