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So... yesterday I was officially accepted into Carnegie Mellon. Now I'm wondering - is it worth the money?
It costs 55k a year - assuming parents provide 15k a year, I provide 5k a year, and CMU gives me a grant of 10k a year, that leaves 25k a year, or 100k worth of debt.

Short and sweet: is it worth the debt over a public university (specifically, University of Maryland)?

I've crunched some numbers and assumed I get an S&T job out of undergrad in NYC. The numbers would look somewhat like this:

Apartment: 1500
Utilities: 200
Other: 50
Total Rent: 1750

Food 300
Metro 100
Cable 100
Cell 100
Misc 150
Total Misc: 750

Total Monthly Cost: 2500

Total Yearly Expense Cost: 30000

Total College Loan Monthly Cost: 1075

Total Yearly Debt Cost : 13000

Total Yearly Important Incidentals: 2000

Total Yearly Cost: 45000

How Much I Will Be Making: 65000 +25000 Bonus = 90000
Net Income = Earnings/2 = 45000

So net balance = 0... so it should be doable (if these numbers look off, please correct me!)

All opinions would be welcome!

Comments (66)

  • al865149's picture

    Pretty sure you will be paying more than $300 a month on food.

  • DurbanDiMangus's picture

    no its not worth it--esp in the context of you determining "worth" through whether you get a FT S&T job out of undergrad (assume you mean BB?). Contingent on you achieving top academic status, networking your face off, interning every summer, and preparing to kick ass in a soph/jr summer analyst role, it is likely that you could get a FT offer from a desk coming out of U of Maryland.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    I got into the CS program at CMU- even got some financial aid- weighed it against $17K/year Illinois and figured it was not worth the extra $100K (at the time) to go to the #1 ranked CS school instead of the #5 ranked CS school. Best decision I ever made- saved $100K and wound up in roughly the same spot I would have had I spent the extra money on CMU.

    Maryland College Park is an excellent CS program- roughly in line with Illinois. If you are a Maryland resident and get to pay in-state tuition, I'd take Maryland over CMU.

    CMU is a great program- arguably the best in the country, but it's hard to sell it- or any other private school- over a top ten state school for engineering if you're paying in-state tuition.

    As for landing in S&T, it's hard to land as a sales guy or trader straight out of undergrad with a CS background. The banks will probably want to take advantage of your programming skills for the first few years and have you work as an analytics developer pricing these products first before they move you into trading. It's just as cool of a job and the comp/selectivity situation is similar or perhaps a little better, but the work is different. You'll be sitting up with research and management rather than on the trading floor and it will be much quieter.

    Keep your options open and don't write off Google or IBM so fast.

  • Matthias's picture

    It wasn't for me. Took full tuition scholarship to a state school instead of paying 40k per year at CMU. You can always transfer out of UMD in 2 years if you are still worried about getting into S&T and get the target/semi-target diploma at half-cost.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Just for the record, people will say it's tough to get into a BB out of state school. But if you can get into CMU for CS, H/Y/P/W for something generic like math, econ, or finance would have been a slam dunk. You're going to learn pretty much the same material at College Park and once you land the interview- which you will, you're going to be smarter than the kids you're up against. The one thing is how confident you'll be interviewing against a bunch of target school kids.

    The good news in the land of programming is that the interviews are 95% technical. Can you get the algorithm to run in O(n^2*logn) time? Can you spot the opportunity to do a radix sort rather than a divide-and-conquer sort? The guy interviewing you might be from Harvard, he might hate your guts for being from a state school, but if you can solve the problem and the Harvard CS major you're interviewing against can't, they really have no choice, do they? The last thing Goldman wants is to lose a brilliant programmer to Morgan Stanley or Citadel.

  • euroazn's picture

    I didn't apply SCS for CMU... just MCS Math and Tepper :S

    Although wherever I'll go I'll likely have at least a CS Minor.

