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The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride)

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HBS vs. Booth (full-ride)

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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 18:36
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In my humble opinion since you arent looking to join PE or HF, and have a pretty good deal from Booth its a no brainer. The difference in brand is not going to have the same impact as if you wanted an exotic finance gig where brand is everything. Plus the advantage of having a special fellowship program should not be ignored, that will open a lot of doors and in many ways is a bigger advantage than being one of 900 at HBS. If it was a lesser school than Booth, it would be a far harder decision.

Also there is a lot to be said for graduating with no debt. You are looking at the same 100-120k salary coming out of school at both schools but one you are looking at 100-150k worth of debt depending on the size of loans you are taking out. Brand of school isn't as important in the industry world, many senior executives you will work with dont have MBA's and wont know or care about brand really. Its a different world than consulting and finance. Once you are working how successful you are is going to depend on what you can do for the company and not where you went.

I have several friends who ended up at Kellogg over HBS for a variety of reasons, ranging from a spouse who got into K but not HBS to someone with a large scholarship to someone who decided based on fit and career path. Its not unheard of to turn down HBS, sometimes on boards like this people are overly brand sensitive. Visit both schools and think hard about it. The ROI for you seems to be much better for Booth right now, and in the business world thats not a bad way to look at your decision...you arent looking for a job with a 500k first year out of school potential so zero debt is a huge motivator.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 19:28
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I'm on exchange at Booth right now and I voted for booth. Here are my reasons why :
- You will learn stuff. I mean seriously - the academics are thorough - in-depth and top notch. Not that you won't learn stuff at HBS, but here there is no obsession with teaching methodologies etc., just pure hard learning and it is all very heavily data driven. It is the Chicago way and boothies are rightfully proud of it.
- You will fit better - the average age is slightly higher than other schools I have visited and people seem more mature.
- As mentioned earlier (several time) there is hardly any difference between firms coming to these two schools to recruit
- You can go on exchange (maybe not the most important criteria but I dont believe HBS has an exchange program, correct me if I'm wrong)

Good luck. In the end its totally understandable if you go to HBS to avoid the sense of "what if" - these decisions in life have a strong emotional component it.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2011, 09:56
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I think the alumni and students above have given a good perspective from the other side of life - the realities post graduation.

The only fields I think HBS has significant leverage is PE. It is almost like a closed shop and brand or connections really matter to them - they like one of their own. VC in Boston perhaps, but certainly not the west coast. HF are in the most part guys who didn't even get an MBA, so it is difficult to say.

With your career path, as others have wisely noted, the lack of debt will be a big difference to you. It might even give you an edge when considering opportunities - you aren't looking for the highest salary to meet your loans, but are looking for the best opportunity that may involve a cash sacrifice for some time. The programs are all really similar - I know rhyme and I have laughed about the lack of distinction a bit. You will meet people who can't add up at both schools and will wonder why they are there, you will meet some of the smartest and sharpest people in your life as well.

The Booth opportunity sounds really interesting, and for the field you are in shares the same level of access to firms. But you will be able to have more fun at Booth, because going 20k into debt to have a riot isn't like adding another 20k onto 100k.

I suppose the only difference is whether you will wish you had gone to Harvard when you are older. Honestly, I very much doubt you will. I am not bothered by the fact I never applied to H/S/W, purely because they didn't work for where my life was at and where my family needed to be. OK, maybe I wish I had applied to Stanford, because the weather and lifestyle out there is awesome. But in the most part, it really doesn't matter and I have never felt my education is inferior to that of any of the so called "top tier" firms.

By way of reflection, a year out of school and I have recently been laid off and am on a job search. So far I have had one person mention my MBA, because he was an alumnus. No one else has even mentioned it - it is there on the sheet of paper, it is in the past and just assures them that I - most probably - am not an idiot.

Finally, the whole commuter school thing that applicants seem to create is the biggest pile of crap I have ever seen. It is as though there is some belief that living in a hamlet would build a bigger sense of "community". You all head to the same fricking building, you all have cell phones to arrange stuff. Where you live really doesn't matter unless you want to be a peeping tom or a stalker. People are well wired up to move around, be contactable and have an experience beyond living on each others toes.

I am confident Booth has an excellent atmosphere.

