Michigan V. Wisconsin Undergrad

My college decision is now narrowed down to UW Madison and UMich. I would typically take UMich in a heartbeat, but I was given no financial aid, and paying for it would be pretty difficult for my family and I. My parents are saying they would do what they can to make it work, but I would realistically need to take on $100k myself in loans. The other option is in state tuition at UW Madison, and possibly a few local scholarships that are only paid out if I stay in Wisconsin.

I didn't apply to Ross, and would have to try to transfer in after freshman year. At UW I was a direct admit to the business school, and would probably try to double major in finance and econ. Out of undergrad I'd like to work in IB in the Chicago area. Is Michigan econ worth double the cost of UW? I've visited both schools, and I like UMich quite a bit more, but I'm having a hard time justifying taking on 6 figures of debt for undergrad.

I'd really appreciate any input, thank you.

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Comments (20)

Apr 3, 2020 - 1:14pm
msdixie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

100K of debt is a lot...I'd say make the most of UW-Madison. Plus, it isn't direct admit to Ross.

I believe a lot of posters on here have said that UW-Madison can do pretty ok for job placements in Chicago.

  • 2
Apr 3, 2020 - 1:37pm
aphenophilia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wisconsin and that's coming from a Michigan student.

"Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry."
  • 1
Apr 3, 2020 - 9:19pm
aphenophilia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Both equally. For IB it's New York and Chicago while for consulting we placed ~10 people to MBB internships mostly at Chicago and Detroit offices.

"Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry."
Apr 3, 2020 - 3:14pm
Mogulology, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ross is a more highly regarded school. However, if you can get into IBC (Investment Banking Club) at UW-Madison they place extremely well in NYC and Chicago (Goldman, MS, etc). Also, based on what I've heard from my UMich friends our social scene and campus are better.

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Apr 3, 2020 - 9:21pm
aphenophilia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Socially they're similar and Madison being on the water is a huge plus. I'd give the edge to AA as a college town but $$$ is more important in this decision.

"Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry."
  • 1
Apr 15, 2020 - 6:37pm
jmc 621, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you, I'm just waiting on a scholarship decision from Michigan. If I get the scholarship then Michigan won't be much of a financial burden, but will still cost a bit more than UW.

Either way it's a tough decision right now

Apr 5, 2020 - 12:47pm
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Second the comments above. Almost no distance whatsoever between Michigan reputation and Wisconsin reputation if we're not talking about Ross. The myth of college brands as valuable assets is crumbling and will now crumble faster in this downturn. Our kids will laugh at the fact that we paid $100k for college at all, much less the spread between two state schools.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 22, 2020 - 12:11am

I was in the same situation and chose UW over UMich. Being a direct admit at UW and with no guarantee for Ross or tolerance to take out large student loans, it was a no-brainer for me.

I had the time of my life at Madison and had no problems entering IB afterwards. The business school places well at nearly all BBs (believe 15 went to GS this past summer) and we kill it with the MM Chicago-based boutiques.

You wont have problems recruiting in NYC, let alone Chi. Choose what feels right and know that if you hustle at either school you'll be just fine.

Apr 22, 2020 - 12:41am
autonomous, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I had some doubts about the 15 going to Goldman, so I looked it up on Wisconsin's website. It shows 11 going Goldman, with a majority going to Minneapolis-St Paul. I don't know much about Goldman but I don't think they have actual Investment Banking there.


  • 1
  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Apr 22, 2020 - 12:56am

Prefacing this by saying I have no clue about UW's placement, the GS office in Minneapolis office, and so forth.

But IMHO, the worst and most damaging part of this site is people who give out 'advice' based on half-truths (at best), that serve almost entirely to make themselves feel better about their school, firm, etc. Do your own research (far) outside of WSO, people!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 22, 2020 - 8:57am

Unsure what the reference to GS Minneapolis is - I don't believe they even have an office there. Perhaps graduates who are from MN (the states have reciprocity so there are many) didn't change their home location on Linkedin.

FWIW, not *all *15 placed into IBD. For ex - some went to GSAM, MBD, etc. Those that did placed into great groups such as TMT.

My advice that I'm giving you is from my own experiences, being a graduate from the program, seeing friends place into these firms and having worked at BB and EB myself. Wisconsin SoB is not as prestigious as Ross, but the degree ROI is likely much higher at UW given its in-state tuition. Also Madison > AA

Apr 23, 2020 - 1:51pm
jmc 621, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you! I'm pretty much set on UW at this point, and I'm looking forward to it as long as the fall semester isn't completely online.

  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Apr 22, 2020 - 5:20am

commenting about transferring into Ross. it's absolutely possible, rate is like 30%, you just have to be super involved first year. that's some pressure but it's not as big a risk as others think. obviously self selected population and most are pretty smart but from what I can tell you'd have to work really hard and may not get in but there are clubs at Mich and stuff that work for LSA students. also, never met 1 (as in a single individual) from UW- Madison in any super day or group or anything (Deffo seen some LinkedIn profiles tho) but I'm just saying Mich edges out UWM slightly and the risk reward kind of evens out if you work hard and get into ross you're basically guaranteed an SA spot (you'll have a high GPA and involvement already) as like 80-100 kids go into IB. Saw several people from LSA place into mid tier IB who weren't that impressive either but good personalities.

Apr 22, 2020 - 10:22am
CRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good lord. Do not take out $100,000 in loans to go to Michigan.

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  • 3
Apr 23, 2020 - 11:23am
skmg3jj0, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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