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I think they are very similar schools in many ways and know I'll be completely happy and fit in at both. More laid back than other schools. More teamwork oriented.
My goals are to break into the biz side of tech / startup world, so my job search will probably naturally be focused on California. Should that be the end of discussion right there? Is that enough reason to choose UCLA?
Here are the pros I see for UCLA: -great location for my job search and big alumni network in CA. 1 hr flight to SV -strong entrepreneurship programs -CA weather -sends a high % of grads into tech--about 20% -more networking opportunities in a big city like LA
Cons: -more costly living expenses than Duke -the UC schools seem to be having budget problems--less champagne at events?
Duke Pros: -more national name than UCLA -higher ranking/more staying power and potential to rise in rankings -Cheaper living expenses -seems like alumni are a bit more passionate -good basketball team (although UCLA just landed Shabazz Muhammad) -probably more chances to bond with classmates since UCLA students are spread out over LA -recruiting seems strong for things like consulting, but maybe not as strong for tech (could be self selection)
Cons: -Far away from my job search -seems like there is a little less interest in entrepreneurship in the student body when compared to UCLA. But they still have a great program for entrepreneurs
Your list of pros and cons is essentially correct, except for maybe the UC budget issues (the grad schools have basically privatized). I don't think either school will make or break your career, so go to the one where you most want to spend the next two years
I am matriculating to UCLA this fall and am a lifelong Californian who has spent 50/50 time in SoCal and Silicon Valley.
That being said, I would choose UCLA hands down given your goals. Your network will be based primarily on the west coast, all recruiting will be in your backyard, and your degree will be strongest the nearer you are to the school (with exception of H/S/W).
The cost of living is higher, and LA is not a college town...but I think those are negligble downsides compared to the pros.
It looks like UCLA is the best choice based on your goals.
However, if you really do feel a connection with Duke and are looking for a legitimate example of how Duke's resources can help you achieve your goals, it is my job as a biased Dukie to let you know that Fuqua's Media, Entertainment and Sports Club (MES) is top-notch. MES is the biggest and best, by vote (as recent as last year and could repeat this year), club on campus. The support group is incredible, and the size of the network in the industry is on an upswing.
Congrats on your two great admits, and all the best as you make your decision!
To get benefit of location for tech sector in valley, you need to be in either Berkeley or Stanford. Being at UCLA or Duke shouldn't matter much. I know number of people who went to Duke or UCLA and landed good jobs in tech sector in valley.
Going to either school won't break anything for you short-term. IMO, Duke shall help long term considering their national reputation if you later decide to do something else.
But, program wise I don't have much of the information on both schools, so my suggestion is go to the school which you think has stronger program to prepare you towards your career goals.
you should go to UCLA. it makes it easier for you in case you have to do off-campus recruiting. most people are assuming that any company you want to work for will recruit on campus, which is not necessarily the case (especially in the world of start-ups).
Definately would go with UCLA if your goal is west cost, I believe Duke exposure to the west coast market from employment reports show 5-10% representation compared to UCLAs 60%+ so the network would definately be in your favor with UCLA.
I also agree that UCLA will be a good fit for you, especially if it helps in reducing the costs associated with pursuing an MBA. Since UCLA, has most of the things that will help you advance in your career, that will be a more suitable choice.
I think Duke has greater national recognition... but UCLA has stronger California presence. Also, the vibe and culture is probably different at both schools. For instance, even the MBA program at USC has a very different vibe from UCLA. Where do you think you'll get better alumni support down the road? Both schools could offer similar opportunities first job out of the MBA program, but I would also consider how close knit and strong the alumni network is.... for future opportunities.
I also wanted to add that you probably shouldn't consider cost of living. It's only a 2 year program anyway
Not sure if you made your decision yet. I was at UCLA ugrad and will be at Duke MBA starting this fall. The only thing that UCLA has as an advantage based on your items is its current location. Duke's program will allow you to break into the start-up scene/silicon valley area. I think you need to figure out what is more important to you. Ties into the valley or ability to work in a tech start up. The tech start up scene is growing in the Northeast and in Durham itself. I think the Duke brand has a slight advantage over UCLA when it comes to a National understanding, so for that reason it might help you reach start ups that are outside of the Valley.
With that said I am a Bruin First and its a great place to be for any amount of time and we just got Tony Parker to round out the best recruiting class since basketball ability matters in the MBA world.
I think you are in a win win situation, just go with the gut and enjoy the ride. Best of Luck!