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Booth vs. Kellogg vs. Columbia

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Booth vs. Columbia vs. Kellogg

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Booth vs. Kellogg vs. Columbia [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2011, 17:28
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Although this is a deeply personal decision, I couldn't resist asking you guys...

I have to make a decision soon about which school to attend. I literally did not imagine that I would end up with three great options.

For context, I've spent five years working in municipal government and want to transition to management consulting after getting my degree. I eventually want to return to the public sector, probably doing something like running a non-profit.

Some of the things I care about when selecting a school: strong presence in social enterprise, consulting placement strengths, rigorous curriculum, financial aid, "culture/fit", lifestyle.

Social Enterprise: Here I would honestly rank Kellogg first, Columbia a close second, and Booth a distant third. Kellogg and Columbia are pretty closely ranked in this dimension in my mind. Kellogg's program is a bit more highly regarded than CBS', however Prof. Fisman, the director of CBS' Social Enterprise program, seems to be doing a great deal to keep the program dynamic and innovative. Booth has one professor that teaches a social enterpreneurship lab, and there are similar social enterprise related EC opportunities at Booth, but their program is just not fully formed yet.

Consulting Placements: This is basically a wash. Kellogg gets the edge here, but not by as much as I initially thought, since I'm putting weight on M/B/B placements. About 10% of Kellogg's student body gets M/B/B full-time post-MBA placements, versus 8% at Booth and 7% at CBS (I excluded from the CBS numbers McK sponsored students returning to their firm). Internship numbers are somewhat similar. Overall, 27% of Kellogg grads go into the consulting industry versus 24% at Booth and 20% at CBS.

Curriculum: I prefer Booth's flexible curriculum over Kellogg and CBS' core curriculum approach. I like the way Booth allows you a couple class options for each foundation requirement, and also allows a little more flexibility in when you take required classes. Although this is more of a brand preference than a comment on curriculum, I also prefer the quantitativ reputations of Booth and CBS over Kellogg's more "poetic" reputation.

Financial Aid: Kellogg has the huge edge here. Their financial aid application process was so straightforward and transparent, and I really appreciate the quick turnaround (2 weeks from fin aid app submission to preliminary aid package). Kellogg also offers need-based loan assistance for grads pursuing non-profit careers for up to 10 years after graduation. Columbia has a similar program, but eligibility ends 5 years after graduation. Booth does not offer a loan assistance program. Also, Kellogg has offered me a $13k scholarship in my aid package- no aid offers from Booth or CBS yet.

Culture/Fit: I've honestly liked the Booth students and alums that I've met the best. Booth's outreach since I've been admitted has been phenomenal. My interviewer for Kellogg called me to congratulate me after I was admitted, which I appreciated. I have not heard from anyone at CBS since my admit call a month ago.

Lifestyle: Again, I give Booth the edge here. This may sound silly, but there's a running group/charity that is a very important part of my life. If I attend Booth, there's a chapter near the downtown hi-rises that I can run with in the mornings. I might be able to get down from Kellogg occasionally, but it seems far less likely. There's no local chapter in NYC. While I've never lived in NYC before, the cost of living is pretty high. It's also pretty high in downtown Chicago, but less so. I'm not very enthusiastic about the idea of living in a suburb like Evanston. Given the three options I would prefer to live in downtown Chicago.

I am of course continuing to research the programs, talking to current students and alums at all 3 schools, and doing my best to attend as many admitted student events as possible. In a perfect world, I would attend all three admit weekends, but Booth and CBS are at the same time, and CBS wants my deposit the following Friday, which happens to also be Day At Kellogg. So I gotta decide soon.

So...what do you guys think? Vote and leave me your comments!
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Re: Booth vs. Kellogg vs. Columbia [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2011, 17:49
runnergirl, first, let me congratulate you on your extraordinary accomplishment! I am in a similar spot as you are in choosing among schools (Booth is the one we share in common). I think you lay out your criteria very well, but I definitely think a lot of it has to do with instinct and happiness. Consulting placement %s are fine and dandy, but I'm sure that if you work hard, you can make it in consulting at any three of those schools. But what I would consider is what environment would help you most to succeed? The places that you are happiest at is probably the place you will succeed at the most (definite correlation there :) ). You will not succeed where you are not happy. I definitely don't think you can go wrong though, but it's definitely what your gut instinct goes with. Reading your commentary, it seems that you are leaning a bit towards Booth. I think a good question would be "would I regret not going to XXX?" If you think you would not regret it, then take that school out as an option. If you would, maybe that's what instinct is telling you.

