USA business school culture


Cheo_Mesh
Hi everybody!

I have a quick question about business school culture in the USA. I would like to do my MBA from a business school in the USA but I am concerned about my fit in terms of culture. Education in my country is very hierarchical and I am used to this. In my work the culture is also very regimented and stiff.

I have heard that the opposite is true for studying business in the USA. That things are more collaborative and discussion based. I do not know if I would fit in this kind of environment, even if I want very badly to do my MBA in the USA. So my question is, is this true? Can anybody speak to their experiences in business school and what the culture is like?
Hi everybody!

I have a quick question about business school culture in the USA. I would like to do my MBA from a business school in the USA but I am concerned about my fit in terms of culture. Education in my country is very hierarchical and I am used to this. In my work the culture is also very regimented and stiff.

I have heard that the opposite is true for studying business in the USA. That things are more collaborative and discussion based. I do not know if I would fit in this kind of environment, even if I want very badly to do my MBA in the USA. So my question is, is this true? Can anybody speak to their experiences in business school and what the culture is like?
quote
Hi Cheo_Mesh,

I attend graduate business school in the U.S. and am also from the U.S., so I don't know how helpful I will be, but I will try to address your question.

The level of collaboration and discussion varies based on which program you choose to attend. There are a variety of programs, all of which stress different aspects of the MBA experience. Being a domestic student interested in International Business and wanting more experience with international classmates, I chose the University of San Diego's International MBA. My classmates are almost entirely from other countries and the class size is small, which encourages us to work together closely.

I know that at first, some of the international students felt uncomfortable working in a group setting that focused on collaboration rather than a hierarchy. However, they adjusted quickly and now perform confidently. They also bring unique perspectives to domestic students and provide valuable insight into international work culture.

The level of collaboration depends entirely on the program. I sought a program that was small and focused on international collaboration, but this is not the focus of many other universities. I would not let the fear that you will not fit in stop you from pursuing an MBA in the United States. One of the most beneficial parts of my MBA experience has been learning from my international classmates. You may find that the collaboration allows you to engage with the culture of the U.S.
Hi Cheo_Mesh,

I attend graduate business school in the U.S. and am also from the U.S., so I don't know how helpful I will be, but I will try to address your question.

The level of collaboration and discussion varies based on which program you choose to attend. There are a variety of programs, all of which stress different aspects of the MBA experience. Being a domestic student interested in International Business and wanting more experience with international classmates, I chose the University of San Diego's International MBA. My classmates are almost entirely from other countries and the class size is small, which encourages us to work together closely.

I know that at first, some of the international students felt uncomfortable working in a group setting that focused on collaboration rather than a hierarchy. However, they adjusted quickly and now perform confidently. They also bring unique perspectives to domestic students and provide valuable insight into international work culture.

The level of collaboration depends entirely on the program. I sought a program that was small and focused on international collaboration, but this is not the focus of many other universities. I would not let the fear that you will not fit in stop you from pursuing an MBA in the United States. One of the most beneficial parts of my MBA experience has been learning from my international classmates. You may find that the collaboration allows you to engage with the culture of the U.S.
quote
Cheo_Mesh
Thanks so much for your thoughts... it's good to know that the international students were able to adjust quick, that is a relief. I would really like to do an MBA at a top 20 school, Booth is my dream school, so what I think I am going to do is try to do some kind of summer study program at a b-school like Booth or Columbia or Kellogg next summer. Just so I can start getting exposed to the environment before my MBA.
Thanks so much for your thoughts... it's good to know that the international students were able to adjust quick, that is a relief. I would really like to do an MBA at a top 20 school, Booth is my dream school, so what I think I am going to do is try to do some kind of summer study program at a b-school like Booth or Columbia or Kellogg next summer. Just so I can start getting exposed to the environment before my MBA.
quote
Ayon
Cheo_Mesh,

I did my MBA from College of William and Mary. In my opinion the US study culture is different from Asia or at least India - my home country.

In India, students go to class, the teacher teaches a subjects. Students go home do their self read, complete assignments and turn it in.
In US (at least in W&M - I am assume true for elsewhere also) Students are suppose to read the subject, prepare assignments or analyze case before they come to class. In class students are expected to contribute in class discussions and learn from each others views and approaches. The teacher at times, acts as a facilitator.

