Duke vs Cornell AEM vs Stern

yager43's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 5

Rising senior in HS. Considering applying Early Decision to one of the schools above. Need help deciding which is best from personal experience on WSO. They all seem to be very different.

Duke - I really like Duke. It's very close to home, and they will likely offer great aid to me. They also offer more of a liberal arts kind of education that is awesome because I enjoy learning a wide array of topics. Duke social life seems great, and the basketball program is amazing. Only downsides are that it is the hardest to get into of the three, and I'm not really a big fan of the whole separate campus for freshman. It seems sort of weird and disconnected from Duke itself.

Cornell AEM - I also really like Cornell. Awesome ibanking recruiting and the ivy tag. Draws a lot of parallels to Duke in regards to social life. Obviously AEM isn't really liberal arts oriented, but I've heard you can still take CAS classes from AEM. They'd probably also offer me great aid. Downsides are that it's in the middle of nowhere, and it's a bit of a hike to get there from where I live.

NYU Stern - Very ambivalent towards Stern. Really like the location, and just the incredible amount of recruiting and resources at Stern. Seems to operate in an almost factory-like manner, just pumping out ibanking analysts who are high in debt and stress. Obviously there is the prospective of landing a great job, but it can be a bit of a gamble. I would likely have to take out loans to attend (~$100k by the time I graduate), which adds onto more stress of having to find a job to pay them off. Probably the lowest on my list, but probably also the easiest to get into with the best placement of them all.

Any ideas on helping me narrow down my list? Stern seems to place the best in NYC finance, with Cornell not far behind. Not sure how well Duke does. Seems to place more into southern cities, than NYC. I really want to start my essays in the coming weeks, so there aren't all jammed in once school picks back up again. Thanks so much. Any help is appreciated.

Comments (29)

Jul 3, 2015

What are your stats?

Personally would remove NYU from the list and just apply regular. What about applying to early action schools?

Jul 3, 2015

I'm not going to provide my stats to avoid turning this into a 'chance me' thread. Also, I'm retaking the SAT before I apply, so it's sort of pointless to give it now. In regards to EA, I'm applying to UNC (in-state) and UChicago.

Jul 4, 2015

bump

Jul 4, 2015

Of the three options, I'd rank them Duke, Cornell, Stern. Given that you're applying to Chicago your stats must be pretty solid. Why not apply ED to Wharton?

I'd also consider EA to UVA and preferred admission to Michigan Ross

Jul 4, 2015

While I should certainly be competitive for these schools, they are still going to be reaches. My grades aren't the best, but my other aspects are very strong. In regards to Wharton, I just really don't like Penn. It may sound insane, but I'm just not a fan. I've visited, and I really don't like the vibe and just being in West Philly. In regards to Michigan and UVA, to avoid being absolutley bombared with doing apps this fall, I will likely apply to them RD. It's also hard to justify going to UVA and Michigan with UNC in-state. According to their fin-aid calc, I'd have to pay about $2k/yr including all costs to attend. If Cornell, Stern, Duke, or Chicago doesn't work out, I'd be 100% fine going to Chapel Hill. They seem to have pretty solid ibanking recruitment coming from KF undergrad.

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Jul 4, 2015

I strongly recommend you apply EARLY ACTION if you want ED. Being admitted is cool after all, but being rejected can be devastating if you then scramble to apply regular decisions and feel the risk.

back few years ago I applied to a school of your tier ED, and was denied. Too bad that I didn't consider any Early Action so I was stressed for a few months.

I would wipe out NYU Stern unless you really only want to be on wall street. You can open your eyeballs with a top-tier school e.g. Cornell & Duke in any discipline. NYU less stern isn't the most prestigious in my opinion (what if you change mind and want to study another major?)

some random things - you may not like the atmosphere here and there (e.g Wharton), but beware that you may not be comparing apples to apples. sometimes you should choose the best scene for you, sometimes you must grind out (comfort, $$) to get something more important (e.g. networking & location, etc). it depends on what you want.

Also a few random things:
UNC is a cool school but overall I would still rank it below Michigan for sure. Michigan's overall reputation is strong as well overseas.
Cornell has that Guaranteed Transfer thing. Looks like you could sit in UNC for 1~2 years and get there (more networks and less cost)
have you done any summer student program at UNC or Duke... sounds like you're not too far from them anyways?

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Sep 3, 2015

Sounds like you like Duke the best and really want to go thre - would ED there in your case if absolutely certain Duke is the school for you. Cornell & Stern are excellent for finance. Duke slightly less so just cause of the of lack of boutique firms going there but still a top school graduate from for finance positions post - undergrad.

