After a brief period of hibernation, I have come back to write a post on the final list of schools that I will be applying. My rigorous research on schools after CFA Level 1 (on June 6) has brought me now to a logical closure on list of schools in my "dream" category.
My research criteria -
1) Whether the schools can place me in the job I seek after MBA, target industry and recruiters.
2) Practical Exposure provided by the school beyond the case studies and lectures!
3) No. of students in the class, collaborative environment, people not running behind grades (grade non-disclosure non-discussion environment).
4) Being an international candidate, preferring city where my target recruiters are present in the city itself so that I can find a job faster as most Alum, Job recruiters will be present nearby. Though I may have to trade-off this attribute with high cost of living!
Schools that I have come up with -
1) Columbia - for points 1),2) and 4). Absolutely for the new york advantage and strength in finance curriculum.
2) Booth - for points 1),2) and 4).inspiring place, flexible curriculum, great recruitment in finance.
3) Ross - for points 2) and 3) (practically no grading at all). Programs like MTrek, MAP etc and because Ann Arbor is wonderful city.
4) Kellogg - for points 1), 2), 3) (very strong) and close 4). Kudos to Kellogg for making such a great collaborative community.
5) Tuck - for points 1), 2) and 3). The most conducive environment for studying. No distraction, strong sense of community, less students. And because I am clearly impressed by Tuck's leadership course.
My research sources:
1) Business Week guide to Best Business schools (2003 edition) (bought from Flipkart.com)
2) Grads/current students from the schools. (Kellogg, Booth, Ross, Harvard)
3) How to get into top MBA programs by Richard Montauk (bought from Flipkart.com)
4) School's website
5) Other sites - clearadmit.com, blogs of students
I will be applying in the following order:
Columbia - Early decision
Booth -Round 1
Ross -Round 1
Kellogg - Round 2
Tuck -Round 2
Other than three dream schools in October, I will be applying to two more schools in Round 1 - one in each reach and safe category. I still have to research on those schools.
I am not sure how to end this post but I think writing this is a relief as now I have created formally a final list of schools.
The decision was tough because I have wandered. Somewhere out there might be a school that I have missed in my list and where I could be happier and better positioned. Also, somewhere out there could be a dream school that I have left out but where my chances of getting in were brighter.
But now the list has been written and decision has been made. And I am confident that I have made the right decision. In worst case scenario even if I haven't, I will have to turn the tide.