For me this was a big change, India also have hierarchical and regimented structure. It took me a month to be able to call my professors by their first name. I went about calling everyone "Sir" or "Ma'm". Regardless, most Internationals adjust to the culture within first few months - so you'll be fine!

In the end, I hope that a different cultural experience will enrich your own life experience and widen your horizons - as it did mine.

Best,
Ayon
Cheo_Mesh,

I did my MBA from College of William and Mary. In my opinion the US study culture is different from Asia or at least India - my home country.

In India, students go to class, the teacher teaches a subjects. Students go home do their self read, complete assignments and turn it in.
In US (at least in W&M - I am assume true for elsewhere also) Students are suppose to read the subject, prepare assignments or analyze case before they come to class. In class students are expected to contribute in class discussions and learn from each others views and approaches. The teacher at times, acts as a facilitator.

For me this was a big change, India also have hierarchical and regimented structure. It took me a month to be able to call my professors by their first name. I went about calling everyone "Sir" or "Ma'm". Regardless, most Internationals adjust to the culture within first few months - so you'll be fine!

In the end, I hope that a different cultural experience will enrich your own life experience and widen your horizons - as it did mine.

Best,
Ayon
quote
How is William and Mary MBA? Is it AACSB accredited ?
How is William and Mary MBA? Is it AACSB accredited ?
quote
Duncan
Try searching the board to get some context on William and Mary. I think it's the second-oldest university in North America, and has been AACSB accredited for a very long time.
Try searching the board to get some context on William and Mary. I think it's the second-oldest university in North America, and has been AACSB accredited for a very long time.
quote
Ayon
How is William and Mary MBA? Is it AACSB accredited ?


Yes, the MBA program is AACSB accredited.

Not sure if I can answer your question "How is William and Mary MBA" Do you want me to give it a rating on a scale of 10? Know my experience at W&M? Want me to analyze W&M MBA's strengths and weaknesses?

College of William and Mary was founded in 1693 by King William III and Queen Mary II of England. It is the 2nd oldest higher education institution in USA, after Harvard. The MBA program was started in mid 1960s.

Best,
Ayon

[Edited by Ayon on Dec 03, 2015]

[quote]How is William and Mary MBA? Is it AACSB accredited ?[/quote]

Yes, the MBA program is AACSB accredited.

Not sure if I can answer your question "How is William and Mary MBA" Do you want me to give it a rating on a scale of 10? Know my experience at W&M? Want me to analyze W&M MBA's strengths and weaknesses?

College of William and Mary was founded in 1693 by King William III and Queen Mary II of England. It is the 2nd oldest higher education institution in USA, after Harvard. The MBA program was started in mid 1960s.

Best,
Ayon
quote
I would like to know the strengths and weaknesses.
I would like to know the strengths and weaknesses.
quote
Duncan
Try searching the board, and then come back with specific questions.
Try searching the board, and then come back with specific questions.
quote
Excuse me Duncan, my query was to Ayon as he suggested so.
Excuse me Duncan, my query was to Ayon as he suggested so.
quote
Duncan
I thought he was attempting irony. Sorry.
I thought he was attempting irony. Sorry.
quote
Ayon
Perhaps this is not the right thread, but since you asked I am posting it here.

Little about me: I am following W&M MBA since 2008/9 when I applied and got reject. I then applied again with a stronger profile in 2012, enrolled in 2013 and graduated in 2015. When I applied in 2013 I had 6+ years of work ex in Telecommunications in India, lead teams, worked for 2 months in Eastern Europe. I took gmat 4 times, highest score was 630, lowest was 600.

MBA at W&M is a mixed bag really, I entered the program knowing what I am getting into so I managed my expectations accordingly

Goods
Faculty: This is a big plus for me, the faculty (most of them) are absolutely amazing. They have PhD from Ivy league, many years of experience in industry. Some faculty still practice in Industry and are big names there. Every student will give you a similar opinion about faculty, but there are some in faculty who are not appreciated by some students but highly regarded by others. I believe this is the case in every B-school.
The faculty is very approachable, I was one of the guys who asked lot of questions in the class, and even after class. They were always available to answer and explain even at odd hours.

Executive Partners: EP Program - as we call it - is a unique feature of W&M. Each team (explained later) of 5 students are given 2 Executive Partners. They are retired CEOs, CFOs, COOs etc. from top companies across industry who chose to retire at Williamsburg. I learned a great deal about leadership, motivation, team building, salary negotiation etc. from their experience. The W&M program is designed in a way that requires students to have some minimal interaction with EP. I tried to extract maximum mileage from EPs and used their help in preparing me by giving mock interviews, case interviews etc. I know few EPs referred few students for Internship/Job as well - but don't count on it.

