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In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated!

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In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 06:22
So I am sure a couple of you guys would have seen my previous polls on which B-school to attend. In short I had admits to Duke, Darden, Ross & Cornell. Duke (~30% scholarship) and Darden (50% scholarship). Due to the case study method which I felt I would benefit a lot from, as well as the excellent teaching faculty, I chose Darden.

Last week, however I told my senior managers (MBA holders) about my MBA and they (very)strongly felt Duke has a much higher brand perception than Darden and that brand matters the most for MBA.

Now, I have talked to a lot of people and GMATClubbers too, but I felt Darden was actually a better b-school than Duke, from a learning experience and I have also already placed my deposit at Darden.

I am second guessing my actions now and thoroughly confused.I also don't want to regret going to Darden 5 years down the road. If an experienced MBA can shed some light into my dilemma, I would really appreciate it.

My post MBA goal is to break into strategy consulting at the Big3 or LDP programmes.

Many thanks in advance!
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 07:06
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ss87 wrote:

Last week, however I told my senior managers (MBA holders) about my MBA and they (very)strongly felt Duke has a much higher brand perception than Darden and that brand matters the most for MBA.



I'm sorry that I'm not the experienced MBA you're looking for, but this is the kind of crap that pisses me off. Don't be swayed by this type of noise (just curious, where did your senior managers get their MBAs?), because the fact remains that Darden and Duke are peer schools. Some might regard Duke to be (a little) better, but to say it has a "much higher brand perception" is total garbage. Unless of course you were responsible for the BW rankings, which I really don't trust anyway.

This argument might hold some water if they were telling you to go to Booth, Kellogg, CBS, Tuck, Sloan, etc over Darden. I would agree those brands are stronger, but if you like Darden more than Duke enough to make that decision on your own, run with it. Darden is a HIGHLY regarded MBA program and If you regret not going to Duke, it'll be because you wished you went to b-school 15-minutes away from UNC Sorority Girls, not because Duke has a better brand.

/End rant
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 07:44
You got into four similarly ranked schools and you have already made your deposit for Darden. Don't second guess yourself. It will only make you more anxious. Whichever school you decide to go to in the end, it is up to you to make use of the resources and achieve your goals. Darden is an excellent school. You have made a decision and you should stick to it.
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 08:02
I will say one thing, the Duke brand is stronger then the UVA brand... and that might be what your manager is speaking to. Some people outside of MBA circles may feel that Duke is the better school/brand, but when it comes to business schools... they're peers. When you throw in the money on top of that, I cant think of anyone who could fault you.

Did you choose Darden only because you felt it was viewed as a better school, or was it about fit? If you chose it only based on rankings... well then regardless of where you go, you'll never have 100% of people agree with you.
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 08:37
Cobrakai, I have sent you a PM :)

hi highwyre, I knew about the perception, yet I chose Darden because I felt I would fit very well. But now I hear things like if people (in Asia) can't recognize Darden, then what's the point of doing an MBA if I wish to return back.
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 08:46
ss87 wrote:
Cobrakai, I have sent you a PM :)

hi highwyre, I knew about the perception, yet I chose Darden because I felt I would fit very well. But now I hear things like if people (in Asia) can't recognize Darden, then what's the point of doing an MBA if I wish to return back.


World class education, experience, contacts, new opportunities and the list goes on and on. The name will only take you so far, after two years where you got your MBA won't matter compared to what you have accomplished.
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 08:48
ss87 wrote:
Cobrakai, I have sent you a PM :)

hi highwyre, I knew about the perception, yet I chose Darden because I felt I would fit very well. But now I hear things like if people (in Asia) can't recognize Darden, then what's the point of doing an MBA if I wish to return back.


Well if your plan is MBB or an LDP at a f500, I have a feeling transition back to asia on brand wouldnt be difficult. I have a funny feeling McKinsey would matter more then whichever MBA you have.

What does the network for Darden grads look like in Asia? If that was your plan, I'm sure you found that info and were happy with it. An MBA is a great tool to get you that first job out. A strong network in your desired location will help you, but if that first job out gains you all the respect you need to get your foot in the door, no offense, but who cares what middle management thinks?

I dont know what Darden's reach is in Asia... I didn't apply, but... if it was strong enough to convince you to accept... why are you worried about what your current boss thinks?
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 09:06
Well based on my chat with Darden grads and their jobs here in Asia (I met quite a few from Big3 consulting and Google, etc) I think the network is slightly small but quite well-knit.

My only issue is say a few years down the road, I am applying to a different job in Asia(not from MBB) and if my employer can't tell Darden is a solid top 10 and thinks Duke is better, then I might feel disappointed.
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 09:16
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ss87 wrote:
Well based on my chat with Darden grads and their jobs here in Asia (I met quite a few from Big3 consulting and Google, etc) I think the network is slightly small but quite well-knit.

My only issue is say a few years down the road, I am applying to a different job in Asia(not from MBB) and if my employer can't tell Darden is a solid top 10 and thinks Duke is better, then I might feel disappointed.


Sadly, for most of us, a few years down the road our MBA's brand name wont get us a job. Our network sure will, and how successful we were at our first job will, but the name on our resume (aside from maybe HSW) will not get us our 2nd or 3rd job.

I would reach out to the alumns you've spoken with already, and ask them for their first hand opinion. Do the same with Fuqua alumns... If you are worried you made the wrong choice, all it will cost you is your deposit money.


You chose Darden for a reason. I would make a pros and cons list about Duke and UVA and then compare those after you've added the input of alumni. GL, both are great schools, and I think you're overracting to a few people's opinions. Either way, this is one of the most important decision you will make in your life, make sure you dont regret the choice.
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 04 May 2013, 00:10
Yes, I guess in the end it comes down to really good learning experience (Darden) vs. normal learning experience but great brand internationally.

Though it might be too late to ask Duke if the offer still holds(I never rejected or accepted the offer).
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In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 04 May 2013, 05:21
Lol... If you've paid a deposit, and have already rejected duke, why are you driving yourself crazy?? You made a great choice with Darden, and will have a great chance at a successful career regardless of the country you end up in. Listen, your application portion is over. Relax, and get ready to enjoy a world class MBA in a few months. Good luck!
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 04 May 2013, 08:49
highwyre237 wrote:
Lol... If you've paid a deposit, and have already rejected duke, why are you driving yourself crazy?? You made a great choice with Darden, and will have a great chance at a successful career regardless of the country you end up in. Listen, your application portion is over. Relax, and get ready to enjoy a world class MBA in a few months. Good luck!

I agree. Stick with your gut here. Fuqua and Darden are peer schools, Darden is a better fit for you, Darden offered you more money, AND you already put down your deposit. I really think you're overthinking this.

Plus, if you look at the most recent employment reports, on a per capita basis, Darden has recently had better placement at MBB than Duke, which has been sending lots of folks primarily to Deloitte.
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Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated! [#permalink] New post 04 May 2013, 09:09
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Thanks kingfalcon and highwyre. Yes I will be going ahead with Darden. Thanks for all your advice!
I think I made a pretty well-informed decision and I shouldn't be re-evaluating everything based on what a few people tell me.
Re: In a huge dilemma - Any advice would be much appreciated!   [#permalink] 04 May 2013, 09:09
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