In a business environment which keeps changing, those investing tuition dollars want an immediate return. The odds are better they will get that by enrolling in a public, not elite, university. Bloomberg Business Week does the math.
For Stanford MBAs, the ROI is about 18% during the first year out. For University of Wisconsin-Madison, the ROI the first year is 60%.
If you intend to make your career in, say, the Madison area, then there is an added payoff to matriculating at the university there. Sure, you can study at Stanford but unless you can be a good fit in that environment, then your ROI may even be lower.
There are those who think long term. They are the types who can afford to or are willing to invest in an elite education. They don't need a well-paying job or assignment upon graduation. They can slowly leverage their MBA from a prestigious program for the big-time opportunities.