Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Gimme School?

Let's see, still working on applications and essays. McCombs posted their application, so I'll start getting the little stuff out of the way. I've also sent off requests for class visits and interviews to Duke, UNC and Emory, so hopefully I'll be able to finalize my plans for the Magical MBA Tour 2008 soon.

One thing I've been people choose gimme schools anymore? What I mean is, a school you are about 95% sure you'd get accepted to. Back in undergrad, these were called safety schools. I was looking at my list the other day, and realized that Wake Forest is the closest I have to a gimme school, and even then, who knows. It got me thinking: Do I want an MBA from only a top school, or do I want an MBA to really get me into a new career?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was doing this for a career change. I can't progress any further than where I'm at, and all avenues outward don't appeal to me. To switch careers, I've chosen an MBA to accomplish that goal. Now obviously, I'd prefer to get my MBA from UCLA or UNC, but sometimes that's just not in the cards (and based on the meltdown on Wall Street, MBA programs will be flooded this year, not good news for the little guys like me!). I knew I'd apply to Wake Forest, due to its ties in the Carolina area and international exposure, but I've decided to look into Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management here in Cleveland. It's a decent program, and one I would be completely shocked if I didn't get accepted.

What about you? Do you have an ultra-gimme backup school? Or is it H/S/W or bust?


Anonymous said...

My R1 doesn't have a backup school. Based on how it goes, I plan to apply only to 'safe' schools in R2 !!!

Vitaly Kartsev said...

I don't see many people adding really super-safe schools to their R1 lists, at least among friends who are applying and bloggers I follow. I think at some point depending on your ambitions, it becomes hard to justify leaving work to do an MBA that is not very marketable.

For myself, I don't have any 100% safe schools on the list, but I did recently add Duke, which is way down the rankings lists from my other schools. I felt it was reckless to only focus on top 7 schools, and I was impressed with Duke's announcement about international programs earlier this week.

BTW, I'm located in Durham right now (another reason Duke is on the list). Do you live around here? Any chance you're going to the UNC event next Saturday for people in-state?

Anonymous said...

I'm a full time @ Stern, and from what I've seen and heard, I'd recommend that you apply to a few safety schools in R1! Why, you ask? Well, picture this. Top Tier schools will be flooded with applicants in R1, and spaces will be limited. Dings will emerge.

You'll then frantically apply to your safety schools, only to find that you've got company. Plenty of it, too. It's now harder to convince your "safety" school that they are in fact your top choice and not a last minute attempt to get in somewhere. Anywhere.

If I were you I'd apply to a few safeties and a few reach / top picks in R1. You don't want to put all your dreams in reach schools only to have them shattered before your eyes. I've seen it happen before, and I'm sure this year will be no different.

And to answer the question about the importance of MBA brand name, it is absolutely important. Remember, an MBA is partially about the education, but mostly about the networking and job placement. Brand name means alot, both in terms of alumni, and placement opportunities.

But most of all, good luck with the process!