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Where should I go?

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Where should I go?

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Where should I go?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2015, 18:02
Hi guys,
I'm in a bit of a pickle. I've been accepted into several schools, and I've received scholarships to some. I've looked at the rankings, but I don't want to take out a ton of debt if I don't have to. I'm looking into general management coming from the energy sector, but don't have to stay in energy. Post-mba location is not that important to me. I'd really appreciate any input. Which one would you choose? Or somewhere else entirely?

-Vanderbilt - full ride
-Washington University in Saint Louis - full ride
-Cambridge - 30% scholarship, would cost $50k
-Northwestern - no scholarship, would cost $130k
-INSEAD - no scholarship, would cost $75k
-Texas - 60% scholarship, would cost $25k
-Cornell - 30% scholarship, would cost $80k
-IE (Online) - would cost $50k
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Re: Where should I go?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2015, 18:27
Wow - you have done very well. Impressive. Congratulations!
If you have been able to storm through so many apps, and get so many admits, does it make sense to shoot for a top 3 perhaps? I am sure neither you nor your recommenders are looking forward to a stressful application season but something to consider as you are evaluating your options. If you choose to apply to HSW, you will likely have to put a deposit and if admitted, walk away from it. The main reason to shoot for HSW, in my view, would be if you were planning to attend a school that did not award you a scholarship.

1. Unless you are planning to work in Europe or Asia, I would probably not move forward with European Schools, Insead being the one exception
2. How is your work experience? are you planning to stay in the same industry? If yes, a lower-ranked school may suffice. If you are planning to change industries and need all the help you can get to score an internship and then a position that someone has to take your School's word for it, you want as good and as highly ranked program as you can get.
3. What is the reason you need an MBA? This perhaps will determine and drive a lot of your decision. 5 years after graduation, your school does not really matter - by that time you have a track record on your resume and even if you had a junky school, you can impress folks with your resume. However, after you just took a 2-year break, need a job badly, and looking to change industries, the school reputation and on-campus hiring is what you are paying the extra bucks for. Higher ranked schools do also have a higher median salary, but I don't know if that's due to the caliber of folks attending or indeed the exact same person would get a different offer based on their degree.

Now about the dollars - there is a good chance this is probably the most expensive item you have purchased so far in your life. While you should not throw money away and ignore the cost of the program, the difference is not really $120K you have to pay for Kellogg vs. $0 you have to pay for Owen. You will pay $30-50K in living expenses per year to attend the school and you will have the opportunity cost of $100-150K (after taxes). The end result ends up being $250K for Kellogg vs. $125K for Owen. You may not have to borrow money in one case but either way, you are not going to school for free.

Looking back at it years after, I can tell you that while it would be nice not to have a loan payment for your tuition, it ends up being somewhat of a wash when you need to buy a $45K minivan and a $1M house. You are going to get debt sooner or later and is it really a bit difference to owe $1M vs. $1.1M? My point is - while I would make a weighted decision, I would not put all my eggs into the dollar basket.

Good luck and congratulations!
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Re: Where should I go?  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2015, 20:16
I would probably go with UT - I think it's well worth $25K over Olin/Owen and is obviously very strong in energy
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New post 23 Dec 2015, 02:46
Congratulation
Why have you applied to those schools? I think you should have something in you mind. I think in your essay you should have declared something about post mba goals. I'm asking because every school has unique strength. You should know where you want end up living and working. It is important to know in which industry you will want to work.
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New post 23 Dec 2015, 03:37
Completely agree with bb.

My main consideration would be to consider not as a cost, but as an investment. Think about the ROI you'll get from that particular program considering your post-MBA goals.

