Busting The Biggest Business School Myths

Can you follow your heart and give back at Wharton?


Myth: Wharton is a finance school where you can’t pursue a passion for social impact.

Reality: “What I didn’t realize is that Wharton is so much more than just one thing. All 1,700 of my classmates have unique passions and interests, and I’ve loved learning from all of them. Every academic department here is world-class, and resources to pursue your interests are (nearly) unlimited. For me, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative is an incredible commitment from Wharton to being a leader in developing and promoting business strategies for a better world.”
– Mary Gamber, Wharton School


Myth: Although D.C. is crawling with Georgetown graduates, the MBAs are not very well connected to the D.C. network.

Reality: For me, at least, this has been far from the truth.

Through the Georgetown MBA network in D.C., I attended a Congressional Ball, got box tickets to Wizards games, toured the White House, skipped lines at a few Smithsonian Museums, and dined at fancy venues with senators. The network also allowed me to seek out unique volunteer opportunities, partner with nonprofits and NGOs, and get up close and personal with Super PACs and other lobbying entities. The Georgetown D.C. MBA network gave me an inside look at the inner-workings of the business and politically elite.”
–  Tahira Taylor, Georgetown University (McDonough)


Myth: Stanford students are “soft.”

Reality: “Stanford is known for being all about the soft skills, and I think it’s definitely fair to say that this is where the school excels in terms of teaching. At the same time, the student body is very smart and capable academically. The curriculum is very much about general management, but many students come with their own background in areas like finance and math too.”
– Kate Archibald, Stanford GSB


Myth: The University of Illinois is located in a nondescript, not-so-happening place in the middle of corn fields.

Reality: “Urbana-Champaign is a peppy college town. Being a university town with over 44,000 students on campus from various programs, the whole ambience is young and dynamic, and the place keeps me feeling motivated and energetic. Our university is rated as the third best party school in the U.S. by Princeton Review too!”
– Paul George, University of Illinois


Myth: Booth is just a finance school.

Reality: “While it is true that we have world-renowned professors and Nobel Laureates in that field, I have found that some of the most fulfilling classes I have taken have been in fields such entrepreneurship and marketing, with professors who are also industry leaders in their own right.”
– Jennifer Dunn, University of Chicago (Booth)


Myth: Ohio State is a very small program, so it must not provide the diversity of thought as larger schools.

Reality: “While it is true that the class size hovers around the 100 mark, the full time MBAs share elective classes with the working professional MBA program, the Masters of Human Resources Management, Specialized Masters in Finance, Masters of Accounting, and Masters of Business Logistics Engineering programs at Fisher as well. Considering the many of the Socratic style classes we have, having multiple programs definitely increases the diversity of thought that one might have had in a Full-Time MBA program alone… and also expands the pool of individuals that one might get to meet.”
– Tada Yamamoto, Ohio State (Fisher)


Myth: The University of Washington is only a place for people who want to work at Microsoft and Amazon.

Reality: “There are a lot of people who find unique and exciting career paths. That being said, there are a lot of students who work for the local large companies like Microsoft, Amazon, T-Mobile, Phillips, Starbucks, Deloitte, Accenture, Nike, Intel, Expedia, Holland America, and Paccar.”
– Lydia Islan, University of Washington (Foster)


Myth: Haas is too nice.

Reality: “We are kind but it would be a mistake to take this as a lack of confidence. Haasies remind me of this quote from Wole Soyinka: “A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces.”
– Hady Barry, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)


Myth: The Smith School’s MBA program is only about business.

Reality: “Sure, there’s a lot of number-crunching and market-sizing in my program, but what has surprised me most are the defining experiences I have had related to personal development. At Smith, I’ve learned to identify and embrace my own strengths through personality assessments and coaching. I’ve been able to mentor others and practice giving constructive feedback by working with undergraduate students. I’ve made life-long friendships with peers from all over the world. In short, my MBA has been a lot about business, and it has also been a lot of idea sharing, risk-taking, and relationship building.”
– Alexandra Moore, University of Maryland (Smith)


What are the biggest myths you’ve noticed about specific schools? Let us know in the comments below. 

DON’T MISS: Best & Brightest MBAs: Class of 2017 OR How MBAs Would Change Their Schools

  • Boothie

    As another Boothie I really wonder about that stereotype, sure we have some nerds/geeks (me being one of them), but most people, while smart, aren’t ‘nerds/geeks’, but quite traditional MBA students. I mean, look at our parties, they’re rarely ‘nerdy’.

  • MAA

    Yeah I would not place Sloan as a Booth 2.0, even though both schools are more academically inclined than their peers they each have different cultures.
    -Booth: Nerds/geeks that are cool to hang out with (I mean it in the nicest way possible, I am a Boothie)
    -Sloan: Down to Earth intellectuals who have fun.

  • areyoucrazy

    Booth and Sloan are the best schools ever. Better than Harvard’s snooty and Stanford’s arrogant people. We have great social skills. Unnecessarily academic? Recruiters and rankings disagree. You seem to be one of the jealous people from an inferior program like Wharton, Stern, CBS….

  • Kellogg2016

    This article didn’t actually bother to tackle the real stereotypes. For example, no one thinks Kellogg is a marketing school anymore (40% go to consulting, like 8% go to marketing), the stereotype is that we party too much and aren’t serious academically. Likewise, the stereotype of Booth is that they lack social skills and that the school is not fun.

  • OG

    I raised my eyebrows at that too.

  • Callaspadeaspade

    Let’s call a spade a spade. Here are the most commonly heard clichés about students at each top school –

    Harvard – snooty, entitled, self-righteous
    Stanford – arrogant, app-makers, overconfident
    Wharton – greedy, selfish, cutthroat
    Booth – geeks, no social skills, unnecessarily academic
    Kellogg – lack seriousness, overenthusiastic, weak academically
    Sloan – Booth 2.0
    Columbia – insecure, cold, terrible student experience
    Yale SOM – try too hard to get a seat at the big boy table
    Haas – hippies, “west coast best coast”
    Tuck – overly formal, isolated, uninteresting

  • Old Nassau Tigers

    How? Did you actually read the comment?

  • BOOth

    LOL the Boothie’s response only goes to cement everyone’s assertion that Booth is where fun goes to die.

  • USC

    Re University of Spoiled Children: alarm bells usually start ringing when I hear “Nothing was handed to this group; we went out and earned it.”