Choosing Undergrad College (USC vs. Cal vs. GTown vs. NYU)

Techbanking10's picture
Rank: Chimp | 9

Hey guys, I'd really appreciate some help. I'm currently choosing what undergraduate college to go to, and my choices are USC Marshall, Berkeley, Georgetown MSB, and NYU Stern.

In terms of the intangibles, some things about myself are that I'm not overly concerned with the social life, but at the same time I don't want to be around a bunch of people who ONLY study (which is what I feel Berkeley is like). I'm not completely sure exactly what branch of business I want to go into, but im probably leaning towards something in Finance. I'd also be fine going to the east coast or staying on the west coast for college, but in the long run I'd like to settle down in California, and probably in SoCal.

Another thing I should mention is that USC and Berkeley are both 30k a year for me, but Georgetown and NYU are both 60k a year. So it would literally cost me twice as much to go there.

Here are my thoughts so far:

1) USC: Supposedly has very good connections and job opportunities. The things I'm worried about are that it isn't anywhere near as good education-wise as the other schools, its business school isn't as good, and I feel like its biggest strength is film, not business.

2) Berkeley: Seems like it has a very high quality business program and the education is just really good in general. But I just don't really like the vibe and atmosphere that go along with it too, because it seems like most of the people there are only concerned with studying and grades, and they sort of get away from the entire concept of learning and college. Overall I just like the atmosphere the least out of the four.

3) Georgetown: Seems like a combination of USC and Berkeley, which is why it's my favorite out of the choices. The only problem is that it costs literally twice as much, but 60k a year is pretty significant.

4) NYU: I had actually eliminated this until earlier today. I feel like it has the least to offer because if I want to pay that much and go to the east coast, I might as well go to Georgetown. The only advantage is that from a purely business perspective, it probably has the best connections. But I don't really want to live in NY anyway, so I'm not sure.

I'd really appreciate some feedback and advice from you guys, especially since I only have a few days left to make my decision. Thanks!

Comments (27)

Apr 27, 2011

Are you going to make your decision in large part on which school offers you a better route to investment banking?

Apr 27, 2011

gtown is one of the top feeders to wall street
nyu stern is also very solid for placement

IVY for Life

Apr 27, 2011

Stern outweighs Georgetown's placement by far, and that's a simple fact. It may be because one is a complete finance factory and the other typically attracts political science or international relations types, but Stern outdoes Gtown consistently.

OP, what are your factors? College atmosphere, campus life, placement or recruiting opportunities...what?

Apr 27, 2011

i would say that the job/internship placement and recruiting is a pretty big factor in my decision, but it also isn't the only thing. I know that Stern is probably better than Georgetown overall for business opportunities in NYC, but when I visited Georgetown a lot of people there had internships and job offers in those same NYC firms anyway. So at that point, if I can get the same opportunities at Georgetown that I can at NYU, I don't really see a reason to go NYU, right? Because Georgetown definitely destroys it in every other category.

In terms of my factors, I'd say that job placement is very important to me, but the college atmosphere and campus life is also somewhat a factor. I want to be happy where I am because I'm pretty sure thats a big key to being successful. If you go somewhere just to grind it out and you dread every day of it, you aren't going to be successful.

With that said, I think my decision is basically first between USC and Berkeley (both are 30K and on the west coast), and then between whichever out of those two I choose and Georgetown (because then at that point its deciding whether Georgetown is worth double the price.)

At least from the rankings I've seen and the feel I got when I visited, I think Haas has a pretty amazing reputation in terms of business on the west coast as well, which is why I haven't chosen USC over it already. I feel like I'd be happier at USC, but Berkeley is just straight up a better school. But then again, you aren't guaranteed to be in Haas. Which is where the dilemma begins again.

Apr 27, 2011

NYU will offer better placement than the other schools you are considering assuming you want to end up on Wall Street. People in the northeast view cal and usc are equal, maybe cal is a little better but NYU is more respected and will provide an easier path to finance. You can get into finance from any of these schools as long as you work hard enough so go where you will be happiest.

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Apr 28, 2011

Georgetown...great college life, great education, professors and student body. Georgetown is almost a target with many people going into FO and even more into MO. The only con is the cost. I don't know about the other 2 but if its between NYU and Gtown i'd say Gtown.

NYU is OK, but it even more expensive since you are in New York. On the street some like NYU and some don't but it's a target in the city and all firms recruit there.

Do what you want not what you can!

