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Wait a year to re-apply? Or stick with a 'safety' school?

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Wait a year to re-apply? Or stick with a 'safety' school? [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2012, 21:01
So I'm sure this is a common dilemma with most people. My situation is this: I'm currently working on my applications (haven't submitted any yet), but I have a couple of somewhat 'big brand' schools on my list. They aren't M-7's or anything, but think more along the lines of Cornell, Oxford, and UCLA. I'm a Canadian from Toronto, and my 'safety' schools are the Top-2 or 3 MBA programs in Canada, which are much less competitive to get into (and I'm quite confident about my chances for).

Unfortunately, the Canadian schools are very regional in nature and none of them have any recognition outside of Canada. I would love to go to a 'bigger name' like an Oxford or a Cornell, but am afraid that if I don't receive any admits from my target/reach schools this year, I'd be stuck waiting another whole year to reapply - either that, or stick with one of my Canadian safety schools and lose the international mobility/prestige I was looking for.

Another factor that weighs in on this is the fact that I dislike my current job very much - am looking forward to my pending exit, which is dependent on whether I get into the MBA program of my choice.

My question is this - in the event that I don't get admitted to my top choices for 2013 intake, should I wait to reapply for 2014 intake? Or is that 'international prestige' of a bigger name school not worth waiting another year of staying in a job that I've really grown out of? Should I just cut my losses and stick with my regional school safeties? I highly doubt I could just quit my current job, find another job elsewhere for a year, and then quit that once I start my MBA program in 2014 (dependent on admittance). Or am I just overvaluing the importance of a bigger name program from a non-regional school?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated on how you weigh the decision to go with a regional safety school and give up on the dream of going to a bigger brand name program, versus sticking it out for another year longer (in a job you hate) for a second chance at a more recognized institution.

Thanks!
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Re: Wait a year to re-apply? Or stick with a 'safety' school? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2012, 07:28
It sounds like you haven't really answered the Why MBA question for yourself. If your goal for getting an MBA is to escape being stuck in a specific region, then it makes no sense to apply for safety schools that do not solve that problem.
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Re: Wait a year to re-apply? Or stick with a 'safety' school? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2012, 08:52
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I think you should approach the application backwards. Look first at what you want to do after b-school, and then find the b-school that would help you get there. This way you don’t end up in the same place, doing a job that you are not passionate about. Even the best b-schools are regionally focused, look at Stanford vs. Harvard employment stats. The better schools give you a better shot at working globally, but it is not a given. The same can be said of functions.

So look at where you want to live, what role you want to do, what companies you want to work for, and then find the b-schools that these companies recruit at.
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Re: Wait a year to re-apply? Or stick with a 'safety' school? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2012, 09:51
I don't think there's anything wrong with having a safety school, but if your heart is set on going somewhere that isn't a safety school and you end up at one of those other schools you might always wonder "What if?" Then again, you might not. That's a decision you'll have to make. 10 years from now are you going to regret not going to that school of your dreams? If so, wait the extra year and get even better prepared for it.

It's good that you're thinking ahead but I wouldn't stress out about this situation until you're actually faced with it. At this point, if you're in the same spot as me- you probably have way too much weighing you down to add something else, currently beyond your control, to the mix. Get your apps perfect and submitted and hope for the best.

If the best doesn't occur, and you're not going to be happy with that local regional school - I don't even know that I'd bother applying unless you're looking to stay in that area and just want an MBA.

Good luck!
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Re: Wait a year to re-apply? Or stick with a 'safety' school? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2012, 10:53
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kdub09 wrote:
So I'm sure this is a common dilemma with most people. My situation is this: I'm currently working on my applications (haven't submitted any yet), but I have a couple of somewhat 'big brand' schools on my list. They aren't M-7's or anything, but think more along the lines of Cornell, Oxford, and UCLA. I'm a Canadian from Toronto, and my 'safety' schools are the Top-2 or 3 MBA programs in Canada, which are much less competitive to get into (and I'm quite confident about my chances for).

Unfortunately, the Canadian schools are very regional in nature and none of them have any recognition outside of Canada. I would love to go to a 'bigger name' like an Oxford or a Cornell, but am afraid that if I don't receive any admits from my target/reach schools this year, I'd be stuck waiting another whole year to reapply - either that, or stick with one of my Canadian safety schools and lose the international mobility/prestige I was looking for.

Another factor that weighs in on this is the fact that I dislike my current job very much - am looking forward to my pending exit, which is dependent on whether I get into the MBA program of my choice.

My question is this - in the event that I don't get admitted to my top choices for 2013 intake, should I wait to reapply for 2014 intake? Or is that 'international prestige' of a bigger name school not worth waiting another year of staying in a job that I've really grown out of? Should I just cut my losses and stick with my regional school safeties? I highly doubt I could just quit my current job, find another job elsewhere for a year, and then quit that once I start my MBA program in 2014 (dependent on admittance). Or am I just overvaluing the importance of a bigger name program from a non-regional school?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated on how you weigh the decision to go with a regional safety school and give up on the dream of going to a bigger brand name program, versus sticking it out for another year longer (in a job you hate) for a second chance at a more recognized institution.

Thanks!


Well, rather than thinking in the amorphous terms of "prestige", I think the better approach to take would be "where am I likely to reach my goals? What will bring me further?" And this applies for personal stuff as much as professional. It's too easy to tell everyone "Yeah, sure wait until you get into Wharton, and then go ONLY there." But some people don't like Wharton. And some people wouldn't do great there. And others would. So, yes, aim for the best school you can, but the best means best for YOU, and best for what you want to do. And not some arbitrary objective seeming "Best". I mean, yes, I would tell ANYONE who got into HBS to go, but still, I wouldn't tell everyone to hold out for HBS...


Food for thought...
(ha! I almost typed "fool for thought"... :) )
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Re: Wait a year to re-apply? Or stick with a 'safety' school? [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2012, 18:46
Thanks for the insights everyone!
Re: Wait a year to re-apply? Or stick with a 'safety' school?   [#permalink] 22 Oct 2012, 18:46
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