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I would love to hear your thoughts/opinions/advice on which school is a better choice for me - UNC, Chapel Hill or UT, Austin. I have NOT received any $$ from both schools yet.
I have been working in the technology arm of a leading financial services industry (5+ years). My short-term goal - either technology management consulting or a LDP position in the financial services industry.
On one hand I love Austin. I love the people there and the school has a historically good Technology and Operations department (ranked #3 per US News). On the other hand UNC, Chapel Hill, is slightly better ranked than UT (per businessweek,WSJ, etc.). It has a popular Leadership Initiative program and it is close to a famous technology research park. But Chapel Hill as a city does not excite me as much as Austin.
For some reason I am finding it difficult making this decision. I am leaning towards Austin but not 100% sure yet. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this folks !!
I applied to both. I think Austin is an amazing town. From a purely non-academic standpoint, I would say Austin wins -- great music scene, great Mexican food, and great climate. That said I have NO IDEA what I would do if those were my two choices and the $ was equal.
I maybe a bit biased, but I always felt that McCombs has a slightly stronger brand than Kenan-Flagler. However, with that said, these two schools are very similar. Both are good schools with strong regional reputation. Both are located near tech hubs, research triangle for UNC and Austin (dubbed "mini-silicon valley") for UT, but again, I think Austin has the slight edge here. When it comes to location, I think that's where Austin overtakes Chapel Hill (and probably most college towns). Austin has great weather, famous live music (SxSW, Austin City Limits), awesome Tex-Mex, mecca for outdoor sports, etc.
@Asimov - I completely agree with you on the technology front. Both schools are located close to many tech companies and so cancel each other out on that front.
At this point I am just wondering if the difference in rankings between UNC (#17 or 18 per businessweek) and UT (#21) means anything. I am not too picky about where I settle down with a job. I am more concerned about the quality of the program itself and whether UNC has a significantly better program than UT.
Before any other consideration, I would think about where you want to live/work when you graduate. While you may be able to escape the respective regions these schools place the majority of their graduates, it will take more work on your part to do so, and even if you go in with that thought, statistically you are likely to remain in TX or wherever UNC places (Atlanta/Charlotte i imagine) post-grad.
If you are going to get hung up on rankings, the ones you are using are the last to consider. US News is the dominant ranking. They are the only ones that factor in prestige, and like it or not, that matters. In those rankings McCombs comes out slightly ahead of UNC (18 to 20). BusinessWeek has Stanford all the way at 6th, which should say it all, but if you want to get regional it has SMU 18th and while Cox is a fine school I don't think anyone would agree with that. WSJ hasn't done a full-time MBA ranking since 2007 so I'm not sure how accurate theirs are either. I quick glance at those looks absolutely ridiculous. No one can honestly say UNC or Tepper are better than Chicago, Wharton, and Stanford, except apparently on those rankings.
Both are great choices. I would make my pick based 100% on geography given the marginal ranking difference. Money could also factor in and as I'm sure you're aware, McCombs top scholarship is 10k per year + in-state waiver if you happen to live out of state (which I believe you do). You would have already heard if you were going to get one based on when you applied so that might already be done with.
As for banking, I can only speak for UT but I would think it would be the better bet. Every BB bank has a Houston office and they all recruit at McCombs. Don't know anything about tech.