I think when I started out with the whole idea of let me get an MBA, I had some major tunnel vision that led me to believe that an MBA was synonymous to Harvard/Stanford/Wharton and nothing else. Hey! It’s not just me, everyone wants to sit on the lunch table with the popular kids. But as I got older and slightly wiser, I quickly realised that:
- I was kidding myself. Unless I did something extraordinary in the next few years, this was not going to happen for me.
- And even if I did manage to pull out a rabbit from the proverbial hat, I actually didn’t want to go to the crème de la crème of these schools (as I said earlier, Stanford is an exception. I’d give my left leg and a kidney to get in there).
After coming to this happy conclusion and most definitely circumventing assured rejection, I began to look at schools beyond the ratings. The numbers only mean something to a point beyond which they’re just numbers with no context. I wouldn’t expect a school to judge me based solely on my GPA and GMAT scores. Likewise, I wouldn’t want to put a school through the same narrow metrics. Luckily for me, cost isn’t a debilitating factor, so I can afford to go without a scholarship which makes things that much easier. Top three things that I value, in order of priority are:
- Fit. How well would I fit into the school and its culture? I seriously wish I had the time to visit schools, because I would really like to. But I have to settle for secondhand narratives and hopefully meet some alumni who can give me a better picture of what the school is like.
- Specialisation. What is the school really known for? For instance, Sloan is action based, collaborative and very tech + entrepreneurially oriented. They also have an Entrepreneurship & Innovation Track (E&I) that I love the sound of. Even though I do want to join the consulting world, I will always have a special place in my heart for startups.
- Location (pre + post MBA). Where is the school located? Where could I expect to work after I graduate? I know that I do want to come back to India after recovering what I spend on the MBA. Which school has a great international network? Which school has a good brand value that is recognisable in Europe and Asia? These for me are super important criteria. IE and IESE are great schools, but I’m a little unsure of the job market in Spain. Even if I do learn Spanish, I’m apprehensive about the possibilities and I am certain that it is a relatively unknown brand in India… making it a somewhat unattractive choice for me at this point.
I’m still waiting on my chat with the consultant to kind of discuss my thoughts and hear his perspective on them. Another pair of eyes should clear up any kind of misconceptions that I might have. Also, check out these free school guides from Veritas Prep here, I absolutely loved how much information they packed into it. It would take days, if not weeks to actually do it myself. Huge fan of them.