Best Foot-In-The-Door School for Hedge Funds and VC? Yale, UChicago, Dartmouth?

I'm a nontraditional student newly out of active duty military. I've been admitted to a few good schools. Though, my school choice will ultimately depend on the job opportunities post-undergrad. My school choices are Yale, UChicago, and Dartmouth. Dartmouth and UChicago have a large focus on the financial district more so than Yale. Though I cannot disregard Yale's network opportunity through name power alone. Chicago is a financial hub for hedge funds so it makes sense to attend UChicago. 

At the end of the day, if three students graduated with the same extracurricular activities, GPA, and major, the only difference being school name, which school would have a leg up to Hedge Funds and VC out of undergrad skipping IB?

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Comments (29)

May 17, 2021 - 6:36pm

otherguy

I'm a nontraditional student newly out of active duty military. I've been admitted to a few good schools. Though, my school choice will ultimately depend on the job opportunities post-undergrad. My school choices are Yale, UChicago, and Dartmouth. Dartmouth and UChicago have a large focus on the financial district more so than Yale. Though I cannot disregard Yale's network opportunity through name power alone. Chicago is a financial hub for hedge funds so it makes sense to attend UChicago. 

At the end of the day, if three students graduated with the same extracurricular activities, GPA, and major, the only difference being school name, which school would have a leg up to Hedge Funds and VC out of undergrad skipping IB?

Ivy League or UChicago? Great choices! 

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May 17, 2021 - 7:19pm

UChicago has elite finance placement. just a little bit below H, W. I wouldn't take Uchicago because it's the hardest with grading, but its an amazing school and is easily way more elite than Cornell. 

May 17, 2021 - 7:39pm

I know it is rare for undergrads to secure those positions. However, it is possible. Do you think UChicago places better than Dartmouth or Yale for hedge funds? I imagine they are all similar for venture capital

Reading the thread about an incoming Yale person's view on finance placement makes me unsure which is better. All of the people I know that are Yale alumni end up in consulting or politics. 

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May 17, 2021 - 7:23pm

Thank you! That helps me a lot. I feel as if Yale comes off very anti-capitalism with heavy liberal ideals. Whereas UChicago comes across as more quantitative than they are worried about the social activist landscape. I feel as if whichever school I choose, there will be aspects I can relate to that will make the experience enjoyable. Which, still makes my decision difficult. 

There are other discussions on here stating, Yale sends a lot of students into finance. Though, are few and far between in terms of financial leaders compared to UChicago. 

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May 17, 2021 - 7:34pm

You can do very well from any of these 3 schools.

I suggest you speak with a few vet groups affiliated with the schools for some color. Sometimes its hard to really know a school as an applicant, as interactions can be minimal. That being said, the larger schools will give you a better chance of 'finding your tribe.' 

I'm sure you know this, but once you start recruiting all of the banks have programs for vets, one of my sales coverage guys is a former army ranger.

Feel free to reach out anytime.

Best of luck.   

May 17, 2021 - 7:35pm

Placement matters, a lot of people do not take that into account. 

The point of ranking schools is to put them into perspective on which is best for you. 

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May 18, 2021 - 1:41pm

Really can't go wrong--congrats!

If I knew I wanted to go into finance before UG, I'd pick UChicago and not look back. No use nitpicking prestige for UG--go where you'll get the best education and fit in the best.

May 18, 2021 - 2:00pm

And with their build-your-own-curriculum program, you can take classes at Booth, sneak into their events, network with profs/postdocs/PhDs/MBAs who worked at or will work at HFs. You can even try to do financial econ research as a freshman/sophomore, even if it's just basic data stuff, and then do co-ops later on. Learn some CS, some macroecon, some CF, some market structure, etc. The world is really your oyster.

I'd 100% pick Yale as a generalist "I don't know what I want to do when I grow up" new student, but UChi for "80% sure finance / HF" student.

VC is quite a bit different from traditional finance, especially early stage. It's tough out of UG but if you want to do it, get a CS degree, work at startups, and consider founding your own. None of these schools is closing doors for you, but you'll need a better understanding of tech than most business/finance/econ majors have.

