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Importance of Prestige?

texasonline08texasonline08 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited October 2007 in Harvard University
My top two choice right now are Stanford and Harvard. I am planning on majoring in engineering, but my ultimate goal is to get into an MBA program and going into some type of management for a tech company.


I think Harvard is generally considered a little more prestigious than Stanford (particualy to the ignorant), but does this actually translate into a difference in job opportunities, internships, and starting salary?

Does this added prestige play a role in MBA admissions?

If I went to Stanford undergrad with this hurt me if I wanted to go to Harvard buisness school later?

Also.... If I go to Harvard, am I likely to get bogged down with a lot more reading and writing classes, when I really want to focus on technology?
Post edited by texasonline08 on

Replies to: Importance of Prestige?

  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,324 Senior Member
    If you are planning on an MBA why are you majoring in engineering? I mean I know it could be useful, it just seems odd. Harvard is in the midst of changing it's Core requirements, but I don't think that Harvard's requirements are that much more onerous than many other colleges. Coming from a college that is known to graduate admissions committee is a help - but that is not limited by any means to graduating from HYPMS. It just means that if you graduate from a school no one has heard of your scores are likely to count more than your grades. (At least that's what my husband who does MD/Phd admissions does.) You don't get many more brownie points for going to Harvard vs say Amherst, but you get some vs going to a place he hasn't heard of.
  • AileyAiley Registered User Posts: 698 Member
    Actually, mathmom, it's extremely common for engineers to move into business management in the tech industry, where a technical degree is *heavily* preferred and often required for sales, marketing, etc jobs - not just for eng jobs. And most of the senior managers and execs also have eng or science/math degrees.

    Texasonline, I have answered this question on the Stanford forum, where you posted it as well - the short version is that, in tech, Stanford is handsdown the place to be for both eng and your MBA, while for I-banking, Harvard is better. But of course, there are no hard and fast rules, and either is fine.

    I would focus on getting into undergraduate school first, before worrying about your MBA... :)
  • kenf1234kenf1234 Registered User Posts: 1,865 Senior Member
    If you're interested in a tech company I think Stanford might be a better fit. Silicon valley is still where it is all happening (at least most of it), and it's not a coincidence that is where Stanford is too.

    Go to Stanford in engineering, work for a few years for a tech company, then go to Harvard (or back to Stanford) for your MBA. That would be the way to do it.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,324 Senior Member
    I know it's common, but I didn't know it was common to plan to do it in advance. I always thought they just got seduced by the big salaries. :) At least that was the conclusion I jumped to when every single MIT grad present at a local presentation was in banking. It was somewhat off-putting as that sure wasn't why my son wanted to go to MIT! By the way, MIT should probably also be on your list as it has undergrad business and lots of technology.
  • mtpapermtpaper Registered User Posts: 782 Member
    I think this question can be addressed after you are accepted to both Stanford and Harvard.

    And I don't think it will make a difference for your future degree or career.

    The 2 schools have very different feels to them.

    After you are accepted at Stanford and Harvard, you can visit both of them, and decide which one feels right to you. Where do you want to spend 4 years of your life.

    And decide based on that.

    You will get an excellent education at either school. Go someplace where you will feel comfortable.

    PS perhaps read the book, Smart Moves, which talks about the benefits of a liberal arts education, and shows many examples of adults doing a range of careers, regardless of where and what they studied u/g.
  • kenf1234kenf1234 Registered User Posts: 1,865 Senior Member
    In the tech industry, a lot of the high-powered "business" jobs require a degree in computers or engineering or something. Most of the best CEOs in silicon valley used to be engineers.

    It's similar to attorneys who go into patent law. They need the technical background to do that, and they get rewarded big time by firms that need that special talent.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,324 Senior Member
    I know a lot of research scientists who have quit to become patent lawyers when they got tired of chasing grants...
  • debaser17debaser17 Registered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    To answer your questions...

    Although Harvard is more prestigious of an institution than Stanford (particularly on the east coast and Europe), its engineering program has traditionally been its Achilles' heel, and the more prestigious engineering degree would actually be from Stanford.

    But anyway, the difference in prestige between these two schools is so negligible that it wouldn't affect your job opportunities, starting salary etc. You'd get interviews out of either school; from there you're on your own.

    Stanford undergrad would not hurt you at all for Harvard MBA (although don't count on getting in from either school right out of college, obviously)

    To your last question - probably, yes, Harvard's core curriculum does stress a full liberal arts education; Stanford's has more room for specialization. If the latter is for you then Harvard might not be (consider English schools for maximum focus on one subject)
This discussion has been closed.