Location matters

I recently received multiple inquiries from prospective applicants as to ‘why NYU’? This either means they want me to do their homework for Essay2 or they cant believe a talented person like me went to Stern or something more enigmatic. I have 2 words for them – location matters. NYU may or may not be the best business school but it is in the best location possible for many lucrative fields. And why should you care that much for location? Because when it comes to recruiting and networking, there is a limit on distance and time and money you can spend flying. Dartmouth Tuck may have a very warm student culture and cuddly alumni community but you cant imagine traveling every now and then to Boston or New York just to meet a potential employer or meet an alumnus herself. The point I am trying to make is that MBA in current day is a huge investment and you should spend it at least in a place where you can get most noticed.

Now coming to my own Stern experience: in these past 4 intensive days, there is not a single significant school resource that I find lacking. Their faculty and career center are among if not the best since I cant actually compare to other schools. If there is anything that school can do for you get a specific job, they will do it – so it boils down to what YOU can do. And that is the biggest question in any top B-school. Harvard and Wharton may have higher % of students going to PE firms but if you are not up to it, no school in this world can get you recruited to a top PE firm. So, looking at so many of these stats is irrelevant if you don’t analyze your preferences and skillset first. Also, with your unconventional background (Harvard is known to love military, journalists, fifth world countries, govt executives, LGBT), Harvard might make it easier for you to get placed in a rare VC firm but if it is not what you wanted, you are not going to enjoy it. So figure out what you are after. In comparison, I’ve seen some star students going to a lower ranked school but shining there so much that they land in to top companies that come to recruit there whereas if they went to a more competitive school, it might have been harder. Both things happen, find out what can work for you and go to the best school you get into. Once there, make the best out of your stay and in hindsight, you will laugh upon how much you were fretting over on trivial things. I will leave it to you to decide your preference but for me, location matters most in today’s market. To give a little perspective, I went for MS in Comp Sc (which btw is highly competitive and was more so given my comparatively weaker undergrad background) at Univ of Illinois, Urbana Champaign which ranks 5th best in the world in Comp Sc – it is not a trivial detail but its location sucks. I personally believe I could have achieved better exposure if nothing else had I been to NYU/Columbia or any Bay area university just because of sheer location factor.

And this blog is going to be microbloggish and unedited from now on since my first week at B School has just redefined ‘busy’ for me. This is the first free evening I have got and I am taking this break before I can dive into a possibly long prep night for tomorrow’s exam.

Good luck to all those who asked me MBA admission questions to me, hope it helped!

There is a better way of saying this and here goes-

Q: Did you turn down a higher ranked school for Stern?
Me: No

Q: Which cities are worth going to in today’s economy?
Me: New York, Boston, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and closer places travelable by road.

Q: Do you have any regrets about choosing Stern?
Me: No

Q: What should I do?
Me: Go figure.

4 thoughts on “Location matters”

  1. That explains it!
    I was wondering why is everything so silent for the past few days…

    It is surprising – no, frightening – to know that initial days can be so busy, and an exam scheduled just 5 days into the program.


    Good Luck !

  2. Very interesting post. When I was looking at law schools (ultimately, I chose to pursue my MBA), what really struck me was the locations of many of them. Here in Pennsylvania, there are two “metros”; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Yet many of the law schools here are removed from these cities. I have a good friend who is a 2L at Penn State; 3 years in good old Carlisle, PA! Urgh…I couldn’t even imagine!

    I have never found myself in a position where I could just go to school and that was it. I’ve had a job since I was 15. At one point, I was working 2 jobs (part-time) and going to college full-time. So for me, any college that does not offer local work opportunities is just out of the question for me.

    Yet another reason why MBA rankings should be taken with a grain of salt. The different situations that we all (MBA students that is) find ourselves in runs the gamut. Very good advice all around & good luck in the Spring 2011 semester!

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