UC Santa Barbara vs. Santa Clara University for Finance

I’m a student from the Bay Area transferring for the fall 2024 semester and am deciding between Santa Clara University or UC Santa Barbara — hoping to eventually end up in finance. Which would be the better school for me factoring in prospects for banking recruiting, the academic activities, finances, and my personal preferences?

Santa Clara University Pros:

  • Private Catholic school
  • Has a business school. I would be attending the Leavey School of Business and majoring in finance
  • Has a specialized finance major with classes like M&A, Capital Markets, Financial Derivatives, Fixed Income Securities, etc.
  • Has a student-managed fund and a lot of relevant clubs (Santa Clara Consulting, Santa Clara VC club, Investment Banking Club, etc.) who often visit nearby companies in Menlo Park and Downtown SJ 
  • Evercore and Citi have visited and there’s alumni working in Goldman Sachs, KKR, RBC, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Evercore, Citi, Ares, etc. 
  • Better location. I prefer the city and SCU is in the middle of Silicon Valley and surrounded by upscale city life with shopping centers, Levi Stadium, and other amenities nearby
  • Close to home, I’m not going to be a commuter student but this is still nice and less costs for moving
  • Good career prospects given the Silicon Valley location; strong FAANG and Big 4 opportunities and other great jobs 
  • Beautiful campus, nice cafeteria
  • D1 sports, Greek life, and diverse student body 
  • Low student to faculty ratio

Santa Clara University Cons:

  • 46% acceptance rate which could be seen as not prestigious (but 24% transfer acceptance rate for Leavey) but it’s still an amazing school in my opinion
  • Smaller alumni network than UCSB to network with
  • More expensive since it’s a private school and the Silicon Valley location 

UC Santa Barbara Pros:

  • 26-29% acceptance rate
  • Has a investment advisory committee that manages a portion of UCSB’s student body funds and a finance connection club that helps with banking placements
  • More placements into finance and larger alumni network including Citi, Blackstone, Lazard, JP Morgan, Evercore, etc.
  • Good school for sustainability research which I’m interested in 
  • New environment in SoCal/can make new connections 
  • Known for their good social life/student happiness — I don’t care for the party scene
  • D1 sports, Greek life, and good recreational activities
  • Generally more affordable tuition

UC Santa Barbara Cons:

  • In a rural beach area which I don’t personally like
  • No business school
  • I would be majoring in Economics and Accounting which is relevant for finance but I prefer SCU’s pure finance major
  • Would have to go through the hassle of moving

Currently leaning towards Santa Clara University but wanted to see if the lower acceptance rate of UCSB and the larger alumni network outweighs SCU’s pros.


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