Kellogg vs. Booth : The B-School Application
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Kellogg vs. Booth

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18 May 2012, 13:09
I was admitted R3 to both schools and am having a really hard time deciding between the two. I have a non-traditional background - I have been a professional athlete since graduating from college - and I'm looking to get into brand management, hopefully with a sports related company (Nike, Gatorade, etc.). I was only about to visit both schools for a day, but can really see myself at either one! I did get a fellowship from Booth for about half of tuition, but I'm trying to evaluate without thinking about that. Growing up north of Chicago, I'm excited to be moving back to the area either way!

Curriculum-wise, I'm not sure if I would benefit more from Booth's flexibility, or from the more structured first-year at Kellogg. Not having a normal business background, maybe more structure would be good for me? There are so many good things about both schools - makes it tough to decide.

I know there are other people out there who have made this decision, so any advice considering my background and goals would be greatly appreciated!
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18 May 2012, 16:45
Wow! This is one of those times where you really can't go wrong. Can you visit both schools one more time, now from the perspective of an admit.

My recommendation is to just bask in the dual admits for a little bit. Sit with it for a while and maybe one school will just naturally rise in your mind. I wouldn't force yourself to try to decide so soon.
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18 May 2012, 17:26
jlsduke wrote:
I was admitted R3 to both schools and am having a really hard time deciding between the two. I have a non-traditional background - I have been a professional athlete since graduating from college - and I'm looking to get into brand management, hopefully with a sports related company (Nike, Gatorade, etc.). I was only about to visit both schools for a day, but can really see myself at either one! I did get a fellowship from Booth for about half of tuition, but I'm trying to evaluate without thinking about that. Growing up north of Chicago, I'm excited to be moving back to the area either way!

Curriculum-wise, I'm not sure if I would benefit more from Booth's flexibility, or from the more structured first-year at Kellogg. Not having a normal business background, maybe more structure would be good for me? There are so many good things about both schools - makes it tough to decide.

I know there are other people out there who have made this decision, so any advice considering my background and goals would be greatly appreciated!

If you have a non-traditional background, Booth's flexible curriculum may be a plus. An introductory course will not be filled with people who are experts in the subject, which may make you feel more comfortable. As someone with a purely liberal arts background, I am looking forward to this aspect of Booth's curriculum.
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18 May 2012, 17:52
There are not that many required courses in Kellogg's "structured" curriculum that you would want to skip if you don't have a strong business background. Something to factor in that is probably the most important part of getting a top tier MBA, your future career. So look at what your career goal is and then determine which school has the best placement into that field and has the larger network to leverage. Go on linkedin and look for alumni at some of your target companies, and reach out to some. Speak to some alumni about their experiences.

Seeing that you want to go into brand management, I would believe that Kellogg would be a better fit career wise. A little structure in the curriculum will help keep you focused since in reality being a professional athlete does't necessarily translate to the working world.
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18 May 2012, 19:28
riverripper wrote:
Seeing that you want to go into brand management, I would believe that Kellogg would be a better fit career wise. A little structure in the curriculum will help keep you focused since in reality being a professional athlete does't necessarily translate to the working world.

I agree that a little structure would definitely be helpful.

That being said, having an athletic background at all, to say nothing of the rigors of a professional career, absolutely translates into the working world. There's a reason that it's a big selling point on a B School application. Not trying to be critical, just don't think we should sell short the team mentality and leadership he's gained from his background.
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19 May 2012, 10:36
Congratulations on admissions to both fine BSchools in tough R3 and fellowship from Booth. Admittedly, most athletes don’t bring much business experience and analytical skills to BSchool. But some soft skills (Teamwork, leadership, motivation) are transferable and looked favourably by adcomms.

Kellogg: As mentioned, structured opposed to Booth’s flexible curriculum. But as a non-traditional student with little business background, you would possibly benefit from some structured teaching to gain a solid foundation of key subjects. Apart from analytical skills, K teaches soft skills. Kellogg is also known for its collaborative learning environment with teamwork and communication. With regards to electives, Kellogg offers a specific sports marketing course (MKTG-951-0) and other brand management courses. Student led career clubs play an important role at Kellogg and you may wish to look at Sports Business Club. Interestingly, K MBA students organise the annual Sports Business Conference. Guest speakers and panellists include Gatorade brand executives, MillerCoors Sports Marketing managers, IMG executives and sports franchise front office people. Recruitment: Marketing is big at K and MBAs go into brand management at various industries. According to K career report, Sports apparel companies are not big recruiters and don’t come to campus. I recall that Nike recruits more than 3 MBAs at Wharton and Stanford. I think your previous contacts with sponsors/brand managers in sports marketing would be crucial as you need to rely on your personal or your agent’s contacts rather than career center. I met a former sports pro when I visited Kellogg and it also offers executive courses to athletes.

