How friendly is your business school part three: the results

Here we go, my ranking on how friendly is your business school, based on three schools: Harvard, Duke, Darden.  I chose these three schools as they are on my application short list and I wanted to find out a little bit more about them.

I assumed that Harvard would be the least friendly as they are meant to be a cut-throat competitive bunch. While  Darden would be ranked as the most friendly due to the emphasis on community and helping each other out.  However my results surprised me.

Method

To perform my non-representative survey I emailed a variety of student clubs to get a better idea of the school: Women’s association, European club, Christian Fellowship and a professional club I would be interested in joining.  If I got a favourable response I sent another email with my standard questions outlined or took up the offer of a chat through Skype or Google hangouts.

My results

From the responses  I received I have come up with the following ranking:

  1. Harvard most friendly
  2.  Duke
  3.  Darden-icy.

I was quite surprised at my ranking, not as expected.

Why?
I assumed as Harvard was super competitive I would struggle to get traction. But it turned out to be the opposite. Everyone I emailed was willing to take the time to email and talk on Skype. The answers were honest and the conversation frank. I have now got a real good feel for the school and what it offers and the upsides and downsides of studying at Harvard.

I am quite disappointed in Darden. Not many people got back to me and answers were general poor and what I could have got from the website. The student ambassador I emailed was the only exception. His answers were detailed and provided a good level of insight to the school. It’s got to the stage I wish I had saved copies of my emails, just to prove to myself that I’ve sent them. Surely that could be the only reason for the poor response? In fact my feelings are so poor towards Darden that if I had more time I would seek an alternative school to be my third choice. And I am asking myself the question, if you got in, would you want to go there? But I’ve bucked up my ideas, there is nothing else for it apart from sending another bunch of emails.

While my level of contact with Duke has been less than Harvard, it has been really easy to set up and talk to people. It was a bit easier for me to get traction as I have good contact with an admissions person. As a result it was really easy to set up and meet an alumni living locally. He was able to provide some good context and got me to consider some of the wider aspects that you may need to consider when applying to business school. The chat I had with a current student was also really easy to organise and helpful. Overall it a  place I think I would be happy to attend.

Questions

So how do my findings compare with your experiences/thoughts of the schools in question?

Can anyone provide a more balanced view of Darden or the other schools?

how would you rank your short-listed schools in terms of friendliness?

P.S, yes I said I wouldn’t do it, mainly as I was scared at putting my thoughts on paper.  When I told my friend that he raised an eyebrow, so here we are.

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