Chicago’s Booth vs. Northwestern’s Kellogg School

The central piazza of the new Harper Center at Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Photo by John A. Byrne

Outside of Boston, which can boast Harvard and MIT, there’s pretty much only one other major city in the world that can lay claim to a pair of world-class graduate schools of business: Chicago. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business are close to each other in several respects. Their full-time MBA enrollments are roughly the same size, while they both offer sizable part-time and EMBA programs as well. Both schools also frequently rank rank near each other in some of the most influential rankings. On the other hand, these are two vastly different schools in their approach to business education. Historically, Chicago has been a quant school that has placed nearly half of its graduates in finance jobs. Kellogg is a general management school, with a strong reputation for marketing. These two schools are highly competitive with each other. When Kellogg MBAs won a Real Estate Challenge competition against their Booth counterparts in June of 2010, Kellogg actually issued a press release on the victory, noting that Kellogg had beaten Booth for the second year in a row. One other similarity? Both schools have new deans. Kellogg is now led by Sally Blount, who had been dean of New York University’s undergraduate business program, while Booth’s new leader is  Sunil Kumar, who had been an operations professor and associate dean for academic affairs at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. In some ways, Kumar has the tougher job because he has taken over from a highly popular dean in Ted Snyder who championed more progress at Chicago than any leader in recent memory.

The most dramatic differences between these two MBA educational giants?

Geography: You’d think that the University of Chicago would be in the center of Chicago. It isn’t. It’s in Hyde Park, about a 20-minute train ride to the edge of Chicago’s downtown. Public transporation isn’t ideal, and a crime-infested neighborhood separates the campus from downtown Chicago. Nonetheless, Hyde Park–where President Obama used to live–is a pretty and relatively comfortable place. Kellogg is in Evanston, Ill., about a 30-minute train ride into the heart of Chicago. It has the look and feel of a typical university town such as Ann Arbor, Mich., or Madison, Wis. In either case, you have immediate and quick access to one of America’s greatest cities. As the third largest city in America, Chicago is an exciting place to be, with a thriving music scene, first-class restaurants and bars, and awesome cultural attractions, including the world’s second largest art museum, the Art Institute. It’s a gorgeous place, with 31 miles of lakefront, including nearly 19 miles of bike paths and 33 beaches. The one very big downside: the winters can be absolutely brutal.

Size: Chicago and Northwestern have the largest MBA programs in the world. Chicago has a full-time MBA enrollment of 1,185 students, while Kellogg is slighly larger, with 1,241. At either place, there’s a lot going on, from part-time MBA and Executive MBA programs to significant executive education programming. Indeed, Chicago has more part-time students (1,700) than it has full-time students. Chicago, in fact, offers five full-time and part-time MBA programs, including EMBA programs in Chicago, London, and Singapore, as well as evening MBA and weekend MBA programs in downtown Chicago at its Gleacher Center. Then, there’s a PhD program with about 130 students. Kellogg’s offerings are just as broad: With 1,100 part-time MBA students, the school has both week night and Saturday part-time programs in Wiebolt Hall in downtown Chicago as well as Evanston, along with three different EMBAs, including a program in Miami, Fla., and an equally large PhD program. What all this means is that at both Chicago and Kellogg the faculty is spread awfully thin because it’s stretched across all of these obligations.

Kellogg’s Don Jacobs Center at Northwestern University. Photo by John A. Byrne

Culture: For years, Chicago was known as a haven of sorts for quant jocks. By and large, the finance geeks dominated the student culture, while a formidable and highly acclaimed faculty ruled the academic roost. “It’s not that Chicago is all about finance and numbers,” says Sarah McGinty, a member of the Class of 2010. “It’s about thinking quantitatively, not being quantitative.” Departing Dean Ted Snyder has noted that the faculty culture “collided” with the MBA culture. The result: a great business school noted for its academic rigor (six present and former Nobel Prize winners) and some of the most distinguished professors in the business but little sense of true community. Some of this has changed somewhat over the years, particularly with the opening of the Harper Center. But the school purposely lacks core cohort groups and has no residence halls for its MBAs, factors that make it harder for real community to occur. Some Chicago students say the school still lacks the camaraderie you’ll find at many other b-schools, especially Kellogg, and that some students graduate from Chicago with only a handful of people they would call friends. Kellogg, on the other hand, has a strong student culture of involvement and collaboration. Despite its much larger size, Kellogg has managed to create a smart and down-to-earth community that is nearly as close-knit as Stanford or Dartmouth. There are many reasons for this difference but probably the most influential one is the fact that Kellogg interviews every single applicant. The result: the interpersonnel skills of Kellogg students are extremely high and get greater attention here than Chicago or many other schools. Put highly intelligent, yet friendly and outgoing people together, and you’re going to get a strong culture that approximates a sense of family. It was and still is a big part of the secret of Kellogg’s success (See profile on and video interview of legendary Kellogg Dean Don Jacobs for more insight into the interview policy). Corporate recruiters and MBA admission consultants generally say Kellogg grads are simply “nice,” certainly among the most open, accessible and damn pleasant MBA students in the world.

  • Because it is as relevant today as it was six years ago.

  • Booth PT Student

    Thank you for your fair and balanced reply. I found this article so biased and out of line with my current Booth experience that I was surprised they published it.

    I would take nothing away from all the positive things the author said about Kellogg. It’s a great school with many strengths. Booth, on the other hand, is completely misrepresented. I know the full-timers do not live in the same University affiliated housing complex, but they do generally live in large apartment complexes near either the downtown or HP campuses and socialize heavily. They also spend a tremendous amount of time together working as full time students and participating in school activities. There is definitely a sense of community, ever amongst the part-timers. I should know – I’m an part-time student with many friends in both the part-time and full time programs.

    As for only emphasizing Booth’s strengths as a finance school, I’m shocked. There’s so much more to Booth than that. It is definitely an institution that places a strong emphasis on quantitative analysis and financial analytics is definitely one of it’s greatest strengths. But strategy, big data, entrepreneurship and commercializing innovation are such key components of Booth today. I have worked in groups with so many brilliant engineers who are at Booth learning how to refine product design to meet and create market needs. The school is so much more than what the author reduced it to.

  • AP

    “Outside of Boston, which can boast Harvard and
    MIT, there’s pretty much only one other major city in the world that can lay
    claim to a pair of world-class graduate schools of business: Chicago.” – Do I need to remind you all about San Francisco?!

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  • Tuk Tran

    can someone please tell me what booth officials were smoking when they created this year’s essay question which is clearly one of the silliest on record?

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  • fidel305

    A dysfunctional, parochial family

  • fidel305

    Time for a new assessment. Kellogg is making great strides in entrepreneurship and has reacquired its former head of those programs( who booth had lured away for awhile and rode to improved entrepreneurship rankings) and its new lakefront facility comes on line in 2016 and is as much if not more of a game changer as booth’s Harper center was a decade ago.

    HBS also hired the Sloan Prof who started and ran Sloans entrepreneurship lab and he is now teaching his very popular course at HBS. Entrepreneurship is the tip of the spear in the MBA wars. And that’s a good change from the finance driven MBA of the recent past

  • fidel305

    Yeah, the trip to downtown / river north is safe but only if you drive east and then north on lakeshore drive .

    you take your life in your hands on public transport at night or if you drive another route

    unless there is a well attended event don’t try using the parks or lakefront at off hours , eg for an early morning or end of day run.

    booth is separated from crime infested Woodlawn by one flimsy fence and a few rent a cops

    And there is absolutely nothing going on in the near environs in terms of dining and entertainment options

  • Billy Bob Cooter

    Kellogg is good if you want to be a corporate slave for the rest of your life. Booth is good if you want to be a slave working at a bank.

    The real question to solve this is: would you rather work for a corporation or a bank?

    Either way, you’re selling your soul at both of these schools to the man.

  • fidel305

    Well said back office drone.

  • Guest1

    would love to see a comparison between tuck and duke!

  • fidel305

    The comment that booth is somehow relevant in tech is laughable

  • LarrySiegel

    They’re not introverted, they’re just working their asses off. It’s hard to tell the difference from the outside. I’m a Booth graduate.

  • Current PT Boothie

    100% agree with you Larry

  • Avro

    “They can’t effectively express themselves and often lack basic common sense. If that is not enough, you should look at the weekend crowd. Ugh..”

    This is the kind of disgusting and immature attitude and disrespectful expression towards your fellow MBAs that create the perceived mistrust between people like you and the alumni. Shame on you! I am ashamed that you go to the University of Chicago – a melting pot of free ideas from people with diverse backgrounds, personal and professional situations that give them the flexibility to choose to come to a part time program and yet shoulder other responsibilities in life such as providing for their family and paying through school – that make them a complete person.

