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Darden [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2006, 21:35
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I'm considering pulling out of my Darden app and canceling my trip to interview.

Why?

During my visit to Cornell a conversation started with some other visitors and with some students at Cornell - specifically around work life balance. Cornellians said that while it was challenging it was manageable and that people worked around each others schedules well. One girl mentioned someone in her study group who left everyday at 5, no exceptions, and the team just set up a schedule that worked. Another guy was religious and wouldn't get together on Sundays, so the team agreed to that. In short, the students made it sound like it was demanding but normal.

It got me thinking - if Cornell is "reasonable" how is the GSB comparatively speaking?

I called some of the students I'd met there and got much of the same feedback that Cornellians gave me. There are some bad days and even some late nighters, but for hte most part, its class in the morning ,and a few hours in the afternoon, sometimes into the evening, but not often.

So, if this was "rigorous" what was Darden?

I decided to find out.

I spoke with one alumnus the other day that described the workload as "a nightmare." To quote her "They push you to the brink of breaking and just as you are about to crack, they ease off. Then they push you again to the brink." Her words, not mine.

Somewhat concerned, I called another alum.

"It's hell on earth. If you are married, I really don't recommend going. I knew some people who went married and it was a real problem for them. It's a small town already, and if you aren't home at all, it's doubly worse because your wife or husband will be sitting around all day with nothing to do. People wallowed."

I grew more concerned, so I picked up one of those books that lists a bunch of schools and all about them. In there it says "If you are not afraid of 70 to 80 hour work weeks, Darden might just be the place for you."

It goes on to quote other alum ".... comes at a great expense to your personal life... .... I often wondered whether the price was worth paying."

Then, I came across "A day at Darden":

8:00 am – 9:25 am First Class
9:25 am – 10:00 am First Coffee
10:00 am – 11:25 am Second Class
11:25 am – 11:45 am Break
11:45 am – 1:10 pm Third Class
1:10 pm – 2:40 pm School Events
Personal schedule might include co-curricular activities (speakers, club meetings, etc.), meetings with faculty, company briefings, lunch, exercise, and personal time.
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm Individual preparation of next day’s cases, leisure time, dinner
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Learning Team
(this is the typical meeting period; times vary by team)

This seemed almost draconian in it's structure. Inflexible, demanding and obtuse in it's rigidity.

I knew Darden was "bad", but I had clearly underestimated just how rough it was. But had I talked to some "bad apples?"

I called two more alumni. One said "This is a place for people who want investment banking. I came from IB, so I thought it would be a cakewalk. It was worse." I've worked in IB. It's horrible. If Darden is worse, I can't imagine.

So by now, I find myself wondering, "why in the heck am I applying here?"

In short, I think my essays, despite the work, belong in my recycle bin when it comes to Darden. Just doesn't sound like the kind of atmosphere I want.

Just goes to show you - do your research early. I treated Darden as a backup, and only chose the school because of an interest in certain aspects of the school (case, batten, location) - but failed to dig deep enough to realize it's not somewhere I'd want to be - despite it's other great qualities. It was a costly mistake - I wasted quite a few hours planning everything, but the more I read and the more I research the more I start to realize it's just not the right place for me .

Don't do what I did - dig deep on your research, not just superficial.

Last edited by rhyme on 09 Nov 2006, 03:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Darden [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2006, 22:53
Same reason why I cancelled my trip two months ago. My recommenders had already submitted their recommendations..I was planning on the early deadline. B-School to me is all out taking risks and exploring new avenues in life..didn't want to get stuck in a boot camp. Plus, my wife would have to endure two lousy years working remotely with no chance to change jobs and work in c-ville.

rhyme wrote:
I'm considering pulling out of my Darden app and canceling my trip to interview.

Why?

During my visit to Cornell a conversation started with some other visitors and with some students at Cornell - specifically around work life balance. Cornellians said that while it was challenging it was manageable and that people worked around each others schedules well. She mentioned someone in her study group who left everyday at 5, no exceptions, and the team just set up a schedule that worked. Another guy was religious and wouldn't get together on Sundays, so the team agreed to that. In short, the students made it sound like it was demanding but normal.

It got me thinking - if Cornell is "reasonable" how is the GSB comparatively speaking?

I called some of the students I'd met there and got much of the same feedback that Cornellians gave me. There are some bad days and even some late nighters, but for hte most part, its class in the morning ,and a few hours in the afternoon, sometimes into the evening, but not often.

So, if this was "rigorous" what was Darden?

I decided to find out.

I spoke with one alumnus the other day that described the workload as "a nightmare." To quote her "They push you to the brink of breaking and just as you are about to crack, they ease off. Then they push you again to the brink." Her words, not mine.

Somewhat concerned, I called another alum.

"It's hell on earth. If you are married, I really don't recommend going. I knew some people who went married and it was a real problem for them. It's a small town already, and if you aren't home at all, it's doubly worse because your wife or husband will be sitting around all day with nothing to do. People wallowed."

