Thoughts on Grad School, Part 2

I already talked about going back to graduate school in a previous post, so I’ll let you go read that if you want the total background of what led to my current choice.

If you’ve been following me on Twitter — at this point, why aren’t you on Twitter? — you would have seen the following tweet:

The tweet announced my final six choices for pursuing my masters in finance. I’ll get to them in a minute. After being humbled Tuesday night taking a pretest in my GMAT prep course, I realize that I have some work to do to get my score in the vicinity of 650, which I think would make me competitive for admission at my currently-targeted schools. 

If there is one thing that you notice about my list it is that all my current options are public schools. This was done deliberately, as I am planning on using my remaining 10 months and 15 days of GI Bill eligibility on the degree, and public schools tend to be cheaper. Without further ado, here is a bit more about each of the six finalists and why they made the short list in no particular order:

University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business – I’ll admit up front that the primary reason that the University of Maryland made the list was its Washington metro area location. Its main campus is in College Park, Maryland, but it appears to hold classes in downtown DC as well. Like most of the others on the list, it requires a few core courses, but also leaves room for some customization in the program based on the electives taken. Glancing at the list, I see Applied Equity Analysis and Portfolio Management of classes that I would probably end up taking.

Portland State University School of Business Administration – I don’t think this program has some of the “big name” feel to some of the others on the list, but I’ve always wanted to live in Portland, even if it was only for 12 months or so. The length is a bit of a drawback, and the core curriculum is a little bigger than most of the other programs, but it offers an Investment Management track which looks to have some very exciting classes.

Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management – I can’t remember exactly what drew me to this school. It isn’t in a major metropolitan area that I wanted to live in. It doesn’t allow for a lot of customization in the program. Nevertheless, it is a 10-month program and is a respected school for various reasons. Plus, it’s on the cheaper end of the price spectrum, as well as having a low enough cost-of-living that my limited GI Bill will go a bit farther when finding a place to live, especially when compared to the University of Maryland.

University of Colorado at Denver Business School – Similar to Portland State, I really want to live in Denver, but it might be difficult, and about $15,000 more, to go to the University of Denver. There is a bit of room for specialization in the required 12 hours of electives, and it is the second cheapest school on my list, not to mention that it isn’t terribly far away should I need to return home for some reason.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – I was really looking for a school in Chicago, but the choices were pretty limited, especially considering my (mild) cost constraint. Urbana-Champaign is about two hours away though, giving me some opportunity to go to the city on weekends if I so desired. I also appreciate the availability of graduate housing within my housing stipend, so that’s a plus as well.

University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business – The required fall back school. I really want to use the opportunity of grad school to live elsewhere before coming back to Utah and really entrenching myself, but the “hometown” school offers plenty of benefits. It is the cheapest school by far, allowing my remaining GI Bill to go pretty far and the program itself seems to be among the best in the west. Even so, it will be my last choice if I get into more than one school if only for the “see the world” aspect of some of the other options.

Now, at this point you might be asking yourself why I felt so limited in my selection of grad schools. Most schools seem to have an MBA, and probably some more “exotic” schools would be open if I wanted to get an MBA. While that argument makes a lot of sense, there are a couple of reasons why I have decided to narrow my focus to a masters in finance, and I’ll go into them on Friday.

Until then…

7 thoughts on “Thoughts on Grad School, Part 2

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