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# separating Oxford from Cambridge

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21 Feb 2009, 03:01
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Dear Gmatters,
We have been used to taking the name oxbridge in the same breath. However, both these B schools are different. I believe if one increases the degree of resolution one can identify many differences.

In my opinion. Said oxford is a better college. however I must state that this is my subjective opinion. people may or may not agree with me. I will humbly state my reasons for the same. Obviously there are many people who leave either to join the other. I however have preferred said over Judge. Firstly a general comparison:

1. Not much difference in university brand value. both are ultra elite just like harvard/ stanford yale.
2. age of programs: both are younger though judge is older by 5/7 years.
3. current status in european B schools. both are counted in elite school group. the ultra elites in europe are obviously(my opinion) LBS/Insead/IMD. The FT ranks also prove the same. Both have been consistently in the top 10 to 20 bracket in the last 3 years.
4. Average GMAT/percentage of internationals is comparable level(roughly 40 to 50 nationalities). though said class size is around 240 vs judges at 150.
5. curriculum wise , both of them appear to be similarly placed.
6. comparable on average starting salaries.

Now my reasons for preferring oxford over Cambridge.

1. I inherently have issues with a school with shows high jumping in rankings in either direction without any apparent reason. Judges rank has been very volatile. from mid 30s to 10/9 then in top 20. it is not clear to me, why such rapid swings in either direction. oxford on the other hand has seen a quick but consistent rise in rankings. Though for the past two years it is below judge.

2. I feel that to create an inflated demand for itself. judge is rejecting many good candidates.
This is simple demand and supply. to increase the price you increase the demand (by waiving off the application fee), and artificially choke the supply(by rejecting many good candidates due to this increased supply). I have seen the profiles of some real good candidates(3 to 4) who were summarily dinged without interview at Judge. i have also seen their essays. they were/are good candidates. all of them have been accepted at more than one ultra elite to elite B school in Us and europe(LBS, Tuck. Kellog, Haas, Insead, Michigan, yale). Rejecting many such candidates without an interview indicates a prejudiced and manipulative mindset(pardon my strong words, if they are hurting to some existing or past judge students). similarly adding a new round 1.5 as round 1 to me is oppurtunistic, and detrimental to those who applied in genuine round 1. They invested substantial time at the cost of perhaps some other B school. No other B school did that.

3. Based on my interaction with adcom at both the schools, I have felt a more professional attitude at said than at judge.
4. while visiting both the websites, Judge appears to be boasting of its clubs/activities, while is said is politely assertive.(again a subjective feeling). In truth i havent been to either school, but have spoken to people who have and they confirm my reading.
5. In no time has Said established itself as the best school for nonprofit/social entrepreneurship in europe.(the yale of europe for that matter), Judge though strong in tech based entrepreneurship is yet to occupy any such position.
5. Oxford have been more successful in poaching(if I may use the word) well known names in management as faculty as compared to cambridge.

I will really welcome a healthy debate on this topic. everyone is free to tear my argements to pieces if they feel so, or add more strength to them.
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Last edited by devil420 on 21 Feb 2009, 12:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: seperating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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21 Feb 2009, 08:10
I see ranking of Judge not so fluctuating . It has been between 10-20 for last three years. But I agree with you that one gets better feel with oxford admission process. Specially with there essays with almost no word limit is really cool. Also they were more punctual to inform on the interview results compared to judge. Its interesting to see that judge used to rank way below said prior to 2007.

thnks,
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Re: seperating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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21 Feb 2009, 11:12
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Interesting insights devil. I have my own opinions, but I will hold them close to my chest for now. I feel as though I shouldn't maintain a bias of any sort in my position, especially given that I am in some sort of running for both schools.

But your very thoughtful post does open up a few points to debate.

- Some schools perhaps swing in rankings every time they get audited. Judge and Said got audited in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Perhaps Judge's jump in 2007 was due to their fresh audit.
- Some schools focus on rankings more than others, and when the ranking criteria gets changed, then you could see a shift in the ranking.

