May 4th, 2018 at 4:32 PM ^

You couldn't pick out two more opposite undergrad environments. Ross and UChicago econ are both top academic programs that will place as well as you'd ever need in NYC and Chicago. Your kid will succeed more at the place where he'll be happier and a fit with the college environment. You're a Michigan alum so you know what UofM is like, and you know that UChicago is very much less of a social scene, no big sports, but that can be a fit for some too. 

East German Judge

May 4th, 2018 at 4:36 PM ^

This is I'm assuming for his undergraduate education, in that case I believe University of Chicago does not have a business school so to speak. While University of Chicago may have changed the culture, or have attempted to, this does not happen overnight. People have joked that the University of Chicago is a place where fun goes to die.

One suggestion is for him to go to Ross undergraduate, where he will get an excellent business education, as well as having a reasonably good quality of college life. If he feels the need to get an MBA University of Chicago would be just an awesome choice also.

Rose Bowl

May 4th, 2018 at 6:46 PM ^

Yes, attended both Northwestern and UC open houses.  Northwestern is more marketing focused and UC more math based.  I've never seen a less attractive group of people in my life than the UC group.  He can always find other ladies in Chicago but it was astounding.


May 4th, 2018 at 5:51 PM ^

For about 5 years, I intereviewed undergrads for a marketing firm at both places. We stopped going to U of C for a couple years, even though it was more convenient for us to get to, because the candidates were literally just too weird.

My boss would say, "Can you imagine putting so and so in front of client? She'd freak everyone out!"

Smart young men and women, and I'm sure most/all of them succeed in certain fields and industries, but the difference between Ross BBA folks and U of C Econ folks was dramatically different.


May 4th, 2018 at 6:12 PM ^

I'm sorry to interject, but I disagree strongly. If you go to RCMB they use this same argument about UM grads.

Company I used to work for recruited UChi students a lot and MANY were personable. One in particular (in Supply Chain) was probably the best young person in the office. I know many Uchi grads (from undergrad) in law school and a majority are extremely likable and personable.

I'd leave this decision to your kid if money is not too much of an issue (e.g. out of state). If your kid is not a Ross pre-admit UChi may be more attractive because Ross is pretty hard to get into. Uchi is objectively a great school in a great city. I know some of my friends liked the real college campus feel (me included). Some others liked going to school in a major metro (Chicago) and going out to bars, pro sport games, having a diverse dating scene etc...

If your kid wants to be an investment banker or work at Goldman than UChi might be a better choice. However, UM Ross is huge in getting students to consulting gigs.

FWIW I'm a Michigan grad.


May 4th, 2018 at 9:56 PM ^

This isn't what I heard about Chicago students or based on envy or sports. I have nothing against U of C; I hired a few of these kids and wanted them to be successful.

This was borne out over 100 in-person interviews (at both schools). We hired more than a few U of C kids, based upon other strengths (e.g., very good analytically, which was also very important -- it was a tough job requiring both data skills along with front-facing client skills), but most washed out due to deficiences I mentioned.

I have no doubt there are plenty of personable, fun-loving folks at U of C, just like there are clunkers at U of M. Heck, we had one fantastic U of C student who was a big success. But that wasn't typical in my experience, FWIW.

Point being, the schools are NOT similar in many areas -- culturally, demographics, location-wise, size, etc. The one thing they have in-common is they are top schools with rich alums. So I strongly recommend this dad think very carefully about his kids' temperment and interests (e.g., does he like big time sports being part of the school culture? Would he like being in a huge city or a prototypical college town?) and make a very careful decision.  You can be a sucess at either school, but it needs to fit you.


May 5th, 2018 at 2:08 PM ^

other than the fact that you stopped recruiting there.

Brilliant but socially awkward people tend to go to U of C at higher rates because the school is academically rigorous with not as much to offer from a social standpoint.  The school doesn't make people socially awkward.  It simply attracts those types of people.  Because everyone that gets into both U of C and Michigan (or UC Berkley or UVA or a public Ivy) gets the same advice this kid is getting now: go where you fit culturally.

