Dartmouth vs Stern

Was committed to Dartmouth, but just recently got off the NYU Stern waitlist. Now having trouble deciding between the two. Bluntly, which school do you think would provide more opportunities to enter finance (IB/PE)? Thank you in advance for your help!

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (95)

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 10, 2020 - 5:13pm

Stern has the better exits. But kid, college is so much more than just getting a job after graduation. Dartmouth will provide you with an extremely well-rounded education, while offering one of the most fun experiences you can ask for. And you're what, 17/18 years old? How do you know finance is what you want to spend the rest of your life doing? At that age, I didn't even know what investment banks do. Dartmouth will allow you to explore all your interests, and if you feel like you want to do something outside of finance, Dartmouth will be the better option. Stern, from what I've heard, is extremely finance focused, so if you're interested in consulting or anything else, there are better options (Dartmouth being one of them). But I won't steer you wrong. If you are absolutely certain about NY finance, if you would like a curriculum tailored toward finance, if you are choosing solely based on exit opportunities, choose Stern.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 10, 2020 - 5:30pm

Want to add this: Work hard, and both schools will get you where you want to be.

May 10, 2020 - 5:38pm

I disagree that Stern is better for finance exit opportunities, Sure, kids there place great but there's a lot more competition and a strict grading curve that could hurt OP's recruiting efforts if he isn't able to keep above a 3.5. At Dartmouth, OP should be able to get winter and summer IB internships and will most likely end up at a BB or EB with some solid prep.


  • 8
  • Analyst 1 in HF - Other
May 10, 2020 - 10:23pm

I disagree, regarding your exit points. Nearly every BB, EB, MF PE, HFs does OCR at Dartmouth and it's a lot less stressful going through recruiting at Dartmouth from what I heard.

  • Intern in AM - Equities
May 14, 2020 - 9:16pm

totally agree with this
at dartmouth your gonna get a ivy education, and be a much more well rounded person. think about it like this....college is where you'll grow the most and learn, and i honestly think Dartmouth has all the tools to offer a proper fun college experience. Dont think stern offers anything other finance in terms of college experience. Dont get me a wrong, its a great school that places ridciously well in wall street, but so does Darthmouth. just think Dartmouth offers more to the table

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 10, 2020 - 5:45pm

The Stern kids will say Stern is better and the Dartmouth kids will tell you to go to Dartmouth. Truth is, both schools will provide you with the same opportunities (sure, Stern sends more to IB, but that's because more people are interested). So just go wherever you think you'd fit best.

  • Analyst 1 in HF - Other
May 10, 2020 - 10:24pm

Per capita, Dartmouth does send more and there's more firms, such as MF PE firms, doing OCR at Dartmouth.

  • Prospect in AM - Other
May 11, 2020 - 6:32am

KKR (scheduled this year for its FT program, NYU is one of its target schools), Ares has been coming on campus for the last two years, this year Bain came on campus.

Back to the question, OP you can't go wrong, but I think Dartmouth would allow you to be really happy with yourself prestige-wise. I go to Stern. I love it and it's set me up very well for a career (EB) and with friends who I respect and that push me, but I know a lot of kids that aren't pre-professionally oriented and just wallow in I-never-got-into-an-ivy-itis or they just now realize that finance isn't a real education and wish they went and studied compsci or engineering. Depending on your mindset, Stern could just lay the brick on your path and make it so easy to traverse (build a reputation and everyone will want to help you). Also, contrary to popular opinion, the stern community that gets the best jobs is very self-selecting and they all know each other. If you go to stern, realize you still have to grind (compared to Dartmouth) and make the most out of the school outside the classroom by joining the top finance clubs and finding upperclassmen mentors. Instead, you could be much happier with yourself, impress strangers, and (I assume) have more fun if you just go to Dartmouth, and still end up on a great finance path if you muster the determination to be one of the self-selecting few at any school.

