Shortlisting universities where I would eventually apply has turned out to be a far more tedious process than I imagined. At the beginning of my search (like a month back), I had a very vague idea of what I wanted, so I went by university rankings. However, I soon realised that it's a very lazy way to look for prospective B-Schools. I then narrowed my search to B-Schools who are known well for IB and HR. I then looked for the average class profiles in those schools and there placement statistics. I knew that my GMAT score would definitely be above 650 and below 740, I knew what my work-ex was, I knew my academics. So studying the class profiles was a great help. I knew which industies and what sort of companies I would prefer after MBA, so the placement statistics were a great help too. After all this search I have identified 11 schools but there are 2 particular schools which I think would be a great fit for me if I get admission there (Texas Mays and Maryland Smith, also BYU but their essays look scary). However, these schools are pretty much on the top rungs of the ladder when it comes to rankings and that scares me. Admissions have become even more competitive, thanks to the recession, the number of people applying to B-Schools has gone up. Lets hope for the best (for me!).
Now came the fun part of identifying schools. I considered locations, weathers etc. My trip to US earlier this year has given me a good idea of what many places in US are like. Good thing was that I visited both the east coast and the west coast. I closed my eyes, recalled my trip and tried to imagine what it would be like living as a student in all those places. NYC is so crowded that it gave me a feeling of being at home :-). Also, there are people from all over in NYC and that makes it a very interesting place to be in, plus I love the cold weather, however, it's a very expensive city. Washington DC seemed boring initially but I really loved the wide streets and avenues. It seems to be a quite place after the hustle and bustle of NYC, although I am sure the place is very alive. Buffalo and Niagara are too remote for me, no point considering them. Then comes Florida. I was in Orlando for around 5 days, I liked the place but just as a holiday destination. I won't fancy living or studying there. Moreoever, it took me weeks to get rid of the horrible tan I had acquired in Orlando and Bahamas. The tanned look doesn't suit me at all, I look sunburnt and fried rather than having a golden brown sheen (Sigh!). Then we went to San Francisco in the west coast. It's a beautiful place with a very unpredictable weather and interesting history. Again, SFO has people from all over, especially China. It has so many hills that I again felt at home. The city has some very pictureseque views and charming houses. Nice place I would call it. Our next visit was to Las Vegas. Ah! the place that I loved the most (remember I was on a holiday). Vegas can simply spoil you, with the grand and luxurious hotels and the number of ways of having a good time. Gamble and drink away to glory in Vegas but I seriously doubt that it is a good place to live. Los Angeles was another story. I liked the crowds, the places (Beverley Hills :-)), the weather, also the chance of meeting celebs, in short almost everything about LA.
Phew! I hope I have covered almost everything that needs to be covered while identfying schools. Oops! I forgot, the TUTION. I have also considered which schools have a more affordable tution and give a better return on investement. With all this search and also the advice of my consultant, I hope I am applying to the right places.