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Are school comparison threads a problem?

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Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 02:21
Do you think school comparison threads (School X vs. School Y) add any value to the discussion?

Quote:
As stated earlier Kryzak is my hero - ride the gravy train and take the money


Quote:
Don't be short-sighted. Take the Booth offer. Brand name and network goes much farther in life than $100K. Besides, if you work in a decent job, you'll make it up in a few years or less. Do you really want to look back on life and say, 'maybe I should have went to Booth'?


Quote:
Wow, when did Haas become the fast track to the unemployment office? With your experience, I don't think the differences in opportunities between Booth and Haas justify the additional $100k in costs for Booth.


Quote:
Anyway, Tuck is by far the best choice and even with no $$ the long term ROI is probably better given their die-hard alumni network (although the size of it is much smaller than Ross).


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This is a very personal decision on fit. My summary is that if you are going to be a career changer I think MAP is a big deal if your not really making a drastic career change you might be better off at Tuck.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 03:26
I find them extremely useful and informative when they remain civil. Applying to business school requires countless comparisons, so getting others' perspectives is helpful. Definitely want to avoid the intense attacks that occur on BW forums largely because of school comparisons - once the conversation degenerates to that level, the forum becomes worthless.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 03:40
I don't have a problem with them, but like OhThatMBA said it's important that they remain civil. And I think so far 99% of the posts in these threads have been helpful.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 03:47
I think they are very useful, so long as they remain civil.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 04:18
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Yes, I think there is a huge problem when the people who are applicants are providing this kind of advice because it may be misinformed. Do potential applicants really have the knowledge to say it is worth passing up $$$ to attend another school? If so, where is this opinion coming from? When I gave similar advice as an applicant, it was purely based on perception as an outsider, not any true factual knowledge.

But as a current student, I assure you, within the top ten schools, there is not as much difference in opportunities as you might think. Current students really appreciate this because we see that companies A,B,C recruit at ALL the elite schools. We see that tons of schools have experiential learning programs, etc.

Put it this way. If someone told me they were being given 100k at Haas vs Kellogg, I would say go to Haas without hesitation. This is a change in my opinion from last year -- and this change is precipitated by the realization that once you are at b-school, there really isn't much difference between these schools.

I would love to hear what Pelihu, Rhyme, Kry, AAU, etc and others think. I am pretty sure they will say that in the end, take the money in run assuming location isn't a factor.

Last edited by MGOBLUE2 on 26 Mar 2009, 04:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 04:20
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Here is the thing about these threads many of our frequent contributors are very objective. I normally see someone with less than 10 post make a businessweek style comment that throws these into a spin, like don't be short sighted or why would anyone choose Darden over Tuck (something of that nature).

The truth is I'm not sure why people apply to schools and then get in and they really don't know anything about the culture of the school or how it relates to their long term goals. I think these decisions should be very personal, but I've seen these threads that are handled well when the original poster knows a lot about the schools and makes their case why each school would be a good choice for them. I remember a Darden vs Ross vs Cornell that was handled well and Manbilla's decision to go to a PT program.

What we don't want is current students only backing their own school and I don't think that really happens our frequent contributors and moderators normally make posts backed with logic and explain how they arrived at the decision.

****Disclaimer****

Two of the post used as examples are mine. I find them used out of context in this thread- I'm going to attend Ross and I'm making the case that we don't have enough information provided by the poster BUT if they aren't doing a major career change based on the information given the poster should look at Tuck. I made the exact opposite decision based on my own person goals. I don't see how you can be more objective than that.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 04:25
Sure, the risk of current students is that they are homers. But looking at the GSB vs. Haas thread, even Rhyme said go to Haas. To ignore that much money is just silly (unless money is not a factor due to location, prior wealth, etc.).

NOTE -- I am not saying always take the money. But when it is 100k vs nothing, that is a HUGE sum that should not be ignored.

lsuguy7 wrote:
Here is the thing about these threads many of our frequent contributors are very objective. I normally see someone with less than 10 post make a businessweek style comment that throws these into a spin, like don't be short sighted or why would anyone choose Darden over Tuck (something of that nature).

