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Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!!

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Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 01:22
Hi guys,

great forum here. Great to have found you.
I have to ask you for your help.
I am in a trap, which is probably a luxury problem, but still a problem.

I have offers from St Gallen and Oxford and I am completely undecided.

I am 29, German, have some family ties in Switzerland. Placement records of St Gallen
in the German-speaking part of Europe are excellent, apparently better than
Oxford's placement record, but I am not sure if I want to stay in the area after MBA.

Oxford has a international brand name worldwide and I just like the fact of being "Oxford-
educated." ;) Furthermore, Oxford feels like an "ego-booster" for me. I am sure you know what I mean.

In conclusion, my subjective gut feeling says Oxford, my brain says St Gallen.

It would be great to have some advice and input from outside!!

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 02:11
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I don't really know what ego booster would be for a 2nd tier MBA school, even if you have Oxford brand name.
ego booster start at top tier no less.

Starting 2nd tier, I believe you really have to know what you want to do and how you attain your goal and be sure that this specific school you are applying to will open the specific doors you need to open.

So the question is not the brand name here because apart for the coffee chats where you brag about your school which wont help your carreer), the question is rather the link between your carreer goals and the school you apply to
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 02:32
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Thank you very much for your response.

I appreciate your opinion, although it sounds a bit hard to me.

You are from the States or were at least educated in the States.
You guys are so rational and "return on investment" orientated.

In the sense I know education, there is a factor of just enjoying the experience instead of only
maximising career chances.

I would just like to take a year off work, doing something different, getting new input, challenges
and taking up new chances that may come up or may not.

Therefore, I cannot say for sure about my final goals. For me, finding about that is a reason
for the MBA.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 03:01
oxfordstgallen wrote:
Thank you very much for your response.

I appreciate your opinion, although it sounds a bit hard to me.

You are from the States or were at least educated in the States.
You guys are so rational and "return on investment" orientated.

In the sense I know education, there is a factor of just enjoying the experience instead of only
maximising career chances.

I would just like to take a year off work, doing something different, getting new input, challenges
and taking up new chances that may come up or may not.

Therefore, I cannot say for sure about my final goals. For me, finding about that is a reason
for the MBA.



I am from Europe: did my undergrad in Europe and went for graduate studies in the States;

As for your comment let me tell you something: for any top tier school you would go, you will have an amazing and incredible experience. You will make probably the best friend of your life and spend the best time of your life.
I went to a top grad school in the US and it was just amazing. The degree it gave me is hardly the sole reason I went there. It was rich, amazing, enjoyable... it short, you are right, you go to the school you would enjoy most but lets be honest here, whereever you go (given it's a top school), you will have a great time. There are very few people who don't like their MBA journey. Then I can even guarantee you that you will have a greater experience in a top tier school because you will find more brilliant, more diverse, more open, more anything people and you will learn, gain, share a lot with them and I am not even talking about amazing faculty with whom you will connect and be blown by every class you have with them ....

So the question is not there again, because the experience, trust me, you will have it (as long as you don't go for a bad uni just for the MBA title.

If you don't know what you want to do, you better off in a top tier MBA (first tier) because some companies don't even recruit from 2nd tier MBAs. And by the time you figure out what you want to do, you will have a hard time competing with the army of top tier MBA grads who are more prepared with a far higher pedigree


In short I think any other school than the first tier (meaning the M7 + INSEAD, IMD and LBS) does not provide a satisfying ROI given the risk and the investment
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 06:03
Quote:
I don't really know what ego booster would be for a 2nd tier MBA school, even if you have Oxford brand name. ego booster start at top tier no less.


Not sure if I would agree with this statement. While Oxford's MBA program may not be on the same level as Wharton, Harvard, etc. it is climbing the ranks rapidly -- especially considering how young the program is. And regardless of its actual ranking, Oxford as a brand is absolutely an ego booster. I went to an Ivy League school, and regardless of what I studied in school, people generally reacted positively to the name -- I'd imagine it's the same for Oxford.

