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Foster ($$) vs Anderson

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Foster ($$) vs Anderson  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2019, 16:48
Hi all,

I recently was admitted to both Foster and Anderson. Foster also offered me in-state tuition, as well as a $30k scholarship which will end up bringing my total 2-year cost down to ~$40k. This means that I have the potential to graduate from a really solid b-school with no student debt. On the other hand, Anderson didn't offer me any fellowships.

I am now faced with a pretty tough decision. I am currently a mechanical engineer, looking to pivot into a PM role in tech. And while I am 95% sure that this is the path I want to pursue, a small part of me is slightly intrigued by consulting. It's nice to have the option if it's there to look into. The reason I bring that up is that my perception is that Foster is mainly a tech school whereas Anderson seems to have strength in multiple different industries (including tech and consulting).

From financial, geographic, and future career aspirations standpoints - Foster seems like the obvious choice. But for some reason I'm also strongly pulled to Anderson despite receiving zero financial aid. I fully intend to try and leverage the Foster offer to see if I can get anything from Anderson sometime next month, but I'm operating under the assumption that I'll get no additional help. I fully believe that I would enjoy living in Seattle more than LA (I'm an avid skier, mountain biker, climber, etc. and I don't see myself living in SoCal long term), and I know that Foster has a great network in the PNW. However my impressions of Anderson have been incredible as I've been very impressed by the caliber of students, Career Management Center, and the brand/reputation appears to be a tier above Foster's. The social life also seems like it would be better and the class seems slightly younger (I'll be 26 when I start b-school). But is that worth the six-figure student debt that I'll likely graduate with?

Curious what other thoughts are... Thanks!
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New post 20 Dec 2019, 16:59
First of all congratulations!

Wow! $40K. To clarify real quick - I assume you mean the tuition only portion would be $40K total (not including the cost of living) and you got $30/year, correct?
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Re: Foster ($$) vs Anderson  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2019, 17:09
bb wrote:
First of all congratulations!

Wow! $40K. To clarify real quick - I assume you mean the tuition only portion would be $40K total (not including the cost of living) and you got $30/year, correct?


Correct - tuition only is $40k, not talking about the cost of living. And sorry, total scholarship $30k, $15k/year.
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New post 20 Dec 2019, 17:19
Thank you! Got it. Looks like you got the WA resident rate of $35K/year and the $15k/year scholarship brings that down to $20k/year... I see where my tax dollars are going now :)

vs. Anderson at $65,000 per year and a total of $130,000 and a difference of $90,000 .... I think I would choose Foster. Your tradeoffs will be slightly lower caliber of students, a bit smaller and sleepier program without the breadth and width but it is still the best program in the Sea metro area and has good connections with the tech companies in the area.

Both programs are pretty regional, with Anderson having a stronger name on the west coast and nationally due to the UCLA brand. At the same time, I don't think i can give any hard reasons how you could justify spending $100K more at Anderson. I see no angle with your goals, situation, preferences, esp if you are not planning to live in SoCal long term.
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Re: Foster ($$) vs Anderson  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2019, 21:17
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The $$ saved at Foster is substantial, but I would say please think this through after talking to multiple people, career offices and also do your own assessment from their employment reports and other sources. All of us have our own biases and everything. With that said, I'd pick Anderson and here's why.

UCLA is a much bigger name than UW. UW will help you get interviews with a few consulting firms and Amazon and Microsoft, but UCLA will most likely improve that pool - by a lot.

However, I am an international student and my recruiting options are limited so a structured on-campus recruiting in a large-ish class where I can get a strong network is really important to me!
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New post 21 Dec 2019, 07:53
bb wrote:
Thank you! Got it. Looks like you got the WA resident rate of $35K/year and the $15k/year scholarship brings that down to $20k/year... I see where my tax dollars are going now :)

vs. Anderson at $65,000 per year and a total of $130,000 and a difference of $90,000 .... I think I would choose Foster. Your tradeoffs will be slightly lower caliber of students, a bit smaller and sleepier program without the breadth and width but it is still the best program in the Sea metro area and has good connections with the tech companies in the area.

Both programs are pretty regional, with Anderson having a stronger name on the west coast and nationally due to the UCLA brand. At the same time, I don't think i can give any hard reasons how you could justify spending $100K more at Anderson. I see no angle with your goals, situation, preferences, esp if you are not planning to live in SoCal long term.


