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Harvard MBA

 
#1 Harvard MBA
16/10/2009 16:23

Jonty

Heysies!!

Long time reader first time poster. I want to get in harvard, and i want to know what your all thining about what i need to do to get their? I havn't had much experience in banking but want to go to one after, will this effect my chances?

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#2 RE: Harvard MBA
16/10/2009 17:43

Me too to Jonty (#1)

We're all thinking youre spelling isn't good enough.

Criticising spelling is the second most popular topic on this forum after discussing AP Sonculting.

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#3 RE: Harvard MBA
16/10/2009 23:52

MBAer to Me too (#2)

How I got into LBS, but imagine HBS is a similar process

1. GMAT - get the Kaplan books and practice. You should be aiming for 700+, 750+ would be a bonus

2 - application essays - the most important bit. Write them, send them to people who've got into Harvard, rewrite them

3 - interview - check the questions you'll get asked, have credible story for why you want to do the MBA, what you do after and where you'll be in 10 years time

TBH you might also want to think whether this is the right time for you - all of the above is liberally scattered over the internet, and networking is so key in an MBA that you should ideally be asking the question to s'one at HBR or who's going there. Also, English may not be your first language but confusing "their"/"there" and "your"/"you're" is, for me, a fairly basic grammatical mistake (which isn't just pedantry - details like this are tested in the verbal part of the GMAT)

Don't want to p*ss on your parade, but getting into a top school is very hard, and (again LBS experience only) if you get rejected it's even harder to get in a second time. Good luck with it though!

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#4 RE: Harvard MBA
17/10/2009 10:26

anon to MBAer (#3)

also, it's "affect" rather than "effect" and "haven't" rather than "havn't".

in my opinion an MBA is a waste of money anyway

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#5 RE: Harvard MBA
17/10/2009 16:57

Experienced hire to anon (#4)

The MBA grads that I've seen over the years are no different to those that spent the time working on good quality projects.

MBAs were probably a differntiator 20 years ago, but not any more. Don't waste your money

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#6 RE: Harvard MBA
18/10/2009 08:54

Hot stuff to Experienced hire (#5)

Not all of us had the opportunity to commence a career in such positions either due to background, ability or even luck. I say if you're prepared to take a few yrs out for further study to get into a profession that otherwise wouldn't be open to you then good on you. This is my situation so might be biased.

There are lots if people who go into banking with no prior experience, same as consulting, post MBA. However, in this market (which is improving) it's harder. XoXo

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#7 RE: Harvard MBA
18/10/2009 12:18

jj to Hot stuff (#6)

I agree with Hot stuff.

There may be little differentiation between an MBA and "good experience". However an MBA can be a strong differentiator versus "average experience".

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#8 RE: Harvard MBA
19/10/2009 23:57

vat to jj (#7)

if you are lucky enough to get an MBA from a top school and get a top job (usually follows) then do not believe the crap that MBA is a waste of money. It may be so if you're just PA consulting calibre.

Look at MBB - all top MBA grads. Hardly coincidence.

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#9 RE: Harvard MBA
20/10/2009 08:06

anon to vat (#8)

MBA is definitely a waste of money. everyone knows the further education business is just that, a business. yeh all MBB have an MBA but: a) they're the sort that would work for mbb anyway, b) who wants to work for mbb anyway (long hours, high stress, unstable personal life, living out a hotel room... all for a few grand more?)

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#10 RE: Harvard MBA
20/10/2009 08:30

Hot stuff to anon (#9)

What if you work for an average consulting firm (acn, deloitte etc.) and want to work in banking? Oh wait I don't have relevant experience but some transferable skills. Hmm, why not do an MBA and join the Associate hire class since too experienced for grad entry and no banking experience to go directly as Associate w/out MBA.

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#11 RE: Harvard MBA
20/10/2009 08:33

anon to Hot stuff (#10)

sounds like a waste of money. it will cost you, what £50K or so when you include living expenses etc, then don't forget the money you lose out on by taking 2 years off of work. just so you can join some back-office sweatshop of a big name bank? i'd agree with you if it was a guaranteed path to getting million quid bonuses from goldman sachs, but it's not!

