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Columbia vs. MIT Sloan

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Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 07:19
Hi Everyone – I just finished up my application cycle and have been fortunate enough to have the choice to decide between 2 amazing schools: CBS and Sloan. I’m hoping to make the decision soon so as to meet the deposit deadlines and free up my spot for someone on the waitlist as I know how nerve racking that experience can be.

First a little on my background, I’m a bit of a non-traditional candidate. I majored in Economics at a top 10 undergrad institution but then decided to work in the government/non-profit world for 3 years. I’m hoping to use the MBA to transition into Management Consulting in the short run and then VC/PE in the long run. Here are the factors I’m weighing.

Financial Aid
This is perhaps the most important factor at the moment. Unforunately, I graduated with a very large undergraduate debt load and my work experience in gov/non-profit has not allowed me to save much. At the moment, neither school has offered scholarships, but there is still a chance at both merit and need based scholarships. My question here is: which school provides the most need-based scholarships? In addition, how do I navigate the financial aid process in anticipation of approaching deposit deadlines? It seems like I would have to make a decision based in incomplete information from both schools…

Career Prospects
Both schools place well in consulting it seems. However, for a non-traditional candidate, which would provide for the best support system for securing a job at MBB. I’m particularly interested in knowing people’s thoughts on securing internships at top firms at CBS vs. Sloan. What about in the long run trying to get into VC/PE. It seems MIT has the edge in this area but CBS has been placing well lately especially in NYC.


Academics

Both schools have a great core curriculum that will be great for someone like me coming in with a non-traditional background. However, Sloan seems to be more quantitative and intense – particularly in that first semester.

Student Life
It seems that Sloan is more tight-nit and that students there interact more as opposed to Columbia which is larger (in terms of student body) and more spread out. I could see myself being happy at both Cambridge or NYC. I’m from the Midwest and haven’t spent much time at either school, but location wise, NYC might have the slight edge over Boston.

Overall Prestige
Seems like the two schoosl are on par with each other. MIT might have the slight edge in MBA circles, but CBS is recognized more outside the MBA world.

As you can tell this is really going to be a tough decision (especially since I probably won’t know about financial aid till after the deposit deadlines). That being said, I do value the opinions on this forum so any and all feedback would be very much welcomed.
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 07:33
64 wrote:
Financial Aid
This is perhaps the most important factor at the moment. Unforunately, I graduated with a very large undergraduate debt load and my work experience in gov/non-profit has not allowed me to save much. At the moment, neither school has offered scholarships, but there is still a chance at both merit and need based scholarships. My question here is: which school provides the most need-based scholarships? In addition, how do I navigate the financial aid process in anticipation of approaching deposit deadlines? It seems like I would have to make a decision based in incomplete information from both schools…



Congrats on your acceptances!

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of need-based aid on the MBA landscape. HBS and Stanford GSB are the known leaders for providing need-based aid instead of merit-based, but even at those schools, you won't know what kind of aid package you're getting until you accept a spot in their class.

If all else fails, call the financial aid offices of both schools to inquire about need-based aid. Otherwise, you could always look at outside scholarships ($5K here, $10K there, every little bit helps).

The reality is, the majority of students fund their education with loans as this is an investment in the rest of your life. For most students, a top MBA opens doors to career opportunities that otherwise wouldn't be available, and is deemed "worth it."
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Last edited by CobraKai on 30 Jan 2013, 08:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 07:36
Tough choice - probably will come down to which one you 'like' more.

To add, you will have no trouble getting an interview at MBB from either school. The support they give you will be pretty much identical (you will be practicing cases with your peers). Getting the job will depend on your ability much more than anything else.
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 08:03
Apparently, both schools may offer a merit scholarship for your 2nd year based on your 1st year performance:

https://www4.gsb.columbia.edu/mba/admis ... ellowships
http://mitsloan.mit.edu/mba/admissions/ ... rships.php

The Sloan amount, unfortunately, seems very small, not sure on gsb's.
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 08:48
Here are my thoughts as someone who researched and applied to both programs.

Financial Aid
I believe CBS's policies make it difficult for some internationals to get loans, but that doesn't affect you. Something to keep in mind, though, is that NYC is much more expensive than Cambridge/Boston. So, if you would have to foot the bill yourself at either school, you may emerge with less debt coming out of MIT.

Career Prospects
I agree with others' sentiments that both schools will serve you equally well.

Academics
This is a really personal choice and depends on what you want to get out of your MBA experience. For example, for my goals, the quantitative focus of Sloan's curriculum is a plus.

Student Life
I also got the impression that Sloan students are a more tight-knit bunch. That said, I've spoken to a lot of recent CBS alumni and current students that say CBS's reputation as a commuter school is completely overblown.

Overall Prestige
Personally, I'd argue that the MIT name has a greater cachet than the Columbia name amongst laymen. That said, they are equally "prestigious" in MBA circles (i.e., those doing the post-MBA hiring).

Honestly, I think the schools are virtually even for non-finance and non-tech careers. Although I know I'm biased (see my results to the left), I much prefer MIT to Columbia. I had the chance to visit both schools and feel like Sloanies are more "my" type of people. Will you have the chance to go to either school's admit weekend?
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 09:01
I vote Sloan.

