When I first got my GMAT score, people immediately started telling me: "You should apply to Wharton!" I live in the Philly metro area. Around here, business school = Wharton. At first all I could do was tell myself to keep an open mind. I was so ready to go to a local part time program that it took some time to break myself out of that mindset.
There were a few reasons I eventually came around and decided to apply to full time programs:
1) I like my job, but I don't love it. People told me when I got into this supply chain function that I would get tired of it, and I feel like I am getting to that point. The path forward from here is to either get deeper skills and more responsibility, eventually leading to senior management, or try to break into another area. My industry, however, really seems to value specific experience over potential. It would be theoretically possible to move into, say, marketing, from where I am by networking hard and making a few strategic moves. But it wouldn't be easy or fast. I do like pharmaceuticals though, and I want to stay in it.
2 ) I've been successful in my current role, but I have not felt a lot of upward movement since I left consulting. It seems that one needs to be a "teacher's pet" to really go far in my department. It's just not in my nature to try to position myself that way.
3) I began looking through Wharton's website and found two things. One: While banking and consulting are the overwhelming majority of post-graduation jobs, there is a strong contingent of grads going into marketing and/or pharmaceuticals. I'd been there, done that with consulting, and I have no desire to try anything relating to finance! But I hadn't really considered something like marketing .... Two: The Health Care Management program! I was amazed to find that Wharton has a very strong program focusing particularly on the industry I am interested in. Cool!
So I began researching further. I wanted to stick to top schools only, because for me it would not be financially worth it to forgo two years of my salary otherwise. For so-called Tier 2 schools, the post-graduation salaries are too close to what I already make.
The only other school I could really see myself at was Kellogg. It also has a Health Care major (Health Industry Management). It's also obviously very strong in marketing, and it's located very close (though not in) a city Hubby and I used to live in and absolutely adored. And I really liked Kellogg's focus on teamwork.
So I decided to move forward with 2 round 1 applications, telling myself I would regroup after submitting and pick some round 2 schools.