Friday, December 29, 2006

Packages are nice

And two sizable ones were awaiting my return to Boston. Thanks to Notre Dame and Maryland. I had no luggage to bring home with me from my trip, but at least the b schools delivered where Delta failed.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Decision?

I am currently leaning Yale, but Georgetown (my stateside first choice) is still out there somewhere.

My main focus throughout this process has been who recruits at my chosen schools. Yale and Georgetown are tops for non-profit/ NGO/ microfinance "powerhouses." I was not counting on being accepted to Yale and thus have focused my energies in other directions. Now that the decisions are almost entirely in, I am examining the money issue quite closely.

IESE has (predictably) offered me nothing. I heard from former students that if you are American you can expect to receive no financial help from the school. IESE is ranked quite well, and often above Yale. However, name recognition in the United States is an important factor as I intend to live permanently in the United States. I enjoy Europe, but I also like the opportunities available for non-profit management in the U.S. As I know full well, and as every single person who has queried my current state of mind has said... Yale is YALE. I will never have to explain Yale to a prospective employer. IESE I may still have to explain and discuss in the United States.

Yale also has an amazing loan forgiveness program. If you work for the government or a registered non-profit (as defined by American non-profit laws) you are eligible for a very generous loan forgiveness program. As I am interested in pursuing a career in non-profit work or microfinance, this program is an important factor in my decision.

The other choices:
Notre Dame was my first acceptance. Applying to Notre Dame was a last minute whim. I got my application fee waived, received an email and mail from the Director of Admissions informing me I was identified as a top 5% applicant and received another (mail merge) email from the Dean of the b school stating the same effusions. I was impressed by the ethics focus at Mendoza and had already written two of the three essays, so I decided there was no harm in applying. Well the harm turned out to be that it has thrown another kink in my decision process. My jaw dropped when the director of admissions called to tell me the good news about the fellowship. When I first started this process I never expected to receive a full scholarship!

The University of Maryland has a solid second place standing in DC, but my impression was that it has more contacts and focus on industry and technology versus Georgetown's focus on international business and NGO work. If I want to work at the World Bank, I should probably go to Georgetown. I have not received the official package, which should be in my mailbox when I get back to Boston this evening. I was told during my interview that I was a very competitive applicant for scholarships. We'll see.

UCLA. Great school. I mostly applied here to throw another top program with an international business focus into the mix. This was a playing the percentages application. If Yale did not accept me there was still a chance UCLA might because they have a larger class or the interviewer had a more favorable impression, etc. This interview was a very interesting experience for me because I had already received two acceptances (from IESE and Notre Dame) and went in there not really concerned about the outcome. Turning down the beach (LA, Barcelona) for New Haven is a painful choice.

I believe that is a general overview of my state of mind right now. In the next few entries I will attempt to flashback to the actual application and interview drafting process. As my process has now been proven successful, I feel I can give advice!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A good day

Yale, University of Maryland, UCLA
Yes, yes, yes!

I have visited LA, although not the school, and spent a quality day each on the other two campuses. I think if Yale wasn't in New Haven it would be a clear front-runner. After being surrounded by Harvard for the entirety of my time in Boston, there is certainly something to be said for the instant name recognition of an Ivy league school.

I certainly have choices. Christmas will be a nice time to relax and do some calculations and self-reflection.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Accepted, rejected

Results so far:
Full tuition offer from Notre Dame
Accepted at IESE!
Rejected from LBS.
I'll just go back to drinking sangria over beer.

Money

I started the loan process to cover part of the IESE deposit. I really do not want to make a final decision until I have a chance to visit campus at the end of January but IESE wants my response by Dec. 29th. The $100K in loans is very much scaring me off right now.

Possible trips:
Chicago/ND January 14-16
Barcelona/ IESE January 27th (arr 28th)- 29th

Accepted, now what?

As my first few b school acceptances are now firmly in hand, I will return to the world of blogging. Since 2005 my life has been either a) not interesting enough to write about or b) too busy to leave time for blogging. I feel I have moved safely into the realm of "killing time in my job before quitting for business school" and so I will rejoin the rank and file on blogspot.

A little background on my process:

I researched schools and started attending events in September 2005. I narrowed my list (but edited it frequently) up through September 2006. I took the GMAT in August 2006 (no class, lots of different books, did well.) Applied all first round to 8 different schools:
LBS
IESE
Cambridge
Georgetown
University of Maryland
Notre Dame
Yale
UCLA
I did volunteer interviews for two of the schools (Georgetown and Maryland) and was invited to interview at the others. I was not really expecting this as I considered several on the list to be stretch schools. However, now that I have been accepted to IESE, I think I might have over done it a bit with the applications. I have a clear ranking in my head of preferences, but only in the "if everything cost the same" sense. Money is a big issue for me, as I currently have none and want to enter a non-profit sector upon graduation.

I will continue posting advice and more about my decisions as I receive them!