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Rejecting Wharton for Haas?

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Which school to chose?

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Rejecting Wharton for Haas?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jan 2020, 01:13
1
(I had a similar post a while ago but multiple things changed since then)

Hi all,

I am currently in the final stages of deciding which MBA offer I want to accept and would love to hear your opinion as I am still quite undecided.

Context
- McKinsey consultant (3 years) from Germany
- Will finance MBA on my own (personal funds and tax deductions)
- Want to leverage MBA to move to US (strong preference for California), so staying in the US after graduation using OPT STEM or H1B
- Potentially go back to Europe at some point in my career, but aim to live in California in the near future (next 5-10 years)
- Aim to work in Tech (think FAANG, Spotify, potentially VC) afterwards, 90% set on this

Option 1: Berkeley Haas (no scholarship)
- Great cultural fit, love the people there, will allow me to already have a significant social network when staying in California afterwards
- Top school for tech in California (along GSB), will allow me for great placement for internship + post-graduation employment
- Amazing location and more laid-back program (less pressure than at Wharton) - will have a nicer, more relaxed time there overall, which will allow me to focus on other things important to me (e.g. founding a startup)

Option 2: Wharton (no scholarship)
- Very strong brand overall, especially outside US in case I return to Europe some day
- As it is one of the "elite programs", probably even smarter peers and professors - will potentially benefit me in the long term when it comes to getting funding / becoming CEO etc. due to the brand name
- While Wharton seems to be academically intense (which I am not to keen on, because I finally want to enjoy those final 2 years of studying), I like that it is focused around data (I have always been analytically inclined)
- I am not to keen to go to the East Coast and Philadelphia for the MBA, so this is a strong disadvantage for me - however, still possible to spend a semester at the SF campus
- I know that in absolute terms quite a lot of Wharton grads go to West Coast, but I think it's going to be hard to have a strong social network there post-graduation (likely low overlap between people who go to West Coast + friends I make at Wharton) compared to Berkeley

General thoughts:
- Given I already have multiple MBB consultancies, investment banks etc. in my resume, brand name does not matter as much to me as it might matter to others
- I think both schools will finally enable me to get good placement in tech in California
- Berkeley likely has a better culture and friendlier people, but I think that both programs will allow me to have a good time during the two years
- Apparently both Berkeley (overall program) and Wharton (if I take Business Analytics major) have the OPT STEM accreditation which would guarantee me 5 years in US (2 yr MBA + 1 year OPT + 2 year extension) as alternative to an H1B visa

Summary:
- My heart says Haas - I think I will have an amazing time there, make friends there who might be the base of my future life in California, get great placement in Tech
- However, Wharton will also be a good time, will also bring me to Cali afterwards if I want to, will be the better brand which might have benefits in the long term
- My general view on life is that I want to prioritize things that make me happy vs. things that impress others (I am done with this after all the McKinsey etc. time). What I want to do is have a happy life and go to California - and Berkeley enables me to do that right away (Wharton with a 2 year delay)

Given all this background, would be amazing to hear your thoughts! Am I crazy to go to Berkeley with a Wharton offer? Or is it reasonable given my background and goals?

Thanks so much in advance!
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Re: Rejecting Wharton for Haas?  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jan 2020, 07:25
Congratulations on your admits! I don't think you are crazy but you should be aware of the trade offs you will be making and what you based your impression of each program and "culture":
Top 10 vs. a smaller west-coast Top 3 program
- You will get fewer on-campus recruiting opportunities; certain firms/companies/VC's recruit only at certain programs and don't want to waste their time elsewhere, such as Top 5 or M7
- You will miss out on international brand recognition. Berkeley is somewhat known in EU but Haas is probably going to draw a blank stare
- For VC, it is Stanford and it is hard for Haas to compete with Stanford
- It is great you have strong brands on your resume - that will help but sometimes some resumes don't even get seen/opened for certain positions. E.g. 300 applicants for one position and the best positions have to be networked, introduced, referred, etc.

I would say in general, you are not crazy. There is a handful of theoretical reasons but it is hard to tell how it will play out. If you want to be in CA, that's a certain/easy route. Perhaps someone from Haas/Wharton can comment specifically.
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Re: Rejecting Wharton for Haas?  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2020, 07:13
From your post, it definitely seems like you are leaning Haas. If you want tech or even VC - Haas will get you there and arguably better than Wharton.

For VC, recommend doing a preMBA internship regardless of MBA choice.

I think Haas is much nicer generally, and it seems that you want that.
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Re: Rejecting Wharton for Haas?  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2020, 16:57
Looks like you are looking for validation to go to Haas.

I would go on to say that Haas makes a lot more sense if you want to work for a startup in the valley post MBA. Most large tech companies would recruit in both schools (more in Wharton than Haas, believe it or not!), so in my opinion, Wharton makes a tad more sense per your goals.

Also, about brand names on your resume, Wharton may offer more than just the Wharton brand - the alums the network is almost unbeatable as a large class size graduates each year.

However, if you see yourself to be a stronger fit in Haas and already almost made up your mind (which it seems like you have), considering Wharton only will derail that mood. Either school is great, and you will have a great time.
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Re: Rejecting Wharton for Haas?   [#permalink] 06 Jan 2020, 16:57
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