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UW Madison ASAP vs Owen vs Aim higher next year

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Intern
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Joined: 23 Dec 2015
Posts: 1
Location: Viet Nam
GMAT 1: 760 Q51 V41
GPA: 3.59
WE: Asset Management (Mutual Funds and Brokerage)
UW Madison ASAP vs Owen vs Aim higher next year  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2016, 20:10
Hi everyone,

I’m an MBA applicant from Vietnam with 2.5 years of WE (3 at matriculation) in a boutique investment fund focusing on Frontier Markets publicly listed equities. During my time at the current company I had two promotions and 1.5 years of leadership experience, directly managing 6-7 people in my fundamental research team. My other info: I graduate in the top 10% of my class in one of the most prestigious schools in my country, but basically a no-name for admission officers. My stats are 760 GMAT with maximum scores on Quant, IR and AWA, and 8.5 IELTS. I’m also a CFA Level III Candidate this June.

My goal post-MBA is to continue working in investment management, but make a location switch from Vietnam to ideally the US; however, I’m also open to compete for jobs elsewhere (think Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.). Another major thing to note is that financing is a huge factor for me - if I aim for top schools without any scholarship, I will have to borrow close to the whole thing. Coming from a developing country, I have a low risk tolerance and a $100k-plus loan even exceeds the accumulated wealth of my whole family.

Therefore, in this application season I only aim for schools that I think can give me a meaningful chance of receiving a substantial amount of scholarship. Fortunately I got two offers, one from UW Madison ASAP Program with fellowship (Full tuition for both years + $20k without work commitment) and Vanderbilt Owen with full tuition for both years. Now I’m having a hard time making my decision. Basically I have three options:
- Take the money and go to Madison with a program heavily focused on IM. However, as everyone knows, breaking into IM from a school outside of top 10 is super hard.
- Self-fund and take a small loan to cover my living cost at Owen, where I can study a more flexible program that gives way to a relatively broader set of opportunities. However, it’s likely that I have to switch to sell-side research, PWM or corporate finance because Owen, as far as I know, has close to zero placement on buy side. I don’t know what my odds are to break back into IM later in my career after doing sell-side research or corporate finance jobs.
- Reapply next year to Wharton, Booth, Columbia, etc. and take substantial risks in the order of 1/ Not getting any admission offer, 2/ Not getting any scholarship and have to take a big loan, 3/ Not being able to find jobs after graduation and 4/ Not winning the competitive H1B lottery afterwards.

Any advice for my case? I have one week left to decide and I’m leaning towards taking the offer at Madison, because it gives me the chance to study what I like and have total financial freedom after graduation. To me, working in investment management is my highest priority and staying in the US after graduation is the second. My personal situation also makes me favor going this year rather than waiting for the next.
Manager
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Joined: 30 Oct 2015
Posts: 189
GMAT 1: 690 Q45 V39
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Re: UW Madison ASAP vs Owen vs Aim higher next year  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2016, 09:08
One thing I don't understand when people turn down full tuition offers- what are your expectations?? You got in and got full rides. If that's not enough to persuade you to attend, what is?
Manager
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Joined: 29 Apr 2014
Posts: 116
Location: Viet Nam
Concentration: Finance, Technology
GMAT 1: 640 Q50 V26
GMAT 2: 660 Q51 V27
GMAT 3: 680 Q50 V31
GMAT 4: 710 Q50 V35
GMAT 5: 760 Q50 V42
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Re: UW Madison ASAP vs Owen vs Aim higher next year  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2016, 20:20
Huyle257 wrote:
Hi everyone,

I’m an MBA applicant from Vietnam with 2.5 years of WE (3 at matriculation) in a boutique investment fund focusing on Frontier Markets publicly listed equities. During my time at the current company I had two promotions and 1.5 years of leadership experience, directly managing 6-7 people in my fundamental research team. My other info: I graduate in the top 10% of my class in one of the most prestigious schools in my country, but basically a no-name for admission officers. My stats are 760 GMAT with maximum scores on Quant, IR and AWA, and 8.5 IELTS. I’m also a CFA Level III Candidate this June.

My goal post-MBA is to continue working in investment management, but make a location switch from Vietnam to ideally the US; however, I’m also open to compete for jobs elsewhere (think Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.). Another major thing to note is that financing is a huge factor for me - if I aim for top schools without any scholarship, I will have to borrow close to the whole thing. Coming from a developing country, I have a low risk tolerance and a $100k-plus loan even exceeds the accumulated wealth of my whole family.

Therefore, in this application season I only aim for schools that I think can give me a meaningful chance of receiving a substantial amount of scholarship. Fortunately I got two offers, one from UW Madison ASAP Program with fellowship (Full tuition for both years + $20k without work commitment) and Vanderbilt Owen with full tuition for both years. Now I’m having a hard time making my decision. Basically I have three options:
- Take the money and go to Madison with a program heavily focused on IM. However, as everyone knows, breaking into IM from a school outside of top 10 is super hard.
- Self-fund and take a small loan to cover my living cost at Owen, where I can study a more flexible program that gives way to a relatively broader set of opportunities. However, it’s likely that I have to switch to sell-side research, PWM or corporate finance because Owen, as far as I know, has close to zero placement on buy side. I don’t know what my odds are to break back into IM later in my career after doing sell-side research or corporate finance jobs.
- Reapply next year to Wharton, Booth, Columbia, etc. and take substantial risks in the order of 1/ Not getting any admission offer, 2/ Not getting any scholarship and have to take a big loan, 3/ Not being able to find jobs after graduation and 4/ Not winning the competitive H1B lottery afterwards.

Any advice for my case? I have one week left to decide and I’m leaning towards taking the offer at Madison, because it gives me the chance to study what I like and have total financial freedom after graduation. To me, working in investment management is my highest priority and staying in the US after graduation is the second. My personal situation also makes me favor going this year rather than waiting for the next.


Greetings from a Vietnamese as well as an upcoming Owen students. Congrats to your great admission results.

From Vandy perspective, I would like you to attend Owen this summer. This year there will be about three to four Vietnamese students coming to Owen, and we will have a great community there. Also, the cultures and spirits here in Owen and Nashville are factors that will definitely make your 2-year-period in Owen the most unforgettable experience. With the support of their renowned CMC, career prospects for Owen students are very bright and abundant, but I think you already did your research when mentioning about buy-side jobs.

However, if I were you, I would choose to apply next year to M7. You are very young, has a brilliant GMAT score, and has great career achievements. I am not sure but I think your profile is very attractive to top schools, and therefore you will have high chance of getting admitted into these schools. You could reach out to other Vietnamese alumni for better advice (VietMBA is a good source, and I know a very nice Wharton alumni, so pm me if you want).

Regarding to the financial issue, I really understand your situation. But I think Vietnamese applicants in general are too conservative in choosing schools to apply because of this problem. When it comes to top schools' values (M7), I don't think those debts matter (BB wrote a very insightful thread about it).

So good luck with your decision.
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Joined: 12 Aug 2014
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Re: UW Madison ASAP vs Owen vs Aim higher next year  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2016, 20:23
I think you have the profile where you could be in play at some of the top programs, what is less likely is whether you will receive material funding. If you do not feel you would attend unless you received scholarship money I would go with the UW offer, that is a tremendous financial package they are tossing your way
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Re: UW Madison ASAP vs Owen vs Aim higher next year   [#permalink] 11 Apr 2016, 20:23
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