Help me choose between Duke, Cornell and Dartmouth; Hopefully UPenn and Stanford

I have been a frequent user for a year or two now and I recently got accepted to these schools and I'm really struggling to choose a school. I've been a Duke basketball fan for all my life but I don't want that to be the sole reason why I choose a college. How does Duke stack up against Cornell, and Dartmouth? Prestige, OCR and Alumnus. I'm also on Penn and Stanford waitlist so if eventually I get off of it would you recommend choosing Stanford over Penn or vice-versa?
* If I go to Penn I'll transfer into Wharton my freshman year*

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Comments (41)

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Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2021 - 8:27pm

Im not trying sound like an asshole, just inappropriate to be talking about an 18 year old girl in such a way on a public forum. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 10, 2021 - 12:16pm

I'm not going to speak to your other options, but I would choose Stanford over Penn CAS. If it was Wharton, it would be a different discussion entirely.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 10, 2021 - 1:36pm

I'm honestly not sure tbh. But I would choose Stanford over Penn CAS/a (not guaranteed) shot at Wharton.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 10, 2021 - 12:17pm

All great schools. Duke students do well in recruiting, and I'd put them in the same tier as Dartmouth/Cornell/Stern. If you get into Stanford, then go there. If you don't, and you have a personal preference for Duke, then Duke is a perfectly fine choice. Differences in placement/recruiting with other schools on your list will be minimal at best 

Apr 11, 2021 - 1:39pm

Nobody is going to care about the BLM thing bro just gonna lyk I'd leave that off any job thing maybe a college essay but that's soo plain dude. Places like Stanford like essays of personal achievement and outside the box stuff but man you do you

  • VP in PE - Growth
Apr 10, 2021 - 1:02pm

Of those three, Dartmouth has a unique advantage for OCR and placements because of the way their terms work (they have some name for it, look into it). There are specific during the year internships at BBs, MFs, MBB, etc. for Dartmouth kids. Those often convert directly to SA or even FT offers. Also very strong alumni network (it's near-cultish). Duke still places very well, is as good or slightly better school, is likely more fun, is definitely better weather and has better sports. Cornell is a clear #3 to me and I'd probably lean Dartmouth but Duke-Dartmouth is a toss up. Would choose either waitlist (Stanford then Penn) over any of the three if you get in. Can't go wrong with any of these. Congrats and good luck! 

Apr 10, 2021 - 1:31pm

Imo Dartmouth if you want New York IB, and obviously Wharton or Stanford if you get in.

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 10, 2021 - 1:46pm

Dartmouth. With Penn & Stanford you really cannot go wrong either way if you get into either of them.

Apr 10, 2021 - 2:27pm

heres my two cents first of all congrats on these acceptances thats a great achievement you are in a good position since all the schools you mentioned are great schools and have a decent placements in the banking world. So dont stress on this decision that much. research the universities culture and lifestyle etc.. now the number 1 between these colleges is wharton but if you are not 100% sure u can transfer there choose the university that u feel most comfortable with and disregard the rankings placements etc...

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 10, 2021 - 3:23pm

In terms of college rankings on us news etc it is currently and is usually Duke>Dartmouth>Cornell. Duke is extremely fun if you are outgoing and join a fraternity. I went to duke and now work at an EB. Had an amazing college experience. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 10, 2021 - 4:06pm

I'd pick Stanford over any here including Wharton, but can't go wrong here with any of the options you currently have. You can get the same dumb banking job from any of these. But Harvard and Stanford are global brands and excel across all disciples (law, medicine, business, everything) so you have a deeper network if you ever want to pivot outside of finance. You can always lean into the Stanford MBA network too for PE/VC as Stanford GSB >>> Wharton at the MBA level. 

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 10, 2021 - 10:31pm

Duke is the best imo for both academics (higher rankings/general prestige) and for culture/weather (great social scene), also given the fact that you're a Duke MBB fan the culture is gonna be sick. I don't think there's really a wrong choice here, but the main point is that recruiting between Duke/Dartmouth will be nearly identical if not better for Duke in non-finance stuff like tech or consulting. I would say right now, you should pick the school that you would enjoy the most as IB recruiting is non a material factor in making this decision. I would say Stanford > Duke > Dartmouth = Penn CAS > Cornell

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 10, 2021 - 11:02pm

Throw the MS, but I would go Stanford > Dartmouth = Penn (CAS, not guaranteed W) > Duke = Cornell. 

Penn CAS may be 1% better than Dartmouth for recruiting if that, but Dartmouth is an awesome school where you will have a ton of fun and have the option to land any EB/BB on the street if you truly want to. 

Apr 11, 2021 - 11:34am

it all depends on personal preference and ur personality, but if I was deciding I would go to Dartmouth every day of the week

small school, tight-knit culture, BEAUTIFUL VERMONT which mean skiing all the time, and greek life is huge there which I really want in college.

also, their placement on the street is unquestionable - top picks if you don't screw up

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 11, 2021 - 1:24pm

I am a Cornell alum and have a brother who is at Dartmouth so I have insights on both. Quite literally, it just depends on what you want out of university. Everyone I know out of Cornell who wanted IB and other finance gigs like S&T/AM/BBWM and put in the work in networking and interview prep got the jobs they wanted. I feel like it really just depends what you want out of university. Do you want a smaller, close knit community? Do you want a larger community in a dope collegetown? Do you want to be at a big sports school? Duke, Cornell, and Dartmouth all will get you to whatever jobs you want if you put in the work. For what it is worth, I picked Cornell over Dartmouth and could not have been happier. 

Apr 11, 2021 - 2:55pm

Dartmouth has the trimester system which allows you to advantage of the Dartmouth-only internships during one of their three school terms and has better buy-side and placement in general for NYC out of the three schools you got into. Better alumni network too. Is that Penn or Wharton? Big difference if you're only considering finance recruiting. But you'll have fun at every school here.


Congrats on the great dilemma!

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 11, 2021 - 8:04pm

You can't go wrong with either Dartmouth or Duke, but they're pretty different (size, weather, location, etc.) so it'll be best for you if go with the choice where you fit best. Cornell arguably has a better placement rate but the culture seems pretty depressing. Of course if you get into Stanford that'll be the best choice but with all of these options you can't go wrong.

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