    Do you realize what kind of alumni YOU would be when you are so condescending towards the part time MBAs? That makes you one of those alumni that you are complaining about. This is exactly why there’s a perception that Kellogg MBAs have more camaraderie and Boothies don’t.

    FYI, a majority of weekend MBA students come in with Masters degrees and PhDs and solid work experience. Note that I am not comparing at all with the mettle and credentials of FT MBAs at all. Just asking you to know your facts before making these disgusting comments.

    I have provided consulting advice to the COO and CIO of GSEs in secondary mortgage, to the CFO and SVP of Taxes at AIG, the COO of a major public pension fund, among other Fortune 100 clients, BEFORE coming to Booth weekend MBA program.

    You may be Einstein in your head with Lloyd Blankflein’s pay check – but the above track record isn’t too shabby. Also, some lesser mortals than you who went to the part time program include Satya Nadella and John Corzine, et al.

    Also, agree with Larry – most of the alumni have been very helpful to me till date – and not “enemies;” your choice of words shows that you are not even mature enough to make a thoughtful comment that applies to a professional relationship between a current student and alumni – and it’s a travesty that with this level of juvenile vocabulary and immaturity and negative attitude you are part of the Admissions Committee and ridicule other people (who are MBAs from your school, by the way, that they can’t express themselves).

    Do you realize WHY Kellogg is a better MBA program, at least in perception? Simply because their AdCom doesn’t include people like you but much nicer human beings who are not insecure as you are. They are smart and secure about their achievements and intelligentsia, and consequently give credit to similar hard-working and smart individuals and willing to help their fellow MBAs without a non fact-based judgmental bias like you carry.

    Good luck with your career – please do a gap analysis after 10 years where you are in your life and career and where you wanted to be – maybe you will find that the gap is primarily driven by your condescending attitude and snobbish mentality, that totally defeats the purpose of a Masters degree from a top global University like the University of Chicago.

  • LarrySiegel

    >Booth alumni are the real enemy of Booth students

    No, I’m not. If there’s anything you’d like to discuss, give me a shout at

  • Phil Fan

    From 141 comments so far, it has already told the difference between Booth and Kellogg: Aggressive attitude vs. humble people skill.

  • K-Rob

    I try to research and find answers to my questions, but the more I research the more questions I have. Is the Booth student body really that bad? Whatever school I decide to attend it’s important to me that I feel welcomed. I’m going to be coming from out of state and will obviously want to make new friends. This article and some of the comments make it sound like Booth is full of a bunch of loners. On the other hand, the Boothies that defended their school make me wonder how much weight I should give this article. Also, I believe the article was written about three years ago. From what I can find it appears that Booth is changing for the better. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I want to make the right decision for my graduate school experience. I’m considering changing careers and going into management consulting. If this is what I decide to do is it a no brainer to pick Kellogg?

  • Cmoney

    Ironically, the owner of the cubs is a Booth grad

  • avivalasvegas

    If you pick a career in Finance, I would agree with IlliniProgrammer. Booth is the place to be!

    I would argue that Tech and the MMM program at Kellogg go very well together, which is probably why Kellogg sent more grads into Tech than Stanford did in 2013. Booth is strong as well but doesn’t offer a program quite a customized for Tech as the MMM program. Few schools do.

    For any other career, the two schools are pretty strong rivals to each other with the exception of Marketing, where Kellogg dominates.

    If you don’t want to go into a career in Finance or Marketing, your choice becomes harder. I would recommend looking at your potential classmates for answers – Kellogg grads are particularly approachable and are hard to beat in team dynamics. They also drink like its going out of style and will likely need new livers by 40. I find Boothies to be a bit less social, more reserved and harder to get along with. But their emphasis on analytics makes them a force to be reckoned with in the workplace, if you like that kind of intensity.

    I love Booth’s building and it was my favorite till I saw Kellogg’s recent announcement for their new facility touching Lake Michigan.

    At the end of the day, you’re not going to go wrong with either program. Just make sure you chose the right kind of culture – you don’t want to be the natural Kellogg personality at Booth or vice versa.

  • Charles

    While I’m not a student or past student of either school, I live in a
    building that most of Booth students live in and I can tell you that
    these are the most introverted students you’ll ever come across. In over
    a year of living in the same building, I’m yet to make friends with
    anyone of them either as a neighbor or as a fellow professional. After
    visiting Kellogg’s information session and making a class visit, I won’t
    think twice choosing Kellogg over Booth!

  • IlliniProgrammer

    I really think the comparison is Chicago vs. Wharton and Northwestern vs. Columbia.
    Northwestern clearly deserves to be an M7 school, but I think the gap between Northwestern and Chicago is bigger than the gap between Chicago and Wharton. Both schools are also more tailored towards finance.

    Kellogg has a lot going for it. The campus culture is a huge plus. I know a lot of smart, successful people who would kill for an admission there. But if you want to land a job at a bank or PE shop (where the money is), or even at a tech firm, you want Chicago on your resume.

    Before people accuse me of being a Boothie, I did my undergrad at a Midwestern state school and went to grad school out east. I now work for a hedge fund. I guess you can argue that I have a finance bias, but Chicago grads just seem to have better careers than Kellogg folks.

    Folks, if your two best options are Booth and Kellogg, and you aren’t 100% sure you want to do marketing or consulting, pick Booth. Kellogg definitely competes in the same league as Booth, but it’s like the Cubs (Kellogg) vs the San Francisco Giants (Chicago). The only reason you’d choose playing for the cubs over San Francisco is (A) they offer you money or (B) you really like something about that team.

  • morning_in_america

    The strategy emphasis at Kellogg goes way back, was already there when I attended in the 80s. First quarter included a strategy course, so that as you studied the rest of the core curriculum you fit in the specialties into the overall picture. Much different from other B-schools at the time who saved it for the end of the first year as a summary.

  • morning_in_america

    neither in same league

  • Steinman

    its all as valid and credible as selling Justin Bieber as a musician and an artiste.

  • lol

    FYI some Kellogg stats

    90+% of students go on KWEST (random walk)

    1000 students go on ski trip

    and Kellogg consistently dominates participation in events with both schools (battle of the bands, running of the bulls), which is confirmed by people at Booth as well.

    I think when you’re talking about fun, outgoing, down-to-earth, collaborative people, you have the schools mixed up

  • Bob Marley

    They do, and it is [has].

  • avivalasvegas

    Who would’ve thought the words Booth and family could go together? I suppose the next thing you’re going to claim is that Booth is a collaborative culture?

  • Bob Marley

    Actually, his comments highlight the fact that the Booth community is like a family. If you wouldn’t defend your family you’re the one who’s deficient.

  • avivalasvegas

    Your comment highlights why Booth grads are generally considered avoidable by every industry that doesn’t involve financial analytics. Trashing P&Q for a fair and balanced article that actually praises Booth in parts, shows that you’re not different…you’re deficient.

  • Naufil Mulla

    Can’t go wrong with either school…

  • Kellogg Connected

    I’m surprised the latest info for hiring companies was 2009. As the economy was still recovering at this point in time, I would probably take the hiring information with some skepticism as for instance, for 2012 graduates, I know some of the numbers for Kellogg/Booth hires has pretty much inversed – i.e. United Airlines – 1 Booth graduate, 5 Kellogg graduates.

  • tofu

    Umm – NYC – Stern and Columbia?

  • CurrentBoothie


    Since you’ve left this comparison on the front page for a good amount of time now, any chance you can update it to reflect the latest rankings? For instance, USN ranks Booth well above Kellogg in Entrepreneurship, Economist ranks Booth #1 overall (not #4 as listed), Forbes ranks Booth #3 (not #4), FT ranks Booth #6 (not #9).

    I’d also have to echo the sentiments of a number of other readers below that I don’t think you’ve accurately characterized the Booth experience.

    It absolutely baffles me that you would try to make the case that our location in the city of Chicago is somehow a disadvantage. Sure, we don’t live in dorms on campus. But if you as a 20-something had the choice of living in a quiet academic, very family-oriented neighborhood vs. in a luxury high-rise or in an awesome row house in one of the world’s most thriving cities would you? As noted in previous posts, a large majority of students live within 5-10 minutes of each other in the loop/river north, and some others live in Lincoln Park/Wicker Park (both very cool, trendy neighborhoods). You give Wharton the courtesy of mentioning that most students live downtown and could at least do the same for us. The Metra stop is located right across the street or accessible in the pedway from most of our apartments and drops us right on campus, otherwise the buses are perfectly safe. Either 600+ Boothies are recklessly endangering their lives on a daily basis, or you’re exaggerating the risks here.

