Transferring out of Johns Hopkins

Hey everyone, I'm a freshman at JHU --> I've gotten into all the hyper-competitive finance clubs and such and we place pretty well on the street – everyone gets an offer from EB/ BB.

However, I really wish that I could study more finance related classes at a different school along w/ having the perk of more OCR at quite literally any school of similar prestige. Is it worthwhile to transfer to say - Columbia or Penn? Should I just stick it out here? How much prospective "value" would transferring to those schools bring? I do have lots of friends but I wish I knew more people interested in the same things as well. Any perspectives are welcome and thanks for taking the time. 


If you have friends and are having fun at JHU then stay otherwise sure transfer

Most Helpful

Those schools are exceedingly difficult to transfer into. The Wharton transfer acceptance rate (really most of the HYPSW schools) is in the low single digits, and many of those spots go to special situations - athletes, veterans, CC transfers etc. 

Columbia also doesn't have a finance major. If you really want to transfer I'd cast a wide net and open it up to more "transfer friendly" schools like Cornell, Georgetown, Duke (no finance major). 

That said, if you are happy, I would not transfer. It's a ton of effort for a small gain (it's not like you go to Nowheresville State), really hard to make friends as a transfer, you often spend 3 years catching up on credits and you will place just fine from JHU. Prestige is not the end all be all and no one cares what school you went to once you're 2-3 years out of school.


^this. all very very insightful.

i would also add brown to the list - yes, they are need-aware for transfer financial aid, but they also have been historically transfer friendly.

not the most wall street school out there, but those who try have usually placed somewhere great.


Thanks for the insight. I understand that I probably would end up in a similar spot coming out of JHU versus another school, but I just feel like the "brand" that comes with more finance-centric schools is a worthwhile sacrifice for my career if I'm certain this is what I want to do. I'm obviously not very well versed with this stuff, but I feel like in the long-run, being associated with a school w/ more OCR/ finance prestige will open more doors than Hopkins. 


I totally understand that feeling, and I felt it too (went to a semi-target that I loved, but on paper was overqualified for). Can't emphasize enough that no one cares at all after a few years, and I'm glad I didn't transfer just to prove to others that I could.

Enjoy college and take a breath. You will have every opportunity to land a great BB/EB job and then a solid PE role from there, and then not one person will care about your school after that


as a transfer this is actually not good advice (no offense) those transfer seats go to vets and people who already go to t10s who want to swap around aka parents got sick and they live in philly etc or alr being at a school like JH and wanting to switch for academic reasons. they barely take any cc kids 

with that - it's gonna be super hard to make it at the other schools as a transfer, and u alr got into the JH clubs. just take some WSP classes or something on the side if u want the experience. 

imo not worth the transfer for academic reasons, and youll get the penn oversaturation and competitiveness if u want to go there. columbia is finecon which is glorified econ - not sure where else is worth for u


JHU is a great school, but definitely shoot your shot and see what happens. you never know until you try.

penn & columbia will get better recruiting but will also be extremely competitive, as friends there have confirmed that both are pressure cooker environments. furthermore, if you're at penn and you're non-wharton, the wharton kids will usually get priority over you, save for diversity/female and other special circumstances.

dartmouth, brown, duke, & georgetown are also good options that place very well and are more laid back socially than penn or columbia (note: brown & gtown are more transfer friendly than darty & duke, but all great options).

cornell is another great option that places well and takes many transfers. likewise for umich ross & usc marshall (though usc placement will be more on the west coast). cornell, georgetown, michigan, and usc are VERY transfer friendly schools with storied traditions of taking transfers from both 4-year colleges and community colleges.

also, you can try and apply for yale. it is ridiculously difficult to transfer there, but it’s worth trying, as i do know somebody from uc berkeley who transferred there.

give it a shot and good luck!


thanks for pointing that out, friend.

gotta say, i have insane respect for community college transfer students. many of them come from low income backgrounds and did not have the best upbringing or resources. their willpower is next level and i have seen several rockstars from such backgrounds on the street.

one of the founding members of tidal partners is a community college transfer, i believe.

huge s/o to cornell, georgetown, michigan, & usc for their community college transfer programs.

in a world that is too focused on prestige-heavy HYPSM style results, there is not enough appreciation for the process, which is the only thing that can truly be controlled, and these community college transfers are absolute diamonds in the rough.


