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Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

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Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 04:22
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Hello GClubbers,

In an effort to get the waitlists out of my head, I started to examine Cornell’s Johnson and CMU’s Tepper schools more closely. Odds are I’m probably heading to one of the two schools, which I’m fairly happy about. However, it looks like the two schools are almost evenly matched on key criteria. Consequently, it’s taking me quite a bit of effort to make up my mind.

Enter Gmat Club!

I really would love to hear from people here what they think. I’m trying to gather as much input as I can to make the most informed decision that I can.
But first, some disclaimers:
A:The information below relies primarily on online research as I haven’t had a chance to visit either school
B: Feel free to correct any wrong info and point out any wrong assumptions I’ve made
C: The comparison isn’t as structured as I would’ve liked since it wasn’t initially intended to be a post!
D: it's one lengthy post too :)

Without further ado, that’s what I came up with so far :

The Showdown!

1. Rankings:
The two schools are almost always adjacent in rankings, so I wouldn’t assign significant weight to them :)

2. Brand:
Johnson (Cornell): seems to have a stronger university brand (*cough* Ivy League *cough*)…especially outside the US…which is crucial since I’m going for an international career.
Tepper (Carnegie Mellon): Management Science :)…obviously, they have this awesome reputation for rigorous quant. analysis, which works great for consulting.

3. Class Profile:
Johnson (Cornell): ~275 students, ~30% international
Tepper (Carnegie Mellon): ~200 students, ~30% international

Tepper has around 50% of its class from an Engineering/CompSci undergrad background. I suppose the percentage at Cornell could be considerably less.
The numbers are not that different, but somehow I get a feeling that Tepper is a more intimate community…and the Professor: Student ratio is higher there…

4. Core Curriculum:
Johnson (Cornell) :3 courses per half-semester
Tepper (Carnegie Mellon): 4-5 courses per half-semester
I don’t know if that necessarily means that the work-load at Tepper is greater…but if so, it’s a mixed blessing of sorts :)

5. MBA Tracks:
Johnson (Cornell): I’m interested in the Semester in Strategic Operations, Strategic Marketing and the Sustainable Global Enterprise (yeah, I know I’m gonna have to decide on one)…but the highlight here is the Consulting Focus. Naturally, a significant draw for me. I’ll probably complement my track with other concentrations (both depth and breadth)
Tepper (Carnegie Mellon): Interested in Business Analytics (yes, that’s where most of the quant analysis takes place) and Global Enterprise Management (for international career) tracks. Concentrations are also available to dive deeper into certain areas.

6. International Studies: I’ll probably go for a semester away from my home b-school…simply to enrich the MBA experience and gain insights into other global markets.
Johnson (Cornell): as member of the Partnership in International Management, Cornell has a significant program for study abroad opportunities.
Tepper (Carnegie Mellon): I may need to dig deeper here…but I’ve only come across the Transitional Economies program with Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany.
• Both Schools offer career/study treks/trips

7. Dual Degrees: Although it’s somewhat unlikely that I’ll go ahead with a dual degree, I like to keep the option open and found interesting opportunities in both schools.
Johnson (Cornell): MBA/MA in International Relations…applications during the first semester of study
Tepper (Carnegie Mellon) : MBA/MPP (Master’s of Public Policy)…applications during the first year of study

8. Placement Statistics in Consulting: Tepper has a slightly higher percentage of placements within consulting…or so it seems

9. Location:
Johnson (Cornell): Ithaca, New York…225 miles from New York City and described as a classy college-town…especially notable for restaurants and eateries!
Tepper (Carnegie Mellon): Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…the school is at the heart of Pittsburgh, which is an advantage…overall, Pittsburgh sounds like a greener and a more scenic place than Ithaca…so you have the advantages of a city without some of the city-related annoyances…great sports and cultural attractions as well

10. Climate: same, cold :(

11. Living Expenses : comparable, I think…except that not having a car seems like less of a problem in Pittsburgh

12. Facilities: Unfortunately, I’ve heard that Johnson’s facilities are less than what you’d expect at Cornell. On the other hand, I’ve heard nothing about Tepper but the buildings look younger there :)