Think your statement is kind of insulting and dismissive.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 13:34
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oxfordstgallen wrote:
Hi guys,

great forum here. Great to have found you.
I have to ask you for your help.
I am in a trap, which is probably a luxury problem, but still a problem.

I have offers from St Gallen and Oxford and I am completely undecided.

I am 29, German, have some family ties in Switzerland. Placement records of St Gallen
in the German-speaking part of Europe are excellent, apparently better than
Oxford's placement record, but I am not sure if I want to stay in the area after MBA.

Oxford has a international brand name worldwide and I just like the fact of being "Oxford-
educated." ;) Furthermore, Oxford feels like an "ego-booster" for me. I am sure you know what I mean.

In conclusion, my subjective gut feeling says Oxford, my brain says St Gallen.

It would be great to have some advice and input from outside!!

Thanks in advance!


Oxfordstgallen,

First of all welcome to the forum! Sorry that the first response you got was both equally arrogant and unhelpful.

As far as your quandary, you're totally right in your assessment of the two universities...but it's a great decision to have to make (as you said, it's a luxury)! I attended HSG as an exchange student in undergrad and it most definitely was the Harvard/Wharton of German-speaking Europe. I have friends who work for UBS, Credit Suisse, ABB, etc. primarily thanks to the HSG name. Placement in CH will be excellent, both within banks and industry (ABB/Novartis/Sulzer/Nestle/etc). However, I'd think that career placement in the rest of the world is better at Oxford.

If you absolutely want to work in DE/CH/AT after MBA, then St. Gallen is your choice without a doubt. If you want to perhaps have a more well-renowned, higher-ranked, probably more international education, then I'd go with Oxford. You will without a doubt have DE/CH/AT classmates who can connect you to companies they may have worked for, and I'm sure recruiters look to hire for positions (though perhaps less so than HSG) in DE/CH/AT.

HSG is a great university. But, like HEC, it is more well-known for its Bachelor, M.Fin, M.etc courses than it is for its MBA. Much like HEC, your placements will not be strictly limited to DE/CH/AT (or France, in HEC's case), but it will have a smaller sphere of influence. On the other hand, Oxford's brand name is as well-known in the world of education as Coca-Cola's is in the world of brown carbonated beverages. Its MBA program is more well-known around the world because of this, but looking at rankings it is perceived as a better program (regardless of brand name) anyhow. One thing to consider as well is class size / alumni network / post-MBA networking possibilities. IIRC, HSG's is only ~50, whereas Oxford is >100. That is twice the networking potential in your immediate class, and since Oxford MBA has been around considerably longer than HSG's, the depth of networking is obviously greater.

Even though I'm eager to get back to Switzerland (have lived & worked there 4 years), I'd still go with Oxford. It'll be a more enriching experience (I mean come on, you'll be living on one of the most famous, steeped-in-tradition campuses in the WORLD), probably a broader education, and your career opportunities outside your immediate geography will be greater. If you want to work in the US and leverage your MBA degree, nobody knows who HSG is, so you're s*** out of luck, as we say. However, if deep down you want to work for UBS/CS/ABB/Novartis in DE/CH/AT, then I'd say HSG is your choice.

Also wünsche Dir viel Glück mit deiner Entscheidung und auch viel Erfolg mit dem Studium, egal wo es sich befinden sollte.




As a totally unnecessary side...@mbasloanguy: c'mon man, really? Don't be a douche. Help the guy out or move on, but don't burst his bubble just because you're not impressed with his schools.

Last edited by PKV on 17 Jun 2011, 19:56, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 14:55
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PKV wrote:
As a totally unnecessary side...@mbasloanguy: c'mon man, really? Don't be a douche. Help the guy out or move on, but don't burst his bubble just because you're not impressed with his schools.


Seconded, don't be unhelpful.

@oxfordstgallen

I was actually scouted by St Gallen. When I had a phone call with them to discuss my options the admissions rep ended up talking me out of even applying! Basically my goals post MBA are to work in the USA or the UK at a top firm and the St Gallen brand just isn't strong in those markets.

