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LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas

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LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 17:06
Hi all,

I've been fortunate to be accepted to LBS, Chicago Booth and Texas. I'm excited but unsure how to choose b/w the 3. I'd love your opinion on which school will offer me the best experience based on my profile and goals below:

Program: MBA
Area of interest in MBA: real estate, finance, microfinance/social entrepreneurship/non-profit
GMAT: 710 (93%), 49 quant (89%), 38 verbal (84%)
GPA: 3.74 GPA (3.90 major)
School/Major: University of Texas, Finance & Business Honors
Work experience: 1 yr real estate investment banking, 3+ yrs private investment/development
Nationality: U.S.
Age: 27
Gender: M (married so she is a consideration)
Extra-curriculars/community: Young Life leader, inner-city non-profit board member, church member, mission trips, love intramurals/sports

Post MBA, I am going to pursue a career in commercial real estate OR in the social entrepreneurship/microfinance/non-profit world. It's tough b/c I want to pursue both while in school and each has a very different outcome in terms of day to day activities, location, etc. My experience is in CRE but my passion is for helping others, specifically something like alleviating material and spiritual poverty in places around the world, be it Houston, TX or Lusaka, Zambia.

I do plan long term to live in Texas since that's where my wife and I have family and friends. And yes, that's why UT is such a consideration though not as high in the rankings as Chicago or LBS. My biggest struggle now is how to weigh the benefit of a UT MBA (top 20 but not top 5/10 like Chicago/LBS) which will provide so many contacts in this region that I live, but maybe won't challenge me or open up quite as many doors as Chicago/LBS. I don't want to go to Wall St and want to be in Texas long term so Chicago isn't a slam dunk decision. LBS is most appealing b/c microfinance is such an international deal that I feel it would be a great spot, though I don't know specifically what they offer in that arena. I've also been told to consider Oxford for its Skoll Center as well, but that's another story.

I think my visits will provide me lots of insight, but I'd love others opinions/thoughts on the schools based on what they know.
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 17:22
It is interesting that you are hesitating between staying next to home (I assume) and going to Europe. Not common for an American. I think you should think about why you applied to LBS , what was attractive there and why Europe. I would think it would be key to the decision.

I think Chicago and LBS are no brainer comparing to Texas and it would add a lot to your profile in the long run. LBS seems to be best option, though I don't know how open is Texas to other degrees and people from outside.

On the plus side, Chicago and LBS will allow you to move anymore if you were to change your mind.

My 2 cents.
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 17:29
I bet most people here will suggest Booth, but I think you need to look at what companies you want to work for after graduation. Are there companies in Texas that recruit at one school, but not the other?

Also, where does your wife want to be? I would consider her take on this as well.

Finally, is Texas offering you any money?

I would eliminate LBS because of your desire to work in Texas. I would then focus on what you hope to get out of your MBA. I think your visits to each school will really help with the decision.

But if there are opportunities you can get at Booth over Texas that will help you post-MBA, go to Booth.
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 17:55
It's a tough decision.

I think because you want to live and work in Texas, rankings doesn't really matter for those schools. McCombs brand is strong in Texas, plus the alumni network is unbeatable. If you ultimately want to live in Texas, Austin is hard to beat. But if you think you may want to venture out of the great state of Texas one day, Booth would have a stronger brand. I would say unless you want to work in Europe, LBS probably won't give you an edge over Booth.

Also, you have to consider the location you (and your wife) want live in. Do you want to live in a big city (Chicago/Booth) or a medium sized city (Austin)? Can you handle below freezing temperatures and even colder wind chill of Chicago? Can you handle gloomy and cold of London? I ask this question because I didn't consider the weather factor when I got a job. I ended up in Ann Arbor's gloomy and cold weather, when it gets dark at 4PM in the winter. I hated it. Also, note that up north, most of the school year is cold. In Madison (3 hours away from Chicago), temperature drops below freezing in October and remains that way until April. The cold makes going to class a chore, especially if you live off campus. There's nothing that sucks more than driving through a thick blanket of snow or walking on icy roads. I don't know about Chicago, but in Madison it's so cold that your nose hair freeze together when you breathe.

That's why I'm not considering any school above Virginia.
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 20:47
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Thanks for the geniune thoughts, questions and advice guys. I appreciate it.

I guess the biggest struggle is not knowing whether I will continue in my current career field (real estate) or make the switch into the social entrepreneurship/microfinance field. If it's the former, it's down to Texas or Booth in my mind. But if it's the latter, then I include LBS no doubt for the international experience I feel it offers.

I also look at this as an "life experience" wherein going to Europe for 2 years, interacting with classmates from all over the globe, living in London, etc would be very cool.

