Debt for Elite School, or none for non target State School

grassmuffin's picture
Rank: Monkey | 59

Ok, so I am a current senior in high school and I am in a predicament. I want to go into IB before getting my mba and then AM or Consulting, I have great academic stats (4.6 GPA, 33 ACT) and decent EC (Varsity , marching band, eagle scout) and have been accepted to Duke, Vanderbilt, U of Michigan, U of Penn, and University of Utah. The problem is I don't have enough money from parents or myself to pay for these out of state or private schools.

My parents make enough to not get need based help nor do I stand out at these schools despite being accepted. However,, I am a resident of Utah and received a full tuition scholarship to go to University of Utah. So, do I take out 150k in debt to go to an elite school or take this less debt and go to this non target school. I like the atmosphere and campus of U and U, but want to make sure I can reach my career goals. Thoughts?

Comments (225)

Sep 12, 2017

I was in a similar situation and took the risk, went with the expensive ivy league and i'm already knee deep in loans. but with a better school and location you get access to better internships and better/higher paying exit opportunities

    • 1
Sep 12, 2017

Can you tell us which elite schools cost how much?

Sep 12, 2017

The cheapest one is Penn St. at 115k over 4 years and its only a semi target

    • 1
Sep 12, 2017

Upenn and penn st are different universities, you know that right?

    • 6
Sep 12, 2017

yes, I forgot to mention in my post I applied to penn st because it wasn't a target schools like the others.

Sep 13, 2017

but what are the costs of the other ones...

Funniest
Sep 14, 2017

fucking google it

    • 4
Sep 12, 2017

150K for top school.

Just make sure to work your ass off. If you put up a mortgage size debt load, you better get the most out of every single interaction and opportunity.

If you're not going to treat it like a full time job and a half, then go to local school with no debt. You can get a decent job in from most non-targets, but your hopes of high finance are much less likely.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

    • 9
Sep 12, 2017

I am pretty sure that I could get into a boutique coming out of U of U. How high of a MBA b-school could I get?

Sep 14, 2017

.

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Controversial
Sep 12, 2017

If he goes to Utah he can eventually work in trade management like you at GS Salt Lake City with the other queers like Robert Duval.

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Sep 12, 2017

I would go to Utah. Go kill it there and you'll be fine. I'm sure some Utes make it to IB. I definitely don't think it's worth $100k more to go to a semi target. If you're Mormon, that's just another reason you can bring up in interviews.

Don't listen to these idiots. Boutique is totally achievable, and you might even be able to get a BB role. Not worth more than 100k to increase your odds at IB, and if you do well at Utah and go to work for a decent firm or 2, you can go get a top 10-15 MBA.

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Sep 12, 2017

Take the debt and go to (in debatable rough order) UPenn (not Penn State), Duke, UMichigan, Vandy.

    • 6
Sep 12, 2017

Agree. Go to U Penn. If you are in top 15-20% of graduating class you can score a BB job pretty easily. From University of Utah you probably have to be top 1-2%.

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Sep 12, 2017

Yeah and if he doesn't make it from Upenn his debt/salary will only be 3x. Not going to Utah would be a big mistake.

Sep 12, 2017

Why not do 2 years at U of U then try to transfer to a better school if needed? One way to hedge your bets.

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Sep 14, 2017

i like the cut of your jib

Sep 12, 2017

If I didn't like you I'd tell you to pick the elite school + debt option.

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Sep 12, 2017

You literally cannot get any financial help from these schools?

IMO, go to UPenn. Work part time or something to help lower your loan costs. Assuming you get a solid SA gig for a couple years, you will have summer earnings to help offset some costs.

$150K can be repaid within 3-4 years (or earlier) if you budget and get a FO role. After that your trajectory will be set. Shit, an IB analyst will make nearly double what a MO analyst will make.

Or you can double up on your classes and do things in 3 years to shave some costs off.

Honestly dude, I don't think you've really juiced the orange. When I went to UG, I made an apt with the financial aid officer and was pretty blunt about what I wanted. Guy gave me another $10k per year off tuition. Have you explored every scholarship? Have you spoken to all the financial aid offices, told them where else you have been accepted and asked for all the aid possible?

Sep 12, 2017

No I haven't done that. I didn't realize I could do that, thought financial packages were final. Thanks

Best Response
Sep 12, 2017

You've gotten into a number of top schools dude, don't sell yourself short.

Be polite and respectful, but straight forward. Your parents make just to deny aid, but not enough to help. You want to go there, but have a full ride back home and offers from other schools (you can bluff some). You need help and want to go to XYZ school. Anything they can offer would help.

I am fairly sure some, if not all, of the schools will carve off some aid for you. The lower you can get the debt costs down to, the better.

Be frugal in school, work in the computer lab, do a paid summer internship, use that money to offset costs, and you'll graduate with less than $150K. Get a high paying job from the top brand school and you'll repay that debt in no time.

Sep 12, 2017

.

Sep 12, 2017

"Top 5% of Finance Majors". Not sure the makeup of the school but that is likely less than the top 2% of total undergraduates. This is why UPenn is the better move. Top 25% (out of entire undergraduate class, not just Wharton/finance) and you will have your pick of $90K+ jobs.

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Sep 12, 2017

.

Sep 14, 2017

Not trying to be rude but I believe you meant to say "granted" not "granite". Either way this is good advice and perspective from someone who actually goes to the school. Definitely listen to this guy and I would agree as well.

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Sep 14, 2017

thx

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Sep 12, 2017

I was in the exact same situation as you back in HS. I chose the free education and went to ASU (still a top 25 buss school) and I ended up with my dream internship and already accepted my job offer upon graduation at BP in commodity trading. But, I may be an outlier. You can do independent learning, reading, and networking to score any internship you want. Just my $.02

Sep 13, 2017

This thread gave me cancer. If you go to a target, just major in some stupid shit like History so you get a high GPA. Attend OCR and you'll be guaranteed a super day at Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan or some bulge bank. Just finish the interview without stuttering and you'll be an investment banker. Keep in mind you can get $300k a year in just 3-4 years out of college as an Associate.

    • 15
Sep 30, 2017

What a great response.

Sep 14, 2017

You sound like a social nerd with all of the clubs you're in and high academics. Take the loan. You'll do well.

    • 1
Sep 14, 2017

. woops

Sep 30, 2017

Depends which school. Not all targets are equally "target-y." Georgetown is a good school, for example, but I'd balk at borrowing $200k for it, if that's the sort of debt you're talking about. How easy will it be for you to transfer?

Sep 30, 2017

There's different types of non-targets. check out how many alumni you have in finance. that + networking is going to be the main differentiating factor for non-targets.

Sep 30, 2017

First off, relax. You're not even halfway done with your first year of college. As someone who did what you're thinking about doing, transferring should only take up the smallest of spaces in your mind right now. You should be focused on doing all you can to put yourself in a position to land a great job from UW - making friends, getting great grades, finding some work experience, meeting people, and becoming knowledgable about finance and banking.

For the vast majority of people, one semester/two quarters of college grades is not going to be enough to convince an admissions committee at elite schools that you are fit to go to their school. I'm gonna go ahead and tell you to take a Fall 2014 transfer off the table right now. Over Christmas 2014 you should be thinking about if UW is where you want to be. If it isn't, that's when you form a plan to apply out for Fall 2015.

Don't be worrying about target/non-target right now. If your grades are high and you can form a sound essay, you will have opportunities to transfer if you want to - that's when you consider no debt vs. debt.

I just noticed that UW has an honors program. If you aren't already in it, you should kick ass in your classes this quarter and apply for admission. That will help you even if you don't end up applying out for transfer.

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Sep 30, 2017
SECfinance:

First off, relax. You're not even halfway done with your first year of college. As someone who did what you're thinking about doing, transferring should only take up the smallest of spaces in your mind right now. You should be focused on doing all you can to put yourself in a position to land a great job from UW - making friends, getting great grades, finding some work experience, meeting people, and becoming knowledgable about finance and banking.