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    If you go to CMU Happy will buy you a beer so there is that to consider too...

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    DurbanDiMangus's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    Just for the record, people will say it's tough to get into a BB out of state school. But if you can get into CMU for CS, H/Y/P/W for something generic like math, econ, or finance would have been a slam dunk. You're going to learn pretty much the same material at College Park and once you land the interview- which you will, you're going to be smarter than the kids you're up against. The one thing is how confident you'll be interviewing against a bunch of target school kids.

    The good news in the land of programming is that the interviews are 95% technical. Can you get the algorithm to run in O(n^2logn) time? The guy interviewing you might be from Harvard, he might hate your guts for being from a state school, but if you can solve the problem and the Harvard CS major you're interviewing against can't, they really have no choice, do they? The last thing Goldman wants is to lose a brilliant programmer to Morgan Stanley or Citadel.

    Your answers are generally very good - however seems the OP is aiming for an S&T -- CS may be a strong option, esp in a structuring role or a quant product desk, but you can take pretty high maths doing a quant fin/econometrics/bs in econ type degree and waste less time w info that is non core to your actual job. If he's just going for a flow desk then undergrad biz or econ will likely be fine... I think if he's evaluating success on the basis of getting an S&T job (seems so) then spending so much money on CMU (which isn't H/Y/P/W/S in the eyes of S&T recruiting) doesn't seem to make sense. If he measured success in any other way (aside from his ultimate goal of getting a generic entry level S&T job) my answer might be diff

  • TraderJoe1976's picture

    Hey, you can't live in New York City on $30 K a year. My car costs alone are approx. $15 K per year. 2 bedroom apartment is $4 K per month. Plus you need to provide for emergency medical expenses, entertainment, etc.
    Anyway, if you stay focused on your game, the $100 K debt will seem like pocket change after a few years. If you lose your focus, the $100 K debt will make your life miserable for many years. The collection agencies are unscrupulous monsters when they know that you cannot file for bankruptcy.
    If you are planning to terminate your education with a Bachelor degree, then I would take the $100 K debt and get the CMU brand on my resume.
    Otherwise, go to Maryland, and then after working for three years, target a Top 5 MBA. That will give you the brand name and alumni network and also the $180 K debt.

  • chubbybunny's picture

    Dang I thought you got in the CS program. CMU to CS is like Johns Hopkins to Medicine.

    Just keep in mind that if you go to your state school, the whole time you may be wondering "what if..."

    CMU is a very well respected school and if you get in their Computational Finance program then you are gold.

  • Pedo_Bear's picture

    if you wanna do sales and trading, go to michigan, get into ross, get a bba in finance with a math minor

  • vadremc's picture

    The only undergrad institutions I would consider going into 100K+ debt for are...

    None.

    Go to a state school and you'll do okay.

    Sidenote: Man am I glad I finished undergrad a couple of years back. You new guys are getting railroaded by these institutions. It's really sad.

    "Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

  • In reply to TraderJoe1976
    euroazn's picture

    TraderJoe1976:
    Hey, you can't live in New York City on $30 K a year. My car costs alone are approx. $15 K per year. 2 bedroom apartment is $4 K per month. Plus you need to provide for emergency medical expenses, entertainment, etc.
    Anyway, if you stay focused on your game, the $100 K debt will seem like pocket change after a few years. If you lose your focus, the $100 K debt will make your life miserable for many years. The collection agencies are unscrupulous monsters when they know that you cannot file for bankruptcy.
    If you are planning to terminate your education with a Bachelor degree, then I would take the $100 K debt and get the CMU brand on my resume.
    Otherwise, go to Maryland, and then after working for three years, target a Top 5 MBA. That will give you the brand name and alumni network and also the $180 K debt.

    You need a car/two bedroom apartment? Why, exactly... those are definitely uneccessary costs.

    Dang I thought you got in the CS program. CMU to CS is like Johns Hopkins to Medicine.