13. Miscellaneous Intangibles:
• I really do like Tepper…and I can’t quite figure out the reason…maybe because it was my first application/first acceptance…maybe due to how great the AdCom handled the entire application process…maybe the nice “You’re in!” animation got to me…maybe how they took the times to arrange for a current student from a similar cultural, educational and career background to contact me and offer help with any questions I had (I know I sound like a love-struck teenager :D )
• Cornell is Ivy and people around the world know the name…it’s that simple…people seem to identify Carnegie Mellon more with engineering rather than business (MIT Syndrome :D )

The End (?)
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 04:49
I live close to Pittsburgh and visited CMU a few times, though I had not been inside Tepper. It is definitely a small school with world-class facilities in the heart of Pittsburgh. As you mentioned, CMU is well known for its Engineering and quant-focused teaching.

If you are looking for Consulting and International Business kind of jobs, I believe Johnson would be a better choice by a small margin. On the other hand, Pittsburgh offers more amenities of a city without all the hassles of a big city (Pittsburgh is not very spread out and looks more like big college town).

If I were you, I would have chosen Johnson - for its consulting track, and slightly higher ranking, and 'Ivy League' brand, but you seem to be inclined towards Tepper. Why don't you visit both the schools to get a feel of the schools and students? Are you located in the US?
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 05:43
Thanks ardk for your input.
Visiting both schools is definitely the best thing to do but I'm an international and won't be able to get the paperwork ready for admitted students' weekends :(
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 09:33
What is the recruiting situation like at both BSchools for consulting firms? I guess both have Consulting Clubs. I am aware that Johnson is PIMS, but surely Tepper must have more exchange options than WHU.

Any idea of Housing at both BSchools, on or off campus?

Location wise, Pittsburgh is better for travelling to interviews or treks. What is the fellowship programme like. Johnson has 20 Parks Fellows and they get edge/first dips in mentoring and jobs.
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2011, 06:03
Mat - Thanks a lot for creating this thread.

All - I'm in the exact same position as MatGMAT. I have admits from Cornell and CMU. I got my final decision (waitlist from Yale) on Friday, so I am just now starting to dig in and research the pros and cons of these two schools. MatGMAT and I have exchanged a few PMs trying to help each other out.

I was fortunate enough to get invited to the Park Fellowship weekend in April so the outcome of those two days will probably be a heavy factor in my decision. Here are some of my initial thoughts though:

I did visit both campuses and liked CMU and Pittsburgh much more than Johnson and Ithaca. But you have to remember - it's only two years and then you are outta there. But I didn't think Johnson's facilities were bad at all as others have mentioned. I thought they were quite nice, actually.

For me, I think it is going to come down to recruiters and starting salaries. I have an MS in systems modeling, so I want to do economic/financial modeling for either an asset management firm or the economics arm of a consultancy. I was pleasantly surprised by Tepper's consulting placement/salaries but I was a little disappointed with the asset management placement/salaries (the median starting salary seemed quite low to me in the latest report). But I have yet to compare it with Johnson's stats.

I get the feeling that the curriculum at Tepper is more rigorous than that of Johnson. You are able to take way more electives. Economics electives are going to be very important to me - Tepper offers TONS but Johnson doesn't seem to offer any. I think Johnson mixes in the economics material with its offerings in finance.

Sorry, I'm rambling. But I wanted to spit out some thoughts. More to follow. Thanks to all.
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2011, 11:15
Thanks jock4mba and SDBall...

@jock4mba

- Placement in consulting is almost the same with Tepper at 18% and Johnson at 16% in 2010.
- I probably need to get in touch with Tepper regarding international opportunities
- Both schools offer on-campus housing...comparable cost and pretty much similar options
- I'm not eligible for Park fellowship since I'm not a US citizen :)

@SDBall
- Best of luck with the Park Fellowship...I think your decision will be much easier when you land it :)
- Looks like Tepper's quant. focus would be great for your background and target role. Obviously, the business analytics track comes to mind. If you mix that with the flexible electives offering, Tepper sounds more like a good choice. Also, the whole Cornell brand thing will be less of an edge if you're targeting the US market, where CMU and Tepper have a solid reputation and readily present recognition (i think?).
I think It'll probably come down to scholarship $ for you.

