Go to the highest ranked school where you fit in with the culture! But put more importance on rank than fit.
You: Say What FARE?
Don't give me the side eye before you here me out.
Here is what I'm learning and what I have experienced in my short one year post MBA life:
MBAs can be snobs, especially when it comes to rankings.....and here is my evidence.
Ask any MBA who graduated from a top 20 MBA program if they would hire someone who attained their MBA from a program in which it is known that you do not need a GMAT score to attain admission, such as The University of Phoenix. What do you think the answer would be?
A resounding no.
And I have actually had MBA's tell me this flat out.
Is this fair....No but is this real....Yes!!! It's not fair because no matter what program you attend the accounting formula is still the same.... Assets = Liabilities + Shareholder's Equity
And that is just the tip of the MBA Snob iceburg....it gets worse.
MBA rankings can come back to haunt you long after you graduate. I have had a friend tell me that while looking to jump one corporate ship to join another the head hunter she was working with informed her that if she had not had an MBA from a 20 program then she would not be able to apply for the job that she eventually landed. This is years after getting her MBA.
Some companies won't hire you unless you attend a particular Top 5 program. (insert head shake here)
I had one of my friends who was attending another MBA program tell me that a particular company would never hire me for their leadership rotational program because all of their CEO's come from a particular school and all of the participants hired come from the same school....they never hire from another school for that particular position. I applied and never even got a letter informing me that they decided to go with other candidates.
Oh but my favorite, and the one that hurts the most cause it effects my MONEY!!!! Companies often feel that they have to offer higher starting salaries to students graduating from higher ranked programs due to competition from other companies....conversely they also think it's perfectly okay to offer 5k even 10k or 15k less to the new hires coming from lower ranked MBA programs.
Knowing that Kellogg MBA's (known for having a fantastic marketing concentration) are offered more money coming out than Kelley MBA's (known for having a fantastic marketing concentration) because Kellogg is currently higher ranked than Kelley. Same company....Same position...same prior work experience.....less pay for Kelley grad than the Kellogg grad. So sad...but so reality.
And there are many more stories I could tell you and there are some stories I could only tell you in person....but I just want to put all you future MBAers on notice....
Rankings can and will effect you.....it's up to you how.
My best advice..I will say it again....go to the highest ranked school possible and if you get into Harvard or Stanford....don't worry about the money...especially if you think you will fit in with your peers...just go..it's an investment that will pay for it's self.