Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why Wharton? Part I

Well, I'm 99.9% sure that I will be matriculating at Wharton. Here's why I am choosing it over Kellogg, based on the aspects that are important to me.

Wharton: I live in the Philly suburbs, Wharton is in Philly. Hubby and I grew up here, and want to remain here after graduation. One consulting gig a few years ago gave me the chance to work and live (out of a hotel) in the city, and I kind of wished that I could have a chance to live there. But, since we wanted to buy a house, we couldn't afford the nice parts of the city. Wharton would give us a chance to live in the city for 2 years, as long as we can rent our house in the suburbs. Also, staying here will allow Hubby to stay at his current job and will keep us close to our family and friends.
Kellogg: Hubby and I lived in Chicago for 3 years after college and loved it. The idea of being able to go back there for a few years is definitely enticing. We still have many friends there, and there are plenty of things we never got to do while we lived there. However, Kellogg isn't quite in Chicago, although Evanston isn't too far. Students say they rarely leave Evanston though since there is so much going on there in the Kellogg social scene. Moving to Evanston would definitely be more of a hassle than Philly for us. Finally, Philly isn't exactly warm, but Chicago is darn cold in the winter!

Health Care Curriculum:
Wharton: One of the first things I liked about Wharton is the Health Care Management major. It is really everything that I want out of my MBA experience from an academic perspective. I will have the chance to learn about the entire industry, which I really need to understand to be able to operate effectively in pharmaceutical marketing. Also, the program is solid and established with a great reputation in the industry, an extensive and tight alumni network, and additional career services on top of the regular MBA career services (the program puts out a glossy resume book each year). They really make an effort to create a community within Wharton, through special health care events and by building learning teams that are health care only. Health Care students must apply specifically for the major, and must interview with the coordinator to make sure the student and program are a good match. Yet, health care students are not separate from the rest of the MBA community.
Kellogg: Kellogg also has a health care major (called Health Industry Management). While the coursework seems comparable, it doesn't seem to have the structure that Wharton has. When I inquired about Wharton's program, I was directed to the program coordinator, who sent me hard copy materials and invited me to come in and meet with her. When I went to Kellogg for my interview, I inquired about the HIM major and was told they didn't have any materials. I managed to find a map of the building and wandered in to the HIM office. A secretary handed me a small packet containing a course syllabus, but that's all they had. I have to admit that I was disappointed. If I hadn't had such a great impression of Wharton's program, maybe I would have been more impressed. But unfortunately for Kellogg, Wharton set the bar pretty high. One other thing - Kellogg's program is open to not only 2-year MBA students, but also part-time students. This means that, not only is the community therefore more fragmented at Kellogg, but it also means that many of the classes are only offered in the evening - not exactly a selling point for me!

Marketing Curriculum:
Wharton: I think I saw Wharton ranked 2nd for marketing somewhere at some point, but now I can't find that ranking. Regardless, most people I've talked to that went to Wharton believe that its marketing program is probably under-rated. With the school being so well known for finance, it is natural that something like marketing would be overshadowed. Many people also told me the marketing curriculum is probably more quantitative and data-driven than at other schools, but I have no way to really substantiate this. I did sit in on a couple marketing classes and I was impressed.
Kellogg: Kellogg is as well known for marketing as Wharton is for finance. In marketing circles, it is widely regarded as the best. I sat in on a class here too, which was great. "Brand" (as in brand management) is one of the top careers students choose, and many companies recruit there specifically for that reason. Also, while I was there, the marketing club was in the middle of the annual marketing competition, where students compete to market real products to their classmates. There were advertisements everywhere, and it seemed really cool environment to be a part of.

Ok, I've got to cut this short so I can watch some American Idol (Philly auditions!) I promise to continue this ....


mbabound said...

I have to admit I didn't know most of Kellogg's healthcare courses are in the evening. BUMMER!!! Oh well, I don't have the option of choosing between Kellogg and Wharton. Good luck!

tinydancer said...

mbabound, it is a bummer but I'm sure it's not a big deal when you only have a few classes a day anyway! I'm sure you will have a great experience at Kellogg - it wasn't for me but it is definitely a great school!!

Clear Admit said...

Hello Tinydancer,

You've provided a keen breakdown of your experiences with Kellogg and Wharton in this post! The Clear Admit Wiki has a "School Choices" page where MBA applicants can recount school comparisons - would you be willing to post this report to the Clear Admit Wiki for the benefit of other applicants? You can do so by clicking here, or simply e-mailing the text to wiki@clearadmit.com (we’ll be sure to link back to your blog when we post your information).

We’d also love to hear about campus visits and your GMAT experience. Have fun voting for the next American Idol!

Thanks and best of luck in the MBA admissions process!


Anonymous said...

Hey Tiny Dancer -
First of all - thanks for sharing your journey with us (including lurkers like myself). Congrats on your acceptances! Both great schools. Although not a healthcare major myself, I am definitely majoring in Marketing. I had a lot of the same thoughts re the Marketing Program differences between Kellogg and Wharton. You're right - everyone I spoke to has the impression that Kellogg is a better school, but after doing research on the top Marketing programs, Wharton is definitely up there. Wharton as a whole is very quantitative and technical in its approach, and the marketing discipline is no less rigorous. (Geek trivia: conjoint analysis was born at Wharton.) Have you checked out the marketing department websites for both schools?

Good luck with your decision!