Myth: Business school is more “relaxed” compared to the working world.
Reality: To the contrary, I’ve never been more stimulated. Stanford is a playground for the curious – there is an almost unlimited supply of fascinating speakers, classes, and classmates. Learning to prioritize has been a steep learning curve.
Most of the myths about Stanford are positive and true! The culture is one that teaches, rewards, and reinforces kindness, introspection, and active self-improvement.
Tim Brown, Stanford GSB
Myth: People think that we just surf and party all day.
Reality: I have to admit, we do have a lot of fun. For example, the Surf Club and the Outdoors Adventures Club organize an annual day trip where we ski in Big Bear in the morning and surf in Venice in the afternoon. But my classmates and I also work very hard. We have several leadership roles, are engaged in academics, and invest our time in initiatives that have an impact, such as launching a new medical device, managing social ventures, and organizing week-long conferences to celebrate diversity.
Dani Ebersole, UCLA (Anderson)
Myth: HEC Paris is in Paris.
Reality: In case you haven’t looked it up on Google Map, HEC Paris is not in Paris. It was back in the day but relocated to a beautiful small town Jouy-en-Josas near Paris in 1964. Don’t get discouraged though. Many students still choose to live in the city and commute via public transportation or their cars. Should you decide to live on campus, it’s also a great experience to live close to your classmates and enjoy a sense of community.
Oliver Chen, HEC Paris
Many students in my program come to the campus expecting to be nearer to Paris instead of in Jouy-en-Josas, 17 kilometers away. This may disappoint some, but I see the positive side of being outside the city. I love the campus. In an MBA, the best resource is your classmates. Having the campus with most of the class living on the premises allows deep connections to be formed. If we were in the heart of Paris, people would leave after class to go to their apartments spread throughout the city. There wouldn’t be late-night bonding over a glass of wine or spontaneous movie nights. The campus is one of the biggest selling points of HEC Paris.
Liz Miller, HEC Paris
Myth: The University of Miami is ‘Suntan-U’.
Reality: I think there is a perception that the University of Miami is strictly attended by privileged individuals who leisurely attend classes. However, this simply isn’t true. The University of Miami boasts an incredibly diverse student body, with people from all over the world and all walks of life. The school provides a great deal of financial aid, both need-based and merit-based. This ensures that qualified students, regardless of their economic background, can attend. The fact that the city of Miami has such a wonderful climate, and that the University of Miami has a resort-like campus, doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a wonderful academic institution.
Kevin Crosby, University of Miami (Herbert)
Myth: I heard some people saying that INSEAD is a party school.
Reality: Although there are indeed a lot of social activities (for example, multiple trips on a given weekend), we are also serious about academics and career development. I see a packed library in between classes and my classmates scheduling mock interviews during the first week of class. From day one, we realize the importance of planning our time efficiently and choosing our priorities so that we focus on what matters most to us.
Jiwon Kang, INSEAD
Myth: Tuckies are too nice.
Reality: While niceness is certainly a characteristic of our community, sometimes the word “nice” can overpower the other descriptors that illustrate Tuckies more holistically. Namely, I would say that Tuckies are empathetically assertive – we know how to make a point while also acknowledging the perspectives of others. This usually leads to interesting in-class debates, rich cultural exchanges, and more vulnerability between classmates.
Sonovia Wint, Dartmouth (Tuck)
Myth: Kenan-Flagler doesn’t cater to women.
Reality: It is true that women make up only about 30% of the class, but that does not mean support for women does not exist throughout the program. Administratively, the staff that oversees Career & Leadership, Admissions, Student Engagement, and Academics are almost all women. This has made a huge difference in my school experience from interviewing and recruiting to everyday dealings with classes and clubs.
Not to mention Carolina Women in Business (CWIB) is one of the most influential clubs on campus and has been run flawlessly over this past year by the amazing Harmonie Jacobson. One of CWIB’s best events held this year was a Fish Bowl arranged by Jermyn Davis. Women in our program were invited to speak about their experiences in business in a closed room. This event was so well attended, it had to be moved to the auditorium because there was such a show of support from students.
Speaking of allyship, we have great allies in our program, like Mitchell Barnes-Wallace and Eric Friedman, who do things like stop other people’s conversations and allow me the chance to contribute my expertise during Q&A sessions of case competitions.
Melissa Sieffert, University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)
Myth: The only people who attend McDonough are public sector intellectuals who return to the public sector post-MBA. As such, the school does not offer an analytical education compared to business school.
Reality: Most of my classmates came from private sector roles in finance, accounting, operations, marketing, and IT. Only 17% came from non-traditional MBA roles in the public sector. McDonough is also extremely academically rigorous, beginning with an intense pre-term that flows through the core classes. As I graduate, I know I have received a competitive MBA education that has prepared me to have a long and flexible career.
Nina Vann, Georgetown University (McDonough)
Myth: Yale School of Management is the “soft” or “nice” business school.
Reality: While it is certainly true that the school pursues the “and society” element of its mission, it does not do this through compromising what some may perceive as the “crunchy,” “technical” or “quantitative” skills any graduate from an MBA program should possess. The Yale program has some of the most pre-eminent Economics and Finance professors in the world. These luminaries understand that tackling business problems is not as easy as optimizing profits but requires deep consideration of societal implications.
Tony Senanayake, Yale SOM
Myth: The Kelley network is limited to the Midwest region because it is hard for businesses from both coasts to come to campus to recruit.
Reality: I believe it is a wrong statement because a large share of Kelley graduates end-up in New York and California areas, among others. Moreover, students often chose the business school based on their location goal after earning their MBA. It is easier to recruit in the Chicago area and other Midwest prominent business hubs because of proximity. Therefore, it makes sense to a considerable number of graduates in the Midwest. However, each student is responsible for taking advantage of Kelley and IU’s massive alumni network to recruit in his or her dream location. Kelleys are very collaborative and work well together. The business world recognizes that. During our MBA program, we operate a lot in teams a lot! So, even those students not so used to working with others will need to get used to that. These soft skills are precious, especially nowadays. Therefore, businesses from different industries and locations look forward to having Kelleys in their corporations.
Daniel Bernardes, Indiana University (Kelley)
Myth: Since Stern is in New York City, there isn’t much social fabric to the school.
Reality: In my experience, students at Stern have the benefit of choosing to spend their time between a strong MBA community and the New York City community. If you thrive in a socially dynamic environment, you’d probably enjoy having the flexibility to choose to spend your time with classmates at Stern or with new friends you’ve made in the city. It’s the best of both worlds.
Ari Schiff, New York University (Stern)
Go to the next page for myths about Dartmouth Tuck, London Business School, Wharton, and more.