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Fuqua vs Darden - Looking for Current Perspectives

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Fuqua vs Darden - Looking for Current Perspectives [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2014, 08:21
So completely beyond torn here. Have to make a decision by the end of the week:

No scholarship money at either.

Post-MBA goal: MBB consulting (probably in a lower demand office like Dallas or Houston), but would also consider bulge bracket banking or general management roles as MBB is crazy competitive especially out of these "next" tier schools.

My Pro (and Kind of Con) List for each:

Fuqua:

- Duke's overall university-wide brand is better than UVA's
- For the most part, Fuqua is ranked and has been historically ranked higher than Darden
- Classes are a mix of teaching style so there's more diversified risk in terms of making sure I'm not missing key stuff
- International student body and international feel of the program - love this - in comparison Darden just feels like an "America **** Yeah" program...yes I know there are lots of internationals, but seems much less cultured
- Bigger city with a legit airport

Darden
- I felt a much stronger sense of school community here. Felt a lot like Tuck which I loved, but sadly didn't get
- Case method is just more fun in general - I don't know that it is the best way for me to learn and be prepped with skills for interviews, but I won't go into the classroom ever thinking this is going to be awful. Some stuff may be more boring, but I'm always guaranteed to be involved in a story
- Loved my experience at Darden Days more that Blue Devil Weekend -just seemed way more community driven
- Charlottesville is sooooo much nicer/better than Durham in my opinion

All in all, I just left feeling like Duke was the academic experience choice and Darden was a social/community experience choice for me. Choosing Duke would be for brand, academics, and international opps/exposure while choosing Darden would be for a strong sense of community and having a blast.

Probably missed a lot here, but would really love some thoughts. No idea how to put in one of those polls.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Fuqua vs Darden - Looking for Current Perspectives [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2014, 11:04
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I will preface my response by saying I am admittedly biased as I will be attending Darden this upcoming year, and, in an effort to be transparent I was waitlisted at Fuqua. However, I removed myself from the Fuqua waitlist as I preferred Darden to Fuqua throughout the application process.

Both schools are great, and I think that if you're recruiting for MBB both will give you the same opportunities (which, as you pointed out, potentially aren't the same as some higher ranked schools). In my research it seemed that Darden was a bit stronger in finance, whereas Fuqua was a bit stronger for Tech/Healthcare, but, still, they're pretty much the same.

At the end of the day, I think that if choosing between these schools it really does come down to where you think you'll enjoy yourself more, because it seems unlikely that either school would tip the scale in terms of recruiting. The only comments I would make is that I don't think the academic experience is necessarily stronger at Fuqua. I applied to Darden knowing full well that it would likely be the most rigorous academic program I applied to, and I was OK with that. I obviously cannot speak intimately to the academics at either school, as I have not attended either at this point, but from what I've heard the Darden program will definitely be challenging, but it places a greater emphasis on academics than do most of the other schools in the Top 15.

The other thing I'd say is a comment about the Duke brand. I agree that Duke has a stronger brand than UVA in general, but I'm not sure Fuqua is a notably stronger brand than say Darden. I've noticed that Fuqua gets a ton of love on gmatclub and other internet forums; generally more so than its peers such as Darden/Ross/Yale/Stern etc. Fuqua is an awesome program, and it deserves all that praise and support it gets from its alumni/prospective students. However I have an opinion as to why Fuqua gets such praise. One, certain people really latch on to the Team Fuqua ideal because it rings true to them, and they praise the school as a result (whereas the other schools mentioned may not have such strong calling cards). And, as you noted, Fuqua is a more international school than many of its competitors, and these forums may have a disproportionately high number of international students to which Fuqua really appeals. But, at the end of the day, the same recruiters generally go to both schools, so I'd be hesitant saying the Fuqua brand is materially stronger than the Darden brand, though I could be wrong on that.

That being said, I do think that you should pick wherever you heart tells you you'll have a better two years, as that seems like the biggest difference-maker at this point.
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Re: Fuqua vs Darden - Looking for Current Perspectives [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2014, 17:33
Re: Fuqua vs Darden - Looking for Current Perspectives   [#permalink] 12 Jul 2014, 17:33
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