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Haas ($$$$) vs Yale ($$) vs LBS (?)

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Haas (Berkeley)   LBS   Yale   
Joined: 18 Apr 2018
Posts: 29
Haas ($$$$) vs Yale ($$) vs LBS (?)  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2019, 19:05
Hi all,

I'm lucky to be facing a very tough decision. Would appreciate if you take the time to read my thoughts before telling me to take the obvious answers.

I've been working in consulting in the US for 4+ years. My career goals are pretty uncertain, but I think I could achieve great opportunities through all of these schools so I don't want to prioritize that. In the long-term though, I see myself living in Europe (probably London). My main objective from an MBA is to identify a niche where I want to focus on and really learn as much as I can during the 2 years. Job placement, network, and salaries are not my priorities. I'm just looking for the best experience possible.

After visiting all of the schools, speaking to dozens of students and alumni, and reading everything on their website, this is my hunch on each of the programs. Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts! @bb

+From a cost-benefit perspective, it's the best school and the least cost for me, and could open the door to riskier career options
+Unique opportunity to test the bay area. I've lived in the Northeast and Europe, this could be a good adventure
+Strong program in areas outside my comfort zone that I haven't explored (e.g. design thinking, entrepreneurship)
-Wasn't able to connect to a lot of peers in the welcome weekend. I made more fruitful connections during my Yale and LBS visits
-Could be mistaken, but I got the feeling that for a lot of students, academics come second - and student life matters most
-Practically the entire first year are core courses, doesn't seem as customization as the other programs

+School's mission (business and society leaders) and academic structure (integrated curriculum, raw cases) really resonate with me
+Multidisciplinary students - coffee chats had an incredible diversity of backgrounds (teachers, scientists, policymakers, etc)
+Strongest brand value, and ability to take advantage of classes across Yale ecosystem (also possibly in Berkeley, but more flexibly at Yale)
-After 9 years in the Northeast, I'm ready to try something new. Spending 2 years in New Haven doesn't excite me
-Lack of focus in areas I want to explore (innovation, entrepreneurship)
-Culturally, seems like the closest in my comfort zone. And I think we learn best when we're out of it

+At welcome weekend, I sat next to a Nigerian engineer, a Lebanese consultant, and a Taiwanese doctor. I loved being exposed to diverse perspectives, and I felt like I met a lot of friends in two days
+London is my favorite city in the world and I could see my future there. I know I would be very happy and I have some family and lifelong friends there
+The flexibility of the program is incredible. I feel like I could have the most control from what I would like to get out of my MBA
-I'm not sure whether the caliber of professors is going to be at the level of Yale/Haas
-I will try to negotiate a scholarship, but at the moment I have nothing guaranteed
-If I don't stay in London afterward, I have a slight worry about having to explain what LBS is in the US. I'm not too concerned about this, but I just don't want to regret rejecting the Berkeley/Yale name
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GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
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Re: Haas ($$$$) vs Yale ($$) vs LBS (?)  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2019, 20:48
Congratulations on your admits! And scholarships - amazing job!

I have a few general thoughts to start:
1. You want to go to school in the country you will work/settle. Do you speak any foreign languages that could be useful in Europe? With Brexit looming, a number of companies are exiting UK and the job market is probably going to tighten somewhat In London where LBS is the strongest. Recruiting across continents is a bit tough. At the same time you will never have an opportunity to live worry free in a foreign country and enjoy yourself without a family responsibilities or a mortgage to worry about. At the same time, living worry free usually doesn’t help with recruiting.

2. I would not worry too much about diversity in your class. Top 10 programs do a great job of assembling very impressive candidates together. While it may seem that folks a fairly ordinary or they present themselves poorly, you’ll be very impressed with each one of your classmates if you get to know them better at Yale or Berkeley or LBS. similarly the sense of connection or a feeling that you really connected with incoming students or existing ones is a hit and miss and usually has little impact on what your actual experience will be in the school. You will find great people and jerks in every program. The people you have met may not choose to go to the same program and the ones who are there already, you likely won’t run into them a whole lot next year. I wouldn’t let my feelings from the admit weekend dictate too much.

3. From the pure financial perspective, Berkeley is the best option.

4. I know this will sound like crazy talk but there is little correlation between the classes you take in the business school and the internship you find or the job you get. It’s an interesting dichotomy and relationship. Pretty much as soon as you matriculate, recruiting and networking begin. Coffee chats, interviews, networking and drinks, clubs, and everything else. Take I look at the posts in the series of a day in the life of an MBA student from Booth, Tuck, and other schools - it is like drinking from a fire hydrant. The amount of work, events, and stuff is so overwhelming that you don’t have time to stop and smell the roses and take a bunch of electives. You will scratch some surface in classes but most lasting 7 weeks, it is tough to get deep. It is designed to give you some background, pique your interest and then the class ends. Whatever passions you have, you would be pursuing most of them in addition to your classes on your own or in the club.

5. I feel you will find more academic focus at LBS then in the US business schools which are much more recruiting focused. If you want academia, research, and theory, Europe is the place to go.

6. Most people in business school want to get a job when they graduate to be able to pay the bills and to realize their dreams of moving up the career ladder or breaking into another industry. Quite a few people are vague about the career goals or what they want to do but it will be very helpful to your success, to be as specific and precise as possible and as soon as possible. Imagine meeting and then be a student at a party who says they’re looking for a job, any job and they have no clue what they want to do. What image does that project? Now imagine meeting somebody who wants to do quantitative marketing or investment banking. That’s pretty specific and if you have a friend in one of those two industries, you would probably connect them with those folks because the person sounds serious and you’re more likely to help somebody who is serious and somebody who isn’t sure.

If you’re planning to be in Europe long-term, I would connect with some of the US students who are at LBS right now. You will need to deal with work permits and immigration paperwork which has become fairly tricky in the UK. It would be helpful to find out firsthand what it actually means to try to stay in London as a foreigner.

At the same time I feel you’re passing up a great opportunity by not going to Berkeley. I don’t think any of the negatives that you’ve listed for Haas are substantial detractors or points for concern. Perhaps this is not what you would like to hear... but your other option could be to take the first semester of the second year for study abroad and head over to London for four months. That could be enough to get your feet went and start recruiting there. Perhaps money is not a concern, you didn’t say it was, so maybe I am doing you a disservice by worrying about it too much but I hate to pass up a Top 10 free ride.

PS. Congratulations again and sorry for rambling.

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Re: Haas ($$$$) vs Yale ($$) vs LBS (?)   [#permalink] 14 Apr 2019, 20:48
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