So I have been wracking my brain for the past few months trying to decide ever since I found out I was accepted to three great M7 business schools – two of which have offered me generous scholarships. I know I am in an enviable position, but the most heartbreaking thing I have to deal with is the fact that if I commit to one school, I need to say goodbye to the two other great schools that have offered me admission. I don’t want to live with a decision that I might regret for the next few years. I am 99% decided on which school I will go to – I am just in the process of having my fears/indecision allayed by conducting more research. I based my decision on these factors (among others):
- Money – Of course. US$200++ thousand is a lot of money to invest in for two years of learning. I have been told by a few students not to worry about this (ack!) but I seriously don’t want to be buried in debt! Kellogg offered me a scholarship that would cover 75% of my tuition, while Booth offered me a scholarship that would cover 50%. Obviously, both financial packages would take really big loads off my shoulders. I contacted my admitted first love (Wharton) to see if there was any room to negotiate a fellowship. I got two very firm NOs from the two people I talked to. So that’s that.
- Finance Opportunities – I want to be in finance after graduation. Wharton and Booth are known as finance schools with great finance reputations, so that’s a plus for them. Kellogg, although not known as a finance school, has a good finance program with good resources for someone looking to focus in finance. The thing with Wharton and Booth being known as finance schools though is that I am going to have a lot of competition when it comes to recruiting for finance jobs, while in Kellogg, there would be a smaller pool of people to compete against for these jobs. On the other hand, the finance schools would have better networks within the companies that I most probably would recruit in. I have also heard that Booth’s career services are the best of the three. However, the bottom line is I would ultimately be the one deciding where I can gain employment. No school can hand me my future on a silver platter.
- “Fit” – The Kellogg folks I talked to are really warm and helpful. I admit I have felt more of a real hard sell coming from the Kellogg alum and students I’ve talked to (complete with offers to host me should I want to go to the admit weekends). The Booth admissions office has been the most helpful out of the three schools’ offices, and the alumni I have talked to have been honest about their assessment of the school and how they think Booth can help me with my future career. With Wharton on the other hand, I know a lot of people who have gone to attend there, and I quite like these people – they are all very impressive in their own right. My company has a kind of sub-group in Wharton because Wharton tends to admit a lot of people from my company every year. The impression I’ve gotten from the admissions people though is that while they are warm and helpful, they don’t really spend a lot of effort trying to prove themselves. Wharton is Wharton, and the name should speak for itself :p
There are other considerations though. For example, the alumni network and branding in my country for Booth is the worst among the three schools. I guess it’s because Booth’s ranking only rose up pretty recently, whereas the other two schools have always been in the top five (ish). Booth is kind of like noveau riche, compared to Wharton, which is old money. So not a lot of people in my country are aware that Booth exists, or that it is actually a great school. That is neither here nor there though, as I plan to work in the US for the next few years after graduation (fingers crossed).
I have been praying for guidance for a few days. I have about 10 days to go until I have to make my first deposit (Feb 13th). I’ve told my husband that I will come up with a decision pretty soon. If anyone has any insights – I would surely appreciate it! I plan to update this blog regarding my final decision. 🙂