• 20 Mar 2012 at 4:58 PM

B-School Facts & Fiction

It’s finals time, folks! In undergrad, this meant camping out in the 24-hour library, not showering, ingesting solely caffeine and mozzarella sticks, sleeping less than four hours, arriving exam day in the ultimate defeatist attire (college hoodie and pajama pants). In business school, finals time means … hmm some light stretching, a hearty yaaaaaaaaawn from sleeping too well, award-winning hygiene, a variety of frosty beverages, and a manicure an hour before my toughest exam. I’d like to say it’s because I’m older, wiser, and better at time management, but (1) I’m a poor liar and (2) really, it’s because my many years have confirmed that looks matter more than grades.

In a similar spirit, my only other conclusions about life in business school follow. Here are few thoughts and theories I wish I had cleared up before starting, based on what prospective and newly admitted students seem to ask most often.

I am considering business school as a shelter from current and protracted unemployment. After b-school, I plan to find the same job, different company. Is business school a good place to tread water?

Dear Cyclical Hiring Consequence,

Yes, but you know this trick’s only good for one downturn.

I am considering business school to figure out what to do career-wise over the long term. I am looking to capitalize on the unique environment of business school by talking to current students and alums about possible career paths, internships, their work experience, and firm culture. Is this a fair approach, or is the MBA best for people with set ambition?

Dear Bright-Eyed, Bushy-Tailed Business ‘Bot,

Look at you, all enthused about the most work-like parts of the MBA! If I’m reading you right, you are applying out of straight out of undergrad, so first thing: either delay your application by 4-5 years or be prepared to be judged by your classmates for your work experience of zero years. While preparing your daily light-hearted-in-spirit-yet-heavy-hearted-in-regret defense, be aware that your senior thesis is, in fact, only interesting to your grandmother. And actually she just confessed that she passed out halfway through reading the title.

Do annual business school rankings matter?

Dear On the Fringes,

Meh, not really. Every year, someone somewhere sneezes and the middle bunch of names shuffle around a bit. Every five years, a school will jump more than two spots, and by no coincidence, only that school notices. The top tier rarely changes in the hearts and minds of people who value an MBA, and a quick google yields a better, simpler guide to this group (via Business Week’s MBA forums):

If someone describes their school as the top ranked school, they go to HBS or Stanford
If someone says they go to a “Top 3″ school, they go to Wharton
If someone says they go to a “Top 5″ school, it’s either Chicago, Kellogg, or MIT Sloan
If someone says they’re in the “M7″, they go to Columbia
If someone says “Top 10″, they mean Tuck, Ross, Haas, or

There are lots of ways to pick apart this view, but it’s also hard to argue with it. Let’s just say the less competent and secure you feel, the more likely you care about rankings.

Additionally, I now doubt all school rankings, given how US News calculates its law school numbers:

Part of the US News algorithm is a figure called expenditures per student, which is essentially the sum that a school spends on teacher salaries, libraries and other education expenses, divided by the number of students. [This accounts for] 9.75 percent of the algorithm… The more that law schools charge their students… the better they fare in the US News rankings [emphasis mine].

“I once joked with my dean that there is a certain amount of money that we could drag into the middle of the school’s quadrangle and burn,” said John F. Duffy, a George Washington School of Law professor, “and when the flames died down, we’d be a Top 10 school.”

…this is a joke, right?

How competitive is business school?

Dear Nice Guy Who Finishes Last,

It’s no more competitive than life itself… if life were just like business school. Put it this way: nothing really comes to you in b-school — you have to go after and apply for everything. From club co-chair positions, to try-outs in order to participate in case competitions, to spring break treks, to graduation, to helping out with Admit Weekend, to helping out someone who is helping out with Admit Weekend. But it’s cool, ‘cause it’s like the real world, right? While you’re busy applying for all that stuff, I can slide in and lock down a job you haven’t even found about yet, because it’s in the email after the tenth googleform you had to fill out to be considered to give a tour of the Harper Center.

How tough is on-campus recruiting? I read “The Interview Shame Thread” and my first thought was, “Wow, you and your friends are complete morons. CFA > MBA, for sure.” But then I wondered, are the screw-ups actually indicative of how difficult/long the process can be?

Dear Admitted and Regretting Applying,

On-campus recruiting is a motherfucking hell that will eat your ego, soul, and offspring. Not to be dramatic or anything. The process can be incredibly long and draining. There’s a fair chance you’ll end up on a month-long national tour meeting firms, talking endlessly about yourself, disingenuously proclaiming your love for different companies on different days of the week… All until you win the coveted third date with Dream Firm, that is, and then you both finally put out. And afterward, you don’t know if it’s because you actually like each other or if it’s because you’ve both invested so much in the courtship that you feel obligated.