Thanks again and keep your thoughts flowing in!

Edit: found this really cool thread (thanks to everyone who has been involved) that sheds some light on Cornell
http://gmatclub.com/forum/battle-royale-johnson-vs-ross-vs-darden-76266.html
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2011, 19:22
Hey guys, sorry this is cursory and all over the place but just a few thoughts. Hope this helps a bit. A few things: there is no on-campus housing at Johnson. I've never heard someone think Pittsburg is greener than Ithaca, that's a first. The one thing you get in Ithaca is nature, up to you if that's the setting you prefer. You can absolutely get by in Ithaca without a car. The only place most people ever need to drive to is the grocery store and everyone carpools anyway. You get a free bus pass in your first year. Not sure that I'd call Ithaca classy but it's a decent collegetown - nothing to write home about. Johnson is very closely-knit and these are not just buzz words, we live the colalborative culture (not sure about CMU but I'd imagine it's pretty collaborative there as well).

You'd really want to dig up more info on this: Johnson has made huge strides this year in terms of recruiting for consulting. The Assistant Dean is a very talented woman who took Consulting recruiting to a new level and Johnson is now a top school for that. You should be able to dig up info on that. For instance, we got more offers from Bain than many schools traditionally considered to be strong in consulting. I don't know much about CMU unfortunately to offer a different perspective, but if consulting is what you are interested in, Johnson is a good place to be (and I'm not in sales mode here, just speaking in your best interest). So here you have it - the good and the bad. PM me if you want me to put you in touch with someone who knows more about consulting recruiting than I do.
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2011, 10:43
I too am in the same boat.
Having a difficult time deciding between Tepper and Johnson because of their many similarities not least of which is a highly collaborative tight-knit culture.
Which school do people feel have a stronger Entrepreneurship program? or higher chance to get into Venture Capital?
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2011, 10:51
bkrokad wrote:
I too am in the same boat.
Having a difficult time deciding between Tepper and Johnson because of their many similarities not least of which is a highly collaborative tight-knit culture.
Which school do people feel have a stronger Entrepreneurship program? or higher chance to get into Venture Capital?


BK, welcome to our club.

I don't know much about those concentrations. I was looking through the Johnson binder at lunch though so I can tell you that Johnson has a club called Big Red Ventures dedicated to VC. Johnson also has an immersion in Entr. and VC. So, advantage Johnson? I dunno.

Both universities have other schools within them that provide an opportunity for partnerships. I remember James Frick at CMU telling me that some MBAs partner up with engineers who have developed new products and aren't interested in the business side of things. I'm sure this could happen at Cornell though too.

EDIT***: That club might actually be dedicated to Private Equity and the immersion might be Private Equity too. I'm not sure.
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2011, 01:50
The thread is gaining some momentum...good!

According to some johnson web-pages, they do have on-campus housing...may be limited availability though
http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Academic ... e.aspx#q15
http://www.campuslife.cornell.edu/campu ... ousing.cfm

Another thread with info (bashing?) on Cornell:
darden-vs-cornell-94811.html

@ Ariel
Thank you for putting my mind at ease regarding green Ithaca :)
I live in one of the busiest metropolitan areas in the world...so some green would be a welcome change!
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2011, 06:03
I just read through the Darden vs. Cornell thread from last year. It definitely reiterated one of my biggest concerns about Cornell, that the classes are on the easy side and not very quantitative. I'm hoping that someone can rebuttal that. But I attended an investment course on my interview day and the students didn't seem very engaged and the lecture material was just simple bullet points for about 80 minutes. Now maybe the Immersions are a completely different story. I don't know.

On the other hand, I spoke with a Tepper student last night who was telling me how much math they use and how "deep" they dive into the quantitative material.

Now I come full circle: Do I go for the ivy league reputation and network with a lighter (friendlier?) courseload or the extremely intense management science that will make me a wizard with quant business/finance?