    Just keep in mind that if you go to your state school, the whole time you may be wondering "what if..."

    CMU is a very well respected school and if you get in their Computational Finance program then you are gold.

    That's exactly what I'm aiming for and why I applied to math/business. If I do Comp Sci I won't have time to do computational finance (unless I remove any semblance of a social life....)

    Also, I'm not measuring success by an achievment of an S&T job. I was just pulling numbers to see that I could actually pull it off financially... my end goal is (for now) HF. Also, I like the atmosphere of CMU more - the people, the city, everything. If only it wasn't so expensive....

  • In reply to chubbybunny
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    Just keep in mind that if you go to your state school, the whole time you may be wondering "what if..."

    What do you mean, what if? I spent state school thinking "Oh thank god I didn't spend that money!" My first two years in school were during the bottom of the tech bust- 2003 and 2004- and we were constantly hearing stories from kids who went to good CS private schools that they graduated $120K in debt with a $20K/year job. #1 vs. #4 or #6 is not a huge difference in the programming world, and you will have roughly the same opportunities as a programmer- from Google to IBM to Goldman (quant development) to Citadel.

    CMU is a very well respected school and if you get in their Computational Finance program then you are gold.

    Absolutely, but that's a grad program and once you hit a quant analytics group, you'll be a bigger shoo-in there than James Franco for a PhD in acting. This is coming from my experience with three coworkers applying there (full-time) and all getting in. It's a great program, but you can get in with a CS degree from College Park and a year or two of work experience somewhere in finance.
  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    euroazn's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    CMU is a very well respected school and if you get in their Computational Finance program then you are gold.

    Absolutely, but that's a grad program and once you hit a quant analytics group, you'll be a bigger shoo-in there than James Franco for a PhD in acting. This is coming from my experience with three coworkers applying there (full-time) and all getting in. It's a great program, but you can get in with a CS degree from College Park and a year or two of work experience somewhere in finance.

    He's talking about their Bachelor's - you apply sophomore year, and they take in ten students. It's basically what allured me to CMU in the first place.
  • In reply to DurbanDiMangus
    euroazn's picture

    DurbanDiMangus:
    What kind of HF are you aiming for? What kind of strategy?

    I'm in high school. To answer that question now would be absurd.

    I just like the concept of hedging (i.e I'm actually fascinated by the idea and not the money... well, the money is nice too...) so I guess L/S fund? But seriously, it's way too early to be _that_ streamlined.

    EDIT: well fuck I'm being hypocritical aren't I...

  • In reply to turtles
    happypantsmcgee's picture

    turtles:
    debt is never worth it

    ?

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • euroazn's picture

    If you graduate in the top 50% in CS or Comp E. out of a top ten state school like Maryland, a six figure job at a tech firm or landing in an FO Analytics role straight out of a CS degree is pretty darned certain.
    Did you mistype 5% as 50%?.......
  • MMBanker14's picture

    I picked a decent state school, but definitely a non-target-think Minnesota-over Michigan to save $80,000 over 4 years. I'd make the same decision if I had to do it all over.

  • vadremc's picture

    You see the reality euroazn, is that you can always go fwd, but you can never go backward. I rarely hear of a person with an undergrad state degree wanting to get into finance say, "Man, I should have went to Harvard, I'm screwed for life." Their debt is manageable by comparison and they can always go to a top tier MBA/MS program and achieve that pedigree if they feel they are lacking and want to make up for lost ground.

    However, if you go to an expensive undergrad and can't get a solid ROI post graduation, that debt doesn't reset itself. You are stuck my friend. A top tier program will only add to the pain.

    "Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

  • In reply to vadremc
    euroazn's picture

    I rarely hear of a person with an undergrad state degree wanting to get into finance say, "Man, I should have went to Harvard, I'm screwed for life."

