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Two schools, weighing options

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Two schools, weighing options [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 20:04
Hello everyone.

Last month I applied and was admitted to an evening MBA program here in the Pacific Northwest. I was drawn to the program for a number of reasons, first being that I was able to start in Summer quarter 2013 (as opposed to the other school I'm applying to), as well as its proximity to my workplace (within walking distance). Of course, there's also the fact that it's the second-ranked program in the Pacific Northwest, and seems like an all-around good option for career advancement in the not-for-profit industry which I work in.

My first choice, however, would be to attend the PNW's first-ranked evening MBA program. I did not apply to this program for Fall 2013, as I simply didn't get my act together in time for the April deadline (In fact, I didn't end up taking the GMAT until May). I think overall this school has all of the strengths of the former program, with the added bonuses of more clubs, certificate options that fit better with my career goals, and it being more desirable to prospective employers. Unfortunately, the earliest I can expect to enter this program (should I be admitted, of course) wouldn't be for another year and a half - Fall 2014.

To give you some context of my work, I am in the operations field, and feel that I am at the point where I've hit a wall in terms of career advancement. An MBA will greatly increase my odds of landing a job in an industry with relatively few MBAs at the management level, and more importantly for me, it could help me switch over to an employer that will bring a much needed infusion of change into my work experience. I have lost patience with the "wait until next year" strategy, as I feel the time to get moving on my next career step is right now.

Basically, I feel that accepting my admission to the #2 school right now could be helpful for me both in the short-term - finding employment elsewhere as an MBA candidate and having that set me apart - and having the degree itself in the long-term. However, I will kick myself for the rest of my life if I wonder what life would've been like had I just applied to the #1 program.

So, I've hatched a plan that goes something like this:

1) Send off my application to the #1 program, and hear back in March 2014;
2) Confirm my admission to the #2 program for Summer quarter, and attend for the next three quarters part-time, accumulating knowledge and possibly some credits along the way;
3) Continue applying to other jobs in the hope that I can increase my chances of finding a new employer with the new addition of "MBA candidate" to my resume.
4) If offered admission to the #1 school in March 2014, accept my admission and withdraw from my #2 program, OR
If I am not offered admission, I will simply continue as planned with the #2 program.

I realize this plan is a bit convoluted, if not a little cynical, but I feel it's the only way to 100% insure that I am in an MBA program and working towards a goal of improving my career trajectory. I have considered the merits of deferring admission at the #2 school, but this only offers the possibility of being re-admitted and is by no means a sure thing at a later date. I have also considered the possibility of transferring to the #1 school after 1.5 - 2 years at the other school, but the admissions process for transfer students is much more selective at this school, and less likely to happen than being admitted as a new student.

To some extent, I see this situation in business terms: mitigating risk to the lowest possible extent. Though I would save a bit of money by following the alternatives that I've mentioned, none of them give me a "foot in the door" to a program that will boost my short and long-term career goals. I feel at this point that my time is more important than anything, and that seizing the first opportunity that arises makes the most sense...until a better one comes up, that is. :)

What do you guys think? Have I lost it, or does this plan seem reasonable?

Thank you for your time. I am sorry to have not included more details, but I am not inclined to divulge too much personal stuff. I will say that both my grades and GMAT scores were in the top 20 percentiles.
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Re: Two schools, weighing options [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2013, 12:09
FYI, there arent many MBA programs in the PNW.... it's fairly easy to figure out the number 1 MBA in the PNW (top 25 or 30), and I'll assume the other MBA in question is in the same city... so...

The #1 does have a better brand, but will it matter if you are looking to utilize your MBA in a non traditional role and coming from PT? I dont know...

This seems like a complicated approach... but it's your call. If you are in somewhere now, and feel it will get you to where you want to go... I'd go. What you do with the other school is your call... I guess it's always nice to keep your options open... We can look at this as an extended (more expensive) version of paying a deposit at one school while you wait for a decision from another.
Re: Two schools, weighing options   [#permalink] 11 Jun 2013, 12:09
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