Booth: Flexible curriculum mostly beneficial for students with prior specific experience such as CPAs skipping accounting 101. Booth takes quantitative rigor in its teaching and the trend of marketing gets more quantitative. If you have a degree in non quant subject, you may wish to complement your skill set with quantitative skills to get the soft/quant combination. Booth has a more generic Media,Ent,Sports student club, but it is less active and doesn’t organise sports conference. Student led activities tend to revolve around finance. Fewer Booth MBAs take up jobs in brand management and recruiters are mostly finance and consulting.

Summary: Kellogg is more intrinsic to brand management and sports marketing in terms of student activities, courses and recruitment. On the other hand, Booth offers you a fellowship. You may wish to contact Kellogg and Booth alumni who work in brand management with sports apparel companies. Contact Sports Business Club and career center for more information. Finally, I also would contact brand managers of your target firms and ask them for their views on nuances of both programmes. For a career in sports brand management, you also need to learn about Management Information system for retail and inventory platforms, budget planning, vendors and understanding of the industry. Good news: Most of your target firms offer summer internships for MBAs.

Good luck.
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19 May 2012, 15:38
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Jock4MBA wrote:
Congratulations on admissions to both fine BSchools in tough R3 and fellowship from Booth. Admittedly, most athletes don’t bring much business experience and analytical skills to BSchool. But some soft skills (Teamwork, leadership, motivation) are transferable and looked favourably by adcomms.

Kellogg: As mentioned, structured opposed to Booth’s flexible curriculum. But as a non-traditional student with little business background, you would possibly benefit from some structured teaching to gain a solid foundation of key subjects. Apart from analytical skills, K teaches soft skills. Kellogg is also known for its collaborative learning environment with teamwork and communication. With regards to electives, Kellogg offers a specific sports marketing course (MKTG-951-0) and other brand management courses. Student led career clubs play an important role at Kellogg and you may wish to look at Sports Business Club. Interestingly, K MBA students organise the annual Sports Business Conference. Guest speakers and panellists include Gatorade brand executives, MillerCoors Sports Marketing managers, IMG executives and sports franchise front office people. Recruitment: Marketing is big at K and MBAs go into brand management at various industries. According to K career report, Sports apparel companies are not big recruiters and don’t come to campus. I recall that Nike recruits more than 3 MBAs at Wharton and Stanford. I think your previous contacts with sponsors/brand managers in sports marketing would be crucial as you need to rely on your personal or your agent’s contacts rather than career center. I met a former sports pro when I visited Kellogg and it also offers executive courses to athletes.

Booth: Flexible curriculum mostly beneficial for students with prior specific experience such as CPAs skipping accounting 101. Booth takes quantitative rigor in its teaching and the trend of marketing gets more quantitative. If you have a degree in non quant subject, you may wish to complement your skill set with quantitative skills to get the soft/quant combination. Booth has a more generic Media,Ent,Sports student club, but it is less active and doesn’t organise sports conference. Student led activities tend to revolve around finance. Fewer Booth MBAs take up jobs in brand management and recruiters are mostly finance and consulting.

Summary: Kellogg is more intrinsic to brand management and sports marketing in terms of student activities, courses and recruitment. On the other hand, Booth offers you a fellowship. You may wish to contact Kellogg and Booth alumni who work in brand management with sports apparel companies. Contact Sports Business Club and career center for more information. Finally, I also would contact brand managers of your target firms and ask them for their views on nuances of both programmes. For a career in sports brand management, you also need to learn about Management Information system for retail and inventory platforms, budget planning, vendors and understanding of the industry. Good news: Most of your target firms offer summer internships for MBAs.

Good luck.

