Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Straight Out of Undergrad MBA Students 
There are strong sentiments among some MBA students, both at HBS and elsewhere, that applicants straight out of undergrad have little to add to the program and thus shouldn’t be accepted.  The HBS Class of 07 has somewhere between 10-20 such students, which equates to about 1-2 per section.  Not anything to get upset about, in my opinion, but some people still do.  Here’s a snippet from another blog that I feel is representative: “As I stated previously I am a first year HBS student. I am in my late 20's like many of my classmates, though we do have a few straight-out-of-college people (I don't like them, I'll probably post on that later).”

I thought it worth mentioning that two-thirds of the winning team of this year’s BCG Case Competition at HBS are students straight out of undergrad.  I view that as proof-positive that someone without traditional full-time work experience can be a valuable addition to a section, seeing as case discussions rely heavily on prior experience and an understanding of the competitive dynamics of industries and firms.  Of course, not all straight out of undergrad students are going to be as capable and add as much to the MBA experience, but in my opinion there is an equally wide disparity in students with plenty of full-time experience.

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