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Booth vs Haas ($$$)

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Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 17:41
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Hi everyone,

I am deciding between Haas (full scholarship) and Booth (no money). I like both locations, and enjoyed my campus visits. I want to continue to pursue a career in finance post-MBA. Booth is obviously a strong finance school, but Haas isn't bad and is also providing me with a full tuition scholarship. What would you guys recommend? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 17:46
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Finance is very broad. Tell us more about that. Have you worked at a bulge bracket bank? Do you have large cap PE or big investment management firm experience?

If you worked at a lower-tier bank and you are looking to upgrade, then maybe Booth could be useful.

If you already have a pedigreed background (top undergrad, top bank/firm) -- then I would just take Haas. You should be able to network your way into great jobs in the Bay Area based on your pre-MBA background.

Lastly, what is your geographic preference post-MBA? If it's the West Coast - go to Haas. If you want to be in NYC, go with Booth.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 18:09
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I'd need to know more details about your goals/background/geographic preferences before I "lock in my final answer", but, barring that, I'd also go with Haas. A full ride is an awful lot of cash, and I'm not sure there is a sufficient delta to warrant giving that up.

Nonetheless, there's an awful lot going for Booth and I'm more than happy to talk to you about it anytime - both the good and the bad - feel free to PM me if you want to chat on the phone.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 18:44
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Fullride to an elite school vs nothing from a top 5. In my mind if it was a much smaller scholarship or at a lesser school there would be a debate..but you are talking about a school that is talked about in the same breath as Tuck as being just outside the Top 5 and a fullride. Especially if you are talking corporate finance and would like to be west coast post MBA.

Take the 100k worth of scholarship money and go hang out with Kryzak next year.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 18:48
Thanks for the feedback!

I currently work for a PE fund of funds, which is a bit different (we analyze PE funds, not investing in companies or structuring deals). I am also working towards completing my CFA in June. I would love to get into real PE and possibly work abroad in Asia. However, given the difficulty of breaking into the PE industry, I have an eye towards other areas in finance such as IB/IM/Asset Management (which is probably still difficult in this environment)

I don't think I have super relevant experience to work in PE / IB / IM, but have some exposure and will hopefully have a CFA soon. Seems like Booth would be helpful in making a transition given its strength in finance, but maybe I can do this at Haas anyway?

(As for location, I really like both locations. Currently live in Chicago but also like the Bay Area!)
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 18:53
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chris0813 wrote:
Thanks for the feedback!

I currently work for a PE fund of funds, which is a bit different (we analyze PE funds, not investing in companies or structuring deals). I am also working towards completing my CFA in June. I would love to get into real PE and possibly work abroad in Asia. However, given the difficulty of breaking into the PE industry, I have an eye towards other areas in finance such as IB/IM/Asset Management (which is probably still difficult in this environment)

I don't think I have super relevant experience to work in PE / IB / IM, but have some exposure and will hopefully have a CFA soon. Seems like Booth would be helpful in making a transition given its strength in finance, but maybe I can do this at Haas anyway?

(As for location, I really like both locations. Currently live in Chicago but also like the Bay Area!)


Now this becomes a difficult decision. Moving from a fund-of-funds to the direct investing PE side without investment banking/deal experience or general management experience is very difficult. The skill set does not transfer very well. Not to mention the huge shortage of PE jobs currently and the massive amount of unemployed, overqualified bankers who would jump at the opportunity.

If you want to go into investment management (likely the easiest route to go, considering you're working towards the CFA and have FoF experience) -- I would have to say you should go to Chicago. Chicago places better in NYC, and I think there will be more jobs in NYC than SF during the downturn.

If you want to go into investment banking - it probably won't matter much either way, but I'd give a slight edge to Chicago.

If you are dead set on direct investing PE -- you should probably focus on small/lower middle market firms. These are plentiful in both Chicago and Haas, and it will come down to your ability to network. At your FoF, I'm sure you have gained a lot of exposure to various PE funds across the country. Do you have solid relationships with ones in SF? If so, go to Haas. Are you contacts better in Chicago? Go to Chicago.

That was probably long-winded. Best of luck. I would speak to alums and current students at both schools, as well as finance professionals in the fields you are interested in to get a clearer picture.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 19:22
As stated earlier Kryzak is my hero - ride the gravy train and take the money
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 19:58
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I'd definately go to Haas on this one. Chicago is probably slightly stronger at finance, but graduating 100k less in debt is a pretty big deal.