Yield control is another interesting thing. There is a number of ways schools do this. Take for example Columbia's Early Decision round, where you have to sign a "contract" with them saying if accepted, you will have to matriculate. I see no problem with schools making sure that people who want to attend their program more than others get a better shot. But I do agree that Cambridge's yield control methods are crazy. Take for example a member of this European MBA forum, our friend Prashok, who got interviewed everywhere he applied, (LBS,Said,INSEAD) but failed to get an interview with Judge. I would hate to think Judge looks at where else you sent your GMAT scores and uses this to control their interview invites. But that's just me thinking out loud.

Now, to compare the front office staff of both schools. I've visited both schools and have been in contact with their admissions committee and marketing staff over email, and I have to say Judge need to up the game here. To miss self imposed decision deadlines and to pull stunts like R1.5 (which probably affected me not getting an interview ) was below par. It's like saying, we will delay Christmas this year so people can take advantage of the January sales.

Enough of my ranting, but I still think these are just "front office tactics", but once in, both schools are great schools. That's what my research and conversations with alumni show anyway. It might just be that Judge is more focus on rankings.
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2009, 02:38
I concur with what has been said thus far. In the end, I think that Oxford and Cambridge (in terms of MBA programs) mirror the relationship between Harvard and Stanford. While both brands are strong, Oxford (like Harvard) seems to have a slight advantage in reputation (especially in North America), and it tends to be stronger in the "traditional" MBA feeder industries, like banking. And like Stanford, JBS tends to be extremely selective, often looking for students with nontraditional or unique backgrounds (which probably explains my application -- I'm a very cookie-cutter MBA candidate ). IIRC, Cambridge is also located in Silicon Fenland (a prominent technology area in England) -- and is pretty strong in high-tech entrepreneurship.

One interesting aspect of JBS is that its advisory board seems to have many heavy-hitters -- executives from BP, Barclays Capital, Warburg Pincus and McKinsey. But I have heard that on-campus recruiting and the career services office at Cambridge does not seem to be as well-regarded as Said...
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2009, 16:41
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Well, I’ve anticipated that somebody will start this topic Great initiative, Devil! I certainly could not miss this deathmatch of the millennia. My apologies for a very long and perhaps boring post ahead.

I am in a position similar to Buffdaddy’s: theoretically, I still might end in either of these two schools – have an offer from Oxford and waitlisted after interview at Cambridge – which doesn’t encourage expressing too emotionally loaded opinions. But the truth is that I value both schools rather high, and now I feel that I ought to say a few good words for Cambridge… even though I am aware of JBS weaknesses.

I will start with the admission process, as it gives rise to the most number of complains. True, my own experience with Cambridge admissions was less pleasant than with the one at Oxford (and not only because I didn’t get an admit) – but I wouldn’t state that Judge is necessary less professional in this aspect than Said. Even if quite a lot of applicants are not pleased with JBS admissions, it still doesn’t mean that their admission process is ineffective. In fact, it works very smooth – providing that you manage to get through it from the first try, which I, unfortunately, couldn’t.

Their front office staff is also quite professional (I’m sorry, but here I can’t agree with you, Buffdaddy). Those failures we witness – such as constantly missing the deadline or never reviewing the waitlist – is, to my opinion, an indication of a more global problem in the organisation of business processes at JBS. Yes, it’s certainly a weakness, and a significant one. Though, not unexpected: it reflects the disadvantages of the very nature of school’s culture, which, as I mentioned earlier, is rather non-traditional and even chaotic. But some people like its, let’s say, ‘personal touch’, and so could be more forgiving about its drawbacks.

Next, a few words regarding (presumably unjustified) JBS selectivity. The adcom put a lot of effort in selecting those applicants they want – choosing right people is their first priority – and their offer candidates are not necessary ‘typical MBA superstars’: a lot of dings for people with 750+ GMAT and top positions proves it. And the adcom manage to do the biggest part of job before the interview – thus, so few invites. True, JBS is very selective, but it isn’t the most selective school in the world. And I wouldn’t say that their selectiveness is unjustified: the problem is that a great number of people still perceive them as a safety/subpar to LBS and INSEAD, and, consequently, put less effort to the app preparation, taking an invite for granted… and then get their dings. And anyways, I somehow don’t think that ‘how-dared-that-lousy-school-not-to-admit-such-a-great-candidate-as-Magical-Me!’ type of persons would be a good catch for any school, least of all JBS, which puts a lot of emphasis on their collaborative spirit (hmm… perhaps I myself am such a person… that explains a lot ).