However, if you are rich, Jewish, or Asian (none of which I am), Stern is a lot more fun

May 10, 2020 - 7:50pm

You have to control for the fact that Stern has way more people gunning for it. Hard to precisely calculate that but the general feeling among most is that Dartmouth would place just as well, even better, once that adjustment is made.

  • Analyst 1 in HF - Other
May 10, 2020 - 10:25pm

People at Dartmouth are interested in other things, such as politics or MBB consulting, but if you want to go for finance, every EB, BB, MF PE, HF, etc firms do OCR at Dartmouth.

May 11, 2020 - 4:23pm

People like the NYU name because around the city, many attended NYU. It has good brand recognition and people connect with others from their same school. But I'm sure Dartmouth is similar.
Either school will be super. Congrats, what a choice. If you love Manhattan, NYU is awesome. If you prefer a campus traditional school, Dartmouth. Not sure how fun the city will be in the coming years tho - will it be "open"? If you're going to get stuck indoors, that is not a great option. Wish I had a crystal ball.
You will make either one work for you, there are solid networks from both. I'm sure many Dartmouth grads are around the city, too, and I get the feeling Ivy's love to help pay it forward to younger grads (eg network).
How about $$? Where does that fit into the equation?
I think it's kinda city v. country question. Either can have a great option for you, and for both you'll have to hustle to find work.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 10, 2020 - 5:55pm

DARTMOUTH everyone should avoid Stern if you have another finance target option and just have fun. you will get the sick ass exit you want AND have way cooler people to be around.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
May 10, 2020 - 6:07pm

Dartmouth 100% if cost isn't an issue. Objectively, the brand name beyond finance is far superior. Subjectively, I think Dartmouth will be a more fun and intellectually broader experience, whereas studying business/finance at Stern will merely give you a slight advantage in preparation for your summer internship and first few months as an analyst. After a few months, the non-finance major analysts can catch up to their peers. Join a fraternity, enjoy the campus life, experience the rural outdoors. No real need to begin your finance career in Manhattan 4 years before your analyst stint.

My assumptions are based on secondary source info, so perhaps I'm not painting a complete picture. You'll certainly be fine from either institution for recruiting if you do the leg work, so focus on which undergrad experience appeals to you more. Congrats!

May 10, 2020 - 8:04pm

Go to dartmouth and don't look back. Not completely sure but wouldn't dartmouth have better exits than stern anyway?


  • 5
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 10, 2020 - 8:08pm

More banks recruit at stern than at Dartmouth. But dartmouth has fewer students gunning for those positions. Competition at stern is multiples higher.

May 10, 2020 - 10:40pm

Op the first response (the "most helpful one") says more than I can.

Other things to think about. Would you prefer city or country? Do you need theatre or prefer the outdoors? Do you know 100 percent that finance is what you want (doubtful at 18, but maybe) or do you want to explore? Do you need constant stimulation or want quiet/solitude? What are your thoughts on playing/watching sports (at the collegiate level?). Have you visited either school? How did you feel about it? How important are alumni networks? What about money? Is either one offering you a package of some sort? Is that even a factor? How about in relation to where your family or close ones are or will be (this May or may not be a factor).

I cannot speak for NYU but from what I know, Dartmouth's alumni network is incredible (Ie networking etc).

Lots of questions for you to answer. No one here knows your full situation. NYU may be the best thing for you. Or Dartmouth may. Chances are both are great choices. Just different ones.

Congratulations! The problem you have is a nice one to have.

Good Luck

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
  • 6
May 10, 2020 - 11:13pm

Dartmouth is a bit more expensive, and I think I might be able to graduate early from Stern. Cost isn't too much of a concern, but it is certainly a factor. Really intrigued by NYC, but mainly looking for which one would provide the best opportunity to enter IB right now. Couldn't visit either school due to Corona. I feel like I could have a blast at both schools. The difference would be that at Dartmouth, it would be because of Dartmouth, whereas Stern, it would be because of NYC (if that makes sense). Don't really care too much for college sports. Based on this information, would you have a suggestion?

