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Anderson($70K) vs Fuqua($40K) vs Kellogg (No $K)

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Which Would You Choose?

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Anderson($70K) vs Fuqua($40K) vs Kellogg (No $K)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 20 Apr 2014, 08:04
1
First of all, just want to say I realize how fortunate I am to have this decision. I know there are a ton of other well-qualified, super-hard working applicants that haven’t been as fortunate this cycle, so I really feel blessed to have this in front of me. And I thank everyone immensely who takes the time to vote/comment on this. I’d also like to give a quick shout-out to speedyb09, who I re-purposed some of his or her thoughts for this.

This has been a much tougher decision than anticipated, which is why I’m wondering what you guys think.

About Me
I come from a non-traditional path (PR) and I didn’t have a business undergrad degree (Political Science). I am a bit on the older side (29) for a typical applicant, and also have a girlfriend with a very strong opinion (wants to be in LA, with Chicago as a second choice).

What I am Looking to Do Post-MBA
My mind is set on pursuing marketing (brand management in CPG or product management in tech). The concept of running a “small business within a larger one” through product and brand management really appeals to me. I also want exposure to entrepreneurial classes and this is something I might want to pursue while at business school –but likely on an idea or project someone else is already working on, and this is really secondary to my marketing goals. I feel like the MBA gives me a chance to start in a new industry/job function, while understanding a vast amount more about business than just my PR-centric background, so I am really excited about that.

I have absolutely no interest in finance or consulting and while I want to benefit from those classes and exposure to students with that expertise, it’s just not in my interests.

What I am Looking For in a Program
--More than the “traditional” MBA experience. I want a program that is trying new things.
--A community full of passionate program members. Perhaps this has to do with size, perhaps it has to do with levels of interaction, but engaged classmates are awesome. And an engaged community = engaged alumni. I want to go to a place where people love their school.
--Hands-on opportunities to learn. I learn best when I can “do” what I am learning, or see it in action.
--Prestige. The universal thing I have heard from my awesome friends during this process is brand value matters. Ideally, the school will have this on a national level, but if it’s West Coast-specific that is OK because I can see myself there long-term.
--A great marketing reputation. Somewhere that has companies consistently on-campus that are looking for their future brand and product managers. I want a variety of opportunities so I can hone in on what exactly (between brand and product management, and even deeper on each) really excites me.
--Somewhere that will hand me land a GREAT product or brand management job. Note I didn’t say a “high-paying” job. I want a job that will get me excited to get out of bed every morning.
--Leadership development. I want to feel confident coming out of the program I am prepared to lead.
--A fun, yet challenging, atmosphere. I do terrible work when I’m bored.

Financials
Based on my calculations, the first-year difference I am looking at with each school and location (cost of living included) is roughly $22K more to attend Fuqua over UCLA, and $28K to attend Kellogg over Fuqua (so about $50K more to attend Kellogg over UCLA).

Apologies for typing so much already –I just hope this helps anyone who reads this understand my mindset and inspires you to tell me your opinion. At the risk of overstaying my welcome on this post, some pros and cons I see for each school are below. I’m really looking for your opinion/help on if any of these perceptions and research is incorrect and/or if there is something I am not considering that I should be, and what decision you would make. For example, between the three schools I see that (according to employment reports), starting salaries (mean and median) for brand and product management salaries at each of these are very similar. I’ve heard that this is true from brand managers at Heinz and Colgate. I would love to hear if anyone thinks/knows if this perception or research is in fact wrong.

Again, thank you all for your help!!

Fuqua:

Pros
--Fell in love with it when I visited and at BDW (it was the first school I saw, about 2 years ago). Was my first choice heading into REALLY getting to know each school.
--Feel super-connected to the “Team Fuqua” concept and attitude from the student body the 3 times I visited
--I have a close friend who worked at the same PR firm I did, graduated from Fuqua and is now a brand manager at Heinz. Based on her path and feedback, I feel confident there will be ample marketing opportunities to me (but I do feel there would be more at Kellogg.)
--Parents live in the area, and I love the area. I know it super-well, and the transition will be easy.
--Cost of living is very cheap.
--I love the six-week terms. I want something that feels like I am drinking from a fire hose –I want to ramp-up quickly.
--Dedicated product management concentration. Only program with this out of the three.
--Tech seems to be growing A LOT here, and that exposure is important to me.
--It’s on the East Coast, where the majority of my professional and personal connections are.
--Scholarship & cost of living benefits will likely mean little debt at graduation.
--Awesome building. My favorite of the three, could see myself happy here every day.

