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Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB

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Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2013, 15:34
Hi all

I am in a really confused state. I got admission into the Berkeley program and ISB program. ISB i deferred to next year, so I can either attend the Berkeley program this year or skip this year and attend ISB next year.
I am a female, living in the US for 13 years and have about 9 years of work experience in technology industry.
Personally i am in a transition phase to India..so I plan to move back to India or look for opportunities around Asia after the MBA program.I am really confused if I should pursue the Berkeley program and then look for opportunities within Asia/india or if I should just skip this year and go with the ISB program next year.
Are the programs even (Berkeley vs ISB ) comparable ?
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Re: Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2013, 16:28
Congratulations on getting into two 'super-selective' programs. Its an envious problem/dilemma to have.
Do they have any $$$ involved?

If not,
If your future goals are to be in India then ISB might be a better option. Its economical, its highly regarded in the country, and its only a one year program and the network/prestige is good in the local economy.

If you are interested in a career in Asia or any other geography (other than India) I would go with Berkley. Its also highly regarded in the tech space and is in the heart of valley. Downside to Berkley would be a huge hole in the pocket that might take longer to fill-up if you pursue a career outside USA.


My two cents. Keep us posted on what you choose.
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Re: Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2013, 20:15
Hi Aditya

Thanks for your inputs.

Reg $$$..no scholorships from either pgm..regarding the pgm..let me be a little bit more specific..i have been admitted into the Executive MBA program at berkeley..its a 19month program.
Although my immediate job plans are in India..long term i see a high probability of looking at opportunities globally...I am little concerned how the student group , diversity and experience level of the students will be at ISB compared to exec students at berkeley which is catered for people with 8+ years of work experience.
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Re: Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2013, 04:06
sirishamunagala wrote:
Hi all

I am in a really confused state. I got admission into the Berkeley program and ISB program. ISB i deferred to next year, so I can either attend the Berkeley program this year or skip this year and attend ISB next year.
I am a female, living in the US for 13 years and have about 9 years of work experience in technology industry.
Personally i am in a transition phase to India..so I plan to move back to India or look for opportunities around Asia after the MBA program.I am really confused if I should pursue the Berkeley program and then look for opportunities within Asia/india or if I should just skip this year and go with the ISB program next year.
Are the programs even (Berkeley vs ISB ) comparable ?

If you are planning for a concentration in Finance, Berkeley should be the choice as it is the best in finance.
For international business, ISB might be better.
In global ranking of business schools, Berkeley is better than ISB.
As your long-term plan is to look for job globally, Berkeley will give you an edge there also.
Regarding diversity of students, I believe you will find comparable or better situation in Berkeley.
Tuition fee at Berkley should be more than that at ISB.

With these facts, now it is your choice. (If I were in your place, I would not have hesitated a bit to enroll for Berkeley's program -- but that is my personal choice.)
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Re: Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2013, 05:48
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sirishamunagala wrote:
Hi Aditya

Thanks for your inputs.

Reg $$$..no scholorships from either pgm..regarding the pgm..let me be a little bit more specific..i have been admitted into the Executive MBA program at berkeley..its a 19month program.
Although my immediate job plans are in India..long term i see a high probability of looking at opportunities globally...I am little concerned how the student group , diversity and experience level of the students will be at ISB compared to exec students at berkeley which is catered for people with 8+ years of work experience.


Sirisha - I am an executive recruiter based in India. My firm caters exclusively to talent with more than 15-20 years of experience, I am an incoming MBA student at Tuck and hence am well informed regarding senior/mid management jobs as well as MBA perceptions back home.