    Well... that's not quite true - lots of people complain about the lack of recruitment.
    Also I definitely like Carnegie Mellon's college feel better... I don't like the Jocky attitude of UMD. Also it has too much of a Jersey feel in it.

    No offence to any of you folks out there.

  • In reply to euroazn
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    euroazn:
    If you graduate in the top 50% in CS or Comp E. out of a top ten state school like Maryland, a six figure job at a tech firm or landing in an FO Analytics role straight out of a CS degree is pretty darned certain.
    Did you mistype 5% as 50%?.......

    No, I meant 50%. The median CS student graduating from UIUC makes $90K. Adjusted for Northeast salaries and cost of living, you're looking at $100K.

    The top 5% are going to either be architects at Google or work as quants or TAs at Citadel/Getco/Jump.

    As someone interested in finance, you will want to naturally have some fin/accy courses under your belt and be particularly strong in data structures, algorithms, machine learning, and probability/calculus.

  • TraderJoe1976's picture

    Well you just answered your own query. Your heart is set on CMU and you will have a lot of regret if you go to Maryland, even though it is a good school. Take the $100 K debt and work hard. CMU takes good care of their students and ensures that they get good jobs. On their website, they proudly announce that the default rate on student loans is less than 0.4% whereas, for state schools, it is usually around 6%-7% of the students. $100 K seems to be a lot when you are in college, but it is really peanuts compared to what you will make later on. Of course, if you party too hard when you are in school, the $100 K debt will sink you for life.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    euroazn's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    euroazn:
    If you graduate in the top 50% in CS or Comp E. out of a top ten state school like Maryland, a six figure job at a tech firm or landing in an FO Analytics role straight out of a CS degree is pretty darned certain.
    Did you mistype 5% as 50%?.......

    No, I meant 50%. The median CS student graduating from UIUC makes $90K. Adjusted for Northeast salaries and cost of living, you're looking at $100K.

    The top 5% are going to either be architects at Google or work as quants or TAs at Citadel/Getco/Jump.

    As someone interested in finance, you will want to naturally have some fin/accy courses under your belt and be particularly strong in data structures, algorithms, machine learning, and probability/calculus.


    Whoa... do you have sources for that data? Median of 90k for undergrad seems a bit ridiculous.
  • In reply to TraderJoe1976
    euroazn's picture

    TraderJoe1976:
    Well you just answered your own query. Your heart is set on CMU and you will have a lot of regret if you go to Maryland, even though it is a good school. Take the $100 K debt and work hard. CMU takes good care of their students and ensures that they get good jobs. On their website, they proudly announce that the default rate on student loans is less than 0.4% whereas, for state schools, it is usually around 6%-7% of the students. $100 K seems to be a lot when you are in college, but it is really peanuts compared to what you will make later on. Of course, if you party too hard when you are in school, the $100 K debt will sink you for life.

    I guess I do love CMU infinitely more than maryland, but I will have infinitely more debt (100k as opposed to 0... Maryland gave me a scholarship...)
  • In reply to euroazn
    vadremc's picture

    euroazn:
    I rarely hear of a person with an undergrad state degree wanting to get into finance say, "Man, I should have went to Harvard, I'm screwed for life."

    Well... that's not quite true - lots of people complain about the lack of recruitment.
    Also I definitely like Carnegie Mellon's college feel better... I don't like the Jocky attitude of UMD. Also it has too much of a Jersey feel in it.

    No offence to any of you folks out there.

    While we may disagree on the statistical reference, there can be no quarrel with the reality that life does not end after undergraduate. Graduate school is always an option and an equitable equalizer.

    "Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

  • euroazn's picture

    I have to get into a top grad school, which I think we are forgetting is non-trivial.

  • In reply to vadremc
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    vadremc:
    You see the reality euroazn, is that you can always go fwd, but you can never go backward. I rarely hear of a person with an undergrad state degree wanting to get into finance say, "Man, I should have went to Harvard, I'm screwed for life." Their debt is manageable by comparison and they can always go to a top tier MBA/MS program and achieve that pedigree if they feel they are lacking and want to make up for lost ground.