For the vast majority of people, one semester/two quarters of college grades is not going to be enough to convince an admissions committee at elite schools that you are fit to go to their school. I'm gonna go ahead and tell you to take a Fall 2014 transfer off the table right now. Over Christmas 2014 you should be thinking about if UW is where you want to be. If it isn't, that's when you form a plan to apply out for Fall 2015.

Don't be worrying about target/non-target right now. If your grades are high and you can form a sound essay, you will have opportunities to transfer if you want to - that's when you consider no debt vs. debt.

I just noticed that UW has an honors program. If you aren't already in it, you should kick ass in your classes this quarter and apply for admission. That will help you even if you don't end up applying out for transfer.

On the transferring and college grades issue, I think this is contingent on what kind of SATs/AP scores/SAT II's you got. I know because this was the predicament I was in. I went to a semi-target with garbage high school GPA but high standardized test scores. I'm now at a target.

There's a big difference between a 1800 SAT student at a non-target/semi-target vs another student at the same college who had a 3.0 GPA in high school but a 2200+ SAT score.

Sep 30, 2017
SECfinance:

First off, relax. You're not even halfway done with your first year of college. As someone who did what you're thinking about doing, transferring should only take up the smallest of spaces in your mind right now. You should be focused on doing all you can to put yourself in a position to land a great job from UW - making friends, getting great grades, finding some work experience, meeting people, and becoming knowledgable about finance and banking.

For the vast majority of people, one semester/two quarters of college grades is not going to be enough to convince an admissions committee at elite schools that you are fit to go to their school. I'm gonna go ahead and tell you to take a Fall 2014 transfer off the table right now. Over Christmas 2014 you should be thinking about if UW is where you want to be. If it isn't, that's when you form a plan to apply out for Fall 2015.

Don't be worrying about target/non-target right now. If your grades are high and you can form a sound essay, you will have opportunities to transfer if you want to - that's when you consider no debt vs. debt.

I just noticed that UW has an honors program. If you aren't already in it, you should kick ass in your classes this quarter and apply for admission. That will help you even if you don't end up applying out for transfer.

Right on the money. Kick-ass, balls to the walls.

Sep 30, 2017

Honors program sucks. It's for people who have not yet decided what they want to major in. My friends are in it and they tell me they are advised to take various completely different classes their first two years to see what they are interested in.

Sep 30, 2017

That's what I'm planning on doing, so that i'll only be at the school my junior and senior year.

Sep 30, 2017

+1 to SEC

debt + good job > no debt + no job

Sep 30, 2017

There has to be at least a couple handful of UW alumni on the street, mostly due to the school's huge size. Before you think seriously about transferring, network extremely hard for a month and see where that gets you/who that leads you to.

Sep 30, 2017
yuriyv:

Right now I'm a freshman at UW (University of Washington, not University of Wisconsin). The reason I'm going here is cause I wasn't interested in finance when I was applying (I was interested in going to med school, so I applied to UW (cause it's instate and highly ranked in the nation for medicine and even pre-medicine). I don't techinally have a "fullride", but because of all my scholarships and grants, and because I'm in state, I will easily be able to graduate with 0 (zilch) debt. I'm already involved in two finance clubs (we had two guys from GS-Seattle come in and talk to us about their jobs), and already getting my pre-reqs to applying for foster

I can try transferring next year to a lower ivy league, maybe georgetown?

I'm just really stressing out, seeing as this such a competitive job to go for, and I'm worried I won't be able to get a job right out of college (but at least I can always go back and live with my parents : ) ).

Anyways, just looking for advice and tips and anything else. Thanks!

Consider some west coast Cali schools? Sure, they are not ivy, but many banks who have west coast divisions highly recruit out of california system schools

Sep 30, 2017

yuriyv: Where are you now? Still thinking about transfer?

Sep 30, 2017
calculus123:

yuriyv: Where are you now? Still thinking about transfer?

Still at University of Washington. And maybe. If I will, it will be after my sophomore year.

Sep 14, 2017

If you're certain you want to do banking, go to a target. If you're not certain, go to Utah.

Sep 14, 2017

I actually completely disagree with this. If you have a 1 tracked mind for 1 profession and you hustle and do everything right for that profession (IB or otherwise), you'll probably be ok from a nontarget. If you go to an ivy, you can fumble and falter a lot more and still likely land on your feet. People will be more likely to take a chance on you to do random stuff. Your peers will all be successful in high paying careers. Your network will expand. Go to Penn, OP. Don't be short sighted. It's a longterm investment in yourself.

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Sep 30, 2017

Nice thinly veiled knife advertisement, guy.

Sep 30, 2017
holla_back:

Nice thinly veiled knife advertisement, guy.

Aww yeah, shout out to Cutco. I sold a couple of homemaker sets back in the day.

Sep 30, 2017

If you're interested in any of the jobs talked about on this site, then yes you definitely made a mistake. Pedigree is a financial investment, one that usually always pays off in the long-run...

Sep 30, 2017

Did you make a mistake? I'd say yes if you're interested in the types of jobs that are frequently discussed on this forum. However, it sounds like you're making the most of your opportunity and $100K+ in debt is certainly nothing to just brush aside. That's at least $1,000 in loan payments every month if you want to get rid of the debt in any kind of quick fashion.

Sep 30, 2017
SECfinance:

Did you make a mistake? I'd say yes if you're interested in the types of jobs that are frequently discussed on this forum.

moosen:

If you're interested in any of the jobs talked about on this site, then yes you definitely made a mistake. Pedigree is a financial investment, one that usually always pays off in the long-run...

For clarification's sake, I'm interested in buy side ER, not the usual IB /PE that I seem to see so much about on this site. I also am currently interning for a little known asset management firm (some pretty impressive historic returns (top 2%) for a few of their funds though)

Sep 30, 2017

I'm going to assume that if you got into some Ivies you were at least wise enough to pick a pretty decent in-state school. If that is the case, you can still break in to ER with solid grades and a good story, though it will be much more difficult. What year are you? You can always transfer to a top 10 non-Ivy if you're not there already.

Feeling Good, Living Better

Sep 30, 2017
CarriedDisinterest:

I'm going to assume that if you got into some Ivies you were at least wise enough to pick a pretty decent in-state school. If that is the case, you can still break in to ER with solid grades and a good story, though it will be much more difficult. What year are you? You can always transfer to a top 10 non-Ivy if you're not there already.

Junior in fall.. not exactly sure if I wanna do that though. From what I can tell , I have a good chance (connections) at landing a top-flight internship next year (BB, NYC, ER for their AM division). If I can secure that, do all my other deficiencies matter anymore?

Sep 30, 2017

Curious.. Can you give a relative description of the state-school that you are currently enrolled in? Just like the comment above, since you were accepted into these prestigious universities, it should be important to say what type of state school it is. UMich, UVA, UNC types, I'd say its not as big of a deal rather than a random state school.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Sep 30, 2017
ValueAdder68:

Curious.. Can you give a relative description of the state-school that you are currently enrolled in? Just like the comment above, since you were accepted into these prestigious universities, it should be important to say what type of state school it is. UMich, UVA, UNC types, I'd say its not as big of a deal rather than a random state school.

Probably more of a random type. Not in the same league as UVA UNC etc

Sep 30, 2017

I transferred from my local state school (was paying next to nothing per semester) into one of the Ivies you listed and I can safely say it was the best decision I've ever made.

Sep 30, 2017

I recently interviewed at a top group in a BB. I got an MBA from NYU, but I attended a state school to save money like you did. Do I regret it? Sometimes. If I knew I'd want to work in banking then yes I should have tried to get into Wharton through any means available.

Anyway when I interviewed and met with the global head of the group he asked me if I always went to public school about 10 seconds into my background story. I didnt get the position despite other MDs telling me I 'had their vote' while I met with them. So the pedigree is important to those who run things in finance. Just how important depends on the group. You shouldn't believe that you will always want to be in the particular groupyou want now as a junior in college either.

Sep 30, 2017
NYU:

I recently interviewed at a top group in a BB. I got an MBA from NYU, but I attended a state school to save money like you did. Do I regret it? Sometimes. If I knew I'd want to work in banking then yes I should have tried to get into Wharton through any means available.

