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Decision time!

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Decision time! [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2011, 23:40
Hi Paul,

I am in a bit of a vex trying to decide which MBA program to pursue.

I have been accepted into Booth (with $$), IE (with $$) and IESE (Shortlisted for a scholarship but won't find out until June). I am currently trying to decided where I should go and would love any opinions about the quality of the MBA programs and their ability to open doors for me upon graduation.

My profile is as follows:

I am an Australian Environmental Engineer working on natural resource development projects for 4 years (almost 5 at Matriculation). I was working for a top mining company for 2 years and now work in a team leader role for a major, World Bank funded, hydro-electric project in Laos. I have worked in natural resource development on projects on 4 continents.

I want to pursue an MBA to develop my business evaluation skills to a level where I can work as an analyst in PE, VC or some other branch of finance that assesses the financial, social and environmental viability of natural resource development projects. Ideally, I want to work back in Australia but would consider Asia, Latin America or Africa following the MBA.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Nagano
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Re: Decision time! [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2011, 00:37
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Nagano,

Thanks for reaching out and seeking my opinion on this. Congrats on those options! If you wanted to work in Europe I'd tell you to lean towards one of the programs there, but given that all of your continents of preference are elsewhere, I have to go with Booth here. Your training in finance will be second to none, it's a monster brand in the U.S. and still plenty strong globally, and my opinion is that no other b-school promotes personal growth and transformation more than Chicago. If you want to really max out your MBA experience, that's where I would go. It doesn't hurt that you got nice $$ to attend! If you get a monster scholarship from one of the other programs later this summer, you can always eat the deposit at Booth and go there instead.

Hope that helps!

Respectfully,

Paul Lanzillotti
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Re: Decision time! [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 23:35
Thanks for your time Paul.

I have basically whittled the decision down to IESE and Booth and have the following observations, do you think that they are fair?

1. They are both very well regarded MBA programs. Chicago probably has the edge in this regard, but as I cannot see myself working in the USA long Term this advantage is somewhat diminished. Although Booth is probably slightly better known in Australasia and Asia
2. IESE is held in very high regard in both Europe and in Latin America (The ability to be fluent in Spanish by the end is also a plus).
3. Life style-hands down to Barcelona
4. Academic Quality – From what I can tell Booth has a superior faculty
5. IESE has a very diverse student body (65 odd countries and only 15-20% Spanish) and smaller class size (290 ppl) making it more intimate. Chicago is 70% American and a class size of about 1000.
6. $40,000 scholarship @ Chicago isn’t a game changer-but it is nice to have and gives me a better financial buffer (Still have a decent chance of landing a scholarship for IESE)
7. IESE is more focused on the People approach whereas Chicago on quantitative approach. IESE better for general management – Chicago better for finance.
8. IESE has a more developed “Ethical management approach”

Nagano
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Re: Decision time! [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2011, 22:22
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Items 5, 7, and 8 have some issues. (Oh, and on Item 3, Barcelona is a great city, but Chicago might be the greatest American city. You won't get great weather, but Chicago is world class. I think that's more of a draw, but to each his own.)

For Item 5, Chicago has 1,000 students total over two classes.

For Item 7, Chicago is very people focused. It's a school that rewards risks and that really challenges students. It demands you get involved. The quant jock/egghead reputation is undeserved. But it's true that Booth is not as touchy-feely as some other MBA programs. All b-schools are strong in general management, as that is the whole point of the degree, so never choose a school based on which one is "strong in general management."

For Item 8, I doubt that is true, but I am of the opinion that it's not a b-school's job to make people ethical, but rather to admit people who are ethical. It's too late in the game to "teach" someone ethics. You either have moral character or you don't. No matter where you go, I doubt you will seek or find much ethical training, nor (in my opinion) should you. This is a degree that puts the finishing touches on professionals and I believe you should go to the place where that will happen.

Anyway, there's nothing I can think of that would ever make me put IESE ahead of Booth except for "desire to work in Spain/Europe after graduation."

Cheers,
PL
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Re: Decision time! [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2011, 17:18
Thanks for your frank assessment Paul. It was very helpful.

I am currently leaning towards Chicago and will attend the admitted weekend in a few days to confirm this decision.

Best regards,

Nagano
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