Thank you both for the insight! It's definitely tricky as I feel myself wanting to lean towards Anderson purely from a brand and student caliber standpoint. I also feel like it would be fun to live in LA for two years and then move on to somewhere like Seattle afterwards. It also feels like UCLA would be a more "fun" student experience. But I recognize that both can likely get me to the career goals I'm trying to reach, while one does it at a fraction of the price.

Currently living in Seattle - how does that Foster network and brand present itself first hand? Does it offer a valuable alumni network in the PNW and NorCal that I wouldn't be able to obtain with an Anderson MBA?
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New post 21 Dec 2019, 10:01
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Currently living in Seattle - how does that Foster network and brand present itself first hand? Does it offer a valuable alumni network in the PNW and NorCal that I wouldn't be able to obtain with an Anderson MBA?



I don’t think the Anderson MBA will put you into any disadvantage. Over the last five years large numbers of people have moved to Seattle, you find a pretty good presence of a lame anywhere from HBS to Tepper. Obviously not the same as UW that has a very large undergrad program but at the same time do you really need 15 alums vs 2? The 2 may be a lot more loyal than the 15 too... I Don’t think you would miss much by going to Anderson versus Foster.

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New post 22 Dec 2019, 21:45
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Foster is a good school when it comes to tech. It has Microsoft, Amazon and tons of other companies in its backyard, so it makes sense that most of the hiring comes from Tech companies. They hire for Marketing, PM, Sales, and Finance roles. Microsoft hires mostly for Marketing roles, there are PMs, Sales and Finance hires too but mostly it is for PMM. Amazon hires both for Marketing and Product Management roles. There is always Google hiring 4-5 students each year for Product Management, Finance, and Strategy roles combined. Then there are opportunities in other companies (Adobe, Nike Digital, Salesforce, Uber, Tableau, and other Seattle-based companies) that have good relations with the Foster Career Management team that hire for Product Management, Marketing, and other roles. So as long as you put in your effort, you should be good to go with Foster School of Business for PM roles. At no point in Foster, you would feel that you are losing out because of a lack of opportunities in tech companies that hire Foster Grads. There is no doubt that Anderson has a better brand value than Foster. But given that you would get equal opportunities for marketing and PM based roles in a tech company both at Foster and Anderson, and that you have a scholarship with Foster, I would recommend choosing Foster over Anderson.

Now about consulting roles - it is very tough for a Foster Grad student, especially an International to get into consulting from Foster School of Business (I said it is tough but not impossible, there are always one or two who make it - but I would not place my bets on the school for this ratio). There are some hirings in consulting positions, but it is mostly for domestic students. And it makes sense because Foster has never been a traditional consulting heavy MBA school. So, If you know for sure that you want to go into consulting then Foster is not the school for you.

So on the basis of Career Prospects only, it drags down to two things - 1. If your aim is Product Management, Go for Foster anyday. (Not that Anderson won't get you PM roles, but you have a scholarship at Foster and getting PM roles at Foster should be equally easy/tough with Microsoft, Amazon and tons of other companies in Seattle).

2. If you want to sincerely try and transition to consulting roles - Go to Anderson. -> Please be sure of what you want before you make a choice. I have seen a lot of students say that they want to try for consulting roles, especially students with a tech background who have Marketing or PM as their first choice. Not that it is not worth it to try for consulting and PM both, but in your case, you can save a lot of money if you can know your career preference right now. Join Anderson if you sincerely want to transition to consulting. I think it is nearly impossible to keep consulting as your second choice and at the same time believe that you have a good chance of getting into MBBs. The competition is fierce, and it takes a lot of effort and time. So you need to be mentally prepared to keep consulting as your first choice and then put every inch in the process. So given that you have a lot of money that can be saved by your decision, a half-hearted unsure approach to consulting would not be a good reason to join Anderson.

Lastly, Anderson will have better student caliber, a fast-paced MBA program, better resources, higher brand value, and would be more fun given a bigger MBA class size. All of these factors come down to you to decide if they are worth more to you than the money you are saving. Based on these factors, I personally would have chosen Anderson. For me, an MBA is a one time experience, and I would choose the experience over the money as I feel I will get the returns sooner or later. But then that's me, and everyone would have their own life preferences and lifestyle. So go where your heart takes you. All the best on your journey!

Hope that helps.

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Re: Foster ($$) vs Anderson   [#permalink] 22 Dec 2019, 21:45

Foster ($$) vs Anderson

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