But if you're a person with good social skills already, and you want to challenge yourself academically at the highest level, AND you don't care about being around more social people, U of C would be the better choice for academic rigor and you'll still be great in front of clients.

Completely agree though that if you're going into Brand Management or want to be a Consultant or be more on the client relationship side of business, you're probably better off at Ross because firms looking for those skills are going to recruit more heavily there, and Ross is going to have more team based coursework, work more on presentation skills and communication, etc.

I do think the RCMB argument is similar and I think there is credibility to it.  Smart but socially awkward kids are more likely to attend UofM than MSU.  There is a cultural difference between U of C and U of M and there is a somewhat analogous difference between U of M and MSU.

Autocracy Now

May 4th, 2018 at 7:10 PM ^

Fair enough, but a guy that works for me did UC econ undergrad and then Michigan law. He's probably one of the smartest AND most charismatic people I know. And he says he had a great time in college, partying, making connections and doing all the other stupid stuff we all did in college.

I know literally nobody else who went to U of Chicago but it might be more diverse than your company's experience implies.


May 5th, 2018 at 2:13 PM ^

grads?  Unless it was for analytics/econometrics/number crunching, that seems like a weird combo (both for those students to be interested in a marketing firm and vice versa). And if it was for number crunching, it seems like you'd prefer the most competent number cruncher and wouldn't care as much about putting them in front of a client.

Honest question, I'm just curious about what the mutual interest may have been.


May 4th, 2018 at 4:37 PM ^

If I'm comparing Ross vs Chicago I would say that it's about a push - although if your son is more interested on the academic of business he might be a better fit at Chicago.  I would be strongly tempted if it was U. Mich LSA vs Chicago though. 


May 4th, 2018 at 5:24 PM ^

it does not get better than U of Chicago.  Even Wharton is only on par, at best.  But Ross BBA is also very, very good.

The culture difference has correctly been pointed out.  Couldn't be more different.

If you want a great education, have major college sports, a college town experience with parties and a strong social scene (which could be a bad thing for some), the choice is UoM.

If you are super serious about your studies and require an elite education, UofC is the choice.

There's also a vast difference in tuition cost for a Michigan resident that makes it almost a no-brainer, IMO, but really depends on the kind of situation the student would thrive in. This late in game, I'm assuming enough due diligence on UofC hasn't been done.  Tough to have one weekend to decide.


May 4th, 2018 at 4:39 PM ^

Congrats on having a kid with a bright future.

You already know both schools are great, and it's a matter of which is a better fit for your kid (and possibly your finances).

A bunch of Michigan bloggers aren't going to provide unbiased advice that helps with this decision.

Maybe facebook is a better place for you to tell people about how smart your kid is.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but sheesh.


May 4th, 2018 at 9:33 PM ^

Your statement is disproved in multiple posts in this thread. There are a number of thoughtful, balanced, nuanced responses from Michigan people with specifically relevant experiences and knowledge. 

It's OK that you don't have any comparable advice to impart. Neither do I.


May 4th, 2018 at 4:40 PM ^

Chicago holds a reputation as a highly quantitative school. This may be a consideration if your son intends to make his career in a quantitative field. Contra, Michigan holds a reputation as developing more outgoing personalities into C-level leaders.

Does your son wish to live on the periphery of a large cosmopolitan city like Chicago, or would he be happier in the quintessential college town of Ann Arbor? (And no, Detroit cannot compare to Chicago as a world class city.)

I'd accept the offer and then make a final decision within the next several weeks. Good luck.


May 4th, 2018 at 5:04 PM ^

Personally, I wouldn't look to bunch of complete strangers on a sports blog for advice on educational choices, but I suppose it couldn't hurt.

Construction workers outside my window making earsplitting noise has made me a bit grumpy today. I should lighten up.


