June 12, 2006

Why go to business school?

The NY Times looks at the eternal question, why would anyone drop eighty-thousand to learn how to "manage"? In my opinion the Times is too ambivalent, although it concedes that, in the end, all you get with an MBA from a top-tier school is the right to say Harvard Business School admitted me:

"The real value of an Ivy League business degree is arguably not the education itself, but the screening of intelligence, drive and past accomplishments that the schools do," said Ben Dattner, founding principal of Dattner Consulting in New York. "Just like with undergraduate degrees, if you're smart enough to get into a top-tier school, you're likely to inspire confidence."
Except an undergraduate education is essentially necessary to get anywhere, so given that you will be spending four years away at college, it makes sense to go to the place that can give you an initial leg up (or to the private schools that can offer you more amenities or a student body more to your liking etc.). This is in contrast to a business school education which is not a necessity to make it in the business world and is reported to only offer a temporary leg up over the competition. It seems like the really smart business student would apply to top-tier business schools, get in, and then list the schools they were accepted to (and were smart enough not to attend) on their resume.