Hopkins alum here. I’m guessing that you’re in Salant? Honestly, I’m not sure why you’d transfer at that point as you’re well set up to get a good banking offer. I personally enjoyed not really being around too many finance hardos, I think it made my college experience better - being at Wharton for example sounds suffocating the same way being a premed at JHU would’ve been.


Yeah, I am in Salant. Thanks for your insight, just seems like I could benefit for a more robust finance pipeline. Would you be able to PM me and chat? Thanks! 


You're so close to Echostage, which was pretty much the number 1 EDM venue on the east coast. In the summer you can go to Moonrise, another fantastic edm festival. Ahh I wish I went there but I was able to have those experiences. 

If you don't transfer into any of those schools, it is not the end of the world. Remember you are in a great school and can have a fantastic social life where you are. 


Disregard title. Am hopkins alum and was salant. Def take advantage but hopkins in general is a place that rewards those who take the initiative. We mostly learned technicals on our own or via the couple of finance classes taught by school but overtime you’d realize what you arrive at yourself / with peers can be better vs being fed by professors (aka lots of target school kids)


As a transfer student who works in banking, I might be able to offer some insight here.

I’m from Baltimore and actually took macroeconomics at Hopkins one summer during high school, so I’m pretty familiar with Hopkins. It’s obviously a fantastic school, but it’s not the best for finance recruiting as you pointed out. I never applied to Hopkins because it was too close to home for me, but I ended up starting at a good but not great liberal arts school. It sends some kids to banking each year, but it’s far from a target school. I ended up transferring after my freshman year to a target state school (think Michigan / UVA / UNC).

Transferring is a very difficult experience, both emotionally and logistically. I ended up absolutely hating my first school by the middle of my second semester (to the point where I didn’t want to go back next year regardless), but it was still very hard to say goodbye to my friends at the end of the school year. Fortunately, I still keep in touch with ones I was closest with. It’s also quite uncomfortable working on your transfer applications and asking professors for letters of recommendation and mid-semester grade reports.

Furthermore, it’s still pretty difficult to transfer into a top school. Granted, you might have a better chance than I did coming from Hopkins, but I still had nearly a perfect GPA (3.96) despite taking mostly sophomore-level classes (including both intro financial accounting courses and multivariate calculus) and a very respectable (low 99th percentile) SAT score. I didn’t get into Wharton, where I actually have legacy and was waitlisted there out of high school. Perhaps arrogantly, the only other school I applied to was the state school. Fortunately, I got in, but I was honestly planning on trying to squeeze my way into Hopkins (as a commuter, if necessary) if neither school worked out given my previous coursework at Hopkins.

Once you get to the new school, it doesn’t get much easier. I can tell you that it’s very difficult to make friends as a transfer, especially at a state school where a lot of in-state kids already have their friend groups established. Moreover, networking is more difficult because you’re going to be behind all of the kids who were already at the school, and most of the top finance clubs only want freshmen.

All of that being said, I don’t regret transferring at all. The state school I graduated from was a top 3 school of choice for me when I was applying to schools in high school. The competitiveness and education, believe it or not, were night and day stronger than they were at my first school. Both the school and the process of transferring itself forced me to grow tremendously as a person. While it’s possible that I could have gotten a banking job at my first school, I think the odds would have been a lot lower. I still didn’t end up at a top tier bank much to my chagrin, but having recently just interviewed kids for 2025 SA, it blows my mind how competitive the process is even for my bank. With that mind, I’m grateful just to have landed a job in banking.

