Weighing Kellogg vs. Yale: Which B-School Would You Choose?

As many of you know, I have been fortunate enough to be offered admission at two fabulous business schools.  The question now, is which will I choose? I thought I’d walk through some of the things I’m going to be considering over the next few weeks before finalizing my decision.  The underlying theme here is that I expect that both schools would make me very happy, now I just need to decide which it’s going to be. The answer’s in the palm of my hands! Hopefully my thought process aids others choosing between two (or more!) great options.

Some of the major things I will be mulling over during the next few weeks are career exploration, class size, alumni networks, and location. I’m going to jump into my thought process so far, but the plan is to reach out to current students and administrators to see what they can tell me.

I am excited about business school first and foremost because of the promised exposure to many different fields, people, and perspectives.  I love working in the education non-profit sphere, but it’s all I know (save the miserable 2 years I spent as a cashier in high school).  I am super excited to meet people with different career paths, to experiment in an internship next summer, and to take classes that push me to think broadly (and dare I say it? bravely!).  I honestly don’t see any marked difference between Kellogg and Yale in this category. Perhaps because of Kellogg’s size, I might be exposed to more options, but because Kellogg has majors I will be tracking myself into disciplines I’m comfortable with.  So in that way, Yale, with its year-long required core, guarantees exposure to things I might naturally avoid. I plan to talk to students at both schools about how their career goals have evolved and how the schools have supported that evolution.

Since the cat’s out of the bag (i.e. I’ve been accepted and don’t care if people use the clues to figure out who I am), I can use specifics that I used to leave out.  For example, I went to Wesleyan University.  It’s a large liberal arts college or a small university, depending on your perspective.  And that’s exactly the confusing thing about business schools.  What perspective should I have when considering what the right size is? Bigger is not always better as it allows students to meet lots of people, but sometimes those relationships are less developed.  On the other hand, when a school is too small, exposure to different people is invariably limited. Yale is planning on increasing its two-year class size to about 350 over the next few years and Kellogg is decreasing (to an unknown number as far as I know). The current difference is about 275 versus 450. Part of me prefers the larger size but I’m not sure how much of an effect is actually has on the students.  Worth investigating and I welcome people’s thoughts on this topic.

Alumni networks are all the rage. I already mentioned this idea to some extent in my last post.  What I didn’t mention is how before I applied I never even considered the alumni network as something worth considering.  Now, I definitely see I overlooked a key benefit of joining the MBA world. Kellogg is really transparent with its employment reports, which is pretty cool. I am not sure how to approach my alumni network “investigation”; however, since it’s such a big part of the degree, I’m hoping that alumni will be at events I attend in the Bay Area over the next few weeks.

If this were a real estate show, we’d be echoing the words “location, location, location!” after every commercial.  It isn’t, but that doesn’t mean we should throw it out the window. I have a newfound fascination with Chicago and I am drawn to the idea of living there. It’s obvious that Kellogg will line me up for a career in the Windy City, but it’s not so clear whether Yale will suffer for being in New Haven. It certainly hasn’t kept Yalies from coming to the Bay Area.  That said, location seems pretty unimportant in many ways.  I like the idea of going to school outside a city (something that Yale and Kellogg share) and am adventurous enough to pave my own path regardless of where I go.  If this new chapter included 7 years as a PhD student, I’d be singing another tune, but I can do 2 years anywhere, and I kind of like the idea of being tucked away in a secluded school bubble.

Sassafras is a 29-year-old MBA applicant who works for a San Francisco-based non-profit organization with a primary focus on youth development and education. With a 730 GMAT and a 3.4 grade point average from a highly ranked liberal arts college, he currently blogs at MBA: My Break Away? His previous posts for Poets&Quants:


  • Anonymous

    If you are looking for a career in consulting/tech/CPG/healthcare/energy then go with Kellogg. For finance, choose Yale. For nonprofit, Kellogg has a lot of nonprofit consulting projects/work experience that you can do while at Kellogg. I know students who have done nonprofit consulting work with different companies in different parts of the world. So even for nonprofit choose Kellogg.

