Joined: 11 Jan 2012
GMAT 1: 730 Q V0
, given: 0
Re: Fuqua vs Darden - Looking for Current Perspectives [#permalink]
19 Jun 2014, 12:04
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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.