Dartmouth vs. Brown vs. Cornell Undergrad

I am a high school senior interested in Investment Banking, Consulting, Private Equity, Venture Capital, Finance, etc. I've been accepted into Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, and Notre Dame.

I was wondering if I could get some advice from people in the business. I'm considering majoring in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering at Cornell, Engineering Science or Economics and Mathematics at Dartmouth, and applied mathematics-economics at Brown. As you can tell, I'm planning on pursuing a quantitative major that will give me hard analytic skills, which I've heard will give me more opportunities post-grad. Which school and major do you guys think would best propel me into a career on Wall Street? Is my thinking correct?

Thanks, I appreciate any advice

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Comments (53)

Mar 27, 2014 - 10:17pm

Dartmouth. Better recruiting, off cycle internships from what I understand, and you'll have more fun.

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 18, 2020 - 7:19pm

dartmouth junior here. big name off-cycle internships are harder to come by these days as most BBs don't offer winter programs anymore. most of the ppl I know who took junior winter off worked in small, boutique-ish firms.

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Mar 28, 2014 - 1:58am

Congratulations on getting accepted at such great schools!

In order of finance placement, I'd say dartmouth/brown/cornell are fairly comparable (in that order, with slight deviation). Skip Notre Dame. Go with the one you enjoy the most during on-campus visits. Sounds cheesy, but you have to spend (the best?) four years of your life there, and it's not a cheap economic cost. No sense in being miserable for four years in order to gain an extra 1% chance of getting to The Street.

Mar 28, 2014 - 8:45am

MissMoneyPenny:

I don't get why ppl claim undergrad = the best years. Does that mean life is on a downward spiral after one graduates? That would seem pretty sad to me.

Because you can get wasted everyday, nobody gives a shit, and as long as you take care of those few moments that will matter later on (interviews, tests, networking events, etc.), it's awesome.

Mar 28, 2014 - 9:55am

MissMoneyPenny:
Does that mean life is on a downward spiral after one graduates?

Pretty much.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
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Mar 29, 2014 - 5:37pm

MissMoneyPenny:

I don't get why ppl claim undergrad = the best years. Does that mean life is on a downward spiral after one graduates? That would seem pretty sad to me.

They're the best years of your life, end of fucking story, alright?? I mean Jesus. COLLEGE. PARTYING. Hello?? Am I missing something here? Partying and college, end of fucking story.

Mar 28, 2014 - 7:52am

Unlike others here, I think Dartmouth is probably the worst choice. There's much more to college than improving chances of getting into IB by 1% (and you may want to change career prospects within a year, this is definitely non-negligible, and plus you put VC and PE in the same line). From what I understand it's basically you're either in a fraternity or you're an outcast (maybe a little extreme but yea). There's nothing around the school so life is all about partying which may sound great to a high schooler but it seriously gets boring quickly if that's all there is to do.

You should be getting interviews at any of the above schools if you're doing well so why not I don't know make those four years more fulfilling and actually have fun with the journey called life if you can. I admit I'm a bit biased here since I did one of the above programs though...

Mar 28, 2014 - 10:02am

Dartmouth > Cornell > Brown >>> Notre Dame. This is just my personal ranking. No offense, but these schools are not even in the same tier.

Mar 28, 2014 - 10:39am

Congratulations. With that being said, if financial aid is a non-factor, go where you feel the most comfortable...

Personally, I hated Cornell and loved Brown when I visited. Culturally, Notre Dame is very different from the others. Dartmouth has a wonky academic year and many students choose to take winter internships. If you haven't already done it, take an overnight campus visit.

Judging from the quality of the other responses, many of the above posters are either in high school or college, or have simply never grown past that mindset. I'm confident in saying that the quality of your education and career opportunities are going to be fairly similar regardless of which institution you choose to attend.

Good luck.

Mar 28, 2014 - 10:41am

I wouldn't advise basing your university choice off of a possible career in which you have no experience. For all you know, you could hate IB or discover some untapped love for Shakespearean sonnets and totally change your entire career path. And then you'll be at a school which wasn't chosen to suit YOUR needs but some artificial needs you had fabricated, and you won't have the best experience.

