A Specific Program vs. a General Management MBA

There is a huge misconception out there. Essentially, some folks have argued “Well Schools X, Y, and Z have great Programs in Widgets, therefore I must attend one of those programs.” This approach is simply incorrect. Instead, apply to and attend the best school you can get into. It’s really that simple. Not one type of program over another. There are specific real estate programs, manufacturing programs, entrepreneurship programs etc. out there.

But a little known fact, is that ALL top schools offer classes in all these areas. Just because people rarely speak about Tuck’s entrepreneurship program, does that mean that you’re better off going to Babson? No, not necessarily. Just because people rarely speak about Harvard’s real estate program, does that mean you’re better off at NYU? No, not necessarily. I don’t care what you want to do when you grow up—go to the best school you can get into. You will get credit for a top-tier name in any industry. And by the way, specific on-the-job experience can be learned much more readily than you think. Focus on pedigree, when it comes to business school. That, and geography (but we can dig into the idea of geography on another post).

HBS’s Essay Questions – 2010-11