The truth is I'm not sure why people apply to schools and then get in and they really don't know anything about the culture of the school or how it relates to their long term goals. I think these decisions should be very personal, but I've seen these threads that are handled well when the original poster knows a lot about the schools and makes their case why each school would be a good choice for them. I remember a Darden vs Ross vs Cornell that was handled well and Manbilla's decision to go to a PT program.

What we don't want is current students only backing their own school and I don't think that really happens our frequent contributors and moderators normally make posts backed with logic and explain how they arrived at the decision.

****Disclaimer****

Two of the post used as examples are mine. I find them used out of context in this thread- I'm going to attend Ross and I'm making the case that we don't have enough information provided by the poster BUT if they aren't doing a major career change based on the information given the poster should look at Tuck. I made the exact opposite decision based on my own person goals. I don't see how you can be more objective than that.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 04:37
my point exactly you'll see River vote against Kellogg, Kry against Haas, and Rhyme against Chicago, frequently if it makes sense. What I see is someone with 5-10 post say something like NYU isn't the same class of school as Columbia, which has better students, better professors, and the NYU grads will end up making coffee for the CBS guys if they get into the same company. Those sort of statements throw these threads into chaos.

In the most recent thread you were talking about one of the posters said it would be "shortsighted" to not go to Chicago no matter the sum of money - that's what started that thread down that road.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 04:41
I dont think its a problem (although it can get annoying when so many X vs Y clog the main thread list).

Its always fun to see what other people would do if they were in your position. They can get the opinions of fellow applicants, soon-to-be students (who have chosen their school), and current students. These three pools can offer their own reasoning and can even open the thread author's eyes to something that they may not have know or thought of. Each school has so much to offer that it is virtually impossible to know everything, no matter how much research you have done.

We have kept these threads civil, they have helped people reach decisions.........thats partly what GMATClub is all about. This kind of Civic Virtue is what makes GMATClub different than the other forum that has tons of X vs Y threads......lets call that forum Business Fortnight. At Business Fortnight, the X vs Y threads are mean, messy, often useless, and filled with trolls.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 05:06
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Yes, I think there is a huge problem when the people who are applicants are providing this kind of advice because it may be misinformed. Do potential applicants really have the knowledge to say it is worth passing up $$$ to attend another school? If so, where is this opinion coming from? When I gave similar advice as an applicant, it was purely based on perception as an outsider, not any true factual knowledge.

But as a current student, I assure you, within the top ten schools, there is not as much difference in opportunities as you might think. Current students really appreciate this because we see that companies A,B,C recruit at ALL the elite schools. We see that tons of schools have experiential learning programs, etc.


I think that's a really good point. Whenever I see the School X vs School Y threads, I make the following assumptions:
1) It's the original poster's responsibility to figure out whether the advice is coming from a current student, applicant, random member. It's pretty easy to see the post count, schools list on the avatar and go from there. I would hope that opinion wouldn't be swayed just because a brand new member posts "Yale sucks".
2) The purpose of the thread can vary. I think in some cases people use those threads to make sure they've thought through the different factors impacting that decision (e.g. alumni, concentrations, etc etc). In others, original posters sometimes have already maybe made a decision and are curious about how people would react to their decision.
3) If someone really wants the opinion of random people on the internet about an expensive, potentially life-changing decision - I'm happy to share my two cents :) I would just hope that people don't actually make decisions solely based on those threads and do their own research in speaking to alums/current students/employers.

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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 05:19
I see these threads as issues in a sense that (unintentionally) posts in these threads compare specific schools against the other.

Many posts specifically positions one school as if one was superior to the other and it might offend the applicants, admits, and current students of the other school.

Problems begin when one member posts a dumb comment and everyone else after him/her rides on that bandwagon of stupidity and the entire topic gets out of hand and away from the main focus.

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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 05:34
nink wrote:
I see these threads as issues in a sense that (unintentionally) posts in these threads compare specific schools against the other.

Many posts specifically positions one school as if one was superior to the other and it might offend the applicants, admits, and current students of the other school.

