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Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA

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Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 09:33
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Scenario:

You are accepted to a program ranked in the 10-15 range and in the region you wish to live. However, you receive no fellowship and would need to take a loan of 100k or more.

You are also accepted to a school in the 20-30 range out of the region you wish to live, but with a strong, recognizable reputation nationally. You receive fellowship, and would require a loan of only 30-40k.

Both schools are similar as far as curriculum and 'fit'.'

How much of the MBA decision should be the ROI on the debt vs. the average salary of the school. Averages are not a guarantee, but do signal the opportunity presented.

Is anyone on this forum facing a similar decision and how are you weighing your options?
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 10:15
Currently at a 20-30ish school. Most of the classmates I've spoken to who took fellowship money instead of going to the better ranked school highly regret making such a decision, although I'll admit its a very small sample size. PM me if you want more details.....
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 11:00
Some of this should depend on your prior work experience, future career goals, and how strong each school is for those goals.

Absent that information, I say go to 10-15.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 13:15
method wrote:
Some of this should depend on your prior work experience, future career goals, and how strong each school is for those goals.

Absent that information, I say go to 10-15.


Depends too on how low the lower ranked school is. If it is top 30, it's in my opinion hard to turn down almost $90k of cash, unless you get into H/W/S.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 13:21
gablaze23 wrote:
method wrote:
Some of this should depend on your prior work experience, future career goals, and how strong each school is for those goals.

Absent that information, I say go to 10-15.


Depends too on how low the lower ranked school is. If it is top 30, it's in my opinion hard to turn down almost $90k of cash, unless you get into H/W/S.


Yeah, I think it even matters which school the lower ranked school is. Are we talking like Notre Dame or Ohio State? Georgetown or Arizona State?

But the 10-15 places so well in a field like consulting, which has a ridiculous first year all-in pay, that you could KO the difference within 2 years.

A lot just..... depends. lol
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 13:24
TheBrownSlipper wrote:
Currently at a 20-30ish school. Most of the classmates I've spoken to who took fellowship money instead of going to the better ranked school highly regret making such a decision, although I'll admit its a very small sample size. PM me if you want more details.....


"highly regret making such a decision" whoa! that's scary! :( Sad to hear that....

I turned down a full scholarship to a 20-25 school and a 50% scholarship to a 10-15 school to go to my dream school, Sloan, who didn't give me any money. It really comes down to how much risk you're willing to take. But from talking to alums, current students, and just lots of friends with MBAs - they say it's worth it. This is a once in a lifetime chance....

$70 is a good chunk of change BUT do you think you can make that up over a career of 20-30 years? The answer is likely to be yes. Most Sloanies who took the full amount in loans were able to pay it off in less than 5 years.

CAVEAT: Also depends on the career you want :)
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 13:42
method wrote:
gablaze23 wrote:
method wrote:
Some of this should depend on your prior work experience, future career goals, and how strong each school is for those goals.

Absent that information, I say go to 10-15.


Depends too on how low the lower ranked school is. If it is top 30, it's in my opinion hard to turn down almost $90k of cash, unless you get into H/W/S.


Yeah, I think it even matters which school the lower ranked school is. Are we talking like Notre Dame or Ohio State? Georgetown or Arizona State?

But the 10-15 places so well in a field like consulting, which has a ridiculous first year all-in pay, that you could KO the difference within 2 years.

A lot just..... depends. lol




Question was more related to schools in the Notre Dame/Georgetown bracket.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 13:46
guppy wrote:
Question was more related to schools in the Notre Dame/Georgetown bracket.


10-15!
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 14:00
Just adding another dimension: If you are a good interviewee, then set aside the lack of fellowship, and choose the school that you'd rather be at. If you're not a good interviewee, or have other outstanding loans, then go for the fellowship provided it's a significant amount. Obviously there's a whole lot more to it than just this, so give it a lot of thought, and keep contacting people from both schools, and make another visit (assuming it's not too expensive) to help arrive at a decision.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 14:16
coworker turned down full tuition scholarship at Wharton to attend HBS. she has no regrets. just some perspective.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 14:52
The main difference between schools in these two brackets is the companies that recruit on campus. Look at the list of companies and if the lower school has places you'd be interested in working then it's worth considering. Overall, I would say you should go to the higher ranked school.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 15:03
rasta wrote:
Just adding another dimension: If you are a good interviewee, then set aside the lack of fellowship, and choose the school that you'd rather be at. If you're not a good interviewee, or have other outstanding loans, then go for the fellowship provided it's a significant amount. Obviously there's a whole lot more to it than just this, so give it a lot of thought, and keep contacting people from both schools, and make another visit (assuming it's not too expensive) to help arrive at a decision.


Why is being a good interviewee a major factor in the decision?
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 16:13
Maverick33 wrote:
rasta wrote:
Just adding another dimension: If you are a good interviewee, then set aside the lack of fellowship, and choose the school that you'd rather be at. If you're not a good interviewee, or have other outstanding loans, then go for the fellowship provided it's a significant amount. Obviously there's a whole lot more to it than just this, so give it a lot of thought, and keep contacting people from both schools, and make another visit (assuming it's not too expensive) to help arrive at a decision.


Why is being a good interviewee a major factor in the decision?


I'd imagine it ultimately boils down to "Can you get the job you want at the lower ranked school?"

