We got some great guesses yesterday! Ross, Booth, Stanford, Duke, and one almost-vote for HBS…
So which bschool is the top of our list of Five Faves?
To recap, #2 – 5 of our current Favorite MBA programs as listed out yesterday are:
And now we will reveal:
EssaySnark’s current #1 Favorite MBA program is…
You shouldn’t be!
We believe that this is a school that knows who it is, with no (ahem) brand identity confusion, and also no complacency issues. They are humble yet driven; they are willing to work. This goes for the faculty, and administrators, and students. You feel it when you meet them.
The Stern admissions team is a little lowkey but they’re also not trying too hard (we mean that as a compliment). They offer lots of advice on their website for applying, and they always have done so. (They were actually one of the first bschools to ever release a decent website and they got brownie points from us for that, too.) They are remarkably consistent in their application and essay questions, and they’re not trying to trick you. They give you enough space to provide some substance in your essays, and they give you options so that you can adopt a strategy that works best for your profile and your own individual messaging. They also have a remarkably flexible part-time MBA – the only one in all of the New England/Northeastern U.S. region.
As a school, Stern has been focusing on what are now “trendy” areas such as entrepreneurship and social venture and Big Data for years; they haven’t just jumped on some bandwagon of late, but instead these programs are well established at the school, and strongly regarded.
Another reason we like them so much? BECAUSE THEY DO THEIR OWN INTERVIEWS. There are very few schools out there where the admissions team handles all of the interviews themselves. Most schools outsource this important function to students or alumni. We appreciate that Tuck and Duke have an open-interview policy where (at least for a window of time in the Fall, at Duke) anyone can go to campus and have an interview. That’s a smart way to do it too. But we strongly feel that the NYU model is better. MIT and HBS admissions also do their own interviews however neither of them wins gold stars from EssaySnark for so many other reasons (we’re not going to do a school-bashing post here, there’s plenty of that to be found elsewhere on the blahg).
The adcom-managed interview means that there is a certain consistency in evaluation and a standard. You can be much better assured that everyone admitted to Stern is admitted for a reason when the critical interviewing step is being centrally controlled with quality standards. It’s possible that both Yale and Kellogg are benefiting in a somewhat similar way from their video essays but those are just not the same as actually meeting the person.
We talk about all these different interview policies in our MBA Interviewing Guide and we also cover some important info about the specific NYU interview process in our NYU MBA application guide. You can check out the NYU essay questions and our own repository of NYU advice here.
Obviously us appreciating Stern as a top MBA program with a smart set of admissions policies does not translate into a recommendation that everyone should try for Stern. It’s not right for everyone. Whenever we see someone targeting both Columbia and Stern, for example, we go “Hm. You probably only belong at one or the other.” There’s sometimes this attitude that people only end up at Stern if they can’t get into Columbia and we are here to tell you that that is NOT true. Stern attracts a very strong candidate pool and they can take their pick among winners. It’s possible for a BSer to get into both of these NYC schools, but each place is so different that it typically becomes kind of a no-brainer as to where the person truly fits (we’re not suggesting it is always Stern either; they really are different). You need to do your own research and understand your own priorities, and evaluate the schools based on the criteria that matter to you – not just Stern but all of them.
There’s also a few schools that we had some heated internal debates over, that were strong contenders for this Five Faves list. We may mention a few of them in a follow-up post.
What we will invite you to consider today is: When you put a school on your targets list, do you know why it’s there? What factors are you evaluating that make you feel this is going to be a good fit for you?
If it takes you more than five seconds to come up with some answers to that, well…. you have some more homework to do.