So first of all, let me be very clear that I do not intend this to be a put down/prestige whore thread, so please keep it civil. However, I am currently a student at a non-target and while I'm not even an overachiever there (GPA is only around 3.7), I often wonder if I had gone to a prestigious school if I could even compete there or if I would be stuck with a 3.0-3.3 GPA and still be in a pretty bad spot in terms of breaking into banking. I feel like I have just as much intellectual curiosity and work ethic to compete with the kids at some ivies, but all of my friends that go to a prestigious school are both incredibly talented and work very hard.
From what I've seen at my state school (btw, I mean complete non-target, not places like Ross/Haas/etc.), I feel like there are still a good chunk of kids that are book smart/able to get good grades, but there are very few intellectuals, which is the real difference between the quality of target and non-target kids. For example, at a state school, the top kids would get all or mostly As/A-s, pick up some leadership position or 2 at a large school club, then just party. At an ivy, on the other hand, my friends are not only getting killer grades and normal leadership positions, but also do a lot of outside reading/learning and are founding clubs/groups or winning huge awards on top of all that.
That's why I was wondering if anyone somehow knows this firsthand (i.e. someone who went to a large state school then to Wharton/Stern or something like that). I got wait-listed at Cornell/Vanderbilt-type places in high school and whenever I don't do well on a test, I wonder if I would get absolutely crushed over there, or if me not being the best at a non-target doesn't imply that I'd be screwed at a top school.
Sorry for the long post, but again, lets keep it civil.