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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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Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Marketing
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The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 09:46
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I have the incredible good fortune to be able to choose between some top programs for my MBA. My career goal is transition into marketing/entrepreneurship and I'm debating between HBS and Booth. While I'm open to going back to CPG, tech product management (Google, Amazon, etc.) also intrigues me. While I know this is a deeply personal decision that I need to make for myself (with help from family and friends), I'm also interested to hear from this community what your thoughts are on my selection. Oh and if you're wondering why Kellogg isn't in my decision process, it's because between Kellogg and HBS, there are lots of similarities (general management, softer skills, etc.) and I give the nod to HBS even with strong marketing program at Kellogg.

Harvard Business School
Pros:
- Has by far the best brand name and the network will open the most doors for me throughout my life.
- It is the dominant MBA at my current employer who I wouldn't mind returning to.
- I will learn to be a general manager and learn to make good decisions with limited information (case method)
- True campus immersion with everyone living in close proximity to each other

Cons:
- It's a huge school with 900+ students.
- The students tend to be younger (I'll be 30 at matriculation)
- I expect to get the standard financial aid package or perhaps a bit less given my income (probably ~$20-30K per year)

Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business
Pros:
- Full scholarship and a fellowship that would give me access to some extremely influential people in the marketing world (potential career accelerator)
- Harper Center is world class (I like pretty buildings!)
- Flexible curriculum would mean more focus on areas I want to study and the ability to manage my time to maximize the time I spend with my wife as well
- Leader in data driven marketing and the analytical approach is really valued

Cons:
- Brand recognition is low (I hear "Where's Booth" a lot) since it's always been Chicago GSB
- Campus is beautiful but it is as commuter school
- No cohort so I'll need to work harder to create a network
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 15:09
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The below I posted in the other thread but am reposting here in case people are interested. It doesnt address your question directly, but perhaps some interesting stuff for you to noodle on.

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Its very poorly written because most of it was done on a blackberry on my way to work, but you'll get the idea.

Someone, whom shall remain nameless sent me the following message (edited to protect):

Quote:
.... could you perhaps share what you see as cons and unexpected pros of Chicago Booth? I am especially interested in the cons...

My perceptions from talking to students right now is that it's unpleasantly over-competitive in general....

you have a lot more students from part-time and evening programs competing for the same interview slots, so getting jobs is even harder. Is this accurate?


I won't just focus on the con's cause I really don't think its fair to only talk about that, but I'll give them 50% of my time.

The first thing mentioned here is that its unpleasantly over-competitive in general. On this fact, I'm split. Academics are not competitive, high profile jobs sometimes are.

Lets tackle academics. There's really very little competition here. Sure, there are those people who *care* more about their grades and there are those that practically appear to be comatose in class -- and everything in between, but there's hardly a lot of competition. A couple of reasons for this.

First, there are far more people who aim for a "B or a C" than people who aim for an "A or A-". So, right out of the gate, that reduces the competitiveness in class pretty substantially.

Second, much of what you do (with the exception of certain courses like accounting) is very team oriented. A lot of these team efforts begin to approach collusion instead of competition. For instance, if you have a 5 person team and say, 10 case writeups to do over the course of a class, some teams will just say 'ok you do the first 2, i'll do the next 2, etc..' and you just cut your workload in a fifth. Professors don't much encourage that of course, it's sort of cheating the learning process a bit being that the whole idea of team oriented learning is that you discuss (not that you just divy up the work).

Third, peeople just aren't like that -- its quite common for people to share cheat sheets for final exams ("oh i took that class last quarter, let me give you my cheat sheet for the final") or notes or other resources.

Fourth, and perhaps this should have been first, we have grade non disclosure. IT means that you cannot divulge your GPA to any recruiter until after you graduate. So (and this relates to my first point about most people not aiming for As) there's really very little incentive (outside of your own personal sense of accomplishment) to aim for As. I'm proud of my high honors but other than my parents, I'm not sure anyone cares.

Fifth, it takes EFFORT to get something lower than a C. I don't know of people who have -- although I know they exist. But honestly, you REALLY have to do nothing to get below a C. The overall difficulty of the academics are far overblown.

Sixth, part of it is just being smart -- pick your teammates well. People get reputations as 'idiots' or 'slackers' quickly, and those people won't find themselves in good groups. If on the other hand, you get the opposite reputation you'll find that people you barely know are trying to get you to join their group. Having the pick of the litter makes your life a lot easier. It's not always easy to cut out the weak ones and I've thrown a few really poor performers under a bus which I didn't like to do, but it was the right choice. By the time I got into my second year, I had all of the smartest folks in teh room pairing up on my team - most of whom (if not all) were smarter than I was.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. I was a <3.0 undergrad and I graduated with high honors from Booth. That either means I got smarter in the interim, everyone else got dumber, or people just dont' compete that much on academics. It seems unlikely that either of the first two things happened.

So thats academics. Lets talk jobs.

Jobs are a wierd beast -- in some ways its very uncompetitive and in other ways its hypercompetitive. A lot of it frankly, is just PERCEPTION.

On one side of the coin - people do help each other out -- I had an instance where I was walking to an interview and ran into a girl I knew who had just finished her own interview (for the same job). She mentioned to me that I should brush up on concept X and concept Y -- out of her own volition. I ended up with an offer from that company in part thanks to her heads up. I had that kind of thing happen more than once -- I made groups of people to practice cases with and we shared frameworks we developed amongst ourselves. To be completely transparent though, I have to admit that when others asked me for my frameworks, I wouldnt' share them. It's not because I'm competitive but its because I spent hours and hours building them and I wasn't about to just give that work away to people who couldn't be bothered to do it themselves. (I did share them with people I trusted however).

