Wharton Huntsman Program vs Yale vs Dartmouth

Hey everyone. I was recently accepted to these 3 programs and I’m not sure which school to pursue for sure. I am certainly leaning towards Wharton especially given that it’s the Huntsman Program, but I am slightly concerned due to the fact that I don’t want to be surrounded by finance hardos with no life at Wharton. That being said, Wharton is still Wharton.

Dartmouth seems like a chill option in terms of low competition and high quality of life but at the same time it is lower in prestige.

Yale at the same time doesn’t really have that much prestige in finance, but I also understand that you can get anywhere you want to with a Yale education. Additionally, Yale’s name is good anywhere even to basically any relative and cousin over Thanksgiving dinner.

The costs are pretty much the same anywhere, so that isn’t a factor. Given this information, and given that my ultimate goal would be ideally a buy side role (like MF PE) straight out of undergrad and possibly even hedge fund (for those that recruit out of undergrad, what school would you choose?

Also, very unrelated, but I’ve recently grown an interest in prop trading firms and high frequency trading as well. I understand how everyone says these are not for the ‘average’ person, and I completely understand and agree. I have some but very minimal experience in R and Python, and I realize this is peanuts compared to what is actually needed, but if I were to be interested in a company like Jane Street, for instance, do you think it’d be possible for a hardworking and pretty bright guy to pick up all the necessary skills and knowledge if they do not major in something like CS. (This is a concern that I have which will factor into the school I decide to commit to)

Also, I’m pretty new to this so I’d love any recommendations or insight into other paths like LOs and L/S funds and the skills that they require (e.g. is coding a necessity, would sales and trading be a good entry into the HF world, etc)

That’s a lot to unpack but in short, I’d love your input on the school I should choose and other insight into potential career paths and what they entail.

Thanks greatly in advance for your time.

 

I am currently at Wharton undergrad so happy to give you some color on what the Huntsman program is like based on what I’ve seen / heard from my friends there.

Definetly not just no-lifer finance hardos. I party with a couple of them pretty regularly. This is also true for wider Penn - more so about who you surround yourself with and your sociability.

The Huntsman program is also well recognized, gives you access to Honors classes for finance and other fundamentals (way better taught) and has a large network of very successful alumnis.

Finally, in terms of placement, the Huntsman program has placed kids into MF PE / EBs out of undergrad. You just have to work for it.

If your ultimate goal is MF PE / HF, I think Huntsman program and Wharton is the obvious choice compared to your other options.

 

Well truth be told I think the only thing holding me back from Wharton would be the culture of the school. What would you say the culture is like in general?

 

I’ve had a fantastic time thus far.

Culture wise: Social, lots of stuff going on almost every day of the week. I find it pretty easy to balance doing well in school and having time for going out / downtown etc. Philly is a pretty nice place to live to if you enjoy being in a larger city.

Where you find the more «hardo» side of Wharton are in certain teams of the clubs (WITG/WUFC/PEVC). If your goal is PE/HF you’d have to join these, but you don’t have to spend time with these people outside of the clubs (I personally choose not to).

I think the work/pre-professional culture is overall great if you want to recruit well. It pushes you to stay up to date, and the resources for mock interviewing, networking etc are as far as I know the best in the nation, if not the world.

 

Lower competition relative to Wharton, Ross, and Stern, not to mention other ivies like Princeton and Columbia. The ratio of Dartmouth alumni in finance is higher than that of other schools, not to mention that because of Dartmouth’s overall small scale community, people are incredibly supportive of newcomers. Wouldn’t you agree? I don’t think this is a controversial or in any way pretentious comment.

 

I’d take Yale. Academics are easy and the people are interesting. Also not going to be as cutthroat as W for recruiting. From what I’ve heard from friends, lots of kids get great internships from Yale but you still have some room to breathe because it’s not too finance-focused. Would definitely consider Yale over Dartmouth.

 

not true at all. now that SPC and SL dont have analyst programs W doesnt have any unique opporutnities. Yale has better buyside per capita placement

 
Most Helpful

Biased as I'm a Huntsman alum but the best part of the program is that it's the furthest from being a monolith that Wharton can sometimes be viewed as. There's a path and help along the way for any academic / career choice you want to make. It's hard to see it as a student but I think the life cycle of each huntsman kid is you join the program believing the hype, you go through college thinking it's a bit bs, then eventually you look back on it and think they did a pretty good job of training the "next global leaders". There are alums doing great things in public service, financial services (Senior Partners at EBs, CIO at Viking, etc."), successful startup founders, I know of at least 2 medical doctors, and many lawyers. But there are also alums doing seemingly quieter things, but enjoying their life. What they all have in common I think is a global context to place their individual desires / ambitions and prioritize how to live their life. 

