Cornell CAS (Econ) Vs Fordham GBHP vs NYU Stern For Breaking Into IB

Hi wso. I'm a high school senior who is looking to break into IB in NY after college. I would like your input as to which school is the best option for an aspiring FO banker.

I have 3 main options: Cornell college of arts and sciences, Fordham Gabelli GBHP (only 20 kids), or Stern. Cornell and Stern would cost 80k+/yr to attend all costs included vs Fordham which would be close to zero. I like Fordham and Stern better w/ regards to location, lifestyle, academic year internships, but have some obvious reservations about forgoing an ivy education and target school in Cornell. From what I hear Gabelli's GBHP is improving, they have a strong alumni network, and internship opportunities in NYC make it a decent choice, and the low price seals the deal imo. I could afford Cornell, but with Fordham as an option, I'd rather graduate with an extra ~300k. What do you recommend? Thanks.

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Comments (32)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 18, 2020 - 2:03pm

If you want to go IB and your parents can help significantly with cost, throw Fordham out of consideration. Can promise you that 99% of bankers will not care about what GBHP is and only look at school name. Cornell and Stern will get you on Wall Street with little issue.

On the other hand, if you hit the ground running from the start at Fordham with grades, internships, networking, etc. you can place somewhere, it'll just be harder and less certain than with your other options.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 20, 2020 - 10:34am

Would like to echo this. You certainly can land something from Fordham but the chances are significantly lower than Cornell/Stern even with GBHP. Although GBHP may have a decent alumni network, there are just many more SA spots carved out for target schools. Also keep in mind the lifetime value of your undergrad degree - it goes beyond just getting into IB as an analyst. Also consider the possibility that you completely change career paths while an undergrad - Cornell and NYU are both far more versatile than Fordham

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 22, 2020 - 9:08am

Don't think it's that well known except amongst alumni, especially compared to Cornell which is an Ivy. 300k is a lot and yeah it could go to an MBA but also think of it this way. With Big 4 (PWC and EY) you'd be making 60k per year. In 4 years in IB (avg years of experience before MBA) you'd be making 150k, 170k, 195k as an A1 A2 and A3, then 300k as an AS1. You can easily save 300k in those 4 years to pay for your MBA. But the nice thing about IB is, once you're in you're in and you don't need an MBA. So with Fordham if you don't actually get into IB, then you'd have to waste 2-4 years at a lower salary, pay 250k for an MBA, and then finally go into banking. Whereas with Cornell significantly more people place in banking, and if OP ever considers recruiting for PE or exiting IB, the Cornell brand name will serve him much much better than Fordham's.

Apr 22, 2020 - 12:00pm

Agreed. If there was little chance of breaking into IB from Fordham, I would never suggest it. However, another poster on this forum who attends GBHP has said that many GBHP students get IB jobs. But yeah, if OP can afford it, I would suggest Cornell or Stern. If OP needed to go into debt; however, that would be a much closer call.

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 22, 2020 - 12:18pm

I just took a look at Fordham Finance Scholars website since someone else mentioned that's the Wall Street feeder program. Out of the 33 placements listed, only 8 are interning in IB and I'm willing to bet a few of those are female or URM. Still a very tough choice because 200k is a lot, but it will still be very tough to get a top IB internship from Fordham GBHP.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 22, 2020 - 1:27pm

https://www.fordham.edu/info/24497/finance_honors_program/3108/finance_…

Definitely, a great program for Fordham but has no EB placement so if you're going for investment banking, my hunches are you'll be competing for 1 of 5 non-URM BB spots. It's doable since you're in a clearly a smart kid in GBHP and you can try to make connections with the faculty running the program but I'm a little suspicious that there could also be a couple kids there that have family connections since the school is in NYC.

However, I don't think I would turn down Cornell for it if you're parents are willing to pay for it and they make over 300k a year. In the short term, the school easily sends over 100 for Investment Banking to BBs and other top banks. You'll be surrounded by other top students that will help you grow and learn together. In the long-term, Cornell will you give you the Ivy brand for the rest of your life that will open up more opportunities for PE, top grad school, and an amazing alumni network.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 18, 2020 - 2:50pm

Go to Cornell. People on this forum love Stern because it has solid IB placement, but Cornell beats it in literally everything else (and I would say is still better for IB). You're in high school now, there's a good chance you get to college next year and decide you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or literally anything else. An ivy education will stick with you for life and opens up pretty much every door for you- Stern might open IB, but it is a lot worse for 99% of other things. Even within finance, Cornell will place better into non-IB things like corp dev, most buyside, etc. Never underestimate how much an ivy name on your resume means

