What the Top Companies Want
Pop quiz: If you want to work at Amazon, which MBA program gives you the best chance?
- A) The University of Washington
- B) Stanford
- C) MIT
- D) None of the Above
If you picked D – congratulations! Foster may be Amazon’s preferred hunting grounds for undergrads (home field advantage, you know). When it comes to MBAs, would you believe that Amazon recruiters flock to Ann Arbor, Michigan? That’s right, Amazon recruits from the Ross School of Business than anywhere else. In 2014, Amazon hired 27 MBAs from Ross – nearly double its total in 2012 (14).
So what has Ross done to get its attention? In a 2015 interview with Poets&Quants, Miriam Park, Amazon’s director of university programs, dropped some clues when we asked her what the best business programs are doing differently. “I think it’s always about the application of their education in a real world setting. Amazon is very much about the application of learning, experimentation, and prototyping. Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and are not one way doors, and students who can dive deep, and also invent quickly have a great home in our company culture.”
For a company that values action, an experiential program like Ross fits the bill. And the school has some high-powered alumni at Amazon, including Peter Faricy (’95) the company’s vice president of Amazon marketplace. Like Park, he references Amazon’s emphasis on analytical and problem-solving skills – keys for a company where (as Park notes), “You’ll be working on what has never been solved anywhere before.”
But that’s just Amazon. What if you want to work at McKinsey or Apple – or work in private equity? In a new New York Times article penned by Duff McDonald, author of The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business, McDonald introduces the best schools for working in such firms and industries.
Take McKinsey, for example. The general public naturally associates the firm with Harvard Business School. But here’s a surprise: McKinsey actually hires more MBAs from Kellogg. According to McDonald, McKinsey has added 215 Kellogg graduates in the past five years. Overall, Kellogg is sending over a third of their graduating classes to consulting firms.
So what gives Kellogg an edge? In a 2015 interview with Poets&Quants, Brian Rolfes, a McKinsey partner and global lead of recruiting, pointed out that “problem solving and the ability to work well in teams” were two qualities that the firm has traditionally prized. He also cited passion, leadership skills, and a track record for producing results.
In addition, Betsy Ziegler, the associate dean for MBA Programs at Kellogg (and a 13-year veteran of McKinsey), also cites soft skills like relationship building. And it is here where Kellogg excels, she tells McDonald. “In the early 1980s, Don Jacobs, then the dean, had a pioneering idea: Kellogg would interview every single applicant, assessing qualities like presence and articulateness — interpersonal skills that just so happen to be the most desired by consultants.” And that commitment continues today, she adds, noting that applicants must demonstrate such skills during their interview to be accepted.
So if Harvard isn’t churning out McKinseyites, where are their students going? Try entrepreneurship. Don’t believe me? How about this: 13 of the 25 most-funded startups over the past five years originated at Harvard – representing nearly $1.55 billion dollars in investment. Compare that to Stanford, which finished second with seven startups (which generated over $1.6 billion in investments). Overall, HBS graduates founded or co-founded 40 of the top 100 most-funded startups (Compared to 32 at Stanford).
When it comes to entrepreneurship, it is as much nurture as nature at Harvard Business School, says McDonald.
“Anchored by its Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship,” he writes, “the school offers 33 graduate-level entrepreneurship courses, with the second-largest number of dedicated faculty after finance. But its push reaches well beyond the classroom. An annual New Venture Competition awards $150,000 in cash plus in-kind prizes. The school also assists graduates who are pursuing new ventures with loan reductions of $10,000 to $20,000 — last year, 21 student entrepreneurs received more than $325,000 through the program. Its biannual entrepreneurial summit gathers alumni with demonstrated early-stage traction, and an entrepreneurs-in-residence program invites accomplished founders (and funders) to hold weekly office hours to advise students.”
While U.S. News only ranks HBS’ entrepreneurship curriculum fourth (behind Babson, Stanford, and MIT), outcomes don’t lie. And here’s a number to remember: 13% of HBS graduates end up in private equity. What’s more, you’ll find a larger population of Harvard MBAs at TPG Capital, the Carlyle Group, KKR, Advent International, and Bain Capital than any other school. That’s quite an alumni network for Harvard entrepreneurs to tap. And it will increasingly give their entrepreneurs a big advantage as years pass.
To learn the best schools to attend to work at Apple, Procter & Gamble or work in private equity, international business, or luxury goods, go to the New York Times link below.
DON’T MISS: WHERE TOP MBAs WORK IN CONSULTING
Source: New York Times