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Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) for Marketing

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Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) for Marketing

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Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) for Marketing [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 07:02
Hi Everyone,

I'm fortunate enough to have been offered admission and scholarship money at several of my top choice schools, but now I'm having a hard time figuring out where I should go!

As of right now, it looks like I'd have to pay full tuition at Duke, but I've been offered a half-tuition scholarship at NYU, and a full-tuition scholarship at UNC - Chapel Hill. There's a chance that I might be able to convince Duke to give me some tuition assistance, but I don't think I can count on that.

My area of interest is Marketing, and I'd say that the list of recruiting companies is most impressive at Duke, followed by NYU, then UNC. However, I'm fairly confident that I could get a good job at any of these schools, since quite a few of my "target companies" recruit at each of them.

In terms of culture/fit, I've visited all three schools, and I liked most of the students I met, and feel that I'd fit in fine at any of the three schools. Also, I've lived in the suburbs in New England my whole life, so I'm equally enticed by the prospect of moving to exciting NYC, and the prospect of spending 2 years in a southern town that has much better weather and BBQ.

With no money from anywhere, I think that I'd pick Duke, due to the higher-ranked marketing program, and a cost of living that's much cheaper than NYC. However, the money from NYU essentially cancels-out those cost savings, and the possibility of graduating with almost no debt makes UNC sound like a pretty good option.

Overall, I'm completely stumped, and I'm having a really difficult time deciding on this one.

Does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions, or can you think of any big positives or negatives that I'm overlooking here?

Last edited by Futuremba1 on 28 Feb 2011, 07:28, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 19:40
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Congrats on the acceptances!

First, I would look at the employment statistics of the different schools. Focus on which company recruits at the school, for which function, and how many students get placed there. On campus recruiting makes it a lot easier for you to get your foot in the door, especially if you plan to go into the more competitive fields, such as CPG marketing. I wouldn’t look too much into the money issue, you will be able to make the money back very quickly. You will be able to land a job at all of those schools with similar pay. However, you may not be able to land the same job with the different schools. Again, check the employment stats to see if your dream job/company actively recruits there (not just listed on the stats). There are a few Kenan-Flager and Fuqua couples here, the comment I hear is that every company that recruits at UNC also recruits at Fuqua, but not the other way around. When company make decisions, some will look at the entire applicant pool, not just at the school level. So you'll be competing with every school the company is recruiting at.

Second, I would look at the culture fit. Fuqua and Stern have different culture. Finance focused students act differently from marketing/management focused students. Fuqua is known for the very collaborative team culture. For example, we help each other with interviews even when we are interviewing for the same company. You may also want to find out how helpful are the alums? That’s essential for off campus recruiting, which is a significant part of recruiting (at least at Fuqua). Fuqua have very helpful alums. I would say I get about 90% response rate for informational interview with Fuqua alums. It’s not the case at all schools.

Third, I would consider the location. Do you like big metropolis or quint southern town? If you have a significant other, will s/he be able to find a job? What’s the school’s support like for partners? Location also affects how tight-knit your class will be. Let’s face it, if you are in a small town, you pretty much see each other all the time. In a big city, people will have much more distractions, especially if people all live off on their own and commute to school.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2011, 05:42
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widerangeinput wrote:
My last two cents; I would take NYU without any hesitation, that's the optimum choice among all these- great location, clearly more prestigious than both Duke and UNC- fabulous recruiting (at least as good as Duke & UNC) and offering some money!

Maybe I'm a bit bias, but everyone their own preference on location, some like urban jungles, some like wooded forests, to each his own. On the prestige part, Stern is not better than Fuqua. Fuqua ranks 12 places higher than Stern on BW, and NYU ranks 5 place higher than Fuqua on News. Picking a school based on rankings is like picking a spouse based on what other people thinks. Ultimately, you are the one that has to live/study at the school, each decision is a personal one.

Furthermore, the OP is trying to go into marketing and Fuqua is a clear winner for marketing.


It's not about forests vs. NY city (I meant location as to where you will be exposed to number of great recruiters) or BW vs. US News. It's just Stern vs. Fuqua and I still don't think Fuqua has a clear edge over NYU at anything. (and for this specific case, christ sake!, NYU is offering $!) From where did you all really get this fact that Fuqua is great at marketing? Excuse my ignorance on this but could someone please enlighten me on this one with some facts and figures? (excluding the cockamamie specialization rankings...)