Why are there so many theme parties in business school?

Dear Age Appropriate,

I mean, why not? Who loses from theme parties? Okay, everyone but the party hostess (who undoubtedly chose whatever theme based on items initially tossed into the Goodwill pile, but re-purposed into a slutty costume). But like when your dentist instructs you to floss after brushing, some things you don’t need to question. Just do it. And afterward, you’ll be glad that you did.

Is it true that business school students just drink and travel all the time?

Dear Jealous Law School Friend,

Yes.

53 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (53)

  1. Posted by Zoroz | March 20, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    I want to go to business school to make rap songs, bang undergrads and start a rare earth metals investment company, what is the best school for me?

  2. Posted by SawItOnCnbc | March 20, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Epstein-Falcone School of Biznass.

  3. Posted by Hakuna Matata Guy | March 20, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Williams.

  4. Posted by Nepotism? | March 20, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Is this secret B-School correspondent related to Matt? They don't share the funny-gene Bess owns…

  5. Posted by Back Office | March 20, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Alright, shut 'er down

  6. Posted by Laxbro | March 20, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    If brains x beauty = k
    And DB business school chief attends Chicago
    Did the manicure before the exam provide any utility what-so-ever?

  7. Posted by Guest | March 20, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Is it true that business school students just drink and travel all the time?

    Dear Jealous Law School Friend,

    Yes.

    - – - – -

    She's right. But at a top ranked school you're drinking and traveling with b-school nerds. Rowdy and fun they are not.

  8. Posted by Abe_Froman_ | March 20, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    She goes to Booth, what did you expect?

    -Booth Alum

    PS: MBA>CFA

  9. Posted by CDNGuest | March 20, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    UBC.

  10. Posted by 760 GMAT; 3.6 GPA | March 20, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    This was really insightful. Thank you for your time! I hope to join you this coming fall!

    -Booth Candidate, B'14

  11. Posted by Guest | March 20, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    "(1) I’m a poor liar"

    I think you meant, "I'm a poor, liar"

  12. Posted by Back Office | March 20, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Nor are they attractive.

  13. Posted by Bandersnatch | March 20, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    making small talk with a prostie for 15 – 20 minutes = reading B school bureau chief's rambling posts

  14. Posted by wahoo | March 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Kill yourself

  15. Posted by Blaaah | March 20, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    B’14 – set yourself for success at Keller

  16. Posted by 760 GMAT; 3.6 GPA | March 20, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Great attitude…

  17. Posted by merkin_capital | March 20, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    "you have to go after and apply for everything. From club co-chair positions, to try-outs in order to participate in case competitions…"

    Wow, doing it wrong doesn't even begin to describe you.

  18. Posted by guestapo | March 20, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    making small talk with a prostie for 15 – 20 minutes > reading B school bureau chief's rambling posts

    …fixed it for you.

  19. Posted by Huge Winner | March 20, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    I went to SMU's Cox School of Business. The business school places a lot of people at JCPenny's, American Airlines, TXU and 7-Eleven (the Southland Corporation). Those are great places to work if you like Texas, or if you simply enjoy being around morbidly obese people. Anyway, I was a poor student and I went via SMU's part time program. Somehow I made it to NYC.

    Do you know what I do now?

    I now work in the back office of a nondescript broker dealer that no one's never heard of. Our offices are decorated in an early 80's decor, and most of my colleagues look like burn victims or extras from the Sopranos. Also, I'm unmarried and I feel that you should know that I tend to date online. Most of the women I go out with are ill adjusted, and encumbered with one or more kids by another man. Pretty cool, right?

    So before you head home for the night, just remember 2 things: 1) I'm a huge winner, and 2) SMU fucking rules.

  20. Posted by Not an MBA | March 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    What the hell is M7? And how did Sloan and Kellogg make it past CBS and Tuck? Was this written in 1988? Everyone knows 1. Stanford, 2. Wharton, 3. Columbia, 4. Booth, 5. Sloan. Then there's also Harvard, which is just sort of its own thing (think the Mitt Romney of MBAs: almost too perfect).

  21. Posted by Guest | March 20, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Mom?

  22. Posted by Rick Rock | March 20, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    "you’ll end up on a month-long national tour meeting firms, talking endlessly about yourself, disingenuously proclaiming your love for different companies on different days of the week… All until you win the coveted third date with Dream Firm, that is, and then you both finally put out."—Yes, I am aware of the dating process; similar to interviewing….

