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Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication

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Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapp

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Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2019, 13:38
Hi all I'm a Commercial UX Consultant for Booz. Formerly was at Deloitte for 2 years. 3.6 GPA, 700 GMAT (50th p Q / 99th p V). Previously worked as a HS Counselor, and currently do work for international clients in Latam in the dev space (UIX). I've also started my own non-profit that I devote a fair bit of time to.

I'm 26 y/o and this year was admitted to:

1. Cambridge Judge (30,000 GBP Bursary) - ~40,000 in loans
2. Wharton Lauder (20,000 Fellowship) - ~250,000 in loans

My career ambition is to establish my own imports firm, so having a global program is important, but because I am an unsponsored student that hopes to establish my own company, loans are a big point of fear for me. I also want to go to Harvard Business School because of multiple factors (mostly related to family proximity ).

I am now in the midst of making my decision of whether to take Cambridge or reapply to HBS next year. I liked Wharton when I went, but I'm not sure it's worth the fat debt I'll have post-grad.
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Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2019, 15:31
Great job on your applications! Congratulations on your Admits!

A few questions:

1. HBS does not offer merit scholarships and only offers need-based aid. Let's assume you get in next year, would you qualify for the aid?


2. If you don't qualify for the aid, are you saying you would pay $250K for HBS but not Wharton?


3. You have 50th percentile in Quant which makes you a very non-typical Wharton applicant and pretty valuable to them. Your background is very unusual for a quant heavy program. Will you survive be happy at Wharton which known as HBS of Finance? I am sure you will find people with similar background - it is a big program but are you ready to be different and work hard?


4. The name and experience of Cambridge and Wharton are pretty far apart. Wharton is a rigorous finance-strong program and Cambridge is a 10-month MBA. You have to evaluate how much value you will be getting from the wharton experience and also reputation and brand vs. Cambridge + money. The pressure with the $250K in loans would definitely be significant and not conducive to starting your own company or doing non-profit work. For a 10-year loan you are looking at $3K vs. $450 per month


5. You are still fairly young. A plan many entrepreneurs take is getting a job and putting in 5 years after school to pay off the loans and set their business up. You can definitely start working on your import business while in BSchool - that has some benefits as you can use it for your class projects and make it very real for yourself while getting free consulting from your classmates. Does it make sense for you to consider one path or the other?
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Re: Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 02:29
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deloitter wrote:

1. Cambridge Judge (30,000 GBP Bursary) - ~40,000 in loans
2. Wharton Lauder (20,000 Fellowship) - ~250,000 in loans

My career ambition is to establish my own imports firm, so having a global program is important, but because I am an unsponsored student that hopes to establish my own company, loans are a big point of fear for me. I also want to go to Harvard Business School because of multiple factors (mostly related to family proximity ).


Do not, I repeat, do NOT borrow a quarter of a million dollars (before capitalized interest?!?) to attend either Wharton or HBS should you get in. You don't need an MBA to start your own firm. Why would you want to make 10-20 years of payments, to the tune of $1,000s/month, needlessly while you try to get your own firm off the ground?

IMO, one should only go to Wharton if they are absolutely committed to MBB (or another similar, specific goal, for which an M7 MBA is a clear boost) and can thus pay off the debt, or they want to work in high finance and *need* that exact education/network/brand on their resume. Outside of these goals, it would likely just be a very expensive mistake. In your case especially it does not sound like it would provide the amount/type of ROI you need for your stated goal.

Between your current options, if you choose to get an MBA, IMO Judge is obviously the better choice. It is less than 1/4 the price, it is 1 less year of opportunity cost lost, it is a great global brand, and you will leave with the same three-letter degree you would earn at Wharton. That said, IDK that you need to do an MBA at all right now given your stated goal.

At any rate, good luck with the decision!
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Re: Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 08:57
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teleste wrote:
Do not, I repeat, do NOT borrow a quarter of a million dollars (before capitalized interest?!?) to attend either Wharton or HBS should you get in. You don't need an MBA to start your own firm. Why would you want to make 10-20 years of payments, to the tune of $1,000s/month, needlessly while you try to get your own firm off the ground?

IMO, one should only go to Wharton if they are absolutely committed to MBB (or another similar, specific goal, for which an M7 MBA is a clear boost) and can thus pay off the debt, or they want to work in high finance and *need* that exact education/network/brand on their resume. Outside of these goals, it would likely just be a very expensive mistake. In your case especially it does not sound like it would provide the amount/type of ROI you need for your stated goal.

