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One of the most interesting parts of Bloomberg’s new poll analysis, which explores what students choose when trying to decide between two schools, is how much students are currently favoring Stanford over Harvard. This is obviously a huge change from 20 or even five years ago, and really shows how landscape is shifting. That said, the choice may not be as cut and dried as it seems from those numbers.

When you’re talking about deciding between offers from two schools as prestigious as Harvard and Stanford, rankings really should not enter into the debate. Both are obviously top programs, enough said. There are, however, some important factors you can use to decide between the two, should you be fortunate enough to get offers from both.

Go to Stanford if:

You are interested in entrepreneurship. Of course, this is the most obvious reason to choose Stanford over Harvard. This is also not as clear-cut a choice as it once was. Boston has an exceptional startup scene now, and the rock Center accelerator program offer substantial scholarships and in some cases loan assistance. But, Silicon Valley was and is the absolute heart of the innovation economy, so Stanford is still the best place for entrepreneurs.

You want to focus on your soft skills. Touchy-feely is not just a class a Stanford, it’s a way of life. Intense group therapy are not words you usually hear applied to business school classes. Stanford education will not simply teach you how to run a successful business, it wants to teach you how to be a better person.

You like the weather. Okay, obviously this is a little reductive, but hear us out, because the weather is not just the weather. A warm, welcoming, open environment, both physiologically and socially, is exactly what some people need to do their best work. On the other hand, people who are more introverted might not like that experience.

Go to Harvard if:

You want to work in a place or industry that recruits there. Again, this might seem obvious, or it might seem like a wash. After all, most top companies recruit at both Stanford and Harvard.  Yes and no.  The fact is, Harvard has been around a long time, and has been on top for a long time. The school has established relationships with certain companies, coming in and going out. So if you’re looking for that more traditional track to certain positions of power in Private Equity, banking or politics, Harvard is a better choice.

You want a degree that will travel. The old cliché about Harvard students (that they like to say they went to school in Boston) is true. There’s also a good reason for it. People treat you differently when they know you went to Harvard.  That is more true of Harvard than any other school. And while you might not want to intimidate friends and random acquaintances, if you do a lot of overseas work, or if you plan on changing jobs, careers or fields more than once throughout your life, it's probably the place for you.  Having Harvard on your resume changes the entire rest of your career in a way that no other degree does.

You are focused on achievement. Harvard is not known as a place to make close friends, although that can sometimes happen.  The cluster structure and the rigorous first-year curriculum mean that you will be working pretty darn hard, and you might not like all the people you’re working with. However, if you like working hard, if you’re at your best when you’re being pushed and challenged to get everything done, this can be the perfect warm-up for high achieving career. Just get ready to kiss a lot of free time goodbye, if you had any to begin with!

Those are the most important reasons we would suggest you choose Stanford over HBS, or vice versa. There are many many more, but they won’t all fit in a blog post, so feel free to contact us if you have questions.