(In case we didn’t scare you off with the post from last week comparing a not-Top-10 program to the elitest of them all…)
We had a question a week or so back from a BSer who’s being wise and looking around at additional schools to add to the mix of targets — he’s got his top programs covered with Round 1 apps that are now snugly put to bed, and he’s wanting to make sure he ends up somewhere good when next Fall moves around. So he asked us about a handful of programs that are in the Top 50 (maybe Top 30) — he wants to make sure he’s being smart about it. These are schools like Tippie in Iowa and Mendoza at Notre Dame.
Here’s how to analyze it:
Once you move down to the next tier of schools, it’s important to look at the career opportunities coming out. Mostly these programs are more regional in terms of companies that come on campus. With a school like Tippie, you run the risk of getting suck in the midwest when you graduate. Unless you’re forging your own future path, you’ll be much more limited in terms of who comes calling. U Washington Foster is also a more regional program — but when you have Microsoft in your region, it may be less of an issue. The ecosystems in different parts of the world are quite different (the cost of living is a bit higher too – don’t forget to look at that aspect as well).
So, if you’re considering one of these next-tier schools, then make sure you’re going into it with eyes wide open. If you will be relocating to a very different part of the country — or even more so, if you’re moving to a different part of the world in order to attend bschool, make sure that the school is either in an area you wouldn’t mind relocating to permanently, or make sure you’re committed to taking full control of your future career. Some of you are networking mavens and it’s a nonissue, you’d be able to find a job on Mars based on your six degrees of separation to everyone including the Curiosity Rover. But if you’re more the shy/reserved/wallflower type who was counting on a parade of recruiters coming to campus to woo you, then make sure you’re comfortable with sticking around in whatever part of the country that the school is in.
The schools’ placement reports are often very instructive. Study them. Are those the employers you’re interested in?
Once you figure out all these questions about preferred employers and geography and where you want to end up post-MBA… don’t forget to put them in your career goals essay! These details add a LOT to your pitch. They prove that you’ve done your homework and know what you want to do. Once you have them all figured out, don’t omit them from the most important element of your app — SHARE THEM with the adcom!!