    We live downtown because 1) It’s more fun – Chicago is an incredible city 2) the accommodations are nicer 3) It gives us much easier access to the major firms that recruit on campus for coffee-chats, networking events, etc. which almost always happen at a restaurant downtown, and 4) We’re a short walk from the downtown Gleacher campus (which I don’t think is mentioned at all in this article, and is where we hold a ton of study group meetings and all evening classes). While I agree that Kellogg is in a perfectly beautiful and nice suburban/college town (and that’s great for some people), it is a full hour on the train from downtown if you’ve ever done the trip (or take the time to check it on google maps), and I don’t think it’s fair to tell prospective students that if they go to Kellogg they’ll have equal access to the city of Chicago as one would at Booth.

    As far as the Booth culture, you appear to have completely missed the point. I will happily admit that Booth is not the place to go if you want to have your social calendar planned out for you from day one. That’s simply not how we do things at Booth – we don’t like being told
    what to do. While we do have a cohort system (we spend 10 fairly intense weeks at the start of school with them through LEAD), we choose to give people the opportunity to meet a broader set of people with similar academic and career interests in their classes, and then use non-academic opportunities to build those relationships further. It’s a bit of a cop-out to use your “some students say…” line as a way to bash something you don’t understand. Some people also say that Elvis is alive, but most people wouldn’t put that in print without verifying first.

    The fact is that most real friendships in business school come from the things you
    do outside of class. We have tons of opportunities for travel (2/3 of the class goes on random walks first year and an additional 100 or so lead them second year, 200+ people are going on ski trip this year, we took 100+ boothies to cabo for spring break last year, others went sailing in the BVIs, and the list goes on), student groups (epicurean/wine
    club, cultural group, or graduate business council events) social events in Chicago (restaurants, blues clubs, bars), TNDC (Thursday Night Drinking Club, which holds a very special place in the hearts of most Boothies), and any other number of other events. Add on people that you meet through recruiting, case competitions, entrepreneurial pursuits, and you have the opportunity customize the experience to create any number of ways to meet some of the most fun, outgoing, down-to-earth, collaborative people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering.

    It’s poor journalism to focus so myopically on a few elements of the business school experience and claim that because someone does it differently, it’s bad. It’s just different and that’s how we like it at Booth.

  • Joe

    Kellog’s. LOL

  • mobiuschi

    Thanks for mentioning point #3. The author must think, black people = crime.

  • Chris

    Hi John,

    Thank you for the article and insight.

    I’ve been putting together round 1 applications for both schools and [not put the cart before the horse] it has been hard for me to decipher which program is a better fit. On one hand, I would enjoy a quantitatively challenging curriculum coming from an engineering background, but, on the other hand I am innately social and building relationships is one of my, if not my top, strength.

    Hopefully, I will be fortunate enough in December to get to make a choice.

  • MBA13

     you might want to start with getting the name of the school right.

  • HVSs

    The truth is that Kellogg has been strong in strategy/consulting for a long time. I think the biased view of HBS and Stanford being the no. 1 strategy school comes from HBS/Stanford’s unbeatable brand and reputation. Also, Kellogg being so strong in marketing must have overshadowed its prowess in strategy/consulting. Check out last year’s employment report. Kellogg’s no. on how many students the school sent to McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and other top consulting firms is eye popping. 

  • Ronety_jack

    Hands down Kellogg!, one thing Kellogg should do is to give more scholarships. which i think is one of the main reasons some of my friends took Booth over Kellogg!

  • Rmgrad_2013

    I would say Kellogg is getting a notch better in recent times than Tuck, especially in areas like Consulting/General management, Marketing and Tech 

  • USMBA_guy

    hmm! I am an MBA applicant as well. This is an interesting conversation. The cliche is Kellogg is marketing, but number one is Strategy seems a new thing. 

     @JohnAByrne:disqus  Like to know if  “how Kellogg achieved this number one strategy” would be great.1) How many students go there to Strategy roles2) Their Strategy faculty strength 3) How come Kellogg is able to send so many students to consulting, what is the culture there?4) Do they have the most alumni in strategy?

    Overall Booth ranking seems higher, but for my preference in consulting roles I think Kellogg would be my way.

  • MBAaspirant2015

    Guys I cant believe the “Number 1 Strategy School in US” is Kellogg..
    I always thought it was HBS or Stanford. 
    My dream place is McKinsey, I dint even have Kellogg in my applying list, sorry for just taking the word out there.. that Kellogg is marketing.
    How did a Marketing school become the best Strategy school in US?
    – John seems we need an article on this? Please break the myth for us applicants!

  • Rustic_manu

    Ha, I think overall John is right.. Kellogg seems to be the number one Strategy school..
    lets leave General management/leadership positions..I dint goto either of the schools 
    1) if you include consulting and roles like corporate Strategy, Product strategy(tech – Prod planning/Prod managent), marketing strategy.  Kellogg clearly has the highest student going to Strategy.
    2) The number of alumni in Strategy including Consulting for over the years is much higher in Kellogg (used Linkedin search results)But for sure this John Statement is absolutely true “There is no U.S. school that sends more MBAs into consulting than Kellogg”  as INSEAD is European. 

  • Ha

    I meant 37%, NOT 34%. Correction on my end.

  • Ha

    That indeed is what the 2011 employment reports show (check here:  and here: ). I checked it twice for both schools. And INSEAD accepts ~500 students in each intake while Kellogg accepts ~484 in their yearly intake. Let’s take McKinsey for example. 

    INSEAD sent 107 to McKinsey, 61 to BCG and 52 to Bain. Excluding previous employers, INSEAD still sent 57 to M, 43 to BCG and 29 to Bain, which totals 129 to MBB. Dividing this number in half still gives ~65 per intake, which is phenomenal. That’s 13% in MBB placement for pure career/job changers from INSEAD. 

    Kellogg or any other US bschools do not even show who are going back. So your argument lacks any merit.

  • JohnAByrne

    That is NOT what the 2011 employment reports for Kellogg and INSEAD show. And many of INSEAD’s consultants were already consultants going to INSEAD to get their ticket punched in a year. So they are in and out and back to their same respective firms as sponsored MBAs.

  • Ha


    Kellogg sent 34% while INSEAD sent 39% to consulting. So I think I am correct. Not wrong.

  • JohnAByrne


    As the stats cited above show, you are wrong.

  • JohnAByrne

    Sure. I can clarify. There is no U.S. school that sends more MBAs into consulting than Kellogg. Last year, for the Class of 2011, 39% of Kellogg’s grads went into consulting, versus 24% at Harvard, 27% at Stanford, 29% at Wharton, and 33% at Tuck. INSEAD and Kellogg last year were tied at 39%. 

  • Ha

    I’d actually say INSEAD beats kellogg as a general management/ strategy school and in their grauate placement in consulting etc.

  • Jk_doin

    I agree Kellogg has a large number of students going to Consulting and Strategy related career, but is the % higher than Harvard, Stanford and Tuck?  @673a8c4b06d41b4b016f18bcd8bb8e31:disqus  Can you please clarify this.. which is the number one ‘Strategy’ school.. Lets leave the general management part here, which I am sure Harvard leads…

  • Aaron_mow

    I suppose he is right, even considering the number of alumni in consulting and strategy related backgrounds (checked via Linkedin) Kellogg seems to have the most number in Strategy related fields (includes corporatestrategy, M&A etc)

  • Keg

    @jbyrne:disqus Hi John,  As a current Kellogg student, Most of what the article says is true, but I wish to emphasis one big change that has happened in Kellogg.  Kellogg is more likely a ‘Strategy’ school as it is known for ‘Marketing’. This is the lesser known truth. Reasons 1) Most students go into Management Consulting or Corporate strategy or Strategy management programs than going to Marketing roles or in comparison with any other top schoolBCG, Mckinsey, Bain and Booth have almost have permanent stall at the school during the recruiting periods!2) Most students get a Strategy major than a marketing major (stats)3) The faculties are as stellar in Strategy department as the Marketing department and more faculty including the dean Sally have a strategy consulting background.4) Even in the non-profit arena Kellogg students help non profits in their strategic decision making with programs like  Kellogg Board fellows and have also known to have won major case competitions.

    Kellogg is no more just a number 1 marketing school but also a number 1 strategy school.

  • kk

    Can someone shed light on the Booth EMBA in Singapore? I am interested in this program. Is there value in doing this? Will there be learning? And does the alumni network make it worth its while?

