I thought it would be useful to post accounts from my visits. I figured I'd do them in reverse chronological order so I'd start with Iowa.
Iowa Tippie school of management:
Poets & Quants rank: 48
Median GMAT: 660
Tuition & fees: $36,045
Coming from Ohio, it took me about 8 hours to drive to Iowa. They covered my hotel stay in downtown Iowa city. On arriving in Iowa city, after stowing my overnight bag & suit I had a few drinks at the sanctuary. I highly recommend that place. Great selection, friendly staff.
My visit was very individualized. I was the only one visiting, there were no name tags. I got to talk to career services, sit in on a class, talk to the director of the finance academy and of course have my interview. After I wrapped up, I drove back to Ohio.
Great people, great program great academics. I did a lot of looking at curriculums and Iowa has a very in depth corporate finance curriculum. They also give finance students the opportunity to work on the Henry fund, the schools student managed hedge fund. All of the faculty and students I met with and talked to were great. Financial aid is a huge one, over 75% of incoming students get in state tuition, a stipend and a scholarship.
We'll start with the obvious: its in Iowa. Now, I have to qualify that statement by saying its still a college town so there is plenty to do there but its not NY or Chicago or even Cincinnati. Another aspect that ties to that is they don't really have on campus recruiting. It doesn't seem to hinder them from a placement standpoint, but it will be a little bit more work vs a program that has employers on campus.
I had a very positive experience in Iowa. I thought I had a good shot at being admitted with a graduate assistanceship which made them my top choice, but I ended up not getting in. They will still be a strong choice when I apply again in the fall.