Thursday, January 27, 2011

Your Non-HBS Degree is Worthless - The MBA Show Episode 18

The GMAT company has good news: every MBA is getting a job. The bad news comes from a study at Kellogg Northwestern: If you didn't go to HBS or Wharton you may have a hard time getting that i-banking job.


• GMAC, company that makes the GMAT, released it’s annual hiring survey
• Good news: 20% more companies hired at least one MBA than 2009. even better next year
• Nearly everyone is maintain or increasing the salaries they offer MBAs.

The unemployment rate is over 9.4% and home prices are falling, and for MBA’s hiring is up 20%!

Miro: Is that good news?

This is part of a new presentation strategy that I’m trying out. I end every rant with a positive statistic and say everything like it’s good news. Go ahead and try it out with some more stats.

Our national budget deficit this year is $1.5 trilliion
Our national Debt is $13 trillion
64% of companies plan to hire MBA’s next year.

Celebration. Things are looking bright my friend!


Many people wonder how many schools are the top tier of b-school.

We’ve been doing an informal survey of people and we have found that if you ask students at the 5th ranked business school, they’ll say that there are about 5 elite business schools. And if you ask students at MIT, the 9th ranked MBA program, they’ll say that there are about 9 elite business schools.

But now, for the first time, has scientifically determined the actual number of top-tier schools out there. The number is 2.
Lauren Rivera, an assistant professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University has gained access to the secret hiring practices of several prominent firms and
If you go to Harvard or Wharton, your degree is like gold. You are sporting some killer fairy dust.

Since we don’t know who these mystery companies are, lets just call them G. Sachs. and O’kinsey.

What she found was a hiring culture that is extremely obsessed with pedigree.

No surprises there. But even great schools don’t make the cut:

“Hey, I didn’t go to HBS [Harvard Business School] but, you know, I am an engineer at M.I.T. and I heard about this fair and I wanted to come meet you in New York.” God bless him for the effort but, you know, it’s just not going to work.

What happens to a resume that comes from Rutgers? And the guy says “I’m just being really honest, is basically goes into a black hole.” Yikes.

Miro, this hurts me because

So the take away is if you are going to a non-harvard, you can still get an iBanking job, but don’t expect to be hired because of your degree. You need to bring real skills.

3) Jargon: Fairy dust
Is that an MBA street drug? Not quite. Fairy dust is what you get when you rub your resume really hard against a top tier educational institution such as Harvard.

So how would someone use this term in a sentence.

Well, suppose someone asks you why you are attending Harvard Kennedy School to get a dual degree along with your MBA. You might respond in the following way. Well Miro, aside form the obvious Harvard fairy dust, I’m hoping to go into politics.

So you’re saying that It’s a way of casually acknowledging that part of the reason that you’re going to Harvard is just so that you can say I went to Harvard. Which everyone knows, but it feels cheap to say it out loud.

(5) Business School Tip of the Week:
- Get two referrals at the end of every conversation. Job networking, business starting. Any question.
Follow-up: can i use your name

You only need one cold introductionn.

Thanks for sitting down with me. Who else should I be talking to about this topic?

(7) What’s on your Radar?
Miro: Nephew’s birthday
Tom: Tutoring Tutoring Tutoring


  1. I've heard fairy dust called "dropping the H-Bomb," which I also like.

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  2. Great one Jimmy G. Here's some other Harvard terms that always amuse me:

    H-Squared: Someone who has their undergrad and graduate degree from Harvard

    Over the river: The euphemism we use at Sloan for HBS, since it's on the other side of the Charles

    A School in Cambridge: As an undergrad people were weirdly sheepish about saying they went to Harvard. Inevitable this is how they would describe their school.

  3. Haha. Here's another:

    "I went to school in Boston. Well not IN Boston, but near-by. No, not Tufts."

    -Toofer, 30 Rock

  4. I got my MBA from the University of San Francisco, which is nowhere near the top rankings for MBA programs. It has never opened any doors for me or made me eligible for anything except entry-level jobs. Fellow alumni have even shut me out of their networks because they consider my military background to be worthless. Prospective MBA students should only bother applying to the top MBA schools; othwerwise, forget the MBA and just keep working.

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  6. Despite the fact that top names may have more clout it is reassuring to know that having real skills and networking can still make a big difference. It takes a combination of skills to make in a competitive field such as i-banking.

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  8. I would have to say I do not agree with you. I currently am searching for mba programs in pa and while accreditation is a priority I am focused more on gaining knowledge and skills rather then some resume booster.

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