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Oxford (60% scholarship) v. INSEAD (20% sch.) v. Yale (no $)

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Joined: 07 Apr 2010
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Schools: Harvard (dinged w/int), Oxford (accepted), INSEAD (accepted), Yale SOM (accepted)
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Oxford (60% scholarship) v. INSEAD (20% sch.) v. Yale (no $) [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 01:41
I'm honored to have been accepted to these three schools, and I need to make a decision by Friday!

I'm American, with a background in compensation consulting and microfinance. I want to work in either microfinance or another market-based poverty alleviation strategy (like the Acumen Fund's work, for example). I've worked in West Africa, Switzerland and the States. After school I want to keep my options open regarding work location - I would consider working in the US, Europe, or Africa. I eventually want to settle down and work in the States.

Pros and cons:
Oxford. Only one year, would only cost $23K. Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship offers some contacts and classes, but electives on these subjects are limited.

INSEAD. Only one year, would cost $60K. Electives on social aspects of business, emerging markets etc are limited, but I'd learn Spanish which would definitely help my career.

Yale. Two years (a negative for me), would cost $100K. Strong focus on social aspects of business, professors who are well-known for their work on the subject. Wide array of electives on the subject.

My main concern is how recruiters in DC or NY in the international development sphere would regard the three schools, since it's difficult to find transatlantic b-school rankings that compare across the ocean. I guess my situation is pretty specific and unique, but I'd love to hear others' thoughts. I'll take all the input I can get! :)
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Re: Oxford (60% scholarship) v. INSEAD (20% sch.) v. Yale (no $) [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 08:37
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Oxford and Yale are probably the top 2 names for this type of social entrepreneurial work that you're looking for.

the thing with INSEAD is, although it's a top notch program, it's not really geared towards this specific field, whereas although Oxford and Yale are not as highly ranked, they've developed a specialty in the nonprofit sector. so you're paying extra money (vs. Oxford), but you're not getting the benefit of the American reputation or even the benefit of a specialization in the industry you're interested in. and yes, you can learn spanish at the school...but you can also learn that elsewhere separately if you really want to.

so now i think if you remove INSEAD from the equation, it comes down to the scholarship and 1 yr duration of the Oxford program vs. the location and American reputation of Yale. to be honest i don't think the difference in reputation is worth an extra 75k PLUS another yr of your life, so i'd go with Oxford. i also think that if you're interested in working globally after graduation, the Oxford name would be just as strong as Yale. and by the time you want to settle back down in the US, the difference in the programs' reputaitons won't matter as much anymore and the opportunities you'll get will be based mostly on your networks and career progression up to that point.

*disclaimer - i'm going to to Oxford. BUT i believe the analysis i've given you here is still fairly unbiased. either way, congrats on getting into all the programs. i think you'll have a great career no matter where you go. good luck with your decisions. :)
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Oxford Round 1 - interview invite 10/30/09, admit 12/11/09, ATTENDING 2010

My Road to Oxford and INSEAD http://gmatclub.com/forum/my-road-to-oxford-sbs-and-insead-89413.html#p676253

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Re: Oxford (60% scholarship) v. INSEAD (20% sch.) v. Yale (no $) [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 08:53
Hi DrSatisfaction, thanks so much for the input! I was actually thinking of eliminating INSEAD, for the reasons you mentioned. I've spoken with two alums who have the same career interests as I do, and they both said there isn't much support or material there along those lines.

Congratulations to you too! Oxford would be great, and the scholarship is indeed tempting. I'm wondering what makes you say that SBS is highly ranked for social impact stuff. I've looked at the Net Impact MBA guide and the Beyond Grey Pinstripes rankings, and Oxford didn't participate in either study (Yale is ranked very highly in both). I know there's the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, but I'm not entirely convinced that the social impact focus makes it into the curriculum. There don't seem to be many electives offered along these lines, and I've heard that the three courses offered by the Centre could be improved. Do you have any more information on this aspect of SBS? Also, do you know whether you can take electives outside of SBS while at Oxford? They have a great international development program there.

Thanks again for your response, it's really helpful to have others' perspectives.
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Re: Oxford (60% scholarship) v. INSEAD (20% sch.) v. Yale (no $) [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 12:41
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from the general reputation of the schools that i've heard (on various forums, online rankings, promotional material, alumni/others that i've spoken to, etc.) it seems that Oxford has already nailed down the top spot in the EMEA regions as the best nonprofit program.

i think the thing with Oxford is that, it's still a relatively young program vs. Yale. however, i'd say globally (especially in middle east and africa), the Oxford network and brand name carries more weight than Yale, and it'll likely be easier for you to land a job in a developing country after your MBA.

the courses might not be as well designed in Oxford vs. Yale, but i think there's still a pretty strong support from the Skoll Centre. i think what you lose in the academic course work, you'll more than make up with the extra global mobility, the networking possibilities provided by the Skoll Centre, as well as the 1 year and 75k you save. especially considering the fact that if you're looking to get a job in Africa/India/East Asia, an Oxford degree will open the all the same doors as a Yale degree (maybe even a few more). and by the time you're ready to come back to the US, your experiences and accomplishments will far outweigh the brand name of your MBA.

now if you're really focused on the academia, and especially how the social aspects of it are taught in the classroom, Yale might be a better fit than Oxford. however, i still think the overall strength of the Oxford program, combined with all the factors i've mentioned above, makes it a good fit for your particular case.

(btw i'm just playing the devil's advocate here trying to sell you on the Oxford program lol, although i do believe these are pretty valid points). on a side note, i do believe it's possible to take other courses while at Oxford (you'll probably just have to contact the department and get permission from them)...just not sure how busy your schedule will be and if you can fit it in.
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Oxford Round 1 - interview invite 10/30/09, admit 12/11/09, ATTENDING 2010

My Road to Oxford and INSEAD http://gmatclub.com/forum/my-road-to-oxford-sbs-and-insead-89413.html#p676253

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Re: Oxford (60% scholarship) v. INSEAD (20% sch.) v. Yale (no $) [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 15:33
Abbygfunk,

Congratulations! Why don't you try to contact someone in your desired industry and see what they say? My gut tells me that little separates Yale and Oxford in terms of curriculum, reputation and ability to network globally.
Re: Oxford (60% scholarship) v. INSEAD (20% sch.) v. Yale (no $)   [#permalink] 07 Apr 2010, 15:33
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