On the other side of the coin - you DO have the people on the other end of the spectrum as well. One guy showed up to a top 3 consulting firm recruiting dinner after having accepted a job offer in banking. Considering banking was his top choice a lot of people wondered why he didn't have the curtesy to cancel and give someone else a chance to go. He said he wanted to keep his options open. People like that don't make great impressions and I promise you it did him far more harm among his peers than it helped him -- he ended up loosing his FT job offer and I doubt a lot of people are going out of their way to help him.

Another fellow came up to me one morning and asked me if I had landed job X. I told him I didn't. He said "I did" and walked away. A few months later over drinks I complimented him by telling him: "I'm glad you got that job. I honestly think you were the better candidate and you seem happy. I know it came down to me and you at the end there and for what its worth, I think they made the right choice." His response? "Oh, I don't think they ever really liked you. I think they were just being nice to you." Another fellow that wasn't much liked to be sure.

These examples are the worst of them though - honestly, people aren't generally like this.

I honestly believe it FEELS more competitive than it is. The recruiting season at Booth (and at any other school) is a stressful time. You balance classes, activities, friends, family and job hunting in a short four or five week timeframe all the while acutely aware of who has what job. Word travels fast -- "Did you hear so and so didnt' get a 2nd round?" or "I heard they are only hiring four people this year" or "I can't believe she got an offer from Goldman, she can barely keep herself from walking into walls." You'll see friends get denied from dream jobs, you'll get 2nd rounds they don't (and feel bad about it) and vica-versa, you'll see some REALLY smart people struggle to find a gig, you'll also see some of the dumbest people you've ever met magically land gigs at top firms. You'll question your interests, etc. Imagine for a moment the stress of your MBA interview and waiting for a decision from the school -- now just repeat that experience a couple dozen times, except this time, if the answer is no, you don't just keep your old job and reapply next year -- this time, if the answer is no, you have no job and you just blew a couple hundred G. It makes the MBA admissions process look like a cake walk.

It's a stressful process and that tends to breed some degree of competition - no one wants to be the person without a job offer while all their friends are sitting on two or three. But that feeling that 'this is it' -- that this is the 'ultimate test', the 'end to all ends' is really more in your own head than anything else.

That stress effects different people in different ways - some people are perfectly content not interviewing on campus and holding out for their dream job till June. Others don't or can't.

So, is it competitive? Maybe. It certainly does feel competitive -- but I don't think thats a function of Booth, I think its just the nature of the game. I imagine you'd feel that stress at Wharton or Kellogg or any other school just as much as you would at Booth.

Now lets talk part timers.

For internships, only FT students can recruit. For full time jobs, PT students (provided they have a certain number of classes and have completed certain training) can recruit. Make no mistake about it, this will piss you off (even if half of them blow their chances within 10 seconds of opening their mouth). There is nothing more infuriating than some guy with a job he may or may-not have any real intention of leaving showing up to a recruiting event and monopolozing the recruiters time. You'll want to punch their lights out more than once.

I got my revenge one night at a recruiting dinner -- I showed up early and dressed business casual. All the part timers always overdo it and showed up in suit and tie. I'm calm and collected and drinking at the bar, and pretty soon I've got a semi-circle of these yahoos around me and frankly id prefer it if they just screwed off and let me finish my drink before the company representatives kicked thigns off. It then dawns on me they think I work for the company, so I turn to one of the guys, look him straight in the eye and say "So, what do you think are the 3 biggest challenges facing our firm over the next five years?" It was the most beautiful deer-in-headlights look I've ever seen. The guy practically crapped himself right then and there. You might think this was mean, but trust me, spend a quarter dealing with PT people showing up to every event you have and you'll be a little mean too.

The point is they are there - they will piss you off. The good thing is that they are generally pretty unpolished when it comes to recruiting and most of them blow their chances immediately.

Example - same night, same dinner. Halfway through the meal, this girl shows up, plops down next to me and apologies for being late. I'm thinking to myself, "Sweetie, 20 minutes is late, an hour into dinner is idiotic." Although she had probably already destroyed her chances, she gracefully stepped on mine after mine from taht point forward. She proceeds to explain that shes late because of "homework" but that she lives in a "really nice apartment just down the street" and that therefore it only took her a "few minutes" to walk over. Great, so you show up halfway through a meal because of homework? Yea, what a winner. As if that wasn't enough, she then interrupts the recruiter (sitting on my left, shes on my right) and proceeds to pepper her with questions. The recruiter, who was quite clearly in the middle of another conversation with the person to her left, is left in an uncomfortable position of trying to manage this. My conversation in the mean time is also cut short as this girl begins to talk across from me. As if this wasn't enough, she then starts to talk about how she's also perhaps interested in consulting (note: this was not a consulting company dinner) and starts asking me if I am thinking about consulting too..... in front of the recruiter. I deflected the question and spent the rest of the night hoping the flambe desert would accidentally set this girl on fire. In the end, the only person to get an offer from that firm was a FT student.

Another PT student recruiting for a consulting gig went to some event and commented to the recruiter "So hows the hiking thing going?". The recruiter was obviously perplexed -- how did this girl know she had started hiking? The rest of us were just confused. Turns out, I later discovered that the recruiter's profile on facebook was set to open and that this girl had basically gone e-stalking. You can bet that girl didn't get an interview.

So, does it make it 'harder' to land a job? I honestly don't know how much of a material difference it is, but it will certainly FEEL like it makes a difference. It helps that they seem to all have the sabotage switch soldered to an 'ON' position though.

If you ask me what the #1 thing that irritated me about Booth is, I'd tell you exactly this. To be fair, this situation isn't limited to just Booth, other schools have similar policies, although I think Booth makes it too easy for PT to show up.

