If you’re lucky enough to be choosing between multiple admits, then before we go into the specifics of what one BSer is struggling with, we’ll point you towards the full ‘snarchive of posts in the category: Deciding on a school (multiple offers)
Today’s conundrum comes from a BSer who has gotten accepted to two schools in the U.S. and who also secured an admit to a very good school in his home country.
Here’s the essence of the question that he posed:
it’s decision time now. Between USSchoolA and USSchoolB, as you would know, I’m a lot more attracted to USSchoolA. [good, school-specific reasons why redacted] However, you know my story well – if there is something about USSchoolB I should consider more closely, please do let me know.
It might sound strange, but the bigger inner battle for me right now is ‘US vs [home country]’. I started this process of applying to b-schools last season, and my aim has always been to make it to a top US school. I have done that, but for safety (this was my last chance at b-school), I also applied to HomeCountrySchool and an admit from them has confused me a little. HomeCountrySchool seems to the ‘safe’ option for me – less expenditure (1/4th of a US 2-year MBA), shorter duration (1-year), excellent placements and brand appeal in [home country], no visa hassles. There is no safety in anything, really, but HomeCountrySchool still seems quite straightforward.
On the other hand, USSchoolA will be a different experience altogether. I will get a chance to live and study … [more good reasons cited] It also means a $$$$$$$$ investment, two years of living away from wife and family, and a huge loan to take back to [home country] if the visa doesn’t come through.
I know you might get somewhat pissed reading this. I’m supposed to follow my heart, and my heart is with USSchoolA. But I still want to hear your thoughts on my situation. You have seen me through this journey, and I do have the highest regard for your advice. After all, it has always worked for me 🙂
Here’s what we said in response:
Mostly we keep coming back to this question of: What changed?
You have been working towards this goal of getting into an American bschool for YEARS. Clearly you’ve been discussing it with your family all of that time, and they were on board with the plan.
The only wrinkle we can see that’s new to the story is the changing political environment — but that didn’t keep you from applying this year.
When you applied to HomeCountrySchool, it was as a safety — correct?
Yes, it’s true that sometimes feelings about a school change dramatically when you go from being an applicant, to being an admit.
Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we get it – and then we realize that maybe we didn’t want that after all! The person you are today should not have to live with the decisions made by the person you were before, if the New You is wiser and more aware, and thinking of things in a new light that the previous version wasn’t comprehending.
This American MBA thing is something you’ve been very very invested in. Are you saying you now suddenly are worried about the money? OK, that’s legit, now that the bill has become real instead of hypothetical. But as we mentioned before, it hardly seems that money should be a deterrent today when it wasn’t before (unless you really didn’t think it through previously?). The big unknown of course is less the visa issue, and more the economics. We’re getting more and more nervous about how this political situation is going to affect the economy. It is i-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e for anyone to predict what the employment situation will look like in 2019 and 2020. That is indeed a wildcard, and it’s where international grads are the most vulnerable.
The other thing of course is your family but that’s not something we can comment on. You must have a solid and supportive relationship already to have gotten this far in the process. You, and your wife, would both need to do lots of outreach and connection with other couples who have done it before. If it were a 1-year program then this would seem like a non-issue, but two years is a really long time. For some reason we had thought that you would be bringing her along? Anyway, just said that we can’t comment on this so we’re gonna shut up about it, but it seems like the main issue, from our perspective as outsiders, that should drive the decision. Not the financial one.
You’re gonna have to talk to people in your network — the schools especially (hit up both USSchoolA and USSchoolB, regardless of which one you’re leaning towards, just to get more input into the decision) and also all your friends and friends of friends who’ve done something similar. [specifics in comparison about those two schools redacted] All these factors need to be weighed out.
So yeah, we boil it down to the same tl;dr: Follow your heart. The only caveat is, if your heart has changed in the last 3 months because you’ve got new information, then that’s fair. Don’t be attached to what the old you wanted, if it’s not in sync with what the New You cares about most.
Not sure if that helped. Definitely want to know what you gather from your research through your own network. Keep us posted!
PS: The best technique we can offer: Visualize yourself graduating from HomeCountrySchool. Will you feel regret for not going for the big U.S. MBA adventure? Regret SUCKS. (That post actually has nothing to do with your decision but it’s got the best gif ever.) See if you can imagine how your Future Self will feel about the decision you make today. You can even try walking through the process paying your deposit at HomeCountrySchool… imagine how that feels. Are you excited? Or not? If not, then explore that. There is wisdom in understanding the ‘why.’
What about you? Have you gotten multiple acceptances and now you’re agonizing over what to do? This can be a great use of our Private Consult service, or if you want to share anything in the comments on this post we’re happy to offer our own take on your situation, from the outside of it.