Between your current options, if you choose to get an MBA, IMO Judge is obviously the better choice. It is less than 1/4 the price, it is 1 less year of opportunity cost lost, it is a great global brand, and you will leave with the same three-letter degree you would earn at Wharton. That said, IDK that you need to do an MBA at all right now given your stated goal.

At any rate, good luck with the decision!

I agree that OP should strongly consider if he needs an MBA at all.

However, in case the answer is yes, then I passionately disagree with you and would strongly suggest going to Wharton instead of Cambridge. While Cambridge is a strong international brand, these two business schools are simply not in the same league and that is especially true for aspiring entrepreneurs who consider starting their business while in school. Here's why:
  • A two-year program will give you plenty of time to start your business while a one-year program is most likely too short for that purpose.
  • Anecdotally, never ever have I heard of someone who regretted doing two years instead of one, but quite a few people who regretted one year instead of two.
  • If your startup doesn't fly or you decide you want to do something else, then Wharton will provide you with both enough time to pivot and better recruiting opportunities.
  • Wharton has the SF campus/quarter. That may give you fantastic access to other entrepreneurs and investors.
  • When starting your firm, don't underestimate your classmates as a valuable resource: As free consultants, potential investors, business partners and employees. This is where the rankings and, consequently, the caliber of students matter.
  • Check out if Wharton has an accelerator program for startups. I'm not targeting entrepreneurship, so I don't know, but most business schools do these days.
  • Additionally, check out if there are scholarships for entrepreneurs and/or other financial resources. I'd be surprised if there weren't any.

I could think of dozens of more reasons, but those were the first that come to mind. The obvious downside is the debt, but I would view it as a risk rather than a certain showstopper for your current plans. You may want to reach out to current students or alumni who started their business while in school.

Literally the only scenario in which I can see Cambridge making more sense is if you're dead set on founding your company, already have a viable business plan and funding and just need to get a business education ASAP to help you on the way (which is somehow contradicting). However, even in this scenario I would suggest you reach out to Wharton students/alumni and think hard about it.

If you want to pursue an MBA at all, then I would personally go to Wharton over Cambridge without hesitation.
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Re: Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 09:53
danpo wrote:
teleste wrote:
Do not, I repeat, do NOT borrow a quarter of a million dollars (before capitalized interest?!?) to attend either Wharton or HBS should you get in. You don't need an MBA to start your own firm. Why would you want to make 10-20 years of payments, to the tune of $1,000s/month, needlessly while you try to get your own firm off the ground?

IMO, one should only go to Wharton if they are absolutely committed to MBB (or another similar, specific goal, for which an M7 MBA is a clear boost) and can thus pay off the debt, or they want to work in high finance and *need* that exact education/network/brand on their resume. Outside of these goals, it would likely just be a very expensive mistake. In your case especially it does not sound like it would provide the amount/type of ROI you need for your stated goal.

Between your current options, if you choose to get an MBA, IMO Judge is obviously the better choice. It is less than 1/4 the price, it is 1 less year of opportunity cost lost, it is a great global brand, and you will leave with the same three-letter degree you would earn at Wharton. That said, IDK that you need to do an MBA at all right now given your stated goal.

At any rate, good luck with the decision!

I agree that OP should strongly consider if he needs an MBA at all.

However, in case the answer is yes, then I passionately disagree with you and would strongly suggest going to Wharton instead of Cambridge. While Cambridge is a strong international brand, these two business schools are simply not in the same league and that is especially true for aspiring entrepreneurs who consider starting their business while in school. Here's why:
  • A two-year program will give you plenty of time to start your business while a one-year program is most likely too short for that purpose.
  • Anecdotally, never ever have I heard of someone who regretted doing two years instead of one, but quite a few people who regretted one year instead of two.
  • If your startup doesn't fly or you decide you want to do something else, then Wharton will provide you with both enough time to pivot and better recruiting opportunities.
  • Wharton has the SF campus/quarter. That may give you fantastic access to other entrepreneurs and investors.
  • When starting your firm, don't underestimate your classmates as a valuable resource: As free consultants, potential investors, business partners and employees. This is where the rankings and, consequently, the caliber of students matter.
  • Check out if Wharton has an accelerator program for startups. I'm not targeting entrepreneurship, so I don't know, but most business schools do these days.
  • Additionally, check out if there are scholarships for entrepreneurs and/or other financial resources. I'd be surprised if there weren't any.

I could think of dozens of more reasons, but those were the first that come to mind. The obvious downside is the debt, but I would view it as a risk rather than a certain showstopper for your current plans. You may want to reach out to current students or alumni who started their business while in school.

