If you’re also in this wonderfully privileged yet oh-so-stressful position, today’s post is for you.
First bit of advice: We have a treasure trove of posts on individual schools here on the site, so starting there to see what we’ve said about the specific programs and the school culture and any snarky insights that are on tap is always wise. Our school application guides also go into discussions on many things such as in the case of NYU, why aren’t they that highly ranked if they’re such a great program?
If you’re really deliberating between two different MBA programs then it wouldn’t hurt to go back over both schools’ application guides now, to pick up on the commentary we’ve offered on culture and fit.
The NYU application guide also explains some aspects to why Stern does not seem to be as favored. Our essential take is that people are just darn snobby; NYU does not have the same brand cachet that, say, Columbia has; it’s not Ivy League or M7 or whatever silly designation people want to use. Berkeley used to suffer the same exact fate, until about four years ago when all of a sudden it’s seen as a VERY hot school, based solely on location and access (and a smart dean) and the changing world where all of a sudden the locus of power has shifted from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.
You could technically use similar words to describe the culture at both (community, collaborative, all that), but the actual type of student that is attracted to each — at least in the American population at these schools — tends to be REALLY DIFFERENT. It boils down to the Midwestern vs NYC thing. Not all international students are as aware of such differences, though many are. However for Americans, the city that these two schools are in dramatically changes what “type” of student each one attracts. These are very loose generalizations of course, and many Sternies could easily Go Blue 🙂 — they also share overlap. But for example, there are some students who would *never* be interested in going to school in NYC, and some who would *never* go to Michigan, as being too far West! (If you’re really attuned to American culture then this joke will make sense.)
You could go crazy with Venn diagrams on this stuff!
In our opinion, whenever faced with a massive life-altering decision such as this one — because truly, which one you choose will make you into a very different person in the end!! — it’s often useful to do those pro/con lists and get things out on paper. That can let you examine and analyze and see what your brain thinks is important.
And listen to what others have to say, and yes do plenty of research to try and figure things out.
That type of data-driven analysis on placement reports etc. is mandatory. After all, how could you feel like you’re really a future MBA student if you don’t pull out all the stops in looking at it from every direction?
But in the end, it’s really a personal call. Where do you think you’ll be happy?
Where do you think you will thrive?
Where have you felt most comfortable? Which school feels like your tribe?
(And yes, we know we’ve gotten all poetic on you — sometimes things just flow. You know?)
As Bob Bruner, former dean of Darden said, Where will you do your best work?
Which school will challenge you to do more than you currently think you’re capable of?
This is why bschool brand and rankings really don’t matter. The brand and the name of the school is absolutely irrelevant when you’re examining it through the right lens.
We know you’ll do the right thing, BSer! The right thing is all that you ever can do.