As for the pros? I guess I'll have to get back to this - I have a meeting.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lets get another con out of the way before we move onto some positives. I'll steal a bit from another old post.

LEAD.

LEAD is arguably the most overhyped utterly useless entirely worthless bag of garbage ever concieved by man. And that's me being polite. In all seriousness, I don't think I could create something more worthless if I tried.

The problems with LEAD are numerous. First, from the get go they tell you take it seriously, but then clearly set it up so that you don't have to. 50% of your "grade" in LEAD is attendance. Soemthing like 25% is just submitting the homework and the remaining 25% is discretionary. Keep in mind that LEAD is just a "pass fail" course. So in other words, if you show up, hand ANYTHING in (even if its a blank piece of paper with teh words 'i hate you' written on it) you've got a 75% in the class. How can you possibly fail? Moreover, how can someone tell you this is a capstone course that you should take seriously when the grading is set up this way?

You might not believe it, but there is always someone who DOES fail LEAD. If you find someone who does, take note -- they are the type of person you dont want in your study group.

To me, thats enough to kill it, but lets continue painting this pig, shall we? Now, a leadership development class, you would presume, would be taught by people with, well, leadership experience. Not so. It's taught by second year students. Now some of these people are impressive, but its hard to take a 22 year old analyst from Merrill seriously when they tell me how to be a CEO. I have undigested meat in my colon thats older than some of these people.

Its a farce of the highest order and one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen. These people know nothing more about leadership than you do, some of them barely have more than a few years experience. Bring in a CEO to talk, or bring in someone who does this stuff for a living. But to purport that a 2nd year is somehow now qualified to teach ethics and leadership is insulting to my intelligence and to theirs. As for crisis management? Seriously? A 25 year old teaching you how to manage life crises? With what? Some 'johari window' or other such crap pulled from some framework? It's the equivalent of my attending swimming lessons at a local pool and then teaching a class on 'how to ditch an airplane in high seas and survive'.

AThen there's the mock cases you do that are supposed to represent 'real life' situations...... just kill me now. The real life examples are so far removed from real life, they might as well be taken from the latest harry potter movie. How about this for a nice realistic situation you might find yourself in? *real case*. You play the CEO of a 5B dollar hospital. I play the CFO. Someone else plays the Private Equity buyer. The nurses at the hospital have been giving free medical care to some homeless people and the CEO and CFO are worried that if they sell to the PE buyer they firm will put a stop to it. Is it unethical to withhold that from the buyer? What should they do? Then you get together and pretend to debate it for 30 minutes. The key word here is pretend.... because here's the kicker: everyone already knows everything: everyone has read the same case, and everyone knows each others arguments ahead of time because they are all in the written case, so you just spend half and hour mentally regurgitating out crap you ALREADY KNOW to each other. (You aren't allowed to make up facts).

Worse, they tell you what the supposed personalities of each person are - so if the CEO is supposed to play hard and tough - are you supposed to be hard and tough? What if thats not the type of person you are? They also tell you what point of view you are supposed to argue. What if you don't agree with the supposed point of view you are supposed to take? How will this help you practice your skills by pretending to be someone else and pretending to adopt some viewpoint you don't actually have?

So here's how it goes: Nurse: "But its not that expensive!" (page 2 of case) CFO: "How expensive is it?" Nurse: "Uhm uh I don't know the case doesn't say". CEO: "Well I think its important for our community" (page 3 of case), other guy: "But its bad for our relationship with the PE guy" (page 4 of case)..... Third guy: "Well I don't actually feel this way but I'm supposed to say that I oppose telling the buyer...." (page 5 of case) . CEO: "Yea, ok, well uhm, I disagree) (page 6 of case, except you can tell he doesnt)

As if that didn't render the excercise entirely meaningless already, there's absolutely no evaluation of an outcome. There is never a 'right' answer. It doesn't matter what you decide. They don't even take a tally to see if you all come to a similar decision.

Here's how LEAD Should be. First, don't hand me the exact same case info as everyone else, because thats just retarded. Second, use something realistic. How about this: A member of your study group hasn't been pulling their weight and you arent sure how to deal with it. Or maybe you've started a new job and you arne't happy with your assignment, and want to take on more leadership, how do you handle that? Or maybe your new boss is doing something you are concerned about, who, if anyone do you tell? Now *thats* real, relevant, and unlike becoming the CEO of a fictitious hospital, probably something will happen to you in the next 5 years. Third, make the !(#!(#@ decision matter. In another course I took they actually had each game be zero sum - someone wins, someone looses, and although your grade isn't tied to the outcome you do see z-scores for everyone so you can see how you did.

You want to know who benefits? The people who teach the class - they get to get up in front of an audience 2x a week and practice public speaking, they get a large amount of one-on-one training with a real executive coach (he's older than 25). I honestly believe LEAD exists not for the students in the class but for the people selected to teach it.

so there's another con of the program.

Now lets talk a bit about some of the better stuff:

* The curriculum is flexible
* You can take classes elsewhere in teh university
* You can take two courses Pass / Fail
* The name DOES open doors and it does command respect

So lets talk about the flexible curriculum a bit. The school really sucks at selling this. Two reasons. First, they lie about how flexible it is. Second, even though they lie, they still forget to mention why what IS true is actually interesting.

So, first off, raise your hand if you've heard "There's only one class required at booth!". Ok you can all put your hands down now, cause that's not true. Reality is here.

http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/ac ... index.aspx

Sure, LEAD is the only required class (if you can even call it that) -- but you DO have to take classes among the foundations and functions.

What that means is that you will have to take an accounting course, you will have to take a microeconmics course and you do have to take a stats course. As far as I'm concerned, getting to pick between Accounting I and Accounting II isn't flexible.