If you like sitting in a room, drinking beer and deriving Pi to 314 decimal places.

But at Harvard you will hear people talking about who their parents are and who they know more than about themselves, so.....

Ignore the stereotypes. Visit the schools again. Meet the students. Take time over your decision to support your own mind. Once you have done that, I expect you will go to Booth. But wherever you go, you will go with the peace of mind that you really thought things through.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 04:48
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3underscore, let me know if I can help with the hunt. PM me.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 23:39
It is a lot simpler than it seems.

Like someone mentioned, if you would've taken HBS over Booth if no scholarship was involved, then you should take HBS.

A lot of the discussion about noble-prize faculty, curriculum, "rank trend", whatever, are not factors that should sway your decision and they are not the main value-add of getting your MBA.

This is a life long investment and for most post-mba jobs, having a $100k extra debt isn't going to change your life dramatically but going to a different school -will- make a big difference in your life. Don't let this money influence your decision.

If you're not sure what you want to do, that's all the more reason to pick HBS since that will open doors in any industry vs booth having only specific areas of strength. To HR reps in many industries (even in some areas of finance that aren't heavy quant), there is a clear difference in perceived quality of graduates from HBS vs Booth. Amongst the big 3 management consulting firms, you'll notice a general pattern that the best ones go to HBS or Stanford, and the rest go somewhere else. Although Booth MBA has tremendous value and is a strong investment on a stand alone basis, $100k is not enough money to choose it over HBS.

This forum and current students are good for collecting specific information about schools but if you are looking for wisdom and help with the actual decision making, you should speak to someone who is a senior exec in the industry you want to go into and get their thoughts.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 00:15
I voted for HBS, but it is a real tough choice.
Read it somewhere that there is only one brand on the face of this earth that cut across countries, classes and masses, i.e. no matter where you are working HBS brand will be recognized. For example, my grandfather is 80 years old, never been out of India, worked as an entrepreneur throughout his life, he has no clue what ISB is (best Indian B school) but he surely knows Harvard. This is the brand recognition that Harvard commands.

Just because of the brand, I will choose HBS over booth. However, $100k is a lot of money.

Best of luck! I wish you choose the best of the two.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 01:41
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I voted for Booth.

rhyme, riverripper and 3underscore have provided very good reasons. +1
I would add something more.

I think that $ makes you mulling about your decision. see my example below.
Pros and cons of schools have been discussed before and htey are fairly equal top MBA programmes.

I think that even now after long posts and discussions you are tempted by HBS mainly because of its brand. look at the heading and voting- you put HBS first, but it may be accidentally.

Personally I would not choose HBS because as you said students at HBS are younger. They tend to admit younger candidates.
Among reasons I think younger students have less expereince, knowledge and expertise. At the age of 26 they have 3-4 years of experience out of which 1 year-for "monkey-do & monkey-see" job (though there could be exceptions but generally it is so) and a 1 year for MBA preparation (GMAT, applications, and etc.) and half a year when you got an admit . So full time experience of an admitted candiated at the age of 25-26 looks like 4-2=2 years.

Of course it depends! you may meet a very bright candidate at the age of 24-25 at HBS and a mediocre one at the age of 29-30 in other schools but IMHO on the average older candidates have more experience and you learn from experience as well.


Now I will give you an example, simple and may be funny a bit: Just imagine you would be offered admits in the folling scenarios:

scenario 1: admit to HBS and Booth with no $ (was discussed before) I think you will choose HBS.
scenario 2: admit to HBS and Booth with 2 k$ what would you choose? I think HBS this time again.
scenario 3: admit to HBS and Booth with 3 k$ what would you choose? ........?
.............................................................................................................................................
scenario 100: admit to HBS and Booth with 100 k$ what would you choose?

At a certain point you will not be sure about HBS and tend to choose Booth. think about it.

just my 2 cents.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 06:37
I wish we could separate out the alumni from the prospective students in this voting. I'm almost certain all the people with MBAs are saying "no debt, little difference - Booth" and all the prospectives are voting HBS.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 06:54
3underscore wrote:
I wish we could separate out the alumni from the prospective students in this voting. I'm almost certain all the people with MBAs are saying "no debt, little difference - Booth" and all the prospectives are voting HBS.


