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Ross ($) vs Anderson ($)

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Joined: 03 Feb 2019
Posts: 207
Location: India
Concentration: Technology, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
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Ross ($) vs Anderson ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Dec 2019, 15:46
Hi everyone! I find myself in the fortunate situation where I have to choose which business school to attend - Michigan Ross or UCLA Anderson.

A quick, brief background:
An international candidate from India with ~5.5 years of work exp. in marketing; have spent the last 3 years in tech product marketing with two SaaS startups - one bootstrapped and the other a unicorn. I've also had the opportunity to dive into product strategy and development at both, and I'm now going to business school to transition to Tech PM post-MBA. Big-tech and enterprise SaaS companies would be the primary targets (because of more generous work authorization), however, I am also keen to explore opportunities at mid and late-stage software startups that are building some really exciting products. My plan B would be to recruit for product marketing in these companies and then work my way into a PM role internally. My long-term goal is to build a software startup of my own.

Both of these schools have strong tech and entrepreneurship focus and resources, excellent record of tech recruitment and placing students on the West Coast (I'd ideally love to be in Bay Area post-MBA), focus on action-based learning and a very hands-on curriculum (great for me since I prefer learning by doing), and a close-knit and collaborative environment.

Throwing out a few major pros/cons into the discussion, and would like to hear different perspectives on how to make this decision.

Ross
Pros:
  • STEM - Guaranteed to be there for the class of 2022; OPT would be a huge plus and helps improve my post-MBA earning potential and prospects
  • MAP - Students, especially career switchers, say it's a great way to get additional relevant experience and also ramp up for the summer internship. Some have also mentioned people getting jobs from their MAP projects so it's an additional opportunity in that sense.
  • Go Blue. Go Anywhere - Ross and UMich seem to be a stronger brand with a larger and more widespread alumni network across the US. In India as well, the Michigan brand seems to hold more weight and has more numbers (at least from my research and experience); this could be important if I have to/decide to come back.
  • I've had a fantastic experience connecting with current students and alumni and have witnessed the collaborative and supportive nature of Ross community first-hand

Cons:
  • Lesser opportunities to network with startups on the west-coast (versus being in LA). Conversely, might have to spend more time and money to do so (versus meeting with folks in coffee shops in LA). This is important both for my short-term recruitment purposes as well as long-term entrepreneurial goals.
  • Climate - This isn't exactly a 'make or break' but life at business school can be stressful on its own, and since I'm quite a sports/nature/outdoors kind of a person and can safely say that I hate winters, this is something I'm concerned about.

Anderson
Pros:
  • Extremely strong brand on the West Coast with a huge concentration of alumni in the area and in my target companies.
  • Easton and Price Centers - The tech and entrepreneurship specializations are cutting-edge and super-structured yet flexible. The BCO (business-creation option) has seen tremendous success.
  • Parker - Heard great things from international students about career support.
  • LA - I think this point speaks for itself (for both professional and personal considerations) :cool:

Cons:
  • No STEM - Although the Associate Director mentioned at an event yesterday that this is in the works, there's no official confirmation on the timelines or applicability.
  • The Anderson/UCLA alumni network doesn't seem to be as large/widespread within the US as Ross/UMich, and UCLA seems to be more of a regional brand. A similar argument for presence outside of the US and in India.
  • While both schools have similar % of international students, when it comes to domestic pool it seems that Anderson has a large % of people from LA/California. I wonder how this impacts the classroom diversity and if it also adds a 'commuter culture' vibe.

I do not want to be bothered too much by rankings, and from what I understand these two are peer schools. However, the Ross/Michigan brand seems stronger globally but I could be wrong about this.

Also, I have received an almost similar scholarship from both the schools - 40k from Ross and 50k from Anderson, total. However, the cost of living in LA versus Ann Arbor will offset the 10k and then some. My major source of financing the degree would be a loan, however, I see the MBA as an investment and so I'm okay with first figuring out the best school for my goals and then working the finances out.

Appreciate thoughts and inputs from current students, alums, and forum experts! :)
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Re: Ross ($) vs Anderson ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Dec 2019, 16:00
Congratulations on your admits variantguy!!! Awesome job! I’m overjoyed to see this post from you :thumbup:

Thank you for posting the analysis. I may steal some of it for my future replies. For now, I would say that until Anderson gets a STEM designation, it is not a contender really.

I welcome other feedback but I feel that Anderson is a regional program and Ross is a national program. Ross degree would be more portable and more potent.... I’m not sure if anyone ever use those two words to describe an MBA degree but I will :-)

Congratulations!
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Re: Ross ($) vs Anderson ($)   [#permalink] 21 Dec 2019, 16:00

Ross ($) vs Anderson ($)

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