So lets say there are 4 required courses.

Nevertheless, the flexible curriculum IS cool. Here's why:

* First, you get to know 2nd year students during your 1st year. This is good for a number of reasons. They know how to manage the reqruiting process and they provide a lot of great insights / help / cover letter reviews etc. They are also likely teh very people who will be reading your cover letter for the FT job in a year, so being friends with the new associate at company X certainly doesn't hurt. Third, if they end up in your study group, they know how to 'play the game' and have figured out how to prioritize tasks so that you dont' feel overwhelmed. This is a pretty big perk -- because honestly, without it, you aren't going to get to know 2nd years that easily.

* Second, its flexbile not just in what kind of classes you take (e.g. I dont want to take that, I'll take this) but also in what order you take them in. That's cool. For instance, if you plan on recruiting for banking but havent a clue about finance, its nice that you can jump right into investments in your first quarter rather than have to be stuck taking accounting first. That helps when it comes time to interview because now you actually know *something* relevant to the subject. Similarly, if you plan on going into marketing, take marketing your first quarter and worry about takign statistics later. In fact, some people dont' do accounting until their LAST quarter on campus. (yes, accounting is that boring)

* Third, the flexibility means you can have a kick ass schedule. Only want classes monday and tuesday ? Thats doable -- in fact, my final quarter at Booth I had that schedule. What a beautiful schedule -- no class Wed, Thurs or Fri. World's longest weekends. Its also helpful if you want to find a part time job (as some peopel do) because you can actually work two full 8 hour days if you want (and a number of people do in PE and VC)

* Fourth, even the same classes -- say, introductory economics, are taught by different professors with different styles. One professor might prefer team oriented work like a final report while the other might be a more traditional midterm and final. Hate math? Don't take the one with the midterm and final. Hate teamwork? Try it with professor Y. Prefer a class that has no midterm at all? Take professor Z. Or if you want a class with 70% of your grade determined by homework? Try professor Q. Etc. You can really pick what YOU like and what YOu want.

* Fifth, you can combine classes to craft a schedule that works. If class A is going to be heavy on reading, then dont' take two other heavy reading classes at the same time - combine a case-heavy class with a non-case based course. Combine a teamwork intensive class with one thats more individually focused.

You put this altogether and you get a VERY flexible curriculum that really lets you take what you want, when you want, with what professor you want. (I got all the courses I ever bid on).

So thats a big pro at Booth. The school talks about it, but again I think they just don't do a great job of selling that.

Some of the other related perks here is that you can take classes outside of Booth if you want (e.g. intensive chinese if you are a masochist) -- some people take classes in the law school as well (e.g. private equity law). I'm told the law school is crazy and its awful, but you can do it if you want. Similarly, you can take two classes pass fail and have them count towards your graduation requirements. Thats cool. Either because you can take something you know will be hard and just pass fail it, or because you can lighten the stress of a quarter you otherwise knew was going to be tough.

The name does open doors. I imagine thats pretty obvious -- but it really does. I like how when you mention you went to Chicago people's eyebrows go up -- they immediately assume you are smart (unless you are a PT who asks a corporate recruiter about consulting, then they and I both think you are an idiot).... and the cachet and almost 'table stakes' assumption about you is certainly a nice perk.

There's obviously other positives, and perhaps I can get to some of those later.

Finally, FYI, here's the PT recruiting policy for the curious:

Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Program students who meet the following eligibility requirements may be invited by companies to participate in the Full-
Time MBA Program’s on-campus invitational interview recruiting for entry-level full-time employment during the Autumn Quarter of each year. Evening MBA
and Weekend MBA Program students are not eligible for participation in on-campus internship recruiting. Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Program students
must abide by Career Services’ On-Campus Recruiting Policies and Procedures available at career. ChicagoBooth.edu/fulltime/about/policies/ocr.aspx,
and meet the following eligibility requirements:
1. Be seeking full-time employment.
2. By the end of the Summer Quarter in the year they are planning to participate in on-campus recruiting, have successfully completed at least 12 courses that meet Chicago Booth’s degree requirements.
3. Be enrolled in at least one Chicago Booth course during the Autumn Quarter they are participating in on-campus recruiting.
4. Have the following documentation on file with Career Services:
a. A completed and signed Eligibility Certification form.
b. Documentation to prove that they are not employed, or have not received any financial support of reimbursement from their employer (i.e., that they paid 100 percent of all Chicago Booth tuition, fees, and other expenses) or prove, with a statement from their employer on company letterhead, that their participation in on-campus recruiting does not violate corporate policy and that the company is aware that the student may participate in autumn recruiting activities.
5. Have not previously participated in on-campus interviewing. Participation in on-campus recruiting is only allowed once.
6. Have participated in all mandatory recruiting training sessions.


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and from a prior post as well:


kryzak wrote:
My visit impressions of GSB

Cons:
- There definitely is a slightly lower amount of "team" oriented projects/work than schools such as Stanford/Berkeley/Kellogg. The 2nd year I talked with said that in some classes you can do everything yourself, and others you form teams (optional). It seems more like a "do your own thing" type school.


I'd point out is that isn't really optional. One of my strategy courses requires that you do the homework in groups, and instead of a final there's a group project. I don't have much of a choice in the matter. LEAD also demands everything team work based. On the other hand, in classes like statistics, yea, I have a choice.

You know, its funny. I used to think of this as a con as well - Kellogg was team everything and I thought I'd want that. Now that I'm actually here and some of my classes require teamwork, some don't, I feel pretty differently about it. Teamwork isn't all fun and games and I appreciate the fact that although I don't have a choice in all my classes, I'm not forced to do statistics homework with a team (though they do allow it).