Besides, I have a feeling that their admission criteria may considerably fall for R3 and R4. They probably won’t have enough number of people on the waitlist to compensate this. Overall, I’d say the level of their class will be roughly the same as it was the last year. But this was just by the by.

Now, I’m finishing this never-ending tale of Heavenly Pleasures with Cambridge Adcom and move to more objective things – namely, to the JBS and SBS comparative positions in rankings and the analysis of their respective strengths and weaknesses.

I used FT Global MBA ranking as the most relevant one and compared the available data from 2002 till 2009. Those who’re interested may see the enclosed file with Excel tables for the characteristics I considered.

First, both JBS and Said experienced fluctuations in their ranking positions. But Devil420 is right in that the jumps for JBS were considerably more pronounced.
Attachment:

judge_vs_said.gif [ 5.26 KiB | Viewed 24882 times ]

During the last three years, however, JBS consistently outranks Said. Perhaps, their admission policy is starting to pay off?

Furthermore, Value-for-Money trend is similar to the overall ranking, with Judge leading during the last four years. Btw, this characteristic is a good estimation of schools’ comparative reputation among applicants: at the moment, the majority value JBS a bit higher.

So, it seems that Said is starting to fall behind, even if slightly. I regret to admit it, because I personally see it as at least no less strong school that JBS.

Why is this happening? I mentioned earlier in other thread that such a trend may be due to Said’s less emphasised selectivity. What an irony: people blame JBS for the same thing they rate them higher… But that’s how it works: high selectivity – which, by the way, is possible only if yield control methods are well-developed – leads to a perception that school is more prestigious and that students are of higher quality, which, in turn, leads to stronger reputation among the recruiters… which, finally, leads to an overall stronger school reputation and inspires better qualified people to apply – and the circle is complete. This year, Said’s terminating its loan scheme could force them to become even less selective, which, along with an associated loss in school reputation, is by no means a good thing for them.

However, there’s another factor that might have contributed to Said’s losing its position comparing to Judge. Let’s consider two job-related characteristics: Placement Success and Career Progress. The first one is a measure of effectiveness of a school career service, the second one is an indication of whether students ended up at better jobs after graduation than prior to their MBA. These characteristics might seem similar, but the difference is very important here: the first one evaluates how the school can help students to get good jobs, while the second one just shows how well students are employed (regardless of how they found a job). And, while we see that the level of jobs and salary is comparable for both schools, JBS’s career service seems to be way better, according to alumni opinions. Now, since a major purpose of having an MBA is to find a better job (for many people), such situation puts Said in not very good light.

Still, even despite career service appeared to be not that helpful, alumni still regard their experience at Said very high – higher that Judge’s alumni (see Aims Achieved). Who knows, maybe it’s perhaps their goals were less prosaic, and they dreamed not about a job at Big 4, but rather about some Greater Good… Said focuses in non-profit and social entrepreneurship, after all… or maybe it’s because their expectations were lower from the very beginning. Now, as I’m a hopeless romantic, I choose to believe in former explanation

Overall, as we can see, in the last few years Judge seems to have gained more – in ranking, reputation, effectiveness – than Said. True, JBS has no such distinct focus in some specific areas, but as it positions itself as a well-balanced programme with an inclination to general management, I don’t see this lack of focus as a weakness. Speaking of main weaknesses – I’d say that Judge’s is some gaps in their organisational business processes, and Said’s is an insufficient development of at least one key function (career service… and I’m not sure about strategic marketing: it’s a question whether they need to promote the school more actively). All this is only IMHO, of course.

Now, I’m ending this way too long a post, and would like to wish good luck to all of the Oxbridge applicants, whichever school they choose as their dream one. As for me – when I started the application process, I had more love for Judge, and more respect for Said. Today, my respect for Said grew stronger – but my love for Judge almost ceased to exist. I know that disappointments are inevitable in our MBA adventure... and I wish you experience as little of them as possible.
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2009, 00:10
just a couple point on ranking for SAID:
1) Businessweek ranks said higher than judge. Infact it does not list judge in tier 1 list for Non US MBA.