Anyway when I interviewed and met with the global head of the group he asked me if I always went to public school about 10 seconds into my background story. I didnt get the position despite other MDs telling me I 'had their vote' while I met with them. So the pedigree is important to those who run things in finance. Just how important depends on the group. You shouldn't believe that you will always want to be in the particular groupyou want now as a junior in college either.

I can definitely identify. I wish I would've known what I do now when I made my college decision...

That being said I'll be sure to post my success story on here in a few years ;)

Good luck to ya, NYU

Sep 30, 2017

People keep spreading this provably false notion that going to an Ivy League school pays off in the long run. A few years ago, there was a large and comprehensive study produced by Krueger and Dale (Krueger a Princeton economist) that suggests that there is no correlation at all between going to an Ivy League school and earning more money in the long run...IF you either got into an Ivy League school and declined or even if you simply applied to an Ivy League school and did not get in. The study's conclusion demonstrates that the calibre of people who are confident enough to apply for and/or get into an Ivy League school are the calibre of people who will succeed in spite of the prestige of their university.

Unless you have counter evidence, please stop spreading this provably false line that Ivy League = more money.

Article on the study:
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/revis...

Just for fun: Correlation vs. Causation graph: As Internet Explorer loses market share the murder rate has fallen
http://chrisblattman.com/2013/05/24/correlation-ve...

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Sep 30, 2017
DCDepository:

People keep spreading this provably false notion that going to an Ivy League school pays off in the long run.

Unless you have counter evidence, please stop spreading this provably false line that Ivy League = more money.

Article on the study:
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/revis...

Just for fun: Correlation vs. Causation graph: As Internet Explorer loses market share the murder rate has fallen
http://chrisblattman.com/2013/05/24/correlation-ve...

That study has some merit but it's way too broad for what we are discussing here. That study compares Ivy league schools period. If you pay the money to attend Harvard to study sociology or English then you're slightly less fucked than a state-school sociology major but way more fucked than someone with an accounting degree from Penn State.

Look up and down this forum and there are tons of proof besides my anecdote above, that in finance you need to attend an Ivy, not to be successful, but to be at the top of the industry. I'm by far more successful than my peers from my hometown. I make a lot of money compared to the national average. Some would call that success.

I think here in this forum in the context of IB, PE and HF roles we would consider success to be the top groups in a BB, mega fund PE and top HF roles. Without an ivy league background it is considerably harder to break in. It can be done but it's unique when compared to the HYP ---> HWS kids where it's almost expected.

Sep 30, 2017

He has a hot girlfriend, from a hot sorority.... Quite jelly.

"That dude is so haole, he don't even have any breath left."

Sep 30, 2017

In a sense I did the opposite of what you did. It's different for me, because I'm an international student. However, I applied to a few public schools and surprisingly got very good scholarship offers from a few. I wasn't smart enough to research what exactly I wanted out of life before I made my school decisions ( I've undergone drastic maturity in 2-3 months). Bottom line is I didn't apply to enough 'target/semi-target' schools. I got into a few semi-targets (Think BC, UVA), and was rejected from the only target I applied to. The aid offered by the semi-targets I got into was ridiculous for my family and we mathematically couldn't be able to afford it. I was now faced with a decision to make between a top liberal arts college and one of the public schools that offered me good aid. Just to clarify on the type of public schools these were, think UConn, Temple, Georgia State. I ended up choosing the top LAC, which did offer good aid, but not nearly as much as the public schools' aid. I chose the LAC strictly for name recognition. Did I make the right choice? I don't know, I'll tell you in 6+ years maybe.

Sep 30, 2017

OP, are you at a top state school such as Berkeley/ucla/Michigan/uva/unc/ut Austin? If so, and assuming you're in the business honors program, I could support that decision. If not, I think you made a huge mistake given that you want to do top finance afterwards.

I was in a somewhat similar boat back in high school. I ended up turning down full rides (tuition+room and board+stipend+access to top faculty and research+better dorm rooms) at several top state schools as well as a full tuition scholarship at a top non-ivy private school (duke/northwestern/Vanderbilt/usc). I ended up going to HYP ug, and although the weather, girls, and social life weren't as nearly as great as those other schools, I don't regret it one bit. I ended up getting an awesome education, became friends with some of the smartest most interesting people I've ever met, and got access to so many awesome opportunities. The name brand and network continue to pay dividends, and I firmly believe that education is a long-term investment and should not be subjected to strict short-term cost-benefit analysis. The same goes for business schools as well, of course.

Sep 30, 2017

The fact that you are good enough and worked hard enough to get into an Ivy League school is what matters most. That alone will carry you very far in life. I think that age and experience will show that to you, once you are out of school and into a career. I know just as many people in this business without an Ivy league degree that make just as much money and have just the same quality of career as most of the people who did go to an Ivy.

Besides, it sounds to me like you can get a Master's from an Ivy anyway. Don't sweat it.

Sep 30, 2017

Prestige, in the eyes of an employer or MBA admin officer, reall means signaling. Ivies highly selective, so once you get in, the selectivity adds some legitimacy to your claim as a competitive, intelligent person. There are many smart people at non-top-10 schools, but an employers chance of get a "lemon" (total moron) is lower at a school that already put its students through a thorough vetting process. Same goes for bank prestige. PE funds and MBA gate-keepers like to see people who have already been per-screened by a handful of institutions, educational and business-related. Not to say prestige is all that matters, but without those that signaling, you REALLY have to prove yourself.

Feeling Good, Living Better

Sep 30, 2017
CarriedDisinterest:

Prestige, in the eyes of an employer or MBA admin officer, reall means signaling. Ivies highly selective, so once you get in, the selectivity adds some legitimacy to your claim as a competitive, intelligent person. There are many smart people at non-top-10 schools, but an employers chance of get a "lemon" (total moron) is lower at a school that already put its students through a thorough vetting process. Same goes for bank prestige. PE funds and MBA gate-keepers like to see people who have already been per-screened by a handful of institutions, educational and business-related. Not to say prestige is all that matters, but without those that signaling, you REALLY have to prove yourself.

Apologies for typos. Writing on new shit blackberry.

Feeling Good, Living Better

Sep 30, 2017

Dude, I'm happy I went non-ivy even though I had the choice. I couldn't care less about prestige, its all about how you perform. If someone is going to judge me by prestige, their loss. I'm more hungry and capable than your typical target student, and the fact I'm probably more well rounded from going to a big sports school. I know I'll make it, maybe a bit more hustle and the huge MFs will ignore me, but who wants to work for them anyways. I like the MM and boutique type.

Weather, sports, down to earth friends, and ladies did it for me

Sep 30, 2017

Ever since this site was started people have been debating ivy league schools vs state schools. It was pretty fascinating for the first 5 years but I think now it's starting to get a little boring.

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Sep 30, 2017
Going Concern:

It was pretty fascinating for the first 5 years

I'm skeptical of your claim.

Sep 30, 2017

I went to a state school and am working at a BB in NYC. Was in a similar position. Many of my friends did the opposite. The only difference is that I had to work a little harder than they did, but we ended up in the same position. I also am graduating with less than 5k in loans and had a lot more fun than they did (they would agree with me). Will it matter come PE/HF recruiting? Maybe a little bit, but if you have enough intelligence to go against the odds and land a BB NYC from a state school, than you have what it takes to land those jobs. Also do well on your GMAT to prove you're intelligent....720+, and no one will think too much about your Uni.

Sep 30, 2017

This topic has been debated to death over the years. But essentially, it comes down to the individual. There is no doubt that an ivy-leaguer gives the resume an initial pop in this industry. If you want to do the least amount of work in networking, then the brand-name will give you an easier path, given the whole recruiting pipeline and what not. If you are highly motivated, there are many asset managers that hire on a one off basis after the individual show they can work hard and work smart. Of course, there are others who only hire ivy-league Type A's (DE Shaw etc) but given that, there are still a few that got in on previous work merits with modest backgrounds.

On the ibanking side, it's a slightly different story. The sell-side is, well, about selling. If you are selling your services to clients, having a team of Harvard grads sure sound impressive versus a team of state-educated grads. Manipulating a bunch of excel sheets and making sure the fonts are of correct size and color does not require skills beyond middle school these days.

