These MBA Students Turned Down Top 10 Programs to Come to Foster

Choosing to get your MBA is a tough decision. Choosing where to enroll is often even more challenging.

Foster’s spot has been climbing steadily in recent years, as its graduates enjoy strong job placement rates and high starting salaries. Nevertheless, it hasn’t commanded placement in the top 10.

Many Foster students boast the necessary backgrounds and aptitude to land offers from these schools, but still choose to come to Foster. Pallavi Sharma and Jonathan Ng (both members of the full-time class of 2018) are two such students.

Pallavi Sharma, Foster Full-Time MBA Class of 2018

Pallavi Sharma

Why did you choose Foster?

It was a difficult decision. In addition to Foster, I was admitted to a top school on the East Coast. Depending on who is doing the rankings, it’s usually in the top five, and often in the top three. However, there were a few factors that really swayed my decision.

First, I knew that I wanted to work in technology, and I wanted to live and work on the West Coast. At the other school, I knew I would have opportunities to visit west coast companies on treks and for recruiting, but I thought, “Why do I want to travel? Why not just be here?”

Foster’s location in Seattle was a big draw, and it’s been a big strength since I’ve been here. You can network here; you can work on live projects with major tech companies. Seattle is the city of cloud computing — the city of AR and VR. In some respects, the Seattle ecosystem surpasses the Bay Area. It’s a really well-positioned city and very welcoming.

Second, the people. I visited both schools, and I found that the students at Foster were more focused and more mature. At the other school, there was a definite party vibe. I’m having fun here, but I wanted a rigorous experience with teammates that were dedicated to learning the material.

Finally, there were financial considerations. Here I can graduate without a loan, which would not have been possible at the other school, yet I probably would’ve taken the same job at the same salary.

Are you happy with your decision?

Absolutely.

This summer, I’m doing my internship at Microsoft. I also had offers from Amazon and a venture capital firm. Those are probably the same opportunities I would’ve pursued had I gone to that other school. My mentor this year was the CFO of Amazon retail — that was an amazing experience. The people here are great, and Seattle has more to offer lifestyle wise.

Jonathan Ng, Foster Full-Time MBA Class of 2018

Jonathan Ng

Why did you choose Foster?

Really, it was a mix of both practical and emotional factors.

Practically speaking, it came down to location of the school, the companies that were located nearby, and the employment report. Although the other schools I had offers from in the Midwest and West Coast were ranked in the top 10, they actually had worse statistics in terms of full-time job offers and income. Getting an MBA is great, but it’s expensive, so I needed a solid return.

I did my research into Foster, and found that all the faculty members had great reputations or had previously taught at Ivy League schools, but the tuition was only half as much. And Seattle is located near almost every major tech company in the world.

Emotionally, I was a University of Washington undergraduate, and during that time, I really fell in love with the school and the city of Seattle. There’s just so many things to do here; there’s a great variety of restaurants. People here are really cosmopolitan — really welcoming of other cultures, which is especially important for me as an international student.

Are you happy with your decision?

Of course.

The other schools I was admitted to have huge classes. I really love the small program size here because I can actually connect and form meaningful relationships with my classmates. Seattle is becoming the next Silicon Valley — Amazon has big ambitions for hiring, and so many Bay Area companies are setting up offices here.

I accepted an offer to work for Amazon this summer as a PM intern. It’s the same internship I would’ve recruited for had I gone to either of those other schools. So I don’t think anything would’ve been different on that front, but I wouldn’t have had access to all the great experiences Seattle has to offer if I hadn’t come to Foster.

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    Great read! Thanks!