Choosing Between USC and Ross, help?

s121's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | banana points 72

Hey everyone,

Currently been admitted to USC on a full tuition scholarship (school is basically free, I pay something like 10k a year for food+housing) and UMich - Ross (65k/yr for all 4 years). Cost isn't a big deal, but I would ideally like to have the money in my 529 ready for me in case I want to get an MBA, so I do not need to go into debt, however I am willing to pay for Ross if the difference in opportunity is large.

I ideally would like to work in IB for a couple years, and make a move to PE or VC for a couple years before getting an MBA and advancing my career in VC or PE, and if I get enough capital, hopefully opening up my own firm.

Overall, I would like to know how large of a difference is USC vs Ross is when it comes to landing an IB job to jumpstart my career.

I do not have that large of a preference in terms of where I end up working. LA/SF is fine, and NYC is also fine.

So my three questions are:
1. Where would you guys recommend I go? USC will be 200k cheaper than Ross which means I can fully pay for my MBA debt free if I go to USC, and I do not really care about which coast I end up working on, but I want to make sure I make the correct choice that will help me on my prospective career path.

  1. Is USC A Target on the West Coast and is UMich-Ross a Target on the East Coast?
  2. Is the difference between USC and UMich-Ross in terms of recruitingl/opportunity and chance of breaking into IB marginal or large?

Comments (33)

Feb 4, 2019

ADDITIONAL INFO:

My questions regarding if USC is a target, I am wondering if it is a target for west coast BB's as well as if it is a target for boutiques (Lazard, William Blair, etc.)

Most Helpful
Feb 4, 2019

IMO this is a no brainer. Save the money and go to USC. High caliber students will have similar opps from both schools. You're not comparing USC vs Harvard, this is Michigan we're talking about.

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Feb 5, 2019

Go Ross. USC is a target for West Coast and sends about 10 kids to NYC each year but relatively, Ross places a lot more students on the Street. USC is by no means a bad school but Ross tends to not only place in IB but the existing network and/or brand name has even gotten students directly into PE out of undergrad etc.

Disclaimer - USC student who had IB internships and ended up in PE FT.

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Feb 4, 2019

What about if rather be on the west coast? Isn't USC the stronger school on the west as it is a Target for west coast firms and UMich Ross is a Target for east coast firms? I ideally want to go to NYC later in my career, but prefer to start on the west coast.

Feb 5, 2019

If you want to go to NYC later, I'd personally suggest starting out on the East Coast. Usually people who end up getting the top brass buyside gigs in NYC from the West Coast are the people who are in the top WC groups Moelis LA/Goldman/MS etc. That said, if you have a particular attachment to the West Coast, yes the top 3 targets by placement ranked are: Stanford, Berkeley, USC, UCLA a close 4th.

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Feb 5, 2019

Is there a ~220k difference between the two? Well that's up to you. Generally Michigan is considered a better school (top 1/2 among public universities for business).

These situations are peculiar because at the end of the day both schools send kids to where you want to be. The question here is if you truly think you're good enough to get there. If you know you'll be disciplined, do well, get involved, etc then I'd say you have a shot at both schools. If you're going to be an average student, moderately involved, not get near a 4.0 then your chances breaking in from USC drop far more than chances at Michigan.

For reference at 6.5% that 220k difference will double in 11ish years.
I'll tell you now that breaking into IB will net far more than 220k in 11 years.

You need to ask yourself what you think your own chances are from each school.

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Feb 4, 2019

Let's be honest, OP is here as a high schooler which means they are way ahead of the curve. If non-targets like me who didn't even think about banking until halfway through college can make it, so can OP at either school. If they don't, that's because there are bigger issues at play and not picking the wrong institution to attend.

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Feb 5, 2019

Agreed, but college hits some people hard and once you're behind it isn't easy to get back on track. To each his own, but I agree if you believe in yourself and work hard then he should pick USC.

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Feb 12, 2019

Plus USC is a way more fun school IMO (experience on both campuses)

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Feb 4, 2019

Well I know USC is basically like the west coast NYU, so I assume I will get great opps. for west coast BB's/MM's and all the EB's. Since I want to be on the west coast and USC is 220k cheaper I think USC is the nobrainer choice since USC is the superior school for west coast recruiting?

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Feb 4, 2019

Well I know USC is basically like the west coast NYU, so I assume I will get great opps. for west coast BB's/MM's and all the EB's. Since I want to be on the west coast and USC is 220k cheaper I think USC is the nobrainer choice since USC is the superior school for west coast recruiting?

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Feb 5, 2019

If you're region agnostic, go to USC. They're a west coast target, and you're going to save money for an MBA down the road. I wouldn't say they're an extremely hard target like the Ivy's, but they have BB resume drops and on-campus recruiting.

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Feb 5, 2019

Dude, USC. Absolutely a target for the West Coast banks - all of them including our BB as well as EB, MM etc. - and an incredibly strong network. Literally the only downside to USC is cost, which you have effectively mitigated. Looking forward to talking with you 2 years down the road when you're recruiting for Summer 2023 internships and you can thank me then in person.

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Feb 4, 2019

Haha alright. I think I am going to pick USC.

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Feb 5, 2019

At the end of the day, within reason, money does matter and I think more UG students are wising up to the cost/benefit analysis of education.

You have roughly equivalent schools and $200k PV of savings going to one over the other.
Assuming you get into investment banking, you'll probably at best be able to save only $30k a year of your post-tax salary (e.g. $85k base + $75k bonus = $160k * 50% tax ~=$80k, minus $4k/month of living expenses per month or ~$50k per year = $30k max savings).

$200k / $30k ~= 6.5 years payback period, or when you're 28 years old. So choice to go to Ross is to pay down at fastest your UG student loans until then (when you'll potentially take more loans for business school -- or go somewhere you get scholarships to there as well). Or alternatively, be in excellent financial shape at that age. Will the recruiting / exit opps really outweigh this cold math? In my humble opinion, it wouldn't.

Not to mention the tremendous upside of being able to "bug out" in your career if you hate finance or want to do something else like change the world / travel / work in another industry and you don't have the student loans hanging over your neck!

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Feb 5, 2019

This is an easy decision...

Feb 5, 2019

To be fair though Ross Business Building is beyond gorgeous.

-40 degree weather though......

Feb 5, 2019

Honestly choose wherever you'll be happiest. Being happy with your school is way more important than incrementally better ops, which if you do well at USC should be equal to, if not better than Ross. You're also in LA so there are enough opportunities to intern during the year, which I imagine is less feasible than Ann Arbor. Regardless, enjoy yourself but get your work done first

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Feb 6, 2019

USC for sure

Feb 7, 2019

Don't decide which school to attend based on an online forum of college students. Visit both schools, contact alumni to get their insights, look at placement statistics, and check LinkedIn.

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Feb 12, 2019

USC. It's way cheaper, I'm assuming it's easier to switch majors if you lose interest in finance, better weather, better city, still has good sports, and still sends people to get jobs. Also, since VC is big in the West Coast, the location may be helpful.

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