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mba at oxford / cambridge

 
#1 mba at oxford / cambridge
22/06/2013 11:18

mikeross

Hello all - I'm considering undertaking an MBA. I'm interested in doing it at Oxford/Cambridge and would like to hear some views on the quality & reputation of these programs.

A bit of context & elaboration...

I have several years of work experience at a well known management consulting company. As for degrees, I have a BS and MS both in engineering. My degrees are from what are considered 'target' schools in the USA.

Since my existing degrees are from US institutions, I like to idea of doing an MBA in Europe, to 'round out' my educational background. However I think typically people with this objective would put LBS and INSEAD as their top two choices. But in addition to the requisite educational / networking / life experience that an MBA offers, I'm particularly drawn to Oxford / Cambridge for their rich histories and like the idea of living the 'Harry Potter' experience for a year or two :)

My perception is that these programs are not quite on par with LBS/INSEAD, and my worry is that this gap in quality/reputation might be larger than I think...

Can anyone give me some perspective on how Ox/Cam are perceived for MBAs both within and outside of Europe? Am I stupid for wanting to pick Ox/Cam over any of the above schools? Would you take Ox/Cam over say Wharton/LBS/INSEAD?

Also, I know Ox/Cam are world class institutions, but are MBA students at these universities looked down upon or considered 'second class citizens' (like MBA students are at Yale, or non-science/engineering students at MIT)?

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#2 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
22/06/2013 17:43

I to mikeross (#1)

My perception is that these programs are not quite on par with LBS/INSEAD, and my worry is that this gap in quality/reputation might be larger than I think...

Correct!

Can anyone give me some perspective on how Ox/Cam are perceived for MBAs both within and outside of Europe? Am I stupid for wanting to pick Ox/Cam over any of the above schools? Would you take Ox/Cam over say Wharton/LBS/INSEAD?

Studying outside the US is a great idea. You will be surprised by the diversity in EU schools and will open your eyes beyond Big Sam! There are only around 20% of international students in top-tier US MBA programs, contrary to what they tell you in brochures as they count US citizens applying outside the US as International students! US schools have also a very US focused curriculum.

Judge and Said are still fairly new b-schools. The intake is low too ~100 to 200 compared with INSEAD (1000 every year) and LBS ~400. So if you are looking for a strong alumni network and better brand then INSEAD and LBS will be the choice.

Personally, I would rank the schools in this order

1) Stanford/Harvard

2) Wharton,

3) LBS and INSEAD, Kellogg, Sloan, Booth, CBS

4) IMD

5) Judge, Said, HEC

Also, note EU MBA students are generally older (avg age 29) vs. those in US schools (avg age 27). But that doesn't mean you won't have a good time. INSEAD is a totally party-school. London is a great place to be if you are into partying. Attend MBA open sessions and speak with alumni. You will realize some are so full of shite!

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#3 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
22/06/2013 17:43

I to mikeross (#1)

My perception is that these programs are not quite on par with LBS/INSEAD, and my worry is that this gap in quality/reputation might be larger than I think...

Correct!

Can anyone give me some perspective on how Ox/Cam are perceived for MBAs both within and outside of Europe? Am I stupid for wanting to pick Ox/Cam over any of the above schools? Would you take Ox/Cam over say Wharton/LBS/INSEAD?

Studying outside the US is a great idea. You will be surprised by the diversity in EU schools and will open your eyes beyond Big Sam! There are only around 20% of international students in top-tier US MBA programs, contrary to what they tell you in brochures as they count US citizens applying outside the US as International students! US schools have also a very US focused curriculum.

Judge and Said are still fairly new b-schools. The intake is low too ~100 to 200 compared with INSEAD (1000 every year) and LBS ~400. So if you are looking for a strong alumni network and better brand then INSEAD and LBS will be the choice.

Personally, I would rank the schools in this order

1) Stanford/Harvard

2) Wharton,

3) LBS and INSEAD, Kellogg, Sloan, Booth, CBS

4) IMD

5) Judge, Said, HEC

Also, note EU MBA students are generally older (avg age 29) vs. those in US schools (avg age 27). But that doesn't mean you won't have a good time. INSEAD is a totally party-school. London is a great place to be if you are into partying. Attend MBA open sessions and speak with alumni. You will realize some are so full of shite!

