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Kellogg (Northwestern) vs. ESADE in Barcelona

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Kellogg (Northwestern) vs. ESADE in Barcelona [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2011, 19:00
Dear friends,

Thanks for the support over the past months during the MBA application process. I have narrowed down my choice to two schools I've been admitted to - Kellogg (Northwestern) and ESADE (in Barcelona). Right now, it's a 50-50, and comparing the two schools is like comparing apples to oranges. I would like to get some perspective from folks who have gone through the MBA experience and recruiting/networking process.

Kellogg obviously is (at least right now) the better known elite school, with a well balanced, strong-everywhere curriculum I love and a student driven, team oriented culture I am passionate about. As a long-time Chicago resident, I save some cost and having done my undergrad at Northwestern, I am familiar with the area. Going to Kellogg opens up many doors in the future career-wise, and the reputation/brand is indisputable.

ESADE, on the other hand, is my wildcard passion, for it's truly international appeal, individual focus, and Barcelona vibe. It's a huge plus being a FC Barcelona fan. It has a corporate social responsibility/entrepreunership focused curriculum I love and also a team oriented culture I am passionate about. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be bold, add a new dimension to my life experience, and boost my Spanish to a new level. The fact that ESADE has recently climbed up the rankings to be a Top 10 European School and arguably Top 20 Global School doesn't hurt.

My heart tells me to go to ESADE, but my rational side tells me to go to Kellogg. ESADE gets me excited and is better from a intangible life learning perspective, but I have real concerns about the weak economy in Spain, my lack of EU status, and ESADE's lesser recognition outside of Europe. Kellogg, on the other hand, is the stronger brand, with more diverse curriculum, and offers more flexible and broader career prospects (i.e. safer bet for a good return on investment).

As a compromise, I am leaning towards matriculating at Kellogg, and then seeking international exchange opportunities to ESADE or another Spanish School (e.g. IESE, IE) during my second year. However, ESADE is just so unique in my perspective...

I am not asking anyone to make decision for me - I have already thought this through for days. I would just like to hear from others who have gone through MBA/post-MBA experience and who may add a fresh perspective. Appreciate it!!
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Re: Kellogg (Northwestern) vs. ESADE in Barcelona [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2011, 19:27
First of all, huge congrats!!

Second, while I haven't gone through this situation myself, I can offer what I think is a relevant story. After I graduated from college, I had 2 job options. One was at a very well-known company, in a clear and defined role. While the name of the company would surely open doors later on, I was aware that my own personal growth & contribution there would likely be unspectacular. The other job was at a startup where I was asked to come on board as the first employee. The company had no name, no reputation, but I loved the vibe and I admired what the company was setting out to do. I felt passionate about its prospects and about my own potential to get excited and to see that excitement manifested in the success of the company. I took that second job and for two years it inspired me to reach higher & get my hands dirtier. I also discovered a lot about myself in the process. In the end, I got much farther there -- personally and professionally -- than I ever would have at the first company. And my self-propelled (albeit uncommon) trajectory there has opened far more doors than the other one would have.

It sounds to me like you're really excited about Barcelona. The point I want to make is this: don't underestimate the power of an experience that thrills you. When you follow your heart, great things can happen.
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Re: Kellogg (Northwestern) vs. ESADE in Barcelona [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2011, 05:40
A consideration that you didn't mention is where you want to work after graduation. If you want to work in the US, Kellogg would have better access to US employers, while ESADE would have better access to European employers. Not to say you can't get a US job from ESADE or European job from Kellogg, but you'd have to work harder to find it.
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Re: Kellogg (Northwestern) vs. ESADE in Barcelona   [#permalink] 23 Mar 2011, 05:40
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