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留学参考:How He Decided Among HBS, Stanford, Wharton & Booth  

2017-02-28 02:45:44|  分类: DIY留学综合信息 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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留学参考:How He Decided Among HBS, Stanford, Wharton & Booth
 

BY: JOHN A. BYRNE ON FEBRUARY 22, 2017

 

 

In the past few weeks, Justin Ernest has been wrestling with a decision common to many MBA applicants who are lucky enough to be admitted into a number of elite business schools. Accepted to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and Booth, he’s been weighing the pros and cons of each school before deciding where to send his deposit for entry into the Class of 2019.

It’s not a no-brainer decision for him or for any applicant. Many would simply think he has to choose between HBS and Stanford, generally acknowledged to be the two best business schools in the world. But other factors can easily come into play, whether it’s financial aid, geography or your ultimate career choice.

A senior analyst in capital markets for Coca-Cola Co., 26-year-old Ernest is based in the Atlanta area, did his undergraduate studies in finance at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, and thinks he wants to pursue a career in venture capital or private equity. He has faced some family and personal obstacles which makes a financial aid package loom large in his decision.

ATTENDING HBS & STANFORD ADMIT WEEKENDS AND SPEAKING WITH MANY MBA STUDENTS

So how did he decide where to go? For him, even HBS and the GSB could have been off the table if either school did not offer some scholarship assistance. So for Ernest, it came down to Harvard and Stanford. His process for making this decision involved numerous conversations with students and visits to the back-to-back admit weekends at both schools. At those admit events, he says, Ernest met just over 30 applicants who have won dual admits to both HBS and the GSB in the round one application pool. His sense was that those lucky candidates were evenly split between the two schools in where they were leaning.

After an earlier conversation with Ernest (see He Got Into HBS, GSB, Wharton & Booth. Now He Has To Decide Where To Go) we caught up with him again to learn how he came to a final decision. Once again, we’ve enlisted the help of Betsy Massar, founder ofMaster Admissions, a leading MBA admissions consulting firm. Massar is herself a Harvard MBA graduate who has had a career in finance both on Wall Street and in Asia, and who actually worked at Stanford GSB for a time. Massar did not provide consulting advice for Ernest’s applications but helps guide our conversation with him. Here’s a transcript of our latest talk which is also available on our latest edition of P&Q Live, our weekly podcast:

Betsy: Justin, welcome! I bet you feel a little bit of a relief after having gone through the process. It’s all over but the shouting, right?

Justin: Yes, thank you John and Betsy. It’s been a long couple of months, and I’m very excited to get this decision out of the way.

Betsy:  Did you go to both Harvard and Stanford admit weekends? How would you describe each of them, and if you could feel the culture for each school?

Justin: Yes, I did, I went to Stanford first, and then HBS the following weekend. They were both very well organized, as I’m sure you can imagine.  I thought Stanford was a bit more focused on fit and individual personality, while HBS seemed more focused on the academics, the case method and post-MBA jobs.  You could feel a slightly different culture at each school. For me the biggest difference I noticed was the size of the classes; at Stanford I noticed that it was much more intimate and smaller, and at HBS it was a much larger class size.   Both schools did very well organizing the event, and they pack a lot into three days.

Betsy: What are some of the things the schools do during admit weekend.  I heard that at Harvard they put 400 people in a room and then you all talk to each other. Is it like speed dating? And then there are smaller groups. How does a school court you?

Justin: I actually thought it was more broken up at HBS—by interests, say entrepreneurship or finance, and Stanford was more like throw everybody into the same room for dinner and lunch and we’d all talk.  Stanford did a really good job of personalizing the admit weekend. The staff was very friendly; they made sure that there were enough social events so that the students could meet the admits.  HBS did a very good job with tours and the academic structure and explaining first year vs. second year.  Both different, but both effective.

Betsy:  Two questions: did you find that meeting other admits influenced your decision, and did you find that meeting current students influenced your decision?

Justin: Yes.  What influenced me the most was meeting other students.  Being able to talk to students on the phone before admit weekend, setting up time over coffee to meet them at admit weekend. And also meeting admits. Just meeting the large, diverse class of people from all different industries and backgrounds, you really get a sense of the types of folks that you’ll be interacting with over the next two years.  For me that was very eye-opening. Everybody was obviously impressive and for me it was just fun and exciting to see from both schools what was different and the similarities as well.

