Duke vs Columbia vs Tuck for post-MBA MBB recruitment

bschool2018's picture
Rank: Chimp | 5

Hi there

I am a software engineer based in the bay area and have been lucky to have been accepted at some top 10-15 rank business schools - Duke-Fuqua, Columbia, Dartmouth-Tuck and UCLA Anderson. My post MBA goal is to switch to consulting (McKinsey/Bain/BCG). I might also look into business positions in tech firms (Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc.) but I think more than likely I will aim for MBB consulting.

In terms of location - I want to be back in the Bay area, so I will be gunning for the SF/Silicon valley offices of McKinsey, Bain and BCG (I know the SF office is the hardest to get into) although I think I could also settle for the NYC office for few years and then transfer out back to the bay area. Ideally, I should be going to Berkeley-Haas but unfortunately was rejected there. Also, both UCLA and Columbia have given me some money (30-35K) ...which will help in lowering my loan burden (no money from the other schools). However, I am probably not going to accept UCLA-Anderson as I did my undergrad at UCLA and don't want to have a similar experience in b-school. I am leaning towards both Tuck and Columbia because of the ivy-league pedigree which I think will go a long way.

Any have any opinions about these three schools and which one might be better for my career pursuits? Would any one of these three schools provide me a better shot at recruiting for the MBB SF offices? or are those offices overloaded with H/S/W and local Haas grads such that most lower ranked school grads don't have a shot of getting in?

Thanks
bschool-2018

Region: 
United States - West
United States - Northeast
United States - Northeast
United States - South

Comments (36)

Apr 7, 2016

First off congratulations on your acceptances. If I were you I would go to Columbia as it has a better name than Tuck and being in New York will do wonders for networking - which is 90% of business school.

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Apr 7, 2016

Disclaimer: I'm most likely headed to Duke this Fall. Honestly, comparing Columbia and Dartmouth is like comparing San Diego to Siberia. They are such drastically different places that you should figure out what school you will enjoy the most, as that will have a much bigger impact than what brand between the two you think is marginally better. Overall, both Tuck and Columbia will give you the opportunity for MBB and it will be up to how you perform. I actually think Tuck would be slightly better for MBB, as they have had very impressive MBB placement stats over the last couple of years. Again though, this should come down to fit, I wouldn't worry about anything else at this point. While the $ from Columbia helps, the COL will be far greater than Hanover so I'm not sure it makes much of a difference between the two. Good luck with your decision!

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Apr 7, 2016

Congrats! If you've narrowed it down to Tuck and Columbia, you need to give heavy consideration to the lifestyle you want. You're talking about opposite ends of the spectrum between middle of nowhere New Hampshire and Manhattan. I think the money should also be a consideration if you're taking out loans, but you're obviously qualified and you have an undergrad degree that will give you a great safety net (SE).

I'm always incredibly jealous of people with coding backgrounds who get into top business schools. Our entire world is moving into software and having the science fundamentals with the B-school ammo on your resume is such a legit combination. Happy for you, good luck.

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Apr 7, 2016

Hi guys...thanks for your responses. Really appreciate your advice. While I really like Tuck and it's rural outdoorsy location, I am leaning slightly towards Columbia because I think I will enjoy living in NYC.. I currently live in the Bay Area but actually I have never really lived in a big city. I have lived for the most part in south bay (close to mountain view). So, I think the chance to live in NYC will be great opportunity for me to try something new (and might as well do it in when I am in my mid-20s). Post-MBA I want to back in the Bay Area, so I probably won't ever get a chance to live the big city NYC life ever again.

The major thing that I see very strongly in favor of Tuck is (which couple people mentioned) the consulting advantage that Tuck has over Columbia. Tuck is a better general management/strategy school than Columbia (which is more focused on finance). Also, the community feeling at Tuck is phenomenal....I have had several Tuck alumni reach out to me offering to help provide advice.

Do you guys think the consulting advantage + stronger community difference is substantial enough between the two schools when it comes to finding a job with McKinsey/Bain/BCG to pick one school over the other? In particular, how would the recruiters in SF/Silicon offices of these consulting firms look upon Tuck vs Columbia?

Thanks
BSchool-2018

Apr 7, 2016

I don't think you should focus on recruiting as they will both open the same doors for SF MBB. It comes down to fit, and if you want to live the big city life then I think you would be miserable at Tuck to be honest. You really need to decide which kind of experience you want. Both are amazing opportunities, just very different, but you will have the same job opp from either.

