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Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)

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CBS or Stern

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  • 48% [35]
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Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2020, 14:00
Torn between Stern/CBS. Went to Columbia undergrad and had a great experience, but feel that flexible course selection, collaborative/tight-knight culture and location/facilities may be enough to outweigh prestige and specialized programs offered at CBS. Undecided. Interest in Inv Mgmt/Real estate.

- Full $, named scholarship offered at both
- Went to Columbia undergrad (already have access to CBS network?)
- Thinking Stern is a better cultural fit
- CBS offers better prestige, competitive placement
- Career interests in Real Estate and Investment Management
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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2020, 14:19
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Id say this is an easy choice with Columbia, but that’s just me. Full ride at Columbia, a higher rank too, is hard to pass up!!

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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2020, 14:48
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Columbia has my vote as well. Sorry :)
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Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 23 Apr 2020, 16:14
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I live in New York now, and I worked in strategy consulting in the past and finance before that. Now I have transitioned to a Silicon Valley based tech startup.

New York is a unique situation, both the schools enjoy equal respect here - Stern usually is regarded to be better for finance and tech (but I personally think that there is no difference between a community college and Ivy League in tech). Consulting is different because a lot of sponsored participants prefer Columbia for the Ivy status.

Both are not as a good as H/S/W or Kellogg/Booth for consulting

A couple of years back I was talking to a few coworkers from my past life who were in their second years at Columbia and at Stern respectively, they all had the same feedback for consulting - they thought that their school wasn’t the best for consulting hiring.

Talk to participants in both the years and get their feedback-I feel both the schools are the same, one is downtown and the other is uptown

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Originally posted by JohnJohnJ on 23 Apr 2020, 15:25.
Last edited by JohnJohnJ on 23 Apr 2020, 16:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2020, 15:50
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During my application research I did notice that Stern had a lot more we’ll known professors. But, Columbia has a better international brand probably because of the Ivy status but alums regard both the schools as peers. Even Yale SOM is internationally recognized. How was your undergrad experience at Columbia? You could consider a different school now because you already have the Ivy brand on your resume.

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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2020, 06:14
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cfb3434 wrote:
Torn between Stern/CBS. Went to Columbia undergrad and had a great experience, but feel that flexible course selection, collaborative/tight-knight culture and location/facilities may be enough to outweigh prestige and specialized programs offered at CBS. Undecided. Interest in Inv Mgmt/Real estate.

- Full $, named scholarship offered at both
- Went to Columbia undergrad (already have access to CBS network?)
- Thinking Stern is a better cultural fit
- CBS offers better prestige, competitive placement
- Career interests in Real Estate and Investment Management


This is an easy win for Columbia as it has a well established and reputed RE focused program that is leveraged by top REITs or RE investment groups in not only NYC but US-wide. CBS brand name is a lot bigger than that of NYU or Stern for that matter and you will, thus, be able to leverage and tap into the alumni base. Same thing can not be said for Stern, unfortunately.

Also, evaluate what is your plan B if say both, Inv Mgmt or RE dont pan out? I still think CBS will provide you a lot more options than Stern to pivot into other roles that peak your interests.

TL;DR: Go with CBS.
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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2020, 16:25
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The reason you are getting one-sided CBS recommendations is all the elements to are present in a Top 10 program (though I see Stern is in the Top 10 this year for a month now). A stronger rank brings benefits - stronger classmates, stronger alumni base, stronger on-campus recruiting, and so on. I have put together a post about the value of a Top 10 MBA (sorry if you have seen it already) but here is the link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/value-of-a-t ... 13365.html


Columbia and Stern have moved laterally (likely driven in part by the Economy and New York Economic scene) but CBS has always been bigger and stronger. Not sure it will change but brand always matters most in hard times... interesting enough I don't know if we have a student from CBS on GMAT Club. Let me try to find someone.
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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2020, 17:26
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Definitely CBS. I'm biased, but it seems like an easy choice for a few reasons. There is an entire Real Estate program here, the IM program is top notch, and overall it will serve you really well. I am on the board of the Hermes society - feel free to reach out to anyone on there that fits your needs: https://apply.gsb.columbia.edu/portal/contact-students we are all happy to chat. You should be able to be connected to a student who wants to do the same thing as you from a similar background - which is a great place to start.

(Also, to those who say CBS is not a consulting school like Kellogg (or Booth, hmmmmmm) - just take a look at the numbers. We place just as well, and better into NYC which should tell you something. But since the OP isn't looking for that, he/she should go where the best options for a career are. )

I don't go to Stern so I cannot comment about it.

