Columbia vs Dartmouth vs Cornell for I-Banking, which is the best for my goals

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Rank: Monkey | 53


I am a senior in high school and have recently been accepted to Columbia, Cornell, and Dartmouth. I am interested in investment banking/trading/other wall street careers (early, I know) and was wondering which of the 3 schools would be best for my goals. How is finance recruiting at each of these schools?

I will be in SEAS at Columbia as well as Cornell. I realize it is foolish to base my decision on the quality of I-banking recruitment, so I am definitely considering other factors as well. I just want to get as much information as possible before making a big a decision as this.


Comments (11)

Apr 4, 2011

None of those are really any good, man. Sorry to lay it on heavy.

    • 1
Apr 4, 2011

Columbia hands down in my opinion
solid econ program---great alumni
but most pivotal is the location---i personally got my FO offers through networking
and in retrospect wish I had gone to school in nyc---would have saved tons of time and gas

IVY for Life

Apr 4, 2011

Can't go wrong with either but I would assume it's more of a choice between Columbia and Dartmouth. Both schools are fantastic, but I would visit to see what you really want.

Personally, for social and quality of life reasons, I would go to Dartmouth, but Columbia does have the edge in location.

Apr 4, 2011

I would say go to with Columbia...echo much of what everyone else said--the location is KEY for being able to network, have relevant internships during the year, and be a major OCR target.

Apr 4, 2011


Apr 4, 2011

Definitely Columbia, better alumni networking imo and the edge on location is huge

Apr 4, 2011

Congrats. I'd choose Dartmouth. you'll get a job either way. I've visited/have friends that went to both and Dartmouth has a more intimate feel since it so isolated. I remember they had a trimester schedule (I don't think Columbia has that) so you get more flexibility with study abroad/internships, etc. Walk three blocks off Columbia's campus and you wouldn't even realize you are near the school.

Apr 4, 2011

I'm obviously biased, but the reasons stated here to go to Columbia are almost all wrong. I'll tackle two: alumni networking and internships.


Dartmouth blows Columbia out of the water here, regardless of location. In the context of donations, Dartmouth alumni are the most loyal in the country, trailing only Princeton. If you look at 5 year reunion attendance, Dartmouth's numbers are almost 4 times higher (75% attendance vs. 20% attendance).

If you want to network, go to the school that has extremely loyal alumni that will root for their own. There's a reason Dartmouth has such a strong presence on Wall Street despite its size and location...


If you want a competitive advantage in snagging internships, go to Dartmouth. Yes, at Columbia you can do an internship during the year, but you can only do it on the side. I wouldn't take an investment banking internship seriously unless you were in the office at least 60 hrs/week. There's no way you can clock those kinds of hours while going to school full time.

At Dartmouth, we operate on the D-Plan, which allows us to take one academic term off (Fall, Winter, or Spring). All the big Wall St. firms recruit on campus for internships during the junior winter, and these are only open to Dartmouth students. If you do a good job, you get your offer in the spring. That's pretty sick, if you ask me -- knowing you've secured a job before you're even a senior.

There's no program like that at Columbia.

Good luck in your decision process.

Oh, and for the record, I agree that your decision should be between Columbia and Dartmouth.

Apr 4, 2011

The differences in career opportunities are marginal and you'll have opportunities if you work hard in all 3 of the schools, so I'd go with the school where you'll enjoy your next 4 years the most. The campus life of the 3 schools are very different and I think you should decide based on how you'd like to spend the next 4 years. College isn't just about careers, although it's certainly a priority. It's also about getting lai... err I mean "meeting new people" and trying out new things. Cornell and Dartmouth are Greek-friendly and Columbia is in the city, so your lifestyle will be completely different. If you don't fit-in at your school, then you're going to be miserable and unsociable, which will most likely show in the interviews.

Apr 5, 2011

^ Completely agree.

My 2 cents. Networking is a lot easier in the city, but career aspects are only one aspect of college. Once you go to a target school, there's really no need to network as much, and I see very few students actually going out to meet professionals on a weekly or even monthly basis.

I've heard good things about recruiting at Dartmouth and Cornell and even within my own analyst class, there were a good number of Cornell students. I think that you should find a school that's a good social fit, because the career opportunities at all 3 schools are fantastic.

No one gives a damn about UNSWR rankings so please don't feel the pressure to choose Columbia because it's ranked the highest. Professionals don't care and don't follow the rankings and actual school prestige and opportunities don't change nearly as often as the rankings do.

Another aside, you'll be studying engineering at Columbia. You can't study economics without filling out a transfer application, writing essays, resubmitting recommendations, etc. Trust me, engineering is a not a fun subject matter to study at Columbia and combination of a weak campus life and the tremendous pressure of the workload will make college a wholly unenjoyable experience. At Columbia, you'll be competing against students who are majoring in economics with average GPA's 0.3 higher than yours. Engineers very often have to choose between social life and studies so don't screw yourself over by studying engineering, realizing you dislike it, and then ending up with a GPA that makes it harder for you to land a finance job. Go Cornell or Darmouth and screw the rankings.

No rain drop ever blames itself for the flood.

Apr 5, 2011