Are Target Schools Worth the Price

Is it worth paying 70-80k a year to go to a top target vs paying under 30k to go to a non target that still provides a way into high finance?For context, I'm a high school senior, and all of the schools I'm considering applying to fall into one of these two groups. To go to Georgetown, UPenn, BC, or Emory I would have to pay ~80k (I don't qualify for need based aid). FSU and Fordham would be free (national merit), and UGA, SMU, and UFlorida would be between 20-40k.Is the recruiting advantage really worth the extra 160-320k over 4 years?

Comments (8)

  • Assistant in IB - Gen

looking back at it as someone from a middle class family,

50k/year Harvard/Wharton > 10k/year nontarget = 25k/year semi-target > over 40k/year any other target

i would go to Fordham which should give u sufficient opportunity and get a 1-year MSF if you really need a prestige boost

unless your family is loaded and can afford to pay everything upfront

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

Best bet would be Fordham. Great placement and good name. Would also consider location. Emory, UGA, UF, SMU are all considered targets in the South and would have more alumni.

  • Prospect in PE - Growth

what is this placement you speak of?

Most Helpful
  • Developer in PE - Other

1. Investment Banking - not worth it, plenty of non-targets break into IBD these days compared to 10 years ago. Could also break in after a T25 MBA

2. Top tier HFs/PE - Yes, but probably only top 5%-10% of my top target class get into these roles. Very few survive. Know one principal in a Megafund, some are still analysts at couple good HFs, and then others are in corporate roles at a startup, etc. 

3. Mid Market PE/HFs - I think it helps... you can pull it off as a semi-target/non-target, just harder. 

4. Med School/Law School- No. Just get a good GPA and good standardized scores. 70% of HLS/HMS are non ivy league. 

5. FAANG - No. 

6. Fundraising for startups/Small Business - Helps. But realize there's no guarantee here also. Your investors have to meet their minimum 35% IRR hurdles before you see any money. Quite ridiculous IMO, but congratulations you have "access" to expensive money now. Most of the time, it feels like wealthy alumni taking advantage of poorer alums. 

7. Dating. Helps... you need the money/image to back it though. From my friends who got married to their undergrad significant others, most of them followed similar careers and/or had similar socioeconomic statuses. 

8. Academia/PHD. Helps. Branding is everything in Academia

You have to be real and see how much this is going to strain your life and family's financials. Your experience will suck if you've taken large amounts of student loans and pinch pennies while you see your billionaire peers party every weekend. 

If you're trying to have a nice life and make low 7 figures mid career, there's many ways to get there that don't require an ivy league degree/strain on your family while still enjoying the journey to get there. If you want to be the next Musk, Bezos, etc. yes a top degree helps, but it's such a small percentage of the class that makes it. Bear in mind, Musk, Bezos, Jonathan Gray, etc. already came from top 1% families... they just got richer. 

Conclusion: For the majority of my class who came from middle class/upper middle class families, no, it wasn't worth it.

"About 2.1% of students at Yale came from a poor family but became a rich adult."

  • Research Analyst in AM - Other

Quick question about that 2.1% stat right at the end, so does that mean on 97.9% of all Yale students who went in poor (let's say this is family income below $50k?) remained at that level or only 2.1% went above this level? I find it very hard to believe, need a bit more colour around this statistic. Even if you don't go into IB, BigLaw, Consulting etc you must be able to get a half decent job coming from Yale that raises you above poverty levels no?

WYH SH, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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