Teams: The first year of MBA is very intensive, (or at least it in my 1st year - the news is that since students complained they are making it "lighter"). In 1st year, students are put into pre selected team of 5. Usually students come from different background/nationality. In my team I was the Ops/Tech guy from India, a Finance Banker from Taiwan, a Maserati Sales manager from Japan, a 700+ GMAT scorer from Hawaii, and an Army Supply chain specialist who served time in Korea.
For the 1st year, your team is your family. You do all your projects/team assignments with them. This is done to simulate real world global work conditions. In some teams there will be students who don't pull their weight, and the team has to solve such problems.

People from US Armed forced: Every year W&M MBA enrolls 10-15 students as per their MGJW program, these are people serving in US armed forces. They bring a ton of real world leadership experience and positivity into the program. Watching them speak in class, their organization, presentation skills, their time management is just amazing. I think I learnt a lot from the Army guy (my best friend) in my team.

Reputation: Unlike what you see in rankings. W&M is fairly known in US and highly reputable in the East cost. It is not known for the MBA program but for its undergrad / liberal arts program. so most MBAs piggyback on its reputation.

Bads
Career Service: I knew they were bad, but when classes started many left, there were only 2 people in 2013 who quit. So in all of 2013 there was hardly anyone in CMC. Later we got a director, but had no resource. When resources joined in CMC (total 4). 1 guy left again. By the end of 2015 the director left and joined UVA.
I didn't expect anything from them. They didn't help me make any contact with any alumni or company. I never approached them for helping me connect. I started networking since I first applied in 2008-9, so I had a pretty big network of my own even before I came to US.
Since I am from India, they would give you advice to try for global jobs in Singapore, not knowing the visa issues faced by students applying to Singapore or any other country.
The good thing is that they listened to our feedback and implemented it a year later. I came to W&M and US in Aug 2013, and went to National Black MBA on my own in Sep 2013. I was lucky to land an internship with a Fortune 100 company there. Based on our feedback the CMC started providing a bus service for such events in 2014 (National Black & National Hispanic conferences). This was helpful as it cost me $400 in airfare in 2013.
CMC also started giving $300 as travel stipend and $150 as technology stipend each year to students. All International students (including myself) claimed it to cover registration fees / Hotel expenses etc. for National Black / Hispanic fairs. $150 was used to get LinkedIn Premium account.

Students: I have talked with lot of professors, and they all agree that incoming students are somehow "not as motivated" as classes before them. Maybe its a common misconception or maybe its true - only time can tell.
In Class of 2015 (my batch): There were some 100+ students in 1st year and 85+ in 2nd year (MGJW fellows only do the 1st year with us).
So out of those 100, you'll have 20-25 students (usually US Nationals) who are absolutely amazing - in academics, career trajectory. They'll will be the first ones to land internship/ land 6 figure Consulting jobs in Big 4 / Fortune 100 / Cool Startups etc.
Next you'll have 40 odd International students. 50% of those would be Chinese, they would find it hard to integrate. Most ended up going back to China since they couldn't land a job (or didn't want to work in US).
You'll also have several students from Japan and Middle East who are sponsored by their companies. These students don't have to work hard but surprisingly they do! However, they don't have to allocate time for job search etc.
Then comes the Indians - again 10 odd students or so each year. We integrate, contribute in class and demand the most out of CMC.
You'll also get 1 or 2 Mexican / Hispanic. 1 or 2 from Africa / Europe etc.

Now comes remaining students. Many of them have lesser than class average GMAT, lesser than ideal work ex, and many straight out of undergrad kinds. In class during 1st year there was forced interaction because we had to work in teams. But once the assignment in over, they go back to their groups and don't interact or care much about anyone else.
This is of course gross generalization and over simplification. You'll get several students who worked at McDonalds or at a Bar. Nothing wrong with that! but they didn't bring any business experience onto table to enrich my learning. They do however bring fresh perspective.
My current organization hire heavily from MIT, the difference between MIT and W&M - if I may - is not the quality of education or professor, but students. MIT students are generally more motivated, W&M you'll find maybe only 25% of students having similar motivational levels.