IMO, INSEAD and Kellog are the two schools in your list that stand out. They are more expensive, but will provide more robust career perspectives. Looking at the others, I believe you'll get access to the same career paths so I would choose the smallest investment.
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New post 23 Dec 2015, 07:48
Just to answer a few of the questions:
-I am indeed leaning towards the US schools
-Career switcher from engineering - I can probably get where I want to go from any of the schools listed, but I won't claim to know exactly what I want to do with my career while I'm still in my 20's.
-I agree that in the long run $130k is nothing, but in the short term it is A LOT. I don't want to be limited to take a certain job just because I have to cover my loan payments.
-The cost I mentioned is purely tuition and fees, I'll be paying for living expenses with savings and have purposefully assumed living expenses to be relatively similar to make the numbers easier to crunch.
-I applied to this set of schools with location of school and availability of scholarship in mind. I applied to schools with locations where I would like to spend the next year or two (a.k.a. not Connecticut or New Hampshire, no offense). Also, I have family in the mid-west and the south. I also chose them because my profile is more competitive vs the general applicant pool, which did yield good admit and scholarship results.
-I'm looking for more of a collaborative experience and less of a competitive one.
-I don't plan on buying a $1M house.

So, yea, you are all right, but I'm still torn between the future potential and the immediate burden. Consider this, Bloomberg* estimates the career total earnings from salary of a Kellogg MBA grad to be $3,069,620. Just as a comparison, an Owen MBA grad is estimated to have a career total earnings from salary of just $2,562,743. A couple of notes on this: both are more than enough for me, but secondly, consider that I borrow $130k now and just invest it - if I make just 5% over the next 30 years I would have gained more than investing in the Kellogg MBA.
(assuming compound interest, =130000*(1.05)^30, $561,852 + $2,562,743 = $3,124,596. Yea, it's a rough calculation)

Lots to consider. Glad to have your input! Keep it coming!

*http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/slideshows/2012-06-11/top-b-schools-for-mba-pay#slide1
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New post 23 Dec 2015, 18:06
It sounds like you've taken a lot of time to consider what you would get out of your MBA from a career perspective. Look, your profile as a candidate speaks for itself, and your career trajectory is individually defined. You may get a boost from the halo of a strong program, but your success will be because you're smart, motivated, and interact well with those around you.

I only say all that because it's important to recognize that this forum is a self-selected bubble of individuals who are hyper-focused on business schools. It will be a huge asset 90% of the time, but it's also easy to get caught up in the rankings obsession that only prospective students have. To wit: I was working with a partner at my consulting firm last week and he: A) didn't know (or care) where I went to b-school; and B) thought Vanderbilt was in the same rankings band as Duke.

In my opinion, your decision should completely come down to school culture/fit. Do you want larger classes? Do you want to study close to where you see yourself recruiting (or family, as you mention)? How much does the city profile matter (that turned into one of the key elements of my experience)?

Finally, not having to take out any debt is AWESOME. It takes a ton of pressure off during the year to travel (especially if you're traveling to TX for energy recruiting), have fun, and make employment decisions for the right reasons rather than what helps you pay back loans at the fastest rate. (Side note: if you are a Dean or Ingram scholar, it gives unbelievable access to senior leaders in the business community who serve on the board!)

Best of luck in your decision--I have a good feeling that regardless of the program you choose you'll have a great career ahead of you!
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New post 23 Dec 2015, 18:42
I mean I think its hard to turn down Northwestern but I would take UT Austin over the other schools if you want energy. I thought they were king there. Also coming out of Texas you will most likely end up in Texas where the cost of living is extremely cheap and there are no state taxes. You will live like a king. But if you dont like Texas, I'm not sure. It makes no sense to go to Vanderbilt or Washu imo. Its between Texas and Northwestern and if you're that focused on money and being rich I'd go to Texas.
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New post 25 Dec 2015, 07:37
as a previous writer already pointed out it is actually only a question between INSEAD and Kellogg. Really forget about the others. Don't get me wrong - the others are very good programs, but the above two clearly stand out.

I'm not from the US and thus, INSEAD would certainly be my number #1 pick. For working in LA/SA, EMEA, or Asia it is the #1 pick. Go with it and party on :-) If you want to work in the US (school area), it's a draw. Then I would just choose the program with the lower OC.

Good luck with your choice.
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Re: Where should I go?   [#permalink] 25 Dec 2015, 07:37

Where should I go?

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