How can you be sure that you will feel like you belong in business school? Cultural fit is important when selecting the right business school for your MBA journey. Location, faculty, and curriculum are all essential factors for preferring one program over another. But ultimately, it is the culture and values of the school that will influence your experience the most.
Unimy’s Cultural Fit gives you a detailed breakdown of a school’s organizational culture. Is communication in the community more explicit or more subtle? Does the school encourage planning or does it embrace spontaneity? It’s exciting to peek into the life of a particular institution without even having to set foot in it.
Case study: Cornell University
Let’s put theory into practice with a specific example. We analyzed the culture of the Cornell University: Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management (US) using our Cultural Fit Map. Using six dimensions, the cultural fit tool measures specific values that make a school unique and give it character. Is that school character a fit with your values and ways of working? Let’s take a closer look at three of the scales that reveal the most about the culture at Cornell.
Both individual and team effort are important ingredients for success at school and at work. Without one, the other will suffer. However, some business schools will naturally put more focus on one of the two – it’s a matter of teaching style and assessing students’ performance. In the US and on a global level, Cornell University is among the institutions that favor collective accomplishment over personal contribution. But what does that mean exactly?
Cornell highlights the achievements of the entire group or class rather than those of individual students. Students work together to solve problems. Stanford University has the same score on this dimension. In fact, in our data, we can see a trend forming here. It’s not just Cornell and Stanford – most US business schools have a strong value for collective accomplishment.
Does this data challenge the common belief that America holds individualism in higher regard than the collective interest? Or perhaps business school is a very different environment where team effort and cooperation are essential to the learning process? Measuring school culture is not an exact science. Always combine the Cultural Fit map with other means of getting to know a university such as a campus visit or talking to MBA alumni.
How do you feel about following etiquette norms and established traditions? How would you react if a professor came to class dressed in a T-shirt? Liberal vs classical style explores a community’s behavior in such situations.
In this case, Cornell turns out to be relatively liberal – both in the US and globally. That could mean that Cornell is open to evolving traditions and accepts a range of individual conduct.
If you associate America with liberalism, you might find it curious to learn US schools are very different to one another across this dimension. There is a range of scores and a real spread from liberal to classical among US schools on the axis. From Texas A&M University at the classical end at 62% to University of California, Berkeley as the most liberal at 84%, you can encounter vastly different styles at each business school that may or may not suit your own approach. With the Cultural Fit test, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you know what to expect.
Ad-hoc vs long-term orientation
This dimension looks into the extent to which a school encourages students to invest in long-term planning vs acting on the spot. At first glance, it seems like Cornell falls into the long-term category. But when we look at other US and global schools more carefully, we see it’s not just Cornell – all of them essentially end up on the long-term side of the line. So, with this context in mind, we can differentiate between schools that are closer to the ad-hoc point than others. Cornell embraces spontaneity and quick thinking over long-term planning.
So do you see yourself thriving in a liberal school that values teamwork and teaches you how to think on your feet? With Cultural Fit, Unimy gives you a unique insight into life inside a particular business school. Plus you can find the three top schools where you best fit. You can really imagine yourself as an MBA student in this environment to make an informed decision about your future.
Are you a fit with the Cornell MBA? Use our free Cultural Fit test to find out in 5 minutes.