  • Undecided

    Great article! I did not see P&G listed for hiring at either school. Can anyone tell me which MBA school has the best relationship with P&G; highest recruiting? I assume Kellogg, but just want to check. Thank you for your response.

  • MBAer

     I would avoid calling the school “Kellogg’s” in your app, as that’s a cereal brand 🙂

  • Questioning

    Correcting the mistake in the name…

  • Questionning

    @jbyrne – Thanks for all your advice. I haven’t seen a NYU vs Columbia section yet and I was wondering what your thoughts were? I have been admitted to both schools and am looking to focus on marketing but I am still undecided between the two schools. Which one do you think has the strongest program in that specific field?

  • Advice seeker,

    Columbia’s greatest advantage is its location in New York and its status as one of the Ivy League schools. Geography is a major reason why applicants apply to schools. And yes, it’s proximity to Wall Street is both a blessing and a curse because the fortunes of the school are more closely tied to the street’s ups and downs than any other business school.

    Based on survey data over the years, I believe that the quality of MBA teaching at Booth is higher and much more consistent across the board. Chicago support staff is very strong, making the MBA experience somewhat better. And the culture is less competitive and more collaborative. The school is more generous with scholarship money, too, because it has a very large endowment. Chicago also has substantially better facilities from classrooms and study rooms to open spaces for students to gather and bond.

  • Adviceseeker


    What’s your take on Booth v. Columbia. Columbia is obviously in NY so has the proximity to Wall St, but I think student life might not be ideal in NYC given the cost of living. Would love to hear your advice on the schools in their current state as well as the momentum of each. Thanks.

  • Mohit Jain

    Hi John,

    This is an amazing article. Not only it compares the two schools for you but it also highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each school. I am a retail consultant with 6 years of analytics consulting experience in India with some of the major retailers in UK, US and China. Decent EC and an average GPA. I Want to shift into a strategic consulting role after my MBA. I’m considering, Duke, Kellogg, Tuck, Insead and Wharton. How different do you think these schools are from each other and which schools are recognised in Asia as at some point I would like to settle permanently in an Asian country?

  • DecisionTime

    Many thanks for your candid response, John!

  • DecisionTime,

    First off, congrats on your acceptances from Kellogg and London. As you well know, they are two of the best schools in the world. And if you get into Tuck, you will have been accepted into three of the best. As good as London is–and it is quite good–I don’t believe it matches up with either Tuck or Kellogg which have simply been in the MBA game for so long. Any of these schools would set you up for a career in consulting or finance. Going to London would probably make it easier for you to land an international spot mainly because of how recruiting works. But you should be able to get an international job with a little more pro-active work on your part from either Tuck or Kellogg. Longer term, because you say you want to settle down in the states, the Kellogg and Tuck degrees would carry far more clout and prestige.

    My bottom line: If accepted into Tuck, I would go in a heartbeat. It is the quintessential premium MBA experience, with the most loyal and cohesive alumni network of any business school in the world, including Harvard and Stanford. If it’s between London and Kellogg, I would go to Kellogg because it’s a great school with great people–faculty and students. Good luck!

  • DecisionTime

    Hi John,
    I’m a big fan of this site…definitely proved helpful throughout the application process for me. Fortunately, I’m now faced with a decision between Kellogg, LBS, and (hopefully) Tuck. I come from a non-traditional/entrepreneurial background and am interested in both consulting and finance. Would like to work internationally but also want to settle down in the states. Any advice?

  • MBA Alum

    Ok. I see. The numbers you have posted to not reflect the published Chicago Booth employment reports. I was concerned because Kraft shows N/A for the number of hires, even though Kraft is a HUGE recruiter on the Chicago Booth campus for marketing. And the consulting firm numbers seemed suspect to me. I work for one the consulting firms on the list and have colleagues whom I talk to on a regular basis who are involved in recruiting at the other firms and the numbers they quote me for the number of Booth students they hire do not match those on the list. Thank you for your clarification.

  • MBA Alum,

    Sure. These numbers are supplied by Chicago Booth to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The magazine asks for a slew of data from all the major business schools and then publishes this info in the statistical profiles for each school. So the info is kinda buried on the BW site. Because the schools report this info before they come out with their employment reports, we used this as a source. Internships, by the way, are generally reported separately. We have done the same here;

  • MBA Alum

    Where do the “Number of Hires” statistics come from? I ask because I currently work for one of the companies listed in the “Who Hires Who” list and am very involved in the MBA recruiting process at Chicago Booth. In your list the “Number of Hires” is much smaller than I would expect to see. The number reflects the number of second-year full-time students who accepted an offer, however, there are many more offers than that given out during any given year. The number also does not take into account those students who intern with my company and are offered and accept a full time offer. Can you provide more clarification on how you determine the “Number of Hires”?


    I am a software Architect with 9 years experience here in the US (7 years) and 2 Years in India.

    I have a GMAT score of 670. I am interested in doing a Part-Time MBA from Booth or Kellogg or Ross (Since I live in mid-west). I want to puruse my career in Consulting (IT consulting) after my MBA.

    What are my chances getting into these schools ? Which is more suited for my profile ?

    Also, Kellogg seem to have a degree enhancement program which will allow to take additional courses and major in another specialty. Does Booth have a similar thing ?

  • Booth4Life

    Hello to all,

    I have an interesting vantage point, since I’m a current Chicago Booth student and a lifelong Chicago resident. My two pennies:

    1. As a marketing professional, I of course attended a couple of Kellogg informationals. I personally was left quite cold and unwelcomed, which was the total opposite experience at Chicago Booth. Everyone was very warm (no pocket protectors) and wanted to really learn if I was a fit for the program.

    2. I’ve spent, on average 200 hours so far working in local and international groups. I’m not certain why there’s a perception that Boothers don’t work together. I know for certain that’s not the case in the EMBA, nor part-time programs.

    3. I’ve met some of the most intelligent, non-assuming, inviting people during my program. We are a very diverse group of people across all industries, functions, races, ethnicities, countries of origin and lifestyles. The students I count as my friends would have never crossed my path were it not for Chicago Booth.

    3. The Hyde Park campus is not nestled between downtown and a crime-riddled area per the article. The area west of the HP campus is not very safe, however, the area between DT and HP to the east is just fine, filled with upper middle income African-American families in very gentrified communities. The HP campus is THE most diverse area in the city, with the best lakefront area (The Point) enjoyed by everyone, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, which attracts A talent including the likes of Cassandra Wilson and the annual Hyde Park Art Fair.

  • Pushkin,

    My best advice is to be true to the application you submitted. When you do your interview, make sure that what you say reinforces what you have already said that allowed Booth to grant you this interview. Stay consistent! Don’t stray from your presentation, but do enhance and enliven it.

    Also, let me recommend one of the most informative stories on the site for Booth applicants: What Happens When You Apply To Chicago Booth.

    Finally, good luck to you!


  • Pushkin

    Hi John,

    I received an invitation to interview with Booth and am awaiting dates. I am very excited about the opportunity, as Booth is my top pick. I was wondering if you had any advice? What exactly are they looking for? Consistency of story? Potential to expand the school’s brand? Are there any pitfalls that candidates commonly run into?

  • Ash

    Hi John,
    I’m also interested in comparison between Kellogg full time and part time as well Booth FT/PT and Kellogg PT vs Booth PT. I’m planning to major in marketing and international business. I like both schools and fit into both schools and having a hard time deciding between Kellogg and Booth PT programs.

  • Neetika

    Hi John! The article is great as it reinforces my interest in Kellogg’s. I am an advertising professional with 4+ year of experience in an MNC servicing McDonald’s. I have a GMAT score of 720 and GPA of 3.14. I have had a good career growth with multiple promotions and growing portfolio of clients and team. I have been fairly active in extra curricular activities especially in cultural domain. Would like to hear your opinion on my chances for kellogg’s as I am keen on a career in consumer marketing. Also other than Kellogg’s which other school would be apt given my profile for marketing industry? Thanks so much!

  • Minority Grad Student

    Hi John! I was wondering if you could comment on my chances to Kellog. I’m a Latino male who went to undergrad at the University of Virginia and have a masters in IR from Stanford (both with full rides). I graduated phi beta kappa with a 3.8 from undergrad (in history) and a 3.8 from Stanford as well. I have taken up to multivariable calculus in college and I also took accounting, intro to finance, micro and macro, linear algebra, probability and stats and differential equations at my local community college and got all As. I am completely fluent in five languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian) and I’m currently studying German. I have studied abroad several times and have held internships. As far as my work experience, after college, I worked at a top law firm as a corporate paralegal for two years after college and right now I’m a business development associate at a mid-sized international development firm which I plan to work at for at least three years. I have a bad GRE score (620 verbal and only a 580 math), but I don’t really want to take it again since I’m an awful test-taker. I actually found out yesterday that Kellogg has started to accept the GRE…what do you think? Should I at least apply? If not, do you have any suggestions as to what b-schools I should be looking at? Thank you so much!

