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Columbia vs. Booth (no scholarships)

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Where should I go?

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Columbia vs. Booth (no scholarships) [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2018, 12:57
Hey guys,

Seems to be a tale old as time judging by past posts pitching these two against each other, but each situation is different and I'd like to get your perspective on mine. I'll preface this by saying I'm pretty torn and honestly don't really have a favorite in my head, which makes this all the more excruciating.

Background: I'm 27, nonminority, 740 GMAT. 3 years at Deloitte strategy before 1.5 years working in startup operations (Uber, then smaller local startups). Interested in either returning to consulting (to hone strategy chops and maximize exit opportunities) or go for product management / startup operations again (if I have a better idea of what vertical I want to work in immediately after school). I'm really interested in startups but wouldn't join an early-stage thing out of school unless I was very pumped about it. Will also need to pay off debt, since I'll be paying full ticket price at either.

Biggest considerations:

    Location: Chicago vs. NYC. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, have lived here since undergrad, and love the city. I'm tentatively planning on living here post-MBA. That said, I ascribe to the belief that you grow when out of your comfort zone, and having such an established life in Chicago could allow me to settle in and skip out on some opportunities (though I would try to make sure it didn't). Columbia has access to NYC, which is an engaging startup community that's much larger and more active than Chicago's, but Booth is undoubtedly more involved in Chicago's scene, which I am more likely to play in if I live here post-MBA. This is a toss-up, with perhaps a slight edge to Columbia for the novelty of new.

    Community: I'm still researching this, but I get the vibe that Columbia is more communal. I'm really looking for that collaborative vibe, and despite the stereotypes about Midwesterners vs. New Yorkers, I feel like Columbia looks for more involvement whereas Booth can feel more like a commuter school. I want to build a network, but I also want to make great friends that push me and make long study sessions fly by. Slight edge to Columbia.

    Career Prep: This is tough, as both have great employment statistics for consulting and tech / startups. Booth has a slight edge in brand (especially in the Midwest), while Columbia sends more people to top firms on a nominal basis. Aside from consulting, Chicago is probably going to plug me into a more useful network of Chicago entrepreneurs / resources compared to Columbia. But a counterargument is that New York's more robust business environment could be better training that applies regardless of where I go post-MBA.

As you can see, I'm really torn on where to go. I'm visiting NYC for Columbia Connect April 6th-9th, and have scheduled conversations with students and alumni from both to try and get a better feel for their experiences. That said, I would love to get your guys' take on where my interests match up, as well as anything else I should consider.

Thanks,
Blake
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Columbia vs. Booth (no scholarships) [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2018, 13:35
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Congratulations on getting into Booth and Columbia!

There is obviously a big component you are not accounting here, called life. That will probably account for 50%+ of the success of your experience at Columbia and Booth. I feel most of the points outlined points barely move the needle one way or another.

If you leave Chicago for 2 years and then come back, you will lose your network, friends, and connections you have today and you will have to work hard to re-establish them. So while I applaud you for wanting to challenge yourself and looking for a new exciting experience, it won't come without a price. If New York excites and you have an itch, then perhaps that's where you should go. At the same time, you are not the biggest fish in New York, unlike how you would be feeling in Chicago with Booth. You would be competing with HBS, Tuck, GSB, Booth, and everyone else who comes to New York to recruit.


P.S. at your stage in life, it makes perfect sense to explore, to try new things, and to do it. You won't have many other opportunities to move again - you will have a job, bills, loans, and then comes family, kids, school districts, and all the fun things that will tie you down for good. If the idea of spending your entire life in Chicago makes you feel uncomfortable, you should go to Columbia. However, as a person who has no skin in the game, my indicators point to Booth.
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Re: Columbia vs. Booth (no scholarships) [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2018, 20:04
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I think your analysis is fairly good although I have to disagree with you that CBS is more communal than Booth. Case in point, 65% of Booth students live in a five block radius in the Loop and CBS students live all over the city (some live up in harlem near campus, others down in the west village off the 1). Also, many of my friends who went to CBS spent most of their weekends hanging with their NY friends over their CBS friends, this same dynamic didn't really exist at Booth as most people who previously lived in Chi moved to the Loop to be more involved in the Booth community.
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Re: Columbia vs. Booth (no scholarships) [#permalink]

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New post 16 Mar 2018, 07:59
Awesome, thoughtful responses - thanks so much guys. Really helps me think through how I should weight different factors, and the anecdotes on the communities are insightful.
Re: Columbia vs. Booth (no scholarships)   [#permalink] 16 Mar 2018, 07:59
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