As everyone else has said, both are about equal in their consulting prospects. As I'm sure you're already aware, Sloan also has a really strong VC/PE community not just at the MBA level, but at MIT in general. Admittedly, I know very little about CBS's resources in that area, but VC is such a strength of Sloan's.

You're clearly very worried about $$ (understandable concern), and Boston, while not cheap, is MUCH less expensive to live than NYC. Considering MIT is in Kendall Square, you could easily live in Central Square (1 stop down on the T or a 15-20 minute walk) for around $700-800 if you're willing to have roommates. You can find even better deals if you're willing to go into Porter/Davis Square (my friends pay between $550-750 for shared housing), which are both a few stops beyond Central or about a 10-15 minute T ride. I didn't apply to any schools in NYC precisely because of cost of living concerns, though I know the city clearly has its merits!

Good luck on your choice! Happy to answer any other questions about Cambridge/Boston/MIT if you have 'em (born & raised here by an MIT alum)!
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 09:47
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Congrats on the acceptances! While I won't be attending either, I visited both and would go with Sloan.

Sloan offers better prospects with MBB, a more collaborative environment, WAY better facilities and better and more livable location to study. I'm sure almost every recruiter who is in town to go to Harvard will also visit MIT, so no shortage of top-flight options.

Overall, Sloan is definitely a slightly more prestigious (yet somehow still very under-rated) MBA program. Good luck with your decision.
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 14:25
Thank you to all who have chimed in so far - this is definitely all good feedback to consider. I'd like to focus a little bit more on the career prospects. It seems that there is a little bit of differing opinion on the odds of breaking into MBB right out of business school. If anyone has anymore insight on which school would better support the transition to MBB (even if its a slight difference). Seems like the consensus is MIT is better for VC - does anyone beg to differ?

Where are all the CBS supporters - I'd be interested to hear from someone who would go for Columbia and why.
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 15:16
64 wrote:
... into Management Consulting in the short run and then VC/PE in the long run...


Why the scenic route?
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2013, 10:34
I don't think Columbia is more recognized all over the world than MIT is. I'd say the opposite...

http://wallpapers.brothersoft.com/good- ... x1080.html

enough said

for career prospects...I believe McKinsey recruits more CBS MBAs than any school besides INSEAD and HBS - source a CBS class of 2012 alumn currently with McK Dallas office. However, I think at Sloan you'll have great opportunity - they have a consulting track. My bottom line opinion here is you can't really go wrong...you'll land an interview at either school if you work hard to get it.

CBS is a very tight knit community. Yes, it's technically a commuter school, but the program is structured so that you have a cluster and learning-teams who you are incredibly close with. I visited with people in their second year and they mentioned the night before they were out until 2 AM with their cluster...started with dinner and ended at a bar....and they do it monthly at least. He said they're some of his best friends. That added to the fact that people show up at CBS in the AM and spend the day there...some say they think they are closer b/c if it wasn't a 'commuter' school they'd probably split and go home all the time instead of hanging out...this doesnt even cover club involvement...

Sloan's also a clear tight-knit community and I had the most awesome vibe hanging out with students there. I loved my visit to Sloan a lot more than I did with CBS - it jumped to the top of my list with Kellogg.
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2013, 10:38
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64 wrote:
Thank you to all who have chimed in so far - this is definitely all good feedback to consider. I'd like to focus a little bit more on the career prospects. It seems that there is a little bit of differing opinion on the odds of breaking into MBB right out of business school. If anyone has anymore insight on which school would better support the transition to MBB (even if its a slight difference). Seems like the consensus is MIT is better for VC - does anyone beg to differ?

Where are all the CBS supporters - I'd be interested to hear from someone who would go for Columbia and why.


Zero difference in breaking into MBB. Both will get you an interview without a problem, then it is 100% up to you to nail the case interview. I've been through the process, have offers and know many people at MBB, so I can tell you this with confidence
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2013, 05:16
64 wrote:
Thank you to all who have chimed in so far - this is definitely all good feedback to consider. I'd like to focus a little bit more on the career prospects. It seems that there is a little bit of differing opinion on the odds of breaking into MBB right out of business school. If anyone has anymore insight on which school would better support the transition to MBB (even if its a slight difference). Seems like the consensus is MIT is better for VC - does anyone beg to differ?

Where are all the CBS supporters - I'd be interested to hear from someone who would go for Columbia and why.

Out of curiosity, which did you choose?
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2013, 07:13
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Ultimately ended up going with CBS as they came through with a nice fellowship which MIT couldn't match. Made the decision a little easier. Sloan is an incredible school though - could have easily seen myself being happy there as well. Good luck to all with the decision process.
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2013, 07:16
64 wrote:
Ultimately ended up going with CBS as they came through with a nice fellowship which MIT couldn't match. Made the decision a little easier. Sloan is an incredible school though - could have easily seen myself being happy there as well. Good luck to all with the decision process.


Congrats on the fellowship!
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Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2013, 13:16
64 wrote:
Ultimately ended up going with CBS as they came through with a nice fellowship which MIT couldn't match. Made the decision a little easier. Sloan is an incredible school though - could have easily seen myself being happy there as well. Good luck to all with the decision process.

Makes sense. Money is a great tie-breaker in situations like this. Good luck at CBS!
Re: Columbia vs. MIT Sloan   [#permalink] 20 Mar 2013, 13:16
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