Transfer from University of Oregon to USC (175k debt) worth it?

I am currently a first year student at the University of Oregon and was recently accepted as a Spring semester transfer student to USC Marshall. My career goal is to work in IB but I am aware that it will be extremely difficult to break in coming from UO. This was my main reason for applying as a transfer. Upon getting accepted into USC I found out that I would be receiving no financial aid (well, $587 in subsidized loans). My estimated cost of attendance would be 90k/year including cost of living. I am receiving around 25k in financial support from friends and family per year, so lets say 70k in debt per year to be conservative. I would start attending in Spring semester of sophomore year, then full junior year and full senior year. In total I would be taking out around 175k in debt to finance the next 2.5 years of undergrad (not at the lowest interest rate either). Currently at UO I have in-state tuition, at around 30k/year.

UO: If I stay at UO I will be starting the Lundquist College of Business honors program next year (cohort of 30 students). I also will have the option to graduate two terms early because they accept high school credits that USC does not. However, UO is clearly not even a semi target. There is UOIG (investment group) which sends several students to MMs every year but it is mostly PNW firms and occasionally SF. Alumni presence is eh, not many in IB but the ones that are want to help out. No on-campus recruiting. Less competition, doable to maintain 4.0.

USC: Obviously a very strong alumni network. Though not a target for east coast they seem to place well in west coast IB, especially LA. They also have many more finance related clubs which I would get involved in. I would meet more motivated students pursuing finance, and it's in cali.

I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of each but at my age it is hard to understand what 175k in debt would really mean. I know it will still be tough to get into IB at USC but I coming from UO it would be significantly harder. Another reason for transferring which I am not giving too much weight is quality of life. I grew up in socal then moved to Oregon in high school (lost in state tuition for cali schools) and I want to get out of Oregon after undergrad. Long term, socal is somewhere I see myself living. I'm a very social person and I have met many great people at Oregon but knowing that I'm not in a great place for what I want to pursue makes it hard to fully appreciate the good things here. A motivating factor for me throughout the year has been to grind so that I can transfer out of here.

To recap: I would be incurring approx. 175k in debt by making the transfer and I might have more/less debt depending on how they count my credits. This debt would just be for undergrad but recruiting starts soon so these are vital years. I would benefit from the alumni network and exposure to many more people in the industry. I would also probably enjoy school at USC better (more clubs, interesting classes, motivated peers). But... I'd be in debt.

I may have unrealistic expectations and would appreciate any thoughts/opinions, or just saying I'm crazy for considering the debt. I have the summer to decide. Thank you in advance!

I think honestly the 175k debt is worth it. Name brand matters a lot in finance. Even if you have betters skills than another kid from a target usually people take the kid with a better name brand.

Although if you are willing to grind and take some setbacks in the short term(5-7 years) maybe Oregon is worth it. Breaking in is always the hardest part. But once you prove you’re capable the path becomes easier.

I think honestly the 175k debt is worth it. Name brand matters a lot in finance. Even if you have betters skills than another kid from a target usually people take the kid with a better name brand.

Although if you are willing to grind and take some setbacks in the short term(5-7 years) maybe Oregon is worth it. Breaking in is always the hardest part. But once you prove you're capable the path becomes easier.

Thank you for taking the time to help. I agree with you on the importance of name brand in finance. You think that this debt is worth it even just for undergrad? It seems like where you get your undergrad becomes less important after work experience or grad school. Thanks again!

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This is one of those situations where its really tough as the future is very hard to predict. I say this because 99% of the folks who pursue banking leave after two years because it is quite frankly brutal.

To make matters more complex, USC is a great school that would make a very material difference in recruiting. With that said, the flip side is that at UO you will graduate with virtually no debt, early, and with presumably a much higher GPA. Despite what WSO may say about UO, it is also a great school in a beautiful part of the country, a great football team, and a ton to do near campus. I know for a fact that most students who go there really enjoy their time, and it is a truly special and unique environment. 

I think it really depends on what type of person you are. If you are an absolute grinder, and are certain youll be able to handle 2 years in IBD, then make the transfer. Yes the debt will be significant, rebuilding a social circle will suck, and you will likely often question your decision, but if you want to go all in on IBD, you do what you need to do and live frugally and use your bonuses to repay your loans. 

However, if you are not all in on IBD, even if you are 80-90% into IBD, you stay at UO. Get a really high GPA, join the investment club, and have a great time. You're in the honors business school, on track to graduate with honors, and will undoubtedly land a sweet job after graduating. Maybe try and pursue Nike's Corp Dev team? Surely they have some alumni there. I was in a similar position to you once and told myself I was all in on banking, but life happens, and before I knew it, I couldnt get away fast enough. Additionally, there are 500+ bankers who attended U of O, so surely you can network and you will stand out as one of the most qualified students from U of O. I went to a less recognizable school than U of O and the top 1%, the ambitious guys and girls just like yourself all landed jobs in banking and consulting. Sure there werent any at GS / Evercore / MBB, but we placed well in the MM, a few at BBs, and had a handful of T2 consultants as well from my graduating class as well. Your school will NEVER define your career trajectory, your work ethic and effort will. Breaking into banking from U of O is more than doable, so long as you believe it is and refuse to give up. 

If you are deadset on banking, USC will objectively set you up for success better. However, if you are an ambitious guy that really just wants to have a successful career in finance, there is no reason to leave U of O. Even if you dont start in IB, you can lateral down the road. Starting in Consulting, FP&A, or other areas of finance / business will give you lateral opportunities down the line. 

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