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 19, 2020 - 7:52am

This is going to be an incredibly pretentious response, but everyone giving me MS clearly does not attend an ivy league school. I attend a different ivy (not Cornell, but another lower ivy) and there is 100% a difference between how people view ivies and how they view other good schools. I transferred to my current school from a top state school, and the way people respond when you when you say you go to an ivy vs a top public school is completely different. If I'm at a networking event or just casually chatting with someone in the finance industry, mentioning my school is a guaranteed way to establish myself as somewhat qualified, and people treat me completely differently vs when I was at a public school even though that's really the only thing that changed about me. I was talking to a PE partner a few weeks back (a networking call I only got because he went to my school, btw) and he mentioned that he likes to work with one bank because there are a few MDs that went to our same school. This guy is in his 50s but is still basing multi-million dollar deal decisions off of college. It sucks that this is the way the world works and I don't think it's fair or right at all, but that doesn't make it not true. If you have the option, go to any ivy. You won't regret it in the long run.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 20, 2020 - 10:41am

Correct, this was in fact pretentious (you did warn us), but these are honestly good points. I go to a US News top 15 school that accepts sub-10% of applicants but it's not a big name in finance so it's hard to earn the immediate respect from people that you could with a simple "I go to [ivy league school]". Aside from these small anecdotal references, an ivy league school seriously will always add immediate value to your resume and open a huge network of succesful alumni. Disclaimer: for all intents and purposes if you're dead set on IB/finance I would value Stern in the same regard.

Apr 19, 2020 - 12:00pm

First of all, all of these people commenting have no clue actually how good Fordham GBHP is at placing their kids in BB. I am currently in GBHP, working at JPM/GS/MS this summer, and can talk to you all about the advantages of GBHP and how highly it is regarded in interviews and recruiting. Also, the free international trips are amazing and once in a lifetime expereinces. Yes Cornell and Stern will also set you up in a good position for recruiting, but being in GBHP makes you a big fish in a small pond whereas going to another school, you don't necessarily have that distinction in comparison to your peers. In my GBHP cohort 8 students are placed in BB for this summer with the rest at top tier MM/Boutiques. You can't go wrong with your decision, but just get the facts from all three versus listening to people who are commenting on a school with no information or basis, since they do not go there.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 20, 2020 - 10:38am

Also in GBHP. While most people outside of Fordham obviously won't know what it is (just like I wouldn't know anything about the honors programs at other schools), Fordham alum know what it is. More importantly, GBHP alum will go out of their way to do as much as possible to help you. I'm talking above & beyond. We have alum in banking, HF, PE, corp. development, real estate, etc. So look, do we have as many alum in FO positions as NYU or Cornell? Of course not. But keep in mind you will be in a cohort of only 20-25 people with an alum network of 150+, all of whom will do whatever they can to help you get wherever you want. Upperclassmen are just as, if not more, helpful for recruiting and anything else while you are at Fordham.

It doesn't really matter how many random people recognize the GBHP brand name when you have enough alum of the program to get you where you want to go.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 20, 2020 - 10:48am

I agree that big fish small pond can be an advantage. Had the same situation for my undergrad. School sends 2-4 kids to BB/EBs a year but there are only about 5-10 serious IB candidates each year, so placement rates don't turn out bad at all. Although this worked out for me (and most others), I would have chosen to go to a target school if I knew I wanted to do IB earlier. There are just simply more opportunities to go around and the larger alumni network and respected brand name of your school will follow you wherever you go in your career (PE, HF, RE, CD, VC, etc.)

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 20, 2020 - 10:51am

You definitely have a point, too. I don't think there's a wrong decision here. Obviously I am biased towards GBHP but I completely understand the brand name advantage long term. I think the OP should choose based on the type of school they want - all three are very different and there is more to college than just recruiting and IB.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 20, 2020 - 11:24am

I would argue the fact that no one knows about this Fordham program is a reason not to take it. sure, I believe there's alumni going to bat for you, but the average person in finance has never heard of it and is just going to be unimpressed by the Fordham name. everyone on the planet has heard of Cornell (and to a lesser extent, NYU).

Apr 22, 2020 - 9:32am

This is a tough choice. I would really take the time to carefully vet Fordham GBHP

If you can find 15-20+ alums in that program on the street then you could make an argument for taking that over NYU / Cornell. Obviously NYU & Cornell are household names in the financial services industry and have large networks but a benefit you will have at Fordham that can help you is the ability to do 1-2 internships during the year (prior to junior summer recruiting) and take the time to build some relationships at firms you might be interested in joining after graduation (networking)

$300k is no joke - that is a massive amount of loans for undergrad. I went to NYU and if i had to pay $300k to do so that probably would have been an easy pass for me, but there are a lot of folks who take on that kind of debt for these schools because it is worth it for them to have the brand and access to opportunities such schools provide. There are also folks who turn down schools like NYU and Ivies to take a generous scholarships at their state schools. Those kids who do that (and continue crushing it in college) usually end up doing great after graduation

Apr 22, 2020 - 12:44pm

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