If you have an established network that can help you accomplish your goals, you may be better served taking the money over the ranked school.
If you have strong interview skills (that can translate into an offer in your desired field), you may be better served taking the money.

That said - there may be other factors (and I'm just speaking purely financial factors) like average signing bonus for job offers that could offset a fellowship/scholarship.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 06 Mar 2012, 18:53
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10-15 without any doubt..

Leaving aside tangibles such as the loan amount and post MBA salary, I think there are other intangibles factors that will turn out to be important during your MBA and even post MBA.

1. Peer group - The peer group at a top school will be definitely better than at a low ranked school. Sure, douche bags exist everywhere, but it is a safe assumption that the ones in a higher ranked school will be more ambitious and talented. I believe that in a degree such as an MBA, your peer group plays a huge role in shaping your experience. These are also the people who will be a part of your professional network down the line...Purely for this factor alone, I would choose a higher ranked school (assuming the difference in ranks is significant as seems to be the case here)

2. Post MBA career support - The post MBA career support offered by schools drastically dwindles as you go lower in the rankings. Although one may never require it in the post-MBA career, I would say that it is a pretty great nice-to-have.

3. Faculty - The faculty at a 10-15 school will be definitely better. I often find the argument that education you receive anywhere is the same as quite amusing. Faculty in top schools are real world practitioners who have been there, done that. They will teach you the same concepts that are taught in a lower ranked school, but their personal insight is what will be unique and eye-opening. That is why people choose top schools to receive quality business education.

I could go on & on regarding such factors that will directly or indirectly influence your MBA & post MBA life, but I guess you get the gist of my point. 10-15 it is, without a doubt!!
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 07 Mar 2012, 17:48
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guppy wrote:
You are accepted to a program ranked in the 10-15 range and in the region you wish to live. However, you receive no fellowship and would need to take a loan of 100k or more.

You are also accepted to a school in the 20-30 range out of the region you wish to live, but with a strong, recognizable reputation nationally. You receive fellowship, and would require a loan of only 30-40k.

Both schools are similar as far as curriculum and 'fit'.'

How much of the MBA decision should be the ROI on the debt vs. the average salary of the school. Averages are not a guarantee, but do signal the opportunity presented.


When you are quitting a full time job to pursue your MBA dream, it's way more advantageous to go to a top 10-15 range school because those schools dedicate certain amount of resources (such as recruiting, facilities, curriculum, etc) to such students exclusively. In addition, your options will be limited as lower ranked programs in 20-30 range can not dedicate much resources exclusively to the FT students (some programs are not even designed that way) and you will end up taking many of your classes exclusively in the evening with PT MBA students. Especially when companies are cutting their recruiting budget and recruitment quota, you will face an uphill battle even at top 15 programs for certain positions. Although a top 10 MBA is no longer a guarantee for a six figure job these days, it will be even more difficult at lower ranked (20-30) schools.

Every school will have "core employers" that return year after year for recruiting. But when you are taking about 20-30 range schools, the numbers are fewer and some of those employers might be even accounting firms looking for cheap MBA labor at discount for actual accounting roles. I've met people who ended up going to public accounting firms after getting their MBA at lower ranked schools, working side by side with recent college graduates. That's not something they imagined doing before starting their MBA journey. But in this economy, a job is a job and people make sacrifices in exchange for a steady paycheck.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 12 Mar 2012, 10:32
I think you should call the lower ranked school and talk to them about your decision. Maybe they'll put in some more money, another $20k or so and then it's almost a full-ride...which comparing it to no money...and it's not like it's a no-money HBS/Wharton type anyway, I would say the decision favors the 20-30 school.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 08 Jun 2012, 12:02
I'm going through a similar decision right now, so I'd like to ask for your thoughts as well.

However, I'd add two considerations:
1) I'm an international student with no assurance of securing a work visa
2) I'm from a developing country. The remaining cost of tuition (outside of a thankfully sizable fellowship) + my living expenses are already a great investment for me and my family.

I am already very happy with the 20-30 school, but the 10-15 school offers full loans to internationals, which may actually be less of a burden short-term. Theoretically, it would pay off long-term as well, if I am able to work.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 08 Jun 2012, 13:18
evigirl I would definitely choose the school that gave you the scholarship, even if it's lower ranked. The money for you is a MUCH MUCH bigger deal.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 08 Jun 2012, 19:44
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evigirl, where do you want to work long term?

Does the lower ranked school provide you with similar opportunity in your home country?

You should reach out to students from your country at those schools and ask about how they are doing in securing jobs in the US. The fact is, it is difficult to get a work visa in the US in most of the industries, since it's hard for the company to prove that you are more qualified any of the US applicants. This is true of all schools, including H/S. The top leadership rotation programs sometimes will sponsor international students, but oftentimes they want you to go back to your home country in the long term.
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Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2012, 21:22
Thanks for the help, Adamtn!

Hi Asimov, I'd like to work in Marketing in a global city. I read somewhere that H-1B is a non-competitive visa classification so a prospective employer wouldn't need to offer the job to an American first, was this wrong?

It's a bit hard to get a good read on the difficulty of the situation, because the other people from my country who got an mba went to ultra elite schools and I am not sure how much that plays into it.
Re: Choosing Higher Rank vs. More Money for MBA   [#permalink] 09 Jun 2012, 21:22
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