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Top 10 Schools vs Top 20 Schools

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shweezy Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Top 10 Schools vs Top 20 Schools

Post Tue Dec 25, 2007 8:40 pm
Hi everyone, I have a quick question regarding rankings:

Is an MBA at a top 10 school (e.g. U of Michigan, U of Chicago) that much more highly looked upon in industry than a top 20 school (e.g. UCLA, USC)? I'd really like to go to a school in Southern California, but according my friends tell me that Top 20 schools aren't worth the money. To me, the two most significant factors of a school are 1) weather and 2) starting salary after graduation (no particular order).

Any insight? Thanks in advance!

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Post Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:21 pm
shweezy wrote:
Hi everyone, I have a quick question regarding rankings:

Is an MBA at a top 10 school (e.g. U of Michigan, U of Chicago) that much more highly looked upon in industry than a top 20 school (e.g. UCLA, USC)? I'd really like to go to a school in Southern California, but according my friends tell me that Top 20 schools aren't worth the money. To me, the two most significant factors of a school are 1) weather and 2) starting salary after graduation (no particular order).

Any insight? Thanks in advance!
This is just my opinion, but I usually encourage people to attend the best ranked program they can gain acceptance. In general, I'm not sure whether a top 10 school is looked that much more highly upon vs. a top 20, but business school reputations appear to mean a lot in certain industries. Unfortunately, business is not really a true profession like law or medicine. In law or medicine, I would argue that it doesn't make much of a difference where you went to school--at the end of the day you are a lawyer or a doctor. Because business is not a profession, people tend to judge one businessperson vs. another moreso on where they went to school.

One thing I advise you is to not weigh weather so much in your consideration. Business school is just two years, and if you can gain acceptance to a great school with crappy weather (like Harvard), then I say you should tough it out and then move to the sunnier climates after graduation.

Just my two cents. Good luck!

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Sedate Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:14 am
It matters just as much for Law. The Yale, Harvard Law grads will be the ones making 200K straight out of law school while the unranked schools' graduates might not even break 60K. And I think the OP is kind of skewed things up a little bit. Ross is probably more of a Top 10-20 school and UCLA and USC, I don't think made too many Top 20 rankings.

shweezy Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:43 am
Sedate wrote:
It matters just as much for Law. The Yale, Harvard Law grads will be the ones making 200K straight out of law school while the unranked schools' graduates might not even break 60K. And I think the OP is kind of skewed things up a little bit. Ross is probably more of a Top 10-20 school and UCLA and USC, I don't think made too many Top 20 rankings.
Ross is ranked #5 according to BusinessWeek and #11 according to U.S. News. You have a point with USC (it's ranked #21 in both publications), but Anderson has been consistently ranked in the top 20 programs - usually in the low- to mid- teens.

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Post Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:26 pm
In my opinion, the decision is not as simple as which program is ranked the highest. It really depends on what industry you want to get into and what type of life you want to live after the fact. What industry do you want to move into? What class size do you prefer? What teaching methods do you prefer? Those are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself in your search.

As for top 10 vs top 20, it really depends on your industry. Some schools are more highly recognized for certain areas than others. UCLA has one of the best entrepreneurship programs in the US so if that's something you are looking for, UCLA may be a much better choice for you than a top 10 school that has a weak entrepreneurship program but an excellent quant program. Another case in point, some schools are far more global in their outlook than others so if you want a globetrotting career where you can move to europe or australia or singapore, you may want to look into global rankings instead of US-based top 10/20/30 rankings.

I myself am strongly considering HEC Paris, which is the most prestiguous business school in all of France (not including INSEAD because that schoool is not considered "French" by the people of France - I asked my coworkers and they've never even heard of INSEAD but they all know HEC). Why HEC? Because in France, a degree in HEC is as highly regarded as a degree from Harvard in the US. But in global rankings, HEC is only 18 (as ranked by WSJ). But I love France and would like to stay here for many more years hence HEC is my top choice.

Rankings are a beginning, but should not be THE reason you go to a particular school.

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jelt Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:07 pm
mayonnai5e wrote:
In my opinion, the decision is not as simple as which program is ranked the highest. It really depends on what industry you want to get into and what type of life you want to live after the fact. What industry do you want to move into? What class size do you prefer? What teaching methods do you prefer? Those are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself in your search.

