Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Fish/Small Pond - Small Fish/ Big Pond

When selecting graduate programs should you go for the best ranked school you can gain acceptance to OR go to a lower ranked school where you know you’ll be at the top of your class? I recently attended at lecture series on self efficacy. The professor discussed recent research examining law students at top ranked law programs and lower ranked law programs. Initial LSAT scores were considerably higher for all students whom attended the higher ranked law programs. However, results indicated that only students in the top 2/3rds of either highly or lowly ranked programs passed the bar. Although the students in the highly ranked programs in the lower 1/3 of their class have considerably higher LSAT scores they were unable to pass the bar indicating that self efficacy (i.e., confidence) may have a key role in ultimate success. I found this discussion really interesting because it suggested people should work toward the “big fish in the small pond”.

That said I just read Bedeian, Cavazos, Hunt and Jauch’s (2010) article in the Academy of Management Learning & Education entitle “Doctoral degree prestige and the academic marketplace”. Bedeian et al. (2010) illustrated in a group of 171 PhD holders that doctoral origin prestige had a direct effect on the prestige of initial academic appointment regardless of initial publication quality. Whoozers! Bedeian et al. (2010) research suggests you should go for the most prestige program you can get into.

What do you think? What did you do and how did it turn out?

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