Rare Privilege: Deciding Between HBS, Stanford

Steven Pearson was an HBS & Stanford dual admit

Steven Pearson was an HBS & Stanford dual admit

EVEN SIZE CAN BE EITHER AN ADVANTAGE OR A DISADVANTAGE

While Stanford’s smaller class size was a factor in Saucedo’s decision to go to Stanford, Daum looked at the same issue differently. “With a larger student enrollment at HBS, you just maximize your chances of meeting people you like. And the section really breaks it down for you,” she counters. “You have a section of 90 people here who are your family. You have so many people to meet and a really small family to go back to. I just knew I was looking to make a lot of good friends and contacts. A smaller class than what I have experienced at HBS would definitely have been limiting.”

What about Pearson and his highly systematic approach to decide between the two? After going through an elaborate quant exercise to bring some science to the decision, he had to admit it was ultimately more of a gut call. “These schools are so good that from an admit standpoint, it’s virtually impossible to make a quantitative judgment as to which one is better,” he says. “I found it much easier to make the decision as soon as I threw that notion (of comparing the schools on a spreadsheet) out. I wasn’t going to go to the school that is better but rather to the school that is best for me. They both met the bar.”

So where did he go? Harvard. As Pearson explains, “I had lived in Palo Alto for a couple of years and then moved to San Francisco and applied to business schools from there. When I went to the Stanford admit events, the whole mental notion of moving to Palo Alto just felt like moving back in time. The idea of getting a lease down there felt like I was just moving backwards. It had nothing to do with the schools. If Stanford had been in Washington, D.C., I probably would have gone to Stanford.”

THE TOUGHEST PART: TELLING DEREK BOLTON HE’S GOING TO HARVARD

The toughest part of his decision, recalls Pearson who graduated from HBS last year, was calling up Derek Bolton and telling him he wasn’t going to take him up on his offer. “I don’t think I ever had a call with someone who was so clearly disappointed and devastated in a way that could be translated on the phone,” remembers Pearson, who is now CEO of a social media startup in Salt Lake City. “In a professional way, he didn’t do anything that was inappropriate. He did exactly what the Dean of Stanford would want him to do.”

DON’T MISS: HOW A DUAL ADMIT CANDIDATE WEIGHED THE PROS & CONS or A STANFORD & HBS DUAL ADMIT DISHES ADVICE ON HOW TO GET IN

About the Author...

John A. Byrne

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.