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Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall

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Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2014, 14:52
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Didn't think I would have a choice to make this late in the game, but I've been admitted from the wait list at Marshall. After I was denied at Ross, Marshall became my number one choice. McDonough has the edge rankings wise and I feel that Georgetown has the better "name" but USC isn't far behind in both rankings and reputation. I'm interested in finance, specifically investment banking, which is going to be difficult at either school but I think IB would be more attainable at McDonough. Still, I was born and raised in the northeast and have never spent any significant time on the west coast. Marshall gives me that opportunity. Didn't receive any scholarships from either, so cost isn't factoring into my decision. Unfortunately, I didn't really talk to any students at either school aside from my on campus interview. The facilities were much nicer at McDonough and Georgetown and the surrounding neighborhoods are fantastic. USC is in south LA, which isn't the greatest part of town. As far as where I want to end up, I always envisioned being in the New York area (I grew up just outside NYC), so I think McDonough has the edge there, but LA would be awesome as well. These are some of my early thoughts, I'd appreciate hearing others.
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2014, 12:22
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I think it depends on what your priorities are, and what you value more: being able to get the CA experience, or getting the job in the East coast after school ends? If you value being able to live in CA for 2 years (and perhaps beyond, and are willing to consider it), USC might be the better choice. But if settling into the East Coast afterward is a higher priority, Georgetown would be a better fit.

I think both schools are great- my opinion would be both are just about equal in "prestige" and are great in their respective locations. As a Californian myself, who wants to remain on the West Coast afterward, I would go with Marshall if faced with a decision between these two, but it really depends on your situation.
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2014, 19:22
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I'm in a similar situation. Accepted off the waitlist from both schools but going to Georgetown. I am not a big fan of giving advice (I'm probably wrong half the time anyway), but here's my thought process.

I've already lived in CA. AMAZING place. Women are beautiful, weather is great, dress code is casual. No better place to live (in the U.S.) in terms of overall lifestyle. There are some downsides, of course. It's ridiculously expensive, they tax the shit out of you if you make any money, and you have to drive everywhere and sit in LA traffic. LA is probably the weirdest "big" city in the way it's so spread out. Some love that aspect, others hate it. Washington, D.C. is nearly the opposite. Women are not beautiful (okay some of the international women are), the weather sucks, and the dress code is more formal. You can pretty much get around anywhere in the city with the metro or bus systems.

Marshall is a fantastic school to go to if you plan to live in LA or SF (guess you can throw in SD too) after graduation. Georgetown is similar for the mid-Atlantic region and NYC. Marshall has the advantage in Asia, Georgetown in Western Europe. Beyond those regions for each school, you have to do the work.

Here's what did it for me. Initially, I was all in for Marshall and living in CA again. But, the admissions team really irked me throughout the entire application process. First of all, the way they schedule interviews (you sending them an email with available times) was the oddest thing I'd ever seen. After my first time didn't work, I had to follow up with another time before finally accepting a time slot. All 4 of the other schools I applied to had a very good online system for which I could just select an available time and call it a day.

Second, I heard nothing from Marshall from December until the day I was accepted off the waitlist. Georgetown updated me at every round's decision date, which was much appreciated. These are obviously very MINOR issues, but when you combine them with Georgetown's top notch facilities, higher rankings, an ambitious dean from Harvard who is putting it all on the line, and a very similar international trip component, why not go to the higher ranked school?

You only have one chance to get your MBA. If you want to work in CA, you can find a way. Will it be easy at Georgetown? Nope. But we're all smart people here.
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2014, 04:54
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If California is at all on your mind, you can't beat USC. I had a similar decision with several other tempting offers but admit weekend really sealed the deal. I'm actually a bigger fan of being downtown LA adjacent than in Georgetown as far as being in an area with diversity in a number of regards. It's pretty astounding what USC has done for the Exposition Park area and its actually one of the reasons I prefer SC to GT.

That said, they are both great schools and if we're talking facilities, Georgetown blew every school I was accepted to out of the water in this regard.

Ultimately it was the USC experience and network that sold me on Marshall. I agree that admissions could use some work (and possibly had some shifts occurs internally this year), but I know that my experience as a student is what I'm mainly using to make my decision. Ideally I would like to be in NYC or California in which case SC dominates the California scene and Georgetown does ok in NYC. When you bring about the prestige game on the East Coast most people think of GT as a bit of an up an comer and not an established name. USC hasn't been doing too hot as of lately but the success and extent of their alumni nearly eliminates this recent (and I'm confident temporary) lapse in ranking.

As was mentioned earlier on this thread, I would think of them as peer schools.

You have great options and getting off any waitlist is reason to celebrate. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, I went to the admit weekends for both schools. Overall I felt the SC incoming class felt a little more put together and that the university wide resources made Marshall the winner for me.
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Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2014, 07:29
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christinemmx86 wrote:
most people think of GT as a bit of an up an comer. USC hasn't been doing too hot as of lately.


That should be enough right there for you to make your decision (unless you're dead set on CA). In life, we are ALL driven by perception. USC's perception over the last couple of years has been mixed at best and right now they are #27, fighting to stay in the top 30. Georgetown on the other hand? Nothing but positive. Read news articles about both schools' programs and you'll see the difference. For example, take a look at the comments in this latest Poets and Quants article: http://poetsandquants.com/2014/06/04/ap ... s-schools/. Half the comments section is about Georgetown. It's pretty clear that Georgetown, currently ranked at #23, is trending up with eyes on a top 20 ranking in the near future. Can USC leapfrog them? Sure, but I've seen nothing yet to suggest they will. Maybe it's all marketing. If so, Georgetown is doing a damn good job at it and we can all learn from that. Best of luck I'm out!
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2014, 09:19
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brentl23 wrote:
christinemmx86 wrote:
most people think of GT as a bit of an up an comer. USC hasn't been doing too hot as of lately.


