Spanky is a 28 year-old member of the UCLA Anderson MBA class of 2008. GO BRUINS!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


UCLA or Duke? Duke or UCLA? Which one is it going to be? By virtue of my $1500 deposit to Duke a while back, I have already secured a spot and some scholarship money there. If I want to keep the UCLA option open, I need to submit a $1000 deposit by May 1. I should probably try to make my final decision by then so as to only occupy an attending admit spot at 1 of the 2 schools.

Now that I've been to Blue Devil Weekend and A-Days, I feel like I should be able to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, neither admit weekend really called out to me as the perfect place to be for me. Both have their imperfections. It is now a matter of prioritizing which qualities mean more and which imperfections mean less.

Both Duke and UCLA have a vibrant, friendly student body. After all, that is why I chose to apply to these 2 particular schools. Whichever school I choose, I will be happy at. It is nice to be in a win-win situation, but, then again, it makes the decision that much tougher. Which of these 2 great choices will be better?

Here is how I perceive each school's distinct "best" qualities:

Why Duke? Awesome teachers. Great brand name.

Why UCLA? Awesome opportunities.

And here is how I perceive each school's distinct weaknesses:

Why not Duke? More of a traditional business school, in the sense that most graduates seem to go to big companies in traditional fields. I'm not one of those guys.

Why not UCLA? Professors seem too focused on research and not that engaging in the classroom setting. Potentially too unstructured learning environment.


Blogger Marina said...

The research obsessed profs are a problem at all of the UC schools. I guess that is what you have to deal with when you go to a state program. Personally, it was one of the things I hated about undergrad. It felt as though they were doing me a favor by coming in to teach, rather then being excited about it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 5:39:00 PM

Blogger Fritz said...

I got the same vibe about the professors as you did when I attended A-Days I. I think that award for "Best Intellectual Capital" didn't help the students case for getting more hands on profs. Outside of the classroom though the Anderson environments is great. Good luck with your decision.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 5:48:00 PM

Blogger Harper said...

Don't know much about UCLA, but I've only heard great things from my friend who got out of Fuqua in 05.

I had a question about MBA deposits. Are they in any way legally binding? If you pay the deposit, when is the last chance you can back out of your attendance to the school? Orientation? When 1st semester tuition is due?


Tuesday, April 25, 2006 6:03:00 PM

Blogger Spanky said...

Harper, it is my understanding that admissions deposits aren't legally binding, but it is prudent to let your schools know if you're in or out as early as possible. I would imagine you could hold out until the 1st quarter/semester tuition is due (usually some time in July/August, I think) if you wanted, but that would be discouraged. Keep in mind, you are occupying a spot that someone else desperately wants!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 6:07:00 PM

Blogger KV said...

Which one of the 2 schools will be cheaper? By how much? Where would you rather live after school?
If I was in your shoes I’d pick UCLA but that’s because I’m from California.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 6:31:00 PM

Blogger Forrest Gump said...

tough spot to be in, but i guess you still should make a decision before May 1st and save yourself some valuable money.

Good luck.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 9:47:00 PM

Blogger i_will_make_it said...

Thanks for sharing about A-days. The info really helped me out since I couldn't attend. :-)

Yes, these decisions are very difficult. Hmm... well it sounds like on the social life side, you'll have a great experience at both. Perhaps, what are your career goals? In a past post you mentioned Duke's marketing program and UCLA's entrepreneurial program. Is there one area you're more interested in career-wise?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 2:26:00 AM

Blogger Nick said...

Maybe you just need a change of scenery. Does UCLA have extra appeal to you because you'd get to leave NC for CA? Do you want to end up in CA after school?

(Disclaimer: I went to Duke for undergrad, and I'm returning to Fuqua this fall after many years in frigid NY.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 11:02:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothing's perfect. maybe instead of focusing on the imperfections, you should focus on the things that you do like. location, people, elective offerings, curriculum, leadership opps, etc.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 11:59:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed, come back to CA!!! Ryan and I are moving to San Diego so we won't be too far from each other!! Thumbs up for UCLA!!! Ooooh and beach volleyball! I bet you miss that!

Thursday, April 27, 2006 3:31:00 PM

Blogger AynRand2008 said...

Did you go to a private or public school for undergrad? If you went to a public one, I will try Duke for a change if I were you. If you went to a private one, you may not like the bureaucracy that you have to deal with at UCLA.

So either way, I vote for Duke. I know your friends and family may not like the Duke idea so much, but they will be happy if you are happy. :-)

Thursday, April 27, 2006 4:27:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

spanky goes to hollywood ~ congrats on your decision

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 9:18:00 PM


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