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Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown

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Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown [#permalink] New post 11 May 2012, 05:02
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Looking for some advice on picking between the part-time evening program at McDonough/Georgetown and the full-time program at Smith/Maryland.

My plan has been to pursue a part-time MBA in the DC area beginning this fall (relocating isn't an option right now). I applied to UMD and Georgetown, and I was ready to pick McDonough over Smith pretty easily. I like the program on a lot of different levels, and I've been feeling good about my chances after my GMAT performance (730) and a strong interview. (Not accepted yet though, so the rest of this post might be moot).

But UMD threw me a curveball. I was contacted by the director of admissions inviting me to attend the full-time program instead. He expects to be able to offer me a two-year fellowship covering all tuition (and at a minimum, one year).

I am very strongly drawn to Georgetown, I really like the program, and I was willing to handle the tough lifestyle of juggling school, activities, a pretty demanding job and a new marriage for the next 3 years. I had also convinced myself that giving up 2 years' salary and work experience wasn't worth it. But 2 years for free at UMD seems like a hard deal to turn down. I'd start earning my post-MBA salary one year earlier without much debt, I'd be able to focus on school more completely, and my overall quality of life would probably be better. When I do all that math, it seems like a no-brainer to go with Smith.

My questions: How do you think these programs really compare? Is the downgrade in school quality, projected income and career prospects insignificant enough to make this trade a net positive? Am I overblowing G'town's value / underestimating Smith's? Am I even asking the right questions?

Sorry for the rambling, and thanks for the input!
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Re: Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown [#permalink] New post 11 May 2012, 05:19
Others will certainly disagree, and as you can see from my profile, I did not apply to Smith, but did to McDonough. That said, I would most probably take the scholarship at Smith. It's true that they are not ranked as high, but they still do have a good reputation, especially in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area. If you are looking to stay there short term, then it would work out nicely.

I have had a few friends attend Smith, and they were all happy with the program and quality of their education. I also think that the full time experience is not something to be passed up if you have the opportunity with a scholarship. Finally, don't overlook the debt associated with attending Georgetown or the stress involved with juggling work with school with a social life. You'd have to manage that balance for three years.

Again, just my thoughts, but I'd go with Smith. Congrats and good luck
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Re: Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown [#permalink] New post 11 May 2012, 05:21
The question is, PT at a top 25 vs FT at a top 50.
What is your plan post MBA?
Are you switching careers?
What is Georgetown's policy of PT students using career services?

Why do you want an MBA, and will a PT program help you achieve your goals?

If the question were, Georgetown FT VS Smith FT with money, I'd say Georgetown, BUT a its hard to compare a PT program to a FT since the motivation to pursue the degree is usually different.
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Re: Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown [#permalink] New post 11 May 2012, 06:55
Quote:
It's true that they are not ranked as high, but they still do have a good reputation, especially in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area. If you are looking to stay there short term, then it would work out nicely.


Actually, I expect to settle in the DC area for the long haul. This is one of the reasons I was more open to Smith. Not crazy about its national rep, but its pretty well regarded here (though not as well as McDonough).

Quote:
The question is, PT at a top 25 vs FT at a top 50.
What is your plan post MBA?
Are you switching careers?
What is Georgetown's policy of PT students using career services?

Why do you want an MBA, and will a PT program help you achieve your goals?


Yes, I think I'd get what I need from a PT program, and I was sold on the comprehensive approach G'town takes to career services for PT and FT students alike. But yes, I would be switching careers (or more accurately, industries/sectors), which is one reason a FT program is tempting.

I'm mostly stuck on three things:
1) Focused entirely on school, I think I can perform at a much higher level, assume leadership roles, finish near top of class, etc. Whereas I'm worried that by the end of the PT program, I'll be so worn out I'll be grinding to stay in the middle of the pack
2) The time and money equation -- 3 years + salary + lots of debt vs. 2 years + no salary + a little debt
3) Program reputation, strength of alumni network, employment and salary expectations. (and 3a - I like G'town a whole lot more)

1 and 2 go to Smith, 3 goes to McD. I just don't have a feel for how big the gap is for #3 (and 3a).
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Re: Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown [#permalink] New post 11 May 2012, 19:32
dcmba10 wrote:
Looking for some advice on picking between the part-time evening program at McDonough/Georgetown and the full-time program at Smith/Maryland.

My plan has been to pursue a part-time MBA in the DC area beginning this fall (relocating isn't an option right now). I applied to UMD and Georgetown, and I was ready to pick McDonough over Smith pretty easily. I like the program on a lot of different levels, and I've been feeling good about my chances after my GMAT performance (730) and a strong interview. (Not accepted yet though, so the rest of this post might be moot).

But UMD threw me a curveball. I was contacted by the director of admissions inviting me to attend the full-time program instead. He expects to be able to offer me a two-year fellowship covering all tuition (and at a minimum, one year).

I am very strongly drawn to Georgetown, I really like the program, and I was willing to handle the tough lifestyle of juggling school, activities, a pretty demanding job and a new marriage for the next 3 years. I had also convinced myself that giving up 2 years' salary and work experience wasn't worth it. But 2 years for free at UMD seems like a hard deal to turn down. I'd start earning my post-MBA salary one year earlier without much debt, I'd be able to focus on school more completely, and my overall quality of life would probably be better. When I do all that math, it seems like a no-brainer to go with Smith.

My questions: How do you think these programs really compare? Is the downgrade in school quality, projected income and career prospects insignificant enough to make this trade a net positive? Am I overblowing G'town's value / underestimating Smith's? Am I even asking the right questions?

Sorry for the rambling, and thanks for the input!


Kind of a tough position, but this is a good problem to have. If I was you and intended on staying in the DC area, I'd go to Maryland assuming they do offer the fellowship because like you said, that's a lot less money to borrow and it is something you can add to the resume which can't be a minus. This is also assuming that you're set on attending B School this fall. A 730 GMAT could get you to NYU, Michigan, Chicago or Kellogg part time as well, if you were willing to travel there for a weekend program. In fact GTown's part time average is higher than Michigan's and is the same as NYU's.

Maryland draws a great network from all the top employers in the DC area, like Georgetown does. If you want to consider going out of the DC area and you are totally fine with potentially tacking on considerable student loan debt, then it may be better to go to Georgetown because it has a wider network. From what I have seen at least, employers will pay MBA grads the same salaries, and Georgetown has a better shot at the highest ones in places like NYC, but at the same time, in DC, Maryland has as good of a shot at the top jobs as anyone too. Outside of DC and Baltimore, it may be more spotty.

Like you, I'm basically deciding between these two (and GW though I am swaying more toward UMD now though I was swaying the other way a month ago) before the R2 decision for Georgetown comes in. Hopefully we'll all know soon, so we can make those final decisions.... the suspense is killing me. good luck!
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Re: Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2012, 13:34
Sorry for jumping into this topic so late. So what did you decide (both first and last poster)? I am going to apply to both schools - I would be interested to hear your final reasons to choose one school over another. Thanks!
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Re: Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2012, 14:47
I'd go with Maryland. Can't beat a free MBA and the difference in post mba salary+ rankings isn't enough to turn it down.
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Re: Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2012, 06:38
In at MAryland.
Re: Unexpected dilemma between Maryland and Georgetown   [#permalink] 02 Oct 2012, 06:38
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