Betsy: Would you say one school courted you more than the other?

Justin:  I’m not sure that any one school courted me more than others. I will say that I was very surprised with the personalization that HBS gave me. I took my mom because she was interested in seeing Boston and the campus. They treated her very, very well. The staff reached out to us three or four days in advance and asked if there was anything that we wanted to see or needed; they set up meetings with the faculty and other students. There are a lot of people who say it is easy to get lost with the HBS class size, but I thought it was interesting  and important to see that personalization. So for me that was the most surprising factor.

Betsy: Your mother must have been thrilled to come to Boston with you.

Justin: She had never been, so she was very excited about that.

 

John: You mentioned that a big factor in your decision was ultimately your meetings with students. Could you actually detect a difference between the students you met Stanford vs. Harvard? Or Wharton or Chicago?

Justin: I can’t speak as much about the students from Booth and Wharton; I did speak to a few, more so at Booth, [they were] very impressive as well. But as far as HBS vs Stanford, the folks I met during admit weekend on the Stanford side seemed to be a little more focused on outside interests and summer travel. They are smart, very bright people, obviously, but at HBS it seemed to be more business focused, more career focused, more talk about the academia. Maybe that was just the way that the admit weekend was structured at each school, but that was an interesting dynamic for me.

At all four schools, every student I met was very bright, very sharp.

John: And you get to attend a mock class, right? What was that like at Stanford vs. Harvard?

Justin:  At Stanford, my class was an entrepreneurship class; that was fun. There was a big tech focus—65% or 70% of the folks I met either had a background in tech or would like to go into tech and we more west-coast focused. Maybe at an HBS classroom you see a more well-rounded (for better or for worse) class, with students from various industries and backgrounds. That was my experience.

Betsy: So, here we are. You gave us some of the background of your experience, and now for our listeners and readers, I would like to ask you: Which school did you choose?

Justin: I’ve been telling everybody over the past few weeks that this was by far the toughest choice I’d ever made. Both of these schools—and all four of them—really were spectacular. The admit weekends were fantastic, everybody I spoke with was awesome.  But I am excited to say that I will be in the HBS class of 2019.

Betsy: Now that we know your decision, can you tell us the top two reasons that swayed your decision?

Justin: I would say number 1, I spoke with a so many Stanford students during admit weekend and on the phone, and it was just very west-coast focused, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But for me, coming from the east coast, and my network is from the east coast, it was valuable to gain that new perspective. Maybe five or 10 years down the road I would like to be on the east coast again, so for me it was important that there was a broad network up and down the coast, and not as many students were concentrated in one place.

Secondly, HBS was a bit more willing to work with me and to be more flexible from a financial aid perspective. For me that was important because that could give me more flexibility post-MBA to pursue various options.

I think ultimately it was a gut decision. I could just see myself on the Boston campus for two years.

Betsy:  John thought it was going to be HBS all along, and Naomi (podcast producer) guessed that it was going to be HBS, but what struck me when we talked the other day, was that it was a much harder decision than you had expected. Could you tell us a little more about why it was so hard? My sense is that you were leaning toward HBS, but now it sounds like you went back and forth a bit during the decision process.

Justin:  I can honestly say that it was very much back and forth over the past couple of months. It started with HBS and then fluctuated after talking to some people. It was a back and forth game; honestly, going to Palo Alto—now I know what you guys were saying when you say that there’s a reason everybody stays out there. It was 60 degrees and sunny every day. It was beautiful. Everybody was so nice out there. It was my first time seeing the Stanford campus, which was fantastic. So I can see why everybody loves Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For me there was a personalized feel at HBS. I was worried going in because there are a lot of people who say you get lost in that big class size.  Seeing for me that the staff and faculty and students were so down to earth. That was maybe what ultimately what pulled me towards that school. My gut—I felt a little bit better envisioning myself in Boston over the next couple of years. Everything about the visit was just fantastic. I’m really excited about the decision.

Betsy: Did your mother have a big influence on the ultimate decision, since you took her to Boston but you didn’t take her to Palo Alto?

