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London or Harvard for MBA?

#1 London or Harvard for MBA?
10/05/2006 19:01

Sheena Satnam


I've been fortunate enough to gain scholarships with the London Business School and Harvard Business School for an MBA.

Both seem fabulous and I'm not sure which to choose. I currently reside in India, so either school will be "abroad" for me. I am interested in making my decision on academic credibility and perception by top companies rather than on the location (i.e. UK or USA).

Any advice?

Thank you for your help in advance.


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#2 Re: London or Harvard for MBA?
10/05/2006 21:22


If I were you, I would choose HBS and the USA.

- US is a significantly better place to live compared to UK, mainly because of the difference between earnings and the cost of living. I currently live in London as a migrant and went to b-school in the US (not HBS, unfortunately).

- HBS would make you more marketable in any part of the world compared to LBS. Harward is known everywhere; LBS has much less brand recognition. For example, in the US many local b-schools beyond top 20 are better known than LBS.

Of course, you should take other things into account, but based on the limited information you have provided, I think the choice is clear.

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#3 Re: London or Harvard for MBA?
10/05/2006 21:44


Harvard over London, for the prestige. Cost of living during the course should be lower too. However, you may find a younger and less global class.

I would disagree slightly over the respective merits of living in the USA or the UK. It's far from clear cut and impossible to say one is "better"; each has aspects that are superior to the other. Are we comparing New York and Bradford, or Detroit and London? When I lived in the States I certainly (very much) enjoyed a materially higher standard of living but also found the work environment much less agreeable and life outside work (which may not figure for you, who knows) significantly less stimulating.

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#4 Re: London or Harvard for MBA?
12/05/2006 01:34


I'd say on academic credibility alone, there is nowehere near the discrepancy pointed out by the other poster. I think London ranks number four in the world.

The thing however, is that Harvard ranks higher overall in terms of brand and history, etc.

If we're comaring cities, then in this case it's Boston vs London. My own vote in that fight is for Boston because I'm a frustrated Briton living in rip-off Britain!!

I'd say Harvard overall - yout get Boston, and MIT is nearby. You can visit the world's best scientist - Noam Chomsky!!

But I must say - either way you can't really go wrong. Well done!

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#5 Re: London or Harvard for MBA?
12/05/2006 08:39


I am a student at one of those schools. If you write a bit more about your background and your post-MBA aims you will undoubtedly get more valid answers because they can then be specific to you.

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#6 Re: London or Harvard for MBA?
12/05/2006 09:59


When did Chomsky become a scientist?

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#7 Re: London or Harvard for MBA?
13/05/2006 00:20


When did Chomsky become a scientist?

When he wrote Syntactic Structures (early 1960s) and thus began research into human language acquisition theory. That is, when he invented mathematical linguistics and presented a theory about the processes involved in the way humans acquire language. His work produced overwhelming evidence to show that (a significant portion of) language ability is genetically established (innate) and not learned. All of this work relates to brain, mind, cognition, and rationalist biology and psychology. His most recent work has focussed on language evolution when he teamed up with neuroscientists from Harvard and Edinburgh.

He's most famous for his politics but people outside of theoretical linguistics don't seem to know that he's a scientist first. Just google him with "language acquistion".

RG, I can't tell if your remark was flippant. If it was, you can trust that what I'm telling you is not a fairytale. Any book about the hsitory of modern science should fill in the gaps for you. I've written a thesis on the guy and linguistics is my PhD so I should know.

If you weren't being flippant - then much love! :-)

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#8 Re: London or Harvard for MBA?
14/05/2006 19:14


I'd go for Harvard because of global "brand" - depends a bit on where you want to live post MBA but you can always leave the USA afterwards.

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#9 Chomsky
15/05/2006 09:56


I know who Chomsky is, and whilst one would mostly associate him nowadays with leftist polemics I am well aware of his stature in linguistics. As you rightly point out, there are links between the subject and biology, neuroscience, etc - but one wouldn't generally class linguistics as a science. You could argue it is only a matter of academic silos but linguistics departments are usally closedly allied to language departments and founds in arts faculties.

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#10 Re: Chomsky: reply
15/05/2006 15:49


Reply re: Chomsky II

A theoretical linguist wouldn't "mostly associate him nowadays with leftist polemics". A lay person unconnected with his work, would.

A theoretical linguist would indeed class his or her work as scientific, particularly if it is the type which draws on ideas of rationalist biology, innateness and genetics, and if its goal is to present a theory for language acquisition.

The fact that many linguistics departments are housed in arts and humanities faculties is irrelevant. This happens because the subject "linguistics" is very diverse. There are many "art" oriented areas of linguistics (e.g. historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, stylistics, etc). But equally, there are hard scientific versions of the discipline, as exemplified by the Minimalist Programme based at MIT, and the Advanced Syntax and generative phonology research carried out at myriad universities including UCL, Stanford, Yale, and so on.

