Posted by: Louis Lavelle on June 11, 2008
Peter von Loesecke, the CEO of The MBA Tour, answers that question with an emphatic yes, especially for MBA applicants with little work experience:
Some students have asked us whether business school admissions consider the ‘prestige’ of the undergraduate institution. Yes it is true that academic credentials will be considered along with the competitiveness of an undergraduate institution especially if a candidate does not have any work experience. Years ago, graduate admissions had a process for normalizing grade point averages from undergraduate transcripts. I don’t believe business school admissions committees still do this.
Nevertheless, it is only logical when business schools consider a candidate who has little or no work experience they look at the competitiveness of the undergraduate program from which the candidate graduated. If the school is highly competitive, and the major or concentration of the candidate is relevant to business school, then that candidate will have an edge. What criteria schools use to assess the competitiveness of a candidate is probably not uniform. My best advice is to ask the school directly.
By the way, this question popped up on MBA Networking, the MBA Tour's exceedingly popular group on Facebook. Members of the group raise questions like this all the time, and once a month the group declares one question a "hot topic" and posts an answer, like Peter von Loesecke's comment above.
I'm not sure exactly how someone goes about measuring "prestige" in an undergraduate business program, but (shameless plug warning) BW has been ranking these programs for some time now. At last count we had nearly 100 programs on our list. Anyone who is interested, can find them on our web site (http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/rankings/).