If you attend a top program without much of a vision for your outcome, you’ll essentially waste that opportunity.
It won’t be a total waste of time, but it’s the difference between having a great meal with great friends and eating BK out of the bag by yourself in your car. Both “get the job done” but you would be better served understanding CLEARLY how the MBA moves your career forward with an eye toward very long term development. After all, you’ll be paying for the fancy meal either way.
All programs – no matter how well ranked – are really regional. Does the program lend itself your long term objectives? Do you even understand your long term objectives? Are you likely to synch up with the industry and or people you most need by joining this program? The school won’t “do” anything for you. You have to do the “it” to get yourself situated post program, but some places/schools are feeders. You want to get into Private Equity (good luck if you haven’t done banking + PE before MBA, but…), HBS is the best bet with the most flexibility, but INSEAD is better in some respects if you want to be based in Europe, and Wharton is fine if you’re okay with back office.
Opportunity cost – you could be doing something else for 2 years. What are your two years worth? Could you learn more doing something else somewhere else? Often the answer is yes.
Under-utilization – if you are less clear about your long term objectives (think age 40, or 10–12 years post, not 3–5 years post) or are not honest about how unclear you are, you’ll spend the 2 years absorbing fantastic, amazing, inspirational moments, but you won’t be much different from when you started the program. What a waste. You’ll think I’m wrong until you are 5–8 years post program. Then you’ll realize I’m very, very right about this.
Poor representation of yourself to your classmates. If you are wishy-washy about your post program positioning, that’s how you’ll be known forevermore. Classmates will remember you as they experienced you. Is this the you you want them to know? Get that in order (see #2) first.
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