  • Marisa

    Hi John,

    I believe your article shows is more about the “old” Chicago Booth, and not about the new one (Snyder legacy, including post Harper Center). The school is doing big efforts to work on the “Department of Bonding” and also in boosting areas other than fincance, such as Entrepreneurship. I honestly feel this article is some kind biased and there is no doubt Kellogg is the winner here.

    On the other hand, I suggest you to update the rankings, as there are new versions of some of them available. This guides are important so in my view they should be up to date.

    Thank you and regards,


  • Hard to tell you without knowing much more about your work experience, extracurricular involvement, leadership experience, and goals. But I’d say you at the least a very viable candidate to Booth.

  • HC_MBA

    Hi John,

    Great article! I am an Indian male MBA candidate, with very low UG score (68% – don’t know what that translates into GPA) and GMAT of 700. My low UG was because of doing CA (similar to US CPA) simultaneously, where I got an all-India rank (14th). I later on cleared CFA exams (in first attempt) while working and currently hold CFA charter. Work ex in IB (1.5 years) and real estate PE (5+ years). How do you assess my chances at Booth?

  • It’s a bit more involved than that but yes, you would need a GMAT score well above 700. Your GPA is low so a higher GMAT score will help. You’ll also have to explain why your GPA is low.

  • Kristine

    What are my chances to get in Booth or Kellogs, if I have a 2.74 undergrad gpa, three year work expierence as an Internal Auditor and have passed 2 out of 4 CIA exam parts. Would a very hight GMAT score help?

  • MBA Guy

    Wow!!! I accidentally stumbled across your website and I must command you on your research. As someone who has gone to Northwestern University for undergraduate studies and currently going to MBA at U of Chicago, I almost completely agree with everything you say. As you noted, at University of Chicago the curriculum is very flexible which is an advantage for those of us that want to skip the basics and challenge ourselves intellectually (and develop subject matter expertise) – however this prevents us from continuing to networking with each other as our colleagues tend take different paths(different classes) throughout their MBA life cycle. While U of Chicago does an amazing job in helping people network outside of classes, I think Kellogg does a better job in helping people build long lasting friendships.

    Second, I believe that you missed one very important component from your research: Business School’s Integration with the whole University (including Law Schools, PhD Programs, Public Policy, etc). Both Kellogg and Booth are challenged with integration of different schools under their overarching umbrella of programs. This particularly irritating for students concentrating in Entrepreneurship – I for example struggled to build relationships with PhD Students conducting research in the field of my interest. I know that this is not a case in Stanford—where many startups spring up as a result of collaboration between MBA students and scientist. The Polsky Center of entrepreneurship at University of Chicago is a great resource for those students that are actively working on existing early stage projects, but not so great for those students who are actively searching for ideas. U of Chicago is partially addressing this challenge by bring a new dean from Stanford who is tasked with integrating all programs at University of Chicago and cross pollinating the MBA curriculum. Overall, however I am extremely thankful to be part of the Booth community.

  • Abm,

    Congrats! You won’t be disappointed. Good luck to you.


  • Abm

    Hi John,

    Finally, I made my decision. I am going ahead with Chicago Booth for the EMBA program beginning in next two weeks – June 19, 2011. Thank you for your help and advice.

    Bes, Abm

  • Yes. Go for it. You will, however, need to differentiate yourself from the very large numbers of IT professionals in India who apply. That will be the most important partnof your app.

  • YIndiaFemale24

    Hi John,

    Firstly, thanks for this article! Its really insightful.I am applying this year for the Fall 2012 batch. i currently have 3 years work ex in the IT field (designation – Senior Software Engineer) I have always been strong in quant (excelling in School and High school) However for some reason i scored only a 47 (77 percentile) in GMAT in the quant section. (Total GMAT score – 700 ) Booth and Kellogs were the 2 colleges i was looking to apply to. My application boasts of achievements in my current job, a smal entrepreneurial venture and good extra curriculars . However it lacks a finance background. I am interested in getting into Consulting. Do you think my profile is good enough to apply to these schools ?

  • Thanks K bound. These smackdowns are not casually written pieces. They’re the result of literally years of experience covering graduate business education, multiple visits to these campuses, dozens of interviews, and a deep dive in polling data on student opinions. I’m glad to see that you were able to confirm the differences by site visits yourself.

  • K bound

    Hey, I was in the same boat. I got in NW Kellogg’s and Chicago Booth’s MBA programs. I ended up choosing Kellogg due more towards fit. I had the opportunity to visit and sit in each class and felt a better “fit” at Kellogg. I am in Management Consulting and wish to stay in this track for awhile. I felt more of a connection and strong emphasis on Management training.

    It was still an agonizing decision, with lots of self-reflection and talking with friends. This article really helped. I really enjoyed Poets and Quants and would like thank the staff for such a clairvoyant article.

    Though I hate to deal with stereotypes and generalization, when I visited each school and met the students, there definitely a perceivable difference in “culture” as it was analyzed in this article. Good stuff.

  • Ridge howison

    Hi mahbub,

    After much agonizing i decided to go with kellogg. Since there are no real qualitative or quantitative differentiators between the two schools, it became a question of “fit”-where I thought i would be comfortable most and employ my skill sets better. Also the for me the flexible curriculum -though great was a little problematic. The school puts the onus on you to choose classes and only a guideline is given whereas kellogg everyone gets a base in GM before shooting for the majors…I like booth’s super flexibility but I am afraid I would not pick the right courses. Again what works for one does not necessarily work for others. As JAB says “you can’t really make a bad choice here.”


  • Mahbub

    Let us know your decision. I have similar background as you. It would be nice to know your decision.

  • You really can’t make a bad choice here.

  • RidgeH

    Hi there,

    I am in a nice dilemma if you can call that. I have been accepted to both the Kellogg school of management and the booth school. While I love booth’s academic rigor and quant bent, I also love kellogg’s team oriented classes and “work as a team-learn as a team” approach to business problems. While i think there is a good match at kellogg with my personality and background. I do not intend to go the IB route and my background is computer engineering in a nonprofit role. I know i cannot really go wrong with either school but still it is a tough choice to let go of a great school to join another.


  • Joe

    How about the part-time programs? Is one a clear winner when it comes to career services and making a career change while in the PT program?

  • Abm

    Hi John,

    Thank you for your response. You gave a great advice indeed.

    In fact, I had met with several students during my due-diligence and discussed about my career goals. Chicago Booth has good presence on the Wall Street as well on GS/Blackstone (though I agree the number of Wharton grads present on the street may be more as compared to Chicago grads). However, I am confident about achieving my career goals through learning and network of Chicago Booth.

    If I rephrase my original question to focus on the points of brand and prestige only, would you still hesitate to use that old cliche? Please share your thoughts.


  • Abm,

    Wow. That’s a hard one. Let’s start by patting you on the back for getting accepted into one of the world’s best Executive MBA programs. Chicago is a great school, with incredible faculty and students. Wharton is ranked first in EMBA programs by us, but Chicago is a very close second. The index scores for our composite EMBA ranking show Wharton at 100 and Chicago at 96.7. That’s not much of a meaningful difference. By the way, I don’t know what your deadline is for making a commitment to Chicago, but if you want some inside scoop on their program, check out our new blogger–Elizabeth Rogers–who is on our sister website,

    I only have one hesitation before I use that old cliche that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, especially when you’ve been accepted to such a terrific program. I especially like the London and Singapore components of Booth and how the schools bring all of this together in a fairly unique, world-class MBA experience. My hesitation has to do with your aim to work for a Goldman Sachs or Blackstone. These are difficult jobs to get, even more so with an EMBA because these firms tend to recruit full-time MBAs who are younger. That said, I tend to think the Wharton alumni network might be more helpful given your very ambitious goals.

    Here’s what I suggest. Call up Chicago’s EMBA director and be completely honest with her. Explain what your ultimate dream job is. Ask how many Chicago alums work for Goldman and for Blackstone and ask if you can call one or two of them for a conversation. Ask to attend a class or two and have a coffee with one of the current Chicago students who is also into finance. I think this extra diligence is well worth your time given the investment you’re about to make. And I think these conversations will help you with a difficult decision.

