Dartmouth vs. SMU Presidents Scholar and BBA Scholar

I was recently accepted to both Dartmouth and SMU. If this were all, Dartmouth would be the easy choice. However, at SMU I will be a Cox BBA Scholar and a Presidents Scholar. The Presidents Scholars program is a full ride and is only offered to approximately 25 students year. Cox BBA Scholar allows you to start business classes your freshman year and gives you early access to advising service along with certain BBA scholar only events. Given this information, if I want to enter IB, what school should I choose?

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Comments (29)

Mar 30, 2017 - 11:03pm

Really tough to say. Did Dartmouth give any financial aid? I think most people on the site would say Dartmouth no question but if you're like me and schools give no aid but it'd still be tough for your parents to pay, take a good look at SMU.

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Mar 31, 2017 - 9:58am

Im not sure about your parents financial situation and if Dartmouth gave you anything but i think full-ride and the selective program is tough to pass up. This is unless you want to work IB New York or anywhere else not in Texas in which case take Dartmouth

Mar 31, 2017 - 10:40am

You/your parents' financial situation is incredibly important in this decision.

How much would they/you be shelling out for Dartmouth, and how much of that would be debt you would take on?

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
  • 1
Mar 31, 2017 - 6:39pm

They're both great schools.

They have different vibes, but they're both FUN schools.

SMU places in NYC better than a lot of people here think.

Dartmouth obviously is a good school to place in NYC IB. SMU as a Cox Scholar and being in the Alt Assets Program will open up many doors for you.

OP, it really depends on what your personality is and what vibe you mesh with more. I think you'll have success at either school you go to.

Mar 31, 2017 - 11:38pm

I would second what a lot of others have said regarding the alt asset program at SMU. If you get into the alts program at SMU you will have every opportunity break into IB at a big time firm.

I come from down in the valley, where mister when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done

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Apr 9, 2017 - 8:25pm

Dartmouth. Hands down.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers
Apr 9, 2017 - 8:40pm

You'd be a fool not to take Dartmouth. It would be different if you were measuring Dartmouth vs Duke or Rice or Vanderbilt, or even University of Richmond, but SMU isn't even close to being on the same level as Dartmouth.

If you care about setting yourself for the future at all then Dartmouth is a no brainer, even with the cost.

The only way I'd take SMU is if my family was wealthy to the point where I'd never have to work in my life, in that case I'd go and party with all the hot chicks at SMU...otherwise just go with Dartmouth.

Jan 10, 2019 - 10:21pm

I realize that this is an old post, but I gotta point out that SMU's Alt Asset Program beats the fuck out of any of those schools, Dartmouth included, in IB placement.

I come from down in the valley, where mister when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done

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Most Helpful
Jan 16, 2019 - 5:54pm

Does it really though? How many kids get into that program each year? 50?

So of the 50, even if most place into banking, there are probably only a handful that make it into top IBD groups and an even smaller percentage that make it into major markets. I'm willing to bet that you'll find more Dartmouth guys in NYC at BB banks then you will SMU guys/gals.

So even best case scenario, 10/50 make it to either New York, Chicago, LA, SF with the rest going to regional banks.

Dartmouth has ~4500 undergrads, so 1100 a class. Out of that 1100, even if only 10% of the class wants to do finance and half of those kids make it, that would place it on even ground with SMU.

The other huge variable you're not thinking of is the Dartmouth name and network. Dartmouth is an old money school, which means it ties in with all the other Ivies in terms of prestige, network, access, etc(well I guess it's a lower tier Ivey if we're being picky, but you get what I mean). So overall a much stronger network for future job opportunities whether they be in PE, HF, Banking, etc. You also have Tuck, a top B school, which also expands the network into high finance and has somewhat of a global presence, even if its a small one.

So the issue isn't necessarily can SMU Alt Assets place equally into banking out of undergrad than Dartmouth. Maybe it can, maybe it can't but even that I'm skeptical of. The real value for Dartmouth comes down the road when you're recruiting into PE and the fund you're interviewing at has a few Dartmouth alums. Or maybe you're trying to start a fund and some of the LPs you're courting at Tuck alums. Hey maybe they're even Harvard guys, but you graduated the same year and used to row against them and would see them at meets.

I don't doubt that SMU places pretty well into wall street and I bet SMU has a pretty good regional presence in Texas and a few of the other Southeastern cities, but if all else is equal, it's bad advice to tell someone that SMU Alt Assets program is a better decision from a career perspective than going to Dartmouth. If SMU is the better fit overall or better for an individuals circumstance, then I'm sure one can be successful coming out of that program. But as blanket advice, Dartmouth will be better, especially if the end goal is a long term career in Finance.

Apr 14, 2017 - 2:37pm

Clearly Dartmouth! I chose a good non-target instead of Stanford because I got a full-ride. It was my biggest mistake. If you are smart enough to get into a decent Ivy, you will find it a waste of time to go to classes at a school like SMU...

Apr 28, 2017 - 10:04pm

Clearly Dartmouth! I chose a good non-target instead of Stanford because I got a full-ride. It was my biggest mistake. If you are smart enough to get into a decent Ivy, you will find it a waste of time to go to classes at a school like SMU...

Did you try to transfer or didn't realize mistake until too late? Mistake how?

Apr 29, 2017 - 10:12am

I have interviewed folks from the SMU Cox program and for the most part it's like finding a needle in a haystack for qualified candidates. SMU has a reputation for rich Dallas kids where daddy foots the bill, sort to speak. It was surreal walking through campus to conduct interviews since there are 18 year old kids with Gucci and LV backpacks everywhere.

That said, I have worked with smart SMU Cox grads (during my stint in Dallas), but even within the Texas region, if you go to SMU you are signing up for a life in Dallas. In Houston, SMU isn't on the radar. The competition is much more fierce if you factor in Rice, UT, and to an extent the A&M network. I think even rankings wise SMU falls below all three of those other schools I've mentioned. I would think Austin is the same as Houston in that SMU doesn't hit the radar, but I haven't worked in Austin for any length of time to know.

Dartmouth is an excellent program that will open up a broad alumni network, nationwide. Regardless of tuition, b school buys you a network, the career center, and the opportunities. I was in your shoes once and have turned down a half ride to McCombs for M7. I don't regret that decision one bit.

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Apr 29, 2017 - 10:54am

As someone who is currently at SMU and has multiple friends at Dartmouth I don't think the choice is nearly as black and white as a lot of people here think. While SMU does place a lot more in Houston (which it does better than any other school in the South) there are a lot of opportunities available in New York; however, you have to be in the Alts program to have a shot. Out of the 50 people in Alts this year I'd say about 40 have IB jobs and about 15 of those are in NYC at BB firms, 3 in San Fran, and one in London. You can look up the historic list of placements for each Alts class through the SMU website. A couple of my friends from Dartmouth had a tough time recruiting. Most of them are actually coming back to dallas for their SA stint. Where you go doesn't matter as much as you'd think. What you do when you're there is much more important.

With that said SMU does have a very particular culture. If you're not interested in Greek life it may not be the best place for you. I can't speak directly to the culture at Dartmouth. Anyways I wish you luck with your decision and I'm sure that it will work out.

Oct 13, 2017 - 5:42pm

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