Cons
--Not the same brand value as Kellogg.
--Likely less range of brand/product management opportunities than Kellogg (or at least that is my perception), even if they pay the same.
--While the reputation for tech has increased, it’s still not on the West Coast.

Kellogg:

Pros
--Easily the best marketing school. Rankings are (I’m sure some would argue) much higher than the other two here, although I don’t see a huge delineation (in my head, anyway) between a program ranked #1 for marketing ( Kellogg) and #7 (Fuqua).
--Feel confident I’d have the best range of opportunities.
--The “brand value” of having Kellogg on my resume.
--Amazing social opportunities. Students seem engaged and that they really enjoy each other –KWEST, for heaven’ sake.
--Have a ton of close friends in Chicago outside of the ones I will make in the program.
--Entrepreneurship seems to be the strongest here.

Cons
--Didn’t feel as connected to the students as I did at Fuqua and UCLA.
--Extremely expensive (will likely cost me $180K total, but I do have a savings cushion of $70K or so). I have heard all the “drop in the bucket” stuff but remember, there is a ZERO percent chance I end up in consulting or finance. If starting salaries are truly (I want to figure out if this is really the case) similar for brand and product management roles, $170K is extremely significant.
--Building is old and feels a little claustrophobic.
--Cold. Otherworldly cold.
--Not as much access to tech as UCLA or Fuqua, which I would like to have.

UCLA:

Pros
--Combination of scholarship, savings and living with my girlfriend means I would likely have no or extremely little debt at graduation that would easily be covered by the internship and/or signing bonus.
--Tech reputation is awesome and the best out of the three. I talked to a few students who told me about all the recent inroads at Google and throughout the West Coast (Microsoft, Amazon, etc.)
--The recent growth of “Silicion Beach”. It’s nowhere near the Valley, but startups like Snapchat and one I currently work with now (on their PR), along with articles I have read, lead me to believe there is a growing buzz in the area I can benefit from.
--Can take marketing in the first quarter, outside of core classes. This will immediately help with those brand/product management internship interviews.
--Student interview prep for product management in tech seems particularly strong. Almost every student mentioned this. I don’t have a technical background, but I love tech. I got the feeling I could still land a product management job benefitting from this alone (and didn’t feel this way at the other schools).
--Weather/living. This is easily my favorite climate/lifestyle of the three.
--Ability to play outdoor sports year-round. This is a small factor, but I know it would make me happier.
--Lots of friends and family in the area. And they love it there.

Cons
--Marketing seems strong, but limited to LA/California/West Coast. Brand management opportunities seem good at the main LA-based companies (like Mattel).
--Seems to have a very regional reputation. I think my ability to move back out to the East Coast (if I wanted to) would be limited.
--The AMR projects (hands-on) seem very hit-or-miss. I’ve heard really good things, and really terrible thing.
--The CMC (career management center) seems the weakest and least engaged amongst the three.
--Along the same lines, less prestigious than the other two.

Would love to hear what all you wonderful people think. I will be at BDW for Fuqua but of course, UCLA and Kellogg’s admit weekends are the same, so I’ll be going to Kellogg’s.

Thanks in advance to everyone for the help and opinions/insights! :-D

Originally posted by SIF2016 on 19 Apr 2014, 14:54.
Last edited by SIF2016 on 20 Apr 2014, 08:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anderson($70K) vs Fuqua($40K) vs Kellogg (No $K)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2014, 07:13
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I had $40k from UCLA and $20k from Fuqua, and chose Kellogg. For me it was an easy choice (I want to do consulting), but you both have higher scholarships and are going for lower paid careers. I think you should decide what type of CPG work you want to work do, and at what companies. If you want a prestige company, Kellogg will make it substantially easier. If you want just a good CPG job, fuqua is fine. Starting salaries will be around the same, but career progressions potentially different.

Also, culture matters. I liked Kellogg better than Duke, but if you liked Dukes culture better, it's something to consider.

Also fill out the fafsa before making decisions, Kellogg gives additional scholarships and grants out thru the financial aid office.

Let me know if you have any further questions since we were from such similar situations.