And as far as the rankings are concerned, you are using examples from rankings as to prove that Stern is no better than Fuqua. In another words, you clearly think that prestige comes from rankings... Otherwise, you wouldn't go like this:
"On the prestige part, Stern is not better than Fuqua. Fuqua ranks 12 places higher than Stern on BW, and NYU ranks 5 place higher than Fuqua on News."
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2011, 21:18
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Let me preface my post by saying that school rankings should not always be a key factor in deciding what MBA program you end up at - I am in agreement with that. Choosing the right school is an extremely personal decision, one that is often driven by a number of highly subjective factors. That said, I feel compelled to say that claiming NYU to be a "finance school" is a ridiculously outdated fallacy.

The career placement stats for the 2010 and 2011 (when they go up) will confirm that the second most popular job function companies hire Stern grads for is Marketing. "Finance" comprises a whole bunch of things and considering it to be where "most" Stern MBAs go is just unwise. The same is to be said for assuming that MBAs studying "finance" behave differently than any others. In fact most Stern MBAs don't work in "finance" and we all seem to get along famously well irrespective of what we're studying. Also check out the size of the Stern Marketing department and breadth of classes offered by it - especially if you're interested in Consumer Products (or Entertainment & Media.)

Moreover, the fact that some of the biggest recruiters of MBAs for marketing positions are located in and around New York City: IIRC Colgate (HQ), Unilever (HQ), PepsiCo (HQ), Kraft (Mgmt Ctr), Cadbury (HQ), Danone (HQ), American Express (HQ), Diageo (HQ), Reckitt Benckiser (HQ), AOL Time Warner (HQ) etc. and a whole host of pharma companies confers a definite locational advantage as far as regular opportunities for networking and more importantly ON-campus recruitment go. I won't deny that a lot of these companies will also go recruit at other schools, but it's easier to build relationships with the alumni base and the recruiters at these companies if you are also in New York.

Of course, preferences in culture and location can always mean that someone (particularly a 25+ grad student) who enjoys being in New York and at NYU may not necessarily like Durham and yes, there will be people who want to shun urban tedium and enjoy being in a very pleasant college town. But no business school worth its salt is good at one and only one thing - no matter what departmental rankings and such by USNews might claim. That should be fairly obvious with anything more than cursory research.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) for Marketing [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2011, 09:38
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This is a rather odd discussion developing, simply because it is trying to assess schools on an information set available to us but not available to them.

dalillama makes a strong and correct viewpoint. Schools decide their scholarship pool their way - different scholarships are donated by alumni and groups that place different descriptions on them. Different schools have different applicants. So to read that one school thinks less of a candidate because they did not offer a scholarship is extremely spurious and highly indefensible logic.

I am not 100% sure on how UNC recruits - I know I met some in some top firms in the major industries, but I am not so certain how they fare. There is little difference between NYU and Duke - BUT - all the scholarship may do is cover the difference in rent and beer costs over two years.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you want to do and where. NYU may offer some advantages in that, Duke may offer some advantages. Completely depends on where you want to be headed.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) for Marketing [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2011, 21:07
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As underscore noted, different programs approach scholarship in very different ways. If you go to MIT's LOG program its like getting a substantial scholarship. Kellogg is one of the more generous schools with small to medium amounts (lots alumni specify gifts for scholarships). You also have to factor in a schools endowment, there was a post with endowment totals at some point on gmatclub. I know the top 3 were HBS, Stanford, and surprisingly Kellogg came in at 3rd...though not sure how that has changed with the markets crazy over the last few years (this was after Booth's naming rights too I believe).

Just because schools give money doesn't mean people wont go there...they want to attract the top talent. So UNC is using money to try and sway some people who they realize probably got into Duke to attend. Some schools may give small amounts to sway people over peers and large amounts to snipe talent from higher ranked schools based on the individual.

Opinions on rankings for this thread are funny...how did a bunch of schools not involved in the decision come up. MIT vs Kellogg vs Booth in a discussion about kid deciding between Duke, NYU, UNC for Marketing??? really does that belong? If he got in then yes but since its not on the list focus on the topic.