May 4th, 2018 at 4:40 PM ^

obviously he's in a good spot either way.  ross is a top 3 undergrad business school.  if your son was pursuing economics, UofC would probably be the right choice.  from a practical perspective, the top banks, consulting firms, etc all recruit michigan -- probably even more of a focus than UofC just given the respective size of the schools.  the huge michigan network is certainly a plus later in business.  with that said, he won't have trouble opening doors with a degree from UofC.  so i think you can argue either option, probably just pick wherever he fits better...they are quite different schools.

SC Wolverine

May 4th, 2018 at 4:42 PM ^

I presume this is for a BBA.  I would say that unless he gets into Harvard, Wharton, or Stanford that the difference between the other top schools is negligible.  I know that Chicago is currently ranked near the top, but a Ross degree will open just as many doors, presuming he does well.

The bigger issue for an undergraduate is the contrast between a big-city urban campus and the #1 college town in America.  I don't think they encourage students to be out on the streets in Chicago at night.  Whereas A2 is just awesome.  For most folks, I think a classic undergraduate experience like at UM is better, then you can do an MBA in a big city environment.  I did my graduate business work in Philadelphia and being downtown in a big city was ideal for graduate-school age people.

Plus, the Big House is not in Chicago.

MMB 82

May 4th, 2018 at 5:07 PM ^

on the south side of Chicago, and does not have anywhere near the undergrad atmosphere of Ann Arbor. Unless your son has an extremely compelling reason to go to U of C, I would opt for Ross. For the record, I did my residency training at U of C hospitals, but lived up in Lincoln Park the entire time. 


May 5th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

what's your point?  Still better to go to Harvard or Stanford if you're interested in business, in general.

Business degrees are mostly useless from an academic perspective, and yes, I have a top tier MBA.  Two main things matter about a business degree: 1) how difficult was it to get into the program as a signal for the most qualified candidates and 2) who were your classmates and fellow alums (and often more importantly, who is in their network) that will end up being your friends that will hire you, be available for you to recruit, partner with you, fund your business etc.

As regards to #1, the selectivity of the Ross MBA within U of M, puts it approximately on par with the difficulty of simply getting into a Harvard, Stanford and Wharton.

As regards to #2, the small size of the Ross BBA program, i.e. the limitations needed to achieve #1, can't compare to the immensely powerful network, cachet and credibility of Harvard, Stanford and Wharton.

The only reason to pick Michigan over Harvard, Stanford or Wharton, if you had the choice would be financial and/or personal (to be close to home, to have major sports, etc) because if we're all being honest, you wouldn't make that decision for academic/professional reasons.


May 4th, 2018 at 4:43 PM ^

But re undergrad culture,
UofC had 2k undergrads and 12k grad students. Total, so Ross is probably an overwhelming better experience for a young buck.
Also South Chi is no joke, north of 55th and west of Cottage Grove are no place to being hangin about.


May 4th, 2018 at 4:45 PM ^

I agree with everyone else above that the fit aspect is very important here because they couldn't be more different as schools.

That being said, Booth is miles above Ross as far as prestige and employment outcomes go. In addition their economics department is world renowned, so you can't go wrong in business related fields there.

Arb lover

May 5th, 2018 at 10:35 AM ^

It was said earlier but I'll reiterrate, Ross has better strategy and Booth, economics, along with the closely related fields for the perspective schools. If your son wants to end up being a chair of the federal reserve, Booth is probably better for him (I use that example because it illustrates that even institutions that founded in classic learning are branching out, and the old standard rules to not always apply). 

Prestige is an interesting thing. Internationally, say anywhere in Europe, if your son says he went to U of C people will think he is a slacker and went to some random school, however, many of them know the Michigan brand and that it is a high caliber school on a number of fronts. If your son want's to work internationally, it's going to get old having to explain how U of C is a top notch school. 