I echo the poster above about applying EA. If I could do it over again, i would've applied Early Action to a bunch of schoolsb/c would've felt great to know you had some schools in your pocket before RD rolls around.

Sep 3, 2015

Good tags haha

Sep 3, 2015

As a first-year Duke student, I would definitely recommend Duke, not only for its rankings (it's top 8, so a target), but also for its opportunities (Duke Investment Club, Entrepreneurship Club, strong Pre-Business group, Duke Start-Up Challenge etc.). For your career, I'd say that it's the best, bur the choice is up to you. PM me for more information if need be.

Sep 3, 2015

I'd say Duke. It has pretty similar recruiting compared to the other two. You definitely want the full college experience and not miss out on the best 4 years of your life.

Sep 3, 2015

Duke or Stern, but I question the "if top x, then target" methodology.

Sep 3, 2015

Very tough decision however. They all have strengths. Cornell obvs. has the Ivy League brand, along with excellent recruiting. Stern has the NYC advantage, as well as good recruiting. Duke has the full college experience with good recruiting into finance and consulting. Good luck OP, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the 3.

Sep 3, 2015

Wrong forum to ask. WSO is crawling with Cornell haters. You won't get an objective perspective here.

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Sep 3, 2015

Duke or Cornell in that order.

Sep 3, 2015

Stern

Sep 3, 2015

Definitely Stern.

Sep 3, 2015

I don't think you can go wrong with any of these schools. To be honest a good GPA at any of theses schools will put you on an even playing field. The big differentiating factor will be what your extra curricular activities look like.

I would recommend reaching out to seniors at all of these schools through your own hs network, friends, family etc. And find as much as you can about the programs on campus. Greek life, career service recruitment ,etc.

Aside from partying and drinking beer 5 nights a weeks-
You want to hold leadership positions, learn about the finance industry, and surround yourself with guys that are getting the results you want (landing wall street gigs at top firms or wherever you want to eventually be) so you can develop mentors.
Biggest peace of advice/best thing you can do: is develop some sort of mentor-ship with people that are upperclassman or graduates of the college once you go there so they can be a resource for you in deciding the best classes to take, clubs to get involved in, etc.

With that being said- Congrats. All great schools. You will 100% be able to find all of that at each school. It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders. You just need to do more hw on the kind of experience you want to have.

Success takes planning, so keep doing what your doing.

FYI- I'm a post grad that pledged greek life as a freshman (state school) and then got involved in very exclusive clubs and held leadership roles (helping me land good IB gig). Wouldn't have done it without asking people for help along the way...

Sep 3, 2015

First decide if you want to study business or economics/other social sciences, they aren't the same. If you prefer the latter then go with Duke. If you prefer business then decide whether you want an urban campus or a (relatively) rural one.

I'm assuming of course that Cornell means AEM and Duke means economics/other social sciences.

Sep 3, 2015

Duke > Cornell AEM > Stern

Just my two cents. Any scholarship/financial aid? And Cornell AEM right?

Sep 3, 2015

Thank you guys. And I'm in Cornell's ILR (Industrial Labor Relations) program. Please keep your advice coming.

Sep 3, 2015

Go to Cornell. Recruiting is great here, but Duke definitely has better weather.

Doesn't really matter what major you are in here at all as long as you have decent experience and grades, just do well on the first rounds you get.

Sep 3, 2015

I'm in Cornell ILR and Duke's College of Arts and Sciences (Economics Major) for a little insight. Thank you for the advice, please keep it coming.

Sep 3, 2015

Cornell ILR isn't the real deal. In this scenario, I would probably choose Duke.

Sep 3, 2015

Disclosure: I went to Wharton for undergrad. But I think Harvard provides the easiest access to wall street.

Stern -- Incredibly hard to get to the street from here. Very competitive, and everybody there wants to do finance. Being geographically close to banks is close to irrelevant.

Duke -- Many people at Duke are interested in finance as well, but if you get a high GPA, it will be easier to get to the street than from Stern.

Cornell AEM -- Better than Stern but not as good as Duke. 14000 undergrads at Cornell... how many want high finance vs. how many actually get it?

Of these three schools, Duke is the closest to a target. But none are really true targets (HYPS, Wharton, MIT)

Sep 3, 2015

Go to Duke, unless you think your personality is more introverted, in which case the latter two make sense.

Duke also is more of a target than Yale or MIT on the street, not sure what the above person is talking about. Schools become targets because of their alumni, not because of some arbitrary US News ranking.

Sep 3, 2015

Cornell AEM school is great, but the best part of Cornell is the network you will have after graduating

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Sep 3, 2015
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Jan 26, 2019
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