At Penn, Huntsman serves as a nice stable community you can use as a base point and always return to (lounge is still ok despite rennovations). Beyond Penn is where I've found surprising levels of camaraderie. Some of my best friends still are Huntsman alums. As you get older the gap in years become less important, and so professionally, you find that you have a whole bucket of people that will return your emails / calls if you have any questions. 

Specific to your interests, there's flexibility in the academic program enough to let you explore CS, related topics as much or as less as you want (classes, a minor, even a full additional major). Kelly is nice and reasonable and will help you find the best way to accomplish what you want to do, so use her as a resource. MF PE and other career ops are obviously open to you, just depends on how well you prep. Study abroad is sometimes viewed as a nuisance by some huntsman kids, given recruiting season being so fast, but it's one of the best experiences you can ever have in college so make sure not to half ass it. Just plan it out right in terms of timing. 

This has always been a no brainer for me. I made the decision 10+ years ago now, but throughout the years there's been kids who come to Huntsman over Harvard, and none have regretted it. There's also some current freshman that probably had to make the exact decision you have to make, so definitely ask around for a quick call. 

Best of luck!

 

Yale overall is viewed as more prestigious. I think if you're confident you can prep well on your own and are okay with giving up some of the resources you'd find at Wharton and its clubs, go with Yale. I doubt that a well prepped student from Yale couldn't land the same PE or HF out of undergrad roles as a Wharton kid.

 

Huntsman alum here as well, graduated somewhat recently. You can check out the program's instagram & specifically their senior spotlights to see where people place. From my class and the years +/-1 from me, there were placements of course across MBB, EBs, BBs, Warburg, Blackstone, Silver Lake, Bain Cap, etc. on the buyside front, and a handful of people that went down other paths (Schwartzman Scholars, law school, start-ups)

My personal view was that looking back, was one of the best decisions I've ever made for myself. Penn is a very pre-professional school - this is no secret. For some, that's desirable; for some, this is jarring. As someone who went into Penn very much more excited about the International Studies side of the program than the Wharton side, I found it very jarring for the first year or so. Always felt skeptical of "business" as a field of study (felt like it was all made up), felt a pressure to do banking recruiting, but also unprepared relative to my classmates. But this changed a lot as soon as I started taking more advanced classes on the Wharton side. I'm someone who really enjoys learning and I unexpectedly found genuine interest, curiosity, and intellectual challenge in what I was learning at Wharton, especially in FNCE 207 / FNCE 251. I'm incredibly grateful for that.

You can get to the same places ultimately through Yale and Dartmouth, but you won't get the same quality of business education or be in an environment where there are a significant quantum of people genuinely interested in this stuff that you can learn from (who are also fun people btw). Maybe that doesn't matter to you, maybe you're not so influenced by your environment and think your conviction to do whatever it is you want to do will last in a liberal arts environment, and there are other aspects of your college experience you value more - all totally fine. Fair warning, recruiting competition at Penn is tough (don't have insight on Yale/Dartmouth), but if you stick to it, things work out.

Benefits of Huntsman are overstated sometimes, but overall great community where I found some of my best friends at Penn, you get the Wharton and liberal arts education, extra funding to do things, and some fun events especially senior year.

Would say your conception about social life is misguided - if you make your whole personality being a finance hardo no one is going to like you. Penn's extremely social and the scene works the same way it does at any other ivy. You'll do best if you come from a certain background or are genuinely a cool/social person.

Happy to pm you if you want.

 

Thanks for the response! Would you say that the risk to reward ratio at Wharton is lower compared to other schools like Dartmouth for instance?

What would you say are the benefits of the Huntsman Program, because to be honest it just sounds like a bunch of additional responsibilities for no real technical edge, just prestige if anything.

While I probably will end up committing to Wharton, what would you say are some things I should be careful of when going into Penn?

 

Something to note (not necessarily a bad or good thing) but I'd guess there's probably going to be more Wharton shills than Yale shills on this site. Both options are fantastic and you're in an enviable position though. I think it partially comes down to fit

 

Did you have a chance to visit these schools and meet students there? These three are all fantastic options and will put you on a path to wherever you want to be. I (and one of my siblings) attended one of these options and another sibling attended a different one and it all worked out fine for those who wanted to be in finance. I would pick based on where you think you would enjoy your four years the most and trust that the rest will work itself out. I may be out of touch because I am a bit older, but I wouldn't stress out over it too much. Congrats on the options - PM me if you want more color.

