Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fittest of them all
Reading this post about business school selection and a gazillion more posts of this kind, in which people fret and fret and fret yet again about finding their "fits" for a B-school, I decided to make a small post to highlight my thoughts on this issue.
Warning : this post does not not apply to anyone who is going for a very narrow particular focus, that only a tiny handful of schools might offer, but for the rest of you read on. Note: binge drinking, bar-hopping across Europe, social treks to somalia, mount everest expeditions dont interest me, so all that would be left out of of the fit equation as well.
To begin with I am fairly simple person with fairly simple needs when it comes to a MBA program. First and foremost it needs to be a top 10 program, a top 15 at worst, there would be no justification for me to leave my current job (which I like, not love as most of us mortals have a hard time finding jobs that we are doe-eyedly in love with) if its not a top 15 program atleast.
Now as soon as you set up this filter what happens is that most of everything else that you want from a MBA program (salary, strong alum network, good courses, plenty of diverse opportunities), kind of fall straight into your lap.
After all a top 15 MBA program will NOT in God's worst day have a dismal placement record, it will almost always have a decent balance between grads it sends out to consulting and finance (2 of the most commonly sought after post-mba professions), it will have a strong alum network, courses offered by them will be more or less on an even keel in the ball-park sense, yes some may be more strong in a p'lar field, and some in another, but that is again way over-exaggerated. Believe me a couple of course in a p'lar subject/concentration/field is not going to make you an expert in that. Having specialized in a particular field myself take it from me that specalization in any field comes from research work and not course-taking, courses give you an idea (note that it is just an idea not even an in-depth grasp) of the fundamentals, and an expert then builds on those fundamentals through independent research. And anyway an MBA is not designed to make you a specialist, go for fin PhD for that.
So why the all the hulaboo about finding schools that "fit" you or as it is more popular to say "Finding my fit in schools" ??? Barring the most miniscule of subtleties, what the effing difference does a MC wannabe MBA applicant care if he is going to Wharton/Kellogg?? If you have a festish for the Kellogg campus, well and good, good for you (I btw have negative fetish for HBS, in the sense that I absolutely loathe them), but apart from that, from a holistic big-picture MBA point of view it doesnt make an iota of difference whether you land up in either of the two.
A much better, more practical question and more realistic question is the following:
"Given my interests, background, my so called profile etc etc, in which school do I have a realistic chance of getting in".
Once you've identified schools based on the above filter, you can then go about in a logical fashion trying to decipher the school's other vital stats of interest, which, again, if its a top 10 school, the subtleties with be 19-20 at best. And I guess in a way many applicants mix and mash and muddle up the question of their chances of getting in with the "fit" factor.
In other OMG news: I have gone through Montauk !! Maybe I 'll review that bible sometime down the line, reviewing bibles though are oft considered to be the work of heretics !!!
Till next time, cheerio baby.