Originally Posted by Tarmac
From my understanding, the exorbitant value (and cost) of top programs is both networking, and recruiting. Many top firms don't even recruit outside the top 20, some not even outside the top 5.
someone tell me if this is poppycock or not
Finally, something where I can give advice vs asking for it! I attended Chicago and the most valuable thing I got out of it were some solid friends, improved my ability to think through problems and work with people and deal with their bs. I know I wouldn't have done or seen what I have without my MBA but it can be over rated.
I think you got to know why you want to go to B-school. What do you plan to achieve with it. If it is to continue to do what you're doing maybe it won't matter much or you could go part time and have your employer pay for it. I think it is very useful if you want to chance careers go in as an accountant and come out a brand manager.
If you want to work in strategy consulting/i-banksing it would pretty useful to graduate from a top school. Hate to say it but it is about pedigree (like a dog show). Banks and consulting firms want to say "hey look we hired the best and that is why we charge 500/hour for them."
It may not be fair, or whatever, but that is the way it works. In a booming economy firms will go lower into the b-school rankings to find talent, but when times are tighter they can just stick with the Top 5.
IMHO, don't do it just to check the box on your career, really know why you want to go so you can get the most out of it.
For the person who runs his own business, there is a book called something like the 10 day MBA, not a bad place to get introduced to concepts. Figure out from there if you want to self-learn or go to school.
If you are applying to B-school soon do the following, don't bitch about the economy or say it is about time I got my MBA, etc in your applications or interviews. B-schools will see a lot of those applications. If you say something stupid they'll write it up on a board (sort of a wall of shame). All B-schools have this. I saw some pretty funny sh*t that people write in their applications. Great, got it trying to stand out, but excercise some discretion.
And no offense to the i generation (i-phone, i-pod), I say this out of support, don't come across with the entitlement, disrespectful, all about me MTV attitude that I sometimes come across. Be humble, mature, eager, respectful, and confident. Also do the interview on campus, show how committed you are to getting into the school, have people read your essays, and show that you really thought about why you want to go. Tell the schools why you will bring a different flavor to the program and how your classmates (humbly) will all benefit but also how you are a giver and not a taker. Space is limited at the top schools so you need to convince them why they should take you and it can't be because you happen to dress nice!
If one of your friends is currently attending get them to throw in a note to help you out, they have some influence. Apply early, don't wait. The sooner you know, the sooner you know if you need to apply to other schools.
They look at the complete package, so make sure you present yourself the best you can.
I wish all of you the best in your decisions on where to apply, etc.