Apr 7, 2016

This really comes down to CBS versus Tuck. If your goal is MBB above all else, go to Tuck. Tuck places pretty much 25% of every class into MBB, including into SF. Beyond that it comes down to fit.

Apr 7, 2016

Tuck's MBB placement is phenomenal (20-25% typically), but CBS is no slouch as its 3 biggest employers (per their 2015 employment report) are MBB, despite the finance orientation. You would also get SF from either school so don't worry about that too much.

So really, It all comes down to the type of experience you'd like to have, and the place you'd like to have it. If the big city is your priority go Columbia, if the tight-knit community appeals to you more, go to Tuck. My .02? I would attend both ASWs if possible to actually experience the difference between locations when you're surrounded by future classmates and see which one leaves a more lasting impression.

Apr 7, 2016

Hi Guys...thanks for your responses....yes Tuck's strong placement in MBB was a strong reason why I really like the school...With Columbia...I looked at the employment report and you are right that the top 3 employers are MBB. I was just curious regarding what % of those are sponsored vs non-sponsored students...Someone had mentioned that the actual numbers may not be as high as they are reported by Columbia because they include firm-sponsored candidates....but I am assuming the same holds true for Tuck's 20-25% number as well..

Apr 7, 2016

You're desperately trying to split hairs here.... Like everyone has said, you will have the same opportunity from either. It will come down to your individual case performance. Pretty much every other b-school decision factor (location, network, teaching method, class profile,etc.) matters here except for the one you are focusing on (job opps).

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Apr 8, 2016

You are absolutely right! I plan on speaking to few alums from both schools this week to get a better picture of the two programs!

Apr 8, 2016

I like Tuck because of the small class size, where you will form closer bonds with your cohort. Also, it's a strong consulting school and Duke is also a great consulting school. That said, I truly don't think the school determines MBB placements. Bain recruits lots of people at Cornell, which is not nearly as highly ranked as Tuck/CBS. They recruit at all of the top 20 schools. Just pick up a copy of Case in Point, join the consulting club, and prepare thoroughly for MBB interviews. Visit each school if you haven't already; it's like meeting your blind date and it fills in a lot of the blanks in terms of where you would best thrive. Also, I am a huge proponent of informational interviewing and networking with people who are in a position to hire you when you get out. It shows leadership and foresight, and they can also tell you how to best lay the groundwork for your career goal while in b-school. JFDI.

Farrell Dyan Hehn, MBA
http://MBAPrepCoach.com

Apr 9, 2016

The two huge advantages Tuck is known for are its strength in strategy and its ridiculously supportive alumni network. The smaller class size and warm culture of the school develop incredibly loyal alumni. The fact that you've already got people reaching out to you to share their insight and mentor you through the acceptance decision process and earliest career transition steps ought to speak volumes.

Visit both ASWs to see where you get a better vibe. Placement from either school will be essentially identical. You have a compelling profile for consulting and the combination of your (presumably) technical undergrad and work experience plus the MBA means you shouldn't have trouble getting into the West Coast office you want.

I live in New York. I don't think the location advantage matters as much for other industries as it does for banking (where you need to go through a heavy and regimented process of networking with a dozen firms [all BBs and EBs]). I also don't think you're going to have much time to capitalize on the city during your time in school as you think. It boils down to a high cost-of-living experience that affords some slight networking advantages that are more or less negated by the fact that Tuck excels in consulting and has every firm there regularly and an alumni network that'll make sure you succeed.

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Apr 10, 2016

Full disclaimer: I didnt even apply to Tuck because I hated it up there when i visited (I've always lived in big cities).

So as others have said, this really comes down to fit. MBB won't be more likely at one or the other. It's essentially identical. In terms of likelihood of getting the job. So once you accept that, you really just need to think about NYC vs Hanover and the differences in the people. The vibes, from what I've noticed, are very different between the two. So you have to decide where you feel the most comfortable.

I will counter what was said above about not being able to take advantage of the city, though. You'll definitely have the time and ability to do so, especially if you make it a priority. There are all sorts of clubs at CBS designed to do just that. So if you really want to experience the city, I think school is a great time to do that (outside of the cost).

Good luck.

Apr 11, 2016

All the other posters are right that there is essentially no difference in your MBB chances at CBS vs. Tuck. Take that off the table and make the decision based on what you want out of the other aspects of the MBA experience.