Finally, about culture, CBS has a great one. We just allow for more types of culture. If you're an introvert, be one! If you're an extrovert and want to go to everything and travel all over the world, there are hundreds of students that want to do that too. It's the best of both worlds, and it's honestly one of my favorite things about the school. And finally, CBS matters is a great thing to take part in - talk to any current student about that. I think you'll find plenty to be involved in at this school, it is all what you put into it anyway.

Hope this helps! Congrats.
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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2020, 06:53
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I voted Columbia just to tie things up :)

Jokes aside, I do believe that CBS has better opportunities in RE and IM. Those opportunities should outweigh the diminished value you'll get from attending the same program as your undergrad. I had a few IM/HFs reach out to me throughout the recruiting process, but I'd imagine that was due to my background rather than the MBA program itself. There is a lot of self selection going on at Stern, and I think most of the class would rather go for the better established IB path. That limits your alumni network - you can look at the employment report(s) for both CBS and Stern and note that far more go into IM from CBS. Also, the RE guys are hurting due to hiring practices - unless you're going to Cushman and Wakefield, just in time hiring is something you'll need to take into account.

As an aside to the comment above, CBS is without a doubt the weakest consulting school in the M7 (Aside from maybe Sloan, but that's a bit more nuanced). They clump sponsored students into their employment report, so you can't look at the full-time figures to get an idea of the placement numbers. If you look at interns, they sent 40 to MBB - far fewer than Booth/Kellogg, and actually comparable to Stern, which sent 32 out of a smaller group of people.
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Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2020, 10:00
MBASomeTime wrote:
.... As an aside to the comment above, CBS is without a doubt the weakest consulting school in the M7 (Aside from maybe Sloan, but that's a bit more nuanced). They clump sponsored students into their employment report, so you can't look at the full-time figures to get an idea of the placement numbers. If you look at interns, they sent 40 to MBB - far fewer than Booth/Kellogg, and actually comparable to Stern, which sent 32 out of a smaller group of people.


Interesting take, looking at the employment reports Stern seems to have an edge over CBS.
It seems their tech recruiting was split between the 2 year MBA and Tech MBA

But I also agree that these schools put in a lot of effort to build a brand, be it Ivy or M7 (nobody has seen it but people claim that it exists). I am not sure if recruiters also ‘drink the kool-aid’ of the ranking system, Ivy does have brand value extended beyond North America

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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2020, 10:20
I have had a similar confusion, but I also have Booth in the mix. I don’t want to move to Chicago so I can strike that out.
I may have made my decision reading the discussion here and the reference to employment reports. I am in all probability picking Stern. Thanks all.

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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Apr 2020, 07:22
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Maybe you can try to get in touch with whomever would be assigned to you in career services at both schools and see how that vibe is for you.

Also, consider reaching out (phone / email / LinkedIn) to the HR managers at some of the companies you're interested in working for, explain your situation, be thorough about explaining the range of goals you've got for yourself for a post MBA career, and ask them if they have any advice. One big upside to this is when interviewing there in a couple of years you can thank each one for their advice (after having updated them once or twice while you're in school).

Consider the above paragraph Networking 101.

PS - I voted NYU solely because you seem to prefer it stylistically ... two years is a long time to be less enthused than you could have been.

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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2020, 02:00
Congratulations on offers! Both Stern and CBS are fantastic in your area of interest. Based on my research when I was considering schools, culture and better overall experience - Stern, brand - CBS. I voted for culture.

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Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2020, 13:11
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The people who voted Stern are probably on CBS’s waitlist. Lol...

But on a serious note, you’re getting your MBA for the immediate employer access and the long-term network. The former being the more pressing matter. CBS gives you the access, but potentially an overlapping network to what you have. Stern gives you access to fewer relevant employers (in RE and Inv Mgmt), but a brand new network. Based on that, I think the brand new network is a moot point if you can’t even get a job you want immediately post MBA.

And as someone else said, schools have all types of cultures. You got your great collaborative, social, welcoming students. Then you got your bad apples at every school. Culture is what you make of it.

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Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2020, 13:15
Agree about the culture. Schools recruit diverse classes. They talk and talk and talk about diversity ad nouseum. It would only be logical that they all a fair share of loud, quiet, modest, and arrogant people. The byproduct of diversity is so everyone fits in and has a connection.

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New post 26 May 2020, 15:29
I suggest you talk to people in the RE/IM industries. Columbia is widely regarded as the best school for real estate private equity, along with Wharton. You might be graduating in a tough job market, and the Columbia MBA brand plus the Paul Milstein Center will make sure that you land a nice job in the industry.

I know 6 years at the same place can be too much. If you were going for something like Investment Banking I would be fine with the trade-off, but RE has a very entrepreneurial job search and you will need every help you can get. I can’t stress enough how much better off you would be at Columbia.

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Re: Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)   [#permalink] 26 May 2020, 15:29

Decision: CBS ($$$$), Stern ($$$$)

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