Location: I like the city of Williamsburg, it is historic and nice - safe college town. But it's not NYC or SF. Nearest functional airport is in Richmond - an hour away. I didn't have a car during my time there, so going to an event happening in DC or elsewhere become a challenge. Companies wouldn't necessarily want to travel to W&M. We had IBM, Deloitte, Aluminum Bahrain and CSX visit W&M MBA in 2013-2015. They however came through alumni engagement and only for US Nationals focusing in Finance.

Less flexibility in electives/ CAM: a CAM or Career Acceleration Module is a 6 credit course that runs for half a semester. in Semester 3 (first half of second year) Students need to select two CAMs. I wanted to select Operations and Finance, but couldn't do so since both were in CAM I, so I ended up selecting Operations in CAM I and B2B Marketing in CAM II. After our feedback they moved Operations to CAM II a year later, but now some students wanted to take Healthcare and Operations, but both of these ended in CAM II so they couldn't.

They are trying to create a win-win but it might take time.

In the end, I would have done my MBA all over again from W&M without any reservation.

Hope it helps, good luck!

[Edited by Ayon on Dec 04, 2015]

Perhaps this is not the right thread, but since you asked I am posting it here.

Little about me: I am following W&M MBA since 2008/9 when I applied and got reject. I then applied again with a stronger profile in 2012, enrolled in 2013 and graduated in 2015. When I applied in 2013 I had 6+ years of work ex in Telecommunications in India, lead teams, worked for 2 months in Eastern Europe. I took gmat 4 times, highest score was 630, lowest was 600.

MBA at W&M is a mixed bag really, I entered the program knowing what I am getting into so I managed my expectations accordingly

Goods
Faculty: This is a big plus for me, the faculty (most of them) are absolutely amazing. They have PhD from Ivy league, many years of experience in industry. Some faculty still practice in Industry and are big names there. Every student will give you a similar opinion about faculty, but there are some in faculty who are not appreciated by some students but highly regarded by others. I believe this is the case in every B-school.
The faculty is very approachable, I was one of the guys who asked lot of questions in the class, and even after class. They were always available to answer and explain even at odd hours.

Executive Partners: EP Program - as we call it - is a unique feature of W&M. Each team (explained later) of 5 students are given 2 Executive Partners. They are retired CEOs, CFOs, COOs etc. from top companies across industry who chose to retire at Williamsburg. I learned a great deal about leadership, motivation, team building, salary negotiation etc. from their experience. The W&M program is designed in a way that requires students to have some minimal interaction with EP. I tried to extract maximum mileage from EPs and used their help in preparing me by giving mock interviews, case interviews etc. I know few EPs referred few students for Internship/Job as well - but don't count on it.

Teams: The first year of MBA is very intensive, (or at least it in my 1st year - the news is that since students complained they are making it "lighter"). In 1st year, students are put into pre selected team of 5. Usually students come from different background/nationality. In my team I was the Ops/Tech guy from India, a Finance Banker from Taiwan, a Maserati Sales manager from Japan, a 700+ GMAT scorer from Hawaii, and an Army Supply chain specialist who served time in Korea.
For the 1st year, your team is your family. You do all your projects/team assignments with them. This is done to simulate real world global work conditions. In some teams there will be students who don't pull their weight, and the team has to solve such problems.

People from US Armed forced: Every year W&M MBA enrolls 10-15 students as per their MGJW program, these are people serving in US armed forces. They bring a ton of real world leadership experience and positivity into the program. Watching them speak in class, their organization, presentation skills, their time management is just amazing. I think I learnt a lot from the Army guy (my best friend) in my team.

Reputation: Unlike what you see in rankings. W&M is fairly known in US and highly reputable in the East cost. It is not known for the MBA program but for its undergrad / liberal arts program. so most MBAs piggyback on its reputation.

Bads
Career Service: I knew they were bad, but when classes started many left, there were only 2 people in 2013 who quit. So in all of 2013 there was hardly anyone in CMC. Later we got a director, but had no resource. When resources joined in CMC (total 4). 1 guy left again. By the end of 2015 the director left and joined UVA.
I didn't expect anything from them. They didn't help me make any contact with any alumni or company. I never approached them for helping me connect. I started networking since I first applied in 2008-9, so I had a pretty big network of my own even before I came to US.
Since I am from India, they would give you advice to try for global jobs in Singapore, not knowing the visa issues faced by students applying to Singapore or any other country.
The good thing is that they listened to our feedback and implemented it a year later. I came to W&M and US in Aug 2013, and went to National Black MBA on my own in Sep 2013. I was lucky to land an internship with a Fortune 100 company there. Based on our feedback the CMC started providing a bus service for such events in 2014 (National Black & National Hispanic conferences). This was helpful as it cost me $400 in airfare in 2013.
CMC also started giving $300 as travel stipend and $150 as technology stipend each year to students. All International students (including myself) claimed it to cover registration fees / Hotel expenses etc. for National Black / Hispanic fairs. $150 was used to get LinkedIn Premium account.