May 10, 2020 - 11:42pm

Without knowing more I would hesitate to give an answer. This is because I have personally asked for advice on similar things often in my life and have been led the wrong way. It's because frankly no one really knows the full picture and so any advice they will give will be from their POV and experiences, which are fundamentally different from yours. In short, don't fall down that rabbit hole. It's a waste of time.

You can't go wrong. I will say this though. If you graduate into a recession or depression, you probably are not getting a banking job no matter where you go. And that will have nothing to do with school or your qualifications.

On another note...

I would say if cost is a factor and you think you can graduate earlier from stern (that can save a lot of money though NYC ( Though life probably far more expensive than Hanover), so something to factor.

Those who say Dartmouth is less competitive, I'm from a different time so I am not so sure... don't forget legacies and connected kids who may not necessarily go formally through OCR but will definitely take spots...

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
  • 2
May 10, 2020 - 11:22pm

Think I'm sticking with Dartmouth. Just still a little surprised. Saw on an article that NYU produced the most analysts after Penn. Dartmouth wasn't mentioned with some of the other notable schools (Princeton, Duke, Gtown, Columbia, etc) so I guess I was just under the impression it didn't do that well with placement. Also linkedin showed Dartmouth having the least number of analysts out of any of the ivys which worried me. But I guess most people here have worked in the industry and know what they're talking about.

May 10, 2020 - 11:27pm

maybe more analysts total across the street but this is probably including every IB and S&T job under the sun at any semi-random bank. but I can say for certainty Harvard has more slots allotted for them for all the top roles (along with Wharton). I've come across many NYU and many Dartmouth folk in my GS days, but the competition was clearly a lot lot tougher for the NYU folk with the bar being much higher and the supply overwhelming. a lot of the Dartmouth people had much much easier times and that winter/springtermship that those Dartmouth kids do is an ungodly unfair advantage. we would have at least 1 kid in our group every year doing that and they're basically guaranteed a junior SA and then after that half of them would go straight to BX PE post undergrad. other groups at GS I know also got 1-2 springterns or whatever they call it. so I'm sure MS and JPM and top EBs let those guys in too.

May 10, 2020 - 11:05pm

More firms will recruit at Stern but that's because there's more kids interested in finance at Stern than at Dartmouth so it makes more sense for more companies to recruit there since they'll get higher yield of interns than at Dartmouth. Both schools are prestigious and have great opportunities but it's undeniable that Dartmouth has more of an entrenched prestige while Stern prestige is rising very rapidly as it and NYU climb the rankings and become more selective. Instead of basing your decision on mostly anonymous college students on this forum, I would do more research into both these options and consider many factors like fit, aid, and how you vibe with the students. For example, the setting at both these colleges will be very different as Dartmouth is quite literally in the middle-of-nowhere while Stern is fast paced and in NYC. Moreover, Dartmouth has more of a "fratty" culture while Stern students are integrated in the city. At the end of the day, you can't go wrong with these options but definitely look at what you want out of your 4 years and take everyone's word on here with a grain of salt.

May 10, 2020 - 11:46pm

Dude go to Dartmouth!!! No doubt for me. Much more prestigous institution, and intellectually more challenging environment.

Another factor is being in a big city downtown vs middle of nowhere, but Dartmouth as a college student will be a great experience.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 11, 2020 - 12:12am

I went to Dartmouth and got an offer from top BB. Can confirm finance recruiting at Dartmouth is pretty sick. The countryside life and winter can be a lot tho. I grew up in a big city and wanted escape but really hated how secluded Dartmouth is. If I had known earlier, I would have applied to Columbia or Penn tbh, but still Dart > NYU Stern

  • Intern in S&T - FI
May 11, 2020 - 12:34am

Senior in the northeast with multiple internships and gone through multiple recruiting cycles. At NYU Stern you're gunning for the same thing as everyone there and will have limited cultural learning opportunities, Dartmouth will give you more diversity in people, knowledge, experiences. If you want to do finance in NYC afterwards, Dartmouth will get you there easily and you'll make up for not going to NYU once you work there by taking the subway once in a while and overpaying for drinks...