I think this highlights the issue you face. If you only want to work in area's where the St Gallen brand is strong then it's a great choice. Out side of that (fairly small) area you'll be much better served by the world powerhouse brand that is Oxford. With an MBA from Oxford you'll have opportunities to work all over the world and you'll never run into someone who says "Oxford. Never heard of it!"

Also, Oxford is top tier! The differences between the top 30 Uni's in the Financial times rankings (the only credible rankings that directly compare US and non-US schools) are insignificant in terms of degree quality, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the very top firms in Europe are recruiting from Oxford.

I think your gut is right.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 15:31
PKV wrote:
As a totally unnecessary side...@mbasloanguy: c'mon man, really? Don't be a douche. Help the guy out or move on, but don't burst his bubble just because you're not impressed with his schools.


Third! +1 to both PKV and RHB for great advice and analysis. :)
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 15:43
PKV wrote:
As a totally unnecessary side...@mbasloanguy: c'mon man, really? Don't be a douche. Help the guy out or move on, but don't burst his bubble just because you're not impressed with his schools.


Why am I being a douch ?
I answered honestly and sincerly: between Oxford and St Gallen, there is not much difference. The only thing I did is then being honest as for the future prospect of his carreer.


enkie wrote:
Not sure if I would agree with this statement. While Oxford's MBA program may not be on the same level as Wharton, Harvard, etc. it is climbing the ranks rapidly -- especially considering how young the program is


It's been the same things everyone says for 15 years!!!! You can check GMAT club previous years and businessweek many many years ago, people were saying the exact same thing. Yet you don't see its ranking climbing...
Even then, you will graduate in a year, you don't need a school that's going to be top tier in 15 years because hopefully by then you will be settled with your job or else.... You need the full impact of your degree now or very soon, so who cares if it's climbing (assuming this tale is true) if it won't serve you ?


enkie wrote:
And regardless of its actual ranking, Oxford as a brand is absolutely an ego booster. I went to an Ivy League school, and regardless of what I studied in school, people generally reacted positively to the name -- I'd imagine it's the same for Oxford.


I guess it can be when you speak to people in the street, but it's different around professionals or HRs

enkie wrote:
Think your statement is kind of insulting and dismissive.


Insulting ? how on earth am I insulting anyone ? Because I didn't agree on the fact that we should say it's a top school ? It doesn't make sense.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 15:52
Nice job editing your first comment in this thread. In your original thread you had said that anything outside of M7 or Insead/LBS, the ROI is just not worth it. That is probably one of the most generalized and ignorant statements -- which of course, you've erased by now.

Don't be annoyed just because 3 people pointed out how arrogant your statement is ("I don't really know what ego booster would be for a 2nd tier MBA school, even if you have Oxford brand name.
ego booster start at top tier no less."). Everyone has different standard for what qualifies as an ego booster, who are you to dismiss his feelings on this?
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 16:03
Thanks a lot to all of you guys.

You are indeed very helpful!!!

@PKV: Thank you very much for your help!

@RHB: Thanks a lot!

@mitsloanguy:
It may not have been your intention, but to me, you just sound arrogant and not very helpful as well. There are not only those uber-applicants like you may be one; if I were one of them, it would probably not be necessary to do an MBA at all. But in the end, it still comes down to what you make out of your chances. You may be right that there are even better schools around, but they did not fit with me anyway. I did not apply to any pure business school (although I think I would have been competitve), because I wanted a business school attached to a university and I did not consider a two-year program either. Apart from Kellogg (which I was too late to apply for), there were not many options left.


Thanks a lot to all of you guy for your time and advice!

I still appreciate further comments and opinions.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 16:10
mitsloanguy wrote:
I don't really know what ego booster would be for a 2nd tier MBA school, even if you have Oxford brand name.
ego booster start at top tier no less.

Starting 2nd tier, I believe you really have to know what you want to do and how you attain your goal and be sure that this specific school you are applying to will open the specific doors you need to open.

So the question is not the brand name here because apart for the coffee chats where you brag about your school which wont help your carreer), the question is rather the link between your carreer goals and the school you apply to


All you said in the above was that his problem doesn't matter because neither of his schools are in the top tier so the brands are useless anyway.