Justin: I actually took my partner to Palo Alto, and she really enjoyed that.  My mom didn’t have a huge influence on the decision; she thought either school would be fantastic for me. She was a bit scared to pressure me one way or the other. She’s from the east coast as well and she loved the campus and Boston, but ultimately she wanted me to make my own decision.

Betsy: On the partner side, she’s not disappointed that she’s not going to get two sunny years in California?

Justin: She’s not. But now that I’ve been there I am interested in going back maybe some point down the road.  She’s very supportive so we’re excited about that.

John: Other than the visits and the conversations that you’ve had with current students, did you go through any spreadsheet analysis like plugging numbers, whether admissions stats or career and salary stats to help you compare the schools that you were accepted to?

Justin: I did not. I know that you have run articles on folks in the past who have focused on that. Personally, I did to a lot of self-analysis and a lot of research in the months leading up to the decision. To be honest, I probably thought too much about quantitative numbers in terms of post-MBA goals and that type of thing, but over the last week or two when I visited the schools I wanted to focus on where I envisioned myself over the two years. Betsy and I had talked about that some, and for me that was what became evident and most important over the last couple of weeks: where I see myself having the most fun and the most transformative experience. Both schools did a fantastic job. I think for me personally, that was HBS.

 

Betsy: In our last conversation I had said I thought this would be a heart and soul decision rather than a head decision. Do you agree with that? Or do you think the head played some role?

Justin: I would say it played some role; for me that was actually most of the role over the first few months. Over the past three weeks or so it was much more of a visceral decision, as I know you said over and over in the past. I think that’s the way you’ve got to make your decision, because you can run the numbers any way you want to, you can talk to students who can say pro and con, but until you envision yourself on both campuses and talk to people in both cities, it’s tough to make a decision off anything else.

Betsy: Can you tell us a little bit about the financial aid situation, how one school was a little bit more generous or more flexible than the other.  How did that work out for you?

Justin: Both schools are need-based. I received my financial aid package from Stanford first, and that was fantastic. I spoke with their financial aid team and they were all great, Jack [Edwards] and his team do a fantastic job over there.  I did get the sense that the HBS financial aid team and the admissions staff was more willing to work with me to make the numbers work.  They were a bit more flexible, and in the end I think that was an important factor in my decision.

Betsy: Many students ask whether you can negotiate, to go to admissions and financial aid people and talk to them about your money situation; can you tell them that it is part of your decision—it honestly is part of the decision—so how did that conversation go down?

Justin: You definitely can, if you do it the right way. For me it absolutely was part of my decision, and I definitely let both schools know that. But at the same time I think you have to do it in the right way.  I don’t think it should be called a negotiation; it should be more of a discussion with each school. You should set up time during admit weekend or sometime on the phone and you should discuss your personal situation, where you stand financially, and also where you stand with other schools. It’s just best to be honest. I was just very up front and I talked about my situation and what I was expecting. I felt that HBS did a fantastic job personalizing that toward me. That was important.  But I will say, and stress that you can talk to the financial aid team, and be honest and open with them. As long as you are not negotiating too forcefully, it should turn out in your favor most of the time.

Betsy: Was either of the two schools worried about any other school except its rival?

Justin: I spent most of the time speaking with Stanford and HBS and it seemed that they were most focused on each other. They did bring up a few other schools that I was admitted to, but mostly they were most focused on their main rival.

Betsy:  Understandably so.  By the way, did you bump into others who were dual admits, or did you find that you were a bit of a rare bird there?

Justin:  There were actually many more dual admits than I had expected. At both admit weekends I probably met 30 or so dual admits. And I can honestly say at both weekends there were probably 15 leaning toward Stanford and 15 leaning toward HBS. It was very evenly split. There were a select few who were very much undecided, as I was, but everybody was very open and honest about what they were thinking.  I did notice that most of the ones leaning toward Stanford were either from the west coast or based on the west coast right now, and there was more geographic diversity in the folks leaning toward HBS.

Betsy: One final series of questions: For many of our listeners, many students are thinking about applying for the next cycle.  We’re in February now, so what would you recommend to students who are starting their application journey for the next cycle?  You’re the one who has been the successful one, so they want to hear it from you.