There are more than enough opportunities for the motivated individual. It's just a matter of when and how with or without that brand name. In the long run, there is no magic formula (Joel Greenblatt might disagree) to generate alpha and alpha does not discriminate based on background. Just my 2 cents.

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Sep 30, 2017

OP...you're doing fine. I've attended one of the lower tier schools mentioned. you're not missing that much. Attending an Ivy/target is good if you plan on studying liberal arts and/or have no idea what you're doing in life. As such, you can mess around, study sociology/ancient sundial building/history of grandfather clocks, get solid grades, and subsequently stumble into a good finance/consulting/etc... job. Yes, I exaggerate, but this is one of the primary benefits of a target--margin for error.

If you go to an in-state public, you can get to where you want, but you need to study something useful (STEM/econ/finance/etc...) and be more focused, directed, and on top of your shit. And if/when you get there, you'll have much less debt than your peers.

There are only a handful of jobs/positions where you truly need a target degree or it's not happening (i.e. Supreme court justice, econ professor at top 10 school, etc...). Don't worry about these jobs. Good luck.

Sep 30, 2017

I pay 10 grand for tuition, food and housing all together for the year:) be jealous.

Sep 30, 2017

"Columbia"

"Lower-tier Ivies"

Is this really a thing? I'd always thought of Columbia as being a school with an excellent all-round reputation.

Sep 30, 2017
Angus Macgyver:

"Columbia"

"Lower-tier Ivies"

Is this really a thing? I'd always thought of Columbia as being a school with an excellent all-round reputation.

haha, it is. People just like to split hairs and argue over arbitrary levels of prestige.

Sep 30, 2017
Angus Macgyver:

"Columbia"

"Lower-tier Ivies"

Is this really a thing? I'd always thought of Columbia as being a school with an excellent all-round reputation.

It's douchey as hell. But within the ivy league, there's HYP (Harvard/Yale/Princeton), and then the others. There are a lot of people within my circle who go even deeper and place Wharton/Columbia/Dartmouth one tier below HYP and above non-Wharton Penn/Brown/Cornell.

Sep 30, 2017

You can always change your decision with grad school.

Sep 30, 2017

My situation was a little different but I'll happily share my own experience.

I was given very poor advice after high school. I was told that the school you went to was not nearly as important as your performance at that school, and that it was 'all the same' at the undergraduate level. Because of this, I decided to attend a smaller private institution around the NYC area that offered me a massive scholarship (I also mistakenly believed that the school was somewhat reputable--think Baruch, Pace, Hofstra, Fordham).

I can tell you that graduating summa cum laude from this school did absolutely nothing for me (studied economics). There was no OCR, they had no network (alumni were entirely uninteresting in hiring students from their own school), and it was obvious that the school didn't really care about placing their students. I found a crappy job in a completely unrelated field where I basically wasted three years of my life. I'm going back to school for an MSF hoping to break into something finance related (either valuation, corporate finance, research analyst, whatever). By the time I'm done with the MSF program I'll be ~80k in debt and 27 years old.

In short, the money I saved by attending this private institution will be practically entirely negated by the level of debt I will incur in order to finance the masters program. In addition to this, I wasted a massive amount of time. I'm not saying that my situation is the rule--it could very well be the exception. It's purely anecdotal; take from it what you will.

Sep 30, 2017
Esuric:

My situation was a little different but I'll happily share my own experience.

I was given very poor advice after high school. I was told that the school you went to was not nearly as important as your performance at that school, and that it was 'all the same' at the undergraduate level. Because of this, I decided to attend a smaller private institution around the NYC area that offered me a massive scholarship (I also mistakenly believed that the school was somewhat reputable--think Baruch, Pace, Hofstra, Fordham).

I can tell you that graduating summa cum laude from this school did absolutely nothing for me (studied economics). There was no OCR, they had no network (alumni were entirely uninteresting in hiring students from their own school), and it was obvious that the school didn't really care about placing their students. I found a crappy job in a completely unrelated field where I basically wasted three years of my life. I'm going back to school for an MSF hoping to break into something finance related (either valuation, corporate finance, research analyst, whatever). By the time I'm done with the MSF program I'll be ~80k in debt and 27 years old.

In short, the money I saved by attending this private institution will be practically entirely negated by the level of debt I will incur in order to finance the masters program. In addition to this, I wasted a massive amount of time. I'm not saying that my situation is the rule--it could very well be the exception. It's purely anecdotal; take from it what you will.

That advice makes sense if you want to go to a phd program, med school, or law school, where GPA is probably more important than undergrad pedigree. Terrible advice though if you want to work afterwards.

Oct 1, 2017

Entirely agree with this post. I can relate as well, as I do to a previous post by an international student. Am also inclined to pursue a similar strategy, pursuing an MFE and hoping the Quant stamp will help smooth the curve. I came here as an international student, with exceptional level of motivation, the American Dream chaser. Worked double jobs and entirely spent all my paychecks on tuition at an average school, Baruch/Fordham/SUNY type, with the advice that a good GPA and leadership traits through extra-curricular activities will help. My experience, total BS. Graduated Finance with Math minor and 3.7 overall GPA and 4.0 major GPA. In the end, no F1-B and no banking career. Though, an exception compared to the average US HS graduate, the morale of story is if you are interested in high level banking, Ivy league clearly pays. Forget about the debt load. If you can't pay it back, you still get the Federal bail out. Your buddies are pulling the strings at the Treasury anyway, you think they gonna let you down, FORGETABOUTIT...

Learn and Grow Wise! Apply Knowledge is Power

Oct 1, 2017
Esuric:

My situation was a little different but I'll happily share my own experience.

I was given very poor advice after high school. I was told that the school you went to was not nearly as important as your performance at that school, and that it was 'all the same' at the undergraduate level. Because of this, I decided to attend a smaller private institution around the NYC area that offered me a massive scholarship (I also mistakenly believed that the school was somewhat reputable--think Baruch, Pace, Hofstra, Fordham).

I can tell you that graduating summa cum laude from this school did absolutely nothing for me (studied economics). There was no OCR, they had no network (alumni were entirely uninteresting in hiring students from their own school), and it was obvious that the school didn't really care about placing their students. I found a crappy job in a completely unrelated field where I basically wasted three years of my life. I'm going back to school for an MSF hoping to break into something finance related (either valuation, corporate finance, research analyst, whatever). By the time I'm done with the MSF program I'll be ~80k in debt and 27 years old.

In short, the money I saved by attending this private institution will be practically entirely negated by the level of debt I will incur in order to finance the masters program. In addition to this, I wasted a massive amount of time. I'm not saying that my situation is the rule--it could very well be the exception. It's purely anecdotal; take from it what you will.

Entirely agree with this post. I can relate as well, as I do to a previous post by an international student. Am also inclined to pursue a similar strategy, pursuing an MFE and hoping the Quant stamp will help smooth the curve. I came here as an international student, with exceptional level of motivation, the American Dream chaser. Worked double jobs and entirely spent all my paychecks on tuition at an average school, Baruch/Fordham/SUNY type, with the advice that a good GPA and leadership traits through extra-curricular activities will help. My experience, total BS. Graduated Finance with Math minor and 3.7 overall GPA and 4.0 major GPA. In the end, no F1-B and no banking career. Though, an exception compared to the average US HS graduate, the morale of story is if you are interested in high level banking, Ivy league clearly pays. Forget about the debt load. If you can't pay it back, you still get the Federal bail out. Your buddies are pulling the strings at the Treasury anyway, you think they gonna let you down, FORGETABOUTIT...

Learn and Grow Wise! Apply Knowledge is Power

Sep 30, 2017

Transfer after the first year. I'm in the same exact predicament as you. Incoming freshman at a state flagship. Think of it this way, 6 months of hard work and you'll be already reapplying. Don't settle for mediocrity, shoot for the stars.

Sep 30, 2017

Ivy League schools and similar (Stanford, Duke, Chicago, Amherst) actually give more money than state schools right? Their financial aid programs are way better than state schools.