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#12 RE: Harvard MBA
20/10/2009 18:43

jj to anon (#11)

There was an article on the Onion recently showing how the cost of living now exceeds the benefits.

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/cost_of_living_now_outweighs

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#13 RE: Harvard MBA
21/10/2009 08:00

MBA to jj (#12)

How many of those who state that MBAs are a waste of money actually have an MBA?

I've got one and I don't regret it.

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#14 RE: Harvard MBA
21/10/2009 09:28

anon to MBA (#13)

Takes all sorts, I suppose. As demonstrated in the 'Jar Squatter' thread, some people like sticking bottles up their ass. Others like to spend a small mortgage on getting a piece of paper that puts them on a corporate conveyor belt and leads to a lifetime of stress (if they ever want to get a positive ROI on their 'investment'). That doesn't mean it's a good idea for the majority of us, though.

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#15 RE: Harvard MBA
21/10/2009 09:53

anigav to anon (#14)

I agree anon, the corporate conveyor belt is all a bit too stressful - all the MBA seems to do is switch the tracks from one to another. I realise some people may genuinely want to follow a different career that they may actually enjoy, but let's face it: for the majority it's about chasin' that dolla'. Holla?. If you want an increase in cash so badly go and play the lottery or something. My boy Derren will sort you out.

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#16 RE: Harvard MBA
21/10/2009 09:58

D to anon (#14)

And for some people it provides an invaluable means of opening doors that would otherwise remain firmly shut.

Many people after 5 years or so of work are faced with a choice of:

1) Drifting along in a career that is ok but will never be stellar

2) Making a significant time and investment in a piece of paper that (not always, but frequently) will give their career the jump start it needs to switch sector or function or whatever it may be.

As you say, it takes all sorts.

Some are happy with what they have, others are not. And for those that are not and that have the ambition, then an MBA (if done properly) can be very worthwhile in terms of advancing your career.

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#17 RE: Harvard MBA
23/10/2009 18:28

MBA to D (#16)

Well said D.

In my experience most of those who say "MBA is a waste of time and money" are just too lazy or not intelligent enough to have one.

And for most of these morrons an MBA would indeed not bring any benefit. Their career is in a dead-end and it's too late.

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#18 RE: Harvard MBA
03/11/2009 22:16

HBS to MBA (#17)

Does anyone have a view on which would be preferred by a large FMCG in the UK? An INSEAD MBA or a Harvard one? I think HBS has more cache internationally? I am specifically thinking of South, SE Asia, which is where I'd want to go following the MBA.

I need to put some spark in my Consulting career!

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#19 RE: Harvard MBA
04/11/2009 01:08

snaggletooth to HBS (#18)

INSEAD would be better for UK/Europe, South or SEAsia as it has the better reputation for relevance in those regions

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#20 RE: Harvard MBA
04/11/2009 09:56

D to snaggletooth (#19)

If you get into Harvard go there and forget about regional reputations as they won't really matter.

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#21 RE: Harvard MBA
04/11/2009 12:46

Fool to Jonty (#1)

There is no comparision between Harvard and INSEAD. The only ones who do this comparision are either insead current students or alumnis.

Harvard winds any day, any where.

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#22 RE: Harvard MBA
04/11/2009 16:36

Mr Cool to Fool (#21)

I spent three years on the London management team of large global consultant firm. Each year the London practice recruited about 10 MBA’s from Insead, Harvard, MIT, Wharton, IE, IMD, Judge, Yale, Kellogg, etc. I would advise the following:

It is pretty pointless arguing which individual school is the best. It has been Harvard, it has been Kellogg, INSEAD has been as high as second in the world and then down again. There are consistent Top Ten schools and they are all worth the money when you are willing to treat the expense as a professional investment. Type “Global MBA Top Ten” into google and you’ll get the idea of who they are.

Below these Global Top Ten, each country has a “national” top division – in the UK it would include Manchester, Warwick, Strathclyde, etc. These are in the Global Top 50/75 List. Sometimes one of these schools will jump into the Global Top Ten, but it is a rare occurrence and usually a one-off.

