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Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson

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Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2014, 20:21
Hi GMAT Clubbers:

A friend of mine told me about this site (I've been on BTG only) and mentioned this thread is a good place to get advice from knowledgeable folks. I am currently in the fortunate situation of being accepted at 3 great programs and am still waiting to hear back from my top choice, which is Sloan.

I have a half-scholarship from Booth, a full scholarship from Stern, and a half-scholarship from Johnson. I am also waiting to hear back from Sloan (decision will be released on 4/1).

My post-MBA goals are to go into real estate development. I do have some interest in hotel acquisitions and development work that I would like to explore further. I could also see myself enjoying real estate private equity down the road if the hours are more reasonable. Still investigating all of this though. I have been told that development will be EXTREMELY tough to break into though I am willing to live anywhere in the U.S. (cities with warmer climates like Atlanta or Dallas appeal to me but I would even go to smaller towns if I had to --> the right opportunity, affordable cost of living, great dining options, and weather are the biggest considerations for me when trying to choose a place to live in the long run). I am also interested in working abroad down the road (Dubai or Asia) so brand-name is of some consideration to me. I've also been told that development roles pay a lot less than typical MBA grads make (ballpark numbers I've heard have been 75-85K). I already have 75K in debt from undergrad so minimizing debt is of importance to me. My "back-up" career choice would be to pursue a management/operations track and work for a hotel chain. Hence, I like that at MIT, I would have the chance to take real estate classes from the Center for Real Estate but could also pursue the Enterprise Management track.

I have 4 years of experience working in mergers & acquisitions. I have been rejected by a few other top programs (e.g., Wharton and Columbia) and regret that I did not apply to Kellogg or UCBerkeley. But I do not think that it makes sense to wait out another year to reapply to programs just to add those schools. I dislike my current job (especially the 80 hour weeks) and know that I need to hit the reset button on my career to transition into something real estate related. Any advice would be much appreciated. I have listed below the pros and cons I have come up with so far for each.

Cornell (Johnson):

Pros:
-tight-knit class with forced networking/integrating given the location
-amazing networking opportunities at the Hotel School (ranked #1) plus curriculum offerings
-strong real estate curriculum
-lower cost of living than all of my other options but not by as much as I would like (I will have a lot of family visiting so I want to live alone, even if it means living in an efficiency -- it seems like the cost of an efficiency with parking will run me at least $1200-$1400/month)

Cons:
-Ithaca is very small and I'm a city gal so I was not thrilled with my flight options for getting into and out of Ithaca, especially since I fly to see my folks for 3-5 days once a month. Flights are notoriously delayed out of the airport.
-I want to be able to go to NYC at least once a month. While there is a direct shuttle to and from Manhattan, it costs $160 RT which seems outrageously high to me after years of taking the Megabus for $30 RT.
-In my 3 visits to Ithaca, I have yet to visit an ethnic restaurant that I liked. I know this sounds crazy but I've lived in some of the best foodie towns in the U.S. so this is kind of a big deal to me.
-I am weary about Johnson's recruiting options for real estate/hotel stuff. I know that real estate recruiting is VERY self-initiated to begin with and am prepared for that challenge but it seems like the bulk of recruiting that students interested in this field are through conferences put on by the Hotel School and the Baker program and NOT by anything that Johnson does. I would guess that the Hotel School and Baker program help their own over a Johnson student and some second-year students have confirmed that fear.
-still have to pay for half tuition plus living expenses

NYU Stern:

Pros:
-great real estate curriculum with chance to take classes from their MS program
-not paying a dime for tuition!
-have never had the chance to live in NYC so it would be a new experience and the city obviously has a lot to do/offer in terms of cultural opportunities and dining options!
-opportunity to do a spring internship in first year would be immensely beneficial (and is apparently a common practice) since I am a career-switcher -- may also help me to zone in on my career goals more quickly but may also help me to obtain a real estate development placement
-on again off again boyfriend has recently moved to NYC and our biggest problem for being off-again has been driving distances of over 8 hours so this makes me wonder if things could work out...

