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Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua)

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Status: Deciding
Joined: 27 Jul 2010
Posts: 105
Schools: Ross or Fuqua?
WE 1: Master of Science, including Masters Thesis
WE 2: 5 years at multiple Government Contractors
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Kudos [?]: 28 [1] , given: 6

Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2011, 10:41
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SIAP, but I haven't seen a recent comparison of these schools through a search here.

I've been fortunate to be admitted to both Michigan and Duke and am going through the difficult process of trying to make a decision. I'll be as open about myself as possible to help you all understand my decision-making process. Please recognize that while I'm creating this thread to help others making a similar choice, some of the analysis will be unique to my situation. I'll try and keep this updated as I learn more and after I attend both admit weekends in April.

My profile:
28M/married
BSE Electrical Engineering - Michigan
MS Electrical Engineering - UVA
5+ years work experience in government contracting

Goals:
I'm pursuing an MBA to make a career change into Finance/Investment Banking. I want to return to the NY/NJ area upon graduation.

Brand:
From the feedback I've received, UMBS/Ross has the stronger brand than Fuqua. However, "Duke" carries more weight as a University. Fuquans I spoke to during my interview weekend really seemed to place a lot of emphasis on "Duke", but does that mean anything to recruiters?

Culture:
They're super similar. I fit and would be happy at either place.

Location:
A2 is a great town. Durham doesn't seem as fun. But I'm not picking a school for fun. Durham is closer to Charlotte than A2 is to anywhere my wife can find work/ keep her job and that's pretty important.

Alumni:
Ross is bigger and older, but as a Michigan alumni I already have access to this network. Fuqua is newer and smaller, but I hear the alumni are tenacious when it comes to hiring fellow Fuquans.

Teaching Methods:
Michigan is all about action-based learning, which really appeals to me as an engineer. I learn by doing. Really excited to participate in the MAP.
Duke employs diverse teaching methods. Cases, lectures, experiential learning opportunities. Also very appealing.

Internationalism:
This is really important to me. My industry is 100% American citizens, 90% born in the US, and probably 80% white. I am craving a global perspective.
At Michigan, I would prefer to do the MAP overseas - preferably in Hong Kong or Germany. I can also travel a bit with the MTreks.
Duke considers itself "the world's first legitimately global business school." There's the 5 overseas campuses, but I'm not sure how that benefits me at the Durham Campus. GATE and GCP sound great, but they are in locations that are less appealing to me (i.e. South Africa, India).

Employment:
It seems my chances of landing a job at an investment bank are equal at both schools. The difference is that Citi is a big recruiter at Ross and BoAML is a big recruiter at Fuqua. I need to determine which banks consider Ross and Fuqua "core" schools.
Going back to the MAP - I think it's a great experience, but does it translate into internships and jobs? Seems to happen too late to help students land internships. I think the benefit of MAP is seen when one starts working.
Duke's quarter system affords flexibility and allows students to take electives in their first year. This is critical for intern recruiting.

Grades:
Michigan does not have grade disclosure, whereas Duke does. Are grades helpful or harmful to getting hired? Well, if you have straight A's they'll help :-)
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Status: Deciding
Joined: 27 Jul 2010
Posts: 105
Schools: Ross or Fuqua?
WE 1: Master of Science, including Masters Thesis
WE 2: 5 years at multiple Government Contractors
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 28 [11] , given: 6

Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2011, 13:37
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OK, so after attending both Go Blue! Rendezvous and Blue Devil Weekend and talking a few days to collect my thoughts I am ready to share my experience about why I chose Fuqua.

Let me say a few things right off the bat. First, I met lots of students making this same choice, so these two schools are about as close as can be - no surprise that if you were admitted at one place you might be admitted at both. Second, this is my opinion and will be unique to me. I spent 4 years in A2 so I will see things differently than someone coming from a different place. Third, if I say I like X better than Y it doesn't mean Y is bad - so don't flame me.

I'll start by reviewing what I said in the OP:

Goals - I have the same chance of meeting my goals at either school. I learned the opportunities are there if I do what I need to do - and I will!

Brand - The stronger brand changes depending upon who you talk to. Some objective people said UMBS/Ross - "Everyone knows Michigan, not sure everyone knows how good Fuqua is." Others said Fuqua, "Fuqua is a top 5 program. Everyone knows that!" So, just throw this out and don't worry about it. They're both awesome. However, if you are looking at studying sustainability or health care then this changes some.

Culture - At GBR, all the current students raved about the community and how they went to Ross to join that community. At BDW, well... you could probably just swap any Michigan related term with the appropriate Duke one. Seriously, the students all talked about "Team Fuqua" and how they went to Fuqua to joint that community.

It comes down to really minor details. Michigan is a t-shirt and jeans school, whereas Duke is a bit more preppy. Though, I was a little disappointed that Fuqua wasn't as "southern" preppy as I would have expected. Having gone to UVA, I expected to see more of the bright colors and seersucker type look I associate with southern colleges. Yeah, don't ask...

I heard some prospectives say the Ross students were more humble and the Fuquans a bit more snobbish. Eh, I don't know. I know Michigan people can be really arrogant - not in a bad way - and outsiders can usually pick up on it. Geez, we call ourselves the "leaders and best" right in the fight song ;-)

I found the Fuquans to be a bit more serious about academics. BDW had more time for classes, talks by faculty, and I was blown away by the Dean's ability to communicate Fuqua's vision for the future and how they are implementing the plan to get there. Rossers seemed to want to highlight all of the fun in Ann Arbor. I talked to a student who seemed less concerned with grades and the job she'd have afterwords than she was with the tailgates and clubs she was heavily involved in. I left Durham really excited to get back on 1 August and start learning.