    However, if you go to an expensive undergrad and can't get a solid ROI post graduation, that debt doesn't reset itself. You are stuck my friend. A top tier program will only add to the pain.


    Exactly. I know of a person from my home town who graduated CMU during the dot-com crash $100K in debt and unable to land a job. Student debt cannot be forgiven. You can't even discharge it in bankruptcy. Once you incur it, you're stuck with it until you either pay it off or you die. It is like a modern form of indentured servitude.

    That really scared me when I was trying to decide between Illinois- a school very similar to Maryland in CS- and CMU. CMU is an amazing Comp Sci school- particularly in robotics. But Maryland and Illinois are pretty darned strong, too, and kids from those schools beat CMU and MIT grads out for jobs all the time. MIT CS: Maryland CS::Princeton Econ:Chicago Econ.

    I got lucky- I graduated in a year when CMU and MIT kids were landing jobs that could cover their debt burden. But if you graduate in a bad year, you may find yourself unable to make payments on your debt and wind up in this career death spiral where nobody wants to keep you employed because they have to deal with garnishing your wages.

    So the conservative and IMHO wise route here is Maryland College Park. But the folks over at QuantNet- nearly all with CS and Math undergrad backgrounds who work in S&T, are going to give you a whole lot more and better advice than I can.

  • In reply to euroazn
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    euroazn:
    I have to get into a top grad school, which I think we are forgetting is non-trivial.

    Doable if you have experience as a TA or RA in undergrad, solid recs, and a 3.5 GPA. (Non-trivial, but not a huge stretch if you put in the work.)
  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    euroazn's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    So the conservative and IMHO wise route here is Maryland College Park. But the folks over at QuantNet- nearly all with CS and Math undergrad backgrounds who work in S&T, are going to give you a whole lot more and better advice than I can.

    I'm already an active poster there :P

    But here's the thing - what if I don't know if I want to be a quant? I want to do finance, not necessarily quant finance. Besides, if I go to UMD I don't see it as _trivial_ as landing a great quant job... The way you're posting makes it seem that all I need is decent grades.

  • In reply to euroazn
    DurbanDiMangus's picture

    euroazn:
    DurbanDiMangus:
    What kind of HF are you aiming for? What kind of strategy?

    I'm in high school. To answer that question now would be absurd.

    I just like the concept of hedging (i.e I'm actually fascinated by the idea and not the money... well, the money is nice too...) so I guess L/S fund? But seriously, it's way too early to be _that_ streamlined.

    EDIT: well fuck I'm being hypocritical aren't I...

    It's not absurd to have an idea. You supposedly have made up your mind that you want to work at a HF (because you are Fascinated with the idea of hedging, and of course not the money) - you can't handle 1% more introspection to see if you like quant macro vs. fundamental equity investing?

  • In reply to DurbanDiMangus
    euroazn's picture

    DurbanDiMangus:
    euroazn:
    DurbanDiMangus:
    What kind of HF are you aiming for? What kind of strategy?

    I'm in high school. To answer that question now would be absurd.

    I just like the concept of hedging (i.e I'm actually fascinated by the idea and not the money... well, the money is nice too...) so I guess L/S fund? But seriously, it's way too early to be _that_ streamlined.

    EDIT: well fuck I'm being hypocritical aren't I...

    It's not absurd to have an idea. You supposedly have made up your mind that you want to work at a HF (because you are Fascinated with the idea of hedging, and of course not the money) - you can't handle 1% more introspection to see if you like quant macro vs. fundamental equity investing?

    And hence my edit... haha.

  • In reply to euroazn
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    euroazn:
    Whoa... do you have sources for that data? Median of 90k for undergrad seems a bit ridiculous.

