Duke vs. Haas vs. Williams vs. Georgetown Ugrad

I have been accepted to Duke, Georgetown, Berkeley Haas and Williams. I received admission into Haas at Berkeley (through freshman direct admit program) and was accepted to McDonough at Georgetown. I would be studying econ at Williams and econ at Duke w/ a concentration in finance. 

The cost of all four are roughly the same and is not a factor in my decision. I would like to work on the East coast or potentially overseas. I'm not 100% set on finance or consulting, but pretty certain that that's what I'm going for as of right now. Any advice for choosing between these 4 schools? Is there one clear cut winner? 

FWIW: I have also been accepted to UVA, UNC (assured admit @ KF), BC Carroll and Middlebury. I'm on the waitlist for Harvard and Yale and would attend those if admitted.

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Comments (22)

Apr 10, 2021 - 8:37pm

Should be asked the other way around. Fuke is a more prestigious school overall, but gtown places better than duke

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Apr 11, 2021 - 2:06pm

Georgetown and Duke are the clearest choices IMO. Do you want to be in a small knit community in middle of nowhere or in a small knit community in DC? Pick whatever, can't go wrong with either 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2021 - 8:13pm

Honestly UVA should be on the list with the above 4. Since you don't want to work on the west coast I'd drop Berk. Williams is for a pretty particular type of person; being a LAC it's student body is really small so make sure that would be ideal for you. Duke, Georgetown, and UVA are a lot more comparable and you couldn't really go wrong with any of them. Williams is an elite school but with its size OCR is kind of iffy and its headcount on the street is of course smaller, but you also couldn't go wrong picking it as it's top tier. Summing it up, pick where you fit best among Duke, Williams, Georgetown, and UVA.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2021 - 10:25pm

Haha the infinite UVA boosters on here actually made me irrationally hate it but it's a good university albeit not as good as some of the people posting about it here make it out to be. 

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Apr 13, 2021 - 1:24pm

If you always dreamed about being a business administration major at a big state school, I would choose UNC or UVA. If you always dreamed of attending an elite LAC, I'd choose Williams.

With that aside, I'd go Duke or Georgetown. McDonough building is drop dead gorgeous, as is the GU campus and surrounding DC area. Duke campus is also beautiful but in comparatively quiet and green way, which some people will love. Both place really well with maybe a slight edge to GU MSB, and with Duke having a slight edge in alumni loyalty just because fewer people are gunning for finance. GU has a competitive culture in general and for club entry (this one can be bad) whereas the community at Duke is a little more welcoming. In this case I would make the choice based on the urban vs suburban environment and where you'd be happiest. There is no wrong answer so talk to current students.

Arbitrary rankings aside, there is no real difference in prestige between GU and D. Both will be extremely impressive to employers, neighbors, girlfriends, your 2nd grade counselor who held you back, and your 5th grade soccer coach who never gave you play time.

You are SO lucky to have this choice, you have no idea. I'm proud of you. Be proud of yourself.

Most Helpful
Apr 13, 2021 - 4:39pm

You can't really go too wrong, I think most of the above posters (with the exception of the guy right above me) pretty much have it right. 

I'd kind of think of it really as Duke/Williams > Gtown > Berkeley especially if cost is equal.

Duke to me has a nice combination of strong academics, fun school, and great placement/reputation for jobs. It's a big school, but not too big, and you get pretty good weather as well. 

Williams is probably the "best" school in terms of ranking/prestige, but the LAC feel isn't for everyone. It's pretty, north eastern feeling, and the nightlife/fun/sports scene will be minimal. Network is small, but obvsily super strong, so if you like the LAC vibe and won't care about going to a Duke basketball game or going out to the local bars, then this would be my other top choice.

Georgetown is a great school as well and McDonough undergrad is one of the better feeders to wall street. DC is a cool town as well, more of an urban vibe for better or for worse. To me Georgetown is kind of a lesser Duke (no offense to anyone from Gtown) but if you have any political or foreign policy type of leanings or just want to be in a city and to take advantage of that type of lifestyle (which honestly I don't fully recommend for undergrads) then I wouldn't fault you for picking Georgetown.

Berkeley is the one I'd put definitely below the others, not because it's a worse school, but at the end of the day, it's highly competitive and a public university. I've heard it's pretty competitive from a job standpoint, even if you get into Haas just because you're always competing against kids from Stanford. Berkeley is an ok college town/area, but it's expensive. Plus if you're not getting the in-state rate, I would feel like I'm getting a little ripped off vs the kids that are paying less than half of what you're paying.

UVA is also a great school, but similar-ish to Berkeley, public university, would be big and fun, not a bad choice but you've got better ones. UNC is poor mans Duke, Middlebury is poor mans Williams, and BC is just kind of meh compared to the others.

I'd go with Duke or Williams, maybe with Georgetown as a darkhorse if you have some specific tie to DC.

Good luck with the decision!

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 14, 2021 - 11:17am

realistically cannot make a terrible decision here. All of them will get you to a BB or MBB if you really desire. Although I personally would go to Duke or Haas because I wouldn't enjoy a liberal arts school

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