In one course in particular, I'm stuck trying to coordinate with four other people every week for the cases, and planning schedules is a pain. I don't like to meet on a Saturday, but if I'm the only one with a problem with it, then guess what, I lose. There's also the freerider problem - inevitably, someone does more than their fair share to compensate. That can be very very irritating. Its nice to study as a group and work as a group, but not all the time for everything. Ironically, this is actually the number one complaint I hear from my friends at Kellogg as well - working in groups isn't all its cracked up to be.

So, what I'm trying to say is, GSB's approach of "sometimes mandatory sometimes not" is actually something I've come to consider a pro rather than a con.

[/quote]
Quote:
- I observed less of a "cohesive" feeling between the students compared to Kellogg or the Cali schools.

- "Commuter School" feel. Many people live farther away from GSB than at Kellogg, mainly because of the parent school and local area.


You know I have to tackle this one too. Yes, its true that people live all over but, somewhat ironically, I think it actually gives us a really stronger community. The reason is that people come to campus and they stay on campus - all day. You go eat near campus with friends, you hang out and play pool, you go to the bar next door, etc etc etc. The campus becomes a huge nexus for socialization. Precisely because people live in various parts of the city, people don't come in for a class and then leave. So, I'm not sure what you meant by commuter school feel - it kind of is a commuter school (though probably 40% live in Hyde Park and 40% in downtown) - but if you meant it as a "people come in and go" kind of thing... it really really isn't like that at all.

As for the cohesive comment, I cant really comment too much other than to say I think the GSB has plenty of student cohesion. We do a lot together all the time. It actually makes me think of something....one of the things I've come to like too (not sure how common this is elsewhere) is that I meet and work with (even in my study group) a lot of 2nd years. You aren't lockstep with first years and so my network is much larger. The guy sitting next to me in class may have interned at Bain last summer. The other guy in the corner is CEO of an internet startup. There's opportunity to work closely with a whole other class - and you really get to have fun. Last week, I went out to dinner with 11 second years, 3 phd students, 1 alum and 2 other first years. We ended up drinking and partying till 2.30am in the morning (when I left) and now, every time I see them in the atrium, they introduce me to someone else. Its fun.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 12:57
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I'd take Booth.

Not because its a great school, but because the material differences between HBS and Booth are minimal. If we were talking a wider gap, or if the money was less meaningful, or if you were planning to go into banking (where arguably your first year comp would effectively wipe out your loans anyway), I'd say HBS, but for what you want to do the opportunities would be, imho, largely the same coming right out of school. (Although I have to then ask, why not Kellogg?)

If you were thinking product mgmt (e.g. brand manager), the salaries are going to be very comparable, and frankly, many of the companies hiring for brand manager roles are going to be the same. The one thing I learned while at Booth was that name matters to get you IN the door, and how LITTLE it matters *after* you've got the door opened.. What I mean by this is that the Booth name unquestionably opened a lot of doors - I got interviews and phone conversations I'd never have been able to have had prior - but thats where things start to "level". By the time you go to your second round interviews at Kraft, Miller, Pepsi, whatever, the people sitting to your left will be from Harvard, Wharton, Ross, Kellogg, Duke, Cornell..... At that point no one cares if you are Booth or if you are Harvard or if you are Cornell, you are just one of 20 "MBA" candidates interviewing. Your performance at the interview will be what you make of it and what school you are coming from will matter next to nothing.

Another way to put it is this - the brand will get you the interview, it wont get you the job.... and I think thats true whether were talking Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, etc.. And of course, once you start your job, what school you went to matters even less. No one even knows, and no one will ever ask. It's like your GMAT in many ways: a high score gets you access to the "consideration pile", but its on you to get admitted, and once you are in, no one is going to give a !@(# what you got.

The other thing I came to realize is that the companies recruiting on campus are basically identical at these schools - its the same 10 consulting firms and the same 10 CPGS and the same 10 tech firms.... People always find some example where that isnt true, but 98% of your "job choice platter" is going to be nearly identical (setting aside small regional firms that only hire locally). Kraft, Diageo, Miller, Pepsi, Sara Lee, Google, MSFT, Zynga, Amazon, Symantec, bla bla bla etc... these will all be at both schools and either one will get you the chance at a first round interview.

Last year someone had a choice of Ross full ride vs Booth. They took Booth. I think they should have taken Ross. I understand why they didn't - they'd always wonder what if - but thats my two cents.

One thing I dont agree with is that Booth is a commuter school. I never understood how that myth lives on. I will try to find my old post on this subject (maybe someone knows where it is).
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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 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 28 Jan 2011, 12:20
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I honestly think this talk about brand name support ten years down the line is over rated. Your best bet is to talk to people who are actually ten years down the road and see what they say. If your father is in a management position ask him what he would look for in a candidate. Chances are at that point they won't care as much where you did your MBA as they would look at what you achieved over the last ten years. People want to see results. My dad told me one thing based on his experience of life. Your degree only gets you your job. Your character, skills and attitude are what help you keep it and grow in it. If both schools can help you achieve your short term goals I think its a no brainer. Of course there are other personal preferences for you to consider. Cohort system, case study system, etc.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 14:38
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You got a full ride to one of the top five business schools in the world which also happens to have the most momentum of any school in its class. You said you would choose this school in a blind taste test due to program, fit, and culture. You said you're interested in entrepreneurship which would be infinitely easier without student loan debt.

But you're going to trade it all away on a NAME? That's one expensive t-shirt.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2011, 07:41
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manohar wrote:
I think the difference between Harvard and Chicago is more than $500K; of course you can also do discounting. While that is average, this may not apply to you!
The tricky question is would there be any long-term differences in the career progression and net-working effects and would these differences be worth $100K!

