If one of your priorities in choosing an MBA program is making sure that the school’s reputation will help you in your future career in your distant home country, then this post is for you. Or more precisely, this post is for you if you are coming to terms with the fact that the “best”…
We’ve told you before that in terms of getting into bschool, it does not matter if you don’t have a name like Deloitte or Tata or whatever impressive-sounding corporation you can think of on your resume already. We covered this in a “3 Myths” post back in 2013 and then expanded on it more fully in a subsequent post after being questioned by a BSer, and it’s something that we repeat on a fairly regular basis to stressed-out BSers who are manufacturing more problems for themselves than necessary in their application strategy research.
So how can we make such claims when this admissions person at Goizueta clearly states the opposite?!???
At 1:32, in describing the ideal candidate for their 1-year MBA, the Emory rep mentions career progression, and working for a “brand-name organization”, among other things.
How in heck does that sync up with what we have said?
GOOD QUESTION, BSer! It’s a confusing situation, we admit.
We never ever would want to imply or suggest that what we tell you should trump what you hear directly from an admissions person at a specific school. The official word from the school is ALWAYS the gospel – way more weighty and significant than what any ‘Snark person might be offering up to you here on the blahg or through our one-on-one consulting services.
That being said: We take this whole MBA admissions advice thing verrrrrry seriously, and how could we knowingly be talking this sort of smack when there’s a direct contradiction available from an actual business school?
Let’s parse this out.
First of all, that video is defining the ideal for a very specific track at one specific school. A one-year MBA at ANY U.S. business school is a different type of beast than the standard two-year MBA which offers a more leisurely pace (comparatively speaking – nothing about bschool is technically “leisurely”!!) and, importantly, an opportunity for an internship. The one-year MBA is appropriate for a different type of person. Almost always, it’s a requirement, or at least a very very strong recommendation, that the candidate to this sort of program come from an undergraduate business background of some sort, and/or have extensive business experience pre-MBA. It’s necessary, in order for the student to hit the ground running and be able to leverage the graduate business education in that accelerated one-year format.
That’s just one example, to show how the profile of a typical 1Y student is just different from what the 2Y MBA programs can accommodate and support. Please remember that unless we call it out specifically, any and all post on this here blahg is written for the audience of BSers who are trying for the most competitive U.S. MBA programs – meaning, the two-year full-time tracks at the top schools. We don’t call that out at the beginning of every post because it’s just assumed that you know that that’s what we’re writing about.
No, working for a name-brand company does not automatically give you this business background that you would need for the 1Y track; that’s not why we’re discussing these things together. What is true is that having a brand-name company on your resume can make recruiting easier.
That’s the case for ANYBODY. At any school.
You know how the M/B/Bs of the world and the highly coveted bulge bracket banks all use the top MBA programs as a funnel into their hiring processes? They do this not entirely because of the massively useful skills that they get out of the MBAs that the hire. No. (Sometimes in fact they have to UN-train their new recruits based on what they mistakenly learned in bschool.) The reason that the large consulting and financial services firms like to hire newly-minted MBAs from good schools is because the schools have done so much of the work in vetting and screening them. Just the fact that you get IN to a top school is a rubber stamp in terms of the qualities and attributes you’re exhibiting, that the top firms also value. Things like hard work and perseverance and proper career progression. All the stuff that the adcoms look for is also stuff that the recruiters care about too.
This same model holds true, at least to some degree, with getting hired by a brand name firm BEFORE you get your MBA. If you graduated from college and were able to land a plum position at a big-name company, well, that means that you kicked some butt in school and you impressed the recruiter at that company. You jumped through their hoops and managed yourself well in the interview, and they hired you. They put up some obstacles, and you overcame them. You passed.
It’s not a universal statement that everyone working for a brand name company is capable and qualified. But having a big company on your resume can give a sense of assurance to the recruiter. It’s a signal that you can work the system and succeed.
We stand by our statement in that previous post that adcoms don’t care where you work, and that you’re not at a disadvantage if you’re at a small company, as long as you show that you’re a go-getter who’s done stuff in the environment in which you work.
Then the other point – and we suspect this is just going to come across wrong but so be it: The school whose video we have posted here is simply not the most competitive place in the country. They don’t get oodles of apps. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a good school, and we have helped quite a few BSers make their way in. You can’t just waltz into the place without proving yourself.
But let’s be frank, this is not Harvard. And getting into a 1Y track – any 1Y track, anywhere – is often much less competitive than the 2Y program at the same school (this is true at Kellogg and at Cornell – there’s simply less competition for the slots – and we suspect it’s true at Emory too).