Literally the only scenario in which I can see Cambridge making more sense is if you're dead set on founding your company, already have a viable business plan and funding and just need to get a business education ASAP to help you on the way (which is somehow contradicting). However, even in this scenario I would suggest you reach out to Wharton students/alumni and think hard about it.

If you want to pursue an MBA at all, then I would personally go to Wharton over Cambridge without hesitation.


Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I hadn't considered the possibility of establishing a safety net should my venture fail. It's already making money, but not enough to replace my day job. What I want from business school is the resources, connections, etc to elevate this from a side-gig into something that a normal 9-5 could never give me.

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on reapplication to HBS next year. I want to seek a deferral from Wharton so that I'll have time to grow this idea, and also because HBS would be a much more convenient school for me to attend, geographically.
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Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 11:08
deloitter wrote:
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I hadn't considered the possibility of establishing a safety net should my venture fail. It's already making money, but not enough to replace my day job. What I want from business school is the resources, connections, etc to elevate this from a side-gig into something that a normal 9-5 could never give me.

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on reapplication to HBS next year. I want to seek a deferral from Wharton so that I'll have time to grow this idea, and also because HBS would be a much more convenient school for me to attend, geographically.

I'm not an admissions consultant and can only provide you an applicant's perspective, but I would ask myself two questions:
  • What if you reapply and NOT get into HBS. Was it worth losing a year?
  • Does HBS open up significantly more opportunities (be it recruiting, networking or other resources) that justify the risks of question number 1?

There's a clear risk you'd end up in the same situation or even be worse off if Wharton doesn't let you defer. That being said, you may want to talk to an admissions consultant and get some feedback on whether you're basically a shoe-in at HBS (well, no one really is at HBS) and just blew the interview, or if it would be a stretch anyway for whatever reason. I briefly thought about reapplying myself, simply because I didn't even get an interview at HBS and think I should have with better execution (like most people, I have learned a lot since HBS, which is the my first app of the season). I concluded it's not worth it and with Wharton/Lauder the decision might have been even easier.

I'm not too sure about geographic convenience as both Wharton and HBS are in the Northeast and accessible via major international airports. If this is about your business or family or significant other in MA, then never mind. With regard to resources and the network to help you with your start-up, I will reiterate that Wharton is clearly ahead of Cambridge here (IF you need an MBA at all).

What I would do is attend Wharton's admit weekend and decide if it's a place that you think you (and your business) will strive at. The admit weekend should give you a clear sense on your decision. If you haven't attended already, then you can still attend the R2 weekend but will have to pay the deposit and start getting your visa as the Lauder program starts in May. If you then decide it's not for you or still want to reapply, well, bad luck, but still better to blow $2,000 than $250,000.
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Re: Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 16:12
deloitter wrote:
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I hadn't considered the possibility of establishing a safety net should my venture fail. It's already making money, but not enough to replace my day job. What I want from business school is the resources, connections, etc to elevate this from a side-gig into something that a normal 9-5 could never give me.


FWIW, you don't need to take on $250,000+ of debt for a safety net in almost all cases.

Unless you specifically want MBB or some unicorn-y high finance role, the huge majority of MBA-level jobs you'll be competitive for from either Wharton or Judge. No company is going to pay you more just because you went to Penn instead of Cambridge--class offers for MBA grads are the same whether you have hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt or not.

That said, there are good reasons to go to Wharton (your own desire may be enough, ROI aside), but your stated goals didn't sound like they made for a great case.

At any rate, good luck with the decision!
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Re: Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 11:39
Hi Deloitter,

You're received some very thoughtful responses. I'd like to add my $.02.

1) I am impressed that Wharton accepted you given your quant score. Still I would try to use the Cambridge scholarship to negotiate tuition with Wharton. Do so respectfully and with appreciation The worst thing that can happen is they say no. If they say yes, your decision may be more difficult, but you may be in at Wharton. For more on this topic, please see Multiple MBA Acceptances: Negotiating Scholarship Offers
2) If you believe that the Cambridge MBA will help you achieve your goals and that the Wharton brand and experience isn't worth an additional $200K in debt, then I suggest you attend Cambridge. It's a one year program and most importantly it's a bird in hand. If it won't help you achieve your goals, then it's not worth even the $40K in debt and you should reapply.
3) I do not recommend rejecting Cambridge based on the hope that HBS will accept you. Yes, your experience is strong, but so it a lot of other applicants'. Unless you are confident of your ability to raise that quant score, your chances aren't great.
4) If you do reapply, don't just apply to Wharton and HBS. Apply more widely.

Good luck with your decision. You have wonderful options.

Best,
Linda
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Re: Wharton vs. Cambridge vs. Reapplication   [#permalink] 08 Feb 2019, 11:39
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