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# How do you actually select schools ?

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How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 05:44
Guys,

I am confused.

I have a few questions. They all seem interrelated though.

1) What all goes behind school selection ?
2) What are the most important factors one should consider while selecting a school ?
3) Is it a complete waste of time (and money) to go to a school out of Top-25 ? [for international students esp.]
4) Am I asking too many questions ?

Please don't shoot me if my questions are too common/dumb
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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 06:29
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1) What all goes behind school selection ?

Professional: Whether your target industry companies recruit from the school.
Whether the school is strong in the area that you want to focus on

Fit: Teaching method
In case you will attend with family: how is the support network
Location: Urban/ Suburban/ Rural

2) What are the most important factors one should consider while selecting a school ?

Professional: Whether your target industry companies recruit from the school.

3) Is it a complete waste of time (and money) to go to a school out of Top-25 ? [for international students esp.]

Depends on your post-MBA goals. If it is to get recruited at the top-notch firms you may have limited opportunities.

4) Am I asking too many questions ?

Yes

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 06:48
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Check the knowledge vault for even more links on this topic, but this one is pretty good:
103-t59556&p=429127

For me personally, I only looked at the "Top 16" schools (not that there aren’t great schools outside of this, but that was just my personal preference). Then I took schools off the list that didn't place as well in my target industry. Then I ruled out locations that I didn't want to live in.

Of the remaining schools, I visited ones that I was most interested in based on general reputation and information I had obtained from local info sessions/GMAT Club/school websites. The main thing for me during my visits was just trying to picture myself living in that location and hanging out with the students. Teaching style wasn’t really a factor for me. I think that is somewhat overrated as you will get a good education at any of these schools.

At this point, you should have a short list. I applied my top 3 choices in Round 1 since you have a slightly higher chance. If accepted to any one of these schools in Round 1, I will apply to a reach school (HBS) in Round 2 since there will be no pressure. If not accepted to any one of my Round 1 schools, I will apply to a safer/target school (Duke/Darden) in Round 2. I guess what I am saying is that the final criterion for me was chance of admission; that is, try to hedge your bets somewhat.

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 07:13
maverick2011 wrote:
Check the knowledge vault for even more links on this topic, but this one is pretty good:
103-t59556&p=429127

Teaching style wasn’t really a factor for me. I think that is somewhat overrated as you will get a good education at any of these schools.

Agreed on the good education part. But teaching style has some other externalities apart from imparting education. MBA is a practical finishing school , unlike majority graduate programmes. So, a school with sole focus on case study may help someone to hone his speaking skills in a group and add some confidence in delivery ( huge factor for some internationals such as me)

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 07:28
Thanks for the discussion so far guys... it is helping ... I have noticed that many emphasize on school visits. How important is a school visit ? It can cost a bomb for internationals like me .. so is there a way to get in touch with students and alums while not having to travel to US ?
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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 07:36
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filmcity wrote:
maverick2011 wrote:
Check the knowledge vault for even more links on this topic, but this one is pretty good:
103-t59556&p=429127

Teaching style wasn’t really a factor for me. I think that is somewhat overrated as you will get a good education at any of these schools.

Agreed on the good education part. But teaching style has some other externalities apart from imparting education. MBA is a practical finishing school , unlike majority graduate programmes. So, a school with sole focus on case study may help someone to hone his speaking skills in a group and add some confidence in delivery ( huge factor for some internationals such as me)

I am with Mav on this one...you are going to do tons of cases at every school. You may not do them every single class but there is enough interaction that you. Plus with all the other interactions you will have in english you will improve. I think not falling into the trap of hanging out mostly with people from your home country will do far more than any all case school would.

I would say for me Location was #1 before even career. I am married, and there are just some places that wouldnt work for my wife's career or we just wouldnt want to live for two years. Then it was career but pretty much every peer schools give you the same opportunities so if you are in a tier you are going to be ok. So in the end it really came down to fit.
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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 14:00
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I picked out the top 25 in the country. Weeded out those in crappy locations (sorry, CMU, Columbia). Decided which of the rest I'd apply to based on their school colors and mascots.

Only half kidding.

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 14:20
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look at your stats, gmat gpa work exp, based on that, narrow list down to the best school that you can get into based on rankings, then from that subcluster, narrow it down to schools based on your course interests, location, and "fit"

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 14:52
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Using the specialty rankings on US News can help you identify some schools that warrant further research in a subject you are interested in. Of course, these need to be taken with a grain of salt; their methodology doesn't seem to correlate well with their overall rankings in certain categories (i.e. international business).

Also, going to a World MBA/MBA Tour session might be a good idea since it will give you a chance to meet with many schools in a short period of time.

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 14:55
1
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amitdgr wrote:
Guys,

I am confused.