Not only did you not provide any help at all, you made an utterly ignorant, arrogant, self aggrandizing comment that seems to be intended to make the guy feel inferior to you.

That's why people are annoyed.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 16:11
oxfordstgallen

I want to highlight some of my own personal experiences which may add some perspective. I have an economics policy degree from Columbia University and my actual job has nothing to do with economic policy. In today's saturated job market, a lot of times, something trivial or non-related to the actual job can be the reason why one applicant is picked over another equally qualified applicants. I know from talking to my former bosses that I've often won an edge over the runner up applicant (we impressed equally in interviews and had similar work experience and skillsets), simply because I went to Columbia.

The reason why I bring this up is because while MBA rankings may not have ranked Oxford as the top 10 in the world, you must remember that MBA ranking is often familiar to A FEW INDUSTRIES. Many hiring manager would not know not necessarily know that Georgetown MBA is much lower in ranking than let's say Darden -- but many of them would definitely know Georgetown as a university.

Since in your post you had said you might not necessarily want to stay in the German speaking region, you may want to put more weight on a world-recognized brand such as Oxford, just my two cents.

Hope this helps and please let us know what you decide! AND CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! :)
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 16:20
Sorry, I am being wordy, but I got one more thing to say.

While Oxford may not be ranked top 10 in the world, it is still very highly ranked. You will get a world class education in a great setting that is rich in history. I spoke to a few friends who attended Oxford (both as MBA students and as PHD students in other subjects) and they've said that Oxford has poured lots of money and resources into their MBA program -- which means you'll likely get great support in your job search.

Sorry I dont know much about St Gallen so I am not much help in that regard. :)
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2011, 23:51
enkie wrote:
Nice job editing your first comment in this thread. In your original thread you had said that anything outside of M7 or Insead/LBS, the ROI is just not worth it. That is probably one of the most generalized and ignorant statements -- which of course, you've erased by now.


I still say it; I don't see where I edited that post. I didn't erase it and I rest my case.
The ROI at a 2nd Tier school is not satisfying for the risk you take and investment you make.
You pay as much as any other top MBAs but you have much higher risk of not achieving what you want. Now if you know exactly what you want to do and that specific school can help you with that fine, otherwise it's a high risk.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2011, 00:04
RHB wrote:
mitsloanguy wrote:
I don't really know what ego booster would be for a 2nd tier MBA school, even if you have Oxford brand name.
ego booster start at top tier no less.

Starting 2nd tier, I believe you really have to know what you want to do and how you attain your goal and be sure that this specific school you are applying to will open the specific doors you need to open.

So the question is not the brand name here because apart for the coffee chats where you brag about your school which wont help your carreer), the question is rather the link between your carreer goals and the school you apply to


All you said in the above was that his problem doesn't matter because neither of his schools are in the top tier so the brands are useless anyway.

Not only did you not provide any help at all, you made an utterly ignorant, arrogant, self aggrandizing comment that seems to be intended to make the guy feel inferior to you.

That's why people are annoyed.


First of all how is my comment arrogant and self aggrandizing ? I didn't give anything about my situation; for all I know I can be in a 2nd or 3rd tier school. I didn't make any comparative comment with my situation.

As for ignorance of my comment that's also not true; I don't see why I would throw a comment while being totally ignorant about the matter. I can very much back up the things I said with facts, but my intention was not to create such reaction or to annoy people, so I'll stop here.

I admit however that I might have appeared harsh and arrogant but it was not my purpose.

In that case I am very sorry;
I hope oxfordstgallen, you will accept my apologies.

Last edited by mitsloanguy on 18 Jun 2011, 02:20, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2011, 00:08
Hi Oxfordstgallen!

Sincere congratulations! Have you made your decision? Do let us know what it is and what in the end biased you towards either of them!

To share my thoughts I'd mention two factors that I'd consider important: average age group of the class and the job market you want to work at later. In one year from now, would you want to end up working say in London or stay in German or Switzerland?
The average age group I guess is a little more senior in st Gallen right? I guess the more it matches your age, the more synergy you'll find with your study group.

