Are All MBAs Created Equal?
According to a recent Fortune article, MBA hiring is up. But employers are being highly selective. Continuing on a theme that I mentioned last week in my post about language skills, globalization is the big buzzword right now.
But before you decide to run out and get an MBA from just any old school, consider this. Does it matter where an MBA comes from?
According to both the author of the article and the recruiter that she interviewed, the answer is 'yes'.
The big brand-name investment banks and consulting firms do 90% of their recruiting at a "target list" of brand-name campuses - and it's a tiny number of schools, sometimes as few as six, sometimes as many as 14, but a tiny list. It isn't the recruiters' fault, by the way. Their lives would actually be easier if they had a broader pool of candidates. No, it's the partners making that decision, and it has to do with the whole culture, and traditions that date back many years. So yes, if you want to work at a top firm, you have to go to a top school like Harvard, Wharton, Chicago, Stanford, or Columbia - unless you have an uncle in the business.
Unfortunately, the same principle holds true for law. When I applied to law school, everyone told me to enroll in the best school that I could get into, no matter what the financial cost. Even though it flew in the face of all conventional wisdom, I made the conscious choice to attend a lesser-ranked public institution, knowing that my decision would foreclose certain opportunities at some of the more prestigious law firms in other geographic locations. Thankfully, things still worked out for me. But it's something to consider when you're thinking about applying to graduate programs.