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Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $

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Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $ [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2010, 01:04
I’m curious what people think about the tradeoffs when deciding between an Ultra Elite school and an Elite school who is offering scholarship money. For the sake of argument, I’m going to write some thoughts on a couple career paths, and for the sake of simplicity I’ll start with assuming full tuition scholarships. Obviously, each school has its own strengths for different career paths, so I will try to pair groups of schools with similar strengths to the extent that I can. I welcome your comments on the four career paths as well as various school comparisons, and please feel free to suggest a specific school comparison or a different scholarship amount if you think it’s more illustrative.

Intended banking career
: Chicago/Wharton vs. Stern with full tuition. Obviously these are all top finance schools.
Ultra-Elite argument: Earning power is going to be extremely high, therefore the $ offered by Stern is less relevant.
Elite argument: The banking opportunities offered by Stern are said to be nearly identical to those at Chicago/Wharton, and $100k in “today’s dollars” is still a LOT of money (insert bad carry-trade or US Government debt joke here).

Intended consulting career
: HBS/Kellogg vs. Darden/Ross/Tuck with full tuition. All of these schools are known for having strong general management programs which are well-suited to management consulting.
Ultra-Elite Argument: Consultants are constantly trying to sell new business and convince clients they know their stuff. A degree from an Ultra Elite arguably adds some weight to these encounters that Elites can’t match.
Elite Argument: Similar argument to the Elite argument used for banking, although earning power is somewhat less in management consulting so the argument is stronger for this career track.

Intended non-profit career
: Kellogg/Columbia/Wharton vs. Yale/Ross/Fuqua/Haas with full tuition. All of these schools have “Gold” Net Impact Clubs, so they’re strong in at least one area of non-profit/social enterprise/development.
Ultra-Elite argument: While these Elites have strong networks in the non-profit sector, working in the social sector often means working with people who don’t have MBAs and/or aren’t familiar with which schools are the best MBA programs. Generally this favors the Ultra-Elites, although it perhaps hurts Kellogg some and benefits Yale some (just my impression anyway).
Elite argument: Given that these careers have significantly lower earning power, the money is much more persuasive than it is for banking or management consulting.

Intended entrepreneurship career
: Stanford/MIT vs. Haas/Duke with full tuition. I’m less informed here, but it’s my understanding these are the top entrepreneurship programs in each tier.
Ultra Elite Argument: Venture Capitalists place a premium on the quality of the management team of any start-up, and going to an Ultra Elite school allows you to differentiate yourself as the best of the best, thus making it easier to attract capital to your start-up.
Elite Argument: Obviously starting your own business requires start-up capital. Is your personal savings enough to pay for business school AND a start-up’s initial costs? Maybe, but mine sure isn’t. Going to an elite with a scholarship helps you save your cash for your business and avoid interest payments on debt, which your new business is also likely to need. The elite argument is especially strong if you plan to be an entrepreneur in the tech sector for Haas (although Stanford is also very strong here) or in the health sector for Duke.
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Re: Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $ [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2010, 19:22
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these are just my thoughts, although i dont claim any knowledge in most of the industries / careers you mentioned. however, from what i've read, i'd go with the following:

Banking - definitely stern with money UNLESS you were already a pre-mba bulge bracket banker / other big name financial firm employee. if this was the case, then your goal post MBA would most likely be a hedge fund or private equity. i'd imagine that you would have greater chances to attract HF/PE recruiters coming out of wharton / booth / columbia than stern.

Consulting - i've never worked in consulting, so apart from getting your first post-mba job, i'm not sure how useful 'name dropping' your alma mater would be on the job. would the client know you're Joe Schmo the Mckinsey consultant from HBS? or would he know you're Joe Schmo the McKinsey consultant?

i'm not going to pretend like going to HBS won't open a lot of doors farther down the line. and consultants make some good money coming out of b-school, so you could probably recuperate the difference in tuition after a few years. i think this one i might choose HBS, only because the 'endgame' for most consultants is a job as a senior executive at some other company in industry (or even within consulting), and i think for this, the HBS degree would prove useful.

nonprofit - i'd personally take the money. as you mentioned, post-mba pay for most in this industry is significantly lower than other industries. what's the point of being 150k in the red, when you can have similar job opportunities at one of the other schools? i'd lean towards SOM above the other 3 in its peer group, but i don't doubt that good opportunities exist at all 4

entrepreneurship - this one is tough for me too. i can definitely see the argument as to why you'd want to preserve capital... BUT i think in addition to being able to fund your own venture, a huge part of starting your own business is being able to raise capital by other means (Venture capital, etc.). having a degree from stanford would enable you to tap into one of the best resources in the world (MIT as well, to some extent). in this situation, given that name brand recognition might matter more so than the other 3 situations, i'd go with stanford/ MIT.

i could be way off base in my assumptions / thoughts, but i think that looking at different situations piece by piece sheds a lot of light into one's decision making process for b-school, something which is hampered by people who simply blindly follow the rankings and expect others to follow suit.

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Re: Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $ [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2010, 01:20
thanks for your thoughts shadowsjc. Ideally, i hope to find myself in this situation soon as I hopefully will be accepted to Columbia (good luck to you as well), and have already been accepted to Duke with a very large scholarship. I am also waiting to hear from the Consortium for Yale (like yourself) and Michigan. I doubt Columbia will offer me any money, but my career path is non-profit, so the money means more to me for reasons we've covered.