Also the poor performance of st Gallen in rankings is a bit worrying. When it's "somewhere there" - it's OK, but when it never even appears there should it least make one wonder as to why that's so.

@mitsloan - o man! did you eat something wrong? :)
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2011, 02:26
Thanks a lot to all of you guys!!

I will certainly let you know as soon as I have made a decision. I do
still have two weeks for that.

@mitsloanguy: Of course do I accept your apologies. As I said before,
it may have never been your intention to sound rude or arrogant!


Have a nice weekend!
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2011, 03:35
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The ROI at a 2nd Tier school is not satisfying for the risk you take and investment you make.
You pay as much as any other top MBAs but you have much higher risk of not achieving what you want.


Oxford actually costs a fraction of what LBS, HBS, Wharton, etc. After currency conversion, it costs just about a little over half of what Wharton would cost. And you have to factor in that you have 1 year of lost wages versus 2 years at the top US programs. Additionally, your ROI analysis is completely subjective and not statistically based. What sort of methodology and analysis framework did you use? Now I would see more of your point if you were comparing a significantly lower rank school that costs similar levels as the top 10, but you are not. And how are you factoring the intangibles that make a graduate school experience satisfying? I don't see you taking that into account here.

The bottom line is, you didn't address his question at all (at least initially). Instead, you projected your own elitism onto his situation and basically told him he might as well just forget going if it isn't the top 10.
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Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!! [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2011, 05:31
enkie wrote:
Oxford actually costs a fraction of what LBS, HBS, Wharton, etc. After currency conversion, it costs just about a little over half of what Wharton would cost. And you have to factor in that you have 1 year of lost wages versus 2 years at the top US programs. Additionally, your ROI analysis is completely subjective and not statistically based. What sort of methodology and analysis framework did you use? Now I would see more of your point if you were comparing a significantly lower rank school that costs similar levels as the top 10, but you are not. And how are you factoring the intangibles that make a graduate school experience satisfying? I don't see you taking that into account here.


As for the exact price of each program, there are a lot of other parameters to take into account; e.g:HBS has huge endowments that a lot of student benefits from, MIT has an assistantship program that can cut off up to a year of your full tuition (1/3 of the students have one)....

The way I see it is that the MBA from a 1st tier b.school provides you with a relatively high jump in salary as opposed to the other MBAs;

My claim is not statistically based and i never said it was. But it's not completely subjective either.

As for the intangibles, I weight them equal anywhere in the 1st and 2nd tier b.schools; I found this assumption quite fair. Why would the human/social in short all the intangible experiences be less satisfying at one school than another ? As for the fitting factor, I believe that the best schools in the world provide a good range of culture/atmosphere/student body/geographical places etc etc ... to match everyone's need without having to go elsewhere.... (exception can happen of course .... however in general it's again a fair assumption)
If anything (I said it before) the experience would be richer in a higher ranked school because of the caliber of the population (including faculty) you would find (and I am not purely elitist here: I am talking about genuinely nice people who would probably have more to share and will to share etc etc ....)

Then financially, if I do a rough shortcut for the sake of this argument (since you don't want to let go), the best ROI are obtained at the end of the MBA in major consulting firms and IBs. And I know (I know because I have worked in one of this firm and currently working for another one of this firms) the major recruit only from the 1st tier school (among which the competition is already very high).

The other thing is that you can at least take the recruitment policy of these firms as a reference to value your profile in the job market: meaning if your profile receives a high interest from them, chances are that you would be attractive for your actual job target.

Again I don't claim to have a thorough and scientific methodology to draw my conclusion. Who can dare to have one anyway ? And please spare me the usual "my friend was...", "my relative have ...." anyone can have this kind of argument on both sides....

It is the conclusion I came to after searching about MBAs for years and worked in a "MBA friendly" environment for years. No claim of religious truth here or rigorous methodology (again who can claim that), but I have yet to find someone who can convince me otherwise...

Last edited by mitsloanguy on 20 Jun 2011, 03:43, edited 1 time in total.
Re: Please help! Oxford vs St Gallen!!!   [#permalink] 18 Jun 2011, 05:31
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