As for Booth, I already have hte undergrad degree at UT so I have that Texas brand and while UT would solidfy that and introduce me to even more future Texas business leaders, I feel like having that Booth degree would separate me a bit or make me standout when returning and competing against all the UT MBAs.

As far as weather, I really don't like the cold, but can I really make a decision based on weather? Austin is unparalleled in terms of outdoors, lakes, live music capital of the world, UT football, TexMex food, etc and that's where my wife would love to be. But I hear Chicago is great and London is as well.

I feel like I'm choosing b/w a vacation to Hawaii, Cayman Islands and Bora Bora.
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 21:22
I would take Booth.

2 primary reasons:

1) You already have the UT network - so that severly lowers the value of the UT degree and puts it down between Booth/LBS for me.

2) You plan to live in the US. Booth will provide you with a far larger network and a more recognizable brand name in the US than LBS will. I also think that you'll get a pretty nice amount of international exposure from your international classmates at Booth.
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 21:38
A few considerations:
- where does your wife want to live? Does she plan to work while you're in school? If so, will be she able to find a position in London?
- do you want to live outside the US after your MBA program? If you're more than 70% sure you want to be in Europe, I'd strongly consider LBS - they have an amazing network there. If you don't want to be in Europe, like others have said, I'd eliminate LBS from the running. You're right that LBS would provide an exciting two years abroad but not much more than Booth in terms of US-based work opportunities.
- which schools have the best placements in both nonprofit and Real Estate? I'm not too familiar w/ UT but I know that Booth and LBS are both fairly strong for nonprofit. I have no idea how any of these schools places into real estate...

Hope this helps :)
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 22:24
Hey,

To me the decision boils down to the field u wanna pursue post MBA. If u wanna stay in real-estate (and work in Texas), I would choose Texas over both Booth and LBS. In real estate, being in the same region as your employer is very important. Plus, all major real estate players recruit at Texas. Further, Texas is known for its real estate (along with Columbia, Cornell and UCLA). Booth doesnt even have a real estate concentration.

If u want more flexibility, Booth would be a better bet. If u want a great experience, LBS should be the school to go to. Honestly, its a great position to be in! I m guessing that Texas will probably offer u $$$ as well. That might play a role in your decision.

Best,
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 22:31
I would say Booth for a few reasons:

1. They've got the economic/finance world wrapped around their finger - good luck on finding better economists any where, and Wharton's the only school to compete with Booth in Finance.
2. Booth offers an exchange program where you can study at LBS for a term or two (as well as a bunch of other schools across the world).

That said, Booth gives you better faculty, better brand recognition in the US, as well as providing you with an opportunity to study at LBS...to me this one is a no brainer. Good luck!
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 22:38
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In the long run I think it will be most beneficial for you in this order
LSB
GSB
McCombs

London will provide u with great overseas experience and nothing brings so much excitement as does living in a completely new country. However, this is going to be hardest choice among these for you, u will be far from things that u r used to and pricey moneywise

GSB is prolly the best recognized business school today and u will kinda combine new experience with a bit hardship of being lil bit far from home but this choice is the most balanced one

U said u r already UT alumni so here u have no big gains, however this is the safest choice to make if u dont want to bring a huge change to ur life

LEt us know what did u pick and why :)
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2008, 22:47
falibay wrote:
It is interesting that you are hesitating between staying next to home (I assume) and going to Europe. Not common for an American. I think you should think about why you applied to LBS , what was attractive there and why Europe. I would think it would be key to the decision.

I think Chicago and LBS are no brainer comparing to Texas and it would add a lot to your profile in the long run. LBS seems to be best option, though I don't know how open is Texas to other degrees and people from outside.

On the plus side, Chicago and LBS will allow you to move anymore if you were to change your mind.

My 2 cents.


I second that. You actually made me very curious: why in hell did you apply for London?? :-D Was it just for the rankings or for something specific?

Also, how serious are you about returning to Texas? I'm asking this because there is a fair chance that you might actually like living outside the state. I don't know how international your profile is, but I also think that living in London for example would enlarge your views and ways of thinking (like living in Philly and being in contact with US students enlarged mine).

Here would be my basic thinking process: I would check out how implicated schools like LBS, McCombs and Booth are in the stuff that you want to do (classes, contacts with different organizations, programs, etc). I would also check out if the cities where these schools are have a developed target industry (RE and social entrepreneurship among others from what you tell me). On that point of view, I think Chicago and more importantly London have a significant edge on Austin, especially in commercial RE - I might be wrong, but I don't think so. Plus LBS and especially London are Indian-friendly places, which is a country that is obviously very implicated in micro-financing - I don't know if this is a significant factor but you might want to check it out. These elements might be key factors if you want to pursue your vocation while in school. Maybe you could contact the presidents of the respective clubs from each school.