Of those schools, Duke has the best rep in terms of Marketing...depending on the money it will be a wash living in NYC vs Durham is going to cost you a lot more. I know plenty of people spent their scholarship money anyways and had the same debt they otherwise would have had. If you want the northeast post graduation NYU probably will have plenty of marketing gigs available or at least willing to let your network your way into. NYC is a hub of marketing. I would skip UNC and focus on Duke vs NYU...if you havent visited I suggest you do. You will notice two very different cultures both at school and outside of school. You are going to spend two years there and both will offer you great opportunities afterwards, so look at where you belong not just the post graduation. If you get a job out of Duke, I bet you would be able to get the same or equivalent job coming out of NYU...its not like they will force you to become a banker if you got to NYU.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 07:27
Consider the benefits of being recognized as a fellow at UNC as opposed to being "just another student" at the other schools. The recruiting advantage you'd have may be enough to compensate for the slightly less prestigious brand of the school. I'd reach out to the fellows at UNC that are going into marketing and evaluate the outcomes of their job searches as opposed to the outcomes of the student body at large.

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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 08:17
This is an interesting twist on the "lower ranked w/ $$$ vs higher ranked w/o $$$" question that seems to keep coming up lately.

My personal bias is toward NYU but thats the only school of the 3 that I've visited and i really liked it.

I would think that the cost of living difference between NYU and Duke would only offset about 1/2 of your NYU scholarship (only my impression, haven't lived either place). So between those two it seems like Duke vs NYU w/ 1/4 $$$ which sounds like a draw based on your comments. To me it depends where you want to work after graduation. If NYC then NYU wins, if somewhere further south then Duke wins.

However, if you aren't looking to work in NYC then UNC looks pretty appealing. The majority of people who have actually gone through the MBA process seem to feel that the brand of your MBA is less important than you think going in. (thats not to say that it doesn't matter, just less than we believe when applying.)

My vote would be for NYU if you want to end up in NYC, and UNC if not.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 09:35
As others have indicated there are a few things to consider here that aren't disclosed that may make you better be able to answer this question.

You live in New England now...do you want to return there? If yes than what is most likely to get you there. If you don't care where you end up and just want a good education from a good school than there are questions. Such as, how committed are you to your carreer path that you're confident your opinion wont change? Is it confident enough to take on the debt load from Duke or worth considering the scholarship money from the other schools? As Brain pointed out...being the Big fish in a small pond is almost as good if not better than being the small fish in the big pond. So what are the advantages of the scholarship at UNC? They have a few different ones if you got one of the options with extra perks like the premier fellowship or deans fellowship...how well can you leverage those to help your careers search.

I may not be helping too much here with specific anecdotes but hopefully some inward thinking can help you sort out which option is best for yourself and your own long and short term goals.

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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 09:58
My 2 cents is that I think it should come down between Fuqua and UNC. If you're dead set on doing marketing, and basing your decision on career prospects, a few thousand bucks per yr shouldn't prevent you from going to a top notch marketing program like Fuqua, nor should ~30k per yr, inclusive of cost of living, be forgone to go to maybe a marginally better marketing program in Stern vs. UNC.
I'll disclose that I do have a bias against Stern just from a bad feeling/experiences w/ students and alumni when I was looking into the school. At the same time though, you're not doing finance, and doesn't seem like you're married to going to NYC, and those two are the biggest draws imo for Stern.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 10:07
First of all, congratulations on your impressive accomplishment! Ignoring the fact that I'm going to be going to Duke(!), for the same reason that you are debating (marketing), you could think of the following to make up your mind:
- IMO, location of a top ranked school != location of where you will work. I have seen plenty of Duke grads working in NYC, Silicon Valley, Boston etc. So I think you can safely take that out of the equation.
- Duke Marketing is next only to Kellogg in several rankings. If you are planning to become a product manager / marketing manager, Duke is an excellent choice. Again, I don't know how good UNC / NYU are in comparison. But I do know that several top technology companies (Amazon, Apple etc.) regularly hire their marketing managers from Duke.
- Finally, think about this. If no one else gave you $$, you would have gone to Duke anyway. You should think long-term and see if the higher $ that you end up paying for Duke is worth the opportunity cost (higher caliber contacts / jobs throughout your career). But obviously, short-term wise, if you want to get out of school debt free, UNC is also a very fine institution.

Good luck with your decision!
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2011, 07:05
Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for all of your input!

I don't feel a particular need to return to the Northeast or be in NYC after graduation. My main focus right now is finding the right job at the right company, and I think that I can make a decision about "long-term" location later (e.g. if I find out that I don't really fit well with the city/town where I end up).