Oct 1, 2017
ElRusoAdomaitis:

Ivy League schools and similar (Stanford, Duke, Chicago, Amherst) actually give more money than state schools right? Their financial aid programs are way better than state schools.

If your parents earn under ~$150K, maybe $180K combined you get a lot of extra help from these schools.

Frankly, responsible parents probably shouldn't even be paying for college unless they make more than $100K, more like $200K.

Meanwhile, in-state at most schools still runs under $5K per semester compared to $50K/year sticker price tuition at a private school. Seems like a no-brainer to me unless Mom and Dad earn under $100K or Mom and Dad earn over $500K. And frankly the state schools have always done exceptionally in engineering and CS and have really caught up with the Ivies in the STEM disciplines in terms of the quality of their graduates. Large swaths of state schools dramatically outrank the ivies in the Engineering rankings and a few in the Math and Physics rankings.

If you want to study Engineering or CS, you live in California, and you get into Berkeley, you really have no reason to go to an Ivy. Same for UT Austin/Texas, UIUC/Illinois, and Georgia Tech. Even if Harvard offers a discount to Berkeley, if you're pretty sure you want tech and not banking, Berkeley is worth a premium- certainly for CS and probably for Engineering. (Stanford or MIT would be a different matter.)

Sep 30, 2017

I lived off campus at my state school, which meant that I paid almost nothing for my education. If I had lived on campus, I would be paying close to what I pay annually for my target school. Financial aid at top institutions is extraordinarily good (no loans at HYP, Columbia and Penn).

Oct 1, 2017

The target non-target debate will never die.

My vested interests have changed, but my opinion is just the same as it was two years ago- and nearly as strong.

My douchebag radar, however, isn't on the same hair-trigger alert that it was two years ago for ivy leaguers. I've grudgingly become a little more tolerant of elitism, and my ambiguous "Is he just trolling elitist assholes?" "Or is he serious" has leaned more towards the serious more recently.

Back to my rusty Honda.

Oct 1, 2017

Kenny, you're right we're beating a dead horse, but new people are coming onto the forum all the time and it's good to keep presenting the ideas and concepts to keep people educated.

WSO clearly has a Northeast Banker bias (READ: Ivies + MIT + Amherst + NYU), so it's important to balance that out. Then again, I have spent so long in the northeast that I may not be the best representative of a Midwestern perspective anymore)

BTW there are ways of making your point with more subtlety.

Oct 1, 2017
IlliniProgrammer:

I'm sure these kids can use the search function. Besides all the advice people give is always anecdotal. "I can't get a job because I went to Bumblefuck U, go to Harvard.". That's hardly useful. How about we do one final thread where we compare expected income at each school (available on US News rankings I believe) to what it's worth in loans and call it a day?

And I don't know how to be subtle.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Oct 1, 2017
IlliniProgrammer:

Kenny, you're right we're beating a dead horse, but new people are coming onto the forum all the time and it's good to keep presenting the ideas and concepts to keep people educated.

WSO clearly has a Northeast Banker bias (READ: Ivies + MIT + Amherst + NYU), so it's important to balance that out. Then again, I have spent so long in the northeast that I may not be the best representative of a Midwestern perspective anymore)

BTW there are ways of making your point with more subtlety.

I'm sure these kids can use the search function. Besides all the advice people give is always anecdotal. "I can't get a job because I went to Bumblefuck U, go to Harvard.". That's hardly useful. How about we do one final thread where we compare expected income at each school (available on US News rankings I believe) to what it's worth in loans and call it a day?

And I don't know how to be subtle.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Oct 1, 2017

as far as non-target vs. target threads go, this was fairly mild and reasonably balanced on both sides of the equation.

Oct 1, 2017

Of course WSO is a US based site with most users coming from the US but we must not forget that is it not the center of the world. Perhaps some of the very top jobs are there with wall street but IBanking PE HF is all around the world. Indeed Ivies are very well know and respected in the US and abroad but we must not sanctify them as if going to one is the holy grail. Many very smart people that will have or have top finance positions did not go to these for many reasons that are not lack of academic achievement or intellect. Yes all factors are aligned (geographic location, finances, legacy) it is definitely good to attend one and will probably give you an interesting edge in most places around the world but they are not sacred as many people like to depict them as in general and especially on WSO

I sold some shares, but on a net basis, significantly increased my ownership.
Jeffrey Skilling

Oct 1, 2017
Dr. Derivatives:

Of course WSO is a US based site with most users coming from the US but we must not forget that is it not the center of the world.

Actually I get the impression that most users are Asian given the H/Y/P/S obsession here.

Perhaps some of the very top jobs are there with wall street but IBanking PE HF is all around the world. Indeed Ivies are very well know and respected in the US and abroad but we must not sanctify them as if going to one is the holy grail. Many very smart people that will have or have top finance positions did not go to these for many reasons that are not lack of academic achievement or intellect. Yes all factors are aligned (geographic location, finances, legacy) it is definitely good to attend one and will probably give you an interesting edge in most places around the world but they are not sacred as many people like to depict them as in general and especially on WSO

Sure we can't forget Oxbridge, Technische Universitat Munchen, Polytechnique (and that very small French school that's better), INSEAD, and the IITs (India, though Illinois's IIT is pretty good too). Not to mention Bocconi, St. Gallen, and many others.

Oct 1, 2017

Hot girlfriend from a hot sorority with 2 years of college left?

You have more than 99.9% of the bankers on this site do, and most of them [us] hide behind the thin veil of a six-figure salary to justify our own numerous shortcomings. You'll be alright, kid.

Oct 1, 2017
DonVon:

Hot girlfriend from a hot sorority with 2 years of college left?

You have more than 99.9% of the bankers on this site do, and most of them [us] hide behind the thin veil of a six-figure salary to justify our own numerous shortcomings. You'll be alright, kid.

Look, we all like hot girls, but using that to justify a potentially bad school choice is pretty ridiculous. Besides, money and prestige>>>>>girls.

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Oct 1, 2017

An Oxford man ... in a pink suit?

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Oct 1, 2017

Unfortunately, Finance is a bit like the NFL. Prospects naturally come from top 25 football programs. Sure, teams might take a flyer on a guy putting up amazing stats at a Division II program but that won't happen until the later rounds. And above average guys in DII or DIII? they almost never get picked. So you have to be the guy getting headlines at the less regarded school (think Randy Moss or Steve Mcnair). Even then there are no guarantees. Look at the directory for any top flight hedge fund or PE firm. 95% are top ivy leaguers + Stanford-but you do get the occasional guy from a Boston College or something who made it to partner (but his background will have had have a ton of other stuff in it: CFA, some highly rare or specialized tech or quant focus, and/or BB management experience elsewhere). So Ivy does matter at these exclusive top firms. So what? There are plenty of non-pedigreed success stories out there, too. Jut because they don't make the cover of businessweek doesn't mean they aren't killing it.

I used to be a firm believer in graduating undergrad with as little debt as possible, and then splurging on a top Masters program down the road if needed for professional development.

To a certain extent I still am-but ONLY for certain personality types-those who belong in an Ivy but don't care a whit about prestige. Everyone else will be too miserable at passing up the opportunity, or too unqualified to have someone take a chance on them. You'll know whether you're the type to make your own way or not. In the OP's case, he used the money saved to create a financial foundation that most 20 yr olds simply do not have. That will allow him to be less risk averse moving ahead-and open him up to opportunities outside the traditional path. Moreover, he is dominating at that level-grades, leadership, ECs, etc...If he networks right, he might be able to overcome many a hurdle that state school kids often deal with. And if he can't breakthrough, assuming a great GMAT, he'll have the stats for a H/S/W (or top 10) MBA -and the money to attend as well.

My personal opinion given what you've told us-I wouldn't worry too much about it. You might or might not fall short of white shoe finance; give it your best shot and see what happens. But there will be opportunities galore at Big 4, F500, 2nd tier AM groups, government, cool startups, etc and then possibly a top B-school down the line.

Once you've made a decision leave it behind you or you will get haunted/distracted by it. Just keep crushing it at your state school and make as many cool friends as possible. you'll develop a personality that gets people to instantly like you, and that, along with competence, goes a LONG way as well from what I've seen.

