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URGENT* GWU vs UMD vs UIUC MSF acceptances [#permalink]
11 Apr 2011, 10:39
I'm in the Washington DC area, and I've received admits to UIUC, George Washington, and the University of Maryland. Ideally, I would like to remain in this area after school. Of these three programs, which would you most highly recommend and why? Do the MBA rankings matter? Long-term, I would like to end up in asset management, corporate strategy, or corporate development. Thank you for the input!
Re: URGENT* GWU vs UMD vs UIUC MSF acceptances [#permalink]
25 Apr 2011, 12:53
Hey - are you still debating? - just came across your post and if you are still up in the air I think I can shed some light on the issue as I'm a DC resident who looked into GWU/UMD as well. For MSF think geographically - if you are interested in staying on the eastern sea board then I think you should ignore UIUC, I never looked into this school so I can’t give a lot of insight. In regards to GWU or UMD I would say this:
Academics – GWU is an older program and its curriculum is a lot more established. It seems like UMD has a better PhD program but at the MSF level GWU looks a lot more quantitative. (at GWU you will have no choice but to learn at the minimum SAS and Matlab while at UMD I think you could probably selectively set your schedule up to avoid this…)
Now the thing about GWU is that the program is offered lockstep so you really don’t have any customization options where at UMD if you were really advanced in the quant department you may be able to talk yourself into a PhD level class by the end of the program. At GWU you move through the classes with the rest of the group…
Also GWU will require at least one year, (12 months), if you are a full time student (16 credits per semester) or two years, (24 months), if you go part-time – UMD can be done in 9 months if you are full time and as little as 12 months at part-time pace if you really book it.
Placement - UMD’s program is vary young and when I was looking into it they flat out told me that the school would provide no placement assistance after graduation to MSF students. GWU on the other hand will work with you – they claim something approaching 100% placement but I know that they are heavy international and this may make that number seem a little more realistic
Cost – GWU is a longer program 48 credit versus UMD’s (I think 30 credits but it may be 33 now). In short this makes GWU more expensive. If you can post a strong GMAT GWU does award scholarships and as of last year UMD did not – so this may bring the actual cost down closer to even or not depending on your GMAT.
Something else to think about is the class profile. The average age of a student at GWU is about 29 or 30 and the UMD program told me that they are trying to focus on full time, (read younger), students so depending on your profile one may be a better fit then the other. I really feel that GWU is marketing itself as more of an alternative to an MBA and UMD is looking for someone either fresh out with a finance BS who wants to go deeper, or better yet someone with a math/stat degree that wants to move over. Its tough to get stats on UMD’s class profile, at least for me last year, but GWU showed about 1/3 of it’s incoming students holding advanced degrees.
One final point – if you are really interested in strategy or development then neither GWU nor UMD may be right for you – these topics may be covered more fully in an MBA style program. – Just something to think about…