Holding an MBA confers a certain amount of credibility on you, particularly if the degree comes from one of the top business schools, and even more so if the school specifically has a reputation for excellence in your field. An MBA proves that you have attained a certain degree of mastery over fundamental business skills and concepts. The institution that confers your MBA also gives potential employers an idea of the quality of the education.
Top business schools function like brands: The schools market themselves to certain types of applicants, and they have relationships with corporate feeder companies and recruiters that also affect their reputations. While it would be naive to choose your school based on brand name alone, many professionals find it impossible not to think about the situation in these terms.
Qualitative Differences Between MBAs
Different institutions tend to produce different kinds of MBA alumni, and their reputations among employers reflect this. If you plan to go into finance, a school with that focus and specialization of majors in the field will position you well. Particular schools have a reputation for producing elite corporate managers; not a bad association if you dream of becoming the next CEO of General Electric. However, it is important to remember that any business school will provide a well-rounded education and offer a variety of specializations. While a school’s reputation in a particular field may hold some weight, it should not overrule other important factors in your decision.
Credibility in Context
Establishing true credibility takes years of hard work and consistent performance. An MBA helps largely because of what the schools require of their students: the same types of behavior that lead to success in the professional world. Earning a brand-name degree requires excellence, and living up to the school’s reputation requires that alumni maintain the same high level of performance after graduation. While a school’s reputation can certainly be an asset, it is the performance of individual students throughout their professional lives that create the brand-name’s value.