Oct 1, 2017
TheGrind:

My personal opinion given what you've told us-I wouldn't worry too much about it. You might or might not fall short of white shoe finance; give it your best shot and see what happens. But there will be opportunities galore at Big 4, F500, 2nd tier AM groups, government, cool startups, etc and then possibly a top B-school down the line.

Once you've made a decision leave it behind you or you will get haunted/distracted by it. Just keep crushing it at your state school and make as many cool friends as possible. you'll develop a personality that gets people to instantly like you, and that, along with competence, goes a LONG way as well from what I've seen.

Thanks for the words of encouragement and reassurance. I definitely shouldn't have used the word "haunted" lol... more like it was a tough decision in my life. There are many different paths to success and if the anecdotal evidence on WSO proves anything it's that these positions aren't 100% out of reach for ANYONE (though you HYP bastards definitely have a leg up lol)

Thanks to all who are contributing to this thread.

Oct 1, 2017
TheGrind:

Unfortunately, Finance is a bit like the NFL. Prospects naturally come from top 25 football programs. Sure, teams might take a flyer on a guy putting up amazing stats at a Division II program but that won't happen until the later rounds. And above average guys in DII or DIII? they almost never get picked. So you have to be the guy getting headlines at the less regarded school (think Randy Moss or Steve Mcnair). Even then there are no guarantees. Look at the directory for any top flight hedge fund or PE firm. 95% are top ivy leaguers + Stanford-but you do get the occasional guy from a Boston College or something who made it to partner (but his background will have had have a ton of other stuff in it: CFA, some highly rare or specialized tech or quant focus, and/or BB management experience elsewhere). So Ivy does matter at these exclusive top firms. So what? There are plenty of non-pedigreed success stories out there, too. Jut because they don't make the cover of businessweek doesn't mean they aren't killing it.

Actually, you just presented the case against your argument. Go to rivals.com. The top 25 college football programs generally have about the top 25 recruiting from high school. If a 5-star, blue chip defensive end decided to attend Western Michigan instead of the University of Michigan he'd really be no less likely to become a high draft selection. The NFL combine is huge--the NFL recruits speed, size and strength. Going to the University of Michigan is not going to make a normal athlete a freakish athlete the same way attending Western Michigan is not going to turn a freakish athlete into a normal athlete. In the same way, Harvard, Yale, etc. don't produce top minds--they simply recruit them. As the study demonstrates that I put forth, if you were intelligent enough to get into Harvard but didn't attend over the course of your career you're still equally as well off financially. The Ivy Leagues don't produce anything other than degrees.

It's the same thing with Florida State football. FSU absolutely dominated the draft this year. Is it because FSU's coaches are great at moulding young, average athletes into freakishly large, fast and strong 20 somethings? No, it's because FSU has top 5 recruiting out of high school almost every year. FSU doesn't produce anything--they recruit it.

Oct 1, 2017

Why don't you apply to transfer to a better school and see where you get in?

Oct 1, 2017

I know that I am skipping all of the dialogue here.

You asked if you made the right decision.

Make it the right decision.

Go go go forward.

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Oct 1, 2017

.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

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Oct 1, 2017

If you go to an Ivy (or Stanford, Duke, MIT, Caltech, Amherst) you can get a sweet job by just being average (3.2 and above. Yes there were people in my Ivy league school who went to a lower BB with a 3.2 and they were not URM). I think it would be almost impossible for a guy from Berkeley or other state school to go work at a BB with that GPA. I guess an Ivy League school gives you that advantage of being average and still getting a good job. Though, I will say that the competition at a school like Berkeley is probably not as an intense as say, Stanford. It is probably harder to get a 3.5 at Stanford than a 3.8 at UCLA or Berkeley.

Oct 1, 2017
ElRusoAdomaitis:

It is probably harder to get a 3.5 at Stanford than a 3.8 at UCLA or Berkeley.

You know that America's top colleges are known for grade inflation, right? Harvard has been under the gun on this for like 30 years. I'd bet it's easier to get a 3.9 in poli sic at Harvard than a 2.7 in general engineering at a community college.

Oct 1, 2017
ElRusoAdomaitis:

Though, I will say that the competition at a school like Berkeley is probably not as an intense as say, Stanford. It is probably harder to get a 3.5 at Stanford than a 3.8 at UCLA or Berkeley.

Why do you think that?

I always imagined that the good state schools (like Berkeley) were full of try-hard grinds. Beating the curve at certain state schools can be painfully difficult.

ElRusoAdomaitis:

If you go to an Ivy (or Stanford, Duke, MIT, Caltech, Amherst) you can get a sweet job by just being average (3.2 and above. Yes there were people in my Ivy league school who went to a lower BB with a 3.2 and they were not URM). I think it would be almost impossible for a guy from Berkeley or other state school to go work at a BB with that GPA.

Ha, this part is pretty much true. I've got a couple Harvard friends who got niiice BB S&T jobs after graduating with sub-3.0 GPAs (this was in 2004-2005, however).

Oct 1, 2017
ElRusoAdomaitis:

It is probably harder to get a 3.5 at Stanford than a 3.8 at UCLA or Berkeley.

Average GPA at Stanford, 2005: 3.55
Average GPA at Berkeley, 2006: 3.27
Average GPA at UCLA, 2008: 3.22

As for the Ivies, grade inflation is rampant. except at Princeton, and maybe 1-2 others.

Oct 1, 2017

What's the point of curving the grading down?

Oct 1, 2017

IIRC stats from UIUC as of 2007 suggested an average GPA of 2.8 derived from College of Engineering courses. Cs are fairly common at UIUC, despite similar SAT scores and placement statistics to Ivy League engineering programs. Pretty difficult to argue that the quality of the students is different.

I am of the view that Harvard and Illinois get a fairly similar sample set of students in Engineering, but Harvard Engineering GPAs are mean=3.4 sigma=0.2 while Illinois' are mean=2.8 sigma=0.4. So a 3.6 at UIUC is one standard deviation tougher to get than a 3.6 at Harvard.

Oct 1, 2017

One thing I also think is that many WSO'ers and I probably have placed too much emphasis on landing at a "top BB firm" in whatever our target field is. From what I can tell so far (and I could be completely off), if you're gonna be a rockstar... then you're gonna be a rockstar.

For example, the PM I intern under (at a firm that none of you have ever heard of lol) has more than doubled annualized index returns since his fund's inception (early 90s). As a result, his AUM increases consistently.

Does he get the recognition of the top fund managers at Fidelity, BlackRock, or Vanguard? Of course not.

Is he just as good of a stock-picker making an inane amount of money every year? Statistically, yes.

Oct 1, 2017

LOL buy side ER.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Oct 1, 2017

I didn't read the whole thread, but my family is broke, so my ivy covered everything for me. So grateful for everything this school has afforded me.

Oct 1, 2017

Dude, all Ivies have need based financial aid. The only way you would end up with $100,000 debt at the end of undergrad is if you and your parents make more than $500,000 a year or you spend $25,000 a year on clothes/beer. Choosing a school because its 'cheaper" is just plain dumb.

oh and WTF is a lower tier Ivy? Dartmouth? you are kidding right? Stop with the arbitrary BS. Dartmouth College has more alumni working on Wall Street than any other Ivy. Why not do you home work and learn what make schools like Columbia, Princeton and Dartmouth top tier undergraduate programs, empirically speaking. They are considered the best by many because of the resources available to their students. You sound like you have no real world experience. I went to Dartmouth College and the first thing they send you when you are accepted is a packet containing your acceptance letter and financial aid package.

You don't need an ivy education to be successful. A degree from any ivy including "lower tier' ivies helps to make your application stand out... that and going to school with 4,000 other ambitious, intelligent, hard working people forces you to grow/learn faster.

It sounds like you (a few other posters too) are trying to convince yourself that you made the right choice by choosing the cheaper school by down playing the quality of education you could have earned at a top ten school.

