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UCLA ($$$) vs Kellogg MMM: Tech Career

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Joined: 19 Apr 2014
Posts: 1
UCLA ($$$) vs Kellogg MMM: Tech Career  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2014, 09:17
Hi Everyone,

I'm trying to decide between UCLA with an annual scholarship of $35,000, or the Kellogg MMM program with no scholarship offer. I have a fair amount of savings from my first job so the money isn't the only consideration, but the scholarship would allow for me to attend UCLA without loans whereas Kellogg will require them.

I currently work as software consultant/product manager for one of the top ten tech companies. My ideal position would be to break into a venture capital firm that focuses on technology. However I know how difficult that is, how much it relies on networking/luck/PE experience/founding your own company, so most likely I will continue in my current field but as a full time software product manager. I'm still undecided as to whether I'd prefer a start-up or one of the more established top companies (amazon/google/apple).

My current focus is in the development and deployment of retail analytics software, using computers and data to answer questions around retail strategy. I like the whole "big data" area and the idea of using statistical analysis and numbers to inform decisions, but I do want to get out of retail. I think it would be really cool to do this sort of work in healthcare, energy, or even entertainment (think Netflix/Disney consumer software products or consumer insights research).

I've also been doing more research into management/strategy consulting. I think I would love the work and the network I would gain, but not so sure about the lifestyle.

So as you can see I'm considering quite a few things from career changer to something more in line with my current role. With the most likely path being software technology, I'm looking at it in the following ways.

Program Quality
Kellogg - MMM program is a perfect fit. It has classes focused on product design & innovation, business analytics, and product management. Big tech club, opportunity to network with VCs, and a project to build our own product.
UCLA - Still a pretty good fit, lots of classes that interest me, as well as a hands on learning project. Most common placement of UCLA grads is in technology.

Kellogg - Does "treks" out to San Fran and Seattle to visit the big tech companies. A smaller but growing start-up community in the Chicago area.
UCLA - A little easier to get up to San Fran for interview. Silicon Beach (anyone know how big this community is? I'm assuming is still pales in comparison to SF).

Other Considerations
Kellogg is known for its fantastically inclusive and supportive student body. A big plus for me, as I wasn't as engaged in my undergraduate years to I'm looking at this as another shot at student/academic life.
UCLA weather is sooo much better, as well the outdoor extracurricular. I'm living in Colorado right now and hiking/skiing/climbing/etc. are a big part of my life. And the idea of living in a cold place with no mountains near by isn't that appealing.
Kellogg is obviously a notch above in terms of quality. Not sure if that will matter as much if I stay in my current field, but certainly would be a factor if I want to switch careers, particularly into management consulting.

Any thoughts or feedback would be appreciated. I think I really just need to decide exactly what I want to do, and if it's something other than Tech then Kellogg is the obvious choice (and it's what I'm leaning towards at the moment).

Joined: 20 May 2013
Posts: 599
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V44
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Re: UCLA ($$$) vs Kellogg MMM: Tech Career  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2014, 10:17
Based on your analysis, it seems like Kellogg wins on everything except cost and weather. You have money saved, so unless weather is SUPER important to you, I think Kellogg is easy choice. Also keep in mind your first year will be very busy so you won't get to enjoy the outdoors much anyways (I spoke to a UCLA student in January who hadn't had time to go to the beach ONCE yet). Management consulting recruiting is CONSIDERABLY better at Kellogg (part of the reason I turned down substantial UCLA scholarship to attend Kellogg). For Example, Kellogg sent ~40 people to BCG last year, UCLA sent 2. For Tech, keep in mind that UCLA has trouble at the top companies due to competition from Berkeley/Stanford. You can certainly find a tech job, but it's not guaranteed it'll be as prestigious as you're imagining (although with your background and being towards the top of the class, you have a good chance of getting a nice job).

Really the only reason I'd choose UCLA over Kellogg in your case is if you want to do Entertainment...just make sure you are okay taking the hit in the salary that comes with that career choice. Neither schools are really healthcare or energy schools, but the prestige of Kellogg will make recruiting into that easier if that's the choice you make.
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Re: UCLA ($$$) vs Kellogg MMM: Tech Career   [#permalink] 22 Apr 2014, 10:17
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