Eeny, meeny, miny, mo, catch an MBA school by its toe
Decision time. I need to firm up which full time MBA programmes I want to apply to. For a start the Fulbright application requires me to provide a list and reasons…..
So here’s my long list and what my thoughts are:
- Duke (Fuqua business school)
- Virginia (Darden business school)
- Dartmouth college (Tuck business school)
- Cornell (S.C Johnson school of management)
Why these schools?
They are all in top the 25 in the world and better than the UK equivalents I would be interested in. I mean why travel to the US when I can get a better Uni in the UK?
Where I go matters.
I met some students from an MBA programme that want the MBA level knowledge, but they weren’t overly ambitious, they didn’t want a big name and didn’t think they would fit into the intellectual environment that those sort of high ranking schools would offer. It made me realise I am ambitious and I want that intellectual environment, so I should apply to schools that offer that. I can compete with high profile applicants for top ranking schools. I’m not saying I will get in, but I won’t be laughed at either. (Yes, I’m assuming my GMAT score will be OK.)
I recognise that the recruiting world is snobby. I learnt that from my previous experience in the job market. I had a great time at my undergrad but didn’t go to a top ten school, which meant I found it hard to get on all the grad schemes. Different experience for my Masters, I went to one of the best schools in Europe for my subject and I got interviews based on where I went. Where you go counts, certainly in the short term. However from the events I’ve attended I’ve noted that I potentially can get the same type of jobs if I go to Harvard or Manchester. Well, I might have an issue getting into McKinsey if I don’t go to certain schools, but do I really want to be a consultant? (OK, yes would love to work for McKinsey, but I would still want a social life and I’m not sure that likely.)
I really want to study and live in the states so I have focused on the USA rather than Europe or anywhere else. However, as I have no visa issues for EU countries, I can apply for EU schools in round 3 if I’m so inclined.
I’m also going to say something that will scandalise most people. The content of what you learn is very similar between business schools particularly on the core courses like accounting and negotiation. So choosing the business school is down more to experience, learning styles and what they call “fit.”
I would love to go to Harvard and nothing I’ve heard changes that feeling. The current students seem to have a ball there is the opportunity to play sport and a city on the door step. All the things I’m after. There is an excellent choice of classes in year two. Only downside is that there a lottery for classes, so no guarantee you can get your favourites. My main challenge is persuading them that they should interview me. I’m also realistic, this is my reach school. This is my dream.
So lets consider reality.
Has a good range of courses. It’s in North Carolina so it’s warm. I mean why study in a cold place? The Uni also has name recognition in the UK. Most people I speak to have heard of them. The school sounds friendly and welcoming. The age profile as well is a bit older than some business schools which means I’m a better fit. Next step is to talk to recent alumni to get a better feel for the place. I will need to send a reminder email to the admissions person I’ve been in contact with to set that up.
This has MBA has really gone up in my estimation after the reception in London. I don’t completely freeze weather wise, the alumni are friendly and it has a range of learning techniques. It also in a small city. Again like the age profile and I really like the honour code in place. Again the next step is getting in touch with alumni and the admission people. I actually have a business card and on that note I’m going off to send an email now.
This one is actually falling off the grid. Not completely, but it’s on life support. The college sounds great, really like the curriculum. The students really like it. However it’s in the middle of nowhere and everyone emphasis the beautiful countryside and the ability to go walking. I’m sorry, walking, where is the pub? The student I spoke to said its too cold for playing lots softball. No sport???? What kind of place is that? So in summary I’m not convinced on the life style fit. I’m quite surprised at my change in direction as it was one of my favourites and it has got rave reviews from two bloggers Domotron and Boots to Suits, who liked it so much he blogged about it twice. What am I missing? I want to know the answer that question before I make a final decision on Tuck.
Originally, I was really interested in it. The admission officer was really helpful and provided me a crash course in how to show interest in schools. But I’ve not continued the interest partly due to its location. It’s really difficult to get to from the UK and even in the states! And it’s cold! But it has a city, and good flexibility on courses. There is also name recognition in the UK.
Schools that didn’t make the list
I briefly flirted with Haas and had a nosy at Wharton. Haas looks interesting but I have not dedicated any time to investigating it. Looked at Wharton and its profile is very similar to Harvard and yep it’s cold. So didn’t really investigate much further.
I ruled out Chicago Booth very quickly, mainly to the strong emphasis on economics. It’s a world leader in economics, but as I have a masters in the subject so I don’t see the need to relearn it a cost of £100,000.
I did try to make a lovely spreadsheet and pick my schools based on criteria, but I found that most schools scored in a similar range based on my criteria so I gave up. My end result is not that scientific. But the exercise did force to look at schools beyond Harvard and Cornell. If you want to see a good spreadsheet have a look at MBAgirlJourney.
Be great to get your views on:
- Whether I have considered all the relevant issues for why I want to go these schools?
- Is there a school I really should consider that I haven’t?
- Can someone convince me that I really should apply to Tuck?