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Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)

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Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)

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Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2014, 18:06
I have found myself in the ridiculously fortunate position of deciding amongst offers from Columbia, NYU, and Wharton. Columbia and Wharton have each offered $30k, while NYU has offered a full ride. Money isn't my biggest concern, but it is a nice benefit.

My work experience thus far has been in banking, but I'm looking to go into the more non-traditional path of luxury/retail. The goal is to work in industry, but I may want to go back to financial services with a retail industry focus if industry doesn't suit me. I know it's a personal decision but wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts.
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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2014, 20:04
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Firstly, congratulations 8-) !! Receiving scholarship money from all three schools is no small feat.

I wanted to chime in because I have a relatively similar background and also possess less-structured career aspirations (i.e. a field outside of investment banking & consulting). I also got accepted to Columbia and Wharton (albeit with no $), completed a stint in investment banking, and now aspire to work in the hedge fund industry (not exactly retail / luxury, but a career field that similarly doesn't have a structured hiring process that typically adheres to a recruiting calendar).

Because your specified career interests are in retail / luxury, I would recommend Columbia over Wharton! Retail / luxury is, to my understanding, relatively tough to break into because the recruiting process isn't as robust and structured as IBD / consulting / F500 positions. However, what would differentiate you from other candidates would be: 1) network and 2) previous work experience. Columbia has a pretty strong Retail & Luxury Goods Club that would connect you with CBS alumni currently in the industry, but most importantly, provide you with an avenue to obtain an academic-year internship (Fall or Spring) at a luxury goods shop. I think this is the biggest competitive advantage that Columbia has to offer over Wharton - because you're domiciled in NYC (literally the fashion capital of the world), you have the opportunity to intern at a luxury / retail firm during the school year and build your work experience, so that when a full-time offer is posted on OCR during your second year, you can have an upperhand vs. other candidates. I ultimately chose Columbia over Wharton because I want to transition into the hedge fund industry and while the alumni base in the hedge fund industry is probably equally abundant for CBS and Wharton, I have 0 experience in the industry and could complete Spring / Fall internships while in school to position me for summer internships and subsequently, full time positions (not to mention the Value Investing Program at CBS) during my 2nd year.

Columbia also has one of my favorite "master classes" in the design & marketing of luxury goods - it's a class at Columbia Business School where they partner you with students from Parsons (the New School) and you work on an actual project with top-tier companies including Hermes, Chanel and Van Cleef & Arpels (if you google "columbia parsons", you'll get a bunch of information!). During Columbia Connect (admitted students weekend), I met an enterprising female student that completed this course and ultimately wound up working for Chanel.

In the end, you mentioned that you may want to go back into the financial services industry with a retail focus, and I think that for sell-side positions, Columbia, Wharton and Stern would actually provide no differentiation there.

However, you want to enter an industry that requires you to be more enterprising / self-driven / entrepreneurial than the typical IBD / MBB track, and as such, I would recommend CBS!

In the end, I have learned, as you noted, outside of HBS / Stanford, the next 5 schools each has its own competitive advantage and you really just cannot go wrong (Wharton may have the history & marginally higher prestige / Columbia has NYC (and a new building and a recently completed $6.1bn fundraising campaign at the overall university level that exceeds that at Yale & Penn!) / Kellogg is a consulting & marketing powerhouse / Chicago has PHD-level academics / MIT has tech & entrepreneurship). They are all amazing!

I left out Stern because while it is a great school in its own right and a full-ride is very, very nice, it is in a different tier relative to Wharton / Columbia.
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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2014, 00:30
Congrats. You have a really tough choice on your hands. From reputation, I think Columbia and NYU lend themselves more to Luxury / Retail than Wharton. To start with, I would reach out to each school's career service to get a better understanding of their placement stats into that industry. Also it would be worth asking about the existing alumni network in luxury / retail since your recruiting will boil down to network your way into the industry. See if any school give you a response that suggests it is a relatively well trodden path to head into luxury / retail and they have historically sent students into that industry.

As for your backup career plan, any of the 3 schools can get you back into financial services.

Since money is not an issue, I would go with Columbia as it has a reputation for being strong in the luxury / retail unless you get career placement stats that suggest otherwise.
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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2014, 06:42
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I'd probably go to Wharton, the school brand will carry you. No luxury companies are going to say "Oh, he goes to Wharton, too bad it's luxury goods club isn't as good as Columbia!" Everyone knows Wharton is great, and you'll have no issues getting luxury interviews.
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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2014, 07:29
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mgh234 wrote:
I'd probably go to Wharton, the school brand will carry you. No luxury companies are going to say "Oh, he goes to Wharton, too bad it's luxury goods club isn't as good as Columbia!" Everyone knows Wharton is great, and you'll have no issues getting luxury interviews.

You are correct! I have experience working in the retail/luxury industry, trying to break into the financial services industry. Unlike other industries, the retail/luxury industry not obsessive over what school you got your MBA from, unlike other industries. So, you could go to CBS, NYU and UPenn, and you will still be in good shape. However, if things don't work out in the retail/luxury industry, you might want to go back to financial services..., if that is the case, Wharton will help.

Wharton, the clear choice.
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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2014, 09:46
I would go through the recruiting placement statistics, search linkedin by school and reach out to the clubs. That would give you a much better sense as to what/where each school places.
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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Feb 2015, 15:30
Got dinged at Columbia (early decision) but accepted at Stern. Should I go to Stern or wait for a year and apply for CBS again?

Marketing background, want to break into management consulting.
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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Feb 2015, 08:47
You know, I just realized I never updated this with my final decision. I ended up at Wharton, and I'm really happy with my decision. Thanks so much for everyone's opinions and advice. I did look at recruiting stats, classes, clubs and all that. They're all great programs, but I ended up feeling Wharton was the best fit for me.

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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Feb 2015, 08:51
Congrats on getting into Stern! Like everyone said to me, I would go through the employment stats for each schools. For management consulting, I think it's a little harder to go MBB from Stern, but you should still be able to transition into consulting. It kind of depends on your goals. Weigh that against having to wait another year and go through this long and arduous process again. In general, Stern is still a good program- I have friends there who love it. Being in NYC certainly helps. Good luck!

ckoga wrote:
Got dinged at Columbia (early decision) but accepted at Stern. Should I go to Stern or wait for a year and apply for CBS again?

Marketing background, want to break into management consulting.


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Re: Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)   [#permalink] 26 Feb 2015, 08:51

Columbia ($) vs. NYU Stern ($$$$) vs. Wharton ($)

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