  23. Posted by Mexi_Cant | March 20, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    At least you date.

    -The front office analyst at the "M&A Arm" of your shtity broker dealer

  24. Posted by guest | March 20, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    How did Cocks School of Business not tip you off?

    -Huge Weiner

  25. Posted by carl in rosemead | March 20, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    OP lost out to SMU grad for job

    [youtube 9BOG4p1-H2Q http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BOG4p1-H2Q youtube]

  26. Posted by Rick Roll | March 20, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    1. Did you really login via Facebook?

    2. Is your name ACTUALLY Rick Rock?

    3. Why did you comment?

  27. Posted by Rick Roll | March 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Actually taking a quick breeze at your Facebook pretty much answered all of my above questions…

  28. Posted by 780 GMAT; 3.9 GPA | March 20, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Ops interviews are down the hall next to the bathrooms.

  29. Posted by Danker_Banker | March 20, 2012 at 8:51 PM
  30. Posted by an MBA | March 20, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Top five is: HBS, Stanford, Booth, Wharton, Columbia

    Real top five is: HBS/ Stanford, Wharton, then Booth/Columbia/Sloan

    http://poetsandquants.com/2011/12/08/the-top-100-

  31. Posted by Guest | March 20, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    The only redeeming part about this post is that it encouraged Rick Rock to comment. That FB page is funnier than everything B-School correspondent has posted combined.

  32. Posted by GMAT Studying Hurts | March 20, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Does GMAT actually matter?

  33. Posted by Durrr | March 21, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    "On-campus recruiting is a motherfucking hell that will eat your ego, soul, and offspring."

    So true… Love it.

  34. Posted by guest | March 21, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    I think the B-School correspondent is "Girl" circa 2007 Dealbreaker commentartiat.

    Famous for blind date with 1-2 Knockout, another DB commenter until fired from GS for his blog.

    Here is their story:
    http://longorshortcapital.com/market-clearing-att

  35. Posted by VonSloneker | March 21, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    "…my many years have confirmed looks matter more than grades"

    This reads "I am old, ugly, and smart". It's like you're trying to make these wolves hate you…

    - Ed.

  36. Posted by HFguy | March 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    It’s finals time, folks! In undergrad, this meant camping out in the 24-hour library, not showering, ingesting solely caffeine and mozzarella sticks, sleeping less than four hours, arriving exam day in the ultimate defeatist attire (college hoodie and pajama pants). In business school, finals time means … hmm some light stretching, a hearty yaaaaaaaaawn from sleeping too well, award-winning hygiene, a variety of frosty beverages, and a manicure an hour before my toughest exam. I’d like to say it’s because I’m older, wiser, and better at time management, but (1) I’m a poor liar and (2) really, it’s because my many years have confirmed that looks matter more than grades.

    The difference is when you went to undergrad you went straight from the pampering of house care under parents supervision completely bewildered by how the world works….. and when you went to MBA well, you were trained to do lines off a hooker while closing a deal in a country you cannot pronounce, exams do not intimidate you anymore, you intimidate yourself .

  37. Posted by ego boost | March 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    WTF is a Chief Speculator?

  38. Posted by Gyno | March 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Head Speculum operator…moron.

  39. Posted by Guest | March 21, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    That Facebook page reeks of douche baggery.

  40. Posted by PermaGuestII | March 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    B school bureau chief is at least providing utility in that she is definitively resolving the MBA vs. CFA argument in favour of the CFA.

  41. Posted by guesthouse | March 21, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Rick Rock, just to be clear: the mocking of your public facebook profile was not an invitation to come back and post anonymously

  42. Posted by contango | March 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    http://twitter.com/#!/Quantum_Trader

    Northeastern MBA…because that's a great ROI

  43. Posted by Guest | March 21, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Stanford and Harvard not equally ranked- seriously Stanford- they take anybody and have 1 year programs 1/2 year programs, Pizza on the Piazza programs- Its a joke.

  44. Posted by rick sucks | March 21, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Are you the "founder/ceo/dreamer" of Quantum Performance Fund?

  45. Posted by gaba | April 20, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    This writing has inspired me to continue working on my own blog

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  47. Posted by analyst1040 | May 10, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    Grudge Match: CFA versus MBA

    I see this question all over the internet. While CFA versus MBA seems to be the most popular, it is followed closely by CFA versus virtually every other financial or business designation (CFP, CAIA, CPA, etcetera). I think sometimes candidates are so caught up with the question of which designation to pursue that they forget to actually study for any of them.

    Full Post: http://www.finquiz.com/blog/2012/03/25/grudge-mat

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