Cons:
-on again off again boyfriend being there means I may get distracted during the week when I need to focus on school! It also might mean that because of the next point, I do not make as many solid contacts in school.
-have heard Sternies express a lot of problems with balancing obligations with their pre-existing social network with their Sternie network (i.e. people who lived in NYC pre-Stern already have a big network and do not spend as much time with their Stern network)
-expensive cost of living, even for a studio apartment
-great overall reputation but not sure about options for hotel industry and also not sure if the Booth and/or Sloan brands trump all else, especially if I do want to go abroad down the road
-would like to be a TA or RA and to build relationships with professors but their compensation for doing so is in the form of tuition remission so I am not exactly sure how that will work since they are already covering my tuition (would assume that I could likely be a RA for course credit though...)
-like all programs, finding a placement in real estate development will be a challenge

Chicago Booth
pros:
-tight-knit class
-great brand name and recognition abroad
-love Chicago and am very familiar with the city already, as I have a lot of extended family; also have real estate contacts here (so also a lot of support); also has great dining and cultural opportunities
-much more affordable than NYC/Boston so can live like a queen there

cons:
-not many courses in real estate (just a few finance oriented ones)
-like all programs, finding a placement in real estate development will be a challenge but may be an even bigger challenge here given the lack of courses in the subject area --> not sure if involvement with real estate club and annual real estate conference will be enough
-will still have to take out debt to fund half of education
-may be distracted by my extended family in the sense that I will have more social obligations that will impede some of the time that I should spend networking

MIT Sloan (NOTE: not even sure I'll be admitted yet but I really love the school and will be completely blown away if I am admitted. Hence, I wanted to include them in the mix here!)

Pros:
-tight-knit class and felt like "home" when I visited (cheesy, I know, but I *gush* about the school)
-amazing real estate curriculum and chance to take 5-6 classes from MIT Center for Real Estate that are cross-listed at Sloan
-really love Boston; like NYC, it has a lot of great cultural opportunities and dining options (even in Kendall Square itself) so would be a nice place to live for 2 years (and would seem more manageable to me)
-great brand name in the U.S. and abroad
-opportunities to earn tuition remission as a TA or RA (both of which interest me) could earn me a semester's worth of tuition while also building my resume
-great placement options for enterprise management
-easy commute to NYC for the occasional weekend getaway or vice versa

Cons:
-Have no idea if I will even be admitted there (ha!) but if I am so fortunate, have no idea if I would be offered any kind of funding! So could be paying full sticker price (less tuition remission from TA/RA-ing) to go there which, added to my 75K in loans, will take me at least 5 years to pay off, maybe more depending on my starting salary in development, even if I live frugally
-like all programs, finding a placement in real estate development will be a challenge
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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2014, 22:56
I picked Booth.
1) Your pros list for Booth sounds a bit more "enthusiastic" than the others... Meaning, you didn't need to dig in for pros but rather they came off of the top of your head which means a part of you wants to be there..(Or I might be imagining this).
2) You want to be in a city if you want RE and for that reason, I think the choice is really only between Booth and Stern (That is if MIT doesn't come back with a nice scholarship as well)... Over the two years, the cost fdifference between Stern and Booth is probably going to be in the range of 30k and I think the prestige difference is a bit much to take 30k into consideration..
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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 04:27
Is Booth really considered that much more prestigious than the others on my list? I think my family has made me biased because they know and have introduced me to a ton of Booth students. Living in Chicago/Milwaukee/Indy, they are "wowed" by H/S/W folks but don't really blink when they encounter a Booth person (or Ross or Kellogg, for that matter). Maybe it's because they are so much more common to meet.

In my heart, the ranking is MIT (if I can get in!), NYU/Booth (leaning toward ranking NYU before Booth), and then Johnson. But then I think about the Hotel School opportunity and question if being unhappy in a location is worth that opportunity. I also wonder if taking classes at the Hotel School gets me some of its branding (there's no certificate).

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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 04:55
I would go with NYU and take a cheaper apartment and commute. NYU will give you the biggest opportunities and full tuition sweetens the deal. Having a boy friend can be distracting but can also be a support. You do not want to hang out 24*7 with Sternies :).
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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 05:22
Other than personal preference, I dont see why Sloan places any higher than Booth.. IMO they are peer schools.. W.r.t prestige it goes Sloan/Booth, Johnson/Stern..

I would not consider either Johnson or Stern as a peer school to Booth..