This is coming from somebody who would pick Haas over Chicago, even at full price though :) .
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 20:09
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My vote is for Haas - the full scholarship is incredibly hard to turn down. I think Haas is also very well-regarded, and you can accomplish your goals just as easily from there as from Booth. No sense in turning down that much money :)
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 20:19
Your background relates very well for what you want to do...and chances are you will be the star for those jobs at Haas but not at Booth. Plus fullride man...no debate unless Booth decides to give you 50%+ even then unless its 75% haas still wins for me.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 20:26
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Haas. The chances of getting all the cards you want at one table compared to the other isn't worth the $100k. If it will happen, it will happen.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 20:39
A full ride, $100K or thereabouts, is an awful lot of money to turn down, even more so in the current client.

The only X-factor I can see is your desire to work in Asia. I don't know how important that is to you. If you plan to work in Asia by being posted as an expatriate (i.e. work in a US firm then work your way up to a high level position in one of their Asian branches,) then I think you should still pick Haas.

However, if you plan to strike it out on Asia on your own, the Chicago name brand should be significantly more helpful. There are two big reasons for this. First, in many parts of Asia, "face" is very important, so reputation is extremely critical. While H/S/W are still the undisputed trinity, the remaining four M7 schools are also very well regarded even if they may not be so well known by the laymen. Second, the Chicago network in Asia should be much stronger compared to Haas. For example, Singapore has a ton of Chicago grads, and Korea's banking industry is also loaded with Chicago grads[0]. It should be significantly easier to find a position in Asia through your network if you went to Chicago.

In the end though, nothing will beat quality work experience at a top notch company.

[0] Wharton has the largest alumni base in Korea, Chicago is second but not by much.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 21:30
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xenok wrote:
A full ride, $100K or thereabouts, is an awful lot of money to turn down, even more so in the current client.

The only X-factor I can see is your desire to work in Asia. I don't know how important that is to you. If you plan to work in Asia by being posted as an expatriate (i.e. work in a US firm then work your way up to a high level position in one of their Asian branches,) then I think you should still pick Haas.

However, if you plan to strike it out on Asia on your own, the Chicago name brand should be significantly more helpful. There are two big reasons for this. First, in many parts of Asia, "face" is very important, so reputation is extremely critical. While H/S/W are still the undisputed trinity, the remaining four M7 schools are also very well regarded even if they may not be so well known by the laymen. Second, the Chicago network in Asia should be much stronger compared to Haas. For example, Singapore has a ton of Chicago grads, and Korea's banking industry is also loaded with Chicago grads[0]. It should be significantly easier to find a position in Asia through your network if you went to Chicago.

In the end though, nothing will beat quality work experience at a top notch company.

[0] Wharton has the largest alumni base in Korea, Chicago is second but not by much.


With that much money, I would pick Hass over Booth in a heartbeat. Also, in terms of reputation, Berkeley name is huge in Asia (may vary by country, but in general). Although people in the know may be aware that Chicago is slightly more reputed globally, I dont think M7 status will instantly give Chicago an edge.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2009, 21:39
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Overall, the Berkeley name is indeed big in Asia, a lot of due to its top engineering program. However, my point is not that the Chicago's reputation is better than Berkeley's in Asia. It is that in finance, Chicago's reputation is much better than Haas in Asia.

This is based on anecdotally evidence having lived extensively in Singapore and Korea, and with a network of friends working Japan and Taiwan. Unfortunately, I don't have a solid numbers.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2009, 00:21
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Don't be short-sighted. Take the Booth offer. Brand name and network goes much farther in life than $100K. Besides, if you work in a decent job, you'll make it up in a few years or less. Do you really want to look back on life and say, 'maybe I should have went to Booth'?
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2009, 02:43
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lars23 wrote:
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'?


I hope one of the admin moves this to the BW forum. I wonder if I'll be saying I should have went to Booth? I think Chicago is an amazing school but I'm not sold on a school making you a success because of brand name and network. I work for a company that hires both Chicago and Haas grads into it's rotationary programs and they make exactly the same amount of money, move through the ranks at the same speed, so at that rate you'd never make up that 100k.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2009, 06:07
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chris0813 wrote:
Thanks for the feedback!

