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I also only applied to schools I would want to go to my first year (this year), and planned to expand the list if I didn't get in anywhere this year. I preferred to have two shots at the top schools, and only take one shot at safety schools, and know it wasn't a fluke if I ended up at a lower school (still might be a fluke that I ended up at a higher school - it wasn't at all certain based on my profile). Fortunately it worked out. Still, I wanted to share this article I read recently about academic mobility, and how to move up from wherever you start: planning your academic mobility « orgtheory.net
It's obviously hard work, and still risky, but if you have a specific goal in mind, and you can't start at a top school, you can still work smart towards your eventual goal from wherever you got in, if you can be happy there. Still, you should be aware of the odds, and how much it will take to achieve success, regardless of the path you choose. The blog above has a number of posts, over time, about how to make the most of your opportunities (including how to network for a research job, if your school doesn't already have that system in place on your behalf). One of my mentors from college was at a less well known teaching college (where I attended), and had to manage her larger course load and work her butt off publishing, but now she's making substantially more at a T30-T50 research school.
Note that even coming from a very top program, you're not guaranteed a spot (or tenure) in a top school - it will come down to your eventual publishing record, and other factors including some luck. Just looking at the recent placements for Wharton (Wharton Doctoral Programs | Recent Placements). In Management I see placements at places like the University of Hartford. Reaching for top programs can make sense, but I've decided to be OK with the outcome however it turns out (or at least keep in mind that I might need to place lower, work hard, and work my way up, depending on the job market when I graduate, no matter how well I do in school). Good luck, with whatever you decide!
Attending: Wharton; Withdrawn from: Michigan (interview), Rotman (interview), NYU, Columbia (interview), Chicago; Rejected by: Harvard, MIT, Stanford MS&E, Kellogg (interview)