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Wharton vs Haas ($$$)

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Wharton or Haas ($$$)

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New post 18 Dec 2019, 11:10
Hi!

I’m hoping to get some second opinions on my situation. I’ve been accepted to UC Berkeley Haas with an 2/3 tuition scholarship and Wharton with no scholarships. Wharton costs more than Haas, so if I choose Haas it saves me ~100K+, which is significant, but not my only focus.

Here is my background/interest:
I’m about 6 years out of college, I started working in marketing at a large public tech company. Next I got a role at a fast growing startup in marketing operations/analytics, I eventually moved in general business analytics within the same start up.

After my MBA, I want to continue working at startups. I’m not 100% on the exact title but I want to focus on operations, analytics, and/or strategy. Long term, I’m aiming for COO/CRO at a tech startup.

Both Wharton and Haas are very appealing programs for this. I’ve broken them out by a number of factors, and don’t immediately see an obvious answer.


Brand/Ranking:
Winner: Wharton
-Wharton is a higher ranked program although Haas also has a strong reputation especially in tech, so I’m not 100% if the Wharton brand actually carries more weight in my intended field.

Program location:
Winner: Haas
-I have family near Haas. So it would be great to be near them for a few years. Plus no snow!

Post program location:
Winner: Wharton
-I’m not sure where I want to live long term but there is a good chance it’ll be back east, so it seems like Wharton has more connections on the east coast. Plus if I am interested in the west coast, Wharton still sends a lot of people there especially now that there is the SF campus.

Connection to Startups/entrepreneurship:
Winner: Haas
-with Haas in the Bay Area, I think it wins here. However Wharton is throwing a ton of resources into this, they are opening a new space dedicated to it. So it might be a good place to be when it is the hot topic of the campus.

Quantitative Driven :
Winner: Wharton
-Wharton seems to be more focused on analytics which is something I’m very passionate about and interested in.

Diversity and inclusion :
Winner: Haas
-I love that haas is focusing on this so much. It’s something I’m very involved in my own company and have a lot of personal interest in for my career.

Financing:
Winner:Haas
-Large scholarship vs nothing. However, I had already done a lot of planning and figuring out and was ready to pay full price at a program.

Academic Concentrations:
Winner: Wharton
-Wharton has operations focused studies. Haas doesn’t really have a lot of operations but they do have strategy and tech which could also work for my goals.

Academic rigor:
Winner: Haas (potentially)
-Ive heard/read that classes at Haas are more challenging that classes are Wharton. I do want to learn things in business school so it is important to be somewhere I’ll be challenged. I’m not sure if this is true or not.

Size:
Winner: not sure
I can’t decide which I think has the better size. I love the tight knit community of Haas but Wharton also does cohorts giving you a chance to get to know a smaller group. Plus with a larger class there’s a higher chance that I’ll meet people that I really like and/or have similar career goals for networking.

Alumni Connections:
Winner: not sure
-Wharton has more MBA alums but I’ve heard they are less responsive. I’ve heard the haas alums are very responsive even though there are fewer of them.

Recruiting:
Winner: not sure
-Haas bring a public program, I’ve heard doesn’t have as good recruiting/career services but they send a lot of people to tech startups. On the other hand, I’ve heard Wharton has a specific person in career services for people trying to work in startups.

Cultural fit:
Winner: not sure
-I’m planning on attending both admitted weekends. From my interactions so far, I’ve spent a lot more time with Haas students, they’ve been incredibly warm and welcoming and friendly. But they also seem to be more laid back than those I’ve interacted with at Wharton, which is both a pro and a con. I think I’ll fit in nicely at both so this isn’t a major concern of focus for me but still will be good to check.


Basically it feels like it comes down to cost vs ranking vs what is really the best for tech startups (esp those outside of the Bay Area)…
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Re: Wharton vs Haas ($$$)  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Dec 2019, 20:35
Congratulations on your admits! Thanks for doing the analysis and sharing it here.

As an intro, I have initially preferred smaller programs but overtime I feel there is more value in being a part of a larger program when it comes down to recruiting, class options, professors, diversity (I think you will find a lot more of it in a larger program) and finally finding like-minded people. I have seen some of the Wharton's phenomenal professors and programs they offer in a variety of areas, including negotiations, and other areas. They can draw on a much larger pool and richer pool of resources with their size.

It will not be wrong to pick Wharton. Nobody can blame you for overpaying and saying you wasted money on Wharton, except perhaps JohnJohnJ will likely say that you need a pulse and to take the Haas offer... and he may not be wrong :)

My take would be that if you are focusing on startups, you will likely recruit off campus and be doing networking on your own through the startup communities. Joining a startup (unless it is a crazy unicorn which so many tend to be it seems), you are likely to forego some of the comp in lieu of stock and having a $100K scholarship may come handy.

I feel you can achieve your goals with both programs. Haas is weaker in all respects but nobody uses all elements of an MBA program to 100% kind of like Excel, 80% of people use 20% of features. If you wanted to get into something very elite, it may require to have a Wharton pedigree but I feel you can put in some elbow grease and network your way around the Valley into a startup of any sort, since being on the ground will likely provide more opportunities to run into people and network.... so in other words, you could save $100K and enjoy warmer winters without trading off too much but if you wanted the ultimate experience and not have any doubts about your dominance, Wharton is almost as good as it gets.
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New post 18 Dec 2019, 23:19
Did somebody call for me?!

The density of startups in the Bay Area is at about 0.25 startups per block.

You won’t get that in Philadelphia or in New York. During the two years of MBA, if you were at Wharton you could either shuttle once every week to the Bay Area to network with a startup or you could network twice a week with a new startup being from Haas. The choice is yours...
I like to think that the startups in the Bay Area hire anybody with a pulse and they’ll like you more if you can spell the words SQL or python.

Yes, Wharton is definitely a better place if you want to work in finance or consulting or even tech, but startups... not really.

And why do you want an MBA if you want to work at a startup and you’re already doing something like that?!

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New post 19 Dec 2019, 03:56
Thanks for the responses! You’ve both hit on exactly what I’m struggling with. But it’s still very useful to have additional perspectives! My heart is pushing towards Wharton but my mind is thinking Haas.

As to why MBA, I could give you my whole spiel but I promise Ive thought it out - it’s honestly more of a long term play than a short term move for me.

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Wharton vs Haas ($$$)   [#permalink] 19 Dec 2019, 03:56

Wharton vs Haas ($$$)

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