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Darden vs. Cornell MBA

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Darden vs. Cornell MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2013, 19:17
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Hey gents, I was recently accepted to UVA Darden and Cornell Johnson for MBA and am looking for your advice. Looking to break into investment banking. My thoughts so far:

Darden:
Pros: IB recruiting equal to Cornell, stronger alumni network, potentially better classroom experience with case method, #1 faculty, Charlottesville > Ithaca, warmer climate, alumni and students seem extremely enthusiastic about their school, recruiting for banks is on campus and not expected to travel to and from NYC aside from final interviews.

Cons: Considered one of/the most rigorous of all b-schools means potentially hellish 1st/2nd year ("country club bootcamp"), case method very engaging but with 600+ cases may not address concepts fully, strong brand in South and U.S. but lesser-known to those not as familiar with b-schools and internationally.

Cornell: Pros: Ivy League brand, strong immersion program for IB, campus is picturesque despite town being so-so, close-knit community rivals Darden. Cons: Seems to be less enthusiasm from students and alumni and marginally less impressed with the students/curriculum.

So for current and previous applicants who have/had considered these two schools, and current and previous students as well, would you agree with this assessment/anything to add? In a nutshell I prefer the Ivy League brand but does that trump what seems like a better experience? And will I get my ass kicked by Darden's ridiculous workload and not fully engage in recruiting, networking, etc? Thanks!
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Re: Darden vs. Cornell MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Dec 2013, 10:03
Hi and congratulations.

Is there a chance any school may award you a scholarship? Are all financial aid decisions have been made?
My experience is that both schools are very strong. We have plenty of current students at both schools (including KobraKai in Cornell as well as hywyre). I think for IB and finance, I feel that Darden is a slightly stronger program for Financial area (IB in particular).

Not a bad idea is to look at other areas not just your industry since in bschools priorities change frequently.

P.S. Congratulations - Good luck with the decision!

Similar discussion though in light of consulting: darden-vs-cornell-wl-150598.html
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Re: Darden vs. Cornell MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Dec 2013, 15:20
Both schools mail out scholarship info a week or two after the decision. Would make my decision much easier if there was a big gap in $s but I have a feeling I will receive token scholarships at both - not a minority, average but not great stats (3.6 GPA, 700 GMAT), think I shined through in my essays and interview. But we'll see.

I also got the feeling that Darden might have a slight edge in IB. In regards to other areas I know they win MC placement hands down. I'll reach out to some more Cornell students/alums for sure, and thanks for the link!

Any current/prospective students or alums that could shed more light, would love to hear from you. Thanks!
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Re: Darden vs. Cornell MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Dec 2013, 08:47
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One more to add from a Johnson Current Student I got via PM:
Quote:
I would agree that Charlottesville > Ithaca, especially the weather, but that's a very myopic reason to choose a b-school. One thing I've noticed is that Cornell Alum are very passionate across all the schools, so you're joining the Cornell network, not just the Johnson network. I'm not sure if UVA is the same way.

It sounds naive to think that all IB recruiting takes place on campus at UVA (maybe it does...in which case it'd be nice not spending your Fridays in NYC). I've heard of Duke guys going up to NYC on Fridays to meet with banks. Something else to consider is that given Cornell's proximity to NYC, a lot of graduate (again, undergrad and Johnson) end up in the city making for a strong network. So, you can argue all day if Johnson or Darden has a stronger network globally, but if you want to go into IB, I wouldn't hesitate to say that Johnson has a stronger network in NYC.

I have a theory as to why Johnson students may be less enthusiastic about their program than Darden. Johnson is in the northeast, which is overshadowed by HBS, Wharton, Sloan, Tuck, Columbia, etc. It's true that a good chunk of my classmates wanted to go to one of those schools and settled for Johnson. Meanwhile, Darden and Duke rule the south. If someone wishes to get out of the cold, their options are more limited, and Darden comes of as a really attractive choice, not an alternative. Not sure if that makes sense, but it's just a thought.

To answer your question: "What would you do?" I wouldn't go into IB. :P

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Re: Darden vs. Cornell MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2013, 12:06
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hopscotchmafia wrote:
And will I get my ass kicked by Darden's ridiculous workload and not fully engage in recruiting, networking, etc? Thanks!


I wouldn't be concerned about this since everyone will be going through the same courseload - especially since Darden doesn't let anyone exempt from core courses.

As I've experienced at my first semester at Johnson, the academics are rigorous, but only as rigorous as you make it. What I mean is, it's about time management. I came to business school to get a better job, so honestly, going to corporate briefings and other recruiting events was a bigger priority than studying for quizzes. The earlier you realize that you can't give 100% effort to everything, the better off you'll be.

Also, I would ask current IB students at Darden if the banks recruiting there care about grades. At Johnson, since we're not on the level of HBS, Wharton, Columbia, etc (and we don't have Grade Non Disclosure), banks ask about Accounting and Finance grades...heck, they'll even ask about how you're doing on the Finance quizzes. Having to be a grade-whore instead of focusing on learning is one way that can make your B-school life tougher. For the record, I'm not recruiting for IB, and I'm glad not to be caught up in the fray.
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Re: Darden vs. Cornell MBA   [#permalink] 22 Dec 2013, 12:06
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