    Not sure if Illinois publishes the data, but $90K is a typical Google/Microsoft/Amazon starting salary on the west coast. We had 16 kids out of 200 go to Google alone my year. Probably double digit numbers to MSFT and Amazon as well.
  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    euroazn's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    euroazn:
    Whoa... do you have sources for that data? Median of 90k for undergrad seems a bit ridiculous.

    Not sure if Illinois publishes the data, but $90K is a typical Google/Microsoft/Amazon starting salary on the west coast. We had 16 kids out of 200 go to Google alone my year. Probably double digit numbers to MSFT and Amazon as well.

    16 out of 200 is not 50%. That's not a median at all....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • In reply to euroazn
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    euroazn:

    But here's the thing - what if I don't know if I want to be a quant? I want to do finance, not necessarily quant finance. Besides, if I go to UMD I don't see it as _trivial_ as landing a great quant job... The way you're posting makes it seem that all I need is decent grades.

    Well, a quant's education definitely gives him the option to be a trader- and gives him a clear in on the street. The problem is often personality, though. In order to be a good trader, you have to play offense and you have to be tough. Quants do not necessarily have to do that. They just have to be brilliant and they have to be able to look at a security and be able to come up with an equivalent hedge for it and a pricing regime based on that. That's something 90% of the street can't do, hence why they hire in the quants.

    So if you are qualified to be a quant or even a quant developer, your education will give you the option to be a trader- and your personality already formed way back when you were six- it will still be there when you graduate. But what we're really seeing is a move towards algorithmic trading- where the analytics guys who used to be coming up with the prices for the traders are now effectively the traders themselves where they are guiding the machines to make trading decisions. And that's where your CS degree is going to come in.

  • In reply to euroazn
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    euroazn:
    [16 out of 200 is not 50%. That's not a median at all....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Multiply by 3- factoring in Msft and Amazon, and you're at 25%. Factor in the other west-coast tech firms like Expedia, Apple, etc- along with some financial programmers and if you factor out the kids who decided to work on start-ups with the expectation of earning $30K this year but getting NPV $1 million in equity in five or ten, and it's hard to avoid getting to 50%.
  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    euroazn's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    euroazn:
    [16 out of 200 is not 50%. That's not a median at all....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Multiply by 3- factoring in Msft and Amazon, and you're at 25%. Factor in the other west-coast tech firms like Expedia, Apple, etc, and you're approaching 50%.

    Those firms don't have a median salary of 90k for starting positions....
  • In reply to euroazn
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    euroazn:
    Those firms don't have a median salary of 90k for starting positions....

    Whoever said a top ten CS grad working as a developer gets a median starting salary? $96K/year was the typical first-year salary for a developer at Amazon back in 2007. At least that was what three of my classmates got. However, there may be other pay regimes that I am not aware of. Perhaps it is self-selecting, but it would be hard to imagine a decent programmer who's strong in data structures not being able to find a $90K+ starting comp.
  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    euroazn's picture

    At least that was what three of my classmates got.

    And this is why you're not a math/stat-quant.... Ahem. Let's cover simple random samples.

    A) Your friends' salaries are correlated to your salaries (you are smart - get a higher salary; have smarter friends - they also have high salaries.)
    B) Your sample size is practically non-existent.
    C) lol.

  • In reply to euroazn
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    euroazn:
    At least that was what three of my classmates got.

    And this is why you're not a math/stat-quant.... Ahem. Let's cover simple random samples.

    A) Your friends' salaries are correlated to your salaries (you are smart - get a higher salary; have smarter friends - they also have high salaries.)
    B) Your sample size is practically non-existent.
    C) lol.


