How important is it to attend a target MBA program? (target to join MBB)

MBB
New answer on Jan 23, 2022
8 Answers
331 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 05, 2022

How important is it to attend a target MBA program?

For example, a MBA programs at Foster/Emory Goizueta/Mccombs/USC versus Duke Fuqua/Darden/Johnson and Michigan Ross, how much weight would a school brand carry?

I see a lot more students at Fuqua/Darden/Johnson/Ross enter MBB versus the rest I mentioned. Why is it the case?

If I am as capable to crack the case, would I get in by attending a lower tier school? (one of Foster/Emory Goizueta/Mccombs/USC with scholarship while no scholarship from Duke Fuqua/Darden/Johnson/Ross)

What's the key difference here?

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I have seen multiple questions lately in the Q&A regarding doing masters, which one to choose, MBA vs. MiM, which schools to choose (both in US and Europe).

I joined McK after finishing my master in Architecture (totally not related field of study, and still), and I am doing an MBA in MIT atm. Furthermore, I have been a professor in the Master in Management from Instituto de Empresa, in Madrid (MiM in IE Business School). Happy to talk about this, and also happy to guide you with MBA applications, something that I have been doing lately. 

Regarding your question, what a target school helps you with is the initial CV filter. After that, you are on your own, and you need to crack the case and the FIT just as everyone else. 

Feel free to PM! Cheers, 

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Hagen
Expert
replied on Jan 05, 2022
Current Bain & Company Project Leader and interviewer | 250+ interviews conducted | 6+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hi there,

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • Generally speaking, the underlying questions you should answer to yourself are 1) what your mid- to long-term career goals are and 2) if you actually need an MBA to get into strategy consulting.
  • I want to be very honest with you: Whatever you did in the past (incl. pursuing an MBA program) will most probably solely help you with the application files screening phase of your application. As such, if you are sure that your application files will enable you to get invited by MBB, there is absolutely no need to pursue an MBA program. In case you want to be provided with a review of your application files, please feel free to contact me directly.
  • Lastly, I would advise you to research on MBB employees/ alumni from the respective universities, get in touch and have coffee chats with them to find out more about the circumstances of their successful endeavor.

In case you want a more detailed discussion on how to best decide on your next career steps to get into MBB, please feel free to contact me directly.

I hope this helps,

Hagen

Was this answer helpful?
Moritz
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2022
McKinsey | 100+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Top rated for experienced hires & career transitioners

Excellent question!

First of all, you can get into MBB without an MBA, depending on your background. An MBA can help OR harm you.

  • Top MBA: In my experience, an MBA from a target school will help you in many ways. This has primarily to do with the automated screening process and the alumni network. At McKinsey for example, you will hardly find MBAs that are not Harvard, INSEAD, IE, etc. (to name a few international ones).
  • Average MBA: Conversely, if you have a great CV already and are going for a mediocre MBA - in terms of prestige/ranking - your chances may actually decline. It may seem moronic but consider the following: McKinsey likes to highlight their consultants´ credentials to existing/new clients when trying to land a new project. And rather than having one of their people showing a mediocre MBA on their resume it may be better not to have one at all.

→ My tip is to do a linkedin search for all the schools you are considering and cross reference their MBA alumni with MBB. Then try and get in touch with those alumni and take it from there.

Was this answer helpful?
Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Being from a target school is a big help to get your through shortlist and into the process.

But, without having a target school you can still get through with a solid CV, cover letter and most importantly a strong referral (s). This can be done, wont be easy though.

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2022
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

The tier/ranking of the school you go to and the odds of getting into MBB are directly correlated.

You're overcomplicating this. Just like with any job/application, the market works by signaling. The better/more competitive the school you go to, the more likely you are to be a good candidate. From MBBs perspective, they want to fish where there are fish to catch.

Again, you can get in from lower schools, but the odds are lower. Balance out this with the high cost and time dedication. I personally don't think an outside top-15/20 MBA is worth it if your primary objective is MBB.

Was this answer helpful?
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 06, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (3.900+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (www.case.tools/results) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

A target school definitely helps. MBB tend to target specific business schools and it is more likely that you will get an invitation if you attend one of those school.

Once you are invited, the school doesn’t matter anymore (in theory), so the brand name of the school mainly helps for the invitation.

If you don’t attend a target school, you can still be invited but you will very likely need a strong referral. You can find more on referrals at the link below:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

Best,

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Pedro
Expert
updated an answer on Jan 23, 2022
# Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

The difference… is the ability to get the interview. If you can't get the interview, cracking the case won't get you the job. Go for an MBA that will get you the interview.

 

By the way, you should also go for the best MBA… Darden obviously! ;)

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 08, 2022
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

The short answer is that it is very helpful to enter a target school to get into MBB because these schools give you much easier access to an interview. After you get an interview you are essentially competing with your cohort and others in top schools so it all depends on your performance.

What if you go to a Tier 2 program? You have to work super hard just to get the interview itself (by networking all the time and leveraging all your own contacts rendering the MBA useless from that perspective) and on the side continue to practice cases and make sure that you are prepared in case you get that call. It adds an additional layer of stress and honestly is just a sub-par experience. An MBA is as good as the network you build and it is just a known fact your network at a target school will be more valuable than at a non-target school which is why they charge the $$$

 

Udayan

Was this answer helpful?
Clara gave the best answer

Clara

Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
68
Meetings
19,721
Q&A Upvotes
91
Awards
57 Reviews