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USC Marshall vs UVA Darden (and possibly Duke Fuqua)

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Joined: 17 Mar 2010
Posts: 64
Location: Boston, MA
Schools: Carnegie Mellon Tepper (R2), Duke (R2), Notre Dame (R2), Georgetown (R2), UVA Darden (R2), USC (R2), Kellogg (R2)
USC Marshall vs UVA Darden (and possibly Duke Fuqua) [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2011, 10:49

I've been admitted into USC Marshall and UVA Darden. Am WL on Duke Fuqua.

So currently, I'm choosing between USC Marshall and UVA Darden unless I get off the WL at Duke.

I'm interested in Brand Management/Marketing in the Luxury Goods/Retail sector (and if not in that sector since I know luxury goods is a niche/small sector to get into, consumer products).

Here are some of my thoughts/experiences/findings thus far:

Would love to hear anyone's thoughts/feedback/insight either from considering these schools or hiring from these schools or attending these schools :)

USC Marshall
-I'm from L.A. and ever since coming to the east coast for college, I've been dying to go back to L.A. and plan to settle down in L.A. whether it is now or a few years down the road
-I came from a USC family, so I've basically been raised a Trojan and have traveled to endless amount of football road games and seen practically all their football home games when I was living in L.A.

-NOW, I know the first 2 are not reasons about the Marshall MBA program itself, just very sentimental/emotional reasons and I'm trying to be as rational here as possible since it's my future and the next 2 years of my life too.

-Ranked #21 by U.S. News and World Report, Ranked also in Marketing and Entrepreneurship by U.S. News and World Report I think
-L.A. is probably only 2nd to NY for fashion/luxury goods market, though it seems that L.A. is a distant 2nd
-USC is more of a "commuter" school or that is the feel I got since the majority of the people live in West LA it seemed (which is fine with me, I grew up there) but I was worried it meant that the experience would be less "college bonding" compared to a program where people mostly lived on-campus or within 5 miles of school
-Popovich Hall is nice but I did notice when I was there that it was a little "crammed' space-wise and not much room for students to hang out/bond etc

-Out of all the schools I applied to (Notre Dame, Georgetown, Kellogg, Darden, Duke, CMU), I found the USC admissions office to be the least organized and I have had only okay feedback when reaching out to students there.
-the club I want to be involved in there has not updated its site since 2008, it still lists contact names/officers of Marshall students who graduated in 2008, same for their facebook and myspace I thought the club had disbanded or was no longer active, turns out they are still active (heard back from the President) but just hadn't gotten around to updating the website.
-And these are just "small" things I suppose (and I am comparing it to a stellar experience I have had thus far with the ND program, they've been A+ on reaching out, answering questions, students being friendly and super responsive and encouraging both via email and during my visit and after) but at USC, my student guide was not the most enthusiastic, students seemed to be less cohesive, it was like everyone had their own thing going definitely didn't feel the way it did at ND where people would stop by, say hi to our student guide and ask us how we liked it I didn't understand how their notification date could be April 1st and schedule their admit weekend April 8th/9th and expect people to be able to plan and leave with less than a week's notice?

UVA Darden
-I've lived in D.C./Northern Virginia for 5 out of the 7 yrs since I graduated from undergrad, I like it, but as mentioned before, no plans to settle down in this area, though I assume most Darden grads don't stay in Virginia (unless they're going into govt work in D.C.)
-Ranked #13 in U.S. News and World Report, Business Week ranked #11, Forbes ranked #9 (so it seems pretty consistent across all rankings), and of course, have heard/read lots about Darden's #1 ranking in Business Week for Student Satisfaction
-Have had a great time chatting with current students at Darden, they were all very enthusiastic, friendly and engaging!
-Have not visited yet, but from everything I've heard, Charlottesville sounds like a charming college town. (and while I love L.A. and grew up there and plan on living there, I did find value in attending undergrad in another small city--Pittsburgh, as there are less distractions)
-Darden is in a college town, so everyone either lives on campus or very close by, so I don't think I'm worried about "cohesiveness" etc or missing the "college" bonding experience here

-BUT, Darden is ranked highly in General Management/Finance, but not much on their Marketing program which would be my main focus there
-Darden is in Charlottesville, VA so I DO worry about recruiting and whether recruiters would pass on going to a school not in a major city like NY, L.A., Boston, Chicago, etc
-MORE IMPORTANTLY, back to Marketing, which I guess I will find out more when I speak with students during Darden Days next week, but how is recruiting at Darden for Marketing and specifically with regards to Luxury Goods and Consumer Product companies
-Darden has a Luxury Goods club, but the site is blank and not updated...
-Darden seems to be so-so on the international diversity (compared to USC which leans more towards Asia given its geographical proximity or Duke which really emphasizes international diversity)

and just for the possibility of getting off the Duke WL

Duke Fuqua
-Never lived in Durham or N.C., and was hesitant about it but it seems like Duke is in a very active "college/research/education" community in the research triangle...have heard lots about it but have not experienced living there first hand.
-Ranked #12 in U.S. News and World Report, Ranked #3 in Marketing (was surprised, didn't know they were so strong in Marketing)
-International diversity is really an emphasis at Duke it seems, not only do they try to have an internationally diverse class, but they also have many opportunities for study abroad in more locations than even many top 5 schools (from what I've gathered)
-Fuqua has a luxury goods club and have been in touch with the officers there--seems very active from my conversations with them and also from their updated website etc (they do career treks to NY, have had their own fashion show, etc), and they have a strong marketing club and program

1) I guess now I'm wondering, while Duke and Darden are relatively close (in U.S. News and World Report overall rankings) how much difference is there between the 2 schools for someone interested in Brand Management/Marketing and looking into the Retail/Luxury Goods Sector and Consumer Products?

2) Career placement/Recruiting--how would you say USC and Duke and Darden compare based on experiences with the Career Centers and level of recognition that top companies view each school?

3) I know Darden is a wonderful school, but I admit I never heard of UVA until after college and moved to the D.C. area--how would you rate the value of the Darden/UVA brand name in comparison to the USC/Marshall and Duke/Fuqua one...on a national and international level (incase I would be interested in working for a luxury goods company in Asia...not a super focus but possibility if the opportunity came up)

4) Culture/Community--would love to hear any other's thoughts from their experiences/time spent with USC Marshall, Duke Fuqua and UVA Darden

Sorry this is so long but figured I would share some of my experiences with each school thus far as well and hope to hear lots of feedback and insight from others here :)

Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 8
GMAT 1: 730 Q49 V41
Re: USC Marshall vs UVA Darden (and possibly Duke Fuqua) [#permalink]

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New post 03 Apr 2014, 14:42
Hey - just came across your post. Matriculating in 2014 and facing the same decision. I'd love to hear what you chose and what your experience was! Any recommendations would be helpful! :)
Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 1212
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
Schools: Duke (Fuqua) - Class of 2012
Premium Member
Re: USC Marshall vs UVA Darden (and possibly Duke Fuqua) [#permalink]

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New post 03 Apr 2014, 19:21
It seems like USC is a very good fit for you from a post-MBA location perspective. I won't take too much stock in the experience with the AdCom, it has very little correlation with actual student life/experience. The lack of professionalism from the club, especially if it's a marketing/luxury goods club, is a bit concerning for me.

Luxury goods marketing is a very small niche in b-school. I don't think MBA is a requisite for leadership in those companies. With that said, I know LVMH recruits at Fuqua.
Re: USC Marshall vs UVA Darden (and possibly Duke Fuqua)   [#permalink] 03 Apr 2014, 19:21
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USC Marshall vs UVA Darden (and possibly Duke Fuqua)

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