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I'm worried that I'm not applying to strong enough schools

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I'm worried that I'm not applying to strong enough schools [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2013, 06:27
After speaking with my dad and I friend of his, both of whom I would consider pretty high up in the business world, I'm starting to second-guess my MBA application choices.

Right now, I am planning on applying to Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, and Sloan in round 1 of this year.

Basically, they are saying that I am making a mistake not applying to Stanford and Booth, and the other 3 to which I'm applying are not in the same league as H/W. I do not want to live on the West Coast, be an entrepreneur, or work for a tech firm, hence why I had discarded Stanford.

Careerwise, I want to go into corporate strategy at a large financial services company (JPM Chase, Citigroup, Capital One, Amex, etc.)

Background:
780 GMAT
Currently 2 years of consulting at small boutique place focusing on investment banks (3 upon matric)
Currently coach a youth sports team of underpriveleged kids and lead a group of SAT tutors for underpriveleged kids (within a bigger organization, didn't found group or anything)
3.6-3.7 GPA from H/Y/P/S undergrad
Varsity athlete, OK other extra currics but nothing special
White Male

Do you agree with their assessment? I feel like if I just apply to H/S/W/B, my application is not strong enough to guarantee I will get into at least one of them, so I need to apply to some lower-ranked schools (but I think that "safeties" don't make sense to apply to for MBAs). Of the other 3 on my list, Kellogg aligns well with my general management/strategy interests, Columbia's location is a big boon, and Sloan I have less time justifying but think I have a very good chance of getting in (dad is an alum and practically half my family across several has been to MIT undergrad) and think it is still very much worth attending and seems to be on the rise outside of finance and entrepreneurship.

I would appreciate any insight someone can give!
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Re: I'm worried that I'm not applying to strong enough schools [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2013, 09:16
If you don't want to go to Stanford, then it doesn't make any sense to apply. What if you applied to H / W / B for round one and pending those results then apply to Columbia, Kellogg, and Sloan in round two? That way you satisfy your dad and friend as well as apply to the schools you want to.
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Re: I'm worried that I'm not applying to strong enough schools [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2013, 13:54
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I agree with the previous poster - if you don't want to go there, don't apply. I know that sounds simple but that's because it is. There is far more to school selection than just their ranks.

With your stats, you should have a decent shot at multiple programs in the top 10. You're a little light on the professional experience side as well as extracurriculars so I don't want to mislead you there. Don't get me wrong, they aren't bad - just not exceptional. And for the top 3, they generally look for exceptional.

However, with your GMAT - jeez! Apply! Congratulations on absolutely crushing it!

I think for the purposes of this post let's bifurcate between "lower ranked" and "safeties". The range of schools that would qualify as your "safeties" aren't true safeties. They are merely of a slightly lower rank. But I think you could easily diversify your school selection to mitigate risk and still stay in the top 10. If you wanted to add ONE more in the double digits, I would recommend Darden. They are really strong in finance and their case method would be helpful in giving you the foundation for a corporate strategy position.

This is your decision - it's a personal one. You're already applying to the top ranked programs in the world, if you don't want to apply to a particular one, don't. Your subject for this post leads me to believe you think Columbia is world's beneath H/S/W. It isn't. If you look at the spread in points assigned for rankings, the top 10 programs generally vary by fewer points than you think.

As a side note - while you can wait to R2 to apply to some schools based on how you do in R1, understand that your R2 applications will have to begin the moment you hit "submit" on R1 apps. You will have to work on them as if you're still planning on applying. If you get acceptances before, you can always pull the plug. Just something to note.

I hope that helps - you have a great list of schools to choose from and you will be incredibly happy and successful wherever you go. Just make sure it's somewhere you WANT to go :)

Good luck mate,

Bhavik
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Re: I'm worried that I'm not applying to strong enough schools   [#permalink] 25 Aug 2013, 13:54
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I'm worried that I'm not applying to strong enough schools

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