Feb 18, 2012
101
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Hi everyone,

I know there have been a lot of 'is the school worth it' threads on here but I am going crazy and could really use some insight on what I should do. I did my undergrad at UNC-CH and am currently finishing off my MBA at a regionally known school but definitely not nationally known because my tuition reimbursement requirements for work required me to go to an on campus program. The program was the only reputable AACSB accredited program in the area. The pluses I currently have include: not having any debt from undergrad, no debt for my MBA, and currently no car debt (I just purchased a 2011 new last year and paid it for cash so I don't anticipate replacing it for a while). I have been looking at getting my MPH in HPM because I really like the idea of making healthcare more affordable and improving the quality of care in hospitals through effective operations management. I see myself working either as an administrator or as a healthcare consultant. Recently, I was admitted into Emory's HPM program and I attended Visit Emory and was very impressed with the school. The issue I am having is that it's going to cost be around 65k in debt to go there. I have gotten other offers locally from USF for around 30k in debt and an offer from Texas A&M for their MHA program and have been told "I most probably" will get a competitive scholarship which would let me finish the program for about 35k total. I am waiting to hear back from UF and Pitt but their costs wouldn't be much cheaper (or at all cheaper for Pitt) than Emory so I'm not taking those places seriously. I also got into UT Houston but was not offered an in-state scholarship so that's no longer looking like a viable option. The issue I'm having is that I know it looks better on your CV to go to schools that are about on par with your undergrad if not better, which Emory would accomplish and perhaps even enhance the MBA which probably isn't helping my CV too much. However 65k is a lot of debt and I'm afraid by taking it I would have to live lean for a very long time and delay some of my life goals like marriage and buying a house. Given that I will already have my MBA before I go in, would it be better to go with Emory and take on a bunch of debt or go to a lesser known public health school like Texas A&M or USF and just try for a fellowship? I know Emory has the advantages with the consulting firms, but I have no idea how much those guys make right out of school and whether it could compensate for the extra debt. Any feedback is greatly appreciated! :)
 

OneDay81

7+ Year Member
Dec 25, 2009
540
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Gulf Coast MS/LA
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Other Health Professions Student
Am I understanding you right that you want to go to Emory based on its name, hoping that will offset the lack of prestige attached to your MBA? Or are there other reasons you are strongly drawn to Emory and so torn about it?
 
Feb 18, 2012
101
7
Status
Am I understanding you right that you want to go to Emory based on its name, hoping that will offset the lack of prestige attached to your MBA? Or are there other reasons you are strongly drawn to Emory and so torn about it?
I had to chuckle a lit bit from your response, but I guess the posting could come off as sounding like that's solely what I'm trying to do. Admittedly I will say that I believe Emory's name would enhance my overall academic 'branding', sure. For the record, I am proud of my MBA and believe I received a high quality education. However the only reason I referenced that was from the perception of potential employers, not my own perception. I personally believe that education is all dependent on what you put into it and there are great students from lesser known programs like there are sub par students from well known programs. However when applying for a job it's all optics. The interviewer has no idea if you actually have the skills to do the job until you're actually employed. If you went to ABC University and then went to Harvard, you would be perceived as a blossoming candidate, however if you went to Harvard and then went to ABC university you would come off as a withering candidate (I picked Harvard just to accentuate the point). That might not actually be the case, but there's always a dichotomy between reality and perception. However that topic is really a digression and not the point I was trying to make. To be more clear, the reasons I want to go to Emory include: 1) I think it would enhance my skill set within healthcare management and make me a better overall professional who has the core competencies to do well in my job 2) I believe I would have unique opportunities that I would not get from other programs while going to school such as the Practical Experience program 3) Emory has an ongoing recruitment relationship for PWC and Deloitte for healthcare consulting and their own hospital 4) Small cohort size, high personal attention 5) I plan to settle down in the southeast and it would be nice to go to school where I would like to live rather than having to move again.

The real question is if all of this is this worth double the price? Are the employment opportunities THAT MUCH better than if I went to a lesser known program? Would Emory really open up that many extra doors? Is it all about the fellowship for hosp admin and does the name of the school even matter after that point? And yes, though not my main point, is there truly something that is value adding by finishing my last degree on a high note? This is all conjecture and opinion of course but I could definitely use some of that right now.
 
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ms newyear

7+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2010
47
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If you want to do healthcare consulting, school name and reputation will help you quite a bit.
 

LaughingMan

Avoid Arrogance
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Mar 30, 2012
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Hey Enox,

If your career plans are to work at the CDC or something of that sort--wouldn't the networking available through Emory be of great help?


If not, maybe some of the more senior members can comment---but wouldn't it be more beneficial to try to attend the school where you would like to work?

I can't comment for other states--but Texans stick to their own.

Best of luck in your decision.
 

thereal19

7+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2011
31
3
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Since you don't plan to get another degree after the MPH, perhaps you should go with Emory as I do think they have a pretty solid network based on name recognition and between the two masters degrees you'll have, the debt could have been a lot worse combined.

However, just to speak a little about USF....I'm currently a student and will be finishing up this semester with my MPH and going on to a DrPH program in the fall. During the course of my time here, I have completed a two year fellowship with the CDC...and alot of students get great job and internship placements. Additionally, our Dean is pretty well known within public health and her name has actually opened up dialogue for me at networking and professional events... I honestly didn't know her clout until I had this happen to me. And ive actually never had someone not know about the school when I've talked about it...it is, afterall, still in the top 20.

I say this to say that, it is not impossible to receive great opportunities at another school if you do have to forego Emory due to funding.
 
Feb 18, 2012
101
7
Status
Since you don't plan to get another degree after the MPH, perhaps you should go with Emory as I do think they have a pretty solid network based on name recognition and between the two masters degrees you'll have, the debt could have been a lot worse combined.

However, just to speak a little about USF....I'm currently a student and will be finishing up this semester with my MPH and going on to a DrPH program in the fall. During the course of my time here, I have completed a two year fellowship with the CDC...and alot of students get great job and internship placements. Additionally, our Dean is pretty well known within public health and her name has actually opened up dialogue for me at networking and professional events... I honestly didn't know her clout until I had this happen to me. And ive actually never had someone not know about the school when I've talked about it...it is, afterall, still in the top 20.

I say this to say that, it is not impossible to receive great opportunities at another school if you do have to forego Emory due to funding.
Fellow Tampanians Unite! ;) Yeah that's probably what is making this decision so hard for me. I think USF has a pretty good program and it would be awesome to save the money and not have to move. My only apprehension with USF is the cohort size and if they're known for HPM (I was pretty ignorant of how well networked they were, it is comforting to hear they have some good placements). I also would like to know how their placement is within hospitals. This decision is soooo much harder than I thought! Thanks for the feedback :)
 

thereal19

7+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2011
31
3
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I'm not sure too, too much about the HPM department, but I did have two close friends who graduated from the department. Both had summer internships with VA hospitals while in school...one went on to a full time position at the VA and the other went on to a full time position with the CDC after graduation.
 
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