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Struggling with my decision: Maryland Smith ($$$) v Carlson ($)

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Which school should I choose?

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Struggling with my decision: Maryland Smith ($$$) v Carlson ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 15:11
Hi all,

After a ton of work, I'm super proud to finally have some school offers on the table :-D . I'm actually waiting on a few more schools, but I have a feeling my decision will be between the schools I've listed here.

A bit about me: I'm a marketing profession with 4 years of experience in the Healthcare space. I hope to stay in healthcare post-MBA, but I am open to other options such as pivoting to consulting or becoming brand manager at a CPG company. I understand that both schools are very regional and, all things considered, I enjoy both DC and Minneapolis. Also, I'm a US citizen.

My offers:
- Maryland Smith: full-ride scholarship + a graduate assistantship that comes with a monthly stipend and health insurance subsidy.
- Minnesota Carlson: A scholarship offer equivalent to about 30% of tuition cost

I understand that Carlson lines up with my goals better since they have plenty of ties to CPG and Healthcare companies. Also, I know a few consulting firms hire Carlson grads. However, I'm struggling with the thought of turning down the money Smith has offered and accepting a large amount of loan debt to go to Carlson. Even with the scholarship Carlson is offering, I think I'll be at least $60-75k in the hole. Smith seems to be more known for consulting and finance roles in the DC metro area. I also really liked the tight-knit culture at Smith. I would be okay with a consulting gig in DC, but I think my options would be more limited at Smith, and I'm nervous that if I don't land a consulting gig, my options would be limited. But again, Smith is essentially paying me to go to school. It's a difficult choice!

Either school will be a tremendous opportunity, but I just feel so conflicted about which to choose. Any advice?
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Re: Struggling with my decision: Maryland Smith ($$$) v Carlson ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 23:53
I would absolutely NOT hesitate to go to Smith. You are a US applicant and won't have to jump through hoops with employment authorization, etc. Your marketing skills (and hopefully good presentation and speaking skills) should also give you an edge in whatever on campus or referral recruiting that will happen at Smith. You are trading off potential placement vs. hard cash in hand and my guess would that most of the Carlson's recruiting is off campus anyway (on your own that is). I would considering giving up on Smith if I were admitted to Cornell or Darden but I think Carlson would have to up their offer quite a bit to make it equal. (Once you are outside of the Top 20 school group, the difference is not really that significant in placement, rank, and prestige - you are still getting a tremendous learning experience and a career boost; the differences are minor on the grand scheme of things). Graduating without debt would allow a bit less stress and panic and would give you an opportunity to enjoy your experience more which means you would get out more out of it.

Congratulations!
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Re: Struggling with my decision: Maryland Smith ($$$) v Carlson ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 01:07
Hi dcamp0308

I agree with BB here. I would also choose Smith for the reason mentioned by BB. significant gap in the amount you would have to spend at these two colleges. you can use this money for your networking. because you are US national, you have a good chance of getting the role you hope for.


dcamp0308 wrote:
My offers:
- Maryland Smith: full-ride scholarship + a graduate assistantship that comes with a monthly stipend and health insurance subsidy.
- Minnesota Carlson: A scholarship offer equivalent to about 30% of tuition cost

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Re: Struggling with my decision: Maryland Smith ($$$) v Carlson ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 07:52
1
bb wrote:
I would absolutely NOT hesitate to go to Smith. You are a US applicant and won't have to jump through hoops with employment authorization, etc. Your marketing skills (and hopefully good presentation and speaking skills) should also give you an edge in whatever on campus or referral recruiting that will happen at Smith. You are trading off potential placement vs. hard cash in hand and my guess would that most of the Carlson's recruiting is off campus anyway (on your own that is). I would considering giving up on Smith if I were admitted to Cornell or Darden but I think Carlson would have to up their offer quite a bit to make it equal. (Once you are outside of the Top 20 school group, the difference is not really that significant in placement, rank, and prestige - you are still getting a tremendous learning experience and a career boost; the differences are minor on the grand scheme of things). Graduating without debt would allow a bit less stress and panic and would give you an opportunity to enjoy your experience more which means you would get out more out of it.

Congratulations!


bb, thank you for the response, this is really insightful. Carlson has been by number 1 since I started the journey, but I do think the money it would cost to go there is just too much. I really enjoyed my experience at Smith's showcase weekend so I have no reservations I'd have a good time there.

I may try to send an email to Carlson to see if they would be willing to increase there offer a bit. If not though, looks like smith will be my choice!

Thanks!
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Re: Struggling with my decision: Maryland Smith ($$$) v Carlson ($)  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2019, 13:29
bb,

So Carlson countered and upped their scholarship offer to 50% tuition scholarship. Do you think that's significant enough or would you still recommend Smith?
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Re: Struggling with my decision: Maryland Smith ($$$) v Carlson ($)   [#permalink] 15 Feb 2019, 13:29
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