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I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship)

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Kellogg (no $$$) vs. Darden (full scholarship)

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I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2012, 17:51
Hey Gmatclubbers,

First off, many thanks to this community for bringing me this far. It has been incredibly humbling to be part of a vibrant, smart, and supportive online community.

I have found myself in a very fortunate dilemma. I was recently admitted to Kellogg with no money and Darden with a full scholarship. For a number of reasons Kellogg was my number 1 choice, but with the full-ride from Darden, I am extremely torn as to what decision to make in this case.

My background - I have been working in the consulting industry for a little over 5 years. Post-MBA, I plan to hopefully remain in the management consulting industry (with a different employer). At the same time, I also plan to explore business development & corporate development job opportunities while at school. In other words, I am not 100% sure where I want to end up post-MBA. I could very well be a career switcher. I am really taking the MBA is an opportunity to explore what I really want to do with my career long-term.

I would love to end up in a big metro-city, which is why Kellogg's location is a big draw for me. Also, I really love Chicago and can really see my self settling there. In terms of teaching styles, I am a fan of the case-method, but I will be perfectly fine at a school with a mix of teaching styles. In terms of fit, I think Kellogg has an edge here. The times I have visited the school, I got a really warm, happy, fun vibe from students. People appeared more fun and outgoing than at Darden. This may have been a reflection of the local of each school.

With all that said, I will really be interested to hear from you guys what school you think I should go with here. Ultimately, I realize the final decision is mine to make, but your inputs will be very helpful in helping me reach a decision. Many thanks!
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Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2012, 13:50
Thanks guys for the votes so far! Keep them coming! More votes = more statistically significant :/

I'd also be interested to hear comments from other gmatclubbers! Many thanks again!
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Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2012, 17:02
If consulting is what you want to do post MBA, full scholarship on your resume will get you interviews with big 3. My vote for Darden(ofcourse, I am slightly biased towards Darden)

But you may also want to choose a school based on the long term benefits that you can get - strength of alumni network in the industry and location you are interested in. Applicants underestimate how tightly coupled are school's location and opportunities that it provides. Except for 2 or 3 schools, opportunities are thinly spread after certain radius from school.
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Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2012, 17:51
Congratulations on getting a full ride to Darden! You're facing a great dilemma. Personally, I think that's an awful lot of "free money" to turn down and would choose to go with the full ride. Unless you believe that a Kellogg degree would cover the costs with a higher salary in the near future/be substantially more in the long term, I think Darden seems the more viable option.

Last edited by cecilpaladin32 on 26 Feb 2012, 18:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2012, 17:58
At the end of the day, it's your choice.

However, given that Darden has offered you a full ride and is also a top notch program, if it was me, I'd go to Charlottesville. One of my college roommates is finishing his 2nd year there and will get a nice job out in the west coast.

Charlottesville is also a very nice college town, where "The Grounds" is literally next to the middle of downtown if this appeals to you. I am from Virginia, but not UVA itself but I know a good number of UVA alums.
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Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2012, 19:41
First of all, congrats on being admitted to two such incredible programs!

Now, based on your post, I'm guessing that your work experience is with a strong but not top-tier consulting firm, and you hope to switch to one of M/B/B post-MBA. If that is your goal, then Kellogg is probably a better option than Darden, even given the full-ride. Kellogg places a huge number of people into M/B/B each year, while significantly fewer come from Darden.

That said, Darden does place people in M/B/B, so if you're a top-performer, you could still get an offer from one of those firms.

I would also argue that the alumni network is stronger at Kellogg. The alumni network is (obviously) a major benefit of getting an MBA. You can think of the value of the alumni network as an annuity that pays dividends over a long period of time as you leverage the network to move forward in your career (whether it is help finding a new job, landing a new account, or whatever).

It will be difficult to do, but you'll need to try to evaluate whether the increased likelihood of landing M/B/B plus the long-term value of the network will compensate for the $100k or whatever you end up paying in tuition and fees.

If I were you, I'd choose Kellogg (that's how I voted), but obviously you'll need to evaluate the pros/cons given your own goals, preferences, etc.

Good luck!
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Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2012, 21:25
Darden. No-brainer.
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Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 01 Mar 2012, 02:36
Thanks guys! This is all very helpful! Very good perspective from all of you. I have a few more weeks to decide so lets keep this active. I have to admit, though it appears that Darden is the clear winner based on the current poll results, I didn't think there would be that many votes for Kellogg. Rather interesting.
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Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2012, 15:53
Although I am a little late on this one, I would have choosen Darden. You could not go wrong with a full scholarship, could you? Anyways well done and good luck with getting your MBA.
Re: I need your inputs: Kellogg vs Darden (full scholarship)   [#permalink] 21 Apr 2012, 15:53
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