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Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)

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Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $) for international student

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Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 08 Jan 2020, 18:20
Dear gmatclub members,

I am excited to have been admitted to a few programs of my choice. However, I am now struggling to make a decision before deposit deadlines of some of these schools. I am reaching out to all of you guys - the experts - to seek your advice in making this tough decision.

I really hope you guys could give me some pieces of advice (especially from those folks who attend any of the 4 schools and bb ) and for visitors who read my thread, please vote in the poll so I could see your opinion. Thank you so much!

Background:
Male, international without US work authorization
I am not yet married and I don't think I would start a family anytime soon
Hong Kong-based, so I still can return to work there if I fail H1-B
Post-MBA goal: plan A: work in general management/product management of tech giants (Amazon, Google, etc..); plan B: management consulting at tier 2 or big 4 firms
I am leaning towards STEM programs since it can let me stay for 3 years and have 3 shots at the lucky draw of H1-B visa

Cornell Johnson (half ride)
Pros:
- Received 50% tuition waiver
- Strong alum network in Asia and Hong Kong, in case I have to go back
- OK recruitment for Amazon Google and tier-2 big-4 consulting firms

Cons:
- NO STEM, so I can only stay for 1 year OPT and have only 1 chance at the H1-B.
- 50% scholarship and 100% scholarship from UNC is a huge difference


UNC Kenan-Flagler (full ride)
Pros:
- Received merit fellowship with 100% tuition waiver, it would make my resume look great
- STEM program
- STAR program for action-based learning
- Nice town and weather, close-knit community, low cost of living
--> To be honest, the idea of doing a top-20 MBA for free is very appealing, considering all the money I could save for doing overseas consulting project as part of the MBA, attending events and networking, having field trips and career treks, and still have enough some savings to start my life after MBA

Cons:
- UNC is not well-known in Asia, but how about in the US?
- Lowest starting salary among the 4 schools
- Not sure if recruitment of Amazon and Google is strong (school didn't disclose the number of hires) but they did have many students recruited in the past
- If I am recruited for these big firms, would my role and salary differ (like, worse than) from what graduates of Johnson, Ross and Darden can receive?


Michigan Ross (no $)
Pros:

- Strongest program among 4 schools
- Like MAP program for action-based learning
- Will have STEM designation soon, guaranteed for class of 2022
- Very strong recruitment for Amazon, Google and consulting firms of all tiers
- Strong Michigan network in Asia and Hong Kong

Cons:
- No $, HUGE investment, I need to borrow around 120K from Prodigy


UVA Darden (no $)
Pros:
- Case method, which is super helpful for my future career, but not a must
- STEM program
- Nice town and weather, close-knit community, low cost of living
- Strong recruitment for Amazon, Google and consulting firms

Cons:
- No $, HUGE investment, I need to borrow around 120K from Discover or Prodigy
- Brand is highly regarded in the US but not so well-known in Asia, I don't really mind this because after a few years of work, school brand will not matter much and it's your work experience and employer's names that carry more weight

Originally posted by hkght on 20 Dec 2019, 04:54.
Last edited by hkght on 08 Jan 2020, 18:20, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2019, 23:13
You have already done a great job laying out the pros and cons.

Now it depends on your risk appetite. I let go of an 80% ride at McCombs to go to Ross and shelled out $145K in loans from Prodigy. I took the risk because I felt my career is a bigger investment opportunity than anything else and (this may seem counter-intuitive), having that loan would help me be constantly reminded to hustle!

And I knew that if I did very well in my first year and lived frugally, I'd be able to pay 40-50% of my loans (thankfully my new job will give me a solid sign-on bonus and stock that I fully expect to pay for my loans) and if I have to move back, the liability would not be back-breaking.
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Re: Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2019, 23:24
It's hard for me to go against Souvik's recommendation who passed up a pretty similar deal offer but I think it is a personal decision about how much you want to wager on the future. With Ross you are betting $200K. With UNC, $60K (just living expenses)

i would consider best/worst/most likely scenarios with economy/work/job situation. The job market is at its peak in the US. What happens if it cools down? Usually that means death in the lower-ranked programs but if you have a scholarship, you won't be hurt as much, just your COL - about $60K. Does it make sense to go all the way or is it better to take it in strides and potentially not shoot for the moon but also not get burned by the sun. This is a very personal choice I feel.

P.S. During my admit days I would have probably borrowed the 200K - i thought everything was possible at that time. I have matured and I am less bullish now :)

Good luck with your choice!
P.S. I love HK and was lucky enough to spend some time at HKUST.
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Re: Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2019, 09:34
Thank you both BB and Souvik. It is definitely a tough decision and I am trying to to give myself some more time talking to the alums and career management centers before making my final decision.

And thank you all who voted on my poll too!
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Re: Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2019, 10:08
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Current UNC 1st year here and happy to help out with some particular concerns you had. First to address your desire to be in tech - tech by percentage is the highest function that grads go into from here. Specifically, Google and Amazon both come for on-campus recruitment. Amazon takes a lot of students (esp international) but I think that is the case at a lot of top schools. Google hires less than Amazon but they still hire at UNC nonetheless. If you haven't already looked, UNC published its 2019 report with new salaries. Median and Average salaries went up by nearly 5-6k this year which is a great sign. In addition, a lot of tech students go to Dell, IBM, Cisco, Spotify, a few at Salesforce from the top of my head. I'm not recruiting for tech but I know a lot who are.

The second concern around career management here at UNC. This was a concern before I enrolled in the program but I think its important to know that they are working on improving the career center. I have not had any particular issues with CMC. They still provide the 2 things I think CMC should be focused on. 1. Bringing employers to campus 2. helping with prep, mock interviews, resumes, etc. In terms of bringing recruiters to campus, they have done a good job with a diverse amount of top firms from all over the country. In regards to the preparation, there are always opportunities to set up time with career coaches. I think what people should know about UNC is that it is highly collaborative and A LOT of the support you get is from 2nd years who did what you are trying to do. 2nd years though our Business Communication Center act alongside CMC with anything you need (casing, mock interviews, resumes, coffee chats, networking, general questions, concerns etc). So yes, CMC is there, and there is a lot of room for improvement, but keep in mind that a lot of success here also comes from the willingness of 2nd years to go above and beyond. I think they are trying to improve CMC but CMC has not hindered anything students have sought to accomplish here. Regardless of what school you go to, CMC will not do everything for you and you do have to put in the time and effort as well. This is the case at any school you go to but CMC has been fine so far for me.

Looking at your current choices - you've done a great job getting admitted to some awesome schools. A full-ride to UNC which is a solid T20 with a recent STEM designation is hard to give up and I don't think you'll be missing out by choosing it!
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Re: Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2019, 17:07
Hi woody

Can you please point out the STEM courses? Ca you provide any links?
Thanks
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Re: Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)   [#permalink] 24 Dec 2019, 17:07

Johnson ($$) vs Kenan-Flagler ($$$$) vs Ross (no $) vs Darden (no $)

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