Well, I am prospective and voting Booth. :) I am voting for pragmatism.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2011, 07:45
3underscore wrote:
I wish we could separate out the alumni from the prospective students in this voting. I'm almost certain all the people with MBAs are saying "no debt, little difference - Booth" and all the prospectives are voting HBS.


Lol, very good point. The polling is pretty much tied which is pretty interesting. I thought for sure that this pragmatic community would strongly lean toward Booth but I guess that speaks to the power of the HBS brand.

Thank you everyone for some great insights! I hope this is helpful for others trying to make their decision.

To update you on where I stand, I was 90% sure I was going to HBS before learning about the fellowship, I was 90% sure I was going to Booth after learning about the fellowship, and now I'm 50-50 because I received some surprising news. I had two separate half-tuition fellowship opportunities from Booth and I thought that they would supplement each other. I've found out that I have to pick one or the other which was a bit surprising. That means it's now HBS vs. Booth (half ride + great fellowship opportunities). I'll leave the title of this post and the poll up since it's still an interesting question. I'm still holding on to hope that the Booth fellowship fairies will grant me some more financial assistance. :-D Most likely, I'll also get some financial assistance from HBS (maybe as much as a half scholarship if I'm lucky) so the question becomes "awesome fellowship opportunity at Booth where I would have more personalized attention vs. awesome brand name of HBS".

I have signed up to attend both admit weekends and while I've visited both schools before and taken classes, this will be a chance to meet my potential classmates to help me with my decision. Hopefully Booth will also let me delay their decision deadline so that I can give both schools a fair look. I'm going to look at this process now as "fun" rather than "stressful" and try to enjoy this. :-D
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2011, 11:30
Rhyme -- awesome write-up on Booth!
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 02:45
Congrats!
Either choice is excellent.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 03:12
eskimoroll wrote:
To update you on where I stand, I was 90% sure I was going to HBS before learning about the fellowship, I was 90% sure I was going to Booth after learning about the fellowship, and now I'm 50-50 because I received some surprising news. I had two separate half-tuition fellowship opportunities from Booth and I thought that they would supplement each other. I've found out that I have to pick one or the other which was a bit surprising.


Well aren't you glad you clarified that little nugget before setting foot on campus? "Oh, hi, Financial Aid? Yea, I got a bill... I wasn't supposed to though .... Oh what? I was? Oh." Thats a tougher call. You mentioned in your original post "back to CPG" - are you in CPG now?
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 05:43
HBS.

Just so you won't be kicking yourself down the line for not attending HBS. I agree the material difference is small and that Booth is a great school. But if your dream school is HBS and you find yourself constantly justifying to people why Booth is actually just as good, the doubts will creep in.

Put it this way, if your career totally takes off, you won't really care about the money. If it doesn't, you'll wonder if you've short changed yourself.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 06:26
I'm a current student at Ross and was waitlisted at Booth throughout the summer. I also applied to HBS and didn't get in, so my opinion is fairly non-biased.

I suppose it's a tough decision, but I think a lot of MBA's are short sighted. A full ride is great, but think about what school you want to stamp on your resume for the rest of your life. I mean if we were that concerned about money, many of us wouldn't be quitting our jobs to begin with to pursue an MBA full time.

Think about what you want to do for your long term career. While Booth is strong in Finance, HBS has a history of placing people in many elite positions.

Also, keep in mind that while Booth may have a top 5 ranking now, they may not be able to hold on to that ranking. They've always been in the top 10, but not always the top 5. Also, nationally and globally, HBS has a much stronger reputation.

It is a tough call and much easier for me to make, since I don't have that dilemma, but I'd take HBS and not look back. You have a lifetime to make money and the strong branding of your HBS degree will add more NPV to your lifetime earnings than will $100K of scholarship money from Booth. Good luck with your decision.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 07:13
rhyme wrote:
eskimoroll wrote:
To update you on where I stand, I was 90% sure I was going to HBS before learning about the fellowship, I was 90% sure I was going to Booth after learning about the fellowship, and now I'm 50-50 because I received some surprising news. I had two separate half-tuition fellowship opportunities from Booth and I thought that they would supplement each other. I've found out that I have to pick one or the other which was a bit surprising.