2)Also I read on the forum in one of the threads that OXFORD has better recall value than cambridge.

thnks,
abhay
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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03 Mar 2009, 18:27
wonderful analysis greenoak, worth 2 kudos. but then this quality was expected of u:).
i hope to have u as my batchmate at said, now that i have closed the Judge option.
one point on placement services of Judge vs said. judge has a batch size of 140 to 150 Vs 240 to 250 of said.perhaps this makes the job of career services easier.
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2009, 09:55
Is there nobody from Cambridge to answer ?
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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04 Nov 2009, 15:04
I think only one GMATclub member (Pathfinder77) last year had cracked the impenetrable fortress that is Judge Business School. But he ended up going with another school....
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2010, 12:51
question -

worth applying to Said in R3?

i'm international, been us-based for 7 years now since got my undergrad from here, have a sub 700 gmat, and work in nonprofit management.
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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23 Jan 2010, 04:38
I saw your question somewhere else I think (?) and well... I don't really understand it. Why wouldn't it be worth applying? If it's your highest wish to get into Saïd, or at least you know it will be a good place to get your MBA from, and you really feel you need an MBA now, then why not apply?

If your question refers to your profile, as in will you stand out from the crowd, then you need to give more details. Find the unique angle to your story and aspirations, and write about it. I'm sure if you work hard it will be worth applying. Good luck.
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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24 Jan 2010, 11:14
annae wrote:
I saw your question somewhere else I think (?) and well... I don't really understand it. Why wouldn't it be worth applying? If it's your highest wish to get into Saïd, or at least you know it will be a good place to get your MBA from, and you really feel you need an MBA now, then why not apply?

If your question refers to your profile, as in will you stand out from the crowd, then you need to give more details. Find the unique angle to your story and aspirations, and write about it. I'm sure if you work hard it will be worth applying. Good luck.

thanks for the insight. the angle i was wondering about is whether Said's acceptance rate drops considerably in R3 such that it becomes detrimental to apply in that round, as occurs with US schools. let me know what you think.
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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25 Jan 2010, 07:29
niraja wrote:
annae wrote:
I saw your question somewhere else I think (?) and well... I don't really understand it. Why wouldn't it be worth applying? If it's your highest wish to get into Saïd, or at least you know it will be a good place to get your MBA from, and you really feel you need an MBA now, then why not apply?

If your question refers to your profile, as in will you stand out from the crowd, then you need to give more details. Find the unique angle to your story and aspirations, and write about it. I'm sure if you work hard it will be worth applying. Good luck.

thanks for the insight. the angle i was wondering about is whether Said's acceptance rate drops considerably in R3 such that it becomes detrimental to apply in that round, as occurs with US schools. let me know what you think.

Niraja,

Similar question was asked on Said's facebook page. Acceptance rate is same for all 3 rounds. Goodluck!!
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge [#permalink]

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17 Feb 2010, 22:40
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prashok wrote:
I think only one GMATclub member (Pathfinder77) last year had cracked the impenetrable fortress that is Judge Business School. But he ended up going with another school....

On a thread that has a huge majority of Oxford supporters, I might be an exception.

I faced a similar dilemma when I was an applicant. After a whole lot of research, introspection and coin-tossing (of course, with varying degrees of importance allocated to each of these scientific approaches), I decided not to apply to Oxford and go with Cambridge.

The actual reasons are not too important here, as these are subjective anyway. Also, any comparison would involve an element of unintentional mud-slinging. I have great respect for both schools and don't think any of them warrants negative publicity.

I went to Cambridge. Got a double scholarship. Studied with a bunch of amazing people. Interacted with industry leaders, academic geniuses and Nobel prize winners. Managed a complete career change from Tech to Strategy/M&A. Had loads of fun in the process.

So these stories will differ depending on who you are talking to.

Despite being relatively new schools, they've been doing very well and proving that they are worthy of their lineage.

Judge (pun unintended) it from your own perspective. You can't go wrong with either.

Good luck.
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Re: separating Oxford from Cambridge   [#permalink] 17 Feb 2010, 22:40
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