In your case, however, I probably wouldn’t recommend transferring. It sounds like you’re already in a top finance club and well positioned to get an offer from a top bank. Unless you really want to take finance courses in undergrad (which I admittedly did really appreciate and enjoy), I don’t really see the point in you transferring. It doesn’t hurt (apart from the aforementioned uncomfortableness) to apply to the top schools and see if you get in, but transferring is not for the faint of heart, and I don’t think you would benefit all that much from it.


Lol I think this is very much a "grass is greener on the other side" type debate. Ironically, I was in the opposite boat (went to finance heavy school) and almost wished I could have been around less finance/banking orientated people. I would say enjoy your time at JHU and just be glad you're not surrounded by people who are just talking about IB recruiting all the time 24/7 (gets annoying fast lol). I honestly think being in a situation where you can still get a top job out of school while being surrounded by different types of non-finance people is actually the best possible scenario but that's just my take lol. 


Brother i go to a non target state school. I’d give anything to be at JHU or a similar school. Applying doesn’t hurt and is worth the shot but a lot of people would give a lot to be where you’re at


Older poster here. A few pieces of advice:

  1. The only reason to transfer colleges is you aren’t getting social traction, are deeply unhappy, have a need to be in a new location (think closer to a sick parent) or there’s a major jump in status. If you were at a community college or had no friends, I would recommend transferring. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and a very hard recruiting process to be honest.

Look, at this point recruiting for finance roles is largely done through the internship role you have in the summer before your senior year. People interview for this role 1.5 years in advance. So your sophomore fall/winter will be when you are networking and trying to get your post college role. The process is horrible, but it is what it is. If you transfer, you will need to acclimate to the new campus, meet new friends, and interview for clubs while also recruiting or right before recruiting. The result is your grades will suffer, you will be less happy and supported, and it ultimately will make you look like a worse candidate in interviews and on paper. Furthermore, you will have to field the “why did you transfer” question somewhat often in the interview process. If you have me the answer “for IB” I would drop you from our process. It shows a lack of perspective and indicates to me you might be a weird person to work with.

  • 2. The second point is on finance education. It has been a surprise to me how useless I believe undergraduate business schools are and how simultaneously not complicated and complicated business is. I went to a liberal arts school that had no business classes. I remember being paranoid that the other kids interviewing knew so much more than me and that I was at a huge disadvantage coming from a liberal arts school vs a school that was more preprofessional or that had business classes. In reality, here is what happened: My interviews were likely a bit easier because people knew I was liberal arts over a business undergrad and ultimately IB interviews are fairly specific info that I studied over several weekends and understood. Once I started the role also, the kids that came from business schools were initially more advanced at excel, but within 3 months that advantage disappeared. After IB, it mattered 0 what people’s undergrad was in terms of their finance knowledge. Eventually, I did my MBA and got a very broad finance education in the classroom. I would argue these courses were more advanced and were taught by more knowledgeable individuals and also more specialized to my interests than an undergrad finance or business degree would have been. Many of my friends who did undergrad business didn’t get their mba because “they had already done it” they are wrong. MBA courses are significantly more advanced and faster paced than undergrad business courses. The result is the undergrad business kids imo generally are less knowledgeable about finance than the people who started with liberal arts degrees. College is about learning how to learn, the actual material is likely going to be forgotten since there is so much going on on the personal development side.

Dont be insecure your degree or JHU puts you at a disadvantage. I recruited/ interviewed people from that school and I’m telling you it doesn’t. Stay put and learn the technicals and how to interview for IB in your spare time. It’s hard, but upperclasmen or this website should be able to help you.good luck.


Went to Columbia after transferring. IMO not smart to transfer from a school where you have a good social scene just so you can take more finance classes. Finance classes are a joke anyway. The "interesting" ones are just flavored statistics or math. If you're truly interested in learning more about academic finance then just read the papers professors at those schools have written, it's all out there. If you're trying to learn non-academic finance then you won't find it at a school, all the people who could teach you that are in industry.

I took some high level finance classes with finance PhD's at Columbia and they were interesting, but again, all out there in the public domain if you want to learn about it. And it's by no means worth the social consequences of transferring.


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