    Well, my sample size is about 20% of my graduating class- I have a pretty good memory and 20% of 200 students isn't that big. It involves actually a pretty typical overall GPA- . Here's really where you should be worrying about selection bias:

    1.) The fact that people who have higher salaries are more willing to talk about them.
    2.) The fact that I only know people who got involved in ACM or were involved in my study groups- hence some sort of study/work involving CS.
    3.) The fact that state schools do have some students with prior professional work experience- particularly after the dot-com bust when programmers decided to take some time to go back to school to get "certified".
    4.) The fact that not everybody who starts a CS degree at a state school gets enough As, Bs, and Cs to finish. In fact, UIUC starts with about 250 freshmen in CS and finishes with 200 seniors. Probably half of those freshmen transfer to non-engineering degrees; 1/4 switch to another state school to study CS; 1/4 drop out or go to community college.
    5.) 2007 was a fairly good year to graduate with a CS degree from a top school, though 2008-2010 weren't horrible years either.

    You also need to be aware that if you're looking at median or average pay, this number might be getting held down by students who go to work at start-ups or grad school.

    I'm pretty sure I've made adequate corrections for 1, 2, and 3. And again, if you honestly think you're smart enough to get into Tepper, 1,2,3, and 4 really shouldn't matter, should it? If you're not smart enough to get into Tepper, #3 and #4 are moot against $100K in debt that will take a decade to pay off, and the choice is pretty darned clear.

    Oh well. The ad-hominems aren't really helpful here. You can either buy my analysis or not. I had to make the exact same decision eight years ago and I'm glad I picked a strong state school over CMU. If I were fabulously wealthy and did not care about $100K, I would have chosen differently, but things worked out just as well.

    Recommend going to Maryland and applying to the honors program.

  • TNA's picture

    I love a high school kid busting illini's balls.

    Yo kid, IP is an actual quant. He also doesnt need the Internet to hold his hand. Working in finance requires a ball sack. Grow one, talk to your parents and pick a fuckif school.

    My advice, go to maryland. The quant field is being super saturated right now. You have way too many variables in your CMU calc to consider it anything but a swag. That 100k can easily become 150 real quick and you could be out of work for 6-12 months from graduation.

  • arden's picture

    picked an ivy over free ride plus some at top state school. best decision i've ever made. sure i have loans to pay off but the most important, most fun, and most formative years of my life were spent at a smaller, more intimate, older, more interesting school with cooler traditions, better resources, smaller classes, and a much smarter and more diverse student body. how much is that worth to me? more than one year's salary (~$120,000), that's for sure. some day i'll be earning that in a month. it blows my fucking mind that anyone would ever suggest going to a state school just to save money, honestly i think it's kind of sad

  • arden's picture

    although cmu is kind of lame, probably not a big difference in experience between it and maryland. if anything, maryland would probably be more fun, which is why i would probably go with maryland in your specific case

  • In reply to arden
    vadremc's picture

    arden:
    how much is that worth to me? more than one year's salary (~$120,000), that's for sure. some day i'll be earning that in a month...

    "I BELIEVE I CAN FLY! I BELIEVE I CAN TOUCH THE SKY! I THINK IT ABOUT IT EVERY NIGHT AND DAY..." (sing along if you know the lyrics)

    "Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

  • In reply to vadremc
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    vadremc:
    arden:
    how much is that worth to me? more than one year's salary (~$120,000), that's for sure. some day i'll be earning that in a month...

    "I BELIEVE I CAN FLY! I BELIEVE I CAN TOUCH THE SKY! I THINK IT ABOUT IT EVERY NIGHT AND DAY..." (sing along if you know the lyrics)


    Actually, it's probably true. One day- probably sooner than you think- arden will be earning $120K/month when a loaf of bread costs $2K. So it is not a really big deal.

    The $120K difference between a state school engineering degree and a private school engineering degree generally pays for a professor who can speak English with a slightly less thick accent. That's about it. Engineering is a tough sink-or-swim major that is exactly what it is. You either know how to do it or you don't.

  • euroazn's picture

    Just got my Financial Aid... I have no idea why CMU gets such a bad rap for financial aid... I got double what I expected. Not 10k but 20. I am definitely going now...

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