But then again I'm a foreigner and can only speak from what's available through virtual media.. :)


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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 05:24
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Booth really is the easy choice. Johnson is out of the running, its the worst ranked than Stern and gave you less money.

Between Booth and Stern, Booth is considerably better. Booth is competing with Wharton for the 3rd best school in the country, Stern barely cracks the top-10. Furthermore, at Stern, you are living in the shadow of Columbia (which lives in the shadow of Wharton...which lives in the shadow of Harvard). Booth is a lot of people's first choice, Stern is almost no one's first choice.
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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 05:55
So it sounds like no one sees the Hotel School being a reason to go after Johnson?

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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 06:26
mgh234 wrote:
Booth really is the easy choice. Johnson is out of the running, its the worst ranked than Stern and gave you less money.

Between Booth and Stern, Booth is considerably better. Booth is competing with Wharton for the 3rd best school in the country, Stern barely cracks the top-10. Furthermore, at Stern, you are living in the shadow of Columbia (which lives in the shadow of Wharton...which lives in the shadow of Harvard). Booth is a lot of people's first choice, Stern is almost no one's first choice.



Booth's lack of courses in real estate concerns me. But I agree that I generally see Sloan and Booth in the top 5 (just a smidge beneath H/S/W) where as Stern is more in the top 10 arena and Johnson is more in the top 15 arena. I am now 100% certain that if I get Sloan, I will go there no matter what the price tag is. I cannot wrap my head around the idea of going to Booth over Stern without any classes in real estate though, given that I am a career switcher.
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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 06:34
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starryeyes85 wrote:
mgh234 wrote:
Booth really is the easy choice. Johnson is out of the running, its the worst ranked than Stern and gave you less money.

Between Booth and Stern, Booth is considerably better. Booth is competing with Wharton for the 3rd best school in the country, Stern barely cracks the top-10. Furthermore, at Stern, you are living in the shadow of Columbia (which lives in the shadow of Wharton...which lives in the shadow of Harvard). Booth is a lot of people's first choice, Stern is almost no one's first choice.



Booth's lack of courses in real estate concerns me. But I agree that I generally see Sloan and Booth in the top 5 (just a smidge beneath H/S/W) where as Stern is more in the top 10 arena and Johnson is more in the top 15 arena. I am now 100% certain that if I get Sloan, I will go there no matter what the price tag is. I cannot wrap my head around the idea of going to Booth over Stern without any classes in real estate though, given that I am a career switcher.



Booth has a real estate group, so you should try reaching out to them: http://student.chicagobooth.edu/group/realestate/

In regards to Cornell's hotel management, it might be ranked #1 in hotel management, but that's because hotel management isn't exactly a sought after field. My friend got into the hotel management from undergrad with a ~1100 out of 1600 SAT, and my friends who studied STEM and such at Cornell didn't really view it as "Really Cornell".
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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 06:46
starryeyes85 wrote:
mgh234 wrote:
Booth really is the easy choice. Johnson is out of the running, its the worst ranked than Stern and gave you less money.

Between Booth and Stern, Booth is considerably better. Booth is competing with Wharton for the 3rd best school in the country, Stern barely cracks the top-10. Furthermore, at Stern, you are living in the shadow of Columbia (which lives in the shadow of Wharton...which lives in the shadow of Harvard). Booth is a lot of people's first choice, Stern is almost no one's first choice.



Booth's lack of courses in real estate concerns me. But I agree that I generally see Sloan and Booth in the top 5 (just a smidge beneath H/S/W) where as Stern is more in the top 10 arena and Johnson is more in the top 15 arena. I am now 100% certain that if I get Sloan, I will go there no matter what the price tag is. I cannot wrap my head around the idea of going to Booth over Stern without any classes in real estate though, given that I am a career switcher.


I am also trying to decide between a full ride to Stern and a slightly larger award at Johnson than yours -- and I am also planning on going into real estate. I have actually spent the last few weeks talking to students who I met at Johnson's scholarship weekend who are planning to go to Johnson and also to several first-year students at Johnson (including the founder of the Hospitality Club at Johnson). I am actually leaning toward attending Johnson over Stern, but only if Johnson can increase their financial aid offer. (I approached them about my eligibility for some other scholarships to try to even the playing field between the financial aid packages, since the difference is about 45K). I have really liked Johnson from the get go and I was devastated when I was passed over for the Park Fellowship, as I really wanted to be a part of the leadership training that it provides. I think that I am a bit shy and that did not work in my favor during the scholarship weekend. If I had gotten a Park, I would have laid down my deposit and been done with all of this.