Your logic is flawed.
The fact that you are even discussing which schools you could have gone to shows me that you are not thinking like an adult. Choose an undergrad program/grad program that works for you and offers you the best opportunity for you to grow as an academic. Don't sell yourself short because its cheaper/safer/closer to mommy and daddy. You need to focus on learning as much as possible and landing internships not thinking about decisions you made in high school.

Dartmouth Alum
Bankster 4 life!

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Oct 1, 2017
14feet:

It sounds like you (a few other posters too) are trying to convince yourself that you made the right choice by choosing the cheaper school by down playing the quality of education you could have earned at a top ten school.

Not sure what state school OP went to but many state schools certainly provide a comparable quality of education vs. top ten schools. I think the OP is doing fine and didn't necessarily make the wrong choice by not going Ivy. And yes, depending on the circumstances, money absolutely matters--it's not "plain dumb" to go somewhere cheaper. To each his/her own.

Oct 1, 2017
14feet:

Dude, all Ivies have need based financial aid. The only way you would end up with $100,000 debt at the end of undergrad is if you and your parents make more than $500,000 a year or you spend $25,000 a year on clothes/beer. Choosing a school because its 'cheaper" is just plain dumb.

oh and WTF is a lower tier Ivy? Dartmouth? you are kidding right? Stop with the arbitrary BS. Dartmouth College has more alumni working on Wall Street than any other Ivy. Why not do you home work and learn what make schools like Columbia, Princeton and Dartmouth top tier undergraduate programs, empirically speaking. They are considered the best by many because of the resources available to their students. You sound like you have no real world experience. I went to Dartmouth College and the first thing they send you when you are accepted is a packet containing your acceptance letter and financial aid package.

You don't need an ivy education to be successful. A degree from any ivy including "lower tier' ivies helps to make your application stand out... that and going to school with 4,000 other ambitious, intelligent, hard working people forces you to grow/learn faster.

It sounds like you (a few other posters too) are trying to convince yourself that you made the right choice by choosing the cheaper school by down playing the quality of education you could have earned at a top ten school.

Your logic is flawed.
The fact that you are even discussing which schools you could have gone to shows me that you are not thinking like an adult. Choose an undergrad program/grad program that works for you and offers you the best opportunity for you to grow as an academic. Don't sell yourself short because its cheaper/safer/closer to mommy and daddy. You need to focus on learning as much as possible and landing internships not thinking about decisions you made in high school.

Dartmouth Alum
Bankster 4 life!

You're damn right about it. Ivies have need based financial aid, if you can prove you need $100K, they'll give you $100K tuition. Bottom line is, if they want you, they'll make sure you go there.

I'm still curious where OP went for ugrad.

Oct 1, 2017

It's kinda already been said here, but I wanted to chime in as I have personal experience in this matter. I think choosing a very high-profile undergrad school isn't worth carrying a large debt burden unless you think you probably didn't deserve to get into a great school in the first place. If you are smart enough to get in and succeed at HYPS then you will also succeed at a decent state school. Grad school will still be there after you finish undergrad and if you are hot shit you can get into a PhD program at a good school and either stay for a PhD or just leave after your masters (which you almost universally must get as part of the PhD itself). The key here is that if you sell yourself as a potential PhD student in grad school, you don't have a to pay a dime for tuition and you get a reasonable stipend on top of that. Even if you don't go that route, paying for a one-year masters is dirt cheap compared to a 4-year undergrad degree. Moreover, an undergraduate curriculum is virtually the exact same everywhere within a given field. True differentiation only comes in graduate-level coursework, so why not wait until then to get choosy and splash some cash?

Anyway, that's what I did and I'm happy with how it's worked out. I went to a good state school (Berkeley/UCLA/UM/UVa etc.), graduated summa cum laude, and now I have a free ride at a great school (HYP/MIT/Stanford).

Oct 1, 2017
GoCard:

Moreover, an undergraduate curriculum is virtually the exact same everywhere within a given field. True differentiation only comes in graduate-level coursework, so why not wait until then to get choosy and splash some cash?

Agreed. I think people tend to overrate undergrad education quality differences.

Oct 1, 2017

Went to Arizona State...it doesn't get more prestigeless state school than that. Joined an investment banking focused prep. program through the business school. Almost everyone involved in the program has made it into BB IB, or excellent boutiques (Evercore, Moellis, etc.). The notion that the only way to break in IB is through HPY is ridiculous. Sure, some old school bankers will only recruit from target schools, but a lot of bankers in this day and age care solely about work ethic and intelligence. If you network the right way, know what you are talking about when it comes to interviewing, and do well/get involved in school, you will do fine. I would never trade my state school undergrad experience for an undergrad Ivy League experience. Maybe it will make things a bit more difficult, but so far it hasn't hurt me too much - currently in a BB IB group on the West Coast. State schools offer an entirely different college experience, one that you simply won't get at an Ivy Leauge.

Oct 1, 2017
finbiz:

Went to Arizona State...it doesn't get more prestigeless state school than that. Joined an investment banking focused prep. program through the business school. Almost everyone involved in the program has made it into BB IB, or excellent boutiques (Evercore, Moellis, etc.). The notion that the only way to break in IB is through HPY is ridiculous. Sure, some old school bankers will only recruit from target schools, but a lot of bankers in this day and age care solely about work ethic and intelligence. If you network the right way, know what you are talking about when it comes to interviewing, and do well/get involved in school, you will do fine. I would never trade my state school undergrad experience for an undergrad Ivy League experience. Maybe it will make things a bit more difficult, but so far it hasn't hurt me too much - currently in a BB IB group on the West Coast. State schools offer an entirely different college experience, one that you simply won't get at an Ivy Leauge.

I agree with you that you might not be hindered in recruiting, but I have an issue with business school education. College, while it should prepare you for the real world, I think it should teach you a higher discipline of learning at the same time. I think the best type of education (atleast for finance) would be a well-rounded liberal arts cirriculum with basic business education (basic business strategy, finance, accounting). It's shown by numerous successful businessmen that you don't need an undergrad business education. To make it beyond the peon analyst level, you need to be able to have a rigorously analytical+logical mindset, and I don't really think a heavily business (i.e. trade school) centric education is helpful for that.

Oct 1, 2017

Hot girlfriend at a top sorority? yeah you made the right decision

Oct 1, 2017

The only people who care this much about prestige are idiots. Whether or not an Ivy is worth the debt depends on what you want to do with your life. In general, the instant credibility, connections, OCR, and being surrounded by other motivated individuals is probably worth the debt over a non-target state school (eg. schools below Berkeley, UVA, Michigan, etc). But in the long run, your track record and the value you add to the table are the only things that matter. If the only thing you bring to the table is the fact that you can tell clients that you graduated from Harvard, well you're not really worth much. Only idiots focus on prestige. Honestly the smartest people I've met went to state schools. When you're 40, nobody aside from college students and Asian parents give a shit.

Oct 1, 2017
JDawg:

The only people who care this much about prestige are idiots. Whether or not an Ivy is worth the debt depends on what you want to do with your life. In general, the instant credibility, connections, OCR, and being surrounded by other motivated individuals is probably worth the debt over a non-target state school (eg. schools below Berkeley, UVA, Michigan, etc). But in the long run, your track record and the value you add to the table are the only things that matter. If the only thing you bring to the table is the fact that you can tell clients that you graduated from Harvard, well you're not really worth much. Only idiots focus on prestige. Honestly the smartest people I've met went to state schools. When you're 40, nobody aside from college students and Asian parents give a shit.

Haha. "College students and Asian parents"! That's the truth.

Feeling Good, Living Better

Oct 1, 2017

I chose a mediocre state school (rank 50-100) over two of Dartmouth/Penn/Columbia/Cornell as well, and for the most part regret it. What you're paying for in an elite education is your classmates. If you don't already have a good idea of what you want to do going into college, they're the ones who help you find out about what's out there.

How many people even know what IB or MC is in high school? You learn about all these things from your roommate who learned it from his friend in the finance club who learned it from an alum. And then you do your own research, find WSO and M&I, and get your OCR interviews. The process of just finding out what's possible takes much longer when you're one of the few people who even knows what Lazard is and doesn't think that JPM Ops = Making it Big on Wall Street $$$.

