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Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU

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Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2011, 10:51
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Although typically decisive, in this case I would love some feedback from those who have been there/done that. I have a fantastic problem: excellent programs to choose between. Challenge is these decisions affect others -- it's not just about me.

Let me give some background. I come from financial services and have an interest in going into equity research on the buy side. I also have my family (husband and one year old) to consider. I had previously been set on NYU and my husband was under the impression that his company had a place for him in NYC making for an easy transition however some things have changed and when considering the financial costs and estiamted income from him, NYC would be really tight as far as his income vs our living expenses. On the other hand, UNC would be much less stressful and Georgetown would present almost zero stress since his company has great opportunities for him the the DC area.

Now I have to consider career prospects for each. Obviously NYU presents locational advantages for recruiting and an internship. At the others I may find myself conducting quite a bit of travel to get face time and unfortunately there is little recruiting for equity research (much of it would be on my back). However I also love the project financing/corporate finance side and am open to that. From my research, it seems NYU would be the best option for getting me to my equity research goal however has fewer ties to corporate finance recruiting. Whereas the others may not have as many opportunities within equity research but have greater corporate finance ties.

I would love some opinions. Do we take the greater risk in NY or will the others give me approximately similar opportunities and we should take less risk/higher income/lower expenses at Georgetown or UNC? I must admit, all of them are amazing options and I feel so blessed to be in this position. I loved the culture at all three and think I would fit in at either of those quite well. Of course I want to make the best decision both for career prospects and for my family.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2011, 10:57
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how much do you know about bojangles? if the answer is nothing come down to NC, I'm telling you I moved here from Maryland last year and have never looked back. 80 degree days in March, Country concerts in the summer, and a top notch school.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2011, 16:25
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Ideally, NYU would be a good option because of its location in NYC and its ranking; more so for you since you are in financial services. However, you have mentioned some constraints and these factors also do play a role in selecting a school. In that case, I would pick NC or georgetown because it appears that your husband has a job closer to these areas. Also, a point to cosider is the RIDICULOUS cost of living in or around NYC. DC area is great,lot of job,decent weather in comparison to NY, cost of living is lower(u can live in suburbs) etc. As wishbone has mentioned,NC is a nice state too.
I live a few miles away from the NYU campus and I must tell you that we,me and my husband, work our butts out to sustain in this city. I have quit my job a few months back and it is really stressful for us to have the life style that we would like too. This one reason does not allow me to even apply to NYU considering the school's tuition cost tht will add to our cost of living. ARe you going to be working during your program? if yes, then may be you can think of NYU.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2011, 19:20
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First, congratulations on all your admits!
You mention that NY is the greater risk, but it seems to me that the greater risk is taking yourself out of what I assume is the ideal recruiting environment at a Top 10 school (I didn’t look into equity research so I can't offer any insight there).
NYC is very expensive, but the good news is you will have a second income defraying some of the cost of living considerations (Your classmates paying rent with loans will be very jealous). While UNC and Georgetown may be "zero stress" on his job front, they will likely be more stress on you. Money and time will have to be spent making trips up to NYC and you'll likely have to spend more time networking to make up for difference in NYC network. You're going to make the investment in time and money, skewed towards one or the other. Money can be made back.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2011, 20:18
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From the brief description of your situation, I am thinking this is not a school vs school issue. Rather, it's you vs your family issue.

Let's break this down:

Let's forget for a second that all 3 schools are great options. Let's just start off by where you would probably want to spend next 2 years based on your career goals, mentioned above.

1) Your career goals: Perhaps the best school that matches your career ambition is NYU Stern. Whether it is location, reputation , curriculum , alumni, etc - NYU attracts a lot of future and current Wall St aspirants to their program year after year. If you take everything else out of the equation, it sounds like you would take this option without a doubt. Sure, the cost of living issue concerns you. But NYU places most of its students in the northeast, especially NYC area. Compared to mid-atlantic and southeast region, your internship and post-MBA job in the northeast will reflect this cost of living adjustment, reflect higher salary + compensation package.