  • Abm

    Hi John,

    Thanks for this insightful article. I need your suggestion on the following. I have been accepted into the Executive Program at Chicago Booth. I see my career in the financial industry and aim to work at the Wall Street (GS/Blackstone). I have a strong inclination towards Wharton school and they also have an Executive MBA program. My question to you is, should I wait for one more year (as I did not apply for the current year at Wharton), apply at Wharton, and then decide between the two schools. There is a possibility that I can defer my admissions offer from Chicago Booth for a year. At the same time, I am highly impressed with Chicago Booth and have equally high regard for the school as well. However, I just feel the overall prestige (brand) and the network from the Wharton school is much stronger. Please share your thoughts.

  • KSS,

    First off, let me just tell you this: You can’t make a mistake. All these schools have exceptional, world-class MBA programs. And you must be an exceptional person to have been accepted by these schools and to have been offered half tuition deals at two of them.
    Secondly, at some point, it does come down to that elusive attribute called “fit.” You’re telling me that Kellogg is your top choice given your interests and personality. What I would do is call Kellogg up. Tell admissions that Booth and Fuqua are offering you half tuition. Can Kellogg match those offers? If they match, it’s clear to me what your choice would be. If Kellogg doesn’t give you a break in the price, then you have the more difficult decision. But it’s worth a try.

  • KSS

    Hi All,

    I would love input on deciding between schools because I am extremely torn at the moment. I studied engineering at Duke for undergrad and am currently working in IT in Pharma. I am interested in staying within Pharma but moving to Marketing or Strategy or possibly moving to a CPG company all together. For MBA I was admitted to Duke with half tuition, Booth half tution, Kellogg, and MIT. Kellogg is my top choice given my interests and my personality, I think I fit there better. However, I think I am leaning towards Booth because it seems to offer the same opportunities, a new network, and obviously more money. Am I making a mistake given my career focus and personality? Thanks!!

  • Kevin,

    Here’s another story on the site that you might find very helpful: Social Entrepreneurship: The Best Schools & Programs

  • Kevin

    I’m just finishing up applications to both part time programs and I have a very specific question. I’m intrigued by Booth’s MBA/MPP (Masters in Public Policy) joint degree option. Kellogg doesn’t have an equivalent, although they do offer a Social Enterprise major. I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with this specific focus. I’m changing careers and looking to work in government, non-profit management or possibly higher education, but I also want the flexibility of skills one gets from an MBA.

  • Mahbub

    I am a Mechanical Engineer with a MS, specialized in Computer Aided Design. I am currently working as a Software Developer. I will be moving to Chicago soon.

    I am trying to find a degree program that would give me more traction in the Software industries. Moreover, I am weighing the benefits between an MBA with the emphasis to the software company management or a PhD in Computer Science. At this point I am leaning towards the former one.

    I find it a bit troubling that neither Booth or Kellogg is very good in tech oriented MBAs. Although Booth is very flexible in offering joint MBA programs, your post indicated that Kellogg is better in general areas supported by the data on the engineering enrollment.

    It would be great if you could highlight technology/software/engineering aspect of both the schools. Thanks very much!

  • John, thanks for your thoughts!

  • TE

    Do top recruiters care more about soft or hard skills?

  • TE

    how about leadership education?
    is K better? how do you recruiters view leadership experience in general?

  • listen_MBA

    Jack in your case, i would say go for K! 1) business development 2) team work 3)general management studies K wins over Chi, also that though K aint rated as good as Chi in Finance, but its finance program aint dat bad. For General Mgmt and Consulting K is the way to go!

  • Jack

    Interesting and great facts summarized here. I have admissions from both Booth and Kellogg. I see my future in business development role that requires a sound financial background as well as outstanding team work and general management studies. In this case which school will be a best fit?

  • listen_MBA

    Congrats Mich on getting into Duke!.. good for you but i have read the article and the whole comments from the alums etc.. i dont see your conclusion there
    “Seems like Booth is the better school overall ” itz obvious Kellogg is a better school overall atleast from wat i read above.. dont worry im not in either schools i got admitted at H!

  • Michmax,
    First off, congrats on your acceptance to Duke. It’s a great university with an exceptional business school. I would have no hesitation whatsoever going to Duke, especially for marketing. And while it’s true that Chicago is ranked higher than Duke, I would tend to lean toward Durham when it comes to marketing. Duke is ranked third in marketing in U.S. News poll of deans and MBA directors, behind only Northwestern and Wharton. Chicago, incidentally, scores well, too, with a rank of sixth. Good luck!

  • Hi John,

    You answered my question above about Booth vs Kellogg for marketing, still waiting on decisions from both, but I have been accepted to Duke. Anyone have any thougths on how Booth compares to Duke for marketing? Seems like Booth is the better school overall and I like the Chicago area better (in terms of proximity to CPG companies and social opportunities) but not sure if as many recruiters from these companies come to the Booth campus as they do at Duke, which has strong relationships in this field

  • David, not at all. The one-year program is pretty close to the two, though you lose out on the internship. I’ve interviewed students over the years in the one-year program at Kellogg and they love it.

  • Applicant (Kellogg) 2012

    Hi John,

    Would your assessment of Kellogg in the article change if we are referring to the One-Year program? From my research on the internet, it seems like the rankings of Kellogg largely refers to its Two-Year Program. Would appreciate your insight on the Kellogg One-Year Program versus its Two-Year Program.


  • Boothie,

    Thanks much for your very thoughtful comments. I think your right: a lot of this is self-selection and that tends to reinforce the perceived differences in culture and approach.

  • 2012 Boothie

    I think your analysis is fair and thoughtful. However, I also think that it plays into archaic stereotypes about these schools and their differences. Both schools have well rounded offerings for everyone, both in terms of curriculum and recruiting. There is a lot of collaboration that goes on in the Chicago business scene between alumni and students of these two schools (including the fun tradition of a yearly basketball showdown at halftime during a Bulls game), which is one of the reasons that it such a great place to get an MBA.
    I do think that the student culture at Booth is somewhat more competitive than at Kellog based on my interactions with both student sets; however, that does not mean that I do not find my classmates at Booth to be welcoming and supportive. Every class that I have taken thus far at Booth required team-based assignments, so I think that both schools are collaborative.
    In terms of Poets versus Quants, the way that I see it is that a great business person will try to round out his or her own strengths by attacking weaknesses and holes via education. I consider myself to be on the Poet end of the spectrum, but I chose Booth, because I felt that it was important to put myself through a very rigorous quantitative and financial program while still having flexibility to focus on the entrepreneurship and marketing courses that I love. As you can see by the stats and posts above, engineers and other “quants” often choose Kellog, as they want to be seen as well rounded and marketing capable. Given the development and growth of both institutions over time, the differences in culture and personality type seem to be based more on self-selection that occurs due to school reputation than to the actual offerings of the schools.

  • applicant_2011

    I think this comparison is great. I’m happy I found your site before writing my essays. I think the selectivity numbers differ because of the enrollment numbers. According to Kellogg’s Full Time Class Profile, Kellogg enrolled 697 students, which puts the selectivity closer to 12%.

  • Buffy

    Thanks for the analysis. It seems slightly skewed towards Kellogg, but this is my feeling after reading this. I would love to see a vs. of Chicago and Columbia, as it appears that both are well regarded finance programs which probably has a lot of cross-admits.

  • I think you could call this the Harvard problem. That is, these schools are held in such high esteem and admiration that many of the applicants also are applying to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton. So when they are accepted to multiple schools of that high caliber, they go to Harvard and Stanford. It’s not a knock on Chicago or Northwestern. In many ways, it’s a compliment.

  • TE

    I saw that the 2 schools have low yield % (according to another website), why do you think this is the case?

  • Ghunar

    Where do the statistics on Booth come from (i.e. total number of applicants and selectivity %)?

  • CK,

    Good luck to you!

  • CK

    I’m applying to the Kellogg part-time program for this Fall, and after reading this article, am more excited than ever about Kellogg!

    P&Q, thanks for a wonderful website – I am learning so much just from reading the comments section. Big thanks also to the B-school alumni, students and applications for sharing your experiences and insights here!

  • Kellogg MBA

    Hi John,

    Another point I want to provide clarification, to my best knowledge, in your article above:

    Quote: “With only 18% of its students with humanities undergraduate degrees, Kellogg has among the least number of poets of all the major business schools. That’s a bit shocking due to the reputation that Kellogg MBAs have for having high interpersonnel skills…”

    I noticed that you commented several times in several blogs in P&Q about how surprised you were about the relatively low number of Humanities undergrads and the correspondingly high number of Engineering/Math and Business/Economics undergrads that were accepted into Kellogg each year.

