So, I based my top choices of programs on the best local part-time programs. It turns out that UC Berkeley is wildly expensive. Now, I have several friends, a parent, and a girlfriend who all went to Berkeley for undergrad or grad. I’ve seen performances and competed in a tournament. Haas is world famous. It was a little gut-wrenching to compare numbers with the next ranked Bay Area part time program. Side by side, Haas was hugely expensive, and had a worse ratio of cost to post-program salaries.
Admittedly, the choice not to apply to Haas made my plan much less stressful. I knew that I could handle the GMAT fairly easily if I didn’t absolutely need to get above 700. This impression of facility was based on getting high marks on the GREs a decade ago, but it was a fair call. Another thing about Haas: my unemployed status made me nervous about distancing myself from all the companies in the South Bay. I could make a midnight run for Tijuana in less time that rush hour traffic moves between Mountain View and Berkeley.
Then, there are the rumors about employment snobbery at the “top” B-schools: I had an uncle who recommended someone who didn’t get into her top choice because she borrowed money from her parents when she started her own business. I talked to a guy who started a tech company too far in advance of the potential market, gave up on it, and took a senior position at a Fortune 500 tech company. His first choice school saw it as a step down and rejected him. Unemployment is enough of a financial liability without thinking about it as an academic liability. Seriously. I’ve had a decent employment history, so I welcomed the confidence that came with applying to a “top 15” level of program (Santa Clara University) instead of a “top 10”.
Additional comment: It seems a little mercenary to point this out, but I just checked the most recent statistics and was a pleasantly surprised.
Leavey, average starting salary (US News & WR): $100,466
Haas, average starting salary (US News & WR): $98,977