Chomsky's work certainly falls into the latter because it is not concerned in the slightest with "social" issues of language study, but firmly with biological issues of language development in humans. Chomskian linguistics is not about learning how to speak French. It's about the neural processes involved in speaking our native languages.

Indeed, if one studies subjects such as generative grammar, syntax and Principles and Parameters Theory (PPT), one immediately realises that this work is far more relevant to a mathematics department than an arts one. Why? Well not by some fairytale default or because we linguists wish to be important, but because Chomsky's syntactic theories make heavy use of mathematic principles such as recursive function theory.

With respect, your opinion is quasi-informed, and it's not an expert one.

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#11 Re: Chomsky: reply - fair enough!
15/05/2006 17:23


No, it certainly isn't an expert one and I stand corrected. I never claimed any expert opinion on the matter - perhaps the tone of my reply was ill-judged. I was aware that he was a key figure in linguistics, which from passive observation of a former girlfriend's studies in the field I did not class as a science.

I do still wonder what he is up to now, though.

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#12 Re: Chomsky: reply - fair enough!
16/05/2006 01:45


Fair enough indeed, these forums don't allow one to smile in text (!) In fact I sounded a little insane in my replies too (oops, don't mind me).

In any case, if you're interested in the field, here's a superb, (fairly recent) article about by Chomsky et al on language evolution.

Good wishes, my friend!

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#13 RE: London or Harvard for MBA?
16/07/2006 17:03

Noamite to deleted (#0)

Wow, this has to be the most interesting thread on this forum, and (too bad) only because it was hijacked by a linguist. Full marks to you MC, you even managed to get an apology out of RG, who is responsible for some of the more flippant posts throughout the history of the forum. Good on you too RG, for that matter.

Now, MC/RG do you think that when people talk about Noam Chomsky's "leftist polemics" they are implying that he is some kind of conspiracy theory nut (a Neo Con phrase coined to frighten people who challenge their lies into thinking that they will be branded a fool and had therefore shut up quick)? I do hope not. If speaking the truth = leftist polemics (rather than intelligence and bravery) we need more.

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#14 RE: London or Harvard for MBA?
17/07/2006 04:45

Who? to Noamite (#13)


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#15 RE: London or Harvard for MBA?
18/07/2006 21:34

MC to Noamite (#13)

Quite right - if speaking the truth means being labelled, then let us be labelled!

I love thinkers like Chomsky, Said, etc, the only trouble is they're (were in the case of Said) so few and far between.

In response to your interesting point - I think much of the right wing in both America and Britain feels threatened by intelligent political activists (as exemplified by Chomsky) and thus the easy "conspiracy theory nut" type labelling.

There's a debate between Chomsky and Senior Bush's neo-con brother in arms, Richard Pearle, dating back to 1989. Do a search for it - it's great listening. Not only is it a masterclass in rhetorical technique, it's a blueprint for rendering neo-con rhetoric as totally vacuous and shameless.

Best wishes :-)

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#16 RE: London or Harvard for MBA?
19/07/2006 15:29

Rakesh to MC (#15)

Why not try some of our fine business schools in India ?

The fees are much lower than in the USA, and our graduates are in far higher demand

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#17 RE: London or Harvard for MBA?
19/07/2006 16:17

RG to Rakesh (#16)

Not sure they have quite the same global reputation... although I'm well aware of the standard of the students and that entry can still be very competitive with the Indian aptitude for the GMAT. If you're after value then South Africa and Australia would also get a look in, but your man already has scholarships for Harvard and LBS (lucky *******! Can I "borrow" your identity and take one of places?!)

Back to Chomsky... it's some time since I read "Rogue States" so I'm not sure I can comment properly. I did find it heavy going - not so much the complexity of his arguments but the quote-laden prose style. I was quite sympathetically inclined at the outset but couldn't help but feel that he was slightly askew from the true, critically neutral position I had hoped to find.

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#18 RE: London or Harvard for MBA?
19/07/2006 16:18

RG to RG (#17)

Correction last: "woman", not "man"

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#19 RE: London or Harvard for MBA?
19/07/2006 20:55

Wellington to Rakesh (#16)

Given a choice as in your case Harvard is better because of strong brand and history. This can become a factor to get your first job. After this its basically your performance that will take you up.

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#20 RE: London or Harvard for MBA?
20/07/2006 12:33

Starman to Wellington (#19)

Why not come to India? We have many good business schools here, but they are often much more difficult to get in to than even quite good ones like Harvard or LBS.

I doubt they would give you a full scholarship, but you might get something

And we play cricket better...

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