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I know this discussion is a bit cliche, but I need some advice. My strongest reccomender told me that he would be happy to write me rec letters for any school, but would not write more than one at once. He says that his letters will reflect my desire to go to the school, and that he cannot honestly write a great letter unless he can say "If ___ gets into your school, he will go". Thus, I cannot have more than 1 outstanding application at once.
He suggested that I apply to 3 schools R2 this year, R3 this year, and R1 next year. I feel that I am a strong candidate for a top 3 school, but I need to determine the order in which I will apply. I have already written the essays for Stanford, Harvard, and Wharton, and I already have my other recs ready to go.
Profile: 25 / M / 760 GMAT / 6.0 AWA / 3.91 GPA Engineering at Princeton / 3 YRS Product Manager at Google/Microsoft/Oracle (large promotion last year) / Very strong undergraduate ECs
Post MBA goals: High tech, possibly entrepreneurship
My *tentative* ranking is as follows: 1.) Stanford (R2 this year) 2.) Harvard (R3 this year) 3.) Wharton (R1 next year)
Here's my main reasoning: - Network: I am interested in working in high tech space after graduation (possibly as a product manager). I do not have a personal geographical preference, but I believe most technology innovation is in Silicon Valley near Stanford. Thus, I will be in a better network for these roles after graduation with Stanford. However, Harvard has a much larger class size than Stanford (900 vs 375). Thus, there may be better alumni representation across the board.
- Education: From what I can gather, Wharton and Stanford offer the best MBA education. They have rigorous classes in finance and economics (which is actually a plus for me because I enjoy learning, and I appreciate the opportunity to prove myself in non-subjective capacities). While in B-school, I plan to take as many "real" classes as I can.
- Reputation: All 3 of great "brand names". However, I feel like Stanford has a slightly better name within tech area. The Stanford name says "innovative" while Wharton/Harvard say "old-school". On the other hand, the "Harvard" name is more likely to impress the in-laws.
- Selectivity: Obviously, I would prefer to get into the first school I apply to because I don't want to draw this process out for a long time. Stanford's acceptance rate is signifantly lower (6% for S vs ~10% H/W ). On the other hand, its always nice to say you got into the most selective b-school in the world.
First, you have a very competitive profile indeed. I think your tentative rankings makes sense: Stanford 1st for the technical and west cost network, Harvard for the brand... I think this is good, so the only thing I will say to you is : "go ahead, and best wishes". Keep us posted, I'll be happy to read about your "journey". Cheers _________________
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I think it's alarming that you are letting one person dictate your application schedule. Your recommender is a control freak. If you are dinged by Stanford this year, is your recommender going to write his Harvard letter in pure honesty as follows: "if dreambigmba2011 gets into Harvard Business School, he will go, but only because he was dinged by his first choice Stanford last year. He really loves Stanford!"
My advice: use your recommender for Stanford, and find another one to apply to both Harvard and Wharton this year also.
This is obviously too late, but you should have told your recommender to change his thinking to: "If ___ gets into your school, he will go UNLESS SCHOOL XYZ OFFERS $$$." Then he'd have to accept writing recs for all 3. _________________
Agree with the above poster on using this guy once - for your #1 choice which sounds like Stanford. I guess maybe consider Wharton R1 next year if you really want, but applying to Harvard (or any school) Round 3 will put you at a huge disadvantage.