    My take on this as a Kellogg alum is that a large number of every Kellogg cohort, including myself, have relatively quant backgrounds, no less than that of Wharton, Chicago or Columbia but is looking to switch careers, mostly from commerce and industry (eg. as chemical engineers, physicists, etc) into management consulting and to a lesser extent, industries other than our pre-MBA fields. Kellogg as the #1 Marketing B-school in the US and globally, prepares us in every aspect possible for that switch where our strength in core business areas from strategic to operational, marketing to financial (complemented by our generally quant backgrounds), is highly regarded by top management consulting recruiters. Add to that the strong emphasis on a collaborative culture and seamless teamwork that became second nature to every Kellogg grad (we do live and breathe teamwork and collaboration at Kellogg!), it is no surprise that Kellogg is a breeding ground for management consultants and one of the first port of call for top global management consulting firms looking to recruit MBAs.

    It still puzzles and intrigues me up to this juncture that recruiters from the Finance industry (especially the investment banks, PE and hedge funds) generally perceive Chicago’s Booth grads as more quantitatively adept when Kellogg grads across the board, have more quantitative backgrounds and are clearly more adept to working in a team than our peers at Booth (Kellogg is fiercely known for our emphasis on collaboration and teamwork). This could also be one of the reasons why top management consulting firms like Mckinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain among others recruited 38% of Kellogg’s 2009 graduating class while that for Chicago is much lower. The adage-old stereotype that Kellogg grads are naturally more poets than quants is, without doubt, a myth. I sincerely hope this post would seek to provide sufficient clarification and enlightenment to potential B-school applicants and financial industry recruiters.

    Best wishes to all B-school applicants out there!


  • Kellogg MBA

    I would like to compliment and thank John for an insightful, fair and rather accurate comparison of both schools. Personally, I attended Kellogg and have friends who attended Booth.

    The general Booth feedback: 1) The flexibility and freedom built into the curriculum; 2) the general lack of a sense of camaderie and networking among students where individualistic and elitist attitudes occasionally overwhelms; 3) The lack of diversity of the student body where individuals from finance or related fields dominate and form their own spheres; 4) Students are overly aggressive and sometimes confrontational during discussions; less teamwork.

    My Kellogg perspective: 1) Very strong marketing and leadership focus, perhaps a little overboard; 2) Relatively less flexible curriculum; 3) Intelligent but humble individuals who are assertive in a subtle way and are willing to listen to others. Teamwork is emphasized.

    Frankly, I believe this has to do with the admission process and the type of students each school attracts based on the public’s perception of its culture and strengths. Booth is perceived as more finance inclined and hence would tend to attract more applicants from the finance industry (or people who has intentions to switch into finance) whom are relatively more aggressive in nature (I beg your pardon and I do acknowledge that this statement is rather objective) versus Kellogg applicants who tend to be from a broader spectrum of industries and thus relatively less cut-throat and individualistic than your typical I-banker and/or to-be’s.

    That said, both schools are top-notch in my opinion and I concur with John that both schools are winners in their own right.


  • Kellogg 2012

    I am currently at Kellogg and can say that for the most part the article was pretty accurate. A couple of quick points that I saw mentioned in the comments but not really expanded upon in the article:
    Many of the recruiting events tend to be joint events. I went to multiple events over the past year that was held by major banks which invited both Kellogg and Booth students. There are many events such as the MBA cup which both schools participate in (in addition to other Chicago area schools) and many events, such as Jp Morgan’s M&A challenge are only for Kellogg and Booth students. Although there is a health rivalry between the schools, my experience has been that both programs respect the other and alumni from each school are willing to help out people from the other.

    I find it interesting that Chicago has the reputation of having a more rigorous quant program when many of my Finance professors when to Chicago and have taught at both schools. Additionally, Chicago has habitually recruited professors from Kellogg and currently employs Nobel Laureates who did their research while at Kellogg.

  • boothgrad_2007

    I’m a graduate of Booth, 2007 batch. I went to Booth because I didn’t get into Kellogg. Though frankly looking at my friends at K I felt like I missed K, but Booth was not at the losing end, either. The curriculum was great and demanding which helps me greatly now. And one cannot go wrong at either of the schools.

  • booth grad1999

    I am a 1999 graduate of Chicago Booth (formerly the GSB).

    I am a successful entrepreneur (engineering,general contracting, real estate development).

    It is true about Chicago being more for the individual. It is not necessary the “teamwork” environment. It is about the individual. It is this freedom that provides tremendous interpersonal development. It solidifies individuality in one’s self (an important intrinsic characteristic necessary for business).

    It unfortunate the “greener” Chicago grads are so grudging. I imagine this recession does not help this feeling but “door” into a successful business is through this uncomfortble and somewhat lonely experience.

    Chicago has a real focus on maturing the mind. It does prepare it students for the real world.

    As far as alumni supporting alumni our Director of Business Development is doing an outstanding job at her leadership post. She is the class of 2009. She is paid hansomely as well. She is worth every penny.

    Nurture your character and become the leader you are going to business school to become.

    It worked well for me.

  • booth_grad2010

    I admire Booth’s curricullum but said that i have to accept the heavy headed approach from the alum. There are pros and cons for both the schools.. and both are excellent in their own ways.

  • Pedro


    I’m a international applicant admitted to Booth (R1, class of 2013), as well as to some others top business school.

    Although I’m leaning towards Booth, the opinions written here about class bonding, lack of Alumni help and school spirit makes me doubt whether I should go to Booth or to other schools.

    During my interview, I perceived that my interviewer wasn’t very proud of his school, told me that he never had used help from other Alumni and told me several times that I may consider other schools.

    However, the interviewers of other schools were totally different and were trying to convince me to choose their school.

    Finally, i would love to read more about international opportunities and how the school is seen out of the US (particularly in Europe).

    By the way, I’m not a Finance guy, coming from an Engineering background and the flexibility is not my priority (I need a strong foundation in core business areas).

    Thanks for your help and congratulations for this awesome site.


  • These are all good questions. It’s a bit harder to analyze part-time programs, in part because they tend to have more adjunct teachers in them. The list you have is a very good one. And clearly you must be in Chicago where you have an embarrassment of riches: two of the best business schools in the world with very good part-time programs to boot.

  • Andres A. Marulanda

    Hi John,

    I really enjoyed your article on Booth vs. Kellogg. I am actually considering the part-time programs at both schools. Are there any resources you can point me to in order to better evaluate part-time programs. I know the best programs are at Booth, Haas, Kellogg, Stern, Anderson and Ross. Would you evaluate part-time programs with the same resources, profiles and comparisons in P&Q? Are there any important considerations you would take into account?

  • Lindy,

    Thanks much for your thoughts on Chicago vs. Northwestern. My reporting tends to support what you say.

  • Lindy

    I am a graduate of the University of Chicago MBA program. I also attended Northwestern U as an undergrad. I love both schools. Since I work in finance and accounting, Chicago was the right MBA program for me. I believe that the Chicago program is more academically rigourous, based on discussions with professors who have taught at both schools.

    I would like to point out that UofC probably has a higher acceptance rate because their application is self selecting. In other words, the application is so demanding that people who aren’t really interested aren’t going to fill it out.

  • April

    Thanks for the article, really enjoy reading it. I am actually thinking about which one to apply for MBA. I’m interested in a career in finance so I think Booth will top my list, but will try both, anyway.

  • Thanks Michelle. First off, there’s no denying that Kellogg is the school that has carved out a great reputation and image in marketing. So the numbers of Booth grads going into consumer goods are lower because 1) it hasn’t been known for marketing, 2) fewer students go there to pursue marketing, 3) fewer consumer goods recruiters go to the school and when they do they recruit fewer students than they do at Kellogg, and 4) there are a large percentage of Kellogg alums in consumer goods companies (so the alumni network tends to strengthen the school’s position in the field and to help newer grads get jobs in their companies). That said, Chicago is a great school and has made marketing an important area for growth. If you can get into Kellogg, that’s where I would go, given your interests. But you also can’t go wrong with Chicago which is trying to make a bigger splash in marketing.

  • Great comparison, this has been very helpful. I am applying to both programs in R2, but prefer Kellogg if I get in.

    One question, are the numbers going into consumer goods from Booth low because the recruiters aren’t there, or because the students who tend to go there more likely to be looking for finance jobs? I am in marketing and going for brand management in consumer goods, obviously Kellogg is strong here, but would my degree and perceived ability to work in brand management be less valued from Booth? Would I likely have the same opportunities available from either school and the deciding factor would be who I chose to network with? Thanks!

