Cornell Dyson vs. Dartmouth for Undergrad

I'm trying to decide between Dyson and Dartmouth. How does each school place relatively on Wall Street? I've heard Dartmouth has strong representation but less about Dyson. Also, I've done some research on Dartmouth and have heard that the social scene is great and that the alumni network is extremely strong. I can't find as much about those aspects with regards to Dyson, and if it's pretty much the same as Cornell CAS, how is the social scene/alumni network? I'd be fine with either college's location. Cost is around the same for both.

Thanks in advance.

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Comments (54)

Apr 3, 2020 - 10:17am


"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
Apr 3, 2020 - 10:27am

First off, both are fantastic schools and if you work hard in college you can/will be successful from either school. Congratulations on two very impressive acceptances. The differences really are splitting hairs.

That said, I'd go Dartmouth. Based on my experience interacting with alums from both, people from Dartmouth on average tend to have enjoyed their undergrad experience better. The culture seems a lot more fun and tight-knight than Cornell, which gives alums a strong sense of connection to the school after graduation. This is why Dartmouth's alumni network is so strong, as you mentioned. In addition to culture, basically every career opportunity that would be available to you at Cornell will also be available to you at Dartmouth. Given the choice between two schools in the middle of nowhere, I'd go with the one that's more fun for your 4 years and gives you a stronger network (on the margin)

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Apr 6, 2020 - 5:46pm

Congratulations on the acceptances!

Several years ago, I had to make the same decision. I ended up picking Dyson over Dartmouth. Don't think you can go wrong with either choice but here are my thoughts:

Almost everyone I know who went to Dartmouth enjoyed the social scene. The Dartmouth social scene is heavily dominated by Greek life (probably 60-70% of undergraduates). Greek life is a big part of Cornell's social scene as well but it is a bit less pronounced (I'd guess closer to 30-35%). Outside of Greek life, I think Cornell has a more diverse set of clubs and activities, particularly those with a business focus (e.g., various finance clubs, business fraternities, etc.). Most people I know who went to Cornell (and almost everyone I know at Dyson) enjoyed the social scene at school. While Ithaca is remote and relatively small, I think it's a better overall college town than Hanover (there's a bit more to do off campus, with the numerous restaurants and bars - Collegetown and Ithaca Commons may have changed a bit since I've left though).

The alumni network is strong at both schools. Dartmouth will naturally have an edge given how small the school is but the Cornell / Dyson network is pretty strong. There are several banks at which Cornell is one of the top 2-3 schools represented (e.g., Evercore, Lazard, JP Morgan, Barclays, Guggenheim, etc.). I think when reaching out to alumni, people typically will help you out regardless of whether you were in Dyson or not but I think I have subconsciously been a bit more responsive to Dyson kids who have reached out to me vs. others.

Dyson is a pretty tight knit program. Several years ago, only 90-100 freshmen would enroll each year. I think they've reduced the number of sophomore transfers and applications soared after the College of Business was established so that figure may be closer to 150 now but I think it's still only around 200-250 kids per year (for sophomores and up). All freshmen have to take a few required classes together so you tend to get to know the class really well. It has an extremely collaborative culture (in contrast from what I've heard anecdotally about Wharton and Stern, which are considerably more cutthroat). I found that the majority of the kids in the program were smart and friendly, good people.

Investment banking / Wall Street opportunities are open to students of all majors at Cornell but I think Dyson majors are at a slight advantage for a few reasons (I know some people may disagree): the average Dyson student's GPA is around a 3.6-3.7 whereas the median GPA for the school is probably closer to a 3.3-3.4 (more grade inflation overall / flexibility with electives within CALS), Dyson students will be able to take classes like financial accounting and finance earlier than those of their peers (people can obviously study on their own but I think having a background with 1-2 solid fundamental classes helps with a super accelerated recruiting timeline), and Dyson students can leverage faculty connections (small factor here but the finance professor I TA'ed for offered to connect me with all sorts of big shots in HF, AM, etc. and another professor I was close with is still in touch with a Dyson alum who is an MD at GS/JPM). I know people who majored in engineering, economics, information science, policy analysis, etc. who all got IB jobs but I do think there is some benefit to being in Dyson vs. the rest of Cornell. That being said, Cornell as a whole is still a target school (it's not like Penn where Wharton is a top target and the rest of the school is a full notch below). Dyson is a very small program and Cornell has ~3,500 undergrads per class so it shouldn't be too surprising that people of other backgrounds are getting top finance job opportunities

At the end of the day, you can't go wrong with either choice. There were a few reasons why I picked Dyson over Dartmouth. Some may be less relevant to you (e.g., closer to home, lower cost, easier ability to graduate early). I was all for Dartmouth's social scene but I sort of wanted to go to a bigger school; I liked how Dyson offered such a tight knit program within a larger institution. I also thought Dartmouth felt a bit more pretentious / WASPy. At Dartmouth, I would have studied economics, which I don't think I would have enjoyed as much at the higher levels, given how theoretical it is. I'm not sure if this helps but I do know multiple people who made the same decision as me (I'm sure there are others who picked Dartmouth over Dyson). Feel free to PM me.


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Apr 6, 2020 - 11:16pm

I TA'ed for classes my sophomore, junior, and senior years. Core classes (financial accounting, managerial accounting, finance, introductory statistics, managerial economics, etc.) will usually have at least 8-10 undergraduate TAs. For many of them, the TAs lead a two-hour weekly discussion. So you might have a 200 person lecture that meets 2-3x a week with the professor leading the class and then you'll go to a 20-25 person discussion in which the TA will review the weekly material and/or go through a problem set once a week.

It's definitely not rare to TA but some of the better students will sometimes TA multiple classes. Professors may approach you to TA or they may have separate application processes in which you "interview" with them / need to meet a certain grade cutoff to qualify.


