How friendly is your business school?

One of most unrated competitions around is how friendly is your business school.

Schools can range from easy-going it all about team work darling to…we’re competitive, we like to win…in a team environment of course. The American schools go for study hard and play hard philosophy while the EU business schools go social life, bah..more study,less fun…lots less debt. Silly non?

I’ve been asking the question how friendly is your business school in an attempt to get a grip of this whole MBA school culture and fit thing. The two best way of answering this question is to visit the campus and talk to students and alumni. Since I’m unable to visit campuses I’ve made more effort at talking to students. The best method I found is a chat over Skype or Google hangouts. At the beginning of this process I avoided going straight to talking on skype and forced people to answer questions via email. But I’ve changed my mind, skyping is the way to go.

And yes before you ask, as I have a research background, I did develop standard interview questions to enable comparison. And I even provided the questions in advance.

What I found

I’m not going to give a ranking due to my unrepresentative sample. But I’m going to provide my thoughts which are below:

General environment

  • There is a difference between the corporate ideal and the reality.
  • Competitive environment doesn’t necessarily mean unfriendly.

The students

  • People matter. What sort of people does the school recruit?
  • I do judge schools by the quality of the responsive a I get from current students.
  • Girls are quicker to respond to email than boys.

Social life

  • Study and social are both important. No MBA programme wants study hermits.
  • Two years does equal more fun.
  • There is active encouragement to only socialise in the goldfish bowl.
  • Team Sports on offer are fairly limited in an MBA environment.
  • There is a potential social penalty if you engage actively outside the bubble. Eg join a local hockey team.

Managing academics and social side

  • Learning time management skills is essential.
  • You will get more sleep if you have figured out your priorities before term starts.

Be great to hear everyone elses thoughts on the question of how friendly is your business school? Were there any surprises?

For a bit of fun I have also thought about what questions I would ask if I did develop a survey to answer the question which business school is the friendliest. That’s in my next post.

Yes please submit researcher jokes below.


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