This post is supposed to be a private notes. However, i thought this post would help many more out there who are deciding between colleges. The decision of choosing the college is a mix of quantitative, qualitative, personal and emotional analysis. One might get so many conflicting opinions and finally one may be totally confused about the DECISION.
I applied for 4 different colleges in Bay Area. # UC Davis Bay Area Part-time MBA program # Santa Clara University Professional MBA Program # University of San Francisco # Golden Gate University. These 4 universities are more or less famous in the Bay Area and i see many colleagues and friends who did their MBA and are in good positions in their respective organizations. I had discussions with many students from each of the university that I applied and debated a lot on one over the other. Trust me, I had almost 4 months of decision time and research. I did also attended the guest classes from each university.
Without wasting your time and my time, following are the considerations
- Reputation of the School
- Is this school recognized out side Bay Area ?
- Is this school recognized out side California ?
- Is this school recognized out side USA ?
- Total Cost of the Program
- Is it affordable? Is it Worth ?
- Is it necessary to be in Campus ?
- What do you want to do with Campus ?
- Do you have much time to hand around in Campus ?
- Do you have powerful Alumni ?
- Is Alumni active ?
- Can you benefit from Alumni ?
- Industry Connection
- Does the school provide good exposure ?
- Can you get connections from School ?
- Do you get access to best people from Industry ?
- Diversity of Students
- Do you want same mind set of people or different ?
- Do you want to stick to same field of profession even after MBA ?
- Do you respect the opinion of a person in other profession ?
- Do you have a guest faculty or a full-time faculty ?
- Do you get the professors from undergraduate program ?
- Are they well qualified and well experienced in Industry.
Once I had the criteria, it was easy for me to decide. I never had the Commute or Schedule as the critical criteria as most of the classes are over the weekend and i don’t mind the commute at all. I also had the “easy factor” in the application process. I definitely wanted to join something that i felt “GOOD” and “CONVENIENT”. Following is my general impression on the application process for each University.
Golden Gate University : Had to send the GMAT score, TOEFL waiver essay, 2 Recommendations, 1 Application Essay/Statement of Purpose, Transcripts directly from University and the application fee. It was a very smooth process and i had no issues with the communication or the way they handled the application. They offer an MBA with in 21 months and the tuition fee is relatively less in Golden Gate. I had a personal interview with the director of the program where we discussed my experience, why i want to do my MBA and my future aspirations. All in all, it was a nice experience.
University of San Francisco : Had to send GMAT score, waived the TOEFL, 2 recommendations, 2 application essays, and Transcripts sent to WES (World Education Services) and application fee. This is one University that made me bit frustrated. I had no idea why this university asks people to send the Transcripts to WES where as ALL other universities asks them Transcripts sent directly to them. The problem is the WES support system is very lousy and i hated interacting with them. They have a customer support and email that does not respond. Repeatedly interacting with them just made me frustrated and angry most times. They also charge around $260 to review your transcripts. I have no idea, why this university does this. My university sent the Transcripts to all the universities including WES and the WES says that it had not got it (where as other universities got them). Also, the fact that i had to put so much of pressure on USF to get a reply from a “person” (and not IVR) from WES was too huge and not desired.
However, my experience with this university was tiring and i don’t recommend this for International Students.
Santa Clara University : This needed GMAT score, waived the TOEFL, 2 paper based recommendations, 2 application essays and the Transcripts sent to them directly. I loved the campus and the class rooms (i took guest student class) and the professors looked very knowledgeable. Students that i talked to gave a very good impression of the program. This program has mostly students from the IT/Software industry. Probably people looking for diversity may not find this as a best choice.
My over all impression was that this is a great school and i had a smooth communication. The admission team is nice and professional.
UC Davis : This needed GMAT score, waived TOEFL, 2 recommendations, 2 long-essays, 3 short-essays, 1 personal interview and the Transcripts sent to them directly once you get admitted. Bay Area campus is an extended one in San Ramon and i liked the class rooms too. Santa Clara University and UC Davis Bay Area had similar class rooms. UC Davis is known for the diversity of students and it stands in leadership position in the Industry and events. I had to go to the San Ramon campus for my personal interview. I had an interview with the panel and a 5 minute presentation with the panel. The presentation topic could be any thing and i talked about my parenting experiences.
My overall impression was great and very satisfied with the way they answer the questions/queries about the program.
Of course, i finally decided to take the admission in the UC Davis for the various reason i discussed above. Everyone have their own priorities and expectations. Depending on what your goals are, the decision parameters and the end result might differ. However, it is worthwhile to consider all the options available and take a careful decision on the MBA program that’s going to get added for rest of your life. I consider deciding an MBA program is like decision of marriage. One needs to be very careful with personal expectation and the spouse’s. If your mess up the expectations, you screw up the complete relationship. It takes a lot of effort to analyze and decide what each one of us wants.
My decision is my decision. I want any readers to take my opinions with a grain of salt and use your own discretion. My situation may not be your situation.