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April 24: MBA Reality Check Spotlights "Character of a B-School"


Geof Becker
Carnegie Mellon University

Scott Addison

MBA Reality Check Spotlights "Character of a B-School"

Final Series in MBA Campaign Demonstrates Importance
Of Understanding What's Behind a B-School's Reputation

PITTSBURGH—What a B-school stands for matters because it's an indicator of the ultimate experience that students can expect, according to the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. In the final installment of its Reality Check campaign, Tepper asserts that B-school hopefuls should dig a little deeper and truly understand the "character" of each school they are considering in order to make the right choice.    

"In the frenzied application process, many students don't look beyond the hard statistics traditionally used to judge MBA programs, and we think that is short-sighted," said John Mather, executive director of master's programs at the Tepper School. "The elements or attributes a school chooses to express reveal its viewpoints and values. We encourage students to think about what really matters to them, and what is pivotal to their MBA decision. The 'fit' is critical for their learning experience."     

Varied perspectives on the importance of a B-school's character are now available at from Tepper alumni, faculty and students, as well as management experts, authors and journalists. The latest Reality Check installment is designed to help B-school applicants consider how the core philosophy of a school — and the way it's realized every day — impacts the learning experience potential students will have and how they will progress through their careers.    

New featured content on the character of a B-school includes:

  • Perspectives from faculty and students on the unique character of the Tepper School, and why it matters to them (podcast);
  • Historical interviews and other selected works by academic pioneers of the 1950s and 1960s that provide first-hand viewpoints on a period when B-schools were reinventing themselves as institutions whose potential for societal contributions was promising, but far from certain (interview and article excerpts);
  • Honest advice from the Tepper admissions team on the core questions that potential MBAs should ask to discover the true substance of a school (article);
  • A snapshot in time of the B-school evolution, recounted in "Managers Not MBAs" by Henry Mintzberg, which details the Tepper School's unique and disruptive role in shaping management education as it exists today (book excerpt);
  • Alumni and student perspectives on the importance of a school's character (video interviews); and
  • Student blogs with viewpoints on, among others things, why Tepper's character made all the difference in their choice of an MBA program.    

The objective of the Reality Check campaign — launched in September 2006 through a variety of print and online media — is to expand prospective B-school students' decision factors like traditional rankings and salary stats to include critical evaluative criteria that may be overlooked in the highly competitive application process. At the center of the campaign is, a Tepper-hosted online community of MBA-seekers filled with useful information and perspectives designed to foster insightful dialogue. This information helps students consider the many important aspects involved in making the right choice for their MBA program needs.     

"The Character of a B-school" joins the other Reality Check themes explored during the past five months, including careers, the diverse definitions of success; confidence, derived from competence and expertise; community, the collective strength of team-minded leaders; and way of thinking, the power of analytical decision-making. Over the course of the campaign, the Reality Check site has been visited by more than 27,000 unique visitors from more than 50 countries.