Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Face-off: Yale SOM and Kellogg

I am thrilled to share that I got into Kellogg yesterday! It was a completely different feeling: My acceptance to Yale was like being uncuffed from the shackles of anxiety; admission to Kellogg was like finally leaving my jail cell and seeing the light of day. As I noted earlier this week I was kind of a hot mess during the (seemingly) endless waiting season.  On Monday, when I got the call, I was finally able to celebrate that my hard work had paid off. Although I'm going to take the holidays to think about which school to attend, I have some preliminary thoughts I want to share. Hopefully my readers will weigh in, too!

Edit: I revised the Kellogg Loan Forgiveness section based on new information!
I've decided to pretend to be systematic about my decision.  I have crafted a list of the most important factors in making my decision and am going to host a battle royale of sorts. because there can be only one! (Heidi Klum just flashed through my mind. I should probably not think of this as a fashion contest...oh wait I already did, not once but twice...)

So the major components that I am looking for in a Business School are as follows: Integrity (OMG, ethics at b-school?!), Prestige (admitted reputation whore here), Diversity (challenge me!), and Career (not salary, rather "dream fulfillment").  I'll rate each school on a scale from 1-5. 


I chose to apply to the schools I applied to because they produce graduates who are socially-minded, their alumni's greatest accomplishments are often impact-driven not finance-driven.  These schools top the list of having a combination of great programs, great alumni, great impact.  The thing that makes these school stand out for me though is the commitment to social impact on a deep, sustained level.  Both offer strong curricula in non-profit management, and wonderfully enough they offer "Loan Forgiveness" to those who enter the public sector.  Yale has a strong edge out on Kellogg for me because Kellogg's upper threshold is $85,000 per year, while Yale's is commensurate with the average annual salary (or $100,000+).  Now that is truly putting your money where your mouth is.  

The other thing worth mentioning is the leadership at the schools.  Dean Blount and Dean Snyder are fantastic.  They have both spoken passionately about the importance of social impact work and they are fresh-faced and fulsome about their school's futures. It means a lot to me that they prioritize this kind of civic engagement and that they want to move their programs to the next level of excellence. 

Yale takes the lead on this category because of the more endowed Loan Forgiveness program and the percentage of people who go into social impact fields.

Kellogg: 4
Yale: 5


I chose to apply to top schools because let's be honest, it's easier to get your foot in the door when you have a brand name on your resume. Yale's going to hold more weight than Kellogg because I'm planning on working in non-profit.  Most people (::cough:: me a year ago) are not so familiar with business schools, so the overall parent university is the real linchpin.  Kellogg is a highly esteemed business school, so people who do know will certainly understand the cachet.   My only concern with Kellogg in this area is the obsession with the 1Y and part-time program.  It just gives me pause that they might be moving their focus and thus diluting some of the resources for the 2Y program.

This category is kind of a toss-up because Yale is universally acclaimed as a world-class university, while its business school is quite young, whereas Kellogg is fabulously perceived but Northwestern lacks some star power on the coasts.  My prestige ranking is a mix of my field's preception (first number) and the business world's perception (second number). 

Kellogg: 4/5
Yale: 5/4

Wow, a whole category on the fuzzy topic of difference and feelings.  Kellogg has launched a new campaign to "Think Bravely" and they are really stressing the importance of getting lots of different in their doors to debate and learn from each other.  Also, they outdo Yale in this category by the pure virtue of being a larger school.  Not only does Kellogg bring more people to the table, they really stretch across the world and across industries to ensure that diverse backgrounds and experiences saturate classroom discussions.  

I can't give any school top marks here because there are such limited numbers of under-represented minorities and women at these schools.  Not that all white dudes are the same, but it is a placeholder of sorts.  The other consideration is that both schools are somewhat pigeon-holed in a discipline (Kellogg = Marketing and Yale = Non-profit).  I know this not to be the case from my visits, but it might have some effect on who decides to apply and attend. 

Although Yale does worse in this category, the upside is that if everyone's similar but you LOVE them, you kind of stop caring. (Oh rationalization!)

Kellogg: 4
Yale: 3

The fact that we're taking two years "off" from our career to advance said career is something I would have found laughable two years ago.  My old belief was that your career is something you do, not something you plan for.  Spoken like a true liberal arts major...but now, well I think the skills, network, and experiences I'll gain while in b-school will prove to be the most valuable investment in my career to date. So with that in mind, I am trying to attend a school whose graduates are thrilled with their jobs because they are exactly where they want to be. 

On the Financial Times ranking, they actually have a category called "Aims Achieved" that measures the extent to which graduates fulfilled their goals. I love that Yale is 3rd and Kellogg is 6th in these categories (1st and 3rd respectively in the US!).  It speaks volumes to the passion of graduates to achieve what they want AND to their ability to find work that falls in line with their wishes.  I'm admittedly pretty unfamiliar (read: clueless) with the Career Resource Centers at these schools, but they must be doing something right!  Obviously, having applied I've already bought into the idea that an MBA is the key to moving ahead in my career both in terms of field and position.  

Kellogg: 5
Yale: 5

I feel so lucky and grateful to be in the position of choosing between two amazing schools. And as you can see, it's neck and neck, with the final tally putting them both at 17.5 out of 20.  I know when it comes down to it, the most important thing for me is to determine where I see myself thriving MORE?  I know I would be happy at both schools, but I don't think they'll let me enroll in both...  