I have a few questions. They all seem interrelated though.

1) What all goes behind school selection ?
2) What are the most important factors one should consider while selecting a school ?
3) Is it a complete waste of time (and money) to go to a school out of Top-25 ? [for international students esp.]
4) Am I asking too many questions ?

Please don't shoot me if my questions are too common/dumb

What everyone has said it about what I would say, but here's my take:

First find where your GPA/GMAT gives you a good chance at getting accepted. If you have a 3.0/660 with 1 year working experience, you're probably

REACH - Depending on where you lie, you can start looking at reach schools and this depends on focus (pick a couple reach schools)

Finance
Wharton, Chicago, Columbia, NYU

Management Consulting
Harvard, Kellogg, Stanford,

Entrepenurial
Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley(Hass)

Non-Profit
Yale, Stanford

Brand Management & Marketing
Kellogg

That gives you and idea... (US news may be a good place to start on specific specializations, but don't put too much weight on that)
Next would be location, Notice how I did not mention Tuck... I don't know what specialize in, but I know I don't want to be in hanover. You are gonna be there for 2 years, might as well find a place you like. You might like hanover. I think after you pick your focus and your location, you should only have a couple schools on your list.

If you really need to go to B-schools this year, I would go 2 reach, 2 sweet schools, 2 safeties. As for me (I like my job) so I'm doing 6 reach schools. And if I don't get in I can reapply next year.

Things that I don't care about are:
Teaching Styles - Certain classes are taught a certain way (marketing-group, corporate finance-lecture)
Clubs - everyone has the same clubs just by different names
Alumni/Student opinions - I haven't found someone who didn't think their school was great.
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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 15:53
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maverick2011 wrote:

For me personally, I only looked at the "Top 16" schools (not that there aren’t great schools outside of this, but that was just my personal preference). Then I took schools off the list that didn't place as well in my target industry. Then I ruled out locations that I didn't want to live in.

Did you really want to go to school 16? I'm just wondering why you didn't cap it at 15.

This was a good post though. I feel like knowing what I want to do, where I want to live in the future (post-MBA), what companies I might want to work for, and which I have a good chance of being accepted at pretty much narrowed it down for me. I have 5ish schools, some days one replaces another, but I think I'll know which schools I'm applying to next year without a doubt. Taking my GMAT a year early was a very good decision I think. Had I not done that, I think I'd be all over the board. I haven't applied though, so take it with a grain of salt.
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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 16:14
Quote:
Taking my GMAT a year early was a very good decision I think. Had I not done that, I think I'd be all over the board. I haven't applied though, so take it with a grain of salt.

Even though I haven't applied yet either, I agree that getting the GMAT out of the way early is a good move. I'm also in the process of trying to figure out which schools to apply to and the extra time really lets me think clearly about where I want to go [in life] and how B-School fits into that.

Also, it allows me a chance to visit before applying, which I feel is essential in getting a feel for a school.

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 19:32
Thank you for your replies guys. [+1] for all of you. I *now* understand what goes behind school selection.

I have a decent GPA (I think), yet to take GMAT(realistically hope to score 650+) and have a 2+ years of not-so-great WE. I know many would say I'd be better off not to apply till I get a good deal of WE, but I am keen to get into an MBA while I am young and I hope I will have paid my loan by the time I am ready to start my own venture.

I know I make a pathetic candidate for the top 15-20 (all seem to be Reaches for my profile, aren't they ??).

Areas I am interested in
1) Entrepreneurship
2) Consulting

Locations I'd love to be in
1) Places in or near cities (urban/sub-urban)
2) Places where opportunities for networking are high.

Why do I want to do MBA ?
1) To earn more \$\$\$ (YEah !!)
2) To equip myself with the skills required to start my own venture.
3) Opportunities to network.
4) Gain International exposure.
5) To flash my MBA degree and impress girls and scare away ppl who try to hurt me.

too high hopes ?
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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 19:58
highhopes wrote:
maverick2011 wrote:

For me personally, I only looked at the "Top 16" schools (not that there aren’t great schools outside of this, but that was just my personal preference). Then I took schools off the list that didn't place as well in my target industry. Then I ruled out locations that I didn't want to live in.

Did you really want to go to school 16? I'm just wondering why you didn't cap it at 15.

This was a good post though. I feel like knowing what I want to do, where I want to live in the future (post-MBA), what companies I might want to work for, and which I have a good chance of being accepted at pretty much narrowed it down for me. I have 5ish schools, some days one replaces another, but I think I'll know which schools I'm applying to next year without a doubt. Taking my GMAT a year early was a very good decision I think. Had I not done that, I think I'd be all over the board. I haven't applied though, so take it with a grain of salt.

