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Why Study MBA in US at Top 10 Schools like Stanford, Kellog, Booth, Ivy League Schools ?

In my conversations with many of my elders, they always questioned me  “Why should someone study from an Ivy league school or top 10 school  in America by paying over 120,000 USD, where as someone from a normal University in India can get MBA for few thousand dollars ? What is the real value ?  Both are getting the same MBA degree, why are they paying so much money?

Also, you can do so many courses online these days from top 10 schools with MOOCs and get the same education ?  “   It is an interesting discussion…” Is it just about good higher education or is it more ?”.  The goal of this article is to address these questions and shed light on the real value.

Before we get into the discussion, let’s understand the challenge in getting an admission from a top 10 school.

Why is it so hard to get in to a top 10 Business school ?  What is being evaluated ?

The acceptance rates of applicants at top 10 business schools is anywhere from 7% to 19% ( Check out US News Stats ) . It is crazy to even think of it that only 7 get picked out of 100 applicants that try to get into Stanford.  All of the these business schools look at many things in an applicant like GMAT,GRE, and TOEFL scores, Academic Achievements,  Your Statement of Purpose, Essays, Leadership activities, Recommendations, Entrepreneurship, etc.   They conduct personal interviews as well before offering admission. 

When the Enron scandal happened, many of the business schools were blamed for not instilling business ethics to students…the business schools take pride in their alumni and it is a critical factor for the credibility of the school.  Having good GMAT scores will NOT guarantee admission at top 10 school.  These schools look for high achievers or students with a vision to create something or influence the society in some way or the other or students with a unique story or hardships.  So, it can be very hard to get into a top 10 school unless you have a good vision and motto.  Even a good recommendation from the alumni of the same school will have a tremendous impact on the admission chances.

What are you getting by Studying in a Top 10 School ?  

If I were to sum it in one sentence, it is all about the tremendous network and the education experience.

Connect with future or current CXOs

Most of the students in the class are top players, they are the cream and the discussions that happen among them gives endless opportunities and possibilities.   Many of these students are the current or future CXOs of the fortune 500 companies.  Check out Notable Alumni of Harvard, Kellog , Stanford . Imagine you sitting in a class with students who will be heading the fortune 500 companies. These are the guys that will shape the future of our economy by starting new companies and heading the existing large corporations into high growth.  If you have the right ideas, your classmates will be able to invest in you and take you to new heights.


Some may think that, it may be over rated, but the kind of possibilities you have by studying at a top 10 school are phenomenal.  One of my good friends, when studying at Columbia, shared one of the business problems they face at their company with his team mate and they ended up starting a company, eventually making a lot of money. Many of the entrepreneurs start their companies with their classmates in MBA.  If you get into a top 10 school, you are already considered elite and many CXOs would not hesitate to talk to you and listen to your ideas.  It is quite easy to get an appointment from a CXO by stating that you are students at Columbia and would like to discuss a business opportunity  for their company rather than struggling to pitch your ideas.

Alumni Network

One of the most valuable things that you get from a top 10 school is the enormous alumni network.  You have a channel to reach the executives of fortune 500 companies. If you are starting a new business or expanding your business to a new territory, the school alumni network can help you in a great way to expand.   The alumni always help each other and they always have a very high regard for students from the same school.  It is a piece of cake to get a new job or make switches in your career, if you have the right people connected.

Education Experience

The education experience is tremendous because  you get to work and discuss with some of the brightest students.  Great ideas emerge when great minds engage.   There are so many opportunities in a good business school to pursue ranging from leadership clubs, entrepreneurship clubs, student administration, etc.  You studying along with the cream gives you enormous opportunities to learn and grow as an individual as well.

While, studying MBA at a good school gives you really good education, you will definitely miss on some of the opportunities that a top 10 school would offer.  If you are really studying MBA, I strongly suggest you  consider applying to a top 10 school. It is not just for you to boast that you are a Harvard or Stanford graduate, it will open up your realm of opportunities.

Do you agree with the above ? What are your experiences pursuing MBA from a school ? Would love to hear your experiences.


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  1. Top business schools today are looking for what applicants can add to their reputation and not what the schools can add to the knowledge of the applicants ,they chose already well successful candidates ,rather than normal candidates who will have value added from those universities, and I am an Alumni of one of them

  2. Thank U Kurmar for the Article, Can you also throw some light on MBA at Indian elite institutes like IIM, ISB versus these Harvard, Stanford etc…as it costs more of $150,000 and then I saw few people working normally for FTE jobs like $120,000 ,$140,000 range. So the same Elite MBA can be done in india for very less amount(though its not the same syllabi but they are similar)

  3. The education scene is changing. Success is never guaranteed, it always depends on the PERSON, Drive, Ambition and TALENT.

    Top US and International companies when looking for Executive Suite MBA’s look to the TOP Tier MBA full time programs. They usually look for someone who has experienced Full Time Business Success, then went back for a MBA full time.

    The DOOR is opened at a higher level, and they will likely Track at Director/GM VP in a short period of time

    my two cents as a recruiter and I recruited MBA’s at DELL



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