Value of a Second-Tier MBA

I know many a topic have been written about MBA programs and how they compare to the CFA. However, I have also come across a few posts regarding how it is not worth going to a second/third tier MBA program.,35988,35988#msg-35988 Is this generally true? I am considering grad school, but would not aim for a top 20 school (reasons include cost and location). I am currently a Level II Candidate for the CFA program, and have an undergrad degree in finance. While I plan on pursuing a career in Finance, who knows where I will be in 5, 10 years? Having an MBA under my belt would allow for an easier transition into another field. Would an MBA from a lesser-known school allow for this? Or is it true that if it’s not from a top school, you may as well skip the whole MBA thing altogether?

i personally think if you are gonna do it, do it right. that is my philosophy on life. take out the loan and get into a top 20. if you passed level I CFA and have a decent GPA and GMAT it can be done. also, going to a tier 2 for cost reasons is debateable, b/c your future cash flows will be enough to cover the incremental exp of going to a better program – think about it. in 5 years, you are done with MBA. you pay 600 a month in loan fees. if you go to a tier 2, maybe you pay half that. do you think it worth it to go to a better school and find that extra 300 bucks in the future? I would rather take the long term appch and pay that extra 300…plus, everyone I talk to always “wonders what it would have been like if they went to a tier 1…” not to sound insecure, but that is what other say. and the fact is: YOU WILL GET A MUCH BETTER EDUCATION AT A TOP 20. guaranteed. they have more money and hire better teachers who do better research. it is like baseball – fat payroll = good school. everything is opprtunity cost. think hard about what you want to do with your life and if the network and brand that comes with a top 20 is more important to you than it is to others.

I think that most people assume that a candidate went to the best program that he or she could get into (this is used as a primary screening device). Considering how many people are interested in finance from top schools it would seem that those from second-rate institutions don’t have much of a chance of getting a decent job at a decent firm. When you have 300 resumes for 10 positions or less from top candidates why would you consider someone from State U? Also, who cares if you get straight A’s at such an institution - there is no competition (I know first-hand that the people who get A’s at places like Wharton are smart as hell).


I second the opinion that you should go to the top program possible, preferably a top 15 program. Top firms don’t even look at the resume of second tier schools.

Thanks for the opinions guys. I will definitely take this into consideration when deciding where to apply. It seems that the extra effort, time and money really pays off when you look at it from these perspectives.