Myth Busters: MBAs Dispel Their Schools’ Worst Stereotypes

Myth: Wharton’s culture is cutthroat.

Reality: “I found the opposite to be true. My major career goal when coming to Wharton was to break into the technology industry as a product manager at one of the big tech companies. With no prior tech experience, I knew this was going to be challenging. Throughout my recruiting period, I received tremendous support from classmates and my advisors. I remember having coffee chats with multiple classmates who worked at major tech firms. These people invested hours into my success – even during their own peak recruiting seasons – all without asking for anything in return. Furthermore, I worked closely with Samuel Jones and Erica Marks, the Wharton career advisors specializing in technology, both of whom offered constant support and professional advice. Together with the Big Tech and the startup treks, Semester in San Francisco Program (SSF), Tech Club and more, I had all the resources I needed to land a job as a product manager at a major tech firm.”

Tomer Meir, Wharton School

Myth: Smith is a smaller school, so there are relatively fewer resources for MBA students.

Reality: “Absolutely false! There is an abundance of resources and opportunities to take advantage of at Smith. Through experiential learning to gain hands-on business experience, global business classes, or leadership in student clubs, there is something that meets all students’ needs and provide value beyond the classroom. I sometimes worried that if I didn’t participate in everything that I would be missing out. But I had to learn early to set goals and identify key skills to choose the best avenues to achieve my personal and professional goals.”

Erin Moore, University of Maryland (Smith)



Myth: The school is French.

Reality: “The school is so culturally diverse that even after having lived more than 17 years in France, whenever I arrive at INSEAD campus, I am in a new planet with no cultural boundaries, and such a unique diversity that I sometimes forget that I am in France.”

Fatoumata Sy, INSEAD

Myth: Being on campus in the middle of southern Indiana is the equivalent of being in the middle of nowhere and results in a severe lack of a social scene.

Reality: “While Bloomington is about an hour from the next major city (Indianapolis), there are abundant opportunities to engage socially. Whether it’s attending operas and stage plays at the IU Auditorium, seeing some of the best young musicians from the acclaimed Jacobs School of Music, or enjoying performances at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, I have been able to feed my passion for the performing arts. If you are more of an outdoors enthusiast, there are plenty of hiking and bike trails in addition to being able to go out on Lake Monroe and enjoy the late summer and spring weather. While it’s not Chicago, New York or Boston, Bloomington is definitely a hidden gem whose campus experience is what you make it.”

Tyler Whitsett, Indiana University (Kelley)

Myth: The “Team Fuqua” spirit isn’t real.

Reality: “We really believe in supporting one another, whether in school or outside of it. Whether it’s an open door policy by classmates for interview preparation, pep talks in the hallway, or just a warm smile, we care passionately about lifting as we climb. Beyond any one experience, Team Fuqua really means thinking more about others than about your own personal interests.”

Julian Gordon, Duke University (Fuqua)



Myth: Rice is the school for the energy industry.

Reality: “It is true that energy fits into Rice’s wheel house. If you want to be in energy, there is no place better. Rice also has strengths in finance, health care and entrepreneurship. The Rice campus is directly across the street from the largest medical facilities in the world, Texas Medical Center. Rice Business also touts a #2 national ranking in entrepreneurship lead by the Rice Alliance acting as a catalyst for launching successful tech ventures through education, mentoring and networking connections.”

Stuart Crockford, Rice University (Jones)


Myth: There is a lack of community given that students live across the city and there is no central campus that would keep them in the same location.

Reality: “Stern students are genuinely interested in getting to know each other and creating valuable professional and education experiences through clubs for our peers. A great example of this is Stern Speaks, a year-long speaker series where Stern students share their personal stories. It is always a packed room, and I have seen students organize their schedule to make sure they can attend each event. It is a testament to the strength of the Stern community.”

Mahum Yunus, New York University (Stern)

Myth: Saïd Business School is embedded within Oxford, so it must be an archaic place.

Reality: “You certainly get the ‘Harry Potter’ experience of formal dinners and exams in black capes, but on the whole, I have found the business school to be very connected with the wider world. When I look around me, in many ways I believe the school’s progressive bent is ahead of the times, and is a marker of where the global business community is headed.”

Elly Brown, University of Oxford (Saïd)

Myth: All Yalies go into non-profits and eschew consulting and finance.

Reality: “Although the Yale community never fails to amazing me how diverse, unique, and unbelievable interesting the people are, last year close to 60% of graduating students went into finance or consulting. While there’s a long fracture tail that trails after that, the allure of the consulting and finance is remarkably strong, even at Yale.”

Hosanna Odhner, Yale SOM

Go to next page for myths about Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, Cornell Johnson, and UCLA Anderson.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.