Within niches some Top 50 B-school punch above their weight – Warwick for a while had an extra value if you were focussing on a city quants post for example, because they had a good maths module. Strathclyde has been the best BUSINESS school in Scotland for thirty years, but outside of Scotland many firms think it is an ex-Poly and assume that Edinburgh or Glasgow Uni’s would be a better source for MBA’s (they’re not!). This level of local knowledge is only important if you’re applying to a Top 50 school. Top 10, it’s not an issue.

However, the brand of the B-School is not the only thing to consider. The 1 or 2 years spent on an MBA will be one of the most intense and life-changing experiences you are ever likely to enjoy. Much of that will be wrapped up in the cultural aspect of the program and this is very much a question of personal choice. Do you want to spend two years in leafy Cambridge, Mass. along with mainly white, well heeled Ivy League-ers? Or do you want to mix it with thirty different races at INSEAD? Or would you prefer the more hands-on learning that many feel can be found at Ashridge? Or would a Top Ten school simply be too full of over-competitive snobs?

As to whether the MBA investment is worth while, that depends very much upon the individual. Not even the best MBA will make a dullard a star, and as the MBA industry expands an increasing number of dullards are willing to spend 50K of their own money on try to polish themselves out of looking like a turd. Whenever I hired an MBA I always made sure the first projects were hard, hard work – the type that knocks that polish off to see what’s underneath.

What has not changed is that if you are the real-deal in terms of raw material, then coming in the top 5 of your class at a top MBA WILL catapult you into the career stratosphere in a way that very few other things will.

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#23 RE: Harvard MBA
05/11/2009 08:41

Anon to Mr Cool (#22)

Agree completely with Mr Cool.

There is however one sentence that says a lot, and which whould give you particular food for thought:

"I hired an MBA I always made sure the first projects were hard, hard work – the type that knocks that polish off to see what’s underneath."

Let's be honest here. Newly minted MBAs get abused. You think two years of hard work to get the MBA is a lot? Well it's nothing compared to the grief you get when you join one of the over-competitive, hire-and-fire, ruthless up-or-out MC environments that recruit eager-to-please MBAs, promise them the world then chew them up and spit them out, extracting every last bit of value whilst they are keen and starry-eyed and hard working, making them jump through every conceivable hoop along the way and working massive hours only to be told at the point when they could actually get their MBA 'investment' to pay off that they are going to be 'let go'. I would just say, think seriously about what you're letting yourself in for. So many people end up seriously disillusioned after a very short while post-MBA.

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#24 RE: Harvard MBA
05/11/2009 09:34

Evil Consultant to Anon (#23)

Anon wrote...

"You think two years of hard work to get the MBA is a lot? Well it's nothing compared to the grief you get when you join one of the over-competitive, hire-and-fire, ruthless up-or-out MC environments that recruit eager-to-please MBAs, promise them the world then chew them up and spit them out, extracting every last bit of value whilst they are keen and starry-eyed and hard working, making them jump through every conceivable hoop along the way and working massive hours only to be told at the point when they could actually get their MBA 'investment' to pay off that they are going to be 'let go'. I would just say, think seriously about what you're letting yourself in for. So many people end up seriously disillusioned after a very short while post-MBA."

The first statement here is absolutely spot on. I went into my MBA (with one of the aforementioned top 10) having come from a consulting background, expecting it to be ludicrously hard work, but was almost disappointed when I only had to do an hour or two a day on top of lectures, case studies, tutorials etc... And while I didn't make the Dean's List, I was close to it. The rest of anon's post emphasises for me the absolute, total, complete and utter need to have your eyes wide open about exactly what you're getting yourself into. I do not find consulting quite as brutal as described above, but there can be no denying that at times it is a real meat grinder and you have to be prepared for this. Too many people come into consulting without really realising what they're signing up for.

On the more general note about MBA's being a waste of time: They're an investment, with all the risk that goes with it. A lot of people will not see a financial return on that investment, whereas some will. Note, however, that there are metrics other than money which can be used to judge value! Personally, it is looking like I'll make a positive return; however more important than that, it enabled me to escape a typecast role into which I had been forced having made a good job of my first role way back as a green-as-grass analyst.

EC

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