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**Disclaimer: Created a new name for this thread so as not to be identified. Also, apologies for the double post with WSO for those of you that read both.
I recently got into three schools, and have narrowed it down to two: Tuck and Sloan. I did not get $ at either, so this is a pure decision based on which school would be best for me.
Background: Small, top liberal arts school with business and accounting major. One year of audit experience and then three years of consulting experience, mostly focused on CFO work (process improvement, finance function transformation, etc.). Went to school in the southeast and have lived in DC since.
Goals: Transition into strategy consulting, preferably at MBB or a smaller strategy shop. Prefer to be in te NY/NJ area after school. Longer-term goals are a bit less clear, but would like to transition to something like an operational role at a PE firm or a strategy/biz. dev. role at a young, growth company (a bit after it's a start-up). Also possibly interested in sports. None of those longer term goals are set in stone at all though. Would prefer to let my experiences at school and work play out and see where they take me.
Given my goals and experience, curious as to what people's opinions on here are. I;m most focused on getting that job out of school, but also the quality of experience and my network. It's a good problem to have, but very much struggling with the decision.
This sounds like a thread for @kingfalcon to chime in on.
Edit: Here is the slightly abridged version of what I posted on WSO in response to this topic:
Both will likely get you interviews at MBB if you put in the legwork (I can personally attest to this as a student at one of the three you mentioned). If you are at all interested in sports and are undecided between the two, don't forget about the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. The organizers all have incredible exposure to bigwigs in the sports industry.
Are you able to go to the admitted student events for both schools? Both are great schools so you can't go wrong. If you are potentially looking into sports then potentially MIT shades it just because of its location (big sports town) and also the sports analytics conference they run every year.
Both schools recruit well with MBB. I think your decision will come down to more practical considerations like big city vs. small town living, whether you're bringing a spouse/partner, any clubs that you're interested in, in particular, at either school, transportation, your overall feeling of comfort among the students, etc
Totally random, but Tuck does have one interesting sports connection. Professor Kevin Keller is very good friends with Phil Knight--they taught at Stanford together.
Thanks, all. Kingfalcon and I have been in touch already, and he has, not surprisingly, been very helpful.
At this point I do agree that it comes down to personal preferences. They both definitely offer serious pros (and not many cons, in my book). As for the Tuck sports connections, Ward, you are absolutely right. In typical Tuck fashion, they have a small number of VERY strong sports connections. Russell Wolff, head of ESPN International, is also on campus a lot throughout the year, as are a few others. Sloan, on the other hand, is the one MBA program that is actually known in the sports industry, so that benefit goes without saying.
Will let everyone know what I end up choosing. Unfortunately, will not be able to go to Admit weekends because Tuck's deadline is 1/17 for EA. Have visited both multiple times though, so hopefully I can decide from those visits.
Thanks to everyone for the advice and opinions. For those curious, I finally came to a decision this weekend, and will be going to Tuck in the fall. This post is incredibly long, but wrote this up in an email for someone, so thought I would share with you guys as well that are interested.
Disclaimer: these are based on my impressions of the schools. Everyone’s research is different, and I'm sure many would disagree with me. People like KingFalcon are awesome Sloan ambassadors, and were tough to turn down.
Decision Point 1: Recruiting The first thing I tried to figure out was recruiting. Based on initial impressions, I had some minor worries that Tuck might be more of a regional placer at the consulting firms, so I wanted to find out how that worked (given my goal of ended up in NYC/CT/NJ). I talked to a few different people, including those that recruited for non-Boston offices at all the different firms, and got first and second round interviews at least. I heard of people in this year’s class getting offers at almost every single Bain and McKinsey office that I could think of, including some of the smaller ones on the east coast like New Jersey for McK and BCG, which really excited me. Side note: Tuck Class of 2014 is absolutely crushing consulting recruiting this year. Definitely something for people on the fence to think about.