Apr 8, 2020 - 11:46pm

Dartmouth, blows Cornell out of the water. It's peers are Columbia, Duke, Chicago etc. while Cornell is a full tier below with Brown, Stern, etc...

Edit: I don't even know how a debate about Stern started. If you ask people in the finance industry about Dartmouth or Cornell, most will agree that Dartmouth will place better and will choose it 9 times out of 10.

  • Prospect in PE - Other
May 31, 2020 - 12:39pm

All of those schools are peer schools minus NYU (as a whole). Look up Duke peer schools and they themselves have Cornell as a peer school. Dartmouth and Cornell are the definition of peer schools, check their rankings across multiple sites.

That being said, I like Dartmouth more.

Edit: I think I just started a classic WSO prestige debate. Wasn't my intention at all. My initial point was that all of them are peer schools besides NYU as a whole. Put Stern out of habit...

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 31, 2020 - 12:51pm

Stern out-places every single school in that list in IB and MF PE, minus Columbia. Not really sure how you can say it's not a peer school for finance.

LOL at who's giving me MS. Look at the numbers on linkedin, and the released hard statistics. All these prospects commenting with no knowledge of the industry. If you have the chance to ever enter IB/PE, you will see more Stern kids than every single school you listed minus Columbia. Just a plain and simple fact. Of course, you can pull your unknown per-capita statistics out of your ass to make an argument against Stern. But when a school like Dartmouth has on average 27% of their graduating class going into finance (~1200 kids), yet placing only a fraction of what Stern places, how valid is that argument truly?

  • Prospect in PE - Other
May 31, 2020 - 1:01pm

I was talking about being a peer school in general. If you ever decide that you want to do engineering or tech, NYU isn't a peer school to any of those.

Not to mention you missed the point. Brown is literally harder to get into than Dartmouth and the original guy placed them a tier below. Those are all peer schools in general and for finance.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 31, 2020 - 1:45pm

imagine shitting on cornell when you go to nyu.

your post history is sad, just you desperately trying to convince people nyu isnt a safety school. most insecure group of people i've ever met.

like i said

no one:

stern kids: but look at our placement!

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 31, 2020 - 1:56pm

Lmao I'm all for shitting on nyu as much as the next guy, but bro you clearly don't know what you're talking about. Lets be honest, you're a prospect trying to pass of as an analyst. No analyst speaks like this. I interned at a top EB (PJT/CVP/EVC) last summer, and can confirm Stern had wayyyyy more kids there than Cornell. It wasn't even close. So yeah, I would say Stern kids do have a right to point out their placement when prospects like you come along and spew extreme, inaccurate bullshit.

  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
May 31, 2020 - 7:52am

The people who say they don't have fun at Cornell are typically just weird people. There's 15,000 undergrads, you're going to have fun very very easily if you want to. Ithaca has a lot of bars and has the most restaurants per capita of any city/town in the country. Greek life also solid, keep in mind 35% of 15,000 kids vs 70% of 3,000 kids

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 31, 2020 - 3:17pm

Because the kids on this site have nothing better to do with their lives and have to release the agitation they've built up from sitting at home jerking themselves off with their finger up their ass.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 31, 2020 - 7:57pm

My hypothesis is it's because they both send significantly more kids to IB and have larger Wall St. presences than many other schools generally considered more or equally prestigious than them. Though, this is mostly because they have more high finance focused students pursuing IB.

Jun 1, 2020 - 7:37pm

Can't go wrong with either, but I'd pick Dyson. I don't go to Cornell, but from what I've heard from friends is that OCR is really strong there and you can take the Cornell Bus to NYC in like 4 hours which helps a lot with superdays. Hanover isn't that close.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 1, 2020 - 9:11pm

Idc if the Cornell Red Army throws M's but the choice here is obviously Dartmouth. It's a tier above Cornell, more prestigous, and places way better. Dyson also doesn't matter as much as you think it does, if you check Linkedin, lots of students at banks are from Hotel, ILR, A&S Econ, etc. Also since Cornell has strong engineering you're going to have to compete with them too. The Dartmouth alumni network is insanely strong and can lead to buy side opportunities right after graduation. Every year Dartmouth sends multiple kids to Bridgewater, Blackstone, etc. Location also doesn't matter since both are way outside major cities, but Dartmouth's D-Plan will let you intern during the school year and gain an advantage over other kids. It's a no-brainer that you should choose Dartmouth.…

Jun 1, 2020 - 9:19pm

Lol the fact that you pointed out Cornell has strong placement across all of its colleges further emphasizes that Cornell is the better choice and is a tier above Dartmouth. Dartmouth is a good school, but it's arguably the forgotten ivy and is on the same tier as Brown.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Restr
Jun 3, 2020 - 3:13pm

Lol you must be out of your fucking mind to suggest that Cornell is a tier above or even on the same level as Dartmouth and Brown. Everyone knows that Cornell is the worst ivy, the easiest to get into, and the least prestigious. It doesn't matter if Joe Schmoe doesn't know about Dartmouth since every recruiter and person in position of power does and regards it way higher/more prestigious than Cornell. Your also pulling complete bullshit out of your ass. Cornell doesn't place remotely as good as Dartmouth. According to the data from Linkedin/Peakframeworks Cornell placed 171 kids while Dartmouth placed 99 which would seem good except for the fact that Cornell has 15000+ students while Dartmouth has 4,000. The Dyson distinction doesn't even matter that much Hotel, engineering, CAS, and ILR are all competitive for IB and will be recruited similarly. At the end of the day, I'd much rather spend my 4 years getting to Keggy the Keg than 4 years in bum fuck upstate New York at a half public school that doesn't place remotely as good and isn't on the same level as Dartmouth.

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