Best Quora MBA Questions & Answers

Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management

Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management


Question: Why is Kellogg a less prestigious business school than Booth or Sloan?

Scott Gosnell, Chicago Booth GSB alum: I have no idea why your particular network thinks Kellogg is far less prestigious than Booth or Sloan.

U.S. News seems to disagree (The Best MBA Programs in America, Ranked), regularly placing Kellogg in the top 10 business schools. The Economist feels the same way (2015 MBA & Business School Rankings), placing Kellogg at No. 7 in 2015.

I went to Booth, but I’ve worked with alumni from all of the leading schools, and I can tell you that Kellogg people hold their own in that group.

Andrew Vierling: Kellogg along with Sloan and Booth are part of the M7, generally considered to be the seven best business schools in the world. The deans of these schools meet on a regular basis and consider each other to be of similar stature. That being said, each school is going to have their own pluses and minuses for different industries. Without knowing your industry, it would be hard to speculate as to why Kellogg is perceived lower than the others, but I have some guesses. Kellogg is widely considered to be the brand for its marketing program. As a result of that and its location, a lot of the graduates go on to senior positions in industries that may not be considered as “exciting” as others. Some schools graduate a lot of bankers, management consultants, or high-tech entrepreneurs; a large portion of Kellogg alumni end up in senior leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies. This may be why your colleagues may have a certain perception, even if it is not supported by rankings, history, or the elite M7 status of the school.

Daming Li: As a current student, I believe I am well qualified to comment on this.

First, in terms of prestige within the MBA circle, Kellogg is roughly tied with Booth and Sloan at the moment. There was also a time (between 1980 to early 2000) when Kellogg was consistently ranked in the top two spots in the leading rankings. BusinessWeek’s historical average has Kellogg at No. 1 between 1988 and 2010 (BusinessWeek‘s Historical Rankings – Poets and Quants).

Second, I do agree that MIT and Chicago are more prestigious universities than Northwestern. This is why Kellogg’s prestige outside the MBA circle might be lower compared to these two peer schools.

Third, I disagree with your opinion that all M7 schools are equally well-positioned to recruit for management consulting. Here are some facts for you to consider:

• Kellogg sends the most proportion of nonsponsored consultants into the top MBB firms among all MBA programs.

• It is extremely easy to get MBB interviews at Kellogg. The U.S. offices of Bain, BCG, McKinsey interview about 150 Kellogg students on campus, and this does not even include other offices.

• Even if you do not get an interview from MBB, you can always bid for it. BCG and Bain went for 0 bidding points last year (i.e. it’s literally a free walk-in).

• McKinsey allows only Kellogg to bid for its interview. This is not available in other M7 schools.

• As a result, most of my friends can interview for MBB if they want to. This is not the case in other peer schools based on what I was told by friends there.

In response to Anonymous below:

• I wouldn’t say interview slots are not meaningful. I personally know a good number of people at peer schools (some of which are higher-ranked) that couldn’t get MBB interviews. At Kellogg, getting the interview at MBB is almost guaranteed, and this is important because students from less-relevant backgrounds have a greater chance to be interviewed at Kellogg (yes, your background still matters to an extent, even in consulting).

• MBB is or isn’t a tier 2 career out of business school depending on your background or personal preferences. It is true that most people would go to a top pe/vc/hedge fund/mutual fund over MBB, but the choice becomes less one-sided when it comes to top tech or mid-tier buyside roles. I have enough people choosing either. It really is a matter of personal preference.

• I largely agree with your views on Harvard’s finance career opportunities. HBS people have amazing backgrounds and personal capabilities and I would certainly not be surprised to hear that it is easy to get a top banking job out of HBS. However, this again is not always the case. One just needs to know a few “exceptions” to understand that no business school can guarantee a 100% success into any type of jobs.

Anonymous: I would say Sloan, Kellogg, and Booth are all a tossup depending on what you want to do and where you want to work. Booth has an edge in finance, analytics, and potentially entrepreneurship. Kellogg has an edge in marketing. Sloan has an edge in tech and is the best parent university. Sloan also has the best location (Cambridge > Hyde Park and Evanston).

Booth and Kellogg alumni are more Midwest-based while MIT has bigger presence on the East Coast. MIT’s alum network is much smaller, but at the same time they don’t have a part-time program diluting the brand (it’s infinitely easier to get into Kellogg’s or Booth’s part-time programs than it is to get into the full-time programs).

Kellogg people like to think they have an edge in consulting, but the truth is it’s not hard to land a good consulting job from any of these schools. Consulting is a cookie cutter commodity job if you’re in a top-seven MBA program.

Academically, Kellogg is the weakest of the three, but that’s largely intentional as it’s purposely a soft program at a parent university that is materially softer than Chicago/MIT.

Edit: It appears that Daming Li fell for the Kellogg-is-better-for-consulting trap. The proportion of students from Kellogg going into MBB does not matter in determining whether Kellogg is the best place to land a consulting job, for two reasons:

1. MBB is a tier 2 career out of MBA, as is banking. No one turns down high-end tech strategy, hedge fund, private equity, or even mediocre mutual fund roles for MBB. It just so happens that of the two tier 2 MBA careers (banking and consulting), the non-finance-focused curriculum at Kellogg attracts more students wanting to avoid accounting and finance. Something like 4% of Harvard goes into banking (Kellogg probably sends more into banking than Harvard), and that is because Harvard MBAs who are remotely interested in finance would have landed a good finance job out of undergrad. Harvard MBAs have no interest in banking post-MBA, yet it is incredibly easy to get a top-tier banking job coming from Harvard (mostly military and Teach for America folks — the candidates with real experience already have better things on their resume than an associate role at a bulge bracket).

2. The interview slots are meaningless. You have to compare the interview slots to the number of people actually wanting MBB. For sure, a much higher proportion of Kellogg wants to do MBB than Booth (and almost surely more than any other top-seven program), and therefore you see a higher number actually ending up there. The acceptance rates could be equal (or not), but either way the metric is bogus. The number of invite slots to MBB is massive at top-seven MBA programs; Kellogg is not special. They just have a higher interest level on average in the career.

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