I'm going to disagree with your analysis of Booth. First, the flexible curriculum is not just so accountants don't have to take accounting 101. It benefits everyone. Booth's approach to teaching is discipline based. Although the curriculum is flexible in that you can choose the level of your courses in each of the foundational areas as well as when you take the classes, Booth still requires students to study all areas of general management. Any and everyone can use the flexibility to their advantage. It allows a student to tailor his/her course schedule to what he/she needs to learn in his/her own time. Overall, Booth has the philosophy that business is business is business. They stress the disciplines (i.e. marketing, economics, accounting, finance, etc.), not specific industries. If you have a solid base in all of the business disciplines then you can apply it anywhere (sports, consulting, non-profit, banking, etc). Although there is flexibility it is in terms of the how and when not the what.

Additionally, Booth is super strong in marketing. The difference between Kellogg and Booth is Booth's focus is more quantitative than psych oriented. All of the major companies that typically hire brand managers (typically CPGs) all recruit at Booth, so it is not lacking on that front. Also Booth has the Kilts Center for Marketing as well as the Center for Decision Sciences which is devoted to the study of how individuals form judgments and make decisions (isn't that at the heart of managing a brand?). Booth also offers significant experiential learning opportunities through lab courses (Marketing Research; Consumer Research) sponsored by companies with real business issues that need to be solved.

The biggest edge that Kellogg has over Booth when it comes to brand management is historic reputation and strength of alumni network (in terms of #s). Kellogg does have a broader alumni network in brand management simply because a larger % of graduates go into that function across many industries. I just caution the OP (or anyone researching schools) not to make any decisions based off of historical reputation and stereotypes. Booth has recruiters across all industries and functions, not just primarily finance and consulting. For sports/athletic apparel retail companies many do not recruit on any campuses and hiring is done through "off-campus" recruiting.

When it comes to off-campus recruiting another thing about Booth that hasn't been mentioned is that the career services office is freaking BALLER. Booth's career services team goes balls out for students. They were a big reason why I chose Booth over Wharton. Here's what a lot of people unfamiliar with Booth don't realize, Booth is not content to just be the finance school. They want more people going into brand management, non-profit, fashion/retail, etc. and will work with a student to get them there.

I do agree that the OP should contact both schools' Sport Clubs to get an idea of how each school can get him to his goal. Like you said, Kellogg's club is likely to be more active, but Booth's might be a solid sleeper too.
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20 May 2012, 23:18
ls413 wrote:
jlsduke wrote:
I was admitted R3 to both schools and am having a really hard time deciding between the two. I have a non-traditional background - I have been a professional athlete since graduating from college - and I'm looking to get into brand management, hopefully with a sports related company (Nike, Gatorade, etc.). I was only about to visit both schools for a day, but can really see myself at either one! I did get a fellowship from Booth for about half of tuition, but I'm trying to evaluate without thinking about that. Growing up north of Chicago, I'm excited to be moving back to the area either way!

Curriculum-wise, I'm not sure if I would benefit more from Booth's flexibility, or from the more structured first-year at Kellogg. Not having a normal business background, maybe more structure would be good for me? There are so many good things about both schools - makes it tough to decide.

I know there are other people out there who have made this decision, so any advice considering my background and goals would be greatly appreciated!

If you have a non-traditional background, Booth's flexible curriculum may be a plus. An introductory course will not be filled with people who are experts in the subject, which may make you feel more comfortable. As someone with a purely liberal arts background, I am looking forward to this aspect of Booth's curriculum.

Exactly!

I am non-traditional as well and was actually excited about having a structured curriculum. But then I realized that there is a solid foundation at Booth but I won't have to sit in the introductory classes and feel 'slow' with all the CFA's in the room.

I chose Booth. I want the hard skills to complement my non-traditional soft skills and overall was just more impressed with the program.
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21 May 2012, 06:06
cheetarah1980 wrote:
I'm going to disagree with your analysis of Booth. First, the flexible curriculum is not just so accountants don't have to take accounting 101. It benefits everyone. Booth's approach to teaching is discipline based. Although the curriculum is flexible in that you can choose the level of your courses in each of the foundational areas as well as when you take the classes, Booth still requires students to study all areas of general management. Any and everyone can use the flexibility to their advantage. It allows a student to tailor his/her course schedule to what he/she needs to learn in his/her own time. Overall, Booth has the philosophy that business is business is business. They stress the disciplines (i.e. marketing, economics, accounting, finance, etc.), not specific industries. If you have a solid base in all of the business disciplines then you can apply it anywhere (sports, consulting, non-profit, banking, etc). Although there is flexibility it is in terms of the how and when not the what.