The current students at all of the schools that I've visited have seemed very nice and friendly, though I do worry a bit about the lack of "community feeling" at NYU, despite the fact that everyone seems to say it's not a problem.

As of right now, I'm thinking that I'm going to want to work in CPG, and it seems that several of the big companies recruit at all 3 schools (though there are a few that recruit at Duke, but not UNC or NYU).

If a company is recruiting at both / all three schools, and I'm confident that I'll be able to get an interview, I feel like my "chances" of getting the job should be relatively equal, right? I can't imagine that the folks at most companies are really saying, "these two candidates seem to be equals in their accomplishments/resume/etc., but candidate X went to a 'better' school, so we should hire him/her of candidate Y."
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2011, 07:32
Futuremba1 wrote:
Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for all of your input!

I don't feel a particular need to return to the Northeast or be in NYC after graduation. My main focus right now is finding the right job at the right company, and I think that I can make a decision about "long-term" location later (e.g. if I find out that I don't really fit well with the city/town where I end up).

The current students at all of the schools that I've visited have seemed very nice and friendly, though I do worry a bit about the lack of "community feeling" at NYU, despite the fact that everyone seems to say it's not a problem.

As of right now, I'm thinking that I'm going to want to work in CPG, and it seems that several of the big companies recruit at all 3 schools (though there are a few that recruit at Duke, but not UNC or NYU).

If a company is recruiting at both / all three schools, and I'm confident that I'll be able to get an interview, I feel like my "chances" of getting the job should be relatively equal, right? I can't imagine that the folks at most companies are really saying, "these two candidates seem to be equals in their accomplishments/resume/etc., but candidate X went to a 'better' school, so we should hire him/her of candidate Y."


Congrats first of all. All top schools-
If any of your future employers is ever going to make such a comparison ("better" school comparison) if they are not alumns of the respective school, then the chances are NYU is the "better" school in that trio. I don't think any employer will ever be able distinguish Duke from UNC wrt any sort of "better school" norms. If caring about rankings a lot then Duke and UNC are both top20 schools (duke is like 10-15 whereas UNC is sort 15-20 though) whereas NYU is certainly top10.
Regarding pure marketing ratings, all of you guys here are correct I guess- Duke is a "better" school than UNC in marketing. Stats say that, experts say that, alumns say that...
I have had my own analysis of employment stats. comparing these two in inv. man/i-banking and although saw that UNC seemed to have a more solid (statistical and firm-wise) presence then Duke in i-banking (used 2008,2009 and 2010 stats) also realized that Duke clearly seems to have an edge over UNC in marketing and consulting.
Yet, Duke has been sending (23%, 22% and 29%) of it's '08, '09 and '10 classes into marketing, respectively. Where as the stats for UNC are like (19%, 19% and 18%)- also keep in mind that UNC's class size (thus # of people seeking employment) is around 60% of Duke's. Comparing the roles, titles and the recruiters is not really this easy- maybe have a look at the salary averages (they should be +/- 3K). other than that it's all gossips- everyone who recruits at UNC also do at Duke but not the other way around etc. etc. - I strongly urge you not to give attention to these sort of statements with no solid proof what so ever-

I'm sure that you'll be more than fine with your job search in any of those (top20!) schools- just wanted to share my 2c. best-
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2011, 07:47
Duke an NYU are equal in terms of reputation. The only difference is for finance recruiting, where NYU has the edge. Nobody in the real world cares whether a school has been ranked 9th or 12th for the past 3-4 years, all that matters is general reputation and both Duke and NYU are on par with the lower half of the top 15. Don't count on your fellowship from UNC winning you interviews. In my experience, the real career benefit is really low, even nonexistent. Employers know that fellowships are given for all kinds of reasons, which might not coincide with their criteria of what they look for in a candidate. For example, one might have been given a fellowship for the sake of diversity or because someone in the adcom office decided that they needed a carpenter from Zimbabwe to contribute with their unique viewpoint. They care what you can do in practice, which a fellowship does not show, so don't make the supposed career advantage of that in your resume sway your decision - it doesn't exist. Consider the fellowship only with regard to the financial burden that it can alleviate for you.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2011, 09:55
To me it sounds like you're talking the difference between Duke or NYU. Sounds to me that without the scholarship from NYU you'd be going to Duke. So figure out how much Duke needs to give you to say yes on the spot and then call Duke and explain your situation that you really want to go to Duke but are hesitant due to other scholarship offers you've received. If they ask which ones, be honest and tell them. Ask if there is anything they can do to make the decision easier for you, you never know what might happen. If they do come back to you with the number(or close to it) that you already decided was your number to say yes on the spot to Duke than your decision is made.

