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School Choice Input

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Joined: 21 Jul 2016
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School Choice Input [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2017, 14:51
Hey everyone,

I will try to keep this brief, however brevity has never been a strength of mine. :lol:

Here's the basic outline of my problem: I am going to business school in the fall, I don't know where. By matriculation I will have spent the past two years at a commodity trader and the two years prior to that at an oil company. Applied to five schools, admitted to Columbia, Fuqua, Darden, and McCombs (with 1/3 tuition scholarship), and wait listed (two rounds in a row!) at Booth. I am experiencing significant difficulty deciding between these options, and the possible career paths that might follow at graduation.

When I started this process, I wanted to go into MBB consulting. While that's still a definite interest, I've discovered other avenues that sound interesting and gratifying. For example, asset/investment management is appealing, and there's still a tiny, unrealistic, masochistic part of me that thinks I could break into a middle market oil and gas private equity fund out of Booth or Columbia.

Essentially, at this point I am looking for any reason not succumb to the brand name of Columbia. The reputation and finance job availability is obviously tops of the schools that I've gotten into so far, but I have a strong aversion to living in NYC. Culturally, and going by gut-feel, Fuqua is far and away the best fit for me with Darden a close second. However, I assume that move would basically preclude my getting any of the even more selective non-banking finance job (IM/HF, etc.) Though I should still be able to land at a bulge bracket or boutique investment bank from either.

I guess what I am trying to get here is a reality check on what exactly is possible out of Columbia that may not be from Fuqua/Darden, and feedback on the reputations of each school irrespective of the rankings. MBB is possible from Duke or Darden, but it's at least as (or maybe more) possible from Columbia. While I am somewhat geographically agnostic (Houston/Austin, the Carolinas, LA/Bay, Seattle), I have no desire to work in the Northeast after school, so one of the main draws and advantages of Columbia is undercut.

Am I fooling myself into thinking that these finance jobs for which Columbia is renowned will be accessible for someone with no finance experience? If that is a large part of why I would want to go to CBS, that may ultimately be ineffective if I wouldn't even be able to get those jobs regardless of which school I choose. If I am going to spend two years at a school and then end up in MBB or corporate strategy/development, I would much rather do it at Fuqua/Darden.

What are your thoughts? What would you do in this position? How would you personally go about evaluating this? Any help is much appreciated.
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Re: School Choice Input [#permalink]

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New post 21 Mar 2017, 10:06
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hydrocarbons wrote:
Hey everyone,

I will try to keep this brief, however brevity has never been a strength of mine. :lol:

Here's the basic outline of my problem: I am going to business school in the fall, I don't know where. By matriculation I will have spent the past two years at a commodity trader and the two years prior to that at an oil company. Applied to five schools, admitted to Columbia, Fuqua, Darden, and McCombs (with 1/3 tuition scholarship), and wait listed (two rounds in a row!) at Booth. I am experiencing significant difficulty deciding between these options, and the possible career paths that might follow at graduation.

When I started this process, I wanted to go into MBB consulting. While that's still a definite interest, I've discovered other avenues that sound interesting and gratifying. For example, asset/investment management is appealing, and there's still a tiny, unrealistic, masochistic part of me that thinks I could break into a middle market oil and gas private equity fund out of Booth or Columbia.

Essentially, at this point I am looking for any reason not succumb to the brand name of Columbia. The reputation and finance job availability is obviously tops of the schools that I've gotten into so far, but I have a strong aversion to living in NYC. Culturally, and going by gut-feel, Fuqua is far and away the best fit for me with Darden a close second. However, I assume that move would basically preclude my getting any of the even more selective non-banking finance job (IM/HF, etc.) Though I should still be able to land at a bulge bracket or boutique investment bank from either.

I guess what I am trying to get here is a reality check on what exactly is possible out of Columbia that may not be from Fuqua/Darden, and feedback on the reputations of each school irrespective of the rankings. MBB is possible from Duke or Darden, but it's at least as (or maybe more) possible from Columbia. While I am somewhat geographically agnostic (Houston/Austin, the Carolinas, LA/Bay, Seattle), I have no desire to work in the Northeast after school, so one of the main draws and advantages of Columbia is undercut.

Am I fooling myself into thinking that these finance jobs for which Columbia is renowned will be accessible for someone with no finance experience? If that is a large part of why I would want to go to CBS, that may ultimately be ineffective if I wouldn't even be able to get those jobs regardless of which school I choose. If I am going to spend two years at a school and then end up in MBB or corporate strategy/development, I would much rather do it at Fuqua/Darden.

What are your thoughts? What would you do in this position? How would you personally go about evaluating this? Any help is much appreciated.


I would hop on Linked In advanced search and pose these questions to the people you would be trying to sell your degree to - hiring managers for bulge brackets or boutique IB. I don't really think that the brand name is as important as location/recruitment for internships. However it drives me nuts when people make guesses at this when they could reach out to people who hold the answers. Either people in the job you want, hiring for the job you want or headhunters for the job you want.

So, make absolute certain that finance is going to fulfill all of your dreams. If it isn't what you imagine it to be, then the decision is fairly easy. Take into account the big picture - where you would be post graduation but also 5 years later, 10 years later. I think both MBB and IB are unsustainable career paths if you want a real life with people in it, so make sure to devise an exit strategy.

Would recommend you post this same thing on Wall Street Oasis forum, might give you some leads.
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Re: School Choice Input [#permalink]

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New post 22 Mar 2017, 12:07
i vote columbia because of how close you will get to the action and the dedicated curriculum that goes along with it.
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Re: School Choice Input [#permalink]

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New post 22 Mar 2017, 14:49
bkhu wrote:
i vote columbia because of how close you will get to the action and the dedicated curriculum that goes along with it.


Thanks bkhu, if I have no intention of/interest in working in New York, do you think this is quite as strong a differentiating factor?

Does anyone want to weight in on the intangible/down the road aspects of the three schools? It seems that the CBS name travels a bit further (geographically) than does Fuqua or Darden. Is this offset by how tight the networks are at the other two schools?

MBAPrepCoach wrote:
I would hop on Linked In advanced search and pose these questions to the people you would be trying to sell your degree to - hiring managers for bulge brackets or boutique IB. I don't really think that the brand name is as important as location/recruitment for internships. However it drives me nuts when people make guesses at this when they could reach out to people who hold the answers. Either people in the job you want, hiring for the job you want or headhunters for the job you want.

So, make absolute certain that finance is going to fulfill all of your dreams. If it isn't what you imagine it to be, then the decision is fairly easy. Take into account the big picture - where you would be post graduation but also 5 years later, 10 years later. I think both MBB and IB are unsustainable career paths if you want a real life with people in it, so make sure to devise an exit strategy.

Would recommend you post this same thing on Wall Street Oasis forum, might give you some leads.

Thanks! Appreciate the feedback. I actually posted this on WSO right before posting it here, and it's gone nowhere so far. :lol:
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Re: School Choice Input [#permalink]

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New post 22 Mar 2017, 20:04
i think it definitely means something more to go to CBS. not only will the faculty be top notch, but your future classmates are higher caliber candidates. i think you also have to think about branding. even if you choose not to live in NY afterwards, your brand will carry on with you. CBS isn't just well-known nationally, its well regarded globally. you won't get the collegiate atmosphere going there but that sacrifice comes with the advantage of being close to all the major finance institutions and in one of the top cities on the planet. i'm not in finance, but i know from just researching b-school websites/wso that those jobs are all about networking and that is much easier in person. good luck my buddy!
Re: School Choice Input   [#permalink] 22 Mar 2017, 20:04
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