 

I went to Dartmouth. Take the Huntsman Scholar program at Wharton if you're interested in a buy-side role out of undergrad. Still very possible at Dartmouth / Yale, but Wharton makes it slightly easier.

I'd take Dartmouth if you want to have a traditional college experience and Yale for layman's prestige (depending on your personality, you might actually prefer Yale [this is kind of a dig]). That being said, as long as you're a good prospect on paper (i.e. good GPA, good extracurriculars, good internships, etc), none of these schools will prevent you from joining a MF PE / Tiger Cub role out of undergrad.

Prop trading and HFT is a different story though and none of these schools really have an advantage over each other. Maybe if you were a M&T scholar at Penn.

 

Know more quants out of Yale than any of the other options. Yale maths is pretty strong

 

will give variant view and you can ask follow-ups, but I did one of huntsman / m&t, and if I were you, I'd pick Yale. At this caliber of school, I'd argue it doesn't make a difference for recruiting (if you want buyside). 

You have 4 years before you start working. Frankly I didn't learn anything at penn and I regret it. I had a ton of fun, but I didn't learn anything. It was a cake walk. Will leave it there

 

So why exactly was M&T a cakewalk? Isn't it one of the most difficult programs in the world for undergrad? Or is it just an overblown prestige? Additionally, if Penn was easy, why would you assume that other schools like Dartmouth or Yale weren't either? Just curious.

 

Go where you have the best chance of getting laid consistently. Finance will be around once you have finished your studies, regardless. 

 

Have first hand info about Dartmouth. Alums stick out for current students (current heads of TPG, KKR, Bain Cap PE etc went to Dartmouth). Placement at BB and EB *not particularly strong* in 2024 compared to Wharton and other undergraduate business programs. Some get MS, GS, PJT, Centerview with rather light competition compared to Wharton, but networking and connections is critical as Dartmouth winter internships at GS/MS (with the exception of PJT) have been ended post COVID. Outstanding placement to Bain Consulting (PEG) Boston / NYC, and can enter PE/HF from there. Very few enter PE directly (Bain Cap, KKR) and opt for IB/Bain/Bridgewater instead. Traditional college campus, chill students, less competitive finance community, particularly rigorous economics department (if that makes a difference), and amazing alums. Also, a lot of Dartmouth kids have parents in high finance and are connected, whereas Wharton kids' life goal is to reach high finance (if that makes sense). If you're willing to compete with 700+ finance kids and take classes that teach you valuation/PE/marketing/management go to Wharton and you may have a chance at a better EB/BB/PE straight out and it's excellent. If you want to invest in a college experience, have a lot more free time to spend in frat basements, play sports, hang out, and compete to the top of Dartmouth finance clubs (you'll have to if you want a chance at connections and IB), you can get where you want eventually from there. It can be isolating and cold though up in the woods with no city, one dining hall, and a small class. Yale is also a wonderful (and warmer) place (but does have more writer/activist/law students than D and W and not quite the same alums in PE/HF), and your experience there will be much more balanced than Penn and more widely prestigious and intellectual. Hope that helps. Lots of young people burning out of PE these days, and after Y / D you can at least look back and say you had a balanced and fun college life. Wharton kicks D and Y out of the park for IB recruiting (and so does IU Kelley, Cornell Dyson, Michigan Ross by that measure). If you want to have a serious chance at PE straight out and like the competitive Penn environment, the Huntsman program and Wharton simply cannot be beaten

 

Ignore title, I am a current senior going into MF PE and I did quant (I didn't do HFT but I am familiar with prop) for my soph internship. If you really are considering quant go to Yale and major in something like CS and Econ. It's going to be near impossible to break into HFT from the Huntsman program because you aren't learning how to code (knowing C++ is an absolute). Also, take what some of the people above are saying about quant with a grain of salt, it is pretty obvious they haven't worked or recruited for it – the school doesn't matter for quant at all. There are way more quants at top firms out of Berkeley and CMU CS than Wharton, Cornell, or Dartmouth combined lol. You need to have a technical background (and yes I know that there are exceptions and some people can break into prop trading without technical backgrounds but these are significant exceptions and only very few firms will even give you an OA if you're not a CS/Stats/Math/Physics major).

Also, I think that getting into MF PE or a top HF is more than feasible from Yale. 

 

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