Given these realities, how can a less-competitive place improve their standing in the world? How can they increase their ranking and thus in the future, potentially attract stronger candidates, and then eventually, end up changing their reputation based on the quality of graduate that they send forth into the world?
By setting the bar high(er) for their applicants.
That Emory admissions rep was describing an ideal profile for their specific program. It’s absolutely a true statement that having a brand-name company is ideal if you’re interested in the 1Y MBA at Emory. They would probably also tell you the same for their 2Y MBA. And in fact, if pressed, we’d guess that many other admissions people around the world would agree that it’s ideal to have that.
But we’ve seen it stated on the HBS admissions blog over and over again that it’s NOT necessary to get into Harvard. And we’ve heard directly from other admissions people at a vast spectrum of schools that it’s not necessary for them.
We wanted to dedicate a post on this, because we’d hate for someone to see that video from Emory, or any other thing that some specific admissions person at some school said some time, and have people wonder about the contradictions there versus what we’ve claimed. These things are nuanced, and you need to consider the exact details of the situation being described. All bschool information stated by a school is specific to their school (and also, quite unfortunately, sometimes the school reps contradict each other!). Sure there are commonalities and patterns and trends across schools, but with everything you hear in your quest for an admit, just consider the source and understand the context, and spend some time teasing apart the rationale behind the advice being given. And if you ever come across a similar such contradiction, we hope that you will PLEASE let us know about it so that we can have an opportunity to explain and clarify – or if we’re wrong, retract what we’ve stated before.
‘Cuz accuracy is what matters. We want you to be successful, BSer!
Well this sucks. A Brave Supplicant sent us a question just over a week ago and apparently they wanted our response in time for a deadline that has now come and gone. We always welcome those inquiries and requests for free essay reviews but we really can’t guarantee a specific timeframe on a response; we…
Man we wrote a lot about Yale yesterday, talking about their new policy of reducing the application fee for those with lower incomes. Our position (sorry Yale) is that this is basically a gimmick, to get some press, and to throw the mantle of the do-gooder out into the world.
It kind of reminds us of the Brave Supplicant who scrambles to begin all these volunteering activities in the summer right before they apply to bschool. Aww, that’s great, look at you, you’re such a good person! You’re volunteering!
Yeah, such efforts are a little transparent. SkepticalSnark does not see Yale’s new policy making that big of a difference to very many people. Perhaps it’s only meant to be symbolic. An extra $50 in the pocket surely IS significant to someone on a very limited income – but how many of those are actually applying to Yale?
To its credit, Yale waives the app fee entirely for vets – not just active-duty servicemembers, which is how some schools implement their “military support”. That’s cool, Yale. Not all schools do this. (Note to the SOM adcom: You may want to include this waiver info in the app and your FAQ – assuming the policy is still valid. Right now it’s only listed on your Veterans special-interest page.)
However if they really wanted to put their money where their mouth is with encouraging these outlier candidates, why not ditch the fee entirely? Or make it a token $50 – that is, “token” from the perspective of the esteemed university. If someone makes as little as $10,000 a year, we don’t care where in the world they happen to live, $50 is a big deal – so yes, that means that Yale’s generous sliding scale is helpful, but it just underscores for us how expensive all of this stuff is.
Since we’re on this subject: The application fee is less at lower-ranked schools. For example, Emory’s fee is $150. That can’t be because it’s cheaper for them to process your application. The higher-ranked schools get it both ways: They’re popular, so they get a lot more apps, and they can charge more money (in so many cases, they’re charging you for the privilege of rejecting you – how is that for an injustice!). The whole “prestige” factor works both ways, it attracts more of you to apply and then it lets them justify a higher fee for you to submit.
Yet some schools a notch further down the rankings ladder actually charge NO FEE – SMU Cox in Dallas is one. Cox is a good school – sure, it’s not Yale, but they’re sending a great message: We want you to apply! Not sure how that affects the quality of the apps. We have heard at least one BSer say that they intended to apply there at the end of their process as a “just-in-case”; it does likely reinforce the “safety school” perception in some ways.
Duke does a great job of communicating its values through its policies: For many years now, they’ve had a program where they will reduce the fee if you attend an on-campus event or if you get an endorsement from a student or alumni. This is because they really (REALLY REALLY) want you to come visit and see what they’re about, and they also really value the community and appreciate it when someone has connections to the school. Another school that uses these policies effectively is CMU Tepper: They waive the fee for reapplicants. Now THAT’S reapplicant-friendly!
Do you know of any other school with innovative fee policies like this? Please post them in the comments below. You certainly shouldn’t be using the school’s application fee as a criteria by which to decide if you’ll apply or not, but it would be interesting to collect some other instances of schools that have programs in place that are truly applicant-friendly.