May 11, 2020 - 12:47am

my 2 cents: Dartmouth and stern are COMPLETELY different schools and cultures. Start (and finish) with what culture and experience you want out of college (liberal arts-y old school Ivy League at Dartmouth or city more finance focused at Stern), because 4 years is a long time to be miserable when you should be having the time of your life.

recruiting for each has pros/cons (Dartmouth: super strong alumni network, ivy brand, but remote; Stern: in nyc, but more competition), but I feel like it's largely a wash: go to the school you would be happy at, do well (this is integral), and things will work out for you at either school.

my personal preference: Dartmouth by a MILE. (disclaimer: not a Dartmouth alum, but my sister went there) campus is beautiful, wilderness setting is beautiful, parties are (or at least were 10 years ago... damn that makes me feel old) insanely fun.

If you're set on finance chances are you'll end up in nyc anyway, so why not experience the city when you're working and have some coin and not when you're a poor college kid.

May 11, 2020 - 9:02am

I think this is only close because there are a ton of Stern kids on WSO (it's a huge school, the one major is bigger than half of the Ivies). It's why there's a whole bunch of MS being thrown all over.

I don't go to either school, so my pretty non-biased answer is Dartmouth. The placement is roughly the same and Dartmouth is significantly more prestigious. I don't really see any benefit of going to Stern over Dartmouth here.

  • 5
May 11, 2020 - 10:11am

Try to approach this one from an environment perspective than a recruiting perspective. Putting recruiting aside (assuming they are largely the same) - focus more on where you want to spend your 4 college years (in NYC or in a remote wilderness setting). Both have pros and cons.

Someone said at NYU, you'll have "limited cultural learning opportunities and that Dartmouth will give you more diversity in people, knowledge, experiences". Not sure if that was a joke but the cultural learning opportunity is far greater in NYC than in New Hampshire. NYU is probably one of the most cosmopolitan schools - something like 25-30% of your class will be international students from all corners of the world at NYU. Also, besides what NYC offers the study abroad program is very robust at NYU. I'm not sure there's a better school out there if diversity of culture is important to you.

I'm a Stern alum and recruiting is obviously very good at Stern. Can't really speak for Dartmouth but I've heard good things about opportunities at Dartmouth as stated in this thread. Anecdotally, at my previous bank Dartmouth was not a core school and there were zero Dartmouth folks while there were a lot from NYU. At other banks, it's probably different.

May 11, 2020 - 11:08am

@OP Wow, that first comment is so unbelievably wrong. I can't believe no ones drowned it in MS yet. This thread is full of Stern kids jerking each other, but as a Wharton grad, I unbiasedly would take Dartmouth over Stern 10/10. My closest friend went to Dartmouth and I had to go up to do some recruiting for my firm when our Dartmouth analysts got sick. Literally every firm under the sun does recruiting at Dartmouth (@Stern, just because you got some LMM bank to come on campus, doesn't mean shit), with nearly every BB, every EB, MF PE firms like KKR and Blackstone, firms like Bridgewater, P72, DE Shaw, etc (not to mention every consulting firm( coming to take Dartmouth. Yeah, they don't send raw numbers, just like Yale, but % of population is crazy high, especially if you could figure out the % among those who actually wants to go into finance at Dartmouth. With lenient grading, an amazing network, the Ivy League brand, and the amount of firms available, Dartmouth is an easy choice over Stern, especially if you're interested at all in other careers like politics or consulting. You get amazing benefits like specific Dartmouth winter internship programs at banks (because of their quarter system?). Stern is way too self-selecting and toxic. Yeah, it says they send "one of the most analysts" to the Street, but let's be real, they're counting MO and BO and are including every little boutique bank on the Street. A Dartmouth student has too much pride and opportunities to bring themselves that low. I cannot emphasize enough how you should never take Stern. Even Brown would be infinitely times better for you than Stern.