  • MS

    I just joined Kellogg a few months back. And I have to say – for all you potential B-school applicants, this article is pretty damn accurate! I’ve spoken to friends at Booth and the stuff they tell me matches with what’s here.
    From the Kellogg perspective, it actually feels like you’ve gone to school here and are writing this from personal experience. Good stuff. Wish I had known of this site before I applied. Would have made a lot of the essay writing much easier!

  • MBA


    I appreciate the fairly balanced assessment of each school. As I read through the article, it seemed like you were giving Kellogg the obvious edge. However, that view cannot be reconciled with the recent rankings, which have consistently been in favor of Booth. A couple of other factors to consider –

    – Endowment Size: The top 3 schools in your rankings – Harvard, Stanford & Chicago, also have the largest endowment size in that exact same order. Booth’s endowment is about 1.5 times larger than Kellogg’s.

    – Faculty Reputation: In this category, Booth clearly has the more distinguished faculty (number of Nobel laureates, Fields Medal winners, citations in prominent business journals etc.)

    A big part of David Booth’s $300M gift is being used for attracting and retaining top faculty members.

    – Relevant Curriculum: Booth also has been at the cutting edge when it comes to revamping their course offerrings to match market conditions, while Kellogg seems to be lost in nostalgia. The end result – students more atuned to tackle global market realities.

  • Annual.

  • Lim,

    Hi all,

    I apologize for my ignorance but are those salaries listed in Job and Pay Data indicating monthly salaries or annual salaries?

  • Agree. We’ll make that happen soon.

  • Louis

    Yale vs. Cornell might be useful too.

  • I have spent some time looking for information that would aid me in understanding each MBA program from an outsiders point of view and was greatly impressed with these findings.

    These are the key pieces of information that each MBA prospecting student should consider before selecting a school to apply to.

    This article is incredibly helpful and provided me with the insight I needed to better assess each school – thank you for sharing this.

  • Booth Grad

    I think the notes about bonding with classmates is right on the money. I’m a Booth grad and I can tell you that Booth alumni are the real enemy of Booth students. Hardly anyone helps. Every alum has a chip on their shoulder, it seems. When you go to Booth, you sacrifice a long-term asset (the alumni network) in favor of curriculum flexibility. I’ve heard this from many of my own classmates and have experienced it first hand.

    Also, the interviewing criteria at Booth is not very stringent. Being a part of AdCom, I can say that it’s very easy to get into the Booth part-time program. There is a huge percentage that comprise the crass, airhead kind of students. They can’t effectively express themselves and often lack basic common sense. If that is not enough, you should look at the weekend crowd. Ugh.. So if people want to get into Booth, they should try the evening and weekend program. It’s a guaranteed success.

  • Booth_09

    I really like this article since it gives pretty fair opinions/facts for both schools. Being a booth’09, I would comment that I particularly enjoyed the freedom built into the curriculum because it will let you choose what you really want to learn which is especially crucial for a career switcher.

  • I guess the problem with picking a school is that in almost every case, both schools are winners. We’re comparing the very best MBA programs in the world: some might be better suited to individuals than others, but that’s more a case of what you bring to the school and what you want from it. So it strikes me as unfair for me to make a judgment on which one is best–because best is about what is ideal for you, given your experiences, personal fit, and goals.

  • Elbert

    I think it would be good if the conclusion of every Smackdown actually picked a school. This is a very good comparison of the school, but the name of the series makes me think that you are going to pick one at the end.

  • Thanks Steve. Really appreciate your kind comments. This is just the start. We’ll have so much more content on the site within the next month. So keep coming back!

  • Stephen

    I would like to compliment you on not only a great article, but the entire website in general. When reading this, I feel that I’m getting an honest review that isn’t biased. It has answered many of the questions that I had surrounding grad school and I am positive that Poets and Quants will be my go to first stop for all MBA related issues. The first article I read was about someone studying for the GMAT who was in the same situation as me. The article was inspiring and has driven me to continue putting in the effort going forward. Thank you for the time and effort you have put in to making a top notch website.


  • igby

    I spent a decent amount of time during my 2 years in Hyde Park with friends from Kellogg, often in Evanston. I wouldn’t have traded the freedom GSB curriculum for the Kellogg student body…

  • Booth_2010

    If this article serves any value, the value comes from the comments section that truly discusses the meaningful differences and similarities between the schools. John – I understand that you have a sensational reputation and that you are highly regarded by all the deans. I urge you to continue learning about schools by taking the comments seriously.

  • Thanks Julian. We’ll have hundreds ofvthese comparisons up over time and the ones you mentioned are already in the works.

  • Kellogg EMBA

    Thanks for the work on this subject. It would also be interesting to see a direct comparison of the Kellogg and Booth Executive MBA programs. Kellogg has consistently ranked higher than Booth in many of these rankings.

  • Jtbb

    I’m really enjoying these comparisons, although in some, it’s clear that they’re still in draft format (there’s one article that was published with an instruction in it – INSERT EUROPEAN SCHOOL NAME HERE – that sort of thing).

    I’m particularly looking forward to the following comparisons:
    Booth vs Columbia
    Booth vs Wharton
    Haas vs Tuck
    I’ve found this article, and both Wharton vs Columbia and Tuck vs Columbia particularly useful. That said, Columbia doesn’t come out all that well in these reviews, even though your numerical ranking (6th) is on the favorable side.

    This is rapidly becoming my favorite MBA resource; can’t wait to see what it’ll be like when it’s done.

  • Jacket

    Don’t forget Atlanta. Georgia Tech and Emory have a B-School rivalry that exemplifies Poets vs Quants.

  • Booth Grad

    Interesting piece, however I believe that a few points about Booth could use some clarification…

    1. It seems odd to me that you mention the interviews as a point of differentiation. While every candidate does not interview, I believe that all Booth candidates who make it through the first screening phase will interview. So every Booth full-time student should have been interviewed, which somewhat undermines your point about recruiting advantages in consulting. I understand that stereotypes exist about the schools, however I’d urge you to look further and actually meet Booth students – you’ll find that we shower, wear clean clothing, talk in complete sentences and can smile/tell a joke. In fact, not everyone fantasizes about their calculator or is more comfortable with a computer than a person.

    2. You overstate the part about how the Booth curriculum limits bonding with classmates. In my experience, first years tend to group into many of the same classes, whether through common interests, or by timing (e.g., taking certain classes before interviewing starts), or the “pace” of concentration tracks such as Finance. For example, it’s highly likely that taking FIN35000 in winter quarter will get you with a lot of first years.

    3. Booth lacks dorms, however unofficial dorms exist that essentially serve the same purpose. I believe at least 40% of each class now lives by Millennium Park and takes the Metra to school every day. Many students live in buildings such as the Shoreham, Tides, MPP or Columbus Plaza, and these buildings basically function as dorms for social hubs, party locations, etc. For someone looking to live close to their classmates, this is a great opportunity.

    4. I am surprised that you overlooked this (and if you mentioned it, I apologize), but a significant difference is also the grading policy at both schools. Booth is grade non-disclosure, whereas Kellogg students can publish their grades. This is a significant difference that impacts the culture of the school, student pressure, etc. I am not sure which is the right policy, but it is a meaningful difference, given that employers do care about grades when available.

    Finally, I think it’s important to keep in mind that both are great schools (as you say) but that many of these differences come down to personal preferences. While some of the differences are major (recruiting for finance v. brand mgmt), many seem to be on the margins.

  • Thanks for your response. It’s helpful to get that perspective of the two programs. I never realized there was much interaction between the students of Kellogg and Booth.

  • Kellogg 2010

    I just graduated from Kellogg’s 2 year FT program and would add that there is a fair amount of cross-pollinating that happens between the two schools. There are couples and friends that span the two programs and we cross paths in recruiting, club and social settings. There is plenty of good-natured competition, but I feel that the spirit between the two schools is overall very collegial and added to my experience in Chicago over the last two years.

    (Hopefully this happens in Boston, NYC & SFO as well!)

  • Fantastic, I can’t wait to see it!

    Also, I would be interested in seeing a part-time program comparison for the top part-time programs at NYU Stern, Haas, Chicago Booth, Northwestern, UMich, UCLA, and USC

  • You’re absolutely right! We’re doing all of those comparison sets and they will appear soon.

  • “Outside of Boston, which can boast Harvard and MIT, there’s pretty much only one other major city in the world that can lay claim to a pair of world-class graduate schools of business: Chicago”

    Ummmm… no…how about New York (Columbia #6 and NYU #10), San Francisco (Stanford #2 and Haas #9) and though it’s a bit further down on the ranks, there Los Angeles (UCLA #16 and USC #23)??