Decision Point 2: Comfort zone? Once I was comfortable with consulting recruiting for both schools (I never had as many doubts about Sloan), it basically became a directional decision. I don't like to use "fit", because frankly, I was trying to decide if I wanted to seek out fit or not. Sloan is a bit more outside my comfort zone in terms of people and atmosphere. Tuck is very similar to what I’m used to from an environment (small school, insulated atmosphere) and people perspective. I had some people close to me that thought it would be really good for me to go outside my comfort zone, meaning Sloan. For a while I agreed with them and thought that was what I should do, and that it'll be a great place and a great learning environment for me. I was leaning towards Sloan.
At some point, however, I took a step back and figured out what I should get out of business school. Essentially, I want to go to a place that allows me to grow and excel. While I have no doubt that I would be fine at both schools, I started to realize that Sloan might well be a place that suppresses some of my biggest strengths. I do think that Sloan has this unique energy and aura to it, but I actually think that it's much more of an individual energy. That entrepreneurial spirit that is so evident, seemed to me to be more about individuals (or a couple of people) working on their goals. That's inspiring and really cool, but is not exactly what I want. I tend to rise in atmospheres where everyone works together and is on the same page, and in my eyes, Tuck is much more of a full-class collaborative place. I see myself flourishing there because it's a place where you have a bunch of people on the same page, and I look forward to stepping up and driving the direction of things.
Decision Point 3: Partners Beyond that, I had some worries about the Sloan partner situation, probably related to the above. I asked multiple people if partners are a part of the community, and my typical response back was "yeah, I guess some of them make friends with each other because they come from abroad and don't know anyone". That really scared me - at Tuck, and even Columbia actually, I get incredibly strong responses about how people love their friends partners more than them, etc.. That was another thing that reinforced my thoughts about the slightly more individualistic nature of the community - it's not that people don't like each other and make friends, it's just that the overall class (to me) does not seem as together. Same goes for the spouses. I know KingFalcon will disagree with me on this one, and he had an entirely different impression when he went to AdMIT weekend (and after his first semester). Unfortunately, impressions are impressions – hard to ignore.
At Tuck, the spouse situation is amazing. They informally guarantee a job for spouses, and more importantly, the spouses are as enthusiastic about being a spouse as the students are about the school. Everyone is super tight-knit, but I also have some family and other friends up there, which will make the remote location a bit easier to handle and will allow us to get away from the Tuck bubble at times when we need to (or she needs to). Plus skiing, which I really cannot wait for.
Decision Point 4: The Future This one sort of dawned on me in the last few days as well, is that I want to be more like Tuck alums when I grow up (joke, sort of). Having talked to a few slightly more elder alums from each school, I genuinely see myself as being like the Tuck alums and not Sloan ones. I find the older Tuck alums are an impressive blend of successful, down to earth, and generally fun and outgoing. The Sloan ones are incredibly impressive and successful, but I found them to be a bit more intense, and less outgoing. Again, this goes back to the comfort zone thing, but I want to be supported by and surrounded by like-minded people in terms of those values. It's one of the things I cherish most about my undergrad, and while Tuck will be similar, it's not something I want to get away from if I don't have to.
Decision Point 5: Make up for what's missing I knew that whichever school I picked, I'd be missing out on some incredible opportunities. I am really going to miss some things about Sloan. The Sports Analytics Conference will be a huge thing to miss out on, as will the incredible diversity of the class and the entrepreneurial ventures that the students think of. I absolutely plan to find a way to get involved in the conference anyway, and one of my biggest goals for first year is to make sure that we have a team that goes and does something there. Essentially, I figure it's up to me to mold my Tuck experience to make up for what I'd miss out on at Sloan, which I think is doable. At Sloan, i think it'd be harder to mold my experience to gain what I'd miss out on from Tuck.
Make sense? Probably not, but I feel good about it. Again, I want to disclaim that these are MY IMPRESSIONS based on the people that I have talked to. I could easily have flipped a coin on this one and sold Sloan in a similar manner. As many have said on here, it’s really a fit decision, but one that I really wanted to boil down to some actual reasons.