I was referring to the so-called "cluster system" (which I agree with) that people on this forum use. See below:

Ultra Elite: 89-t13282
Elite: 90-t13283

I also considered Texas and UNC as safety schools ("Trans Elite" according to GMATClub, I think), but I'm currently not planning to apply to any safety schools this year...

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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20 Oct 2008, 22:42
[quote="amitdgr"]I know I make a pathetic candidate for the top 15-20 (all seem to be Reaches for my profile, aren't they ??).
quote]

Well with that attitude, I think you should just give up now. Jk. Applications process is a very humbling experience.

I personally think GPA 3.1-3.6 range is pretty good, as long as you get get 700+

I think aiming 650+ is aiming too low if you serious want to be concidered. Not say you can't get in, but frankly 700 plus makes GMAT a non-issue.

<650 try USC (University of Spoiled Childred)
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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2008, 02:59
GoBruins wrote:
amitdgr wrote:
I know I make a pathetic candidate for the top 15-20 (all seem to be Reaches for my profile, aren't they ??).
Quote:

Well with that attitude, I think you should just give up now. Jk. Applications process is a very humbling experience.

I personally think GPA 3.1-3.6 range is pretty good, as long as you get get 700+

I think aiming 650+ is aiming too low if you serious want to be concidered. Not say you can't get in, but frankly 700 plus makes GMAT a non-issue.

<650 try USC (University of Spoiled Childred)

Haha you are right ..... actually I was a bit depressed when I wrote that bit.... that attitude will take me nowhere
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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2008, 08:17
Ntang wrote:
I picked out the top 25 in the country. Weeded out those in crappy locations (sorry, CMU, Columbia). Decided which of the rest I'd apply to based on their school colors and mascots.

Only half kidding.

NTang, why is Pittsburgh crappy ? Do you think CMU is a commuter school for most of the students ? My impression was Pittsburgh is somewhere between NYC and say Durham..

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2008, 09:10
Have you ever been to Pittsburgh?

In fairness, it's not that bad a town. But it's no Philly. Western PA (or "Pennsyltucky" as some of the locals call it) just isn't my cup of tea, regionally speaking. Pittsburgh has a small "creative class," but it's not exactly a hotbed for attracting the kinds of young professionals (nor students) who I think I'd like to spend a couple of years with. CMU's a great school and all, but it doesn't have the specialties I'm looking for, and I just don't see any other really compelling reason to risk it. Plus, I don't like the Steelers mania or their hockey team.

I'll speak up a little for Durham, though. It's gotten a bad rep. I've been very impressed with the Chapel Hill/Durham/Raleigh area - lots of young pros, IT folks, a big corporate presence here with RTP and three major universities in the area attracting lots of talent. Plus, if you've never seen Duke University, you're missing out. The place is gorgeous. After visiting, I decided Duke would be one of my top choices.

But hey, to each his own.

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2008, 13:55
No I have never been to Pittsburgh. So the question. I am visiting Tepper next month, so will know then.

But, I have been to Chapel Hill and I know what you are saying about Raleigh/Chapel hill area with all the young IT pros, RTP and presence of 3 univs.

Thanks for the insights.

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Re: How do you actually select schools ? [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2008, 05:40
Theres multiple ways to going and selecting bschools. I'm an intl too and this is how i did it in steps (with schools in my list left):

Top Schools: HBS, Stan, Whar, Chicago, MIT, Kellogg, Tuck, Berkeley, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, UMich, Duke, Cornell, Yale, Darden

1. Look at ranking, good place to start. For US Schools USNews generally is perceived to be the best. Looking at your profile, gmat, work xp, gpa etc break it down to dream schools, possible schools and safety schools. Now a safety school is the "lowest" school I'm willing to go to.

Remaining Schools: Whar, Chicago, MIT, Kellogg, Tuck, Berkeley, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, UMich

2. Now look at what you want to do post mba. I'm interested in fin/consulting. Look for schools which are good are your goal fields. Look at what employers recruit there, what electives they offer, that will give you a good sense of what the strengths of the school are. The top schools are rpetty much good at everything.

Remaining Schools: Whar, Chicago, MIT, Kellogg, Tuck, Berkeley, Columbia, NYU, Darden, UMich

3. Look at fit now. I am an intl student. I dont want a totally commuter school, rather somewhat of a campus experience. Also I I dont like totally case based curriculum. Location is important too, dont want to be in the middle of some jungle. I prefer schools in or close to major cities.

Remaining Schools: Schools: Whar, Chicago, MIT, Kellogg, Berkeley, Columbia, UMich

So from these I have applied to Wharton and Chicago. Will do so for Kellogg and MIT probably next. Hope that helps.

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Re: How do you actually select schools ?   [#permalink] 22 Oct 2008, 05:40

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