Location - Ann Arbor is fun and nothing beats a good tailgate on a fall morning before whooping up on a rival. I can completely see the appeal in this for some. Trust me, there is a big part of me that will be kicking myself when I'm on my couch watching the first ever night game in Michigan Stadium vs Notre Dame when I could be in the student section singing "Hail to the Victors" when Denard breaks a 50+yd TD run. Durham isn't the dump or pit some like to describe it as and Cameron is an amazing place to watch a basketball game (if you can win tickets).

I'm pushing 30 and married so living quarters are pretty important to my wife and me. In this respect, Durham wins by a wide margin. If I was a little younger and single I might not mind living in an old Vic that just looks like college housing.

Alumni - I don't know what I mean to say here. They're both great. I realized at GBR that the Ross alumns were already in my network and that adding some breadth in pedigree wouldn't hurt. But again, that's unique to me and probably not you.

edit: I wanted to add a bit about where the alumni is strongest geographically. Ross is strong all across I-80 (NYC, Chicago, SF) and down into LA. Duke is stronger up and down the East Coast and in the South through Texas. That's generalizing a bit, but it paints a pretty good picture.
One other thing I wanted to address is the size of the Michigan alumni. Yes, it's huge. But in all honesty, it's very disconnected and therefore a little weaker than some suggest. You will meet Michigan people everywhere you go, but that doesn't mean they can all help you get a job. The Ross network is a little bit separate from the greater UofM alumni network and is very strong.
/edit

Teaching Methods - I love the MAP and think it's a great program. However, I decided it wasn't for me. I'm not comfortable giving up 6 weeks of coursework and the ability to take part in any electives just for MAP. Besides, I think MAP-like opportunities exist at Fuqua through the Mentored Study Program and GCP. Ross students raved about their MAP experiences and I know that if I went to Michigan I'd probably appreciate it. A few students talked about how they received internships from their project, but I wasn't comfortable with the thought that it meant I'd be waiting until April to secure work for the summer.

Internationalism - Both have lots of bright international students I'd learn tons from. I didn't realize that students generally only spend 2 of the 6 week MAP overseas. I think Fuqua's overseas campuses are a marketing gimmick that won't affect me as a student. The Global Institute and "global perspective" that Duke faculty add to cases appeals to me.

Employment - Nothing to add.

Grades - I think I had this wrong before, but now I'm getting mixed up again. I thought this would be more important to me, but I've decided to just work hard and get straight As,SPs, EXs or whatever a school decides to call them. I can see pros and cons both ways, but I'm not going to worry myself over it.

NEW CRITERIA

Partner's Club - This is the reason I feel most comfortable going to Fuqua. It turns out my wife's company took the Charlotte option off of the table so we came up with 3 scenarios for her future: a) move in wither her parents and keep her job, b) move with me and not work or c) relocate with me and find work locally.

Well, we didn't have a good experience with the Ross Partners. They seemed to frown on the couples choosing option (a). I was worried about option (b) - I have trouble getting comfortable giving up 2 incomes to support 2 people on loans. (c) is risky... it's Michigan after all and her industry isn't strong there.

At Fuqua, the Partner's Club put on a presentation about finding work in the Triangle. They made time for the prospective partners to network with current partners who work in their industry. She felt comfortable after her experience with BDW and this makes all the difference in the world to me. Though she doesn't have a job yet we have some time and there is an amazing support network for her while we make Durham our home for 20 months, so I'm confident it will all work out.

---
I hope this is helpful to anyone reading it. If you choose to join me at Duke, awesome! If you choose to move out to Ann Arbor and brave the cold (jk), I can completely understand. It's a great school and a great town and I can understand why anyone would make that choice. Bottom line for anyone wrestling with this decision - CONGRATULATIONS, YOU CAN'T LOSE!

Last edited by mEEchigan04 on 26 Apr 2011, 08:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 04 Oct 2008
Posts: 894
Location: United States (CA)
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Strategy
Schools: Michigan (Ross) - Class of 2013
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V44
GPA: 3.3
WE: Project Management (Aerospace and Defense)
Followers: 61

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Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2011, 21:28
Thanks for sharing such an objective assessment of both schools! Your detailed comparison will very be helpful for the applicants that choose between Fuqua and Ross each year.

I love Ross, but I can completely understand why it's not for everyone (for many of the reasons you described).
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Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2011, 11:33
Congrats Meechigan04 on your admits. Both the schools are in favorite list, and your insight is helpful for prospectives.
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Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2011, 14:50
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You clearly made a very methodical and educated decision. While I chose Ross for some of the opportunities they present like MAP and ZLI, a lot of what I did not like about Ross but liked about Duke you echoed here. I think I will be happy at Ross, but from your description it seems Duke is a better fit.

I will be kicking myself when I am trudging through the snow to my first night guest speaker while you are galavanting around without a parka. Best of luck to you this fall and Duke is a fabulous internationally focused school.

Becky
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Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2011, 10:59
This was a great summary - congrats on making a great (but difficult) choice and good luck to you and your wife
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Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 20 Sep 2012, 20:37
Great summary and congrats! I've visited both schools, and I hope I can be in a similar lucky position soon.
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Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2012, 07:56
I recently attended the Bangalore info session of both the schools. I've shared my experience here. Hope this helps in making a decision.

http://amitkpandeyece.blogspot.in/2012/ ... iness.html

http://amitkpandeyece.blogspot.in/2012/ ... alore.html
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Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua) [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2012, 11:58
Both are great schools and I wouldn't mind being accepted to either program. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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Re: Comparing Michigan (Ross) and Duke (Fuqua)   [#permalink] 25 Oct 2012, 11:58
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