University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign
Poets & Quants rank: 43
Mean GMAT: 650
Tuition & fees: $34,482
I had not originally considered Illinois when i went through my first selection process, I probably should have. I actually found the program at an online MBA fair held by the economist. I wasn't sure ahead of time which schools would be there, it turns out Illinois and Purdue were both there, I talked to the admissions people there and set up visits to both schools. Illinois is actually a lot closer to me than I had originally thought, only about 4 hours away. The visit was on a friday 10am CT, so I woke up early, drove there, did the visit and drove back.
Campus was very nice although totally in the middle of nowhere. of campuses I've been to, I think it reminded me most of Indiana. There isn't much city around it at all, some residential stuff and then BAM! you're on campus. With that being said, the college of business is in, from the schools I've been to so far, the most impressive building I've seen. From the entrance, it looks like the rest of the buildings on campus, but its an open atrium design from the inside. All of the schools I've been to have impressive buildings, that one is just the most impressive so far. During the visit we talked with current students, had a mock lecture from one of their marketing professors and learned about their in depth consulting program for students.
From a program standpoint, they have a very large option as far as finance classes go. They are very well known in both accounting and finance and MBA's take classes with the other masters programs. Another strong point would be their consulting program. You can actually start consulting in your first semester in school and do it all 4 semesters of the program. That is going to be a huge advantage in looking for internships and work. Another huge pro is that they actually have some on campus recruiting. Most schools I'm looking at have little or none (with the exception of Wisconsin and maybe Ohio State).
The most obvious one is a comparative lack of financial aid. It seems, from the discussion I had, like they spread it around so a lot of people get something, but its less than some others. Also, although they have a pretty large consulting program, the students doing the consulting don't get paid.
I liked Illinois. I am definitely going to be applying there in the fall (assuming I don't go to one of my 'last minute' options). I feel like they are super focused on the most important part of an MBA: getting a job afterwards. I think that if I went there, I would definitely get a good job and at the end of the day, that is what is most important. . .