So last post, I talked pretty much about how I got to the my selection of schools, and left it rather vague at “5 or 6 schools”. Now I’m going to give you a peek a the schools on my list, and my reasoning for choosing them. I plan on applying in Round 1 to all three schools in this post . In no particular order, and of course subject to change…
First up is Darden. I wasn’t sure about Darden, and in fact it wasn’t really in either of my previous lists until I went for a visit. I happened to be within a driving distance of the campus and figured what the heck – I might as well see it while I’m here. During my visit, I had a great experience and met some great people. I’m attracted to the program for several reasons. First, Darden has a reputation for having a small, tight knit culture, which is definitely where I think I’ll feel most at home. Next, Darden places really well into the industries and functions I am interested in. Furthermore, the case method was something I wasn’t too sure about, but after sitting in on a class, I definitely see the merits. Just as Darden has a reputation for being close knit, it also has a reputation of being a sweatshop, especially in the first year. While most people I met at Darden won’t deny that, they say it isn’t so bad, and helps to build the aforementioned tight-knit culture. The case method is something that seems to both cause that and help some of the frustration with workload. Sure it takes a long time to prepare for 3 cases a day, but a lot of the work is done with your learning team, and the class discussions are lively. I remember sitting in undergrad engineering courses for hours on end thinking “when will this end, I’ve been writing notes for hours!”. When I visited Darden, I felt that style of learning would help combat some of the feelings of stagnation I had in my undergrad fluid mechanics course.
Next is Tuck. I’ve been a bit Tuck crazy since day one. There isn’t much I don’t like about this school, other than it will probably be a stretch for me to get accepted to. Like Darden, Tuck has a tight knit culture, only even stronger. The teaching style is right up my alley – Tuck is a true general management school. Like Darden, Tuck uses case method, albeit to a lesser extent. Furthermore, Hanover is a very special place. My general thought process goes something like this; Why spend 2 years in a major city like NYC when there is a very good chance that you’ll end up there or in a similar city post-MBA? Sure you’ll miss out on some of the networking opportunities compared to say CBS students, but that is why you have the amazing Tuck network. Finally, Tuck places extremely well – definitely punches above its already heavy weight.
Fuqua is a program I have also had on my list for a long time. While the program isn’t quite as remote or small as Tuck or Darden, it isn’t in a urban area like some other schools out there and still has less than 1,000 students in the entire MBA program. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of Fuqua students and several alumni, and I can definitely say the carry a lot of school spirit, even 30 years later in some cases. While talking with said Fuquans, it is very obvious that this is a student body that knows how to have fun. Maybe it is because of the good southern weather, but Fuqua seems like a very enjoyable place to spend 2 years. As a big college basketball fan, going to Duke would be amazing, although conflicting given my undergraduate school and their basketball team. However, Fuqua’s placement is top notch for what I’m interested in, and carries a wide array of opportunities. Finally, Fuqua’s professors are arguably some of the best in the nation across the board.
Stay tuned for part 2..