Monday, April 21, 2008

On the GSB Myths

I sort of like the GSB myths because they keep the "wrong types" (I'll leave that to your imagination;) of people from coming to the GSB. But I've been very surprised by the number of admitted students who I've spoken to lately who don't seem to understand that these stereotypes have fairly limited truth.

  • It's all about finance: The GSB has 13 concentrations, only 2 of which are in finance, because many a GSB student has no interest in concentrating in finance, or even taking a finance course. You can get through your 2 years at the GSB without ever taking finance in fact. And the non-finance courses are excellent ... if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Econ, Econ, Econ. It's all about Economics: Microeconomics is a required course (typical in MBA curriculums, no?) but courses for which micro is a prerequisite are not explicitly Econ focused. Students don't sit around graphing utility functions in strategy or HR courses. (Personally, I find it annoying that they won't let undergrad Econ majors test out of the Econ requirement since the class was just a waste of time and money for folks with a strong Econ background. (Sorry, it's true, micro is micro is micro.) I could have substituted a PhD level course, but if I wanted to do a PhD course in Econ ... I wouldn't be in bschool now, would I?)
  • The students are (fill in the blank: unfriendly, arrogant, nerdy, etc): Look, if you're concerned about the social life or community or friendliness factor, come visit. (And if you've visited/been admitted already without figuring this out, you're on your own.) No one can tell you how a community will feel for you. For me, MIT and the GSB had the friendliest student bodies of anywhere I visited. But obviously, that's not true for everyone. And frankly, I'm partial to "nerds" myself. To me, the GSB is for adults, smart adults. The school is best for those not afraid to think or to disagree or to take control of their academic futures, but there's a lot of variation around that generalization. You can find folks who fit your worst GSB stereotype and folks who don't.
  • Every cliche contains some truth and some exaggeration: No place is utopia, but some imperfections are more palatable than others. All in all, I feel that the students are down-to-earth and non-presumptuous, and pretty darn bright. I like that but there are other metrics that may be important to you that the GSB doesn't fulfill.

Any other myths that I'm overlooking?


Anonymous said...

I have one concern regarding. Do people commute a LOT? One more silly question. If the student is very tired in a day, where he/she can relax, may be lie down for few minutes? I understand the super hectic schedules. I attended one school here in US for few weeks. I had to REALLY wait for the bus to go home and absolutely no place to sit and relax. Honestly I could not survive.

MaybeMBA said...

Dear anonymous: I'm not sure if by "a LOT" you mean frequency or duration but if you live close to campus there is virtually no commute. Many choose to live north of downtown in which case they do commute a lot in terms of duration. Frequency of commute depends on your class schedule and desire to be on campus. There are plenty of places to relax through out the GSB building and, if you don't mind some lumps and bumps, I imagine you could take a snooze on the strange plastic couches in student lounge.

globetrotter415 said...

I like your statement about the GSB being a place for adults. That's the feeling I got when I visited, and the flexible curriculum is perfect for those who can take responsibility for their own career path. I hope to meet you this weekend if you're around.

Soni said...

Excellent point on the common misperceptions about the GSB. During my GSB Live visit I was very impressed by the student quality and diversity. Very intelligent and articulate...or it could all have been a ploy since GSB Live is pretty much a PR affair :P
I'm thinking of visiting on a non GSB Live day to get a better feel.

Anonymous said...

I went to the GSB Admit weekend this past weekend and was blown away, by what an AMAZING school and community Chicago has. It is for proactive, ambitious, fearless doers. ALL my concerns were laid to rest and I realized I was silly to even listen to stereotypes that have been blown way out of proportion. The program is fantastic and will continue to produce leaders in a range of industries!

MaybeMBA said...

Yay!! (on the last 2 :)

The.Grey.One said...

Of all the other stereotypes i wish this stereotype to be i'm interested (you can even say "heavily biased") towards Economics. And no better place to learn Econ than our beloved GSB :)
I heard from a current 1st year student that most of the classes have an Econ undercurrent. I wish this would not be a myth