May 18, 2021 - 2:59pm

I completely agree. Yale does what it does best in terms of producing politicians and lawyers; a world-changing social activism type of culture. Though, a lot of that has to do with old money. Old money is primarily in those positions of social activism and political landscapes. Many current students like to tell me that UChicago has more self-made millionaires and Yale has more inherited millionaires. Without a doubt, if I neglect to learn about tech, I will be putting myself at a severe disadvantage for the future of finance. 

May 19, 2021 - 12:34pm

What are your thoughts on Dartmouth?

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May 20, 2021 - 2:57am

Yale grad here so take this with a grain of salt.

For geography - if your goal is NYC, Yale has a fantastic network there. If goal is west coast, probably a toss up (but would give edge to the two ivies) and if goal is mid-west, then UChicago.

I wouldn't rely too much on these school stereotypes. On the whole, this website tends to think "X school is good for A and A only" and "Y school is good for B and B only" . In reality, if you're at a top [15] school, you can largely determine your own outcome in finance based on your grades and, more importantly, hustle. Unless you're a genius, hustle matters the most regardless of whether you're coming from HYPS or a state school.

Yale is definitely liberal and attracts a lot of lawyer / politician types but the folks who are focused on finance place into buyside roles out of undergrad if that's what they want. I'd say out of my group of finance friends, half did the traditional banking route and half placed into reputable buyside gigs (hedge funds or MF analyst programs). 

End of the day, if you get good grades and network at any of these 3 schools, you should be able to place into good buyside roles. 

May 20, 2021 - 8:26am

@TechBanker44, what about international? I see a lot of things happening in Singapore/London? Do you rate the schools equally in the event one wants to work in one of these markets? 

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May 20, 2021 - 11:22am

Don't have a thoughtful answer to that one, but my gut would say the bigger the school brand name, the better international presence and opportunities. This is a general comment and doesn't hold true for specific fields where one school might be a powerhouse

May 20, 2021 - 7:03pm

At the end of the day, if three students graduated with the same extracurricular activities, GPA, and major, the only difference being school name, which school would have a leg up to Hedge Funds and VC out of undergrad skipping IB?

this is kind of an impossible question to answer. there is no reality where 2 students are the exact same and all that separates them are schools, because the opportunities and development you experience at each of these schools are so different.

i think yale edges out uchicago for VC - there's a bigger connection between yale and silicon valley than a lot of people realize. lot's of swe's/pm's recruited from yale and a decent number of founders coming from there. i'd also choose yale just in case you decide you want to pursue a different path than hf/vc, as well as the better social atmosphere, easier academics, and proximity to nyc (which beats out chicago for both finance and startups). but, as others have said, you really can't go wrong either way

May 20, 2021 - 8:23pm

I'm an alumni from a lower ivy (not HYP think bottom 3). What about other cities besides NYC and Chicago or silicon valley? I know Texas and Florida are becoming hot for finance. Denver seems to be multiplying as well for finance. 

I see finance in both Chicago and NYC still being strong after the pandemic. However, some shops will be moving to other cities in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic/Southeast. Does Yale stand as strong in that scenario as UChicago? 

I do understand your point of view on Yale's ties to Silicon Valley. 

As a consultant what areas do you see growing for finance besides the traditional places? I am considering a career change into hedge funds/vc (going back to get an MBA at a top 14).

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May 21, 2021 - 12:40pm

Yale is an incredibly strong brand no matter where you are in the US. There's really no geography where having gone to Yale is worse than having gone to another school - that's the benefit of going to what is objectively one of the top 5 undergrads in the country.

Unsure about which areas will be growing besides the traditional places. However, I will say - HFs don't really recruit out of MBA and those that do are either really small shops with small AUM or recruiting people with very competitive backgrounds in finance (think MF PE). VC is easier but again they prefer either prior finance experience or robust startup experience.

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May 21, 2021 - 1:21pm

Dartmouth is the most fun out of the schools, but if you aren't into greek life i would cross it off. Honestly, I would play it safe and go to Yale. Yale students will never miss an opportunity because they went to "yale." Whereas some VC's may be slightly less inclined to bring someone from UCHI, or Dartmouth (even though they are amazing schools). 

The reason I am saying this is because VC is the most elitist industry out there. Not at all kidding, some firms will exclude Columbia MBA's because they aren't prestigious enough. That should give you a good idea of the kind of elitism you will be dealing with

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