I don't know if this also extends universally, but at my school Brown is seen as a joke (there are literally ZERO requirements except two semesters of a course that you must write in-- seriously?) and Cornell is the awkward burnout failure of the family.

And although I would never want to go to Brown (I attend Columbia and they are basically polar opposites), I think I would have loved to at least spent a year at Cornell. There's so much beautiful scenery, and the friends I have there are much happier than the people I know here. I constantly get snapchats from my friends, like, kayaking or hiking in these beautiful, secluded places. The most I do is take a run in Riverside Park lol. I can't say anything about Dartmouth, though, because I don't know anyone who goes there.

Also, don't choose a quantitative major if the reason you're choosing it is to be in a better position post-undergrad. I'm a quantitative major and it sucks. Hard. The average GPA in my engineering school is a full .5 points lower than that of the liberal college within the university. But I love what I study, so it's okay. It's still hard, and if I didn't love it I don't think I could have survived it. I can't tell you how many times I thought of changing my major, transferring, or taking time off.

Just... do what makes you happy. You can't go wrong with any of those schools. Don't over think things.

Aug 16, 2015 - 11:44am
aassddff:

I wouldn't advise basing your university choice off of a possible career in which you have no experience. For all you know, you could hate IB or discover some untapped love for Shakespearean sonnets and totally change your entire career path. And then you'll be at a school which wasn't chosen to suit YOUR needs but some artificial needs you had fabricated, and you won't have the best experience.

I don't know if this also extends universally, but at my school Brown is seen as a joke (there are literally ZERO requirements except two semesters of a course that you must write in-- seriously?) and Cornell is the awkward burnout failure of the family.

And although I would never want to go to Brown (I attend Columbia and they are basically polar opposites), I think I would have loved to at least spent a year at Cornell. There's so much beautiful scenery, and the friends I have there are much happier than the people I know here. I constantly get snapchats from my friends, like, kayaking or hiking in these beautiful, secluded places. The most I do is take a run in Riverside Park lol. I can't say anything about Dartmouth, though, because I don't know anyone who goes there.

Also, don't choose a quantitative major if the reason you're choosing it is to be in a better position post-undergrad. I'm a quantitative major and it sucks. Hard. The average GPA in my engineering school is a full .5 points lower than that of the liberal college within the university. But I love what I study, so it's okay. It's still hard, and if I didn't love it I don't think I could have survived it. I can't tell you how many times I thought of changing my major, transferring, or taking time off.

Just... do what makes you happy. You can't go wrong with any of those schools. Don't over think things.


That was one of the most pretentious comments I have seen in some time
Mar 28, 2014 - 10:51am

I was always extremely jealous of my friends when I'd go visit them at Dartmouth. Great Greek scene, lots of boozing and fun (Animal House was based off Dartmouth, nuff said). Both those kids are at HFs now, but like people said, you will have no problem landing a gig from any of those schools. I would personally rather sit on a plunger than ever be affilliated with Notre Dame, and Ithaca sounds like a brutal spot to spend four years, so....Brown or Dartmouth fosh

Mar 28, 2014 - 12:10pm

Congrats on getting into the above ivies. At this point, choose purely based on FIT. All of the above schools can get you a top IB or HF job, and the differences b/w them in terms of recruiting are negligible.

Make the decision based on fit. Do you like the Open Curriculum and Providence? Would you rather live in a rural setting and party at frats? Etc. Wallstreetoasis.com should NOT be the basis for your decision, since all of these schools are great and give ample recruiting opportunities for Wall Street.

Mar 28, 2014 - 3:49pm

GO TO BROWN. You'll spend next to zero time on school work, most applied math and econ classes aren't too difficult, and the average GPA is 3.6. You can take your easiest class for a grade, get an A, and just take the rest pass/fail for the next four years. You'll have a 4.0.

