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14 Jan 2013, 16:43
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I've seen a number of these types of comparisons on the forum, but I have yet to see this specific one. So here's my (certainly good) dilemma. I have been accepted to both Wharton and Columbia. Wharton looks to be without scholarship/fellowship and Columbia offered me a fellowship that would cover my first year of tuition.

I have been and will continue to research both schools, understand each school's ethos, and figure out which school would be the best fit for me. The admit days will certainly be very important for me to find answers to a lot of my questions.

But I do want to get more outside opinions about this decision. So far, I have really liked both schools, though Wharton has always been higher on the list for me. Besides the more superficial distinctions of prestige and ranking, Wharton's facilities are far superior to those of Columbia, which is somewhat important to my decision. The generalities about Columbia's sense of togetherness/community (it's in NYC, the classes tend to be less cohesive than their top-tier counterparts, etc.) have also been on my mind. CBS students and alums have been quick to reassure me that it's not the case, but you can't help but wonder based on the parameters alone.

As to what I want to do with my business school education - I do think I have a strong idea, but I also want to take the opportunity to make sure that I'm doing my fair share of exploration and not closing any doors. I'm looking to have real estate investment/development be a part of my business school education. Both schools are strong in real estate and both have their respective specialized centers for real estate. That said, I also have other interests that I would love to learn more about in business school - strategy and marketing being two of those areas.

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15 Jan 2013, 13:31
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Since Columbia's free, go to both.
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17 Jan 2013, 04:06
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nikhilsrl wrote:
CobraKai wrote:
jwcardinal11 wrote:
While I wouldn't say I've made up my mind, I certainly am leaning toward Wharton. A week ago, it was a no-brainer for me, but the fellowship certainly made it mre necessary for me to ask more questions. I agree that going with my gut and not playing the what-if game is likely going to be a lot more satisfying in the long-run.

Another reason you should go with Wharton is because this guy says a third-rate school like Columbia isn't worth it: http://qz.com/42233/if-you-cant-get-into-a-top-five-mba-program-dont-even-bother/

Seriously?.....

Not seriously. There's another thread going around on that topic and I was kidding around.
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14 Jan 2013, 17:53
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Gosh, I hardly want to vote. I hate to sound trite, but I think in this case it makes sense to go to both admit weekends and see which program you like more. On one hand, since you want to keep every door open, it makes sense to go to the "better" program: Wharton. On the other hand, having oppressive debt could close some doors to you (mentally), so you may want to go with (perhaps) the better value: Columbia.

You certainly have a tough decision, but it's a good one to have!

Edit: For the record, I personally voted for Wharton because (1) you sound like you like the program more and (2) Columbia just dinged me today.
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15 Jan 2013, 06:57
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ThreeWes wrote:
Sounds like you prefer Wharton, if you think you'll regret passing up Wharton every day while you're at Columbia then I wouldn't let the money change your mind.

100% agree with this. Money comes and goes, but you've only got one life to live. Playing the "what if" game is miserable, especially if you control your own destiny.
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15 Jan 2013, 10:13
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Congrats. I, similar to yourself, have a strong affinity towards Wharton. If I were in your shoes, I would still take Wharton. Although the first year of tuition would be nice to have covered, I would also factor in the much higher cost of living in NYC. Keep that in mind.
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17 Jan 2013, 07:28
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jwcardinal11 wrote:
kingfalcon wrote:
I think I'm a little unusual among GCers in that I love these "vs." threads. I mention that because typically someone already has his/her mind made up and just wants a sanity check. So, I just wanted to let you know that I think it's perfectly sane to pick Wharton over Columbia with money, especially when you have much more affinity for Wharton's program, geography, and people. Go with your gut (which, fortuitously, is also in line with all major rankings)!

While I wouldn't say I've made up my mind, I certainly am leaning toward Wharton. A week ago, it was a no-brainer for me, but the fellowship certainly made it mre necessary for me to ask more questions. I agree that going with my gut and not playing the what-if game is likely going to be a lot more satisfying in the long-run.

I've also seen people regret not taking the money. Mappleby has a point about the options that come from more financial freedom. Heck, you might get to school, get involved with a really cool startup team, and want to continue working it after graduation. That's much more feasible with significantly less debt.
I think you're doing the right thing by asking questions and going to admit weekends. However, the majority of people who are answering you in this poll don't have the experience with either school to give you a definititve answer. Speaking to current students and alums will give you a much clearer picture than the random preferences of other b-school applicants (no offense intended guys!).
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18 Feb 2013, 16:58
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jwcardinal11 wrote:
Hi all,

An update for those who may have been interested in this decision. I have decided to go with Wharton. The admit weekends definitely helped the decision - I really felt at home among current students and fellow admits at Wharton. And though I met a lot of people at Columbia whom I liked, I ultimately found Wharton to be a better fit.

And for those who are interested whether or not or if the fellowship was factored into my decision, I actually asked to be reconsidered for a fellowship at Wharton (it's something that everyone can do) and I ended up receiving a fellowship. So it does/can happen! Really, I had nothing to lose by asking.

Thank you to everyone for their comments and input on this decision!

Congrats!
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19 Feb 2013, 19:10
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Congratulations - seems like a great ending indeed. Great that Wharton has assisted with the decision-making!
Congrats and have a great time!
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15 Jan 2013, 07:32
ThreeWes wrote:
Sounds like you prefer Wharton, if you think you'll regret passing up Wharton every day while you're at Columbia then I wouldn't let the money change your mind. However, I don't think you can really go wrong here. Edit: another thought is you will spend much more money at Columbia living in NYC than you will in Philly.

On a selfish note, I just got into CBS on Friday... did they tell you about the fellowship when they called you? Or did you find out about it later on? They didn't mention any money so just trying to make sure that's it for me. My online status hasn't been updated yet..

ThreeWes - They told me about the fellowship when they called. I don't know if it's necessarily "it" if you don't get the fellowship designation right away. For whatever reason, I'd assume that smaller fellowships/scholarships would be decided later on. But I could be very wrong. Can any previous admits chime in on this?
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Re: Wharton w/no $vs. Columbia + $$[#permalink] Show Tags 15 Jan 2013, 07:37 Thanks for the comments, everyone. A couple of you hit the nail right on the head - I do have a preference toward Wharton (and have always had, having gone to Penn for grad school). But that's also partly a function of not knowing the Columbia environment as well, which I will certainly try to get more of in the coming month. It's actually kind of surprising that it seems only the pro-Wharton contingent has commented. There are certainly people who voted for Columbia ... but maybe because they thought their reasoning was fairly obvious? Which leads me to wondering if the distinction between Wharton and Columbia is really *that* clear that only money or some very obvious issues of fit would sway one toward Columbia over Wharton. Re: Wharton w/no vs. Columbia +$$$   [#permalink] 15 Jan 2013, 07:37

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