I would say that 100k is probably going to be closer to 120-125k when you are done with it due to loan origination fees, interest, and the fact tuition goes up pretty quickly. Not a huge difference but still 20-25% more than you are thinking about.

That 500k on average I think is probably greatly a result of the very high paying finance/banking fields. Someone working in a PE firm is going to make many times what someone in a GM role is 10 years after school. Even CEO's make a fraction of what someone running a PE or HF does. I would say that average salary differences over a career in the same corporate function will be much less than 500k. Brand matters in the corporate world but its not as big of deal breaker as in the finance fields. I don't think a single of the senior executives in my company has an MBA, a few have done executive certificate programs. For advance degrees one has a JD, one has a masters in finance, and one a masters in engineering...the rest just have undergrad degrees.

Personally if I had to make this decision I would go to Booth, the same would be said for full ride at any of the other top 5 schools (MIT, Kellogg, Booth, Wharton)...heck 100k+ would have me ignoring fit and dealing with being less excited about where I am going. As someone paying back student loans for my MBA, I can tell you that not having what amounts to basically a mortgage payment is something to consider. I know people who took out 150k+ of loans and are paying more towards their loans than they are for rent.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2011, 18:20
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So this little drama in my life has come to an end. I attended HBS' ASW and I was blown away. As far as jerk test goes, everyone I met were genuine people that I really liked. I'm sure the jerks were there but I didn't meet any of them so Harvard passed the character test with flying colors. I still wasn't sure through the first day but participating in a class with Professor Ramon Casadesus-Masanell got me really fired up and his passion for teaching made me feel passion for learning. Also, seeing Dean Nohria speak was great and Youngme Moon is ridiculously impressive. She quelled all my concerns about the school and really inspired me.

I guess the difference was that Booth made me feel like I could achieve my goal of being a great marketer or a great product manager but with HBS, I felt like I could achieve things that I haven't even thought of yet. What was most surprising was that I got a sense that the HBS faculty and administration were hungry to make the educational experience at HBS even richer. They weren't resting on their legacy and that in turn made me hungry to be a part of that experience.

So at the end of the day... I have formally accepted their offer and I will be part of Harvard Business School's class of 2013.

P.S. Oh and everyone (friends, family, random strangers on the street, etc.) all thought that it was an easy decision and I was just coming to my senses. Maybe they're all right but I know that I needed to take this decision extremely seriously and I refused to be blinded simply by the name of Harvard. :-D
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 08 Mar 2011, 12:05
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Since I've been getting some questions about my application process (which I definitely welcome!), I wanted to share an interview that I did for a blogger who contacted me through the BeatTheGMAT forums. Here's the link to his blog and I'm posting my responses here as well. http://thembapath.blogspot.com/

Edited to add: I did end up deciding to attend HBS but I had typed up these responses in advance of attending ASW. :-D


1) Tell me a little bit about your background.

I am a normal kid from Chicago who attended a state school where I studied supply chain management although I consider myself a quasi-poet since I considered going into creative writing as an undergrad until I realized that I like being able to pay my rent. During college I interned for a large CPG company working in a plant environment and I developed an appreciation for supply chain work. Upon graduation, I moved to Wisconsin to work for another large CPG company and learned how to succeed in a corporate environment in various roles that involved working for large customers in a supply chain capacity. After a few years in Wisconsin, I was recruited to work in Logistics at another large CPG company located in Minneapolis where I’ve been for the last 4.5 years. My current company has been wonderful to work for and they gave me the opportunity to grow as a leader who can influence across an organization.

2) What made you decide to get an MBA?

My parents were blue collar workers but being Asian, I grew up in a household that really valued education. Almost immediately after graduation, my parents began asking me when I was going back to school. I always told them that I was working in a field that didn’t necessarily value an MBA and that maybe I would get an MBA part-time at the local college if I had time. As my career progressed, they stopped asking about school and between work and getting married, an MBA was not a priority. Ironically, it was my last promotion that got me thinking about going back to school. I was identified as a manager with high potential and I realized that I was on track to have a very successful career in supply chain. I started asking myself whether I really saw myself as a supply chain professional for the rest of my life.

Working in CPG my entire career, I had developed a deep respect for the power of branding and I started thinking that I’d like the opportunity to build and lead a brand rather than simply supporting a brand. I am fortunate to be surrounded by an exceptional group of friends who all happened to have MBAs (ranging from HBS, Stanford, and Booth to state programs). While they were not all in favor of me going back to school full time (for various valid reasons including financial reasons), I knew that if I wanted to switch careers I needed the experience a full time program offers particularly through the summer internship. At that point, I signed up for a Princeton Review GMAT course offered at my work and told myself that if I got a strong score (700+), I would apply for an MBA.

3) You were extremely successful with your applications this year; can you tell me a little bit about your strategy?

I definitely was nervous about applying to school because I didn’t necessarily fit the profile of a rock star MBA candidate. I was older (30 at matriculation), I had worked in industry my entire career, and my undergrad was not from an elite institution. With that said, I knew that for me personally, I needed to attend a top program in order to work in Marketing for a company like the one I work for. I primarily chose schools based on geography, reputation, and program strengths. Being from Chicago, I applied to Booth and Kellogg and since I had friends in Boston, I applied to HBS and Sloan. I also applied to Stanford because it’s really cold here in Minnesota and the idea of studying in sunny California seemed really appealing to me! I hoped that I would get accepted by one program out of the five but I also was worried that I hadn’t applied to any safety schools.

