Joined: 19 Jul 2011
GMAT 1: 660 Q V
GMAT 2: 740 Q V
WE: Other (Retail)
, given: 1
Babson w/$$$ vs. ??? [#permalink]
14 Feb 2012, 10:29
I have a very difficult decision to make.
I apologize for the length of this post but I think my story is relevant to my decision.
I graduated from an undergraduate business program in Canada in 2007 and immediately pursued entrepreneurship. I began a franchisee with a small ice cream franchise, and opened my first location in 2008. We had way too much success the first year and I made far too much money for my own good. Because of this early success I expanded incredibly quickly, and was up to seven locations in two years.
The bottom fell out about 12-18 months ago. Sales dropped heavily and I knew many of the locations would have to close. We were far enough along through the winter and close enough to summer that it didn't make any sense to close down, given our seasonality, but I knew we wouldn't survive another winter.
Waking up each morning and checking the bank accounts and knowing I could barely afford to pay my staff - let alone my landlords, the bank, and investors - was incredibly stressful. The one "happy thought" to get me through each day was that I knew if everything went to s---, even if I had to declare bankruptcy in Canada, if I got into the Harvard Business School, I could move to the US, get a no-cosigner loan for international students, and start fresh.
I got a 740 GMAT, applied to Harvard, with Stanford and Chicago as "backups" (ha!).
I closed five of the stores down, sold one, and clung tightly to the last one. My future was very much up in the air as I worked with creditors to allow me to keep the remaining store.
I got dinged at all three schools and knew I had to decide whether I really wanted to go do an MBA or not.
I toured the US and applied to seven schools, just in case, with a focus on entrepreneurship: MIT, Tuck, Duke, Ross, Stern, Haas, and Babson. Babson was the only one without an international loan program in place, and I knew if I were to get in I'd have to have something happen in terms of scholarships.
I received interview invites from Duke, NYU, Ross, and Babson, and self-initiated at Tuck. The NYU one was a pleasant surprise given my earlier dings at "top tier" schools. Have not heard from MIT or Haas yet.
I received word today that Babson is giving me a full ride, tuition and books. I am so grateful, but I did not expect anywhere near this much and now have absolutely no idea what to do. My goal in pursuing an MBA was "grander scale" entrepreneurship, but my ups and downs in ice cream have toughened me up a bit and made me realize having a "corporate backup" might not be a bad idea. I am excited about pursuing entrepreneurship at Babson but scared about job prospects if I don't do something on my own. Making a decision without first hearing from MIT is also a little scary.
Appreciate any thoughts you might have for this very confused former ice cream baron.