Problems begin when one member posts a dumb comment and everyone else after him/her rides on that bandwagon of stupidity and the entire topic gets out of hand and away from the main focus.


Nink - I don't think the fact that people are supporting over one school over the other is an issue, since people should understand that it's in the context of the specific circumstances presented. In life, and in school, you will encounter people who hold different opinions than you do, and may even hold negative opinions about your school/company, and it's important to be able to respond appropriately in those situations. Once again, the key is whether the discussion remains civil or if it devolves into "School X sucks" "No, School Y sucks more".

And I agree 100% with isa (by the way isa I'm glad you're no longer undervaluing your opinion at $0.01 :wink: ). This in an internet forum. Yes it is helpful and full of good advice, but nobody should be making important life decisions based solely on the postings here or the results of a gmatclub poll.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 05:39
The fact of the matter is, that for 90+% of this forum, when we post comments on these threads, we are basing these largely on speculation.

That being said, looking a most of the x vs y posts, usually they take the form x vs y ($$$). I will be the first to admit, I created a thread back when I was trying to make a decision between schools similar to this (though I didn't name specific schools). The reason that I did it was to get some sort of affirmation that I wasn't completely rediculous to pass up a half scholarship at a top 15 in order to attend an M7. Though I ultimately knew what my decision was going to be even before I posted the thread, it was nice to get some reassurance and hear other SMART people's thoughts.

I do agree though, that these types of threads ultimately don't add much to the overall value of the forum and do end up cluttering up the place. Perhaps there is some utility in creating a sub forum, something to the effect of "Making the B School Decision". That way people that wish to participate and act as pro bono admissions consultants are free to do so, but those that have no interest can stay away.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 06:24
Jerz wrote:
I don't think the fact that people are supporting over one school over the other is an issue, since people should understand that it's in the context of the specific circumstances presented. In life, and in school, you will encounter people who hold different opinions than you do, and may even hold negative opinions about your school/company, and it's important to be able to respond appropriately in those situations. Once again, the key is whether the discussion remains civil or if it devolves into "School X sucks" "No, School Y sucks more".


I never said there's anything wrong with supporting a school. I am simply pointing out the fact that this school vs school thread is turning into stupidity that resembles drunken banters between Boston Redsox vs NY Yankees fans during playoff games.

If school vs school thread isn't offending anyone, why is there a need to defend anything? If people are simply pointing out strength of the school they support, there is no need to defend the other school from the other party. Obviously, some people are doing little more than just pointing out the strength of the schools they support. (or that's the implied impression)

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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 06:37
MGOBLUE2 wrote:
But as a current student, I assure you, within the top ten schools, there is not as much difference in opportunities as you might think.


Isn't that the biggest secret ever? People get so worked up trying to compare the 26 people who got into company X at school A to the 32 that got into company X at school B.... but its true... There really is almost no difference at all - I'd even go so far as to say both the job opportunities AND the academics are not materially different.

Quote:
I would love to hear what Pelihu, Rhyme, Kry, AAU, etc and others think. I am pretty sure they will say that in the end, take the money in run assuming location isn't a factor.


Indeed, I would.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 06:57
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rhyme wrote:
MGOBLUE2 wrote:
But as a current student, I assure you, within the top ten schools, there is not as much difference in opportunities as you might think.


Isn't that the biggest secret ever? People get so worked up trying to compare the 26 people who got into company X at school A to the 32 that got into company X at school B.... but its true... There really is almost no difference at all - I'd even go so far as to say both the job opportunities AND the academics are not materially different.

To play devil's advocate (because I'm not yet convinced), how would any current student ever be able to say with confidence that the opportunities and academics at his/her school are not materially different from those at others, given that nobody has ever attended more than one school for an MBA? Based on my conversations with others, I believe the opportunities and experiences of my undergraduate institution to be substantially different from those at other undergrad institutions - not saying better or worse, but simply that they were undeniably different. Why would the same not be the case for MBA programs? The differences may be subtle, but don't they exist nonetheless?
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 07:08
I agree with mgoblue2 on this one. Heck, I was so off on my thinking of a lot of what Business school, heck even Kellogg, was about before I showed up and that was after insane amounts of research, talking to students and alums, and every other possible thing I could do to learn about school. As well informed as someone is, your eyes will be opened when you walk through the door of whatever school you do pick. I still learn knew things about school, recruiting, and careers constantly.