As for top 10 vs top 20, it really depends on your industry. Some schools are more highly recognized for certain areas than others. UCLA has one of the best entrepreneurship programs in the US so if that's something you are looking for, UCLA may be a much better choice for you than a top 10 school that has a weak entrepreneurship program but an excellent quant program. Another case in point, some schools are far more global in their outlook than others so if you want a globetrotting career where you can move to europe or australia or singapore, you may want to look into global rankings instead of US-based top 10/20/30 rankings.

I myself am strongly considering HEC Paris, which is the most prestiguous business school in all of France (not including INSEAD because that schoool is not considered "French" by the people of France - I asked my coworkers and they've never even heard of INSEAD but they all know HEC). Why HEC? Because in France, a degree in HEC is as highly regarded as a degree from Harvard in the US. But in global rankings, HEC is only 18 (as ranked by WSJ). But I love France and would like to stay here for many more years hence HEC is my top choice.

Rankings are a beginning, but should not be THE reason you go to a particular school.
Hi,

Actually it looks like you're looking at rankings... Just based on a different scale. Yours are the 'perception in France' rankings. If you had HBS rather than HEC, for instance, then you might choose the former, since on this particular set of rankings HBS does as good as HEC. The difference between this and all the other things you mentioned 'eg what teaching method you prefer' is that things like preference of teaching method is decided by yourself. On the other hand, how well-regarded HBS or HEC is in France is- like a ranking table in businessweek.com- depends on the opinions of others.

solaris Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:24 pm
You should also think about WHERE you want to work after your MBA. If it's SoCal, then I'd wager that USC and UCLA would offer you a better range of career options located in SoCal.

Top 10 or Top 20, most schools have the majority of their graduates end up working for an employer in their local region.

jelt Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:57 pm
Another concern, which I feel is undervalued by many people, is that an MBA is a degree that probably reaps returns for at least 5-10 years after graduation (hence the need to talk about a 'long term goal'. Looking only at where you want to stay during those two years, or whether you're close to your market, may be myopic. Getting into a substantially higher ranked programme (top 10, eg. Chicago, Columbia) as opposed to top 20, probably gets you more mileage wherever you choose to go.

solaris Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:28 pm
I see what you're saying jelt, but I think I'll have to disagree. Let's say I go to Chicago GSB but I really really want to work in Denver, or Portland, or say Dallas. Are my options coming out of Chicago going to be substantially better than (a possibly much cheaper) MBA degree from a lesser known school that's closer to Denver, Portland or Dallas? I think not. In fact, on the other hand, if you could get into Chicago, you can get into any regional school with a significant scholarship!

Obviously this does not apply if you're targeting investment banking in New York or consulting in Boston, San Francisco etc.

It's a common misconception that an MBA from an elite institution can be your ticket to ANYwhere. It's a ticket to bulge bracket investment banking and white shoe consulting, but that's not the do all end all for every candidate.

jelt wrote:
Another concern, which I feel is undervalued by many people, is that an MBA is a degree that probably reaps returns for at least 5-10 years after graduation (hence the need to talk about a 'long term goal'. Looking only at where you want to stay during those two years, or whether you're close to your market, may be myopic. Getting into a substantially higher ranked programme (top 10, eg. Chicago, Columbia) as opposed to top 20, probably gets you more mileage wherever you choose to go.

jelt Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:22 pm
Hi there,

1) SoCal is quite a big market. I believe that many of the top SoCal firms recruit at the top 10.

Your examples are, in my mind, very different from SoCal. Many top firms from SoCal recruit at the top 10 schools, and I suspect when it comes down to it, all things equal (and they're probably equal a lot more often than one may think), these firms will prefer someone from a top 10 school than a local top 20.

2) If you ever decide you want to leave SoCal, your options at a top 10 are better.

And, as far as your assertion goes, that B-School is a ticket to a bulge bracket bank, I certainly don't disagree. However, as an international student, I must say that telling someone you went to Chicago GSB or Columbia in the countries I've been in is very different from saying Haas. The alumni network for Chicago or Columbia is also probably a lot more mobile than those from UCLA. This also helps you if you want to leave SoCal, ever.

3) Investment, not cost

No doubt regional schools are cheaper and typically come with scholarship offers. However, going to business school is an investment, not merely a cost. If HBS costs $150,000 and UCLA costs $100,000 (or free) after scholarship, I'd still go to HBS, because I think the potential benefits are far greater than just $150,000.

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