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How to narrow it down to 4 schools

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How to narrow it down to 4 schools [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2013, 05:19
Good Morning All,

To begin, this site and its many forums have been incredibly helpful. So thanks to all that participate and make this site what it is.

I am looking to apply (round 1 and 2) to 4 schools max, but am having problems getting my list down to just 4. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Below are the 4 schools and some background data on me.

Academics: Graduated with a 3.1 from one of the top public universities with a degree in Public Policy. I took the GMAT without much prep and studying and got a 670. I've focused my studying and am currently scoring in the 710 region on practice tests
Work Experience: 2.5 years at Huron Consulting followed by a transition to Deloitte Consulting with a bump in role and responsibility. I've focused my work over the past 4 years on Healthcare Revenue Cycle Operational transformations. So there is a bit of strategy with plenty of analytics and operations in my experience. Consistently seen as a high performer. Internal leadership roles with many different groups.
Goals: I will be applying to the Deloitte grad support program (GSAP) so I know that no matter what I have a great job available to me once I graduate. I will also be able to payoff my loans within two years if I go back to Deloitte. This relief from some major long term financial pressures are nice, though it leaves me creating thinking and weighing so many other options and aspects of the MBA. Overall, I am hoping for opportunities to explore other areas of business outside of healthcare. Definitely looking for career or industry switches. Areas of interest and partial experience include Arts, Entertainment Management, Entrepreneurship, and Consumer Goods. Most of all, I am looking for a school that offers a great culture and community of learning and development. All the schools love to write about "getting out of the classroom" and "real life experiences". Who is faking it though? I am a much better hands-on, experiential learner. I taught myself excel and access through trial and error, and google. Location is not important to me.
Schools: For the Deloitte program, I am required to attend a Top 20 school. While there are some really great programs outside of the top 20 that foster incredible communities and experiential learning, my list is focused on the Top 20 (Free education can not be beat). List is in order of current preference. I am in the middle of school visits. These will obviously offer me a lot of insight, but figured it best to talk to others in my position.
- UVA (Darden)
- UCLA (Anderson)
- NYU (Stern)
- Stanford Graduate Business School
- Yale School of Management
- Berkeley (Haas)
- Columbia Business School
- Northwestern (Kellogg)
- Michigan (Ross)
Questions: Is this well balanced? Does this fit my goals? Am I ignoring any schools that fit my goals and profile?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
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Re: How to narrow it down to 4 schools [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2013, 05:34
some random thoughts.
Stanford would be a stretch (it is for almost all), better invest your time elsewhere with such a short list.
I see great fit in terms of interest and goals to UCLA. Your profile would be competitive there.
Yale is a good option and a realistic one.
I'd through in Haas (go bears!) and Kellogg. Both would be harder.

Good luck!
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Re: How to narrow it down to 4 schools [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2013, 10:10
If you're looking to eventually move into arts/entertainment, you want to focus on staying in the NY or LA area (even if you're going back to Deloitte immediately post-MBA).

Best schools to look at for what you want to do are: Columbia, NYU, UCLA. For marketing and general management, look at Kellogg and/or Ross (although both schools don't really have the kind of network that the other NY/LA based schools have when it comes to arts and entertainment).

Haas and Stanford are more tech oriented (and also very hard to get into). Stanford in particular is a long shot for you given your background.

Yale is a solid school although the student body tends to be more focused on either non-profit/social enterprise or finance compared to other schools on your list.

Not sure why Darden is on your list given your goals. It's a solid general management school with plenty of folks going into consulting post-MBA, although when I think "arts, entertainment, consumer products, entrepreneurship" - Darden isn't really the school that comes to mind. Again doesn't mean you can't go into those fields post-MBA, but there's plenty of schools on your list already that are a better fit for you given your goals.
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Re: How to narrow it down to 4 schools [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2013, 14:26
Cornell and Ross supposedly place a huge premium on hands on work, so these schools might appeal to you AND they're a bit less competitive than some other schools. Darden should NOT be on your list as they are a school that fundamentally prizes the case method above everything else (I'd be happy to be corrected on this one though).

I think a visit to the campus would really help - or at least some summer socials if you can. I got such a strong sense for the schools when I made my visits, and it ended up really changing the pecking order.

Based on your interests and your overall profile I'd suggest these four:
1) UCLA
2) Cornell
3) Ross
4) NYU

Obviously I'm partial to Yale and think it's a great community, but I'm not sure it has much of a focus in arts and entertainment. You didn't mention Duke or Tuck, but they've got a great vibe, so they may be worth looking at. Not sure about industry relevance though!
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Re: How to narrow it down to 4 schools [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2013, 13:23
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Hi there,

I think there are a lot of great school options floating around on this thread. Here are a couple of additional thoughts. While you have a below average GMAT and GPA for most of the top programs, your application with the backing of Deloitte will help. The firm's applicants, on average, exceed national acceptance averages so that will help you.

Overall, I think you should target:

1) Columbia
2) NYU
3) UCLA
4) Cornell

I don't think you're going to be very competitive at Kellogg given how that school manages relationships with their feeder firms. The competition there will be rather stiff. I think Columbia and NYU are both realistic stretches for you and UCLA is fairly aligned. Cornell would be a great safety.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, just ask!

Bhavik
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Re: How to narrow it down to 4 schools [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2013, 17:59
I'm obviously biased, but you should check out Sloan, too. It features a smaller class size, is strong in entrepreneurship (a stated interest of yours), and has lots of action-learning opportunities. Plus I personally know a few Deloitte GSAPers in my class.
Re: How to narrow it down to 4 schools   [#permalink] 13 Jul 2013, 17:59
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