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regional vs national business school [#permalink]
20 Jan 2007, 10:02
Iâ€™m curious in hearing everyoneâ€™s thoughts on the value of going to regional vs national business schools.
I applied to four top-15 schools and to my hometown regional school, the U of Washington (29th in UW News). If I get into any of my top 3 choices, I will definitely go. However, Iâ€™m beginning to wonder whether it would be better to go to my #4 choice, NYU (if I get in!) or UW, which Iâ€™ve already been admitted to and received a scholarship.
Here are some more details: I work in finance now and would like to work in research, trading, or portfolio mgmt for a buy-side firm after getting an MBA. Also, I will most likely live in WA or CO immediately after school. Finally, my wifeâ€™s a lawyer, which makes leaving WA tough for her because she may have to take another bar.
NYU is appealing because is has a strong national rep (though not on the level of a Chicago or Stanford), it has a top finance program, itâ€™s a bigger program with more students (800 vs 200) and finance electives, it probably has higher quality student body, it has some great clubs and a student-run investment fun, there are good summer internship opps in NY, and I like NY (but I donâ€™t want to live there long-term). Big drawbacks are the cost, the difficulty in making WA and CO contacts, and the general wife crankiness with having to move across the country and look for a new job.
UW is appealing because it has a good regional rep (itâ€™s really the only decent b-school in the whole NW), there's more opp to make regional contacts, yearly tuition is way less ($8k vs $40k), housing costs and moving hassle are way less, my wife already has a great job lined up, and I like Seattle and wouldnâ€™t mind living here long-term. Big drawbacks are the tiny size, the lack of a student investment fund, and the lack of prestige.
So what would you do? Do you think WA and CO firms would make a big distinction between an NYU MBA and a UW MBA?
Normally, I would suggest going to the highest ranked school possible, but you have a tough decision. After speaking with an NYU representative at the MBA fair in San Francisco, I concluded that NYU wasn't a good choice if you are certain you'd like to work on the west coast. You also have your wife to consider.
NYU is considerably less "national" than most of its peers in the elite cluster. It's not so much a problem as it is a condition that perpetuates itself. NYU students have access to some of the best finance jobs in New York, but not many of the best jobs elsewhere in the country in other fields. As a result, many NYU grads take the banking/finance jobs in NY. This means that their alumni base in NY is huge and well connected, but that they have few alumni anywhere else. New applicants know this, so they consider NYU if they are sure they want to work in NY in finance; but the school becomes less attractive if you want to work anywhere else.
So, if you are sure you want to get a job on the west coast after graduating, think carefully about going to NYU. It's a great school for certain specialties, but it would be difficult to overcome the much lower costs of attending UW because NY has poor reach for west coast jobs.
Yeah, it would be nice to stay in Seattle and get a house and a dog. On the other hand, I don't want to look back in 10 years and realize that I missed a chance to go to a national program.
Another thing: for undergrad, I was admitted at a few top schools, but I went to a tier 2 college because of a scholarship, a better chance to play a varsity sport, and a more-collegial atmosphere.
I loved my time in undergrad, but when I got out, I realized how important college reputation is when looking for jobs. My high school buddies at the top schools had recruiters coming to campus and were landing $50k jobs right out of undergrad. Let's just say it wasn't quite like that at my college.