So I were forced to make a decision today, it would undoubtedly be Yale, and a lot of it has to do with my visit.  Although I complained about the "love at first sight" factor, I had an amazing visit to New Haven.  The current students AND applicants I met were just incredible.  Throw in the strong financial edge Yale has and I'm pretty sold.  

In the next couple weeks I'll see how I feel, obsessively reading the forums, checking the Facebook groups, and debating with my boyfriend.  At the end of the day, he's given me permission to make the decision, but I definitely need his opinion.  Once he finds out where Connecticut is on a map, he may protest though!

Best of luck to everyone else and congrats to those of you who have gotten in! 


  1. Congrats once again.

    Given your career plans, the loan forgiveness, and Yale's brand name strength in general, i strongly recommend choosing Yale over Kellogg. You need to look at the larger picture here versus just the ranking per se. Further, I am a huge advocate of betting on individuals who have a strong track record and are brought into turnaround situations. Basically, hedging your bets - and Dean Snyder is someone I would hedge on. By the time you graduate, I am sure whatever Yale SOM is not doing well today would have been addressed to a large extent.

    The ONLY reason I would choose Kellogg over Yale is its stronger brand name in business and if my career goal was a bain, McKinsey, BCG, Private Equity etc. Kellogg is much much stronger in those areas than Yale. However, you rightly mention choosing career over salary - in that case, you don't need to think this hard. Yale it is. Plus a new kick ass campus to study in - Nuff said :)


    1. Yeah, I can't believe I didn't even mention the new campus at Yale. It will blow Kellogg's facilities out of the water. How fun it will be for us to be in small town America at beautiful New England campuses! ? Thanks for chiming in. Your points are great and totally reinforce what I'm already thinking!

    2. Excatly! Ya;e's new facilities would be open for you to use them, Kellogg's wont be ready until 2016 or so.

      I am looking forward to the Ivy League experience and spending two years on a beautiful campus. Where are you located in the US? Would love to meet up next year before b school starts. I will be camping in the NYC area at my sister's place before starting school


  2. Congrats on having the best kind of problem, choosing between two great offers! Coming from my perspective as a fellow LGBT candidate, it's been great to read about your journey—thanks for sharing! And coming from the perspective of someone planning to matriculate at Kellogg next year, I'd be sad to see you go to Yale, but I have to admit that you lay out the case for Yale SOM pretty well here.

    Good luck making the decision!

    1. Congrats on the offer to Kellogg--you can't go wrong with Northwestern! I'm already looking forward to the Reaching Out Conference, which we'll definitely meet at! (Woohoo New Orleans!).

  3. FACT: Any school that can be abbreviated with an acronym that doesn't include the university's name is badass.

  4. Glad you've already made a choice.

    Yale's new building is amazing and I'm a fan of integrated curriculum! Most of all, it all fits well with your goals. :)

    Make the best out of your 2 years at an awesome school.

  5. Alison (mrsjonstewart)December 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    First, HUGE congrats -- you totally killed R1! I never had any doubt, you're clearly a rock-star candidate.

    Yale is my #1 choice so I am definitely biased, but I think that's where you'll end up. I am also a nonprofit/social enterprise/world-saver type, and from the minute I started talking about b-school the first word on everyone's lips was "Yale", for all the reasons you've already listed. It is just an AWESOME program.

    A choice between two wonderful options is definitely a good kind of problem to have -- can't wait to see what you decide!

    1. Thanks, Alison! I'm hoping that, with it being your number one choice, you've already gotten the magic "acceptance" call! If not, then R2 is going to feel endless, but I promise you'll make it through!

      I'm definitely leaning Yale, but my family wants me to go to Chicago (notice I say Chicago and not Northwestern, haha). If you want to connect before school, you can email me at sassafras@mybreakaway.com.

  6. Congrats mi amigo! I'm going to play devil's advocate here for a second. Being on the social impact train myself I think that Kellogg can give Yale a run for its money on this front. The SEEK major is robust, Board Fellows is a great opportunity, and Kellogg boasts the #1 Net Impact chapter in the nation. I went to their Innovating Social Change conference this year and it was excellent.
    I also think that non-profit/social impact applicants/students shouldn't lose sight of the fact that what makes us attractive to non-profit organizations is our business experience and knowledge. I recently spoke to a woman in Amex's corporate responsibility division and she told me that she gets interest from a ton of people with great non-profit backgrounds or extensive business backgrounds, but she rarely sees people with both. Sassafrass, you already have great non-profit experience. Building up the business side will make you unstoppable. If you think about it from this perspective I think Kellogg may be the more well rounded school in this aspect.
    And selfishly I'd love to hang with you in Chicago.

    1. You are too sweet. I think we're going to have a chance to meet if (when?) I head to Kellogg's admit weekend. I love having you as my devil's advocate and am still seriously consider Kellogg (with all its SEEKiness). We need to email and start connecting (message me at sassafras@mybreakaway.com). I've been wanting to talk to you about my friend at Booth! (p.s. I tried posting on your blog but I think I'm capcha illiterate...)

  7. Hey Sassafras, I am in Yale R1, too. Yale is definitely my best choice and I didn't even consider Kellogg in my application. Besides, from an investor's perspective, one should choose SOM because it is rising. Hope to see you on campus! You can reach me via chao_shi (at) msn.com