Apr 27, 2011

Well, I wouldn't mind working on Wall Street for a few years coming straight out of college to gain that experience and the reputation that comes along with those jobs. But I'm pretty sure that I'm not gonna be looking to live in NY for much longer than that, because I eventually want to settle down on the west coast. So it would definitely be helpful to have that experience and bring that back with me to the west coast, but the prospect of living in NYC for a long time to come and getting huge promotions on Wall Street probably isn't as important to me just because of the fact that I'm not going to stay there forever. With that being said though, if I do end up going to the east coast for college, I'm definitely going to be looking for a job on Wall Street becuase that's the best opportunity I'm going to have over there. But at least from what I saw, those opportunities are still available coming from Georgetown. I realize that maybe more people from Stern get them and it may be slightly easier, but isn't the fact that Georgetown has so many other advantages worth going there instead?

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Apr 27, 2011

Yeah bossman that's kind of the thinking that I had too.

But in terms of USC and Berkeley vs. Georgetown, do you think the extra 30k a year over four years is worth it? I think I'm pretty set on Georgetown over NYU, but I really have no clue what to do from there and if Georgetown is really worth all that extra money especially if I'm going to end up coming back to the west coast anyway. But at the same time, having that experience over there and getting that education and that first job may make a huge difference too. So that's why I'm not sure.

Apr 28, 2011

If you're looking to stay in SoCal, then why even bother going to NYC? There are plenty of shops in LA and San Fran that will give you good prestige and connections on the west coast. The extra 30k/year is not to be underestimated. On top of that, USC and the west coast in general have a higher proportion of gorgeous females. (Please excuse that last sentence if you're a girl)

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art - Andy Warhol

May 11, 2015

Georgetown

Apr 28, 2011

Go to USC. You will have a great college experience and if you work hard, there will be plenty of opportunities.

You will get there right when football sanctions end as well.

Apr 27, 2011

Haha nah I'm a guy so that's definitely something to take into consideration. I guess the reason to go would be that I've grown up in SoCal my whole life, and I feel like going away to the east coast would really help me grow up and just experience a new way of life. So it's not only just the job opportunities and all that, it's also just the experience of going in and of itself. Plus the fact that the job you get on Wall Street probably has a lot more street cred than a random job on the west coast does, and it would be easier to get into a great grad school coming from Georgetown and working on wall street, than coming from USC and just working in LA. No?

Apr 28, 2011
aeksoccer:

Haha nah I'm a guy so that's definitely something to take into consideration. I guess the reason to go would be that I've grown up in SoCal my whole life, and I feel like going away to the east coast would really help me grow up and just experience a new way of life. So it's not only just the job opportunities and all that, it's also just the experience of going in and of itself. Plus the fact that the job you get on Wall Street probably has a lot more street cred than a random job on the west coast does, and it would be easier to get into a great grad school coming from Georgetown and working on wall street, than coming from USC and just working in LA. No?

It's up to you, but paying $120k ($30k x 4 years) seems steep for a "new way of life". As long as you don't only hang out with high school friends while at USC, you'll mature a lot. Also, all the BBs have sizable office in LA/SanFran and working there would not be "some random job". You said you want to be in SoCal long term, seems like the USC alumni base (Supposedly top in country) would help in that regard.

Apr 28, 2011
aeksoccer:

Haha nah I'm a guy so that's definitely something to take into consideration. I guess the reason to go would be that I've grown up in SoCal my whole life, and I feel like going away to the east coast would really help me grow up and just experience a new way of life. So it's not only just the job opportunities and all that, it's also just the experience of going in and of itself. Plus the fact that the job you get on Wall Street probably has a lot more street cred than a random job on the west coast does, and it would be easier to get into a great grad school coming from Georgetown and working on wall street, than coming from USC and just working in LA. No?

If you think meeting a bunch of pretentious assholes that think they rule the world will help you grow, then sure, come join us in the Northeast.

This is a tough call. Usually I'd say Berkeley, but it seems like you really hate the vibe. I'm not sure if you stayed overnight or met the right people there, maybe you should revisit it.

NYU won't be a 'typical' college experience. Its smack in the middle of NYC and doesn't even have its own campus.

Georgetown and USC are good schools that will offer recruiting and a great experience. Then again, one is in your hometown and one is expensive.

Haha, good luck. These are all great schools, you should really consider fit. Being with the right kind of people is really key to gaining the most you can from the college experience. Its tough because most schools put on a show to try and get you to go.

