We answered a question on the Beat the GMAT wall last May from someone choosing between Columbia, Wharton, and LBS. They said they are interested in tech/media and entrepreneurship. We teased that apart and tried to point them in the right direction with this answer (all content originally posted at BTG):
Mostly it depends on how much you mean “tech” and how much you mean “media” – and where. If you really plan on starting a venture through bschool, then you should pick a school that’s in a hub for whatever you’re trying to do – and close to where you want to stay post-graduation. Columbia is strongest of these three for media, at least the traditional publishing kind; it’s a toss-up for tech (none are exceptionally strong). Wharton has been pushing more on the entrepreneurial stuff of late. Columbia has been big on entrepreneurship for at least a decade+. If you intend to launch something, you want to be in the thick of it where other ventures are happening, so we’d be more inclined towards Silicon Alley than Philly. If you want to be in Europe then there’s your answer.
Then a 1st-year student at Columbia came along and offered their own very specific insights about Columbia and entrepreneurship. This stuff is so good that we’re swiping most of it to offer to you – again, this was originally posted on Beat the GMAT (full thread here):
I think brand has little or nothing to do with being an entrepreneur. VCs don’t care about pedigree, they care about passion, people and ideas. David Tisch, a famous early stage VC in NYC, actually says he refuses to invest in anyone who brands themselves as a MBA. The MBA, however, can provide amazing access and resources. Wharton has some entrepreneurship felllowships that are really great for taking the stigma and friction out of working on ventures over the summer and has a large communit to find cofoubders (which is ridiculously important). Columbia’a big advantage is being in NYC, which is arguably hotter than the valley right now for startup activity. The opportunities on campus (cross-school programs, incubators, competitions, funding from the Lang fund, etc) are great, but being able to hop down the road to go to a meetup on topics relevant to your idea or to meet with a VC for breakfast are really what pushes the needle.
From a funding perspective, as some one that has worked in VC and raised money as an entrepreneur, CBS has amazing connections to the VC and angel community in NY and SF. Again, I think location and access is most important here since a lot of investors don’t mind taking a 15 minute subway ride to see our entrepreneurs pitch and it’s amazing to have all the top early-stage VCs here in our backyard.
I can say that I came to bschool with the intention to start a company and CBS has helped me tremendously and my company has raised its first round of institutional capital from investors i met at a CBS pitch competition.
Yeah. What he said.
We’re not trying to say that Columbia is the best choice for the OP. We’re not trying to say that Columbia is the best choice for entrepreneurs. There’s other schools that are equally as good if not better, and Wharton and LBS both have their strengths in this area too.
The point of cross-posting this here is to (re)emphasize to you how critical it is to get firsthand information. That post is priceless, in terms of shedding light on the actual need that the BSer has: to identify the elements of the school that will matter most for their future career success.
Of course, much of this is subjective, and bias is very much at play when you’re asking anyone about THEIR school. You could easily get as impassioned a response from someone else, arguing why Wharton is the school to beat (in fact, an admissions consultant who’s a Wharton alum did exactly that in that post right before the CBS student answered). Gathering these different opinions – and hopefully, some facts – is critical to your process of finding out which is the right school for you.
Hopefully many of you will be in the difficult position of choosing between three great powerhouses this year, too!