My strategy was simple. I read everything I could about the schools and the MBA application process and I really took the advice I received to heart. I did a lot of self-reflection and tried to provide a complete picture of who I am through my application. I have always been a strong participant in community activities and service throughout my life and I found that those experiences were really something that I could talk about in my essays along with my work experiences. In particular, I am a kayaking instructor (whitewater, sea kayaking, and Greenland style kayaking) and in that capacity, I’ve led and/or created several different kayaking organizations, have lead events, and have had the opportunity to give back to the community in unique ways.

As a former creative writer, my essays tended to be wordy (word counts are the worst!) but fortunately I had a very good friend edit all of my essays for me. She has a very critical eye and a great track record for helping people get into great MBA programs (she’s a Booth graduate). I also think that being ahead of the game from a timing standpoint helped me out tremendously. I took the GMAT in April and immediately after that exam, I began planning what I needed to get done in order to hit round 1 deadlines for all the schools I was applying to. I wanted to have admission decisions by Christmas so that I could enjoy my holidays with my family. That pre-planning also enabled me to visit schools, prepare my recommenders (I put together a packet with school profiles, my accomplishments, my goals, recommendation questions, etc.), and get a good start on my essays.

I submitted all of my applications well in advance of the deadlines and I felt that I had put together a solid picture of who I am as an individual. Fortunately, Harvard, Kellogg, and Booth agreed and they invited me to interview.

4) What was the interview process like with HBS, Kellogg, and Booth?

For Kellogg and Booth, I chose to interview with alumni locally here in Minneapolis. I had great conversations with both alumni and I tried to connect with them on a personal level and share with them my enthusiasm for my work, their school, my goals, and how I could contribute to their program. Although I get nervous like anyone else, I really enjoy the actual interview process and I knew coming out of those two interviews that I had put my best foot forward.

HBS was a totally different story. I did not have the option to interview locally which I would have preferred since I had already visited the school before. I flew out to Boston and I was a little intimidated by the experience. Unlike my prior interviews which were casual and long (45 minutes or longer), the HBS interview is very structured and exactly 30 minutes long. I feed off of the energy that my interviewer provides so I found it a little unnerving that the HBS adcom did not show a lot of emotion. Most of the questions were pretty standard although I was thrown a couple little curve balls since my interviewer had significant experience in my industry. I remember rambling on a couple times and he had to cut me short at times. I was kicking myself afterwards for losing my focus but I remember telling him at the end that I had fun which I think surprised him because I doubt he hears that very often. I walked out of that interview knowing that I didn’t blow it but also knowing that I hadn’t performed nearly as well as my prior two interviews. I’ve been in regular contact with that admissions director since my admit and he’s been a great help to me as I have been going through my decision process.

5) What was the most difficult step for you in the entire application process?

The most difficult step for me besides the agonizing waiting that occurs for interview invites and eventual decisions to be reached was the GMAT. I had been out of school for 7 years and had to learn how to study all over again. It was a trying time for me and particularly my wife because I became a bit consumed by the process. I spent hours each evening and every weekend studying for the exam and sacrificed my social life for two months. My wife had been used to spending lots of time with me and she definitely felt a bit neglected which translated to her being apprehensive about the idea of me even going back to school. While studying for the GMAT was really important, I know that in hindsight I was being selfish in not thinking about how what I was doing would affect those around me. That is definitely something that is front of mind as we look to both leave our jobs to share in this new adventure.

Oh and as far as the GMAT goes, I have always been a good standardized test taker (I tend to get extra relaxed in those testing rooms even though I’m tense leading up to that moment) and though I was hoping for a 700, I was ecstatic when I received a 750.

6) What do you plan to do post MBA?

Post MBA, I am hoping to go into brand management. While I would be proud to return to my company and lead one of our amazing brands, I am also interested in learning more about product and brand management in other industries besides CPG (tech in particular). I also have entrepreneurial aspirations and while I don’t know if that will be the path I take immediately out of school, I do hope to be able to lead my own company some day.

7) Do you have any advice for the readers?

My advice would be to develop a strong sense of self-awareness or surround yourself with people who can accurately help you understand who you are as a person. My friends, family, and mentors helped ground me as a person and they helped me understand particular areas that I needed to grow in. My GPA, GMAT, etc. didn’t get me into the schools I applied to since they were in the general range. Rather it was insights into my character and a deeper view of who I am that differentiated me. I entered into this process worried that I might be lumped into a generic grouping of “asian guy who’s good at math” but through the self-reflection process, I realized that there is much more to me than that stereotype and it was up to me to share that through my application.

This is a funny process. On one hand, we are asked to share our accomplishments and talk about how amazing we are but on the other hand, we are asked to be humble. We are asked to have an open mind about the many opportunities that await us after business school but the application requires that we state a very defined career goal. It’s tough to balance those things. It was easy to be humble because I knew the caliber of people I would potentially be working with in b-school. I felt inadequate at times about my background, my intelligence, and my experiences but at the same time I knew that my abilities, accomplishments, and experiences were unique and should not be trivialized.

Don’t let this process defeat you. My GMAT class’ mantra was “we are more than our GMAT score” which definitely applies to the entire business school application process. Being admitted or rejected to school X shouldn’t define you and a person’s self-worth should not be tied to this result. I am going to school to better myself as a leader, as a teammate, and as a person but through this process, I’ve learned that I’m pretty darn proud of what I’ve accomplished and no school can take that away from me.

8) Have you decided which b-school you will attend yet? If so, what was the deciding factor?

I have currently narrowed it down to either Booth or HBS. Booth has offered me a very generous fellowship along with the opportunity to be mentored by a marketing executive during my two years at school. As someone who has really benefited from mentorship throughout my career, this is an amazing opportunity. The school is incredible, the students are brilliant yet humble, and the flexibility of the program is really appealing. Harvard on the other hand is an amazing school in its own right. It is the most prestigious and influential of all the MBA programs with a hugely powerful alumni network. The resources at Harvard are without peer and the case method of studying is something that I really enjoy.