Well aren't you glad you clarified that little nugget before setting foot on campus? "Oh, hi, Financial Aid? Yea, I got a bill... I wasn't supposed to though .... Oh what? I was? Oh." Thats a tougher call. You mentioned in your original post "back to CPG" - are you in CPG now?


lol, yeah that would have been a nice little surprise! Yes, I'm in CPG now and have been for my entire career.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 07:30
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HBS.

Just so you won't be kicking yourself down the line for not attending HBS. I agree the material difference is small and that Booth is a great school. But if your dream school is HBS and you find yourself constantly justifying to people why Booth is actually just as good, the doubts will creep in.

Put it this way, if your career totally takes off, you won't really care about the money. If it doesn't, you'll wonder if you've short changed yourself.


I assume that back out in the real world, I will never really have to justify that to people. Here on gmatclub and on businessweek, we are so focused on this goal of getting into business school that small differences seem enormous. I went to normal Big 10 state school and everyday I work with people who have MBAs from Harvard, Stanford, Kellogg, Booth, etc. It never comes up in conversation, it doesn't change our working relationship, and it holds little value outside of getting you that first interview. We all care more about if that person is someone who can produce results and is someone we like working with. Granted getting that first interview is definitely one of the reasons to go back to school but I also know that I still have a lot to learn about how to be a better manager and I also need a more broad understanding of business in all its forms.

Regardless of what school I choose, when I make that decision, I'm promising myself that I will not look back and rather immerse myself in growing as much as I can during those two years.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 07:36
LOL, maybe this debate would have been decided once and for all if rhyme, earlier, decided to take out his infamous financial calculator and hash out his "Steven Levitt-esque" analysis..

Sort of like this:

gmat-low-700s-vs-99867.html#p770248

If you haven't noticed by now, I am a BIG fan...

BIG
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 07:50
nink wrote:
LOL, maybe this debate would have been decided once and for all if rhyme, earlier, decided to take out his infamous financial calculator and hash out his "Steven Levitt-esque" analysis..

Sort of like this:

gmat-low-700s-vs-99867.html#p770248

If you haven't noticed by now, I am a BIG fan...

BIG


lol, I don't think that the starting salaries and the career progression dollar increases would be dramatically different for either school as far as brand management goes. It's $100-130K a year starting salary and then it's all dependent on my skills and abilities. I'm also a big fan of rhyme and have read many of his great posts this past year. :-D

How about we frame this conversation a bit differently then and ignore brand management for a minute. If I wanted to do a start-up after school (for the sake of this conversation, let's say it's either in movie production/design or technology) what school would give me the stronger foundation of skills to learn to be a savvy entrepreneur? HBS just announced a small scale entrepreneur seed fund of sorts for students through the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and has produced some great entrepreneurs. Booth has a great entrepreneurship program as well (ranked #2 by Entrepreneur magazine for whatever that's worth) with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. HBS has a much bigger presence in VC but that's probably not as important for a fledgling start-up but might be important later on if I'm on to something good.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 08:00
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I voted for Booth.

HBS pros:
- Best business school brand in the world -- an important variable if you want an international career.
- Incredible campus

HBS cons:
- populated by kids -- being 2-3 years above the average is not a small factor (you won't be among peers in HBS)

Booth pros:
- Great brand
- Great school
- Flexible curriculum -- the most flexible of all schools; the ENORMOUS importance of this only dawns once you b-start school

Booth cons:
- Cold
- Midwest

With not full-ride, I would choose HBS.

With full-ride at Booth, I would not even doubt it. Booth all the way. Going through school with no debt will allow you to experience school differently, in a better way, with no stress. You will get the most out of it. Go to HBS, finish school at 30 with 180k on the red side, and you may force yourself to become a banker just to pay the debt quickly. Go to Booth with all paid for, and the world is yours.

My 2 cents. Hope it helps.

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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride)   [#permalink] 03 Feb 2011, 08:00
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1 Experts publish their posts in the topic GMAT Vs My Life amarpreet1983 6 28 Dec 2013, 07:23
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4 full-ride Ross vs. Wharton? mbagirly 6 26 Mar 2011, 12:52
Toughest decision of my life mojoman 6 12 Mar 2009, 01:12
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The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride)

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