Myth Busters: MBAs Dispel Their Schools’ Worst Stereotypes

Myth: Booth isn’t for me because I come from a non-traditional background.

Reality: “Having prior experience as a child actor and talent manager, I felt as alternative and non-traditional as you can get. Anxiety flowed through me the first week of fall quarter, as I realized I would be taking accounting classes alongside CPAs, corporate finance classes alongside CFAs, and competitive strategy classes alongside sponsored consultants. My gut instinct was to conclude that I was going to be eaten alive; I had made a monumental mistake in matriculating, and that Booth “wasn’t for me.”

However, I would come to find out throughout my time at Booth that I could not have been more wrong, and this environment has led to one of the most enriching experiences in my life. The academic curriculum, discussion, and deliverables are structured to inspire group work and collaboration, and I’ve learned just as much from my peers in preparing our case analyses for the week as I have from lecture material – their personal and professional experiences relevant to the topic adds a robust dimension to course and class discussions. I’ve also learned the ways in which I can give back to my fellow students who have not had client facing experiences. The exchange of stories, ideas and lessons learned has been a huge asset.”

Jonathan Osser, University of Chicago (Booth)

Myth: There’s not much to do in Ithaca.

Reality: “Not only is there plenty to do in the area, but we also have full access to the larger Cornell community, which draws so much talent and activity. In the past two years, I have gone sailing on Cayuga Lake, (kind of) learned to ski, taken salsa classes, and signed up for a rock climbing class…to name a few. Ithaca has plenty of restaurants, festivals, hiking trails, performances, and more to keep anyone busy.”

Lucie Coates, Cornell University (Johnson)

Reality: “Ithaca is boring — total lie. No, you will not stay out all night raging at a club, but you will hike the trails, go to Johnson on Tap or Wine Club; make very solid truly personal connections through the seemingly endless dinner partiesl get involved with various clubs; swim Cayuga Lake; and take advantage of the local wineries. No matter where you study, MBA programs are notorious for the “FOMO” — fear of missing out — that they create. Johnson is no different; trust me.”

Nicklaos De Maria, Cornell University (Johnson)

Myth: I think there’s a myth that UNC Kenan-Flagler is a regional school, both in terms of where students come from and which companies we join post-MBA.

Reality: “Native North Carolinians like me are actually quite rare! I’ve really enjoyed that a third of my classmates are from outside the U.S. and the rest are from all over the country. While many UNC Kenan-Flagler students do choose to stay in the Southeast, we also place a huge number of students on the West Coast and in the Northeast. I’m excited to have friends to visit from Seattle to Indianapolis to Austin!”

Catie Venable, University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Myth: Kellogg isn’t an incredible place to pursue entrepreneurship.

Reality: “Kellogg has the best “resource-to-competition” ratio of the top MBA programs, and its programming is tailored to the needs of the next generation of entrepreneurs. From the Growth and Scaling Program (headed by Karin O’Connor) that is leading the evolution in Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA), to the Sales Institute (headed by Craig Wortmann), Kellogg is providing real-world opportunities and tactical, applicable skills (like the fundamentals of selling and how to manage a sales team) that entrepreneurs and small business owners must learn to be successful.”

Carr Lanphier, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Myth: Scheller is only for people with STEM backgrounds.

Reality: “That is totally not true. So many of my classmates come from outside STEM. Some were former teachers or even singers! The curriculum was developed to help people become more versed on the effect of technology on business; Scheller doesn’t require an understanding of this before you apply.”

Declan Nishiyama, Georgia Tech (Scheller)



Myth: Anderson’s collaborative mindset to a touchy feely environment that was not conducive to hard work or success.

Reality: “It’s interesting to see how wrong these people were. Though our share success culture can be quite touchy feely at times, from intimate fireside chats to weekly meditation sessions with our peers, it is this exact intimacy that places UCLA Anderson a notch above the rest. My success can be directly attributed to the personal relationships and connections I made with first years, second years, and UCLA administration. If you walk into our career center, every advisor will know your name, not just the one that was assigned to. Every administrator makes an effort to not only know you, but your story, your goals, and your progress. And I’ll take a moment now to even add some touchy feely to this and shout out to my amazing advisor, Regina Regazzi, without whom I would in no way have been as successful during my MBA career—a stalwart entity for all of us through thick and thin. I will forever be thankful for the help and advice she shared with all of us.”

Melody Akbari, UCLA (Anderson)

Myth: Rotman’s reputation is a finance school.

Reality: “People have been trying to dispel this myth for years now, but this one seems to stick for no real reason. The school has dozens of active industry clubs, strong recruiting opportunities in marketing, consulting, tech, operations, and even the startup world, and there are plenty of electives to choose from no matter where your interest lies.”

Varun Chandak, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Myth: Competition always takes a backseat to our “famously friendly” culture.

Reality: “While this has been the most collaborative environment I have ever been a part of, I can honestly say that after participating in three case competitions my first semester, the spirit of competition here is alive and well. We are unique in that we bring together highly intelligent, driven, and competitive people. Yet, at the end of the day, we still remember that we’re all part of the same community.”

Joseph Martin, University of Texas (McCombs)

Go to next page for myths about Northwestern Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Dartmouth Tuck, U.C.-Berkeley Haas, and Virginia Darden.

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