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!

No comments: