Friday, February 28, 2014

Kellogg vs. Tuck - The Battle Royale

Kellogg's enrollment decision deadline is in 5 days! 

That means that I'll need to make a decision before I hear from HBS and Stanford at the end of March. So, assuming that I don't get into those schools, I have to decide between Kellogg and Tuck within the next few days.

After Tuck offered me a full scholarship, I was pretty sure that's the program I would be choosing. However, Kellogg recently increased my scholarship offer, which is amazing, but also makes the decision harder. I was using money as the tie-breaker, but now I'm not so sure.

Kellogg:
  • Scholarship for 50% of tuition
  • Hands-down a marketing powerhouse, plus a surprisingly strong social enterprise program.
  • Although I would prefer to be on the east coast, I think Evanston is really cute and the proximity to Chicago is nice
  • Slightly higher-ranked b-school, but parent university has less brand recognition to layman
  • A large, strong network, but fear of getting "lost in the crowd" in a larger program
  • Need to submit a $2,000 deposit before I hear from HBS and Stanford
Tuck:
  • Full scholarship, which would allow me to take full advantage of the MBA experience without worrying as much about money.
  • Smaller program where I would get more intimate attention. This is especially helpful since I may be choosing a more niche career field.
  • East coast, which I prefer
  • Top 10 program, with a highly-regarded parent university
  • Deposit due after I would hear from HBS and Stanford 
So basically, I really like both programs, and I could see myself being happy in either environment. I know that there's no "wrong" decision, but this is a freakin' huge decision, and I don't want regrets.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Goodbye, Yale.

It's official. I just clicked "submit," declining the Yale offer. I've planned to do this for a few days, but this one was just really really hard to do.

Holy crap, I've been invited to interview by Stanford!

There's one school about which I've been pretty quiet. It's that "other" school on the west coast. You know the one I'm talking about, the one and only Stanford GSB.

I applied to Stanford in Round 2, after having received a couple of acceptances from other programs. I had already written my Round 2 essays, before having any acceptances, so I decided there was no harm in just submitting the application. Even though, to be honest, I wasn't expecting much. After all, the GSB now has an acceptance rate below 7%. Those are some crazy odds. I figured my application fee would probably be more like a $275 donation.

So, as the weeks went by and I didn't hear anything, I really wasn't stressed. Then, February 25th passed, the day by which "the majority" of interview invites would have been sent. People on GMATClub started to go a little wild, and speculations were running rampant. "Welp, guess I didn't make it," I thought. I've been oddly calm about this one.

Thus, imagine my surprise when I casually checked my email last night and saw a message inviting me to interview. Holy crap, I was invited to interview by Stanford GSB!! I was, and still am, in absolute disbelief. I read the email about 5 times just to make sure that it was real, and then I checked it again this morning.

I now have 10 days to arrange a mutually convenient time and location with my assigned alumni interviewer. Hence, I am kicking my interview prep into high gear... and trying not to freak out...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Narrowing the field by 50% - Declining Fuqua and (Probably) Yale

Pretty early-on, I decided to decline the offer from Fuqua. Don't get me wrong, it is an absolutely amazing program that I would be so fortunate to attend. I liked the facilities, the people I met were incredibly genuine, and North Carolina weather is sooo much better than that of New England and the Midwest. However, I just didn't feel the same "fit" with Fuqua as I found with Kellogg, Yale, and Tuck.

Before receiving my acceptances, I had heard numerous current students and alumni talk about "fit," but I didn't really understand what they meant. I was just hoping to get in somewhere. It's funny, now that I'm on the other side, I finally get it. It's hard to describe exactly what fit is, but you just know it when you have it (or when you don't).

So anyway, after that, I was left with three great programs. And in the last day or so, I've made the decision to (most likely) decline the Yale offer. It's crazy even putting those words in writing. I fell in love with Yale when I visited, and up until recently I was pretty sure I would be matriculating at SOM this fall. The first seeds of doubt arose when Tuck offered me a full scholarship two weeks ago. I am in the education sector, so my lifetime earnings will likely never be as high as my peers who choose more traditional post-MBA careers. Therefore, while money shouldn't be the primary factor in choosing a school, it is something that I need to heavily consider.

And so, the field is cut by 50%. Two schools down, two more to decide between...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sharing My Experience - Where am I going?

Over the past two years or so, I've been pretty active on Beat The GMAT and GMATClub. I've been so incredibly thankful for the support and encouragement the communities offered. From studying for the GMAT, to writing essays and applying to schools, to interviewing and waiting for news, this journey hasn't been easy. I'm now in the fortunate position of having acceptances (with scholarships!!) to some pretty amazing programs, including Kellogg, Tuck, Yale, and Duke. In addition, HBS is still out there as a dark horse for Round 2, but I'm trying not to count my chickens before they hatch (I just wrapped up my interview a few days ago). I'm still kind of in disbelief regarding how things have worked out.

Anyway, several of my fellow applicants have messaged me lately asking for application tips, details about my strategy, or just wanting to know where I'm headed next year. So, I've decided to start a blog. After all, following a crazy year of studying and working on apps, I now have waaaay to much restless energy.

So this is my first official blog post. I'll provide details about my app strategy and what-not in subsequent posts, but for now I'll just answer the most pressing question of where I'm headed...

And the answer is... I still have no clue!!