    Dean Sally Blount is amazing and she is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

    A poster mentioned about the flexibility of taking classes at Yale, you can do that at Kellogg/Northsestern too.

    Regarding culture, Kellogg somehow does a great job of finding the most down to earth and “nicest” non cutthroat type people.

    In a larger school there is a greater chance you will find people who you gel best with.

    The only reason to select SOM in my opinion would be if you wanted to work in finance or for some personal family reason needed to be near NYC.

  • reader 2

    I would definitely select Kellogg over Yale SOM. Both because Kellogg is ranked higher (and widely considered a superior business school) and because of the energy, spirit and culture of Kellogg. I think Kellogg is less silo-ed than other top bschools, and encourages exploration and innovation. It has a more entrepreneurial energy, coursework and opportunities — and this type of thinking (ie. problem-solving, collaboration) will translate to any profession. I understand being drawn to the full-year of requirements at Yale if you are looking for greater structure, but I do think you can find ways to create this structure and take a broad range of courses at Kellogg. For example, pursuing a track or major at Kellogg can help you find a path. Kellogg’s classes are likely to be a bit more challenging. Lastly, I think the people you’ll meet at Kellogg will exemplify the “think bravely” spirit and the alumni network is unbeatable. I know many people that have made the choice to go to Kellogg over top M7 schools — and not one has regretted it. I realize my input is too late, but I have recently know someone who has made this choice, and wanted to share my thoughts in a more public forum as we discussed it at length. Thanks!

  • Healthcare Guy

    While I agree that Kellogg is an excellent program and ranks better than Yale in all general rankings, you should consider what you speculate your career path will be post graduation. Yale has the number 1 program in the nation for nonprofit management (according to US News rankings). If you see yourself staying and advancing in this field, Yale would be the wiser pick. Though if you think you might split off into some other industry, paritcularly consulting, go with Kellogg. It’s important to know not just the average salaries graduates are starting at, but also the industries/ functionalities they’re going into. Kellogg’s a better overall program compared to Yale, but what’s the value in attending a higher ranked school that doesn’t stand out in your industry? Not all that much if you don’t see yourself as an industry changer.
    On the other hand, all business schools are regional to varying degrees. If you want to break into Chicago and make it your home, go to Kellogg.
    The best thing you can do for yourself is to envision where you want to be long term – the city you live in, the industry your in, the job you have, etc. Don’t expect yourself to have all the answers, but see where you end up after going through this exercise. Lastly, go to businessweek and familiarize yourself with the MBA profiles they’ve developed. Those should paint you better pictures of the programs.

  • Interesting, Orange. I have to say I’m really interested in a lot of Yale’s electives, so good to know!

  • I was fortunate enough to meet Dean Blount at the Kellogg Prospective Student Diversity Weekend back in October. She is DEFINITELY a force to be reckoned with. I am a big fan of hers.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • reader

    Kellogg would probably be the better option in both the the short-term (higher post-MBA salary; stronger brand in the business world) as well as long-term (reputation; resources; larger alumni network). You would get a distinct experience at both school (teamwork-oriented; close-knit colleagues; supportive community) but the Kellogg was the originator of this very type of business school experience. yes, all the buzz is about Yale’s Ted Snyder, who is a legendary leader, but Kellogg’s Sally Blount is a force to be reckoned with. A rising star often overlooked, she’s taking Kellogg to a whole new level. Think Bravely!

  • Orange

    Just a couple of quick notes about Yale SOM- While you do take core classes throughout your first year, you have to take only a couple of them in the Spring, meaning that you will end up taking some electives even as a first year.

    Another point related to electives is that the MBA program allows you to take an unlimited number of courses at any other school at Yale and count them towards your degree. I know several people who have taken language classes to prepare for careers abroad, law classes at Yale’s #1 ranked law school, or even CS classes to help in running a web start-up.

    While Kellogg is ranked higher in many publications, I think Yale SOM has a lot of momentum. With a new dean, a state-of-the-art building opening up next year, and the creation of the Global Network, there’s going to be a lot of big things happening in New Haven in the next few years.