Sure, people still get IBD jobs at places like Citi but the time you spend compensating for being at a non-target is time lost thinking about your future and exploring other possibilities. The way you see the world just changes when you see classmates choosing startups over Google, getting mentions on Business Insider or having to make that decision between McKinsey and doing what they love. Talented people can of course succeed anywhere, but what would be possible in an environment with more resources?

Take the loans (if your family won't starve); it's an investment in yourself. Of course the education here also sucks, if you care about that...

Oct 1, 2017

In a way, you may be a head of the game for a lot of people who went to Ivies.

I went to one of the 4 "lower-tier" ivy schools you meantioned in your post. I went into IB. I was lucky enough to not have debt coming out of school, but I know plenty who did. Many, many of my friends knew they wanted to go into something finance related, and many had their hearts set on IB by sophomore or junior year. The vast majority of them currently hate or hated their lives while they were in banking, but because of the debt they incurred, weren't able to walk away from this grueling job. Not to mention the many friends I had who left school with fantastic grades and no job at all (thank you global recession).

At the end of the day, this site is filled with folks with little to no real working experience who think that IB is the be all and end all, and, frankly, having a "target" school on your resume probably does help with recruitiment in that specific area of finance (as many others here have pointed out). But trust me, there are many, many more people who go into IB than who 1) enjoy it or 2) think it was worth doing in the end.

You're coming out net positive through undergrad - I'd say you're doing better than most, and possibly even better than many in the ivy league.

Oct 1, 2017

The quality of the school actually has a lower impact than many believe. What truely matters is the alumni network.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Oct 1, 2017

what transferring from small city college (queens college) to NYU, is that a good idea, since im trying to break into ib

Oct 1, 2017

I chose a similar path to the OP, figuring paying next to nothing at a top state school will feel great come graduation. Sure, it will be difficult, but I firmly believe if you can prove your worth (read: internships) combined with intense networking, it's possible for many of us to break into IB. Unlike many, I stumbled upon M&I my junior year of HS and knew at that moment I wanted to go into IB. Nonetheless, I applied to many schools but chose to save money. Call me a half-wit, I have my reasons. Anyways OP just do well in school, get a high GPA, leadership positions, internships and you'll definitely make it to interviews. You can always go the top B-school route after undergrad as well.

I suggest to just network with as many bankers as you can. DO NOT try last minute. You said you were a junior, and if you have not started networking, start asap, this summer even (check out M&I). Making a good impression can propel you a long way and if people like you they could care less about where you went to school.

Oct 1, 2017

I would definitely say that, personally, going to a prestigious university has in some ways handicapped me, and in other ways made me very fortunate.

I went to Columbia & majored in math/econ. I graduated with honors and landed a plush job in tech investment banking. Bonuses were great. I spent a lot of money, had copious pairs of ferragamos, a rolex daytona, etc. In hindsight, I didn't plan very well, because once the '08 financial crisis hit, I got laid off, and it really stunted my whole world.

I was a naturally insecure person and I couldn't get over the fact that I was part of the 50% of my class that got laid off, while others got to keep their jobs. I had an inflated sense of self, sense of entitlement, pretty much every self-sabotaging thing you can imagine.

I decided to take time off, traveled to Asia and lived there for 2 years. Kind of pivoted into tech and worked on an interesting mobile app. When i came back to the states, i moved to San Francisco, and it was clear I hadn't recovered from the '08 crisis. I was almost taken aback by the confidence of people who went to what I considered totally shitty schools (UC Davis, UCLA, Santa Clara). I would literally think "how can they have X job when they only went to Y school ... it doesn't compute."

Fast forward another year. I'm now a product manager at a tech startup, working with great people, trying to learn new things. I would say that my degree, while it hurt me in the short term, helped me dig myself out of my own personal rut that I created for myself. The prestige helped me get interviews, but I had to totally reconsider everything I knew about entitlement and prestige in order to succeed.

I think when it comes down to it, if you went to a shitty school but you have a strong sense of confidence and are smart, it won't matter. I could be biased because it's different in silicon valley. High finance, prestige still matters. However, you need to focus on being the best you can be.

I recently removed my alma mater from my email signature. This was a big step for me, because i realized no one gave a shit about where i graduated. They cared about what i could do. Focus on continuing to learn and being the best you can and you can overcome a lot.

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Oct 1, 2017
dkn2101:

I would definitely say that, personally, going to a prestigious university has in some ways handicapped me, and in other ways made me very fortunate.

I went to Columbia & majored in math/econ. I graduated with honors and landed a plush job in tech investment banking. Bonuses were great. I spent a lot of money, had copious pairs of ferragamos, a rolex daytona, etc. In hindsight, I didn't plan very well, because once the '08 financial crisis hit, I got laid off, and it really stunted my whole world.

I was a naturally insecure person and I couldn't get over the fact that I was part of the 50% of my class that got laid off, while others got to keep their jobs. I had an inflated sense of self, sense of entitlement, pretty much every self-sabotaging thing you can imagine.

I decided to take time off, traveled to Asia and lived there for 2 years. Kind of pivoted into tech and worked on an interesting mobile app. When i came back to the states, i moved to San Francisco, and it was clear I hadn't recovered from the '08 crisis. I was almost taken aback by the confidence of people who went to what I considered totally shitty schools (UC Davis, UCLA, Santa Clara). I would literally think "how can they have X job when they only went to Y school ... it doesn't compute."

Fast forward another year. I'm now a product manager at a tech startup, working with great people, trying to learn new things. I would say that my degree, while it hurt me in the short term, helped me dig myself out of my own personal rut that I created for myself. The prestige helped me get interviews, but I had to totally reconsider everything I knew about entitlement and prestige in order to succeed.

I think when it comes down to it, if you went to a shitty school but you have a strong sense of confidence and are smart, it won't matter. I could be biased because it's different in silicon valley. High finance, prestige still matters. However, you need to focus on being the best you can be.

I recently removed my alma mater from my email signature. This was a big step for me, because i realized no one gave a shit about where i graduated. They cared about what i could do. Focus on continuing to learn and being the best you can and you can overcome a lot.

You think UCLA is a "shitty" school? Wow... you clearly had no idea what you're talking about.

Oct 1, 2017
dkn2101:

I would definitely say that, personally, going to a prestigious university has in some ways handicapped me, and in other ways made me very fortunate.

I went to Columbia & majored in math/econ. I graduated with honors and landed a plush job in tech investment banking. Bonuses were great. I spent a lot of money, had copious pairs of ferragamos, a rolex daytona, etc. In hindsight, I didn't plan very well, because once the '08 financial crisis hit, I got laid off, and it really stunted my whole world.

I was a naturally insecure person and I couldn't get over the fact that I was part of the 50% of my class that got laid off, while others got to keep their jobs. I had an inflated sense of self, sense of entitlement, pretty much every self-sabotaging thing you can imagine.

I decided to take time off, traveled to Asia and lived there for 2 years. Kind of pivoted into tech and worked on an interesting mobile app. When i came back to the states, i moved to San Francisco, and it was clear I hadn't recovered from the '08 crisis. I was almost taken aback by the confidence of people who went to what I considered totally shitty schools (UC Davis, UCLA, Santa Clara). I would literally think "how can they have X job when they only went to Y school ... it doesn't compute."

Fast forward another year. I'm now a product manager at a tech startup, working with great people, trying to learn new things. I would say that my degree, while it hurt me in the short term, helped me dig myself out of my own personal rut that I created for myself. The prestige helped me get interviews, but I had to totally reconsider everything I knew about entitlement and prestige in order to succeed.

I think when it comes down to it, if you went to a shitty school but you have a strong sense of confidence and are smart, it won't matter. I could be biased because it's different in silicon valley. High finance, prestige still matters. However, you need to focus on being the best you can be.

I recently removed my alma mater from my email signature. This was a big step for me, because i realized no one gave a shit about where i graduated. They cared about what i could do. Focus on continuing to learn and being the best you can and you can overcome a lot.

Great post. Thanks for sharing this.

Sep 14, 2017
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Sep 14, 2017
Sep 14, 2017
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Gimme the loot

    • 5