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#4 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
23/06/2013 09:41

atrie to I (#3)

Judge and Said are still fairly new b-schools. The intake is low too ~100 to 200 compared with INSEAD (1000 every year) and LBS ~400. So if you are looking for a strong alumni network and better brand then INSEAD and LBS will be the choice.

That's true. However, you should not forget that you become part of the far larger Cambridge/Oxford university alumni network if you don't focus at b-school only in your year there. Personally, I did my MBA at Cambridge and would do it again.

B-school reputation is much more important for people coming from unknown companies, weak undergrads, etc. to compensate for that shortcomings. With your two degrees and a background at a well known mgmt. consulting firm you don't seem to need that.

If I were you, I would decide on personal preferences ( e.g. HP experience which was also important for me ;) than on external factors.

Just my two cents.

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#5 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
24/06/2013 09:46

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to atrie (#4)

I would first consider the ROI of an investment in an MBA.

Isn't it funny how, despite being self-proclaimed experts in all things "business", the institutions offering MBAs seem to be fairly thin on the ground when it comes to evidence that demonstrates the real financial value (to the student) of their courses. You would have thought they could put together a cracking business case justifying the substantial amount of money a student is required to forego in order to obtain the MBA - yet one rarely sees that.

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#6 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
24/06/2013 10:16

Happy to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#5)

I would first consider the ROI of an investment in an MBA.

Broken record alert... For what it's worth (given a sample size of 1), the ROI of my MBA has been fantastic - but this is not the question being asked by the original poster.

The question has been answered above by 'I' and, in my opinion, the OP's concerns are valid.

In summary - if you can get in to LBS or INSEAD, go there. If not, Oxford and Cambridge are the next best European alternatives.

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#7 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
24/06/2013 10:31

Seeker to Happy (#6)

OP,

My suggestion is to look at the class profile as well at your target schools. There is a difference between class made up of less experienced and more experienced people. Few years of experience do make a difference in the classroom IMO and if you are paying so much, you want the best fit possible.

I agree that LBS and INSEAD are better than Said and Judge in terms of recognition and alum network in MBA space.

Also, cost of living may vary. Rent in London and Oxford is not so different. (I have lived in both places). BTW, is your company sponsoring your studies ?

Also, look at whether doing an MBA at your career level would give you a significant boost. Your ROI may vary depending on your possible exit option(s).

Good luck !

Seeker

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#8 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
24/06/2013 14:03

mikeross to Seeker (#7)

Thank you all for the input.

I think the ROI of an MBA stacks up for me. I don't think an MBA will significantly increase my future earning potential (if at all) so it's more a question of the present value of those MBA years. And when considering ROI, I think it's important to include non-financial 'returns', such as the value of the 'life experience' of an MBA... which I think has a very high discount rate ;)

So I think it comes down to a tradeoff between school reputation/alumni network (which I think is the best measure of MBA utility) and 'life experience' (i.e. the reason I'm attracted to ox/cam)...

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#9 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
24/06/2013 14:14

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to mikeross (#8)

Aieeee, in terms of "life experience", which would you value more:

a) Lots of expensive holidays, a new car, wiping your bum with £50 notes etc.

b) Spending the same amount of money on an MBA at some academic institution where your experience is similar to being a contestant on "The Apprentice" and/or grafting away in the library all night over management classics such as "In Pursuit of Excellence" or "Intermediate Financial Accounting" or "The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present"?

A kick in the nuts is also a "lifetime experience", but I'm not sure I'd forego £100K for it.

Anyway, if you do decide to do an MBA, then Oxford is definitely one of the better choices. Harvard and Insead are the gold standard though.

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#10 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
05/08/2013 18:25

TMcGrant to mikeross (#8)

So, which one did you choose?

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#11 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
05/08/2013 18:27

TMcGrant to mikeross (#8)

So, which one did you choose?

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#12 RE: mba at oxford / cambridge
05/08/2013 18:27

TMcGrant to mikeross (#8)

So, which one did you choose?

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