I don't think that living outside Texas would hinder your opportunities to work in the state; but your choice of school would have significant implications: if you're absolutely sure that you want to live in Texas for the rest of your life, then going to McCombs makes sense. However, if for any reason you want to try something else, the limitations of the McCombs network would be a significant barrier compared to the prestige and network of Booth and LBS.

My final opinion - and not everybody agrees with me on that aspect - is that going to McCombs will drastically limit your future options. It's a tough decision though. Hope this helps!
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2008, 07:22
edit: I just realized I may have misinterpreted your above statements, but I'll leave my comments below anyway in case they aren't

I'm biased of course, so grain salt, apply. That said, I'm confused by your plans simply because the short and long term seem to be so diametrically opposed. You essentially say you want to work anywhere, even in Zambia, but long term live in Texas. That strikes me as two rather divergent goals.

If you want to go experience an international lifestyle, try something completely different from Texas, and want to live in Europe (or Africa) for what could very well be MANY years, then LBS clearly gets you nearest to that goal. If you goal is to stay in the US, then LBS seems substantially less appropriate. I can't imagine there's a lot of Texas based recruiting opportunities at LBS.

This also ignores the rather important question of what your wife wants - both short and long term. That's a big deal because "Honey, guess what? Pack you bags! We're moving to Nigeria!" might not go over so well.

A final thought - if the attraction to LBS is just cause living in Europe for a while sounds kinda sexy, the other option is to do a study abroad for a quarter. You won't be guaranteed LBS, but there are a lot of really cool places to go. See: http://www.chicagogsb.edu/fulltime/acad ... hools.aspx

As for the booth vs UT argument, like I said I'm biased, but unless UT offers you substantially more money (and even then...), the choice seems simple to me.

Regardless, when you come up for admit weekend let me know, we can grab a coffee and maybe I can introduce you to some profs in the field (just give me enough warning so I can try to schedule).
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2008, 14:49
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Full disclosure: I'm a 1st year at Texas.

Obviously the Chicago name will go further anywhere outside of Texas than the McCombs name will. Chicago is a "gee-whiz, that's a awesome program" school whereas Texas is a "they've got a really good program and dominate regionally" school.

That aside, based on your post-MBA plans, Texas has a few things going for it: 1) It has a top-notch real estate program 2) You're a Texas resident and paying back $50,000 vs. $100,000 on a social entrepreneurship/non-profit salary is a big, big difference. On the issue of money, given your acceptance to Booth and LBS, you've got some room to negotiate. Call Texas, talk to Tina Mabley (director of admissions), and tell her the situation you're in. That's exactly what I did. I wouldn't be surprised if they threw $20,000 or more at you.

I can understand the desire to live abroad. In 2004 I left an awesome job with NASA (in Houston) to live and work in Munich, Germany. I had wanted to do something like that for years and when the opportunity presented itself I jumped on it. Schooling will be a different story obviously, and ending up back in Texas with an LBS degree may be harder than with either a Booth or McCombs degree.

If I can help with any questions that you may have about Texas just give me a shout.
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2011, 02:38
Hi,
Does anyone suggest an MBA from McCombs, for a career in the luxury goods industry? I will join my family business in jewelry and have heard that Texas is up and coming on the luxury goods front, with the Texas Fashion Week (correct me if i am mistaken) etc. How many luxury goods companies (LVMH, Cartier etc.) are in Texas?

That said, my main focus is general management and entrepreneurship, with Strategy are a tertiary choice.

Deadlines are approaching. so please please reply asap anyone.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2011, 07:11
I have a similar dilemma. Trying to choose between Booth PT and Texas FT. I work in IT consulting, and am hoping to make the switch to strategy consulting in the same company. If not, then I won't be thoroughly disappointed, as I do like what I work on. Not looking for IB/IM/PE stuff. I want the MBA to basically get a strong network and build certain soft skills.

I graduated from UT and work in Houston, so I already have that UT network. I prefer to stay in Texas or Cali in the long term. UT is offering me in state fee, where as Booth has the strong brand. There is a considerable Booth alumni network in Houston (although less than Texas obviously) and in Cali, which can help me later in my career. Not particularly worried about money at this point, because it is nothing in the long term. What would you choose? I am leaning towards Booth, although I realize the FT experience is much better than the PT experience.
Re: LBS vs Chicago Booth vs Texas   [#permalink] 10 Jan 2011, 07:11
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