I have been receiving PMs as to why I chose Vanderbilt. I thought it would be easier for everyone to see in one place. I don't have too much time, so I won't go into too much detail.
1) Small -- Rotman is the largest program that I applied to. I also thought it was too big. I want to know my professors and the rest of my class. In undergrad, when I graduated I did not know the thousands of people who were also graduating. I want to know my peers. This leads into..
2) Community/Positivity -- Owen gives off a fantastic vibe. I had lots of contact with Owen: the online chats, interviews, emails, phone calls and welcome weekend. Everyone I spoke to was very enthusiastic, friendly, and intelligent. They really make you feel like you belong. Then, I met many current students. I met many students at other schools, but those were preselected students. At Owen, there were tons and tons of people and they were all very fascinating and genuine people. It also appears that because Owen is a small program they can limit the number of "snobs" they accept. When I was narrowing down the schools I would ultimately apply to, I constantly got a "snob" vibe from the very top schools. That's not who I am and it's not what I like.
3) Professors -- I think that if you go to almost any top school that you will get a great education. Owen has great professors and courses that I'm interested in taking. I can't yet speak to their teaching skills because I have not started yet. I can say that I was particularly impressed by the Dean. He is very silly, but in a great way. You truly feel that he wants you to learn as much as you can and be as successful as possible.
4) Career -- Owen will provide me with pretty much any career I want to get into. No school is just going to hand me a job, but Owen has the contacts to get my foot into pretty much any door that I want to. I currently work in finance and want to continue along that path. When I compared finance career info across many schools, the data was all pretty close and the placements were all similar. If I want to work in corp finance, asset management, or ibanking the opportunity is there for me at a competitive salary. Many schools have their salary data increased because of high consulting salaries. A high consulting salary is of no use to me so I only compared finance salaries.
5) Program -- I know what I like. The school's marketing actually does a great job of representing the schools values. I am competitive, but not cutthroat. I will not play the game dirty just because the other team is. I want to win because I am the best and lose because I was not. The Owen program is very social and "for the greater good" of everyone... not in a socialist way, this is still very much a business school. The Cal Turner program for example takes students from several professional schools at Vanderbilt (Law, MBA,Medicine etc) and they meet up to try to help tackle issues in society as a whole... what our responsibilities as citizens are and what leadership steps can be taken to improve it.
6) Nashville -- The city of the school only became important as I was finalizing my applications. I am moving my fiancee with me, so opportunities (both fun and professional) were something that I knew the school's city needed to provide. Coming from the North, I wanted a warmer climate, smaller city (but not too small), sports teams (Predators, SEC), and culture (music). The campus and city are also very beautiful.
Overall --- I just knew that Owen was one of my top 3, and when I had my interview it moved to #1. I was never someone to follow the herd mentality. Just because I'm told that school X is better than school Y does not mean that it is the best school for me. Owen may not be right for you, but I know I made the right choice.
Make sure you choose a school that will get you where you want to go, but along the path you want to take.
Your post pretty much sums up my experience and feelings regarding why I chose Owen.
My evaluative interview and meetings with the career services staff convinced me that Owen is truly eager to help me succeed post-MBA -- they seem to walk the talk.
Vanderbilt's overall reputation as a university is top-notch as well. Being associated with elite programs in medicine, law, and education along with highly ranked undergraduate programs really enhances Owen's image.
I'm excited to get started this fall!
Posted By Mistablair and Timeaston: owen-vanderbilt-class-of-2016-calling-all-applicants-151636-220.html#p1357104