I currently work for a PE fund of funds, which is a bit different (we analyze PE funds, not investing in companies or structuring deals). I am also working towards completing my CFA in June. I would love to get into real PE and possibly work abroad in Asia. However, given the difficulty of breaking into the PE industry, I have an eye towards other areas in finance such as IB/IM/Asset Management (which is probably still difficult in this environment)

I don't think I have super relevant experience to work in PE / IB / IM, but have some exposure and will hopefully have a CFA soon. Seems like Booth would be helpful in making a transition given its strength in finance, but maybe I can do this at Haas anyway?

(As for location, I really like both locations. Currently live in Chicago but also like the Bay Area!)


Can I have your old job? :)

A fund of funds is relevant work experience for any of these jobs frankly. I understand the work is fundamentally different - you are on the LP side of the deal in more ways than one - but the underlying fundamentals are similar (I would argue): You are still largely assessing performance history, underlying term sheets, management team strength, etc. Granted, we aren't talking about deal structuring here, but I think even a PASSING exposure to the issues at hand will put you a massive LEAP ahead of your peers when it comes to landing a PE job.

That said, someone raised the excellent (and sadly true) issue that the PE business is all but dead in the water right now - few, if any, firms are raising funds - most are simply nursing their investments and trying to keep the firms alive long enough to generate some semi-decent IRR. On the other hand, historically, PE firms tend to do really well in down turns (or rather the investments made in down turns are supranormal) -- not to surprising really since the purchase multiples tend to drop... so if you can get in, great.

My honest belief is that the experience you have (eg Adams Street or whatever) is more than sufficient to give you a real chance at entering these fields. The only substantial argument I could see for choosing Booth would be if the job postings in those fields were materially different (or more numerous). I'm not suggesting that they are - I don't know if thats the case - but barring that, I'd still say Haas.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2009, 08:06
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I think it depends on what kind of firm you want to work for directly post-MBA. There is a not insignificant difference b/w these schools for top finance job recruiting. If you want to go into IB, then Haas is probably fine, though you might have an easier time at Booth. If you want IM (including Hedge Funds) Booth would be my decision. Several elite firms only come to Chicago and a few other select schools for IM recruiting (this includes firms on the West coast and in the bay area.) If you want VC then I would go to Haas. If you want PE I would probably go to Booth, but I think network is going to be more important here than which school.

Disclosure: Booth admit, pre-MBA PE, post-MBA IM/HF in CA (hopefully)
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2009, 08:09
cougarblue wrote:
I think it depends on what kind of firm you want to work for directly post-MBA. There is a not insignificant difference b/w these schools for top finance job recruiting. If you want to go into IB, then Haas is probably fine, though you might have an easier time at Booth. If you want IM (including Hedge Funds) Booth would be my decision. Several elite firms only come to Chicago and a few other select schools for IM recruiting (this includes firms on the West coast and in the bay area.) If you want VC then I would go to Haas. If you want PE I would probably go to Booth, but I think network is going to be more important here than which school.

Disclosure: Booth admit, pre-MBA PE, post-MBA IM/HF in CA (hopefully)


Agreed. Thank you. When you're in Finance, money should not be a deciding factor on where you go to school. I tried to look at this comparison by taking money out of the picture -- which is really how you should look at it.

Finance people are lot more brand-oriented than other fields. Taking $100k over a better brand would be a very short sighted decision if you plan to spend your whole career in Finance.
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Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2009, 14:14
lsuguy7 wrote:
lars23 wrote:
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'?


I hope one of the admin moves this to the BW forum. I wonder if I'll be saying I should have went to Booth? I think Chicago is an amazing school but I'm not sold on a school making you a success because of brand name and network. I work for a company that hires both Chicago and Haas grads into it's rotationary programs and they make exactly the same amount of money, move through the ranks at the same speed, so at that rate you'd never make up that 100k.



I work in investment banking and we bring in more Booth students than Haas. Sure, when you get in, you will make the same as your peers. But what if we chose a Booth student over a Haas? Well, that Booth student will make up the $100K deficit in 2 years (would have been +$100K surplus in 1.5 years of work before the market crash).
Re: Booth vs Haas ($$$)   [#permalink] 25 Mar 2009, 14:14
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