Then, because we were not very sure what we wanted to do post MBA, we took financial Aid as first parameter of screening the schools from our initial list of top 20 schools. But when we digged into it, we got to know lots of relevant parameters. We compiled the data on schools in an excel document. The parameters we listed were:
- class size
- financial Aid (for international students)
- Location (or nearest big cit)
- Cost of attendance
- School Focus (finance, general mgmt etc.)
- Engineer percentage in current batch
- Expectations from Applicants
With this data in hand, I knew that I couldn't apply to NYU, UC Berkeley, UCLA and Cornell as they don't have good loan programs.
I am not targeting top notch schools because of an Avg GMAT score and common profile(Indian IT with less work ex).
I was really interested in schools with small class size because of healthy peer to peer and peer to faculty interaction. That gave me options of Tuck, Emory and Darden.
Tuck's closely knit community, single MBA program focus and small class size made me choose it as one school in my list. Darden's case study approach and emphasis on leadership interested me. Emory's location (Atlanta), class size, and feedback from a friend who is joining Emory this fall made me choose it as one of the schools in my list.
I seriously considered Michigan Ross too. But only thing that scared me off is their emphasis on community involvement. I don't have strong community involvment (with no visible strong prospects in near future).
I wanted to apply to one school with rank in 15-20 range as a backup school. I also wanted to keep ISB as one of my 5 schools.
In every band I had these schools to consider.
Band 1: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton
Band 2: Chicago, Tuck, MIT
Band 3: Darden, Ross, Duke
Band 4: Emory, Purdue, UT Austin
With no big score, no unique profile, and less than avg work ex I had to drop this band. Later when I saw the essays, I was happy that I dropped.
The first thing I was sure of when I thought of applying was that I don't want to do finance. I was sure I have seen finance pretty closely. My brother is in Equity Research, and I work for an Investment Banking Consultancy. So Chicago had to go out of my list.
MIT states it very clearly that no of yrs of work ex takes the back stands when it comes to selection criteria. On top of that a whopping 34% of engineers population forced me to consider it. Boston as a location is also good for consulting (I was dwindling between general mgmt and consulting).
Tuck I've already stated. And I read one blog by Tagad_Tale and got to know a lot more about Tuck. So if you are applying for Tuck, you can refer to this blog for information.
This was the toughest one, so here I had to select one instead of eliminating others. I selected Darden because I could visualize the life at Darden when I went through their website. Their case study method of study sounded very aligned to my interest (consulting). I just went ahead and picked up Darden.
Emory is in Atlanta so the industry exposure is really good. Class size is small which makes it even more lucrative. On Emory's website they have a very good section where they have mentioned how things progress when you are in the school. Here's the link for that. Purdue is I heard good for operations. They have an emphasis on quantitative approach which suits operation profile. UT Austin I heard that isn't such a good experience when you are there. Please correct me if I am wrong but this was a feedback of a friend's senior who happened to be at UT Austin. Emory was the obvious choice.
ISB is in India. And I anyways want to come back to India when I am done with my loans. ISB is on my list more because of personal reasons than any comparisons.
So here I am, done with selection of my 5 schools (well... not yet my).
Tagad_Tale was in a confusion of IB/Consulting/Trading till he actually got his internship. I think its easy for someone to understand this confusion if he/she is from India. I'll discuss my journey through this confusion in my next post.