I was looking at your FAQs and read in one of your responses that EMBAs “don’t count.” Can you elaborate on that? Does that automatically DQ me if I am trying to get a job at a top tier firm?

And to deep dive a bit…what’s up with this stereotype that EMBA degrees don’t count? Obviously, I am not “attacking” you, and not trying to engage in a debate of the merits of an EMBA degree, but trying to better understand the stereotype around this.

I worked full time (as a consultant no less) and commuted to XYZ B-School from Washington, DC to get an MBA. In the process, I was debt free, and preserved my presence at work. I took all the same classes as a full time student would take, taught by the same profs.

Why is that perceived as “not counting?” Can you help me understand what I am up against? Any suggested talking points that I should articulate during the interview?

My Reply:

My previous answer comes from the fact that none of my former colleagues at McKinsey had Executive MBA’s. I don’t know why that’s the case, but it was very consistent.

So I don’t know the actual answer. But, if I had to speculate, I think it has to do with the selectivity of the program. Basically top firms, like people who have accomplished things that are known to be highly selective.

Phrased differently, it’s not the MBA coursework that the consulting firms value the most… it’s how hard it was to get into the program.

As an example, I received an email from another person who got a first round interview where they flew him to the office for the 1st round – no phone screen or anything. He had 2 – 3 years working experience and was surprised that this happened.

Turns out that they guy had JD law degree from Yale. Once I heard that, I was thinking…well that’s why he got the first round and a fly-in visit. Yale Law is very difficult to get into… last I checked it was 2 – 4 times more selective than Harvard Law.

So hopefully that sheds some light on the mentality. Consulting firms are school snobs. Doesn’t mean it’s right, but in my experience they do tend to skew that way most (but definitely not all) of the time.