This is an excellent summation of the Booth flexible curriculum, and it's something that I really didn't see until I started to put together the courses I want to take. Throughout your 2 years you must complete a good amount of classes that would be considered "core" classes anywhere else (Marketing, Management, Strategy, Econ, Accounting, Finance, Operations) however you get to choose 6 classes from a list of 20+ classes AND you get to choose when you want to take them. I'm going to spread out these classes over my 6 quarters because I want to fit in some classes for my concentrations before my internship. However, you can absolutely take more of these "core" classes in your first 2 or 3 quarters if you wanted to.
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21 May 2012, 06:06
Congrats! I struggled through the same dilemma. Keep in mind that you can't go wrong with either, and both schools are in the Chicago Area so your decision is really not going to make that much of a difference. You'll get exposed to similar opportunities and make smart and cool friends at both schools.

I chose Kellogg at the end for fit and culture, but I think I would lean towards Booth if I had half tuition benefit. I think it comes down to fit at the end of the day. You'll get excellent education from both schools, and business school is about what you make out of all the opportunities that get constantly thrown at you. If you were considering Kellogg or Booth vs. MIT/Columbia/Wharton/Tuck, I would take things more seriously mainly due to location reasons. In your case, it doesn't matter. Go with either - you'll be just fine. Maybe flip a coin if you can't decide. They emphasize different things but caliber of students, prestige, network, opportunities, and etc. will be vastly similar. Congrats.
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21 May 2012, 08:51
Thanks for the great advice everyone! I'm in the process of contacting clubs, career centers, alums, etc. from both schools and hopefully that will give me some more insight. 9 more days to make up my mind!! Looking at some of my target companies on Linkedin, I have found the numbers to be about equal between Kellogg and Booth. As a side note, and I don't think this makes much of a difference but thought I'd throw it out there, I am an older (32) female....does this factor in at all?
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21 May 2012, 09:05
jlsduke wrote:
Thanks for the great advice everyone! I'm in the process of contacting clubs, career centers, alums, etc. from both schools and hopefully that will give me some more insight. 9 more days to make up my mind!! Looking at some of my target companies on Linkedin, I have found the numbers to be about equal between Kellogg and Booth. As a side note, and I don't think this makes much of a difference but thought I'd throw it out there, I am an older (32) female....does this factor in at all?

Well that makes all the difference in the world. I'm an older female as well! Will be 32 at matriculation. Obviously you have to come hang out with me at Booth.
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23 May 2012, 12:39
jlsduke wrote:
Thanks for the great advice everyone! I'm in the process of contacting clubs, career centers, alums, etc. from both schools and hopefully that will give me some more insight. 9 more days to make up my mind!! Looking at some of my target companies on Linkedin, I have found the numbers to be about equal between Kellogg and Booth. As a side note, and I don't think this makes much of a difference but thought I'd throw it out there, I am an older (32) female....does this factor in at all?

----------------------
Kellogg's average age is a bit higher than Booth's. Of the top 10 schools or so, I think Kellogg's average age is the highest. I know that Kellogg MBAs study hard, party hard, and still look damn good the next day. It's the Kellogg way. Now go make friends with many other 30 somethings at Kellogg.
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23 May 2012, 14:46
I'm also a semi-traditional applicant (human capital consultant) and Booth admit, and I was very impressed by Booth's flexible curriculum and how it would ensure that I got well rounded in business basics but could take some crazy specialized classes too. I don't think you would be disadvantaged as a non-traditional applicant in Booth's model. In the end I chose to turn down my Booth offer, but it was a difficult decision to make.

I know you didn't want to consider it, but when you have two excellent choices like Kellogg and Booth, I DO think that the fellowship comes into play. At least it did for me. I understand all day long when people turn down lower-ranked schools + fellowship for "better" programs. However, when choosing between peer schools, I think it's hard to disregard.

Most of us entering bschool are getting ready wipe out all of our savings AND take significant loans. Having the opportunity to reduce that overall load by \$50k+ is not insignificant.... just sayin
For what it's worth, I'd let Kellogg know about your excellent Booth award and see if they want to play ball, so to speak.
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Re: Kellogg vs. Booth   [#permalink] 23 May 2012, 14:46
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