One year ago, right around this time, I was in the same shoes as many of you are today. I had been accepted to business school and I was deciding where I should go. As you face this decision, I thought you might like to hear the process I went through to make my decision:
I’m a list maker, so it was no surprise that I created a pro/con list. When deciding between schools, the list included the following (in no particular order):
- how the curriculum would support my career aspirations
- where I could leverage and gain a strong network
- how did I connect with the current students and other admits I met
- strength and breadth of alumni network
- each school’s brand recognition
- what new opportunities and experiences could I have (like living in a new city)
- career services…and the list went on and on
I explored additional resources; spoke with numerous alums, friends and families for advice. I also went to all the admit weekends to get a feel for the school from the student perspective. At the end of the day though, I realized that I could spend hours adding to each column to the point where everything evened out. It started to feel like I was running around in circles with so many facts and feelings in consideration. So I gave myself a break. I stepped away from thinking about “the decision” for a couple days. This break really helped to refocus my attention.
Afterwards, I decided to concentrate on just three things that I felt mattered most to me: how relevant the school’s curriculum and programs related to my career goals, which school could offer new opportunities to learn about myself, and finally, where did my gut tell me to go. This last point was the most important because ultimately, I had to remember, this was my decision and I should trust my instincts. Going through the previous exercise of flushing out all the facts was necessary to thoughtfully consider each school. But at the end of day I knew to stick to where I felt the most comfortable during my visits. And from then on, I knew my answer—Haas.
My process and order of priorities is by no means the only way to arrive at an answer, but I hope that sharing what I went through helps some of you who have a decision to make over the coming days/weeks. For some (hopefully many!) the answer will be Haas, and for others it may be another school or not going to business school at all. But take the time to consider all the facts and your feelings. It’s not an easy decision to make at all. And be confident that no matter where you end up you will come away with amazing opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.