Apr 28, 2011
Apr 28, 2011

it sounds like you want the east coast. you can live in manhattan after graduation, so you might as well enjoy a campus and a full college experience in dc

laughable that "Stern outweighs Georgetown's placement by far." if you want to break into IBD, you have as good or better chance coming from georgetown than nyu stern.

yes, in sheer quantity, there will be more investment bankers coming out of stern than gtown. in terms of percentage who want to break into IBD and do so successfully, i would argue gtown is stronger

Apr 27, 2011

It's not laughable.

Apr 27, 2011

I would definitely say that looking at them objectively, Georgetown is definitely my first choice. But would you say that it's worth literally twice as much money as USC and Berkeley? If I really really want to go we can pay for it, but if it's not worth it then there's no sense in just throwing the money away. I guess that's the main decision - whether the advanatages that come along with Georgetown are worth the extra money. It seems to be a combination of all of the benefits of all the other schools put together - just for a much steeper cost. From your guys' experience would you say its worth that much extra?

Apr 28, 2011

IMO you would be just fine going to Cal/USC rather than Georgetown/Stern. As long as you do well, you'll be fine. You never know if your 100% set on banking,etc so USC would be a good choice all around. Besides $30k extra a year is no joke. I have a few friends that turned down prestigious schools for lesser known schools-but they plan to go to graduate school, so that might be a factor. Plus, USC has ridiculously beautiful women. USC>Cal, Stern, and GTown in that respect lol.

Apr 28, 2011

If money isn't a factor for you (can your parents afford 60k?) and if you want to go to Georgetown, go for it (although like others have said Stern has good placement as well -- I'm going there). Otherwise, If money is a factor and you have Berkeley and USC at half price, those are just as good options as well. I know if my state school was anywhere as close to good as Berkeley, I would seriously consider just because of the money I'd save. Regardless of what school you go to, you'll have good opportunities everywhere.

Apr 28, 2011

If you want to work on the west coast, the decision is clearly between USC and UCB. This is even before considering the extra 120k it would cost to go to Georgetown or NYU.

USC will be an awesome experience. If you got admitted directly into Marshall, I'd take it. You will have an unparalleled college experience, and have access to good recruiting. Every west coast superday I went to had at least a few USC grads.

UCB Haas will have slightly better recruiting, particularly for SF; USC and UCB are par in SoCal. However, you have to apply to Haas after 2 years. If you don't get in, you might have trouble recruiting with an econ major. You could do engineering, but that is a pretty intense course of study.

Apr 28, 2011

I echo west coast rainmaker in USC and UCB > GTown Stern if you want to live in the west coast. After a semester or two you'll probably get disillusioned from the lofty ideals of higher education in general and may regret dropping the extra 120k. Also factor in the greater costs of flying to the east and the fact that NY and DC are very expensive places to live.

Apr 28, 2011
Bruin13:

I echo west coast rainmaker in USC and UCB > GTown Stern if you want to live in the west coast. After a semester or two you'll probably get disillusioned from the lofty ideals of higher education in general and may regret dropping the extra 120k. Also factor in the greater costs of flying to the east and the fact that NY and DC are very expensive places to live.

The DC Metro area isn't that expensive...

Apr 27, 2011

Okay, so let's say i eliminate georgetown. In terms of USC vs. Haas, I feel like it comes down to connections vs. academics. USC is a private school and it has all the pluses that go along with that, and I'd be getting those advantages for the same price as a public. Cal has the reputation and the academics, but at the same time not the guarantee of getting into Haas. Someone mentioned that I seem to hate the vibe at Cal. I wouldn't say I hate the vibe, it's just that the perception of it basically comes from the 20 or so people I know from my school who are going there, and none of them really fit my personality. It basically seems like all of the extremely smart (but in a nerdy and purely book-smart, not intelligent, way) people who didn't get into Ivy's for some reason or just couldn't afford to go to an Ivy. Do any of you guys know anything in terms of the social life and just the non-academic sphere there?

May 1, 2011

Too bad its the end of the year... I would say go spend a few days with a friend at USC (assuming you know someone) and your decision will be made.

With that said, I could go on about the unparalleled experience, amazing opportunities, beautiful women, etc etc.... But in the end your on an internet forum. Unless you experience USC, you won't get it.

You will get a great education at all of these schools, but being in the Trojan Family is priceless.

May 1, 2011
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Jun 4, 2011
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