I found it odd, however, that some of the Stanford grads declined a few seemingly reasonable questions from the audience. That seemed uncharacteristic of Stanfordy folk to me. It was a different story one-on-one, though. Each of them gave a good deal of attention to prospective students who came up to them with questions afterward. One of them even agreed to give me some feedback on my essays and provided me with some key insights that I had not considered.
While both info sessions were excellent, I could not help but notice two very distinct value propositions. The Harvard group harped on the brand and the network. Their power point slides featured professionaly designed charts and graphs and featured photos of grand dining halls, stately classrooms and sprawling grounds. It was all quite impressive. If their value prop were to be given a theme, it would have to be “We Are”, as in “We are Harvard. Come join us so that you, too can be a part of something great like this”.
The Stanford group kept talking about the environment–the ecosystem; and the relationships. The power point slides were largely conceptual. They seemed to beg of you to think; to introspect. This approach was also impressive, but in a different way. If their value prop were to be given a name, it would have to be “You Will Become”, as in “At Stanford, you will become __________ (fill in the blank with your own possibility”.
Anyone who gets to attend either of these institutions is beyond fortunate.
MBAOver30 offers the perspective of a 30-something, California-based entrepreneur who is applying to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Northwestern, Chicago, Dartmouth, Yale, and Berkeley.. He hopes to gain acceptance to the Class of 2015 and blogs at MBAOver30.
Previous posts on Poets&Quants: