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Tuck vs Darden ($$$+chance at prestigious fellowship)

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Tuck vs Darden ($$$ + chance at prestigious fellowship)

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Re: Tuck vs Darden ($$$+chance at prestigious fellowship) [#permalink] New post 24 Jan 2013, 10:49
CurrentDardenStudent wrote:
Hi all,

I am a second year student at Darden, and wanted to offer a couple of thoughts. Understandably, decision-making time is not always easy and you want to make an informed decision as possible. So I hope my perspective might be of help.

First off, figuring out how many people went to certain banks and comparing across schools can be misleading - and in my view, isn't the right reason to attend a school. I'm not saying the numbers are wrong. But, looking purely at placement numbers doesn't account for the total number of offers that were given out (and then accepted or declined), nor does it account for the vastly different class sizes in some of the comparisons. While I do think it is important to see the types of employers that recruit from each school, I am skeptical that digging deep into the data will be the best basis for your decision.

Secondly - and I will just speak only for Darden since I haven't attended the other programs - but I was very impressed by the caliber and range of employers that Darden attracted in the Investment Banking field. Admittedly, I did not recruit for banking so I didn't go through this particular process. But, I did work at GS for 4 years prior to school, so I am fairly familiar with the industry, and I can't think of a major IB player who I did not see on campus with the exception maybe of some of the boutiques. Point is, banking is one of Darden's strengths as far as recruiting goes. As a side note, I saw some concern on the thread about international student recruiting - I am happy to connect you with international classmates who went into finance/banking, if you send me a message.

Third, I do agree that rankings are important - and cause some of the school decisions to be really difficult - but as important, I believe, is the idea of "fit." In your gut, is there a program that feels right for you? To me, this is very important because the MBA was, in my opinion, a life experience, rather than just a mechanism to change jobs. You will hopefully make friends and networks, learn about truly difficult skills beyond the coursework like communication and teamwork, travel to places you've never been, take part in fun school traditions, encounter unexpected challenges, meet inspiring professors or business leaders, and take steps towards a great career. Consider the environment in which you think you will thrive and take advantage of these opportunities. For me (again, personally), of course I wanted to get in front of the employers I was most interested in, but I tend to think you will have that opportunity at any top school - and at that point it's largely up to you to land it (not a brand name). I made what I thought was a tough choice at the time to come to Darden (I was targeting companies in California, where I also had offers from MBA programs), but I went with my gut; in retrospect, I couldn't have been happier with my decision, and it turns out, I'm headed to California afterwards. I'm not saying that Darden is right for everyone - it might not be! My point is that choosing an MBA program is a personal choice and hopefully through campus visits, honest conversations with students/staff, and some research, you will cut through the noise and get a good sense for the program that feels best for you holistically, including recruiting and other considerations.

Lastly, Tuck vs Darden vs some of the other great programs I have seen on this thread - all great options. At the end of the day, it's what you make of it and, the MBA is a great experience so I think you will have a good time wherever you go.

Hope this helps, please let me know if I can help answer any questions about Darden...

CDS, PMed you. Will be in touch.
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Re: Tuck vs Darden ($$$+chance at prestigious fellowship) [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2013, 05:19
What did you finally decide on, joy4ol?


joy4ol wrote:
CurrentDardenStudent wrote:
Hi all,

I am a second year student at Darden, and wanted to offer a couple of thoughts. Understandably, decision-making time is not always easy and you want to make an informed decision as possible. So I hope my perspective might be of help.

First off, figuring out how many people went to certain banks and comparing across schools can be misleading - and in my view, isn't the right reason to attend a school. I'm not saying the numbers are wrong. But, looking purely at placement numbers doesn't account for the total number of offers that were given out (and then accepted or declined), nor does it account for the vastly different class sizes in some of the comparisons. While I do think it is important to see the types of employers that recruit from each school, I am skeptical that digging deep into the data will be the best basis for your decision.

Secondly - and I will just speak only for Darden since I haven't attended the other programs - but I was very impressed by the caliber and range of employers that Darden attracted in the Investment Banking field. Admittedly, I did not recruit for banking so I didn't go through this particular process. But, I did work at GS for 4 years prior to school, so I am fairly familiar with the industry, and I can't think of a major IB player who I did not see on campus with the exception maybe of some of the boutiques. Point is, banking is one of Darden's strengths as far as recruiting goes. As a side note, I saw some concern on the thread about international student recruiting - I am happy to connect you with international classmates who went into finance/banking, if you send me a message.

