Month: March 2016

US News and World Report 2017 MBA ranking

When number of options is huge, it is important to have some tools that will help you with your decision. More often than not prospective students learn about their options through MBA rankings, but that’s only one of the steps, after taking a look at the rankings students need to research each of the schools separately, employment reports, regional placements, curriculum, quality of student body, flexibility, potential impact on you as a person and a professional etc. So it only follows, that after students look at the rankings and chose 5-7 schools close to each other (a few stretches, reaches and safe schools), they should not be surprised by differences when they look into employment reports and other detailed data. And that’s one of the reasons US News and World Report ranking is the most popular ranking tool – there are not a lot of fluctuations and similar schools are grouped together (when I just started looking at MBA programs I didn’t know about how strong Kellogg is because I used FT rankings, which have very little to do with reality, so if not for further research I wouldn’t have known that Kellogg is a top 5 school). But this year it might be different, at least in top-20. A few upsets made me question this ranking and reassess its value.

Booth tied with Stanford at #2

This is the first thing that will catch an eye of someone familiar with top schools’ reputations. Yeah, HBS took #1 again, but that’s not something that will surprise, but Booth having a largest leap among M7: it surpassed Wharton and tied with Stanford, is interesting. Seems like placement % has a huge impact among top-5 schools. If we take a look at their reports, it seems that Stanford students take more time to look for jobs:

2016-03-21 15_21_24-Microsoft Excel - MBB to consulting

MBA Employment reports 2015 Booth / Stanford

18% of students looking for jobs accepted offers in the 3 months after graduation. In case of weaker schools I would have suspected that these students just had to look for jobs after graduation, because they couldn’t secure an offer earlier, but in case of elite schools, that reasoning is most likely not correct. This anomaly, I suspect is explained by PE/VC/HF and start up recruitment, they are the last to hire and require some additional time commitments from students, and if that guess is correct, than it tells us that Stanford students are not afraid of taking risks, which speaks volumes about their confidence on employment opportunities. Unfortunately that is not measured by US News report, making it a bit less trustworthy. I know for a fact that Booth career office encourages students to not accept offers they don’t like, as they are confident they can get their MBA’s better ones. It follows that not accepting an offer doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing.

Yale jumps 5 places to #8 or Ted Snyder is at it again

I think this is the most talked change this year. I mean a lot of us predicted that Yale will enter Top-10 within a few years, but they did it in 2016 and not only did they enter top-10, they tied for #8 with Tuck and surpassed CBS at #10. I personally think this change was a bit premature, yes the school is great, but here is the data I extracted from employment reports and LinkedIn for the class of 2015:

2016-03-17 19_58_10-Microsoft Excel - Book1

MBB/Consulting ratio at top schools (GSB and HBS probably have even better results)

As homage to Big Mac Index, I used MBB/Consulting index to put employment reports in perspective. I didn’t do the same for IB due to decline in placement; I think in 2016 Consulting rules the MBA employment. And this small and a bit flawed report (can’t fully trust Linkedin, hence the lack of Wharton) shows the difference in QUALITY against quantity, something that MBA rankings don’t take into account, but they should. Yale is a great program, but it is not better than CBS, it should not be tied with Tuck and it is not that far ahead of Darden (if at all) this year. Probably, by 2020 Yale will be among top-8 schools due to merit, not flaws in rankings. Especially considering that rankings are self-fulfilling prophecies, if before Yale admits often were choosing between M7 and Top-15 school, now they will be choosing M7 vs Top-8, and while in first case it was a difficult choice to make, now it seems much easier and add to that Yale’s name, a name that is much better known than other M7 schools, with the exception of Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

New York schools drop in rankings, CBS #10 (-2) and Stern #20 (-9).

Though both schools are placed lower than they should be in my opinion, the reasons are quite different, CBS was poorly performing in this ranking for quite some time now, so they just continued drifting lower, though their employment reports are quite clearly top-8. As of NYU Stern, their dean wrote this article: and it kinda raises certain questions about US News ranking, is it really right to knowingly release wrong data? What if HBS or Stanford were in that situation? Are there other data points that were filled in using flawed ‘estimation’ process?