Students: I have talked with lot of professors, and they all agree that incoming students are somehow "not as motivated" as classes before them. Maybe its a common misconception or maybe its true - only time can tell.
In Class of 2015 (my batch): There were some 100+ students in 1st year and 85+ in 2nd year (MGJW fellows only do the 1st year with us).
So out of those 100, you'll have 20-25 students (usually US Nationals) who are absolutely amazing - in academics, career trajectory. They'll will be the first ones to land internship/ land 6 figure Consulting jobs in Big 4 / Fortune 100 / Cool Startups etc.
Next you'll have 40 odd International students. 50% of those would be Chinese, they would find it hard to integrate. Most ended up going back to China since they couldn't land a job (or didn't want to work in US).
You'll also have several students from Japan and Middle East who are sponsored by their companies. These students don't have to work hard but surprisingly they do! However, they don't have to allocate time for job search etc.
Then comes the Indians - again 10 odd students or so each year. We integrate, contribute in class and demand the most out of CMC.
You'll also get 1 or 2 Mexican / Hispanic. 1 or 2 from Africa / Europe etc.

Now comes remaining students. Many of them have lesser than class average GMAT, lesser than ideal work ex, and many straight out of undergrad kinds. In class during 1st year there was forced interaction because we had to work in teams. But once the assignment in over, they go back to their groups and don't interact or care much about anyone else.
This is of course gross generalization and over simplification. You'll get several students who worked at McDonalds or at a Bar. Nothing wrong with that! but they didn't bring any business experience onto table to enrich my learning. They do however bring fresh perspective.
My current organization hire heavily from MIT, the difference between MIT and W&M - if I may - is not the quality of education or professor, but students. MIT students are generally more motivated, W&M you'll find maybe only 25% of students having similar motivational levels.

Location: I like the city of Williamsburg, it is historic and nice - safe college town. But it's not NYC or SF. Nearest functional airport is in Richmond - an hour away. I didn't have a car during my time there, so going to an event happening in DC or elsewhere become a challenge. Companies wouldn't necessarily want to travel to W&M. We had IBM, Deloitte, Aluminum Bahrain and CSX visit W&M MBA in 2013-2015. They however came through alumni engagement and only for US Nationals focusing in Finance.

Less flexibility in electives/ CAM: a CAM or Career Acceleration Module is a 6 credit course that runs for half a semester. in Semester 3 (first half of second year) Students need to select two CAMs. I wanted to select Operations and Finance, but couldn't do so since both were in CAM I, so I ended up selecting Operations in CAM I and B2B Marketing in CAM II. After our feedback they moved Operations to CAM II a year later, but now some students wanted to take Healthcare and Operations, but both of these ended in CAM II so they couldn't.

They are trying to create a win-win but it might take time.

In the end, I would have done my MBA all over again from W&M without any reservation.

Hope it helps, good luck!
quote
Thank you very much Ayon, Really interesting and inspiring.

*One more thing please-
Startclass says the average GMAT for W&M is 620. Do you have an idea of the lowest GMAT in your class?(since you have mentioned about those students, who had lesser scores than the class average)

I appreciate your time and patience.
Thank you very much Ayon, Really interesting and inspiring.

*One more thing please-
Startclass says the average GMAT for W&M is 620. Do you have an idea of the lowest GMAT in your class?(since you have mentioned about those students, who had lesser scores than the class average)

I appreciate your time and patience.


quote
Duncan
Google says that the range is 550 to 700/710 https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#safe=off&q=%22mason+school%22+mba+gmat+range+ I guess that students who are below average on GMAT will be above on other important criteria, like work experience or academic performance.

[Edited by Duncan on Dec 05, 2015]

Google says that the range is 550 to 700/710 https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#safe=off&q=%22mason+school%22+mba+gmat+range+ I guess that students who are below average on GMAT will be above on other important criteria, like work experience or academic performance.
quote

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