Questions for you:

1. How are you thinking about the potential admit to Columbia vs. a potential CGSM Fellowship @ Yale? /what is your intended career path since this obviously plays a big part in how you look at it.

2. You seem to be pretty well-informed about the process based on your posts here and at BW Forums. Have you seen any resources or advice on how to write a letter to an Ultra Elite school to basically say: "Hey, I got lots of money from school X, but would rather go to your school if money were no object. Can you guys help me out a bit financially?" My guess is that such letters have a low success rate, given that so many ppl would be thrilled to attend an Ultra Elite with no scholarship money.
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Re: Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $ [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2010, 19:26
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cannedmilkman wrote:
thanks for your thoughts shadowsjc. Ideally, i hope to find myself in this situation soon as I hopefully will be accepted to Columbia (good luck to you as well), and have already been accepted to Duke with a very large scholarship. I am also waiting to hear from the Consortium for Yale (like yourself) and Michigan. I doubt Columbia will offer me any money, but my career path is non-profit, so the money means more to me for reasons we've covered.

Questions for you:

1. How are you thinking about the potential admit to Columbia vs. a potential CGSM Fellowship @ Yale? /what is your intended career path since this obviously plays a big part in how you look at it.


ultimately, i'm looking towards a role in management in a healthcare/life science field (pharma, medical device, etc.). whether this comes sooner (via a general management rotational program right after my MBA) or later (after working at a top consulting firm for a few years and then switching) is still up in the air.

columbia is strong in placing candidates at top consulting firms; it's also very close geographically not only to where i live, but also to where a huge portion of the companies i'm targeting are.

YSOM, on the other hand, has a somewhat smaller representation at top consulting firms. i think it makes up for this in its general management placement (about 20% post MBA). additionally, the benefits of the CGSM membership (and ideally the fellowship) will allow me to network with an even greater amount of recruiters and alumni.

it's hard to pick which one is 'best' for me, given that these 2 paths are slightly different. i think that either one would serve me well to get towards my end goal, which is why i'm treating both of them as my #1 at the moment.

Quote:
2. You seem to be pretty well-informed about the process based on your posts here and at BW Forums. Have you seen any resources or advice on how to write a letter to an Ultra Elite school to basically say: "Hey, I got lots of money from school X, but would rather go to your school if money were no object. Can you guys help me out a bit financially?" My guess is that such letters have a low success rate, given that so many ppl would be thrilled to attend an Ultra Elite with no scholarship money.


i haven't gotten through the whole process yet, so i can't give you any firsthand advice about how to ask for more money. i've definitely seen at least 1 thread where this was discussed, and i'm trying to see if i can locate it.

from what i remember, i think the way to go was a polite letter or email to a contact within the school (usually an adcom director that emailed you regarding your acceptance) stating that you were hoping to be considered for financial aid due to school X's offer of $Y. the worst that can happen is they say no - it's not like they're going to withdraw your app because you asked them for money.

perhaps someone who has already been through this situation might have some better advice

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Re: Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $ [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2010, 21:48
Interesting post here, I will put my two cents in for the entrepreneurship path........ you don't NEED an MBA to be an entrepreneur, in fact you don't need any degree.. I know it depends on the field, but some VC's even look down on MBA's, sort of like what real skills do you have(ie.. engineering)..... But with that being said, as long as you make the best of wherever you are and do not become a walking MBA zombie like many I have met(I can save the world,DCF, CAGR, all that nonsense) then I think you will be fine. If you want to start your own business, definitely take the money.... and use your time in B School to start a business and don't just utilize the business school resources use the universities resources as a whole.

Having a Stanford MBA will not help you raise capital for your shitty business, Having a kick ass business idea or prototype will have the VC's salivating to give you money.... Having an MBA will really not impact your ability to raise capital outside of them thinking ok this guy is smart enough to get into XYZ school. What VC's are really interested in is the business concept and your past experience in the field or other business you have been involved in. Startups are about ideas and executing them, merely having an MBA does not impress VC's.... (I was a VC for 2 years)..... I don't remember ever looking at where someone went to school, and I was doing less tech and more broad VC investments...

One last note, A full ride at any top 15 Brand name school is very compelling, I would probably take it over paying for a degree(outside of location preferences). I am of the opinion and experience you make your own luck and opportunities.... I think your gonna have similar options coming out of any of these schools if you are the real deal...I know many would disagree but NET NET I think you will get to the same place if you are aggressive and hungry.
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Re: Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $ [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2010, 09:34
cannedmilkman wrote:
2. You seem to be pretty well-informed about the process based on your posts here and at BW Forums. Have you seen any resources or advice on how to write a letter to an Ultra Elite school to basically say: "Hey, I got lots of money from school X, but would rather go to your school if money were no object. Can you guys help me out a bit financially?" My guess is that such letters have a low success rate, given that so many ppl would be thrilled to attend an Ultra Elite with no scholarship money.


i came across this thread - not a huge amount of information, but there are links in it to other threads as well: leveraging-a-scholarship-89542.html

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Re: Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $ [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 09:20
Thanks for the link!

Your link (and the links in that link) made me realize there was a 2nd page in the Knowledge Vault forum. Haha, don't know how I never thought to read the 2nd page of stickies in there, but some very good stuff on financing in there.
Re: Career Path Impact on Choosing Ultra Elite vs. Elite with $   [#permalink] 18 Feb 2010, 09:20
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