May 11, 2020 - 4:08pm

Objectively.......... Dartmouth.

Float like a butterfly, sting like the bee.
  • 4
May 11, 2020 - 7:09pm

Obviously OP is a troll. For Stern kids Stern is #1 and Baruch is #2. Only because they didnt get into any Ivy.
Big Green: MS, GS, BoA, Citi come to campus a lot. TD, Lazard, RBC, PJT, PWP, Greenhill, SVB Leerink, MUFG, Centerview, Jeffries, Point72, Riverside, audax, Baincap, DeShaw, Summit, Insight partners, Susquehanna, Vanguard, Bridgewater and a bunch of others regulars on campus.

Altough I've never seen DB, UBS and Barclays on campus though, but who cares about those here, right? May be they come but i never paid much attention.

Consulting presence on campus is even bigger though. I admit that majority of D kids go into consulting and besides MBB Ive seen like 50 different consulting companies. From LEK and Parthenon to small boutiques.

May 12, 2020 - 12:59am

Go Dartmouth. Fantastic alumni network, great OCR opportunities, and you will get to be a part of a community with some of the best traditions in the world. You'll get a great education while having a hell of a time.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 12, 2020 - 2:05am

Honestly feel like this thread is becoming a little toxic lol.
For background I am an alumnus from Stern. Loved my experience, and it ultimately culminated into the job I was seeking. Chose it over Cornell and have no regrets whatsoever. With that said, Dartmouth is the way to go. I envy students from Dartmouth tremendously. Seem to be the happiest, most laid back (yet driven) kids I have met. The cut throat atmosphere at Stern is definitely a real thing. Some students thrive in it, others collapse. Not once have I felt that same uber-competitive spirit from Dart students. Would say recruiting is great at both schools, but wouldn't say one has a definitive leg up on the other. Dartmouth seems to do remarkably well with buyside (especially after accounting for class size), and Stern more sell side. Would definitely recommend Dartmouth as there's a smaller chance you would regret it (lots of people end up hating the culture at Stern). Either way, both will get you where you want career wise, so long as your willing to put in the work. Congrats!

TL;dr, Go Dartmouth!

May 12, 2020 - 5:23pm

Just my $0.02 - from my time on WSO - it feels like there is an incredible bias TOWARDS the ivys. Not saying thats a good/bad thing or if its justified or not - but its incredibly apparent in many threads/including this one.
Not that my opinion matters so much as some of the experts here - but i know sternies who've absolutely loved their experience because they liked the city life, and some who hated it because they wanted to be in a small college. That should likely be how you think about where you go for college from between those two.
Also - just an observations, ive been at 3 banks in my career so far and i definitely sere a ton more Stern graduates in FO roles than Dartmouth. Could be just a coincidence, but I'm opining as somebody with ~10 years being out of college and realizing that how you handle life matters infinitely more than where you go to school (it helps a bit esp starting out but you'd be surprised how much you can achieve on your own).

  • 9
  • 1
May 12, 2020 - 5:45pm

I forget sometimes that this board is mostly kids in college or recent grads on their first or second jobs. Once I remind myself of that, the posts/comments here make a lot more sense (they really dont in the context of the real world).

  • 1
  • VP in PE - LBOs
May 12, 2020 - 8:54pm

I don't think it's blind prestige whoring though. A lot of semi-target undergrad business school are borderline toxic environments where your entire experience is geared toward recruiting for IBD jobs, to the detriment of your social and intellectual development. NYU is probably the worst offender in this regard.