Also, all of these firms do OCR at Brown (and you'll be competing against fewer students):

Blackstone, Soros Fund, DE Shaw, Bridgewater, BlackRock, GS, MS, JPM, BAML, Barclays, McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Fidelity, Wellington, PIMCO

Almost forgot to mention, but have you ever seen the girls at Dartmouth or Cornell?

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Mar 28, 2014 - 4:00pm

I understand the logic that at a school like Brown there's a lot less competition for these finance jobs, but I fear that since less people at Brown want to go into finance, these firms probably aren't accepting as many people compared to a school like Dartmouth or Cornell. Also, from what I've heard Dartmouth has really strong alumni connections on Wall Street unlike Brown and Cornell.

Mar 28, 2014 - 4:24pm

GS took 12 analysts from Brown in 2011 (I know it's one data point, but it's all I got). The alumni network also isn't nonexistent and there are people at pretty much every firm you would want to work at.

Array
  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 18, 2020 - 5:57pm

Brown student here. We definitely get looks from pretty much everyone. From a quick LinkedIn search, I found a ton of people in GS/MS FO positions, and we send quite a few kids to EBs every year (heard we recently sent two to CVP, I can't confirm that but they do OCR here). It also looks like a somewhat big target for consulting firms. When I was networking I even ended up getting responses and eventually interviews from banks/offices with 0-3 brown alums, likely because of the prestige and the ridiculously inflated GPA that you can get at brown. I personally had little problem getting an offer from a bank that doesn't even recruit here. Our lower numbers in finance than peer schools are definitely the result of self-selection rather than inability to get interviews.

Also if you're at all unsure about your career path, I think brown is an excellent choice. It's super easy to change majors or add one because of the lack of general ed requirements.

That being said, there's no "wrong" answer between these schools but they're very different from each other. It should really come down to personal preference

Edit: idk who tf revived a 6 year old thread and the OP prob graduated already but I'm leaving this up for anyone who comes across this thread later on

Mar 29, 2014 - 3:45am

dm1992:

Dartmouth probably has the best undergrad finance recruiting in the US outside of HYWPS.

Agree with this. That being said, Brown/Cornell are also totally viable if you want to get into finance. There isn't some magical "cap" on how many kids they take from each school - it's just that a greater percentage of Dartmouth kids want to go into finance than do Brown/Cornell kids. Honestly, I'd pick Brown here - it's not in the middle of nowhere, grades are an absolute joke (you could coast and easily get a 3.6--have a cousin there doing just that), benefit of an open curriculum, and recruiting for lots of finance stuff. Reputation wise, Brown/Dartmouth are essentially on the same level, with D holding maybe a slight edge (based on talking with profs/friends/alums - I go to a HYP). Don't think that should sway your decision though - B/D are definitely comparable, with Cornell third and ND fourth.

dollas
Mar 29, 2014 - 9:55am

Go to the school (of the three Ivies) you like the best, not the one with better "recruiting opportunities." It's all going to depend on how well you do at any of those three schools because all three will get great recruiting. Think about the kind of person you are and the kind of place you want to spend the next four years, rather than mindlessly choosing a school based on slightly better recruiting. Being miserable through college because you want a slight edge in recruiting doesn't make any sense. Good luck with the decision.

Mar 29, 2014 - 4:32pm

I would take Brown/Dartmouth to be honest. Cornell, for how massive the school is relative to D, doesn't place as well. Brown is, like everyone said, a lot mellower, and you'll have less competition. If you're willing to work for your own opportunities, I guarantee you'll be fine. Plus fucking C and D are in the middle of no fucking where.

Mar 30, 2014 - 3:17pm

I went to a school with a culture very similar to that of Dartmouth and can attest that it will likely be a Love or Hate situation with very little in between. If you're into partying and 'frat' culture you'll likely have a great time and make some of the best friends of your life. However, if that's not your thing it could be a long four years. FWIW, I went in to college thinking fraternities were the dumbest thing I'd ever heard of and ended up joining one that fit my personality (I played football and a majority of the members did also) and had a great time. I would not have joined a fraternity anywhere else necessarily. But, be careful of what you're getting yourself into at schools that are somewhat isolated and have a very distinct culture.