Justin:  I’ll say three things.  Number one: start now, start early. I would advise applying in Round 1 if at all possible. I think it is the most competitive round, but it is also the one where the most serious candidates apply. If you start early enough, it’s not a problem.  Give yourself at least three or four months for application work.  There’s no reason to rush an essay at the very end a week before the deadline if you don’t need to. So get the GMAT out of the way now, and then do the essay work and the other stuff maybe in May and at the very latest June if you want to in Round 1.

Second, if you’ve not already done so, do your research.  I applied to four skills in Round 1 and I almost killed myself. I cannot imagine doing any more than that. Tailor your search and personalize it as much as possible; pick three or four schools that you really see yourself at. Talk to students and go visit campus if you can.  And then try to narrow that down to three or four schools for each round.

Third, and most important, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from friends and family. Find three or four people who you are closest to, whom you trust, whom you’ve known for a long time to read your essays and to mock interview you. That will take a lot of stress off you, but at the same time remember that too many cooks in the kitchen is a bad thing.

Betsy: One question about researching school choice—I’m getting questions now from students who can’t afford time-wise or money-wise to go look at every single school, and the schools aren’t doing their visits until the summer, how did you do most of your research, especially when you started around now?

Justin: I actually did not go visit these four campuses before the application work. The first time I was seeing all the campuses was during the interviews and admit weekend. But I would say, first and foremost, talk to students, talk to alumni from those schools. Talk to people at your company and your alma maters who have gone to these business schools, and get their feelings and advice.  I will say that I read a lot of Poets & Quants, which helped a lot. Finding articles, finding other research about each school, what their student body’s like, what post-MBA job prospects are like, and spending as much time as you can in front of a laptop researching these things. The more you do that the more you’ll be able to narrow it down to a small list of schools.

John: One question that I think a lot of people would love to know: On the facts, on the raw numbers, you’re right in the pocket, 740 GMAT, 3.8 GPA, you’ve got a job with a great global company, one of the greatest brands in history, and you’ve got a good job in capital markets for them as a senior analyst…beyond all that, what do you think made you so successful? What made you four-for-four, because let’s face it, you get up to bat—how many people can be four-for-four? If you’re two-for-four you’re a hero. Why do you think you were four-for-four?

 

Justin: My advice would be to find as many differentiators as you can.  I had an HBS alumni who told me that when I was starting on my application, he said, make a list of five things about yourself that are very unique, that most other applicants don’t possess. And that could be anything from family background to work experience to school.  For me, at least being somebody from the southeast, from a state school, maybe not as many applicants from a company—maybe a big brand, but not as many MBA applicants as you would expect from Coke; also I had talked about some obstacles I had overcome, some family challenges. So find things that are unique about you, and then describe those in your essays.  I think there’s this increasing importance of essays at most schools. Especially at the top schools, they really do seem to take those very seriously.  Spend a lot of time on your essays, do multiple rough drafts, edit them, and that will be a big factor.

John: Justin, you’re not a first-gen college student, right?

Justin: No, I’m not a first generation college student. I am a first generation going to grad school but not undergraduate.

Betsy: We are so thrilled for you. I hope you do take a break. I hope you enjoy and drink adult beverages in honor of your success. We don’t want to lose touch; we’re going to be bothering you all along, finding out how the whole process is going for you. So stay in touch with us; I’m sure a lot of the people listening will want to hear more about your journey.  Thank you very much from me, John?

John: Justin, from Day 1, I knew you couldn’t make a wrong decision. Frankly, if you went to Chicago Booth or Wharton, those are not wrong decisions, depending on what you found there and what you felt about the schools. Certainly Harvard/Stanford can’t go wrong there either. I think you’re going to have an amazing time. I feel really happy for you and excited as well. Because you’re going to have one of the most unique and most memorable of all the higher education experiences in the world. And I’m talking about everything from law to medicine. And you’re going to have it at one of the best institutions in the world, bar none. I’m just so excited that you’re going to be going off to Boston, even if you’re going to trudge through snow. Even if you’re going to have to dress in a scarf and boots.

Betsy: Some of us managed, just in case you’re wondering.

John: Hey, I’m from New York! I like cold weather. I used to it, anyway.

Betsy: Harvard’s got that tunnel system down, so don’t worry about it.

John: Good luck to you Justin, and thank you so much for sharing your story.

 

 

以上内容摘自:

http://poetsandquants.com/2017/02/22/decided-among-hbs-stanford-wharton-booth/ 

 

 

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