May 13, 2020 - 9:41am

No disrespect to you, but if anything, WSO is biased against Ivies. This thread is a good example. I have a feeling most WSO users are eager and ambitious low target/semi-target students, not target students. This means there are some chips on shoulders, hence the questionable advice at times.

In every one of these X vs Y vs Z threads with an Ivy, there'll be several people who say the Ivy title doesn't matter. Those comments will then get loads of SB, as if spewing it and SBing it enough will make the statement true. I've seen countless threads and comments that state "Stern, UVA, Ross, and etc. have better placement than lower Ivies". Think back to high school. Can you honestly say that those schools were more desirable than the lower Ivies? Stern, UVA, Ross, etc are amazing schools, but the quality of students going to lower Ivies was significantly higher, for my high school at least.

The fact that this thread has so many comments kinda proves that there's bias against Ivies. There's no real reason to pick Stern over Dartmouth. The only reason Stern has more people in finance is the size of the school. The percentage of Dartmouth kids who got into Stern has got to be much higher than the percentage of Stern kids who got into an Ivy. I would be willing to bet real money on that.

  • 6
  • 1
May 13, 2020 - 10:54am

All I did was go through this thread (taking a break from the RE forum) and saw that 9/10 were incredibly biased towards Dartmouth and saying 'theres no reason to go Stern at all' in the context of doing IB - essentially the same thing you are saying. Not sure how this means there's a bias AGAINST ivys.

As far as 'student quality' goes - you'll realize how little that means/changes/matters once you actually graduate from college or do more than a few years at your first job out of college. The fact that you made the comment about kids getting into one college over the other (stern kids into ivy and vice versa) means your comments (like others) are 100% about prestige. And unfortunately it is 'prestige' on an online forum. Not saying thats totally wrong/messed up, but probably matters more to a young person on the the internet than it does in the real world. Good luck.

  • 3
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 13, 2020 - 1:24pm

Wow this post is so, so incredibly wrong. Very very rarely will you ever see anyone on WSO say "the ivy title doesn't matter." In fact, I can guarantee that whoever says this would get more MS than SB (unless they're talking about a school like Stanford). You're talking about the site that regards DB, UBS, etc as the last possible resort in life: a resort 99% of finance hopefuls would kill for. There is a built in prestige whoring component in WSO is so easily evident that im shocked you're unable to recognize. With the Ivy League comes a synonymous prestige that makes it an extremely safe bet to jump on that bandwagon.

Not too sure about UVA, but on a pure numbers basis, absolutely Stern and Ross outplace lower ivies. That is not to say per capita placement is higher. And academically, the caliber of students don't seem too far off from one another. All have around a 1490 avg sat. I wouldn't blame OP for choosing Stern if he wants city life and a finance education. Both his/her options will set him/her up very nicely for a finance career (preparing for MS here, as it seems anyone that doesn't blindly say Dartmouth gets shit on).

"The fact that this thread has so many comments kinda proves that there's bias against Ivies." Umm, what? I'm sorry, but that is some of the stupidest logic I've ever seen. Don't know how the number of comments (most of which support ivy league) proves there's a bias against ivy league.
Trying to read your comment from different perspectives, but nah, the stupidity remains. And as for your last point, well, OP got into Stern off waitlist, but Dartmouth in Regular Decision (our sample size is 1, not saying this is applicable to everyone else).

Look, I know I'm going to get MS by the same fucking dumbasses giving you SB. I've agreed with a lot of what this thread had to say, and my own advice is for OP to go with Dartmouth. However, your post is just horribly wrong across the board its astounding.

And as an end note, please link me a thread where someone says "the ivy title doesn't matter," and it is in comparison to a school that is not Stanford, Duke, etc.

May 13, 2020 - 3:29pm
Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

June 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (202) $234
  • 2nd Year Analyst (115) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (97) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (27) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (420) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (338) $82