Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm still trying to decide between the two, but currently I'm leaning towards Yale. Below are my responses for the points you've made above. I'm glad I've found someone to discuss this with
- The case method is excellent for building confidence and public speaking skills. You get daily practice in articulating a point of view and arguing your case in front of others. That's invaluable training for any field and makes you a very persuasive and valuable team member.
Well, I read somewhere on the net that Yale has > 50% of case method. They also have "RAW" cases which are supposedly more challenging to analyse. So Yale would definitely improve your public speaking skills too.
I'm personally not the kind of person who would listen and absorb material taught through lectures, though I could possibly force myself to listen and understand.(I mean, I can do it if my survival depended on it
- Employment opportunities seem equal to Yale for social enterprise. I looked at Darden's employment report and it showed that foundations and other social enterprise firms were hiring from Darden. Darden also does better in consulting recruitment, which is an added bonus.
As far as the recruitment into the social sector goes, I got this information from a Darden alum that though a lot of the students are interested in volunteering/social sector during the course, very few of them actually take up jobs in the social sector. She herself was interested in the same, but did not eventually take up the social sector due to monetary reasons.
This is one area where I feel Yale would enable you to try out the social sector due to its loan forgiveness program which you can avail of for 10 years so long as you work in the social sector and your salary is below the average salary of the graduating class that year. If your salary is above average, you wouldnt need the loan forgiveness program.
I need to analyse the employment reports to see if Darden can really match upto Yale for social sector careers.
For consulting, Darden wins hands down, I suppose.
- Warmer weather in Virginia beats Connecticut weather, which is brutally cold in the winters.
You said it!
- The city of Charlottesville is suburban with a great access to beautiful mountains, lakes and woodlands. It is much more family and youth-friendly with many downtown shops and restaurants. It is one of the best cities to live in the USA compared to New Haven which has very few attractions and some dangerous/crime ridden parts.
- Living costs in Charlottesville seem to be the same price or even slightly cheaper than New Haven.
I cant comment on this since I'm from India and dont have any detailed information about life in either city.
- Darden is closer to DC which has several international humanitarian organizations, consulting companies and social enterprises so it is great for interviews and work prospects. Especially if you prefer DC to NYC.
Would this be such a big deterrent to joining Yale, given that the distance between DC and NYC is not too much? I mean, its not like the east coast vs west coast right?
- Alumni networks will be crucial for future job prospects and opportunities. Yale has great contacts in non-profit but Darden has overall phenomenal alumni networks. The fact that you can pick up a phone and call someone and have a useful connection simply because you both went to Darden is amazing.
Hmm.. Yes. I've heard about how good the Darden alum network is. Not sure about Yale alum in general, but they have an extensive network in the social sector.
- Darden is expanding their sustainability and global programs, while Yale seems to be distancing themselves from their social and non-profit side, to emphasize their finance and banking side. There is no doubt that Yale's large scale investments in the future will be geared towards recruiting professors, students, facilities and opportunities for banking, finance and general management as opposed to social and non profit areas. Recruitment officers have spoken very openly and bluntly about it in several interviews I've read online.
- Darden has a Net Impact Club, a social enterprise internship fund, and a very strong overall alumni network. I am sure that, together with their focus on sustainability and globalization, will be enough to have great work prospects in social enterprise.
Well, Yale probably is trying to improve focus on the other aspects of their program apart from nonprofit, but I dont think thats to the detriment of the social sector involvement. There may not be any further growth of the social sector involvement at yale, but I think students would be able to leverage a lot of the effort/network already in place. They have a lot of lectures/projects/international experiences/centers tailored for a social enterprise/non-profit career. Do go through their website in detail wrt this if you have not already done so.
I'm sure doing an MBA at Darden would in every way enable one to move into the social sector, but my concern is that it may not provide me with as many networking opportunities, given the fact that very few students actually take this career path. Having an alum network who are accessible in different fields is good, but I feel the value of having other peers interested in the same field as you would be significant.
Both Yale and Darden have internship funds. You may have more competition at Yale to get a part of the fund than at Darden, but this greater interest in social sector internships also lead me to think that the amount generated for this fund is higher at yale. The students apparently have an auction to generate funds for the same. But definitely, this needs further investigation.
I have no idea what is the amount generated in the Darden internshiph fund. I think I read online that other students contribute part of their internship pay towards the fund.
- For those who care about rankings, Darden and Yale are neck and neck, but overall (based on composite ranks), Darden ranks higher than Yale by about 2/3 places. I'm not a huge fan of rankings, but its helpful to know anyway.
Ditto. Not bothered about the rankings at all.
To add to your observations, I'm not sure about what the student culture is at Yale. I've got mixed responses from alums of other top MBA programs. I have not personally spoken to any Yale SOM alum. Wrt Darden, I've got the same opinion that they are very down to earth and friendly people. The two Darden alums that I interacted with were very friendly people. But its senseless to generalize either category since this is the MOST variable component of any school.
And, lastly, I LOVE the Darden campus! ( I know it should have no bearing on my choice, but its an observation nonetheless! )