I grew more concerned, so I picked up one of those books that lists a bunch of schools and all about them. In there it says "If you are not afraid of 70 to 80 hour work weeks, Darden might just be the place for you."

It goes on to quote other alum ".... comes at a great expense to your personal life... .... I often wondered whether the price was worth paying."

Then, I came across "A day at Darden":

8:00 am – 9:25 am First Class
9:25 am – 10:00 am First Coffee
10:00 am – 11:25 am Second Class
11:25 am – 11:45 am Break
11:45 am – 1:10 pm Third Class
1:10 pm – 2:40 pm School Events
Personal schedule might include co-curricular activities (speakers, club meetings, etc.), meetings with faculty, company briefings, lunch, exercise, and personal time.
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm Individual preparation of next day’s cases, leisure time, dinner
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm Learning Team
(this is the typical meeting period; times vary by team)

This seemed almost draconian in it's structure. Inflexible, demanding and obtuse in it's rigidity.

I knew Darden was "bad", but I had clearly underestimated just how rough it was. But had I talked to some "bad apples?"

I called two more alumni. One said "This is a place for people who want investment banking. I came from IB, so I thought it would be a cakewalk. It was worse." I've worked in IB. It's horrible. If Darden is worse, I can't imagine.

So by now, I find myself wondering, "why in the heck am I applying here?"

In short, I think my essays, despite the work, belong in my recycle bin when it comes to Darden. Just doesn't sound like the kind of atmosphere I want.

Just goes to show you - do your research early. I treated Darden as a backup, and only chose the school because of an interest in certain aspects of the school (case, batten, location) - but failed to dig deep enough to realize it's not somewhere I'd want to be - despite it's other great qualities. It was a costly mistake - I wasted quite a few hours planning everything, but the more I read and the more I research the more I start to realize it's just not the right place for me .

Don't do what I did - dig deep on your research, not just superficial.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2006, 23:14
It's well known that Darden is a tough place, but I had not heard it was that bad. I will definitely investigate further for myself.

Thanks for the info. Very useful.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 01:24
I can understand Rhyme's concern, especially when one is married. Fortunately, I was able to convince my girlfriend and postpone the inevitable for after MBA.

I liked Darden for its positive factors (namely exactly what Rhyme mentioned). But having no access to Darden Alum, i dug deeper into other places, talked to students who got accepted but didnot matriculate etc etc.

Darden is exactly like Rhyme mentioned. But I still want to go there provided they ask me to.

May be its just me or maybe its just that I want to try the boot camp experience. Till now I have been a person who seriously never cared about structures or protocols. I worked like a free bird, creating new structures and protocols as I went along, and fortunately my managers were wise enough to give me the leeway.

May be I want to try something that is a bit rigid and too rigorous. You know sort of challenging yourself. I know, spending $120K just to challenge urself seems a bit crazy, but deep down its not just a challenge, its I could probably explain later.
Anyways, thanks for the insight Rhyme, this certainly will be a factor if I get multiple offers.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 02:32
Rhyme,
thank you for saving my time on the research. Actually, my boss/recommender mentioned that Darden "is a bootcamp" (his words), I did not think that it would be that bad. I just started preparing my Darden set of dox, but I think that I will cancel it. Since I'm coming to a b-school with a wife and a baby, I do not think this is a place for me.
thanks again
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 03:38
I didn't mean to discourage anyone from applying. Do your own research and call your own alumni. Who knows, maybe the ones I called were having a bad day.

In any case, it's a bit scary because pulling out of Darden means I'm only submitting four applications. HBS, Kellogg, Chicago, Cornell. HBS is, and always was, a pipedream. Chicago is feasible given my two recommendation letters from alumni - both stellar (I'm very encouraged by admissions411's figures for those with alumni recs), Kellogg is also possible considering my connections there, and Cornell should be an admit I hope (though I think I made a few mistakes in the interview now that I think back on it more clearly).
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 03:48
Think of some other programs in West Coast? You still have a lot of time...
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 03:52
darren1010 wrote:
Think of some other programs in West Coast? You still have a lot of time...


I'd consider adding UC Berkeley to my list. Maybe I'll see how easy/hard it is as an app and just put one together in a few hours for the heck of it. Then again, I'm happy with the list I applied to, and I feel pretty confident in my chances.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 04:01
You may try UCLA and Stanford too...I have been there once, and they are all very great school...
The hardest part of those school is the demanding essays, but I think you'll be okie because your writing is so good...
(God, today I woke up at 3AM to write my essays. Feel very bad, really)
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 04:02
darren1010 wrote:
You may try UCLA and Stanford too...I have been there once, and they are all very great school...
The hardest part of those school is the demanding essays, but I think you'll be okie because your writing is so good...
(God, today I woke up at 3AM to write my essays. Feel very bad, really)


Stanfords an HBS to me. Awesome school, but a waste of my time because I just don't stand a chance. UCLA is, well, in LA. I detest LA.

3am to work on essays? Man.... thats not normal. Go back to bed!!
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 05:54
Darden was on my list too before I found out about the boot camp environment. Total turn off.