Also, fwiw - All the people I've met and worked with from those three schools have been fairly bright and reflect well on the institution. And no one is going to discount you off the bat for choosing any of those options.

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Mar 30, 2014 - 6:59pm

Definitely go to Dartmouth. You'll have a ton of fun there, assuming you join a fraternity. "Animal House" was actually based off of Alpha Delta Phi at Dartmouth.

Brown kids are a bunch of hippies in my experience.
And Cornell has mediocre placement from what I've heard.

Apr 22, 2014 - 12:05pm

PM me with any questions. I had a similar choice when I got my college acceptances. Long story short, went to Dartmouth as a public school middle-class minority, didn't get my head stuck up my own ass about all the "culture" stuff, had a great time and made lifelong friends, got into banking despite pretty mediocre grades (for those of you wondering if Dartmouth really does have a leg up over the other names on this list in terms of Wall Street recruiting - YES).

I felt that the experience of Dartmouth really helped me have a decent time in banking. Banking culture isn't that different from frat culture, and the idea of being in a "bubble" where the people you spend the most time with are your fellow analysts in your group and everything you think about is related to a narrow topic was a natural corollary to the Hanover experience. Also, it helps when pretty much everyone you know from college is either on Wall Street or at a Wall Street law firm (Dartmouth is great at producing professionals, so you always have a network to fall back on for a new job, advice, or just to complain about your current job). I'm finishing up my banking stint now and heading to a top PE right afterwards so I'm happy with my outcome.

I benefitted from the Dartmouth connection at every step of this process. Fellow alums helped me get my current banking job. I reached out to the alumni network internally at the bank, which ended up being where I got my referrals from. I landed interviews at several PE funds without headhunters by reaching out directly to the Dartmouth people who worked there. From a purely professional perspective, Dartmouth has delivered way about its weight. From what I can tell this is a fairly standard experience for Dartmouth grads who go to Wall Street.

Jul 31, 2015 - 9:31pm

Anecdotal, but there's an absolute shit-ton of Cornell kids on my floor. Kind of a running joke on our desk... just FYI since so many people habitually bash the school for finance recruiting, bottom Ivy, etc.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought which they seldom use.
Jul 31, 2015 - 9:56pm

(Go home! You're drunk...)

Ah, you're right. Okay.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought which they seldom use.
Apr 18, 2020 - 11:19am

Really appreciate all the sage advice on this board. I am deciding between Cornell and Dartmouth. Seems Dartmouth is stronger recruiting wise and has winter internship advantage.

My question is how do Dartmouth students supplement their econ courses to be prepared for finance, equity/bonds analysis, quantitative modeling, and data analytics/visualization?

Take classes outside for credit or enrichment? Really want to get in to IB or PE and want to position myself for success.

Thank you all for your time!

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 18, 2020 - 11:41am

Dartmouth junior here... while it has certainly helped me with regards to recruiting, I'm very much not a fan of the frat culture, and Hanover's isolation can be a little too much. If you can make it into Dartmouth and Brown, you'll do fine at each school. Pick based on fit, since four years is a big chunk of your life.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 18, 2020 - 2:01pm

I'm curious how has greek life changed at Dartmouth since when this post was made in 2014? Cornell kid here and our president has absolutely destroyed greek life on campus. It used to be huge as well, with 33%+ of the students in a house and having over 40 different houses. Now we're not even allowed to serve beer at parties and there are cops that can break into private property anytime.

Has Dartmouth faced similar issues or are y'all still all that?

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 19, 2020 - 12:52am

Frat culture is big but slowly declining. IIRC the 22s and 23s (freshmen and sophs) engage in it less % wise but not dramatically so. It's still pretty big on campus. Now, I can't speak too much of the specifics since I very much try to distance myself from greek life and from people obsessed with getting into "prestigious" frats.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 18, 2020 - 7:31pm

fellow D '21 here. agreed with everything you said and i feel like i would be happier at brown.

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