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Re: Anderson($70K) vs Fuqua($40K) vs Kellogg (No $K)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2014, 12:30
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I shot SIF a PM, but for anyone else reading this...Kellogg actually gave me a decent scholarship through the financial aid office after I filled out the fafsa, so if you're deciding between schools, you should def await for the full package. I ended up getting more than my Fuqua over-the-phone merit scholarship.
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Re: Anderson($70K) vs Fuqua($40K) vs Kellogg (No $K)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Apr 2014, 22:28
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Hey,
Congrats on your admits and scholarships! You did an awesome job! :)

My case is very similar to yours in many aspects: I also have an atypical background (I am a lawyer), I have similar aspirations post-MBA (not into consulting or finance, interest in tech and looking for a job I feel passionate about and not necessarily in a big company), age (I will turn 28 in a few weeks), among many others. Also, I am looking for almost the same in an MBA :)
I mainly agree with the pros and cons of your list (surprised with the AMR listed as a con, though). I think the best decision here will depend on the weight that each of the factors you listed has for you.

I made a list of main factors to consider taking into consideration what you say in your post/list of pros and cons. I hope you find it helpful:
1) Brand name (how important is that for you?)
2) Culture (how important is fit for you? you mention you connected better with Duke and UCLA people, how much better?)
3) Personal issues. You mentioned your girlfriend living in LA with you, but will she go with you to Evanston or Durham if you finally decide to go there?.
(a) If no: are you comfortable with a long distance relationship for two years? Is she?
(b) If yes. Will she have good job opportunnities there? Do you think she will be happy there?
Many people disregard this aspect. In my case this has had a strong influence in my decision.
4) Location: Where do you want to live post-MBA? are you a city person? how important is lifestyle to you? Also, do not underestimate the importance of off-campus recruiting, especially if you are interested in small companies or start ups, as these companies cannot afford to recruit very far.
5) Scholarship (doing an MBA debt free or almost debt free looks really appealing and could make you feel more comfortable risking a little more in your job hunt).
6) Tech: Anderson is stronger here, its network is huge and you have the location factor (especially for off-campus recruiting), also, (I do not know about the others) but I also heard from many students what you mentioned about the help they received from other fellow students. However, Duke also does a pretty good job with Tech and many companies go to recruit there (although off-campus recruiting will be more limited) I don't know about Kellogg but I am sure that with its reputation you won't have any problem getting into tech, especially in a marketing position (field in which kellogg exceeds any school). About consumer products, I think Kellogg will have the advantage here, especially in big companies, also you will have Chicago nearby, offering many off-campus recruiting opportunities. However, as in the case of Anderson with Tech, it will still be doable from the other two.

There are many other factors, I was facing a similar decision myself (Aderson (with $) vs Duke (with $$)) and finally chose Anderson. I would be happy to share my thought process/reasons to do so with you if you want to, I have conducted deep research about both schools and talked to many students/alumni from both schools, feel free to PM if you would like to talk about it with more detail.
Good luck with your decision! I think you can't go wrong either way, the three of them can certainly offer what you are looking for in an MBA and can take you where you want to go! Let us know what you finally decide :)
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Re: Anderson($70K) vs Fuqua($40K) vs Kellogg (No $K)  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2014, 07:30
Thank you both for the great replies! I'm planning on heading to DAK this weekend and feel like I'm zeroing in on a couple of main factors to decide between. This weekend will be really important for that, for sure.

The one takeaway from all this has been (like you both have mentioned) the immense importance of talking to current students, alumni and fellow applicants/admits.
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Re: Anderson($70K) vs Fuqua($40K) vs Kellogg (No $K)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2014, 11:29
SIF2016 wrote:
Thank you both for the great replies! I'm planning on heading to DAK this weekend and feel like I'm zeroing in on a couple of main factors to decide between. This weekend will be really important for that, for sure.

The one takeaway from all this has been (like you both have mentioned) the immense importance of talking to current students, alumni and fellow applicants/admits.



What did you wind up choosing? I have nearly the exact same career goals and went through the same dilemma.

I'm from the south, but currently living in the Midwest. I wanted to go to Duke because it was a great school and I'd be closer to home and friends but I couldn't resist Kellogg's MMM program. The product management and innovation jobs that it leads to are amazing.

So while I'm slightly depressed at the thought of dealing with two more Midwest winters, I know it's only two years and I'll be at a great school with great people. Plus Kellogg's reach is nationwide, so should I decide to change my mind later on I'll have the flexibility to go into other career paths.

I felt really sad declining Duke though. Like really really sad. Oh and I had received about the same amount of money from both schools. Although I will say that since I'm now looking at apartments in Evanston, I grossly underestimated the cost of living difference between both Evanston and Durham.

Given your situation I would have chosen Duke.
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Re: Anderson($70K) vs Fuqua($40K) vs Kellogg (No $K)   [#permalink] 08 May 2014, 11:29
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