Personally I'd sum up the difference in culture as that between Harvard and Yale Law schools. Both will get you high paying jobs and a choice of careers, but Harvard encourages a more standard academic approach, and Yale encourages creativity and differences. It's also important to note that when perspective employers are looking for candidates, they often expect different things from different schools. They may be willing to pay somewhat more for a Booth education, but they often give those people less creative and less rewarding assignments. I know many Ross people who sacrificed some compensation in their career for other benefits (a paid month off, 6 month maternity/paternity leave, 3 months paid time upon any separation, more stock/reward based compensation, or the ability to work at home 2 days a week, etc).

A final note on salary. The economists at Booth would likely say the numbers don't lie, and $250k average is higher than $190k from Ross. However the Michigan grad in me would counter that most UC grads end up in large cities (Chicago, NYC, DC, SF, etc.), where $250k gets you maybe as far as $190k in Ann Arbor or much of the non-NYC east coast. In short, where graduates end up working during their career drastically impacts their salary, but not necessarily their ability to build a future and career.

Full disclosure I went to Ross, but I did interview at both schools for MBAs. (I did this after a partial government career overseas, so my situation doesn't entirely match your sons). A short story about my Chicago interview because it seems to sum up the difference in cultures.

My Booth interview was an interesting experience, a comfortable interview room with the recruiting coordinator and a second year student (president of several student groups, my A-type personality and fairly personable). It was obvious from the start of the interview that Booth's strategic push to prospective students was that they could come learn from nobel prize winners in economics. I say this because to get me comfortable the recruiter said "look no matter what happens here, you are welcome to swing by the bookstore on the first floor and peruse the textbooks of many of our nobel prize winning faculty. They wanted to know about me and my resume, and after their questions I was able to ask some of my own. 

I asked a number of questions trying to get at, without saying so directly, why I could not simply read these text books written by their world class faculty, elsewhere (what else does U of C offer that I would be unable to get elsewhere). A competitive environment, a world class degree...It was at the point that I asked about our ability to learn from the experiences of our peers through collaborative work and problem solving that I received my first dual blank stare. "But why would you want to learn from other students when you have nobel prize winning faculty"?

I chose Ross, and I'd do so again, but I did take them up on their offer to study the textbooks of some of their famous faculty.


May 4th, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

First of all congrats. 

For the question you are asking both are really good schools and its undergrad, don't let one being ranked higher be the reason he chooses to go. Rankings are severly overrated, schools are perceived in tiers and Michigan is a high enough tier your son would be fine regardless. This should be all about fit, not which is better or ranked higher. At either school your son will get out what he puts in and there will be little to no difference in the quality of education or employment prospects after. I wouldn't have been happy at Uchicago but I have friends who wouldn't have been happy at Michigan than went to places like Amherst, it should be a personality decision.

I also stand by at least encouraging your son to double major if he does an undergrad business degree, undergrad business doesn't really give you a leg up in getting into business school and if his plan is to eventually get and mba its all the same classes.

SC Wolverine

May 4th, 2018 at 4:49 PM ^

Let me second the thought that a BBA is not really the best route for someone who plans to get an MBA anyway.  Something like Econ would be better, if one does not wish to endure an engineering curriculum.  If I remember my MBA experience correctly, not that many students were BBA's and the admissions department was actually somewhat biased against them.


May 4th, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

I've always been curious -what unites alumni at a school like U of Chicago 10+ years down the road? Seems like sports is the major factor at Michigan to bring people together. What happens with alums of schools that don't have that?


May 4th, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

Attracts a surprising number of outgoing, sociable undergraduates - even in STEM fields. It's changed a lot in this regard over the past two decades.

So Maroons bond over experiences like parties, festivals, trips into the city, road trips, drug trips, foreign study, etc. same as at other schools. There was even a small group of Chicago undergrads who showed up on weekends to jump at my home dropzone, Skydive Chicago.

It's an eclectic mix, but alums do bond without Div. I athletics. Chicago also has a lively greek system including Sigma Chi.