Wednesday, June 11, 2008

School shortlisting

Hey ppl,
Things are now starting to gather a bit of air......... won't call it "steam" yet......... schools have started to come out with deadlines and I guess the questions are not far behind. The schools which have come up with deadlines, as of today, are: HBS, Stanford, Haas, MIT, Michigan, UNC. Did I miss anyone?? If so, I'm terribly sorry for my lack of awareness. :)

Actually waiting for the questions to appear is another of my mind's genius plan to procrastinate. Actually I've noted that the core questions don't change over time for any school, since they are always looking for the same type of qualities in a person. So, if I wanted, I could have started to work on questions right away, now that I've somewhat finalized my schools. But no, I'll not do it. I'll probably put 'em off more and may even not do 'em when the questions actually come out (like in HBS's case). But then, you may wonder, when am I gonna do them??? This is THE question which evades even the almighty. :D

And did I say I finalized the schools?? Yes, I had a personal deadline to finalize them roughly by the end of May, and I'm glad to tell you, I totally screwed up on my own personal deadlines....... a whooping 10 days late......

O.K. Since I'm the official "Ultimate Cut-Copy-Paste" guy of the Fall-'09 blogging community (any challengers????), I'll ctrlC + ctrlV from my "thought document", which I created as I was pondering over why I want to do an MBA and what do I want from it. Here is the "what do I want from it" part of the document. (Pl. ignore the caps, I write my personal docs in caps....... they look cooler :D )

1) PRESTIGE: IT MEANS ONLY THE TOP 20. IT MAKES SENSE TO ME TO GO ONLY TO THE TOP....... EITHER GET AN ADMIT THERE OR DONT GO AT ALL.
2) SHOULD BE A RENOWNED GENERAL MANAGEMENT FOCUS……… (OR ENTREPRENUERIAL FOCUS OR MANUFACTURING FOCUS…OR OPERATIONS FOCUS…….. I DON’T KNOW THIS VERY WELL :( )
3) THE PROGRAM SHOULD BE COLLABRATIVE, NOT COMPETITIVE TO FACILITATE HEALTHY EXCHANGE OF IDEAS
4) NON DISCLOSURE OF GRADES WHICH MEANS MORE FOCUS ON KNOWLEDGE GAINING AND LESS OF MUGGING…….
5) SHOULD PROVIDE AMPLE FUNDING OPTIONS
6) ALUMNI SHOULD BE POWERFUL AND HELPFUL……
7) MOST STUDENTS SHOULD BE OUT OF STATE TO DISCOURAGE THE COMMUTER CULTURE……. SO THAT IT FACILITATES PEER-2-PEER CONTACT……
8) AVG. AGE SHOULD BE LESS THAN 29.
9) SHOULDN’T BE A NERDY CULTURE (HAVE STUDIED 4 YEARS OF ENGG. AROUND NERDS)……I HATE IT

I want to apply to 6 schools: 2 in the Ultra Elite, 3 in the Elite and one in the Near Elite. (To see full classification of schools based on cluster system see Hjort's Classification on GMATClub)
Plus, I don't want my app. to be concentrated only in the U.S. I mean I'll have 3 yrs. Wrk Ex. on matriculation, so might as welllook up some European programs as well. They are shorter, cheaper and some have gr8 reputation.

So, I started to shortlist and strike schools out of the top 20. Every school had some weakness and some strengths. I noted all of these. Went on eliminating until I was left with 10. It looked like this:

Tier 1 :
HBS, Wharton, Kellogg
Tier 2:
Duke, Darden, UCLA, Tuck, Ross
Tier 3:
McCombs, Emory

I figured, that I'll chose only 1 from tier 1 (since I figured that I could be focusseed only on one school), the other spot would be given away to a Euro-school (Insead, Oxford or LBS). 3 from tier 2, and 1 from tier 3.
The first choice was relatively easy. Chose HBS. It is by far the school that I've daydreamed about the most. I'd absolutely love to get to that magical place. Among the Euros, I easily eliminated INSEAD, sinceI stand a very slim chance due to non-international experience. I eliminated LBS, since Oxford looks much stronger for entreprenuership and has the benefits f the greater university.

The second choice was the most difficult. UCLA was a definite in leaving 2 spots. I was torn between my choices. After much thinking and researching, I eliminated Tuck, since, the togetherness at Tuck is to an extreme level. I mean, if you look at it, Hanover supposedly has no life other than Tuck and due to it's small class size, ppl are so bumping into each other everytime that it starts getting too much really fast........ (heard it from an alumni somewhere).
Got down to Duke, Darden, and Ross. I'm still very confused between these three. But chose Duke and Darden over Ross somewhat. Ross prefers older candidates more than these two.

Now on to3rd tier. This was more of a safety zone. i visited the sites and consulted the brochures and talked to people and found Austin to be a much better fit for me. So, Austin it is.....

So, the final list looks like this:
HBS
Oxford
UCLA
Duke
Darden
Texas
Ross (A maybe, still wondering......)

Take care guys, do share your insights........... peace.......

13 comments:

missionmba said...

Excellent post!!
In fact, the list of criteria that u've posted is strikingly similar to mine too!!
I too am in process of finalisng my schools.. Would like to catch u up on Gtalk some time.. My gmail ID is quizophobic..
Drop me a mail and we can see when we can talk..

Gud luck!!

V said...

Hey atb, and thanks for posting the super gmatclub link.
I'm still in 2 minds about my list of colleges, and need to bring it down to a more manageable number :-)
And I guess I'm as good at procrastination as you, if not better :)

JulyDream said...

Congrats on finalizing a list. If you get a chance to attend some receptions, DO! They are an incredible way to gauge a school. I fell in love with some schools and nixed others that I liked. Let me know if you have any questions about Darden, though I don't start until the fall, I've definitely done my homework. I'm sure I also have some detailed posts as well from my journey. GOOD LUCK!

K said...

If you are eliminating Insead simply because you have no working experience abroad, think again. It's admission doesn't define that way.

There is always someone who happened to be transfered to a branch office even though they didn't request it, didn't learn the language/culture etc and come back.

I am sure someone like you are much more open-minded than someone described above.

Same thing can be said to your LBS/Ox debate. Contrary to everyone's image, LBS is a well-balanced school and has a star entrepreneurship professor in Mullins.

Another thing to note is Ox region is NOT in the top 2 of the VC investment in UK.

You are doing decent research but you can do better. Just like Julydream said, do visit schools and if you cannot, do try to absorb every homepage of schools as well as contact alumni & students.

Good luck.

P.S. I am not going to neither of the mentioned schools : Insead, LBS, nor Oxford.

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