Stern vs UChicago

Hey guys,

My college decision just got more complicated as I got into Stern, and I'm not sure what the difference between Stern and UChicago is within finance. 

I think in general UChicago is viewed to be slightly more prestigious/impressive/academic compared to Stern and NYU as a whole. However, it also seems like Stern absolutely churns out investment bankers at top firms due to its massive alumni network and location advantage.

I'm worried that the disadvantages in the alumni network and location of UChicago outweigh any reputational advantages it might have over Stern.

In fact, I'm not certain as to whether UChicago is even considered to be in a separate class "reputation" or "prestige" wise compared to Stern. Schools with bigger name brands like Penn or Columbia in my opinion are definitely perceived as a cut above, but I'm not sure if UChicago's brand name is as strong as these other schools (more of a if you know you know kind of situation). As far as I know there are some extremely exclusive groups in PE or whatever down the line that really selects for the most "prestigious pedigrees" like Harvard or Wharton grads -  not sure if UChicago really qualifies for this. 

Outside of finance (social life wise), I feel like NYU's lack of a campus / student cohesion and the difficulty of academics at UChicago kind of balance out (though I'm considering Business Econ at UChicago, which is supposed to be way easier than regular  Econ). 

Any thoughts on this?


Current senior here. Academically, UChicago has gotten easier. I majored in CS and it was still not that bad. It should be even easier with Business Econ. I agree the social environment could improve though.


Uchicago is a good school but they only have a handful of students get into ib, and most from what I’ve seen are diversity hires. Probably because grade deflation had prevented most students from getting interviews 

Different story for their MBA program, which is one of the best and better represented.


Coming from a H/W grad, uchicago is miles better than NYU. It’s not all about raw # of exits to banking (which Stern is good at) but more about the holistic intellectual/academic experience. There’s a decent amount of uchicago kids in top PE/HF seats anyway. I wouldn’t take business econ though - why would you go to uchicago, hoping to get into finance, and not take their flagship undergrad program (pure econ)?


I was just worried that it would be unnecessarily theoretical and that it might be extremely difficult to get a 3.8+ in some of the more quantitative courses. I'm alright at math, I got an 800 on the SAT math section and 5 on the AP Calc, but I'm definitely not a quantitative genius or anything, especially in the more theoretical / non pattern-recognition parts of math. 


Graduated from stern. 100% go to uchicago and do not look back. There is no college experience at nyu.

the school is good on paper but not really that impressive in reality


How do you think the two schools compare in terms of prestige and brand name? Mainly asking for down the line when I might have to apply for spots that want “prestigious pedigrees” like Harvard Wharton grads or whatever.


Graduated from stern. 100% go to uchicago and do not look back. There is no college experience at nyu.

the school is good on paper but not really that impressive in reality

Would choose the New York experience over "college" experience ten out of ten times. Guess the topic starter might have similar interests/personality given the chosen IB route


Go to UChicago. I am a student at stern. These kids are fucking demons when it comes to finance and on-campus orgs (which if u want to end up at a top EB/BB/MFPE you need to be a part of the top ones) are impossible to get into because of it. NYC is an awesome city to be in and I’ve loved the experience so far but I also spent all of freshman year grinding technicals…

Will say tho if u can be at the top at stern, u can go anywhere. I’d assume it’s the same at Chicago tho so get ready for some cold winters buddy.


Boohoo you had to grind technicals, UChicago is a much harder school academically overall and even then you need to know your technicals.

Just say you were lazy/not smart.


Yeah fair. I’ve heard Chicago is super challenging. And it is definitely true that you will need to prepare well technically there too. I think the differences overall r marginal enough where u could argue for either. In terms of technicals, I was mainly referring to preparing for club interviews. The technicals for those were more challenging in some cases than actually banking interviews. Most of the kids were insanely far ahead technically (hence “demons”) but ended up working out fine—heading to top EB/BB this summer


got into uchicago and didn’t end up going, i regret it a lot. my best friend is at uchicago. networking wise it’s where all the rich kids who fucked around at feeder schools go these days, gl


Stern is literally one train stop away from wall st. You play ur cards right in uni, ur guaranteed a position.


uchicago - my friends there confirm that the school has become more pre-professional than before, so you can get the best of both worlds of academic and pre-professional. also, if you wanna move to nyc after graduation, why not live in another city for 4 years of your life that you'll never get back?


uchicago is definitely more prestigious than nyu and stern, no question.

however, as others have mentioned on this thread, uchicago is notorious for tough grading (esp. if you are not in business economics). this fosters an environment where the successful students are the ones that either went to top private or public high schools or are just next-level booksmart, squeezing out anyone not from either background. furthermore, a common complaint from my friends not in uchicago biz econ has often been how unsupportive the school has been for student mental health and a bleak social scene. as such, i have seen people turn down uchicago for brown, dartmouth, cornell, georgetown, duke, usc, and others due to the harsh grading system. despite that, if you graduate from uchicago, you will not have any door closed to you and there will be a wow factor to you (which will not come with most other schools), as most employers know how tough uchicago undergrad is. 

nyu stern is indeed a finance hardo environment, and the classes being graded on the notorious curve will mean that it will not be easier than uchicago by much. also, be prepared to hear students talk about their upcoming internships at eb/bbs very often while you pass by them in the hallways.

bottom line, unless you want to transfer out of stern your first year or two, i would definitely go with uchicago.