1. If you want to transition to India, ISB is a DECENT bet but certainly not the best. The ISB brand has diluted over the years owing to a) a higher percentage of class with work ex <4 years, and b) opening a new campus taking class to 1.5 times its size with no proven placement record to sustain it
2. There are limited jobs that are appealing that are offered to students at ISB - my definition of appeal is jobs at McK, Bain (Doesnt visit ISB), BCG (doesnt visit ISB), global leadership programs (some Indian subsidiaries visit ISB) etc.
3. However, these 'appealing' jobs typically go to the more experienced - maybe a 5 to 8 year range - versus the less experienced
4. ISB's brand name while recruiting is not as well regarded as, say, IIM Ahmedabad
5. As IIM Ahmedabad has a PGPX program - similar to ISBs program its a 1 year program for senior executives and has seen good placements - which you should consider
6. Berkeley has a good brand here - what I mean by that is that people would recognize Berkeley on your resume. They won't recognize Haas at all
7. The 'Executive MBA' tag is seen with a lot of speculation here. it doesn't have the same level of acceptance as in the US - be prepared for that
8. Someone who does an Exec MBA from Berkeley and wants to come to India, will mostly be seen a someone who couldnt get a job there and is hence applying here. The perception that the US would be your first choice a place of employment if you studied there exists

Pls take my comments with a pinch of salt and apply the pareto principle of 80/20. My comments above reflect, in my view, what 80% of the populace would have. There will always be anomalies much fewer in number that will result in different outcome.

All the best!
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Re: Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2013, 08:55
Hi str1der

Thanks for your detailed response. That was very helpful. From what i understand the Berkeley exec program is covering the same curriculum as the full time program and we end up getting the same UC Berkeley Degree...so i am not concerned about having an Exec tag associated with the degree i get...apparently the content of the curriculum is the same as full time program but all the extra acitivities are condensed for the working professionals.
My focus is really on getting a good business foundation and network and learn from others in the program. Also at the end of the program I want to see which option makes most sense in terms of giving me the flexibiity to look for opportunities globally. Yes may be immediatly I will look for opportunities in India..but I do know that I might be interested in opportunities outside India in the long term...although again I have my doubts as to how much of my MBA tag matters at that point..wouldnt it be more of what I did with my MBA and what kind of opportunities I pursued and the kind of career growth I had over the years.. ? But again I am thinking that instead of waiting and wasting this 1 year..i would have finished more than 1/2 the berkeley program by next april...and getting ready to look for the next opportunity...sooo confusing.
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Re: Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2013, 09:18
I would suggest you to get the Berkeley MBA and then work couple of years(to pay off loans) while trying to land an opportunity at Google/Microsoft in India. I am pretty sure they would be more than happy to take you in a program manager role. Berkeley is very highly regarded in India almost at par with Stanford/MIT.
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Re: Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2013, 03:45
sirishamunagala wrote:
Hi str1der

Thanks for your detailed response. That was very helpful. From what i understand the Berkeley exec program is covering the same curriculum as the full time program and we end up getting the same UC Berkeley Degree...so i am not concerned about having an Exec tag associated with the degree i get...apparently the content of the curriculum is the same as full time program but all the extra acitivities are condensed for the working professionals.
My focus is really on getting a good business foundation and network and learn from others in the program. Also at the end of the program I want to see which option makes most sense in terms of giving me the flexibiity to look for opportunities globally. Yes may be immediatly I will look for opportunities in India..but I do know that I might be interested in opportunities outside India in the long term...although again I have my doubts as to how much of my MBA tag matters at that point..wouldnt it be more of what I did with my MBA and what kind of opportunities I pursued and the kind of career growth I had over the years.. ? But again I am thinking that instead of waiting and wasting this 1 year..i would have finished more than 1/2 the berkeley program by next april...and getting ready to look for the next opportunity...sooo confusing.


The comment on the exec program was not from your interpretation of it BUT what employers think of it. If I was recruiting, and given my knowledge of how these programs work in the US, I would give you preference. But in India, largely the exec programs - given how undercooked they are here - are perceived to be under cooked everywhere. I didn't mean it from a content perspective.

I would recommend working in the US for a couple of years before coming here. Else, apply to INSEAD which has a very strong brand here plus is a one year MBA.
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Re: Which school to attend : Berkeley versus ISB   [#permalink] 18 Apr 2013, 03:45
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