HBS vs. Wharton/Lauder
I've been admitted to HBS vs. Wharton/Lauder, but there's a lot of different factors at play into my decision. Hoping to source some opinions or perhaps hear from people who have been in similar situations.
1. Harvard Business School - 100K most in financial aid, and might be eligible for more fellowship funding or external scholarships
- Wharton/Lauder - MBA/MA in International Studies, nearly full tuition from fellowships, and might be eligible for some additional need-based funding or external scholarships
1. Unparalleled brand - this is self-explanatory, HBS is just more prestigious both domestically and globally. One thing to note is, I went to Harvard for my undergraduate, so there might be diminishing returns to multiple Harvard degrees.
2. Better placement in high finance careers (PE, , VC) - not sure I'll totally want to go down this route but want to maximize my odds should I opt for IB or Consulting route.
3. Best alumni network in the world - this is also a give, more CEOs and c-suite than any other school. incredibly powerful network
4. Case method - I personally love the case method and think it will prepare me well as a leader
5. Quality of Students - I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I perceive a very felt difference in quality between HBS students and Wharton students with the former being much more impressive based on their LinkedIns and resumes as well as the people I personally know at each school.
6. State of the art campus and facilities - HBS' campus is unmatched with around 40 buildings including academic halls, dining halls, various residence halls, and a beautiful bucolic campus contributing to an overall more enjoyable quality of life
7.Location: Boston is preferable to Philly by a lot
8. Nostalgia: It's been a lifelong dream to attend HBS and, having gone to the college, I took some classes there, worked with professors, and have genuine relationships with professors, administrators, and advisors, etc. Choosing HBS would be like homecoming.
1. Single degree/Difficulty standing out - at Wharton, I would be well differentiated with two degrees and two large merit fellowships. At HBS, I feel like it would be much harder to stand out and differentiate myself from the competition during recruiting. I also studied Economics as an undergrad, which is a dime a dozen degree even if from the top economics department in the world.
2. Money - while Financial Aid is generous, it just doesn't compare to the generosity Wharton/Lauder has offered. I could apply for external fellowships and scholarships. It will just take more time and energy and I would apply to them at Wharton also.
4. Technical/Quantitative Skills - my tech/quant skills are somewhat of a growth area. Don't get me wrong, they're strong but could be better. I don't think HBS, with its heavy emphasis on the case method, will provide me with a lot of these skills, so I would have to study them on my own. Whereas Wharton's curriculum seems to be much more skills-based and varied.
1. Money - near full ride in named fellowships, no questions asked. I know only about a third of Wharton students get offered fellowship support, and the majority do not get anywhere near this amount so would help me stand out given it's merit-based.
2. Lauder/Dual Degree - this is incredibly appealing as I would love supplementing my MBA with global studies and language classes. It would also allow me to differentiate myself from the sea of MBAs and I could see employers, particularly some BBs, really valuing the academic diversity of a non-business degree in addition to the MBA. It also just makes for a more interesting and formative educational experience and make me more enriching of a colleague. Would also get the opportunity to write a Masters thesis which I am excited about.
3. Quantitative and Technical Skills - Wharton's curriculum is flexible and allows you to skip a lot of intro courses to get into advanced courses that will actually teach me a lot. The curriculum is a mixture of teaching methods and would more reliably prepare me for a career in finance or consulting. For example, part of why I think my technical skills are not my strongest is because I went to a liberal arts undergrad, so I think a more pragmatic approach to education is really compelling
4. Location: While I prefer Boston over Philly, Wharton is closer to home (NY metro area) and NYC which could help for recruiting but really would be more fun
5. Social/3 Day Weekends: I love that Wharton has three day weekends with no classes on Fridays. This allows for more opportunity to socialize. Granted, I'm not THAT outgoing, but still nice to have the flexibility in your schedule.
1. Big drop in prestige/name brand - again this feels very real, especially abroad. I already have Harvard on my resume, so not sure how much of a factor this should play in my decision compared to someone who doesn't already have this.
2. Student body quality - this is probably the biggest con for me. Based on my experience talking to students, most Wharton students (outside of Lauder) are just not THAT impressive when it comes to their academic and professional achievements. I'm definitely splitting hairs here. I know that this is going to sound incredibly disconnected (valid), but they tend to be smart/strong students who love business/finance and are motivated to put in the work to succeed in demanding industries. Whereas HBS students are much more likely to elicit a wow from me based on their academic and pre-MBA professional experiences. It feels like every HBS student wants to change the world and leave a lasting legacy. They tend to be more diverse, colorful, and unique, which is a big plus to me.
3. Location: Philly seems like not my ideal city. I don't think living here would be as comfortable as living on HBS' campus.
4. Limiting to Finance/Consulting - Wharton has less of a name/presence in the tech sector. There are plenty of students who still break in, but HBS is more renown universally so allows me some flexibility should I decide to pivot to another area.
So what does everyone think about my dilemma? I know both are incredible options. Would love to source opinions or ideas as to how people would go about making the decision or hear from any who have been in this situation or in similar circumstances.
Also if anyone is Round 2 or thinking of b-school admissions, happy to answer any questions you may have. :)