On the flip side, which of the super elite/elite schools are the "easiest?"
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 06:44
rhyme wrote:

In any case, it's a bit scary because pulling out of Darden means I'm only submitting four applications. HBS, Kellogg, Chicago, Cornell.


Did you even consider applying in R2?
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 06:54
LoL and you guys want to be leaders? Come on man, a little boot camp scares you?

In all seriousness - it is a lot of work. My father went there and loved it, the school is an amazing place. It is only for people who are serious about getting the best education possible and it will take its toll on you. But I think if you want to get a lot out of an MBA Darden should be on your list.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 06:55
jaynayak wrote:
I can understand Rhyme's concern, especially when one is married. Fortunately, I was able to convince my girlfriend and postpone the inevitable for after MBA.

I liked Darden for its positive factors (namely exactly what Rhyme mentioned). But having no access to Darden Alum, i dug deeper into other places, talked to students who got accepted but didnot matriculate etc etc.

Darden is exactly like Rhyme mentioned. But I still want to go there provided they ask me to.

May be its just me or maybe its just that I want to try the boot camp experience. Till now I have been a person who seriously never cared about structures or protocols. I worked like a free bird, creating new structures and protocols as I went along, and fortunately my managers were wise enough to give me the leeway.

May be I want to try something that is a bit rigid and too rigorous. You know sort of challenging yourself. I know, spending $120K just to challenge urself seems a bit crazy, but deep down its not just a challenge, its I could probably explain later.
Anyways, thanks for the insight Rhyme, this certainly will be a factor if I get multiple offers.


I am right there with you Jay - I am applying for exactly the same reasons. The boot camp environment is intimidating, and I am definitely nervous about handling it - however I think it would make me a better worker/leader and thats worth 120k.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 07:03
OasisNYK wrote:
LoL and you guys want to be leaders? Come on man, a little boot camp scares you?

In all seriousness - it is a lot of work. My father went there and loved it, the school is an amazing place. It is only for people who are serious about getting the best education possible and it will take its toll on you. But I think if you want to get a lot out of an MBA Darden should be on your list.


Now, that's a spirit! :-D And I mean what I say.
OasisNYK, for me the 2 years I am going to spend in BS will be a compromise between study, recruiting and family/friends. I just do not want to invest all my time in one thing of the three. Darden just does not seem like a perfect place for a family guy :wink:
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 07:06
Dont get me wrong, I am a family guy too and my girlfriend who I plan on marrying will be coming with me. The school does have a partners program that sets them up with jobs and a social life. It will put a strain on the relationship for sure but if you think other schools wont then you are mistaken. Sure Darden may put a little more - I wont deny that - but all of these programs are tough.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 09:01
OasisNYK wrote:
jaynayak wrote:
I can understand Rhyme's concern, especially when one is married. Fortunately, I was able to convince my girlfriend and postpone the inevitable for after MBA.

I liked Darden for its positive factors (namely exactly what Rhyme mentioned). But having no access to Darden Alum, i dug deeper into other places, talked to students who got accepted but didnot matriculate etc etc.

Darden is exactly like Rhyme mentioned. But I still want to go there provided they ask me to.

May be its just me or maybe its just that I want to try the boot camp experience. Till now I have been a person who seriously never cared about structures or protocols. I worked like a free bird, creating new structures and protocols as I went along, and fortunately my managers were wise enough to give me the leeway.

May be I want to try something that is a bit rigid and too rigorous. You know sort of challenging yourself. I know, spending $120K just to challenge urself seems a bit crazy, but deep down its not just a challenge, its I could probably explain later.
Anyways, thanks for the insight Rhyme, this certainly will be a factor if I get multiple offers.


I am right there with you Jay - I am applying for exactly the same reasons. The boot camp environment is intimidating, and I am definitely nervous about handling it - however I think it would make me a better worker/leader and thats worth 120k.


I hope Darden adcom sees our enthusiasm and accepts us both :wink:
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 09:18
I saw several hrs of free time in the afternoon... and "learning time?" Some people work more efficently and study more efficently than others... I wouldn't be scared at all.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 11:10
Mark4124 wrote:
I saw several hrs of free time in the afternoon... and "learning time?" Some people work more efficently and study more efficently than others... I wouldn't be scared at all.


Actually I have heard from several current students that the afternoon is pretty free - and you are right...it depends on your learning style. If you are efficient and budget your time you have nothing to worry about.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2006, 11:34
Two years ago I was nearly finished with my GSB app and I flew out to Palo Alto to visit and sit in on a class and talk to students. When I got back home, I decided not to apply.

I attended a second-year class and I noticed how empty the room seemed. The student next to me said that many of the students absent were probably on the golf course because it was such a nice day (and no he wasn't kidding). I asked him and a few others and they all said it was a very laid-back place where it's no big deal to blow off class. The people who want to go to class go.

I know I don't need that temptation. I understand there's a lot more to b-school than the classes, but there's a happy medium. I'd agree that Darden is probably the extreme the other way, but that's why I like it.
  [#permalink] 09 Nov 2006, 11:34
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