I strongly disagree with the poster who said that CBS students don't take advantage of the city. I was admitted to CBS and talked to a lot of students/alums as I was making my decision (ended up w/ Kellogg, but mostly due to $$). Whether it is the summer hamptons week before school starts, the relentless going out on all nights of the week, or the amazing speakers and adjuncts who are constantly on campus, CBS students take FULL advantage of all NYC has to offer. Certainly more so than anyone (like me) who lives in the city but has to be at work by 9am every day.

You are lucky that the $ you got from CBS will cover the cost of living difference, so if any part of you wants to live in NYC in your 20s (which it sounds like it does), take CBS and don't look back.

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Apr 11, 2016

Wait so this is a CBS vs Tuck debate now?

Duke is better than both schools in my opinion. Definitely better than Dart-mouth. I would pick between Duke and Columbia.

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Best Response
Apr 12, 2016
sillymonkey123:

Wait so this is a CBS vs Tuck debate now?

Duke is better than both schools in my opinion. Definitely better than Dart-mouth. I would pick between Duke and Columbia.

But your opinions are invariably fucking terrible.

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Apr 12, 2016

You're right that this comes down to Tuck vs Columbia. Both will get the job done.

Prestige: Tie
Employment tats: Tie
Location: depends on your tastes. Personally I'd prefer NYC but this is very subjective.
Alumni network: Tuck beats EVERYONE

Even though I'd rather be in New York, it'd be really hard for me to turn down Tuck because the alumni network matters so much more than most prospectives understand, and no one else comes close to what Tuck offers there. I say this as an alumnus of another top program and I'm in awe of Tuck culture/loyalty.

Not only does Dartmouth breed loyalty in a way NO other institution does, but Tuck folks remember their school VERY fondly. Have yet to meet a single CBS alumnus who does ("was the right career move", "you can't beat NYC for finance/fun", "have to be in NY for personal reasons", etc).

Either way congrats, choose (I'd say, Tuck) and don't look back.

Apr 12, 2016
jtbbdxbnycmad:

You're right that this comes down to Tuck vs Columbia. Both will get the job done.

Prestige: TieEmployment tats: TieLocation: depends on your tastes. Personally I'd prefer NYC but this is very subjective.Alumni network: Tuck beats EVERYONE

Even though I'd rather be in New York, it'd be really hard for me to turn down Tuck because the alumni network matters so much more than most prospectives understand, and no one else comes close to what Tuck offers there. I say this as an alumnus of another top program and I'm in awe of Tuck culture/loyalty.

Not only does Dartmouth breed loyalty in a way NO other institution does, but Tuck folks remember their school VERY fondly. Have yet to meet a single CBS alumnus who does ("was the right career move", "you can't beat NYC for finance/fun", "have to be in NY for personal reasons", etc).

Either way congrats, choose (I'd say, Tuck) and don't look back.

I literally just had a CBS alum say, and I quote, "CBS was the best two years of my life" in a networking email to me. And have heard many more say it.

I agree with the sentiment that Tuck alums are outrageously loyal. But I don't think it's that far ahead of other schools (CBS included) and has become more of a message board echo chamber point. I've talked to a lot of graduates of a lot of schools when I was deciding on where to attend and then didn't stick out to me in an all that more meaningful way than the CBS/Sloan/Booth/etc alums that I talked too. I tend to think these types of things are grossly exaggerated for people to try and split hairs.

Again OP, like I said above, go with where you feel the best fit.

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Apr 16, 2016

Both CBS and Tuck can get you into MBB, but I would imagine Tuck places better into Tech than does CBS (more finance heavy). That said, you will be there for two years, so what makes the most difference is how you feel the fit is at both places and the place that will give you the most valuable (from your perspective- only you know what matters to you and how much) experience.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

Apr 18, 2016

It's between Tuck and CBS obviously. I'd choose Tuck for MBB + possible Tech

May 11, 2016

I say pick between two strong brand name universities, Duke and Columbia. The Bschools are all the equivalently ranked so you should pick the school with the overall best brand name.

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Apr 17, 2016

Seriously, are you just someone who is upset that they didn't get into Tuck? I've been reading these forums for a few days now and it seems like the only time you ever post is to say something shitty (and entirely untrue) about Dartmouth. Even the fact that you insist on calling it "Dart-mouth" seems a little suspicious. I'm curious, why are you spending so much time trolling here?

May 11, 2016

Dartmouth is a good school but I would never take it over a full blown university such as Duke. Duke is on another level than Dart-mouth. The professors at Dartmouth are the ones that couldnt find jobs at schools like Duke. They are not well known or super stars.

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Jul 7, 2016