Does which campus you study in matter?

MBB
New answer on Nov 16, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 16, 2020

Hi, I recently had an interview with a top firm where I mentioned I went to one of the branch campuses of a major university in the US. The interview was going really well until I mentioned it. I immediately noticed the interviewer lose interest in what I was saying and the rest of the interview did not go well. I tried to explain that the campuses, classes, and professors are the same. I do not know if I was being paranoid, which I doubt because I didn't think it would be a big deal, or the interviewer does not think highly of branch campuses. I got a call later from the same interviewer rejecting me. I'd love to know the community's view on this.

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Jorit
Expert
replied on Jun 16, 2020
ex-BCG | Kellogg MBA | 200+ coaching session| 50+ actual interviews | Flexible scheduling

Hi,

Sorry to hear about your experience. Did you get any meaningful feedback from the interviewer? I would really doubt that this would be the reason that you got rejected (excluding some exception in which an interviewer is really biased towards specific campusses, but if that is the case you are just unlucky and maybe you don't even want to work there if that is the case). First of all, you made it past the CV/resume stage which means you do have a compelling background. Secondly, as an interviewer I'm not really interested in the specifics of university X vs university Y (or even more specific the campus A or campus B), but I'm focused on getting to know you as a person and your experiences.

I would focus less on whether this was the reason and more on what you can control. This means focusing on the feedback that the interviewer (hopefully) gave and on how you present yourself in the fit part of the interview.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Jorit

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Anonymous A on Jun 16, 2020

I totally agree with the points you've made. I did get meaningful feedback which I am very thankful about. I'm going to concentrate on the future and my other interviews. I was not particularly sad or mad with what happened, just confused. Thank you so much for responding Jorit and putting my nerves at ease!

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 16, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi,

I'm sorry, but yes campuses do matter. Some campuses are easier to get into than others, and different calibres of students do come out of each.

Unfortunately, bias can be confirmation bias, or it can be genuinely predicting odds of success (i.e. MBB firms are "biased" towards top-tier MBAs, but top-tier MBAs do have a higher rate of success at the company).

There's good news and bad news to this:

1) You know you can get an interview, so that's great - do it again!

2) You know that maybe, for some interviews, they may not respond well to the branch campus comment...so just don't say anything! (Unless they ask)

3) You know you can improve in your casing - so take the feedback, work hard and do better next time. I promise you that, whatever bias the interviewer may have had, it would have been overcome if you actually aced the case

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 16, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

I am sorry to hear about your experience, that does not sound like a nice interviewer

The short answer is yes it can matter for some people. For example if you go to NYU Abu Dhabi vs NYU in Manhattan or if you go to University of Michigan Ann Arbor vs University of Michigan Flint. Whether true or not there is a perception that certain campuses are harder to get into vs others and that is why for example MBB recruits from University of Michigan Ann Arbor but not at Flint.

You cannot change where you went so it might be best to just state it in your resume or not bring it up at all. Of course if this is a question that is likely to be asked then it is important to highlight prior to the interview process

All the best,

Udayan

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Anonymous A on Jun 16, 2020

Thank you for your response Udayan! I understand why someone would think that way. I think it's best I not bring it up unless asked.

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 17, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I personally doubt the reason for the rejection was the campus branch - or at least the only reason.

The interviewer may have been partially influenced by knowing that. However, if you are an impressive candidate on both fit and case I doubt he/she would consider that element as the critical one.

For the next interviews, I would avoid to mention it just in case, but again I doubt it was the deciding factor.

Best,

Francesco

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 17, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Unfortunately, it matters... sorry that you had to learn it the hard way

For next time, you know :)

Cheers,

Clara

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 16, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

It matters for on-campus interviews. Top tier school MBA grads have 2-3 offers on average without that much prep. For the 2nd the number of offers is much lower

In your case, it might be the interviewer who has a bias for some reason, but it's not a general rule

Best

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Anonymous replied on Jun 16, 2020

Hi there,

talking from personal experience, I do not think the campus you study in matter. Indeed, I studied engineering in a not well-known campus in Italy and still got the offer. I had many international experiences in different universities (still not well-known) and I think it helped a lot in showing my openess and ability to interact with people from diffrent cultures and backgrounds.

Hope it helps! :)

Giulia

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Anonymous A on Jun 16, 2020

Thanks Giulia! I agree, it shouldn't matter.

Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 16, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

Sorry for you! But sometimes it matters.

It’s better not to mention it next time.

Do you need any further help?

All the best,

GB

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