Princeton vs Stanford

I recently had the honor to gain admittance to both Princeton and Stanford as a transfer student.
I am beyond honored and grateful.
With that, I have a decision to make -
It has been a dream of mine to break into IB. The reason I decided to transfer was getting rejected form an internship in my current state school in about 3 hours (AI?)

With that,
I have to decide between Princeton & Stanford.

While IB was my dream, now that I got into Stanford, my views are changing a bit, I’m starting to be open to possibly getting a CS degree, I don’t want to go to Stanford and get an Econ degree.

But if I go to Princeton, the proximity to NYC, the possible connections, and the prestige of the school are very enticing.

Pretty much, what would you guys do and why? If you could go back, would you go IB? Any insight is appreciated as I make this decision

Thank you! :)


CS people smell. Either is fine though, you’ll easily get an IB role from either. Biggest piece of advice is get laid, sounds like you haven’t. And stop being extra, “overly grateful”, sounds like a LinkedIn post. And ib is great just tough it out jr years and after that you’ll get paid 2-8m to boss around jrs.


Yeah I get the being extra, I just didn’t want to deal with people thinking I was spoiled or ungrateful and such, been feeling pretty insecure asking cause it seems it brings more negativity than anything


Go to Stanford - you won’t regret it. I chose Stanford over Princeton and other Ivys an have no regret. Tons of optionality no matter what you want to do (have CS friends that pivoted to IB/MBB/PE after doing SWE internships) and everyone is both super smart but also sociable. Also, everyone’s a lot happier and it feels like summer camp


That’s part of why I want to go! But I do really like the Princeton undergrad focus, I also heard it feels like Stanford focuses on grads a lot as well.


From my time at Princeton when they just opened up the transfer program it seemed like transfers usually had a hard time academically. Don't know if it'll apply to you, but beware the Princeton classes can get hard if you don't come in with the right mindset and habits. Also have close friends and relatives who said Stanford has grade inflation, so that could help you on the GPA end. Both names are held in high regard, but I would stay away from CS at Princeton because it's famously theoretical and lacks some of the hard skills that you'd be able to learn at Stanford. 


unless you’re diversity or extremely well connected, getting into IB will be extraordinarily hard from Stanford. can’t speak for Princeton but certainly a better chance at NY firms, and imagine there is some level of OCR there, whereas there literally is 0 here


if you’re not in the groups above, you’ll have to work your ass off as if you were a non target. sure stanford may help a little bit but alumni from other schools will help their own first, and there just isn’t a lot of representation from stanford in fields that are networking-heavy like IB. beyond a few BB’s where there’s a few people each class, there’s close to 0 representation at any EB’s. not to mention, there’s close to no resources for prep. you’ll also get a lot of shit for recruiting for banking due to stanford culture. from a career perspective, it is going to be harder to get into IB specifically from Stanford than Princeton. People like to just mix IB with other finance fields / consulting: it’s actually decent here for consulting and non-IB finance roles, as well as all Tech + Quant stuff, but IB recruiting specifically just is unnecessarily difficult for students that are not in the aforementioned groups


Difficult decision. I went to a non-Princeton Ivy, and would say that both are viewed as roughly equal in prestige (if anything I might put Stanford a bit ahead - maybe I'll get monkey shit for this but it seems to be settling into its own tier alongside Harvard and MIT recently). If you are heart-set on investment banking, Princeton has a stronger network there.  Like other commenters have mentioned, people really don't go into investment banking from Stanford. If you're looking to jump straight to the buyside, Stanford does very well. 

If you are 100% set on investment banking, you'll have an easier time getting in at Princeton. Personally I'd take Stanford in your shoes - there's so much going on there right now (see: AI revolution), you can't beat the Bay Area weather and the campus, and if you're smart enough to get into both schools I would aim higher than IB (you'll notice that the top kids at both schools won't even consider IB). I think a lot can also be said for having the GSB right your backyard too. And lastly, if you plan on studying economics, Stanford's department is generally viewed as being a bit better than Princeton's. You really can't go wrong here though - both schools are top-5 in the country, extremely prestigious, and will probably get you where you want to go. Good luck with your decision

Most Helpful

I think highly of Princeton — but I have to admit: Stanford is the best university in the world.

Yes, Stanford is better than Harvard. And slightly better than MIT because it’s so well rounded.

Best universities in the world in order:

1. Stanford

2. MIT

3. Oxford

4. Cambridge

5. Caltech/Harvard


Oxford and Cambridge that high with 17% and 21% acceptance rates respectively is comical. Every Ivy, along with UChicago, Duke, Stanford, MIT, Caltech, and Northwestern are much better schools.


Oxbridge is MUCH better than every Ivy. As a Columbia alum I have no problem admitting that. Look at the alumni they produce — Nobel laureates, heads of state across world, brilliant scientists such as hawking, Isaac Newton, Fulbright, Thatcher, etc.

Theres also a reason why many of the best Ivy plus grads go to Oxbridge - the reverse not so much. And HYP is merely a US replication of Oxbridge.

Stanford, MIT, and Caltech are in a league of their own. I respect Caltech more than Harvard so knock Harvard down to number 6. Cal tech produces rocket scientists and astrophysicists and shit - while Harvard just creates PE people who destroy companies and bankers. Cringe  


Study the UK's admissions system before expressing opinions.

The fact that you can only apply to 5 schools, the fact that you can only apply to one of Oxford or Cambridge, the fact that their admissions tests are hard enough to deter most potential applicants...The list goes on but it's just not as black and white as you're making it out to be.

On a purely academic basis, the average oxbridge student is most definitely stronger than your run-of-the-mill ivy student.


I went to Harvard. I can’t say I know a ton about each, but I’d say go with whatever is the better fit for you to thrive better. The difference between the two has to be so minimal. If we were talking about something outside HYPSM, it might be a different story. Either way, you’ll be just fine


Princeton grad here, I genuinely think so highly of my school. Though I joke that it was more of a "character building exercise" than anything. The STEM tracks in particular are pretty brutal. They do have a world class Econ department and you should also check out ORFE (basically quant finance within engineering). Their CS program is also phenomenal. Princeton is a target for just about every Wall Street firm (though that may have changed since my time) and about a third of your classmates will head to NYC after graduation. So if you want to be a banker, Princeton is a great choice.

Here's for the honest downside: they have the lowest grades in the Ivy League. For a while they had grade deflation and when they removed it, the profs joked they never met their max quota of As anyways... LOL. This tough grading can make grad school acceptance difficult for some. If you are thinking undergrad and done for school - Princeton is incredible, if you think there's a chance you do grad school, go get some easier As at Stanford.


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