I have already applied to two schools, Yale and Oxford. I have been waitlisted at Yale. I will be interviewing with Oxford at the beginning of March.
Why Oxford and Yale? Well, first, I created a list of what I wanted in a b-school: students from all over the world, a small class size, bright and ambitious classmates, etc. Then, I created another list. This list enabled me to determine where I stood a reasonable chance of admission based upon my UGGPA (3.3 from top public school), GMAT score (90th+ percentile), age (early 30s at time of entry), and other factors. When I used my lists to determine which schools I would apply to, Yale and Oxford were the only programs that rose to the top of my third and final list - the "Yes, apply!" list.
I drew the following conclusions when going through the usual list of suspects: I'm too old for Stanford and Harvard. My GMAT's too low for Columbia. Harvard, Kellogg and Wharton are too large. I hate Boston, so that was another strike against Harvard and the only one I needed to rule out MIT. Also, while I don't have to be in a major city that I enjoy visiting, I have to be near one, so Tuck fell out of the picture (although, of all of the essay questions that I read, Tuck's were the most interesting, and this alone almost lead me to apply there). I didn't want to spend half a year writing anywhere from four to six essays per application. And I didn't want to return to my alma mater, nor was I interested in its sister to the south.
And that's how the decisions were made. I know that there are differences between Yale and Oxford in terms of how the programs are structured. If I'm lucky enough to get admitted into both programs, I will face a very difficult choice. Right now, my perception is that both schools will be able to offer me the education and challenging (but intimate) environment I am seeking. I'm pretty flexible, and my expectations are reasonable. I know that it will be up to me to make the most of any school's academic offerings and that finding a job in my field (not
IB, finance, or consulting) will be largely dependent on my own efforts.
I am now trying to get myself onto Yale's admit list. I am also preparing for my Oxford interview. I have a lot of work to do.