Let’s continue what we started on Friday! Here’s a Q&A from EssaySnark to a long-ago Brave Supplicant who’s now made it all the way through the process, completed his MBA, and been spit out the other side. Catch up on Part 1 if you missed it, and here is Part 2!
## **EssaySnark:** How did you determine if a school met those priorities or not? What was the best resource you used or action you took to learn about the school and decide if it was a fit for you?
**former BSer** Any school on my list would have been fine. Heck, any school in the top 20 or 30 would have worked for my original consulting goal. Mainly this was because I didn’t care about recruiting. After networking into BCG on my own without an MBA, I knew I did not need to depend on the usual recruiting game.
What really changed everything was the visits.
My first visit specifically.
Ah, Tuck! Tuck is like the high-school crush you move on from, but always remember with a sigh. My visit was amazing, and it helped me realize what all the jabber about “fit” really meant. This, ahem… refocused my priorities, and it’s why Darden eventually rose to the top.
You see, Darden is akin to a southern Tuck, which made it a fantastic fit for me. Furthermore, Darden prides itself on an educational experience built around the case method classroom, which is exactly what I needed to do better in consulting case interview. (The GMAT proved it wasn’t a mental horsepower issue, and my earlier networking provided it wasn’t a fit issue. This left confidence as the problem, and so a classroom built on the case method would be perfect).
The school visits changed my thinking.
At Tuck, I fell in love with the school.
Then, at Wharton, I felt like a number in a large system. A good friend with a Wharton MBA would later tell me that it took her almost a full year to find her crew. Looking back, that would not have been the best place for me. (Wharton is a fantastic school, and “not the best for me” is nearly a distinction without a difference).
At Kellogg, I had a good time. Almost too good of a time. Actually, I was beginning to suspect the hardest part of my MBA would be keeping up with all the twenty-somethings late night shenanigan-izing.
At Darden, they let me visit a real class. And I still remember it clearly. It was the last session of a first-year strategy class. The interactivity and thoughtfulness of the classroom discussion blew me away.
Best classroom I’d ever seen. Hands down.
Darden only lets you visit one class, but I charmed my way into a second one, because I figured the one I had seen was a fluke. So I visited an operations class. I saw the same level of interaction. It was as if the students were teaching the course, while the professor was conducting or directing the discussion.
As you guessed from all that gushing, Darden went to the top of my shortlist.
Actually, Darden turned me down for their regular MBA but wanted me to interview for the EMBA. I was so totally and emotionally invested in the MBA that it took a couple weeks to work through my feelings to make an objective assessment. I boiled the situation down to a simple question. Was an MBA worth $200,000 more than an EMBA? (This is a simplistic estimate based on lost wages and loans, disregarding the NPV of future income, but it was the key question that focused my analysis of the choice.)
Because I had been so caught up in my plan to get an MBA for consulting, it was difficult to admit the EMBA was actually a far better option for me. However, I still stand by this assessment. It would have been a personal and financial step backwards for me to go into a regular MBA.
Hmmmm….. the plot thickens! More to come as we follow along retrospectively with this former BSer’s adventures to bschool! UPDATE: POSTED HERE! In the meantime, we can offer this post from the ‘snarchive on related topics….!
Tell us what you think.