Inside Look – How Top Business School Students are Hired

Raghuram Sukumar Study in USA 11 Comments

You mush have read Highest Paid MBA Graduate for 2011 is $675,000. People take it for granted about $500,000 or $300,000, but are you smart enough to attend Super Elite Business schools? Even if you attend Elite School, do you have what it takes to get to top paying job?

Lets look at Hiring process at top firms that recruit students from super elite schools.

Busienss Schools Hiring

I’m writing this article to reflect what it takes to get such high paying job after getting MBA from Top Business Schools.

I came across How Elite Business Recruiting Really Works.  Article talks about hiring process followed by highest paying firms like investment banks, law firms, and management consulting firms.

I have met graduates from Top Business schools in USA. But, for the first time after reading this high-profile recruiting process, several of my assumptions I had about smartness, hiring process were indeed true.

I was much more fascinated by one comment in the above article.

Here is an excerpt from the comment (by am) who shares his experience about recruiting, value of top schools and much more.

…..I interviewed with all of these firms at two different points in my career. Like you, I worked at one of them, and I was deeply involved in the recruiting process for a time. ..

Evaluators have a lot of slack, and the tend to pick people like themselves.

Harvard grads respect Harvard. Yale respects Harvard and Yale. Princeton respects Harvard, Yale and Princeton. None of them have much regard for, say, University of Florida. But the rare U of F grad who works for McKinsey? He loves to hire scrappy, smart kids from U of F. Right?

 Super-elite credentials matter more than your academic record. … But let’s not kid ourselves: an electrical engineering major from University of Texas was not going to be viewed as favorable as one from MIT, even if they both had straight A’s. You would wonder, why didn’t that kid leave Texas to go to a “good” school. You would think to yourself, getting A’s on a curve in Texas might not be so tough. Right? You know this is true, even though it should not be. We have to admit it. Now, that’s not to say that the UT kid can’t get an interview – he can. But it is harder. And throughout the entire interview process, even at the very end, the initials UT will give him a marginal but noticeable disadvantage against the initials MIT, even if everything else is equal.

Super-elite schools matter because they are strong signals, not because of what students learn there. If you could have gotten in to a “good” school, you would have gone there! You didn’t, so probably you couldn’t, which means maybe you’re not smart enough. She also says the very decision to go to a lesser school -even if you could have – is often viewed as a failing. You knew you couldn’t hack it at the better school. You were afraid to leave home. You aren’t a striver. You didn’t make a good judgement.

Extracurriculars matter. No, they won’t overcome an academic deficit. ……. We did see the occasional elite-level athlete, and we would all knowingly agree that to get to that level of achievement, you had to be a real stud who could probably succeed at anything you put your mind to.

Grades matter, but mostly as a cut-off. That’s true. Once you are in the pool of Harvard-educated electrical engineering majors who are graduating summa coom (heh, the Corner thinks the correct spelling of that Latin word is offensive) laude, it doesn’t matter if you had a 4.0 or a 3.8.

Above statements reflects the view of an Elite Candidates Recruiter in Top Firms that pays big bucks.

Here is another comment from a person name cholo who could have attended Top University.

… On all standardized tests, I scored at or above the levels mentioned in the article and I attended a tier 3 school (my home state’s flagship school, but it is a rather podunk state) due to my parents’ repeated insistence that “Nobody will care where you went to college” coupled with the fact that state school would be free while I would have to take out a massive amount of loans to attend a decent college…

Now, my career isn’t in complete shambles or anything, but it’s been a much harder slog than it needed to be and I’m fairly certain I’m pretty far behind where I would be career-wise if I’d gone to a highly ranked school.

… If you have an intellectually gifted child, send him to the best (well, most prestigious) university you can. On both coasts (plus Chicago and, increasingly, major Texas cities – basically most places you can find a white-collar job) the assumption will be that you attended the best university to which you were admitted, and your job opportunities will reflect that thinking. People absolutely care where you went to college. It matters. A lot.

Another comment by NL says

… It’s not that going to a state school means you’re dumb or a failure or means you’re even average or mediocre. It’s just that the top schools work really hard to capture the best possible students, they have the name and prestige to draw those students..

What Does it Mean to You

I have pasted snippets of the comments. You must read the entire article and if possible all the comments.

Here is my take on the article and summary

  • If you are not studying in top university, means you are just average or mediocre.
  • Brand value comes with prestigious schools is not something you can gain from attending lower elite schools.
  • It’s simply not possible for everyone to attend top schools
  • If you have an opportunity to study in better school, then go for it.
  • If you are smart,it will reflect in the way you ask questions, approach a problem, choices you make in your life and reasoning behind the choices will be unique.

What Your Take?

Now, let’s have an honest discussion about your view on choice of university you plan to attend and do you consider yourself smart?


  1. Hi
    Very interesting topic, I was searching for it since long time but it almost too late for me to change my choices. Am an international student who got a Fulbright grant with TOEFL iBT of 557 and GRE Score as 86 & The Universities I applied on are;

    Illinois State University          
    MS in Applied Economics                 

    University of North Carolina, Charlotte        
    MS in Economics (finance track)                  

    Northeastern University    
    MA in Economics                              

    Texas A&M University        
    MS in Economics
    Is these the best choices for me?!

  2. I have read through the above comment which is good.

    I want to know which University in Canada offer scholaship to international student
    I have BA (Hons) in International Business ans I would like to go for my MBA in Human
    Resources Management (HRM) in Canada.

  3. Can HSB pls tell me if MPH(masters in Public Health) at Kansas University Medical Centre is OKay? I have admission and am to resume in January!

  4. as per i know it doesn’t matter whether you are in B grade school or in A grade.. if you have knowledge and good attitude you can get a job anywhere you want

    1. That’s what this article says.
      If someone has good knowledge and good attitude, then most probably he will be admitted into a good college.
      Why would someone with such traits be admitted/accept admission from a college below his pedigree??

      1. Financial considerations? If a top student gets into a top school but has no chance for financial assistance he will attend a lower ranked school that offers scholarships to offset his or her expenses. The assumption that “if you had gotten into a better school, you would have gone – so that means you are stupid” is simply ignorant. There are many reasons why a smart student picks a lower ranked school over a top ranked school.

  5. Agree with HSB…i consider myself smart but not that much…Im smart enough for an avg uni 😛 …And once been there ill make the most out of it 🙂

  6. Hi.

    very nice post and it is absolutely true..

    Where does USC stand when compared to those schools like UTA, UF, MIT etc.,

    1. From when UF started getting included with UTA and MIT…:P
      It depends on the course say MS from USC is not regarded as high as doing a Phd from USC because they know that USC gives admits very easily for MS than Phd on the other hand MIT is absolute apex school in all levels of study hence has a better name…so easy rule of thumb more admits lesser the value….. of course there are exceptions as many schools have intake restrictions and seats for local students like public universities…

      1. I am an international student, who scored almost a perfect score at the SAT exam, yet I did not have the financial support necessary for my attending an elite school. Now one year ahead of my commencement date, I am actively seeking a job to pay educational loans and to save with the hope of pursuing a post grad in mathematical analysis along with a teaching certification.

        1. with having any work experience can we write GMAT and apply for good business school??? ill complete my under graduation in april 2012

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