All that being said it sounds like the financial concern while important isn't a decision breaker for you. For that reason, it sounds to me like you've already pretty much made up your mind on Duke anyway, since you like the school and they're one of the best for what you want to go to school for.

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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2011, 11:33
Based on your initial post, you seem to think that the money from NYU would basically cancel out the cost of living in NYC. All else being equal between the two schools, you would choose Duke. To me, that would seem to eliminate NYU.

The question then is, Is the money from UNC enough to make you want to go there? To answer that question I would figure out the amount of student loan debt you would have after graduating from Duke, calculate the monthly payment you'd have to make, and ask yourself if it is worth making that payment in order to go to Duke over UNC.

Arguably, you have probably already decided that the post-MBA student loan debt is worthwhile in exchange for the skills and leadership development, career boost and networking opportunities the MBA offers. So in that sense, you could make a case for Duke because you've already prepared to take on this financial burden.

Another thing to think about is that the people you go to school with will be part of your network for life. Setting aside the money, which group of students do you want to spend all of your time with for the next two years? With whom do you want to make lifelong connections? I would highly recommend visiting both Duke and UNC and talking to as many current and prospective students between now and your decision time as possible in order to answer these questions. Best of luck with your decision!
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2011, 12:00
runnergirl wrote:
Based on your initial post, you seem to think that the money from NYU would basically cancel out the cost of living in NYC. All else being equal between the two schools, you would choose Duke. To me, that would seem to eliminate NYU.

The question then is, Is the money from UNC enough to make you want to go there? To answer that question I would figure out the amount of student loan debt you would have after graduating from Duke, calculate the monthly payment you'd have to make, and ask yourself if it is worth making that payment in order to go to Duke over UNC.

Arguably, you have probably already decided that the post-MBA student loan debt is worthwhile in exchange for the skills and leadership development, career boost and networking opportunities the MBA offers. So in that sense, you could make a case for Duke because you've already prepared to take on this financial burden.

Another thing to think about is that the people you go to school with will be part of your network for life. Setting aside the money, which group of students do you want to spend all of your time with for the next two years? With whom do you want to make lifelong connections? I would highly recommend visiting both Duke and UNC and talking to as many current and prospective students between now and your decision time as possible in order to answer these questions. Best of luck with your decision!



yet another good point: "comparing the people with whom you're going to be connected throughout your life". But seriously, what would one expect to see/analyse comparing UNC and Duke with respect to this? You will meet with interesting, dedicated, hardworking people (and also goalless, confused guys) at both of the schools... Neither of them is Harvard, or Stanford for that matter, so the set of people that you're going to meet is not going to vary a lot at any of those schools...
My last two cents; I would take NYU without any hesitation, that's the optimum choice among all these- great location, clearly more prestigious than both Duke and UNC- fabulous recruiting (at least as good as Duke & UNC) and offering some money!
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2011, 05:25
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widerangeinput wrote:
My last two cents; I would take NYU without any hesitation, that's the optimum choice among all these- great location, clearly more prestigious than both Duke and UNC- fabulous recruiting (at least as good as Duke & UNC) and offering some money!

Maybe I'm a bit bias, but everyone their own preference on location, some like urban jungles, some like wooded forests, to each his own. On the prestige part, Stern is not better than Fuqua. Fuqua ranks 12 places higher than Stern on BW, and NYU ranks 5 place higher than Fuqua on News. Picking a school based on rankings is like picking a spouse based on what other people thinks. Ultimately, you are the one that has to live/study at the school, each decision is a personal one.

Furthermore, the OP is trying to go into marketing and Fuqua is a clear winner for marketing.
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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2011, 20:29
I've visited both Duke and UNC, and I liked the campuses/students/faculty. Right now, I am actually thinking about going to the admitted students weekends for both, but that could prove to be quite expensive.

Do people feel like ASW events really reveal a lot about a school, or will they not give me a lot more information and 'feel' than I already have from the interviews and class visits?

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Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$) [#permalink] New post 28 Feb 2011, 07:27
Edit - I just figured out how to add a poll to the thread.
Re: Duke vs. NYU ($$) vs. UNC - Chapel Hill ($$$)   [#permalink] 28 Feb 2011, 07:27
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