HELP!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2011, 03:38
Got the Tepper package a few days ago...I like it loads better than Cornell's!
I thought it was weird that a quant-by-reputation school should put together a nicer binder (name on pen, nice gesture!) than a school that some say has a good track record in marketing and brand...

Anyways, I'm 98% settled on Cornell (yeah...I know). As expected, I didn't have to introduce Cornell to people in my home country...while I needed to talk about the merits of Carnegie Mellon for people to understand my decision dilemma...if I had targeted a career in the US, it probably would've gone differently...

SDBall and bkrokad, hope you had fun with your research and reached a decision (Cornell deposit on Wednesday!)
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2011, 05:52
I'm going to Cornell. In fact, I'm going to cancel my trip to Tepper's Welcome Weekend next Friday. I'm totally sold on Johnson. The immersion is going to be huge for me as a career switcher. Cornell will also give me the access to New York and Boston that I need for recruiting. I want to go into investment management and the placements this year were incredible for Johnson. Every student that I talked to ended up with their dream internship/FT job. Not to mention Cornell is an Ivy.

If any of you guys have questions, please message me. I was up in Ithaca for 3 nights this past weekend.
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2011, 07:07
SDBall22 wrote:
I just read through the Darden vs. Cornell thread from last year. It definitely reiterated one of my biggest concerns about Cornell, that the classes are on the easy side and not very quantitative. I'm hoping that someone can rebuttal that. But I attended an investment course on my interview day and the students didn't seem very engaged and the lecture material was just simple bullet points for about 80 minutes. Now maybe the Immersions are a completely different story. I don't know.

On the other hand, I spoke with a Tepper student last night who was telling me how much math they use and how "deep" they dive into the quantitative material.

Now I come full circle: Do I go for the ivy league reputation and network with a lighter (friendlier?) courseload or the extremely intense management science that will make me a wizard with quant business/finance?

HELP!!!!!!!!!


SDBall22,

Congrats on making a decision !!
Since you have chosen Cornell now, do you have any info on the concerns you raised above ? Do you have any first-hand experience from your stay in Ithaca that helped you make a decision ??
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2011, 07:19
ardk wrote:
SDBall22 wrote:
I just read through the Darden vs. Cornell thread from last year. It definitely reiterated one of my biggest concerns about Cornell, that the classes are on the easy side and not very quantitative. I'm hoping that someone can rebuttal that. But I attended an investment course on my interview day and the students didn't seem very engaged and the lecture material was just simple bullet points for about 80 minutes. Now maybe the Immersions are a completely different story. I don't know.

On the other hand, I spoke with a Tepper student last night who was telling me how much math they use and how "deep" they dive into the quantitative material.

Now I come full circle: Do I go for the ivy league reputation and network with a lighter (friendlier?) courseload or the extremely intense management science that will make me a wizard with quant business/finance?

HELP!!!!!!!!!


SDBall22,

Congrats on making a decision !!
Since you have chosen Cornell now, do you have any info on the concerns you raised above ? Do you have any first-hand experience from your stay in Ithaca that helped you make a decision ??


I would say that I was probably not considering the full picture of business school in my statement above. First, I think I was wrong about the curriculum. I think it will be challenging and thorough. Second, it was stressed to us, by several faculty members and students, that grades and classes are only a part of the experience. Recruiting and networking are just as important, if not more important. Interview preparation takes hours upon hours of training from club members. Adding that to the classroom work will make for a very thorough and deep plunge into business, econ, finance or whatever you would like to concentrate on.

The current students are smart and have accomplished a lot already. I was blown away by the students and I'm totally sold on the school.
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2011, 23:56
Paid the deposit a few days ago...so it's official :)
See you in Ithaca, SDBall!
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2011, 14:55
Thanks SDBall22 for your clarification. I am interested in Cornell's AMBA (1-year) program, and hence was curious to know your reason behind the decision. Of course, I still have a lot of time for school choices.
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Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2014, 22:12
@sd ball - have heard that about cornell too. on less focus on quant side of things
Re: Cornell (Johnson) vs. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)   [#permalink] 30 Mar 2014, 22:12
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