We all have our perceptions and while we can vote, you know what's best. Apologies if I sound philosophical. But I think once you reach a certain threshold, it's about where you'd be happiest in. :)
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Re: Booth vs. Kellogg vs. Columbia [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2011, 17:58
first of all congrats! 3 wonderful schools and truly a wonderful problem to have!

I agree with Opportunity here.

Now IMO, I think its best to go with the school that will give you the best chances at your career first. Lets say you had notre dame as one of the schools, with consulting as a goal it would be easy to cancel it out. That said, all three schools will open the door you want. Yea Kellog is prob the best for consulting, but you're going to have to work hard for M/B/B from either school.

The next thing to look at is culture and here you answered your own question. You like booths culture/flexibility better......

Does Kellogs fin aid ease mean your going to get more money? No, so I wouldnt give this too much weight personally

Tough choice, cant really go wrong, but sounds like booth is the best fit for you personally.
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Schools: Wharton - W/L, Booth - admit, Kellogg - matriculating, NYU - Withdrawl, Columbia - Withdrawl
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Re: Booth vs. Kellogg vs. Columbia [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2011, 11:38
I was in a similar situation, though I withdrew from Columbia and was deciding between Kellogg and Booth. It sounds like the real competition for you is between those two schools as well. I was at DAK1 and was very impressed by both the information session for SEEK, their social enterprise major, and the number of students interested in the topic. Initially I was drawn to the quantitative and open curriculum at Booth but after speaking with alumni from a number of schools, had a change of heart. Almost all mentioned that the classes and skills they valued most from business school were those of the "softer" variety. I feel that these skills are something that Kellogg teaches better than anyone.

But at the end of the day, the one thing I realized after visiting both schools, is that they are far more similar than different. After attending both welcome weekends, you'll know where you "fit". Feel free to PM me for any more information.
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Re: Booth vs. Kellogg vs. Columbia [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2011, 05:15
Yeah it definitely looks like a race between the school where fun goes to die (albeit with pretty buildings) and the school where people hug a lot (with crappy buildings). :)

Living downtown is so affordable in Chicago that it's ridiculous. I could have lived in a palace in Chicago for how much I'll be paying for a small apartment in Boston. Obviously, I really, really like Booth so that's what I voted but Kellogg is awesome as well. As someone who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, Evanston is a really nice little college town and while it definitely isn't the city, I don't think it would be all that bad.

Realistically, while Kellogg is a consulting factory, if your goal is M/B/B, 8% vs. 10% doesn't matter. I'd say that between the schools you are considering, all would give you about equal shot at landing an interview with those firms and it would be pretty much up to you to show them that you're the right person for those jobs.

Now Kellogg really does have a great social enterprise program and I really do like the work they do with the greater Chicago community. Be sure to talk regularly with your Booth adcom contact since they can help find you money if that's a determining factor in you attending. Really, it's a toss-up. For me, I got along better with the Boothies but I'm sort of a nerd so that's no surprise. At ASW, you'll find plenty of people making the tough Booth-Kellogg decision and while Booth seems to be converting a higher percentage of these recently (probably due to it's rise in the rankings and new facilities), Kellogg has historically been ranked higher for a long time so prestige-wise it's about a tie.

I can't wait to hear about your experience at both admit weekends (oh and Columbia's as well). While I do have a brother-in-law attending Columbia (film school) and a friend who worked in the business school offices there, I've heard enough negative things about some of those aggro-banker types that go there that I'm not as big of a fan of that school. Of course I was worried about those personalities at HBS too so who knows. :)
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Re: Booth vs. Kellogg vs. Columbia   [#permalink] 06 Apr 2011, 05:15
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