Personally I think a school decision is incredibly personal, only you really know where you fit best since even though we do talk here a lot...we dont know each other well enough to really say where someone fits. Its too easy to bring your own biases into the conversation. If you PM current students or other applicants deciding between those schools, I am sure they would be more than happy to answer all your questions. I am more than happy to answer any questions someone has for me about Kellogg...I dont care if you are a lurker, have less than 10 posts, or 1500, I will give you my honest opinion. Probably will ask more questions of what you want to get you to look at yourself than telling you my opinion.

I think these threads run the risk of spinning into BW like arguements over career prospects at different schools, the brand, the quality of students, etc. The potential value of the posters of these threads is dwarfed by the harm that the threads could cause in my opinion. You risk alienating people or having the threads filled with baseless opinions. I had a professor of a leadership class who always said I dont have answers, I have opinions...people need to remember thats what people post here often times. And its hard to not be biased, we bring what we think is best for us and not necessarily what is best for the person asking the question. In someways current students have an easier time doing that since we already made our decision, went to recruiting or interview events that had students from our peer schools, saw lists of where companies were were pursuing recruit.

In my mind, my classmates who got...say McKinsey...there is no doubt they would have gotten that internship if they were at Booth, Wharton, MIT, Harvard or Columbia. The biggest difference is where that person would be enjoy being for 2 years or where their family would prefer to be. Yes some schools might have a slight advantage with recruiting prep in some fields but in the end its up to you...no one is going to hold your hand through a case interview or stock pitch.

If the companies you want recruit actively at both school then your chances are going to be very similar, not enough to justify turning down huge money or going someplace you will be miserable or a spouse will spend 2 years hating. If they dont go to both schools and you are 100% sure about your career thats a lot tougher. Mind you I know TONS of people whose career goals have changed multiple times since they arrived in August and not having to pay 100k is a pretty amazing thing.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 07:18
I do think there is a problem with these threads. Kry asking some one not to come to Haas may be objective, but it may not always be the right decision. My problem is that even if you are a current student, there is no way you will know every thing about your school in every discipline to predict some one else's career path. I am at Ross but I cannot speak with any authority about most things here save for health care careers and may be some general school/culture related stuff. In fact, the responses to these threads are pretty formulaic despite the number of people posting in it. (Take higher ranked school unless full ride from other school). The other thing is that people in general jump to conclusions they want without really knowing anything. For instance, people say school X has more international brand name than school Y just because they know a couple of people in other countries who have told them so. Personally, I am not prepared to push some one into taking a decision that could impact the rest of their life, especially when I have nothing at stake.

Is there value in getting multiple perspectives? Yes, there is. But, I believe these things are better done through PM to current students from those schools, and from talking alums from the schools in question through informational interviews.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 07:25
If the authors of the X vs Y threads find them useful, who cares? I feel like we are making a big stink about nothing. These threads have not spun into chaos, they have not made mortal enemies of users, and they have not ruined GMATClub.
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Re: Are school comparison threads a problem? [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2009, 08:22
I think they provide little value and really are just used for novelty purposes as a confirmation of what people are going to do anyway. I think most people will put very little weight into what the members of this board actually say, and much more thought into what they have learned themselves through many different sources and experiences. Not that people on this board don't make excellent points, but it's pretty tough to get a ton of good information on a message board vs. a 30 minute live conversation with a current student or an alumni - or even a campus visit. If it is all about fit, then nothing anyone puts on this message board should sway an intelligent person one way or the other.

So, to me the school comparison threads are harmless, but if they begin taking up a lot of space, then they may become annoying at which time we may need to move them to a different forum. However, for the time being they can be fun. Just don't let this place turn into BW and we'll be fine.
Re: Are school comparison threads a problem?   [#permalink] 26 Mar 2009, 08:22
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