The deciding factors for me will be partly financial and partly my impressions of my fellow admits. To be candid, I was concerned that business school would be filled with competitive jerks who think only of themselves. Fortunately, those people seem to be in the minority. I am looking for intellectually curious people who I would enjoy learning from and collaborating with. I have already attended Booth’s admit weekend and am looking forward to HBS’ admit weekend as well. Following that, I will take a couple days to think over the two schools with my wife and then make the best choice for us as a family.
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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 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 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 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.

Best,
pk
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2011, 08:47
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Okay I realize that he's going to HBS because of the clarification of the financial aid fellowships at Booth but I read this and tried to make a very simple model. Based on it there was a clear benefit to going to HBS.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2011, 00:25
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Eskimoroll,

What a fascinating situation to be In???? While most of us here are scratching our heads to even have a glimpse of what these BIG - B Schools ''look'' like , You have been ''Invited'' already and to , three of them !!

I have no much experience at this , as I read posts to learn from but I would say one thing - Since You have already weighed in so many ''materialistic'' factors , put them aside for a while , Just ask your heart where it wants to be , where do you see yourself living more happy, where do you think the two years to be spent would make a classic chapter in your life filled with wonderful memories, filled with learning experiences that make you a better man, and where do you think you could find good friends who would add colour to your life ???

Though I have a feeling, Your already in Tune with going to HBS :-D

P.S - I am using the above formula ONLY cos Life is much more about evolving as a Human , than about evolving as a corporate money making ''machine'' .

Also I had a wonderful sms which read something like this '' If your faced with two choices, which you love equally, and have determined each one on all parameters, then ... toss a coin .. and while the coin is in Mid Air, your heart would pray for one result(Either Head or Tail ), and BINGO !! , You know what You desire''

Good Luck with decision and God Bless.

Rhyme - I seriously liked your blatant outburst about the cons and am beginning to admire the kind of person you are. God Bless.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2011, 20:49
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whiplash2411 wrote:
eskimoroll wrote:
whiplash2411 wrote:
Analytical Hierarchy Process. Draw a prioritization matrix. Engineering Design FTW


I have no idea what you just wrote. :?:


Haha. It's a process that allocates numerical weights to each solution (school) based on a preference scale established for certain prerequisite criteria. Then you can get a final number if you normalize the matrices for each factor and voila, a numerical answer.


Ahh, I follow now. We use those when we do failure mode effects analysis on large projects. Since I'd be subjectively defining the numerical weights for the various criteria, the process of doing something like that would probably reveal my inner bias toward one school or the other.

In my head, I think I'm going to be a little more simplistic. My criteria are career opportunity, financial support, and quality of classmates. From a career opportunity standpoint, I think the unique Booth fellowship or the Harvard name will both get me to the place I want to go so that's pretty much tied. For financial support... I've applied for financial aid from HBS so hopefully I'll have some information on that front but I suspect that it will be close to the Booth fellowship since that turned out to be not a full-ride. So that just leaves my classmates. I'll attend both admit weekends and whichever school has higher percentage of people that I'd want to work with (nice people), is probably the school I'll pick.
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2011, 07:34
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Just posting a quick update...

I attended Booth's ASW a couple weekends ago and had a great time. The people (faculty, students, and fellow admits) were warm and welcoming and Chicago is an amazing city. I also got a slight bump up on my fellowship which was a nice little surprise.

As far as HBS goes, I'm flying out this Wednesday for their ASW. I got my financial aid from HBS and it pretty much was a half-tuition fellowship which I was thrilled to get. So while Booth still is offering me $12K more than HBS, overall it is a wash from a financial standpoint as far as I'm concerned. Pretty much it's Booth's mentorship opportunity vs. HBS' network/brand/etc. My wife really enjoyed the partners club at Booth so once she has a chance to experience HBS' partners club, we'll have the information needed to make our decision. I should know one way or another this weekend! :)
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 10:18
wow, congrats on this great achievement in the first place!!! If it were me, I'd probably take Booth with its full ride. HBS, no doubt, has the brand recognition, but had we been comparing HBS with, say, Darden, it would be a different story. Booth itself is a fantastic school! Booth will get you the access you need to go anywhere, just as HBS would. In either school you'll still have to do the legwork, but you're definitely not limited in achieving anything if you choose Booth. So I would go with Booth and save yourself a good $100k tuition!
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 10:49
That's a tough decision, but you should be comforted by knowing that neither choice is wrong. If you go to Booth, you'll have awesome opportunities, a great education, and the relief of having no student loans (unless you need cash for cost of living). If you go to HBS, you'll have arguably the best brand name and access to the very best opportunities. I think your decision really depends on your goals. If you can achieve you goals at both schools, it's probably best to take the full-ride at Booth and enjoy the next two years in Chicago. Booth is an awesome school, but I think we can all appreciate the temptation to choose HBS on brand name alone. My alum interviewer for Booth, a private equity guy, was actually pretty dissatisfied with the Booth brand name outside of Chicago. He said he really enjoyed his time at the school, but the flexibility of the curriculum makes it difficult for employers to know what they're buying. It was strange to listen to my interviewer talk about his dissatisfaction with the school, but he made it pretty obvious that he'd have gone to HBS if he had the chance. I don't think he's a great example of a Booth graduate, but he has a perspective worth considering. You should probably PM rhyme for the best advice.

Good luck! The next two years of your life are going to be very exciting at either school :)
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Re: The toughest decision of my life... HBS vs Booth (full-ride)   [#permalink] 28 Jan 2011, 10:49
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