MBA Perspectives – Coffee with a Whartonite

Yesterday I met a Wharton 1st year for coffee. She’s in India doing 1 of the 2 internships and she was super cool to meet up for a prompt coffee chat. The conversation sounded like any prospect student picking the brains of a current MBA student but as soon as she told me that she had to decide between Wharton & INSEAD, I was all ears! No, no I didn’t apply to Wharton, but since I find myself in INSEAD decision week and since I had not met anyone with such a dilemma the conversation just got more personal for me!

She said that her research led her to “W”. Research??? Her biggest reason being W’s “Brand Value”. I just wasn’t sold on that one and I impulsively found myself jumping to defend INSEAD…weird, considering I’m still in decision week! Maybe I’m INSEAD star struck or maybe it’s just the odd timing but I shouted out “INSEAD’s Awesome….this conversation is now over!” Ok, that was only in my head but from that point onwards all my questions were INSEAD strengths wrapped around as generic queries. She was able to square my implicitive Q’s with W’s offerings but even to her INSEAD stood out as more International and, not surprisingly,less pretentious. Now we’re talking!

It was more puzzling to hear her talk about how a good % of students came in with the PE/Banker-I’m-a-rockstar mindset and how that made it difficult for the humbler-rockstars to fit in. This made me think of what an INSEAD alum (PE guy) said about how INSEAD actually opened up his mind, completely humbled him and how that still stays with him. I just don’t see that happening at W, which I think is kinda uncool.

The difference in how the schools impact your pre and post-MBA mindset is so interesting – W ingrains the Rockstar thinking and INSEAD seems to take the more open-minded approach. I don’t know what suits you but I’d say if you wanna be a rockstar just join a band!?!