Third, I do agree that rankings are important - and cause some of the school decisions to be really difficult - but as important, I believe, is the idea of "fit." In your gut, is there a program that feels right for you? To me, this is very important because the MBA was, in my opinion, a life experience, rather than just a mechanism to change jobs. You will hopefully make friends and networks, learn about truly difficult skills beyond the coursework like communication and teamwork, travel to places you've never been, take part in fun school traditions, encounter unexpected challenges, meet inspiring professors or business leaders, and take steps towards a great career. Consider the environment in which you think you will thrive and take advantage of these opportunities. For me (again, personally), of course I wanted to get in front of the employers I was most interested in, but I tend to think you will have that opportunity at any top school - and at that point it's largely up to you to land it (not a brand name). I made what I thought was a tough choice at the time to come to Darden (I was targeting companies in California, where I also had offers from MBA programs), but I went with my gut; in retrospect, I couldn't have been happier with my decision, and it turns out, I'm headed to California afterwards. I'm not saying that Darden is right for everyone - it might not be! My point is that choosing an MBA program is a personal choice and hopefully through campus visits, honest conversations with students/staff, and some research, you will cut through the noise and get a good sense for the program that feels best for you holistically, including recruiting and other considerations.

Lastly, Tuck vs Darden vs some of the other great programs I have seen on this thread - all great options. At the end of the day, it's what you make of it and, the MBA is a great experience so I think you will have a good time wherever you go.

Hope this helps, please let me know if I can help answer any questions about Darden...

CDS, PMed you. Will be in touch.
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Re: Tuck vs Darden ($$$+chance at prestigious fellowship) [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2013, 16:13
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Just an update - I didn't win the fellowship and my decision didn't become any easier after visiting both the schools. Interestingly, some other Fellowship nominees were in the exact same boat as me - they are spit between Darden and Tuck at this point. For any future applicant - the Jefferson Fellowship really is a big deal with LOTS of perks but only 1 (sometimes 2) get it from the business school each year.

I also got some idea of the number of people who went to some of the MBB, GS/JPM type firms for their summers I can safely say the differences between the two schools were few (yes, i normalized for class size). Not sure how that translates into full-time numbers but the P&Q numbers for 2011 consulting hires were a little harsh on Darden. People at both school were really amazing and I could easily see the value of a small class size. Classroom experience was equally great at both but I sensed Darden people really had to work a lot more with their 3 cases per day requirement. Also met both Consulting2finance and CurrentDardenStudent - genuine guys you can reach out to for advice on Darden!

Also, I realized that 'exploring' in second year is not really an option (at least one that can be planned sitting here, right now). This is not to say people don't do it, but my strategy of doing an banking internship and then exploring other stuff is impractical since most banks really expect you to accept their offer (if any) soon and have a decreasing signing fee structure to incentivize that. Also, being an international, I felt it's more practical to try to get recruited into established/larger firms which do sponsor work visas for their hires. So that again brings me back to banking/consulting given my unsure career plans.

As I said before, I am still undecided. I will drop in a last word on my decision on this thread at the end of this month.
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Re: Tuck vs Darden ($$$+chance at prestigious fellowship) [#permalink] New post 08 May 2013, 06:51
joy4ol wrote:

As I said before, I am still undecided. I will drop in a last word on my decision on this thread at the end of this month.


What did you end up doing?
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Re: Tuck vs Darden ($$$+chance at prestigious fellowship) [#permalink] New post 14 May 2013, 13:24
CobraKai wrote:
joy4ol wrote:

As I said before, I am still undecided. I will drop in a last word on my decision on this thread at the end of this month.


What did you end up doing?


I decided to take up an offer from Kellogg :?
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Re: Tuck vs Darden ($$$+chance at prestigious fellowship) [#permalink] New post 14 May 2013, 15:00
joy4ol wrote:
I decided to take up an offer from Kellogg :?


For future readers, would you mind sharing your reasons for your decision in the end?
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Re: Tuck vs Darden ($$$+chance at prestigious fellowship)   [#permalink] 14 May 2013, 15:00
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