UCSB vs Super Non-Target

Hi all, I have a difficult decision on my hands and I'd really appreciate your advice. I have been accepted to transfer to UC Santa Barbara as an economics and accounting major. I'm having a hard time deciding if I should transfer, and if it would help my career. I currently go to a super-non-target (looking up the university name on WSO gives zero results). However, such a small school has given me lots of opportunities as I was President of a Business club last year as a sophomore, compete in Speech & Debate and was National Champion of my division last year, and can start and run a chapter of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity for the next two years.

The way I see it I have two paths I could follow:

  1. I stay at my school and graduate with a bachelors and masters in accounting, completing all CPA exams soon after. Starting next semester I have permission to relaunch a chapter of the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, of which I would be president. We would do case competitions, consulting, anything I can think of to build skills and credibility. I would also remain president of a Business Management Club doing our regular activities. I'd continue Speech & Debate and likely have a good level of success these next two years in the activity.

  1. I transfer to UCSB. I also become CPA eligible and take my exams the same time I would otherwise. I think I can still do Speech & Debate though the team seems smaller and not as active. Although, at a bigger school I can join an established business fraternity, consulting clubs, and business clubs. Ideally, I'd take a leadership role my senior year but that's not guaranteed. I can also be involved with career fairs, networking events, and general business events present at a big school that I have been lacking here. For example, last year Bain visited UCSB for a career fair. They definitely are not visiting my school...

After graduation and CPA exam completion for both these paths I would work for Big4 in Audit for 2-3 years before getting my M7 MBA in Finance and then working consulting or PE. (I already have an internship at Big4 next summer for Audit, and that would stay whether I transfer or not.) After consulting (or IB if I want that), I work with directly with startups or do VC.

Based off of my options and goals, what do you think I should do in regards to a transfer? Thank you so much


Based on the WSO threads and discussions about career trajectories in finance and accounting, here's a detailed analysis of your two paths:

Option 1: Stay at Your Current Super Non-Target School - Pros: - Leadership Opportunities: You have established leadership roles and the potential to start and lead a chapter of Delta Sigma Pi. This can significantly enhance your resume by showcasing your initiative and leadership skills. - Specialized Skills: Continuing as president of the Business Management Club and participating in Speech & Debate can further develop your public speaking, leadership, and organizational skills. - Control Over Activities: You have the freedom to shape club activities and initiatives, which can be tailored to your interests and career goals.

  • Cons:
    • Limited Networking Opportunities: Smaller schools often have fewer networking events and less exposure to big firms like Bain, which could limit your professional connections.
    • Brand Recognition: A super non-target school may not carry the same weight on your resume when applying for competitive roles in consulting or PE, despite your personal achievements.

Option 2: Transfer to UC Santa Barbara - Pros: - Increased Exposure: UCSB, being a larger and more recognized institution, may provide better networking opportunities, including career fairs and visits from top firms like Bain. - Broader Club Participation: You can join established clubs and potentially secure leadership roles, which are excellent for networking and gaining relevant experience. - Enhanced Brand Value: UCSB's name might carry more weight when applying for MBA programs and jobs in competitive fields.

  • Cons:
    • Uncertainty in Leadership Roles: While you can join clubs at UCSB, securing a leadership position is not guaranteed and might be more competitive.
    • Adjustment Period: Adapting to a new environment and establishing yourself can take time, which might temporarily slow your momentum.

Strategic Considerations: - Long-Term Goals: If your ultimate aim is to work in consulting or PE, the brand strength and networking opportunities at UCSB could provide a significant advantage. - Immediate Impact vs. Future Opportunities: While staying at your current school allows you to make an immediate impact, transferring to UCSB could open doors for future opportunities that align with your long-term goals.

Given your aspirations to work in Big4, followed by an M7 MBA and roles in consulting or PE, the broader exposure and networking opportunities at UCSB could be more beneficial in the long run. While the leadership roles at your current school are impressive, the brand recognition and professional networking at UCSB might better serve your ambitious career goals.

Sources: Need advice for transferring, Should I transfer from my T20 semi-target to a stronger target?, https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forum/investment-banking/didnt-make-it-to-a-target-now-what?customgpt=1, Worth Attempting to Transfer from Semi-Target to Target?, Getting into Trading after 1st Year Recruiting

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