2) Your family: UNC and GTown are viable options because of your family. As mentioned, you have a 1 yr old child. Perhaps it's not the best time to pursue FT bschool education at this time, but life has its own plans. You got into top schools and maybe you said to yourself, "Maybe I should postpone my education for now and work on other important things..." But who knows if you will have this chance 2-3 yrs from now? Your situation and qualification might alter your candidacy as a FT bschool student. You will be little older and wiser, but some bschools are not kind to older applicants, etc.

Also, you don't want to complicate your husband's career. A move to NYC will complicate everything, and some say that NYC might not be the best place to raise a toddler, especially when one of the parent will be a FT student, while the other may or may not have a job in the new city. Therefore, why not consider UNC and Gtown. They may not offer certain things that NYU may offer, but certainly, they are great programs. Students at those schools find jobs on Wall St year after year. Why not you?


So here's the tough part. Do you choose NYU and do what's best for your career, or do you choose Gtown or UNC and take one for your family? There's no easy answer, but the fact that you are hesitant to choose the first option indicates (to a degree) that you are not the type to choose work over family.

Here are some options to consider:

1) If you had an extra year to sort out your issues, would that give your husband a chance to sort out his situation at work (and maybe relocate to NYC area)? The fact that your child will be little bit older, would that make it little easier? Would it be a big deal to stay in your current job for another year? If not, why not ask NYU for a def-feral? Schools don't like offering such option unless more admits commit to that school than expected, but given your situation (especially the fact that your child is only a yr old), I am sure you will find someone in the admissions office who can empathize. If that attempt fails, well - you will be in the same situation that you are in now. You won't lose anything by simply asking them if such option is available. Bottomline - if NYU is your preferred destination (ignoring other factors involved), do yourself a justice, and fight for what's best for you.

2) If NYU says no such option is available, you are down to 3 options. Option 1 - choose NYU and complicate everything else, but it doesn't sound like you are that kind of person. Option 2 - defer bschool plans for another yr by asking your other schools for deferrals or apply again 2-3 yrs from now......which probably doesn't sound like something you want to do. It sounds like you have support from your husband to pursue MBA and it sounds like you want to get MBA yourself. Option 3 - take one for the family and go to UNC or GTown. As mentioned before, plenty of students get to Wall St from those 2 schools. It's not like you are choosing to go to dental school when you wish to become a heart surgeon. Simply, you are trying to find a middle ground that will work for your family. Yes, you may have to put in extra effort to find opportunities in equity research but you can say the same if you choose to attend NYU Stern. Competition for coveted jobs is fierce in bschool. You have to beat out your classmates for first round of interviews on or off campus, and then beat out students from other schools in latter rounds. One may argue that NYU can probably offer variety of opportunities compared to Gtown or UNC, and also presence of alumni in those companies (alumni factor may or may not help in getting you the final offer but the recruiting history between the firm and the school over the years count a lot) also can not be discounted. But for every top bschool student who gets the job of his/her dreams, you will meet another one who didn't. I've met few students from other schools this past summer at the firm I worked for. They didn't receive FT offers from the firm at the end of the summer. Few of them ended up with FT offers in finance in the fall. But others could not and now they are looking at other opportunities that they have not considered before. Plans change sometimes because just like we can't all get into HBS or Stanford, etc, not all of us can get a job of our dreams regardless of our talents and qualifications.

So in the end, if it works out with NYU, great! Living in Greenwich Village can be quite fun for 20-somethings. I spent my undergrad years around the Washington Sq park and in general, I loved every minute of it. If NYU does not work out, it won't be the end of the world. Strong people with determination to achieve what they want to do will more often find success than not. In the end, most people find jobs that he or she can live with. Besides, I forgot if it was rhyme or 3underscore who said this, but they can't believe how many people changed their jobs already only few yrs out of MBA programs. Your first job out of bschool won't make or break your career.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2011, 04:57
FANTASTIC reply by nink.It is a good idea to find a middle ground otherwise stress levels may be high throughout your graduate program. I, myself, wanted to move to the DC or Virginia area to apply to b-school but, my husband has his job here in NYC and the job does not seem to offer him any option in DC or surrounding areas. So,I'm pretty much 'stuck' here in NYC.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2011, 05:36
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conveniently stuck in the proverbial financial capital of the world? woe is me :) come down to the south, people love kids down here!!!
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2011, 07:24
I agree, fantastic response from nink!