This situation with Stern is a good example of why people shouldn’t take rankings at face value, even they are prepared by US News and World Report, and considering that Bloomberg BW guys are not afraid of adapting and fixing flaws, I think they can take the place of most prestigious rankings for MBA’s if this year they will avoid mistakes similar to those listed.

Week of decisions: calls from Anderson and Kellogg

By the time this week started I already was accepted to Booth, my top 1-2 choice (with Kellogg), so I was quite relaxed and confident.

First, I received an acceptance from UCLA Anderson, I tried not to visit GMATClub live thread too often and spend most of my day doing usual things (+Tuck Interview), so I they caught me off guard with their call and it was such a relief!

I don’t have a lot of MBA’s among the people I work with, so it was difficult to assess my chances, especially considering the ding from Wharton, where I believe my app was quite strong.

So actually receiving 2 admits was very important and powerful for my confidence, I knew that Booth acceptance wasn’t an anomaly but rather a reflection of my real standing in this process and with that Wednesday came and guess what: another accept! Northwestern Kellogg extended me an offer to join their class of 2018! Kellogg was my top choice actually, so this was a great call and I was ecstatic.

The rest of the week wasn’t as fruitful in terms of admits: I got WL by Duke Fuqua and has withdrawn my app, and Haas has dinged me without an interview. This actually raised some questions concerning my applications; I used different strategies that I would group as follows:

  1. Booth / Kellogg
  2. Wharton / Duke / Haas,
  3. UCLA/Tuck

With MIT I just used my Kellogg essay, so I wouldn’t call it a strategy, I didn’t prepare well for their app and missed an opportunity with the optional essay.

It seems that my second strategy was a disaster, I had time and I submitted what I wanted, but something was missing. And I think it was the ‘essence’ that was missing, stories were about me, but they didn’t really draw one true picture of me, it was ‘a bit of this, a bit of that’, while my Booth/Kellogg essays were all linked by a common theme, that was present throughout the essays and I think these essays drew a single picture in the readers mind about who is that person they are reading about. But that’s just one theory, and I think it’s important to not confuse correlation with causation.


UCLA Acceptance and Tuck Interview

Since my last post a lot has happened in terms of my path towards my MBA, so I will summarize these events and bring my blog up to date in 1-2 posts.

The Dec 14, 2015 week was quite rich on decisions for me as evident from my previous post. But no day during that week was more memorable than Monday, the day of my UCLA decision and Tuck interview. Most schools schedule the calls based on geo locations of admitted students, so Asian and European students are among the first to see that magical +1 … on their phone screens, so I was quite confident that my Skype interview with Tuck will not conflict with my UCLA call (if I was to receive one). So after coming back from work I set up my Skype, got dressed up and added my Tuck interviewer, in a few minutes the call was made and I was facing my interviewer, a member of adcom. Very sweet and friendly lady was looking at me, while being located on the other hemisphere (just think about that, progress is an amazing thing!), but the picture froze and then again, we had difficulty hearing each other, so we decided to turn off the video, then tried to call again, then again, then I called her from my phone, then she called from hers, this was quite a challenging interview, and I would lie if I tell you that I can write good enough to sparkle in you that feeling of frustration that I had in the beginning. On top of that, when we finally overcame technical issues – I got another call, I tried to cancel it, but my phone decided otherwise and answered it while putting my first line on hold, and guess what, it was a call from Anderson! They informed me about my acceptance and congratulated me on it, I had to rush that call so that my interviewer didn’t have to wait for me listening to god know what kind of music. I think that I’ve noted a bit of disappointment in my Anderson caller’s voice, as I didn’t sound very exciting though I truly was, but on top of that I was trying to figure how to rush the call without hanging up. Now that’s some juggling I had to do.

Not the best experience in theory, but thanks to my interviewer being so nice and positive what should have been a horrible memory turned out to be a very exciting and fun interview to remember and by the end of it I was relaxed, though worried that I couldn’t fully demonstrate who am I and why they should take me.