Attending business school can be completely different from attending college. You aren’t just receiving an education. You’re being exposed to a lifestyle that can be both self-enriching or soul crushing depending on your attitude.
There are several subtle as well as not so subtle aspects of Business School that every prospective student should consider.
Pro: Job Prospects
Business School students, as well as Law and Medical students face a clear advantage over their peers in the History, English, and Sociology department: better recruiting and access to world-class companies (assuming you attend a reputable business school).
There was a clear difference between being an Economics major at my undergrad and being a graduate student in a Business School: better access to companies. The skills and knowledge learned during business school are in high demand.
Take for example the fact that virtually all companies have finance departments and need people who are able to handle their budget and move their fiscal endeavors forward. Companies know exactly where to find the people who will have the relevant knowledge. Right, you guessed it—Business School. Caveat: Economics is not a business major.
Con: Having to Kiss an Intellectual Education Goodbye
If you think business school allows you to discuss a multitude of ideas like you were able to about existentialism in your philosophy class then you’re in for a rude awakening. Vocational schools like b-schools and medical colleges are meant to equip students with the “necessary” information needed to hit the ground running on the job.
While it is possible that the exchange of ideas may take place, there will rarely ever be term papers to express them. Business Schools involves many exams with hard math—much of which leaves no room for debate. Remember, there’s only one way to calculate a net marketing contribution.
Pro: Working with Type A personalities
Since much of the work you’ll do in business school will be done in groups, if you’re a Type B personality, a Type A personality is sure to introduce you to new skills needed for a business career. Type A personalities are known to have a keen sense of urgency, and getting work done thoroughly and on time. These are three key traits for managerial professionals.
Con: Working with Type A personalities
If you were the type to spearhead every team assignment you were given during undergrad or secondary school, business school is bound to break you out of that mold. If you have a Type A personality, having to work with other Type A personalities can be dreadful.
Business School encourages collaboration but having two Type A personalities on the same team can be more of a competitive power struggle than anything else.
Pro: You become more polished socially and professionally
The fact is that not everyone can effectively craft an email, network their asses off, or learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to public speaking. As a Business Student, you are constantly being judged whether you realize it or not. Thankfully, Business School isn’t just an education.
It’s a lifestyle that teaches how to be aware of those social faux pas and expunge them. That uninspiring handshake you were about to give as you strut to your banking interview in a cobalt blue suit? Yeah get rid of it.
Con: The Curve
For the hyper competitive, the idea that you can earn a high GPA by only doing better than half of your class is pure bliss. For most, coming in ill equipped to do so can be agonizing. Many Business Schools practice a curve that rewards the top performers in the class with the best grades and the next best students with the next best grades. Yes, it is very possible to get a “B” after scoring a 95 on an exam if the majority of your classmates are geniuses.
Pro: The Network
Business Schools tend to be smaller than other programs at any given University. Despite stories of cutthroat behavior occurring at several reputable schools, Business Schools tends to fuel better alumni loyalty and tighter knit graduates.
Con: Cold Atmosphere
Most people at Business Schools are trying to either land that investment banking or marketing analyst position. Building friendship can sometimes be a last, if not a dead priority on a business school student’s mind. If you’re an undergraduate, get ready to become make friends with the Arts & Science students.
Obviously not all Business Schools are the same and this list may either be relaxed or magnified depending on the Business School you enroll at. The takeaway from this is that B-School is not for everyone and the skills you learn and the exposure you acquire comes at the expense of not having your hand held.
Sure you become an adult faster through business school than any other program, but Business School is sink or swim. Those who tend to swim have considered my list long before they’ve matriculated.
Peter Elliott | Elite.