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UChicago has a strong school brand. Keep in mind that academics are quite tough. Even as recent as a few years ago, I recall the academic cutoff for the deans list (top 20% GPA) was 3.25

Although that may have slightly increased since then, considering how you’d need at least a 3.5 just to get an interview in IB and many finance roles, studying at any school with significant grade deflation is less advantageous from a recruiting standpoint. 


Yikes, that must be discouraging for the majority of students there looking to recruit if grading hasn’t improved significantly since then. 

Most universities have around a 3.3-3.4 average GPA. 


Can confirm the top 20% gpa was around 3.2 historically, could be somewhat higher now. Lots of smart folk and lots of nerdy types. A networking event may have around 30-50 students but there are also fewer alum in finance. 

From what I hear on nyu - the student body is primarily type A and overachievers who spend most of their time studying. If you can stand out personality-wise while being qualified academically, you should be able to reach your goals when recruiting. There are more alum on an absolute and relative basis, but may be less likely to respond to networking emails and tend to be more selective on which students to respond to, usually if they were in the same business club, fraternity etc. Many people I’ve met from there seemed to enjoy their time as an undergrad (outside of the recruiting season)

Both are great schools and it’s up to the students themselves to do well. If you attend a school where people are generally more collaborative and help out other alum, you’re more likely to have better recruiting outcomes and undergrad experience. 


I realize what people meant when they said there's so much misinformation on this forum.

I'm a current UChicago senior. The top 20% GPA for the dean's list is now like a 3.95. I know this because I personally got a 3.8 and my friends had 3.9s and we all weren't didn't make it on the list. I couldn't believe this myself, but the fact is that the school has gotten a lot easier in the past few years.


Attending a school where 80% of students have gotten below a 3.25 despite being smart students is neither prestigious nor fun.

You're better off at a college that has more reasonable grading and academics. Despite being a competitive school, it sounds like most students from NYU enjoyed their college years and living in nyc, but have not heard such sentiment from students at UChicago.



Stern alum here, sterns fcking tough at grading too, all stern classes have a downcurve, Ive ended with a 97 in my data science class and ended with a B+ who tf got all the As...


Honest breakdown:

Uchicago is going to be less pre-professional, more nerdy, and in a worse location, but it will be more academic, have a better network, be better respected, and be less cutthroat.

Stern is a great school and plenty of people do really cool things from it, but it just isnt a top 5 US news school in the country. Anyone who went to an elite school knows uchicago is a brainiac breeding ground. Nerds and absolute weirdos, but brainiacs nonetheless. I also wouldn’t overlook the con of pre-professional schools. When everyone is focused on finance and jobs early on it can create a very sharp elbowed environment where people are really pretty miserable to be around and sabotaging each other at recruiting efforts and being just generally not colloborative people. Chicago on the other hand will have somewhat of a Midwest nice vibe and everyone is such a weird social outcast that they seem to help each other (if they are capable of person to person interaction).

A reason to not pick Chicago is the people are weirdos, the academics sound too threatening, or you really want a college experience in New York vs Hyde park. There’s no legitimate reason to pick stern over Chicago if your goal is an easier business career. Chicago will be better.

It isn’t about how many alumni are at banks it’s about how easy it is as a student coming from that school. Stern is a lot bigger with way more competition, uchicago is disproportionality represented and I would argue if you can speak and want to get a banking job it’s easy to get one coming from there.


objectively uchi placements are far superior. Many to PJT Rx, Q, MS and GS core groups, etc. as well as rare buyside roles, and a T-5 pipeline for quant. Uchi beats NYU in any front office finance industry available.

Imo you pick which one you can hang in. If you love academics and finance, uchicago. If your a hardo, stern.


I didn’t attend either school, but can tell you that there are noticeably far more students from nyu stern in any major firm in financial services. That schools placement is most likely at least 3-5x higher than other schools that may have smarter or more well-rounded students. I graduated from a school in the south that is ranked much higher than nyu, but we probably only send a fraction of as many students into IB in comparison, despite having a sizeable number of students who want to go into the industry