That being said, I am a bit older than your average applicant. I also already have a law degree from a top 10 school (and have paid off 150K in debt) and do not feel like the higher ranking of the business school is going to get me that much further in the real estate development world or enhance my brand that much more. (Granted, my having a law degree and having already commanded 160K+ salaries gives me a little more confidence in saying that). So for me, once I started getting offered large financial aid packages from top 10-15 schools, I did not even consider going to a higher-ranked school that could not give me a named scholarship. I believe that for real estate finance, schools like Wharton or Columbia will certainly open more doors. But I think that for development, any top 15 program will do, especially if it provides you the opportunity to take development courses and really get hands-on experience that you can speak about in your interviews. Just my $.02.
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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 06:50
SAD32 wrote:
starryeyes85 wrote:
mgh234 wrote:
Booth really is the easy choice. Johnson is out of the running, its the worst ranked than Stern and gave you less money.

Between Booth and Stern, Booth is considerably better. Booth is competing with Wharton for the 3rd best school in the country, Stern barely cracks the top-10. Furthermore, at Stern, you are living in the shadow of Columbia (which lives in the shadow of Wharton...which lives in the shadow of Harvard). Booth is a lot of people's first choice, Stern is almost no one's first choice.



Booth's lack of courses in real estate concerns me. But I agree that I generally see Sloan and Booth in the top 5 (just a smidge beneath H/S/W) where as Stern is more in the top 10 arena and Johnson is more in the top 15 arena. I am now 100% certain that if I get Sloan, I will go there no matter what the price tag is. I cannot wrap my head around the idea of going to Booth over Stern without any classes in real estate though, given that I am a career switcher.


I am also trying to decide between a full ride to Stern and a slightly larger award at Johnson than yours -- and I am also planning on going into real estate. I have actually spent the last few weeks talking to students who I met at Johnson's scholarship weekend who are planning to go to Johnson and also to several first-year students at Johnson (including the founder of the Hospitality Club at Johnson). I am actually leaning toward attending Johnson over Stern, but only if Johnson can increase their financial aid offer. (I approached them about my eligibility for some other scholarships to try to even the playing field between the financial aid packages, since the difference is about 45K). I have really liked Johnson from the get go and I was devastated when I was passed over for the Park Fellowship, as I really wanted to be a part of the leadership training that it provides. I think that I am a bit shy and that did not work in my favor during the scholarship weekend. If I had gotten a Park, I would have laid down my deposit and been done with all of this.

That being said, I am a bit older than your average applicant. I also already have a law degree from a top 10 school (and have paid off 150K in debt) and do not feel like the higher ranking of the business school is going to get me that much further in the real estate development world or enhance my brand that much more. (Granted, my having a law degree and having already commanded 160K+ salaries gives me a little more confidence in saying that). So for me, once I started getting offered large financial aid packages from top 10-15 schools, I did not even consider going to a higher-ranked school that could not give me a named scholarship. I believe that for real estate finance, schools like Wharton or Columbia will certainly open more doors. But I think that for development, any top 15 program will do, especially if it provides you the opportunity to take development courses and really get hands-on experience that you can speak about in your interviews. Just my $.02.


I should also add that my interests in real estate development are more in terms of affordable housing/social impact work so I am also not expecting to command as high of a salary as what you might make should you go the hotel operations and acquisitions/real estate private equity route. I am happy to speak to you offline if you would like to PM me.
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Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 07:44
You applied to some solid schools given your career goals. MIT, Cornell, UPenn, etc are some of the strongest programs for real estate in the world. I've never heard of UChicago having any strength in real estate though and I'm sure their curriculum reflects that. I'd personally go to MIT if you get some scholarship money there. Otherwise between Stern and Cornell, they're peer schools but I'd go with the money that Stern offered.
Re: Scholarship offers at Booth/Stern/Johnson   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2014, 07:44
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