That should be enough right there for you to make your decision (unless you're dead set on CA). In life, we are ALL driven by perception. USC's perception over the last couple of years has been mixed at best and right now they are #27, fighting to stay in the top 30. Georgetown on the other hand? Nothing but positive. Read news articles about both schools' programs and you'll see the difference. For example, take a look at the comments in this latest Poets and Quants article: http://poetsandquants.com/2014/06/04/ap ... s-schools/. Half the comments section is about Georgetown. It's pretty clear that Georgetown, currently ranked at #23, is trending up with eyes on a top 20 ranking in the near future. Can USC leapfrog them? Sure, but I've seen nothing yet to suggest they will. Maybe it's all marketing. If so, Georgetown is doing a damn good job at it and we can all learn from that. Best of luck I'm out!


I certainly won't discount the reality of what I said and you pointed out :wink:

I will add that after visiting admit events at both schools I got the distinct sense that Marshall had a sound plan of rebounding. Ultimately it was their employment statistics that brought them down. It stems from a number of things: 1. heavy entertainment placement (they don't hire on a rankings friendly schedule) 2. a transition in their career office (new dean from NYU Stern) 3. students desire to remain in California (rankings show the number of employed students, not the # of offers they had. tabling an offer and waiting equates to unemployed).

In rankings, Marshall has a higher peer assessment score (the score given to schools by deans of other business schools) reflecting a slight advantage in regards to the perceived prestige and strength of USC in the eyes of the business school community. Let's say USC returns to its typical employment numbers and then it does indeed leapfrog Georgetown. Not by a large margin though.

I share this only because I wouldn't have considered Marshall until I did the research and looked deeply into the program. Georgetown has a lot going for it and I wouldn't have applied there had I not been considering them. You can't lose with either but I thought I'd share my story from my perspective.

Best of luck!
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Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2014, 09:52
@christinemmx86: All valid points. If he really wants to go the IB route, though, he almost has to choose Georgetown. It would be like me saying I want to work in entertainment for NBC, but then choosing Georgetown over USC. That wouldn't make sense!

By the way, I highly respect you for choosing USC over UCLA as not many people would turn down a top 15 school for USC. That takes some serious guts! I looked into UCLA as well and found its program to be less than exciting (I don't think they even have a mandatory international component/trip like many of the other top business schools). So, major props for doing that!

California is still the place to be, but just keep in mind the tax rate for all those $100,000 salaries and any debt you might be accumulating. Does the lifestyle make up for it? Quite possibly. I might end up back out there but with a lighter wallet for sure :)
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2014, 18:28
Thanks for the input. Both of you are making very valid points, which makes this a difficult choice for me.
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2014, 07:20
@Brentl23 I can't speak enough to how much I appreciate you. It's hard finding people that aren't ranking obsessed or die hard/do or die fans of their schools on some of these posts. I'm sad we won't be classmates but pleased to think it very well almost may have happened.

That's what I will say is interesting about pursuing a program outside the Top 10 (and also the Top 20 that eternally think they belong in the Top 10). You find people who are often humbled to be in a respected program without the ego that comes from particular names/brands. I went to a "prestigious" university for undergrad and was over the explicit and implicit superiority exuded by some (not all!) of my classmates.

Admit days were very interesting experiences. You saw first hand what schools thought of themselves and in some ways what it then expected its students to think of themselves. That's when I parted ways with UCLA and abruptly so. I thought it was ironic how Haas was the total opposite and sold themselves on genuineness. It was a hard decision between Haas and Marshall for me and understandably a tough one for DoggDetroit.

I think Georgetown is very humble and well deserving of their rise. It was a pleasant admit weekend experience for me. I fell for Marshall but can absolutely relate to someone feeling the same way about Georgetown. Reach out the best you can about IB as it is indeed a tricky field outside of the elite brand bubble.

You have a lot to be proud of with these two options ahead of you. Let us know how it goes and best of luck at GT, Brent. Let me know when you're back in Cali ;)
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2014, 07:42
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Both schools have similarly strong regional networks, and the general perception is that they are on par with one another. I think it really comes down to location and where you want to be post-MBA. Obviously there are GT alumni on the west coast and USC alumni on the east coast, but it's just easier to network closer to your school where there is greater representation.
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Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2014, 08:54
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christinemmx86 wrote:
I thought it was ironic how Haas was the total opposite and sold themselves on genuineness.


You got accepted to Haas as well? Well damn girl! :) They admit so few people. I don't find it ironic at all...just look at where Haas is located - free spirits galore haha But, I've heard a lot about the great culture that Haas has up there...only positive things. Application questions are a bit weird, but hey so is the school haha.

At least 90% of the people I've met during the application process simply go to the highest ranked school. I can only imagine what it's like when they arrive there ("I'm the shit now!"). So, I always like to give praise to those who can see beyond the rankings. You'll be successful no matter where you end up - that's clear. I actually know several people who went to a top 10 school, got a great job afterwards, and then were effectively "fired" because they weren't getting the job done anymore. Funny how no business school mentions these stories, huh? Your school will only take you so far...

Cheers to those of us who don't take ourselves too seriously! :)

Last edited by brentl23 on 03 Jul 2014, 21:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 03 Jul 2014, 13:13
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It was a tough choice for me to make, but I have decided to stick with Georgetown. LA/California will have to wait...
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Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall [#permalink] New post 03 Jul 2014, 21:09
Excellent decision!
Re: Georgetown McDonough vs. USC Marshall   [#permalink] 03 Jul 2014, 21:09
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