Sunday, May 15, 2005

My target B-school List

My efforts on GMAT preparation as well as my MBA application have gained momentum. Following my Last post regarding career goals, this time I would be discussing the schools I am looking to apply for. I hope that I would get comments and suggestions from others on the appropriateness of my choices for my career goals, strategies and approach for each.
I would have liked a better response to my earlier post but I am grateful for whatever feedback I got. I have received some useful tips from Dave, Simba, axechick and Sorebrek and really appreciate all the help.

Before I begin I must mention that I have been reading lot of blogs and articles and visiting few forums too and I find that the most common question posted by Applications(including me) is “What are my chances”. I guess the reason maybe that people want some certainty and to figure out whether its worth the effort. The answer is invariably “Nobody can tell for sure”. After being frustrated by the responses, I later found that this is true in its entirety. The Best analogy I can think of for this situation is that a person wanting to walk through a long dark tunnel and he/she cannot see the light at the end of tunnel. He wants to go through the tunnel because he knows that there are better things waiting at the other end, but before he enters he wants to make sure that he’ll get through. So he finds people who made it through and asks them if he can do the same. Whoever made it know that it’s long and winding tunnel and it requires lot of hard work, commitment, perseverance and most importantly risk taking to get through. Whether this person has got what it takes, “Nobody can tell for sure”.
Well I think you got to believe that you’ll make it through and that is the first step into the tunnel.

My B-School list
After lot of research swapping, changing, Chopping etc this is how my B-schools List looks like. I would have liked to have kept it down to 5, but right now I have 6.

Program I am looking at –
As I contemplate a career in Management consultancy, I am looking for a program that stresses on Analytical Skills. I also want to learn lot more about Strategy. I am coming from an IT background with some exposure to financial services and Post MBA my interests in Management consultancy would be focused towards IT, Finance and Strategy.

(Brackets indicate 4 different rankings I obtained)
Outside the Bracket is consolidated ranking, removing the most out of sync
Followed by median GMAT score, Median years of exp, % accepted applications.

Kellogg (NWU)(9,1,8,5) – 4 700/4.5/13%
Reason- Kellogg is undoubtedly one of the best B-schools. It has everything from a good curriculum, diversity, focus of Academics as well as Leadership, ethics and team work. With a wide variety of majors and courses to choose from I am confident that I could tailor the program to exactly what I need.

MIT Sloan (15,9,9,4) - 7 710/5.1/14%
Reason – Another one of the best B-schools and my favorite because of their focus on Analytical skills and academics. I feel this best suited for my career goals and especially of my interest to move into management consultancy. However my maths score in colleges(59,56,91,60%) might just kill my chances. Not sure if I should bother applying.

Duke(22,11,12,11) – 11 710/5.3/22%
It has a flexible program i.e. no concentrations and available courses can be tailored to get exactly what I want. Overall I find that Duke is very balanced in its method but also flexible enough as and when required so if I want to focus more on analytical stuff etc I can. Hence it is on my list.

Stern(13,13,7,13) – 13 700/4.7/15%
Stern is known for its Finance MBA. It’s proximity to the Financial hub of the world is a major advantage. It also has a good IT program and major for strategy as well. All in all, a package that completely satisfies my needs.

Kenan Flagger(UNC)(8,16,11,21) – 16 680/5/30%
It has a concentration focused towards management consultancy. Program focuses on all salient points I consider important for my career and it has a mix of elective that cover almost everything I like to study. More importantly I also feel that I have realistic chance of getting into this program as compared to others that I am applying to.

Goizuetta(Emory)(18,20,16,18) – 18 675/5.5/27%
This is my Backup. But overall, I was very impressed with the school and the program, its curriculum structure and list of concentrations are also great and have everything I need. I’d be happy to go here if I get a chance.

I have made the choices based on what I think serves my goals the best and programs best suited and schools that I would be happy to study in. What concerns me is that all the Schools I have chosen are pretty hard to get in, Minimum Median GMAT score required is 675 which puts me under lot of pressure for my GMAT.
Not sure if I should replace one of the Schools by an easier backup option.
Comments & Suggestions very much required.


britchick said...

One of the things I found as I looked at schools was that most of them cover pretty much the same ground on courses (unless you're interested in a speciality that only a few places do). I'd recommend also looking at career management information to see where the sort of sompanies you're interested in recruit. Depending on your circumstances, checking out the availability of funding to international students might also be important (it was a deal breaker for me at some places). And for GMAT, remember there are always people below the average - the 80% range will give you a better indication. Any reason why not Wharton?

Anand said...

thanks britchick.
Wharton was there on my list earlier. Dropped it cos I felt median yrs of experience was higher and lower % of international applicants.
Of the best B-schools, there is hardly anything to differentiate and all seem to cover everthing I am looking for. However kellogg and MIT seem more suited that most. Hence those 2. I had Harvard and Wharton on my list too, but I thought it would be foolish to apply for 4 of the top 5.

Linda Abraham said...

You are certainly going about things in the right way: First determining your goals and then looking at the schools. (Too many go about it backwards.) The list you have created is a good one given your goals, but it could change dramatically depending on your GMAT and the particulars of your extra-curricular activities and professional responsibilities/achievements.

Consider this: an additional year of work may be a good idea because it will give you a better chance at schools like Tuck and Darden (or Wharton), which are major feeder schools for consulting firms. If you don't want to wait, take a look at Tepper and Michigan too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Brit-chick, I guess the big thing which will tilt the balance is 'Funding' options for international students unless you can foot the bill without any problem!!

And I am not sure about a couple of things but I am a lil picky, so dont mind me :-)

Kellogg is the BOSS for Marketing. Not sure how the other electives look like there!

MIT is a geeky school not everybody will fit in there. I knew I made a mistake the day I pressed the final Submit button!

Duke & KF are almost similar schools, both team oriented schools.

And Stern, hmmm... finance plus.. are u sure about it?

Whats the point in applying if u dont have one BIG FISH like W, H or S... go take that risk!! You never know!! :-)

As u are in the US, the good thing u can do, visit all the schools in ur mind... u will make a better decision like that.. something what AxeChick & Dave are doing!! :-)

All the Best!

SgHama said...

In case you were wondering about funding for international applicants, here's a list of programs that guarantee full loans WITHOUT a US co-signer:

MIT Sloan
Kellogg (? website isn't clear about this)

It pretty much limits your options to the top 10, unless you're aiming for a scholarship :)

Anonymous said...

sghama ,

UNC also has a guaranteed loan for internationals. It covers the entire tution & required fees + books + laptop. It doesn't cover living expenses, health insurance etc. I guess Kelley also has some kind of loan program though not the full tuition I believe

Tanya said...

I wasn't so thoughtful during my application process! In my case it was like one fine morning I just found myself in the apply-to-b-school situation and I ran with it! LOL!

Good Luck, you can also evaluate Yale & Tuck...

Abisurd said...

Kelley offers a loan of upto USD 30,000 without the need of a co-signor to international students. The going rate is Prime + 3.75 (or prime + 4.00, I'm not sure). The offer is from SalleMae.

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Anonymous said...

I am curious to know why did you ever think about anything beyond USA?
Australian School Of Management or Melbourne Business School?
THanks !

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