Here is my (tentative) final list of schools -
1. Stanford School of Business -
This is my dream school and I love everything about it, right from its campus to its proximity to Silicon Valley, from its general management courses to its GMIX course, from its clubs to its Indian student fellowship program. Though it requires 3 recommenders and 4 essays, I will be applying in the first round which ends on 22nd October.
2. Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth -
The general management focus of this school and its close-knit community won me over. There are several interesting second year courses and also the Tuck Global Consultancy program has its advantages. This will be a first round application too, to be submitted by 10th October.
3. Goizueta School of Business - Emory University -
Though not very highly ranked, Goizueta appealed to me from the very beginning. The small class size, the GMSC program, the LEAD weeks and the core strength ideology set this school apart. The scholarships offered are very generous and it also attracts the top consultancies to its campus every year. This is a definite first round application - 1st November.
4. Johnson School of Business - Cornell University -
Johnson was a last minute entry into the list, primarily because it is a technically oriented business school and also the brand management and strategy focussed courses it offers. The financial aid scene is not encouraging and neither is the community focus predominant. Yet its immersion program and short essays help it get to into the top 5.
5. Indian School of Business -
This school is a default. It has the obvious advantages of being in India, being a one year course and being cheap comparatively. All in all, great ROI. But it also has the disadvantage of not being AICTE approved and not being that well-known outside Asia. But not applying to ISB would be a mistake I don't want to make but it will be only in the second round so as to see how events play out.
There are a couple of other schools that I am researching like Ross, Columbia, Marshall and I am not ready to laminate the list yet...