Maybe one other thing to think about when considering NYC...I am not sure if your child is old enough for nursery/pre-school but that is another cost to consider as well.

heygirl is right on point when she said that she and her husband work their butts off to live well in this city. I couldn't agree more. My husband is a Columbia MBA and doing well but, frankly, even with both of our salaries, we have just enough to live decently/average/nothing over the top by any means (forget about savings or frequent traveling). I am a little nervous about the day I have to quit work to start business school and live on his income alone ( we will be "downgrading" our apt). It is difficult and having a child in the picture and living in Greenwich village, which is not the cheaper part of town (at least I can consider West Harlem for Columbia), is tough. I don't want to bash NYC or anything but you absolutely must consider just how expensive it is to live here, especially on one salary.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2011, 08:07
Wishbone wrote:
conveniently stuck in the proverbial financial capital of the world? woe is me :) come down to the south, people love kids down here!!!

haha, Yes wishbone. We are ' conveniently stuck'. I LOVE this city for its job oppurtunities,pace,things to do, diversity, clubs etc but our standard of living is well below what many might enjoy for a simialr salary/benefit package elswhere. My husband got an offer in Chicago but we turned it down, geez- I have enough of the winter weather in NY so chose away from the Chicago offer. South is EXACTLY what we are targetting! I don't know when it will work out though.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2011, 10:18
First and foremost, thank you all for contributing great points. I appreciate your time and thought in each of your responses.

@nink: You hit the nail on the head.
As for business school, now is the best time, I'm not looking to defer. Next year won't become ay easier. I figure at this point at least our son is old enough to enjoy socialization and loves daycare at this point and I feel as he gets older I will want to be more available for him. I'm lucky that my husband is so supportive, I definitely couldn't do this without his 100% dedication as well. I'm a completely holistic person and nink is correct, I am not the sort of person who chooses work above family. I love my work, I feel energized by creating value for an organization and I love the adrenaline that comes from expectation and deadlines but I also value family and the experiences that make life worth living.

We were considering getting an au pair and perhaps living in the upper west side or Carrol Gardens/Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn if we were to pursue NYC given that we can get more space to have an au pair. I'm thinking having one less thing to worry about in terms of taking our son to daycare and having the flexibility, consistency and cultural exposure of an au pair would be great.

Nothing in life is certain however I want to give myself the best shot at achieving my career goals without having to totally sacrifice what is most important for my family. Temporary sacrifice, I get that but from a holistic standpoint, I want to keep our financial situation in balance. Coming from a financial planning background, I have always been very committed to investing and saving and while we will have a bit of a cushion due to previous savings, I don't want to rely upon that. I guess these are the sorts of things everybody faces at some point: weighing the trade offs and sacrifices to find balance.

Again, thank you all for trying to shed light and help me in this situation. I'm sincerely greatful to hear you guys who have been there and done that.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2011, 18:27
I am not sure any of them particularly give you a great chance of getting into buyside research. I know a few NYU guys who have, but it was nothing much to do with NYU's MBA program per se and a lot to do with working a network. I say that uncertain as to what your background is - "Financial Services" suggests to me that it isn't directly applicable to research or the buyside (sorry to be cynical, but habits are and must).

All the same, your chances on the sell side are better at NYU than all of the above. So your long term research opportunity chances are higher at NYU than the others I guess - three years in, buyside from sellside is an option.

My opinion on the choice is also a little sounding around the career choice. You really won't see much of your significant other for three years out of B-School working in research. I wish that sleeping in the same bed counted. Though then again, in a way it does, which is why it super sucks to be a consultant. All the same, the difference between 5 years and 3 years given the move to school... it is sort of significant, though could be a great dress rehearsal if your relationship works right.

UNC from my experience only has links to one bank, and that's BofA, which may now be overpowered on research by the Merrill bulls. Georgetown I know little of and from. Then again, take this advice for as much as it cost you - I don't ask about schools from anyone because I don't particularly care. So long as you are competent.
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Re: Choose between Georgetown, UNC or NYU   [#permalink] 22 Mar 2011, 18:27
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