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Does a Business School Reputation Matter? 7 Ways to Enhance Your Degree


So you're thinking about getting an MBA, but with so many programs to choose from, you're having a hard time deciding which one. Of course you'd love to graduate from a highly regarded business school such as Harvard or Wharton in hopes that its reputation will make it easier to land a top job. However, with that prestige comes a high price tag. This is when we ask if a business school reputation really matters.

If another type of MBA—My Bank Account—is a main driver on the road to your desired career destination, don't let the thought of a more cost-conscious school or online program stop you. With fewer worries about tuition costs, you're freed up to devote more energy toward pursuits that can increase your marketability despite not having a name-brand degree. Consider the following options to give you a competitive edge.

7 Tips to Give You a Competitive Edge

Get an internship

Internships are a valuable way to get experience whether your program requires them or not. Talk to your instructors to see which companies offer internship programs. You can get hands-on experience and gain confidence before entering the field professionally.

Find a mentor

Successful business people who've come up through the ranks know how difficult it can be to break in. Mentors can satisfy their desire to give back by providing insider industry knowledge and offering support during your transition.


In today's competitive market, it's not about what you know but who you know. Networking helps gets your name out there. Many opportunities aren't advertised, so meeting a lot of people can put your name at the top of mind when openings become available. Plus you could develop business relationships that last throughout your career.

Take a part-time position

Going back to school adds just another financial obligation. To help support your education, think about taking a part-time position in a related field. This can help ease your finances while also gaining valuable work skills and making connections.


Many non-profits are dying for help and few would refuse an offer to lend a hand. Identify some organizations that interest you and find out whether they use volunteers. Volunteering offers a chance to get experience without taking on a bigger time commitment that internships and paid positions require.

Job shadow

Shadowing is a great opportunity to get one-on-one time with someone in the field. You can see up close the details about a specific position and determine if it's a good match. 

Apply for awards or competitions

What better way to stand out than winning an award? Awards not only look nice on your shelf but are also great resume builders that show you're driven to achieve.

If you choose the cheaper route and forgo a diploma from a fancy school, taking advantage of career development opportunities while in school makes you more well-rounded and highly desirable. Building industry contacts and packaging yourself as someone who has both a degree and real-world experience can help put you in the same league as Ivy-school graduates.