Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Decisions Decisions...

It is decision time of the year for many. I am getting many queries from first round admits trying to decide which school is the best for them (certainly a nice position to be in). Then there's others deciding what to do with waitlists. I was waitlisted same time last year and was not even sure whether I'll be heading to a B-school or not.

On the school front, many of us are deciding what internship offer presents the best opportunities in terms of interests, future prospects, summer experience etc etc. Many are still hunting for their ideal job. It has been a crazy six months of B-school experience - most of it focussed towards that dream we aspire to achieve with the help of an MBA.

I will talk about recruiting and internships in another post. Lets focus on B-school decision for now. The tough part for some right now is deciding which is the best school to attend out of these. Here's my two cents:

1) Visit the schools if you can. Many schools have an Admitted Student Weekend to help admits experience the culture of the school and know their prospective classmates. All my classmates who attended the Blue Devils Weekend say that it was vital aspect of their decision whether to join Fuqua or not.

2) Do not let perceived B-school reputations sway you into a wrong decision. Rankings might have been helpful for you in beginning to research about schools, but that's where your dependence on them should stop. Do not think that a school is not good in Brand Management simply because it doesn't have a course named 'Managing Brands' in its curriculum.

3) Speak with current students - they should be your best resources of information. Ask them what they were looking for at Fuqua and whether they got that or not - both from a professional and personal development aspect.

4) When it comes to placements, one metric I find useful was the ratio of students getting a job to the number of students applying for that job. This is a difficult number to get though. Again, current students can help you here - they may not have the numbers in their notebook, but they sure do have an idea of how many people were vying to get into a particular industry and how many actually got through.

5) Finally, try to figure out how would you like spend your two years.
Do you want to know your classmates well enough that you dont have to introduce yourself all over again when you meet them 5 years from today? A smaller town and a not so big class size should make this easier in that case.
Fuqua might be the school for you if you are looking for a leadership experience where you can influence the way the school works, where you have opportunities to decide which club should be run how. I have participated in discussions where we tried to figure what direction should Fuqua take given the current global scenario, what is the image we want a Fuqua student to project, what does it mean to be a Leader of Consequence and what should be done to achieve these goals for Fuqua.

Some schools are more team-oriented than others. Not all schools have a heavy focus on team assignments. Fuqua swears by its Team Fuqua culture and I am glad I am a part of it. The Fuqua Fridays, Campout, academic curriculum teams - have all given me friends for life. Be aware of what you want and then decide.

No decision is a wrong decision in the end. It is just a matter of making an educated decision and that is what we have been trying to do all of lives, havn't we?

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