Fordham 3+2 with Columbia or Georgetown and 300k Debt

abalasky's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | banana points 20

Hey guys! I'm a high school senior applying to university as a finance major and I've been accepted a couple places early action. Unfortunately I'm in a unique position where my family has a modest income (100k combined) but high investment property assets (dad rolled 401k into property in 2008) and as a result I'm getting shafted across the board for financial aid. My goal had been to apply to primarily business schools and the ivies with hopes of pursuing a career in finance then transitioning to law and public sector (Treasury/Fed) work in the long term. I've gotten into the biz schools at USC, Northeastern, Boston College, Fordham and Georgetown. Obviously I was excited at the prospects of attending Georgetown until I got the bill for a full 70k. I was offered half tuition at Northeastern and USC but the total annual payment still comes out to 50k for both these schools and they're nowhere near as competitive. Fordham on the other hand offered me a full ride and I've recently decided that if I go I'll major in their combined math/comp sci degree and pursue the 3+2 combined program with Columbia's engineering school. (I have a solid backing in math and science in high school having taken through Calc III as well as AP Physics 1 and 2 so the switch to engineering shouldn't be a problem academically). It guarantees admission after your third year (contingent upon GPA and pre-reqs) and I'd major in operations research with a concentration in financial engineering at the Fu School at Colombia. I know that the school places well in banking roles generally and that this degree specifically is geared towards quantitative finance.

My question is if I want to enter the upper echelons of the finance industry, place well, and be successful what would be the better route? Should i stick with a plain finance degree, eat the 300k in debt, and go to Georgetown? Or pay for only two years of undergrad by taking the full ride at Colombia and finishing up at Colombia and graduating with a much larger skillset with the engineering degree in operations research? I really am in a bind right now and am unsure of what to do. It's really hard from a position like mine trying to predict the future and my ability to do well using the internet haha so anything would help.

Also I guess its worth noting that I do have a rental property that my parents were going to sell to pay for my college (worth around 150k). That's why the two years at Colombia would leave me basically debt free bc I'd still be paying full tuition but for only two years bc I got tuition and room and board at Fordham. I should also mention that i'm waiting on Harvard, Yale, Princeton, for regular decision so there's always a chance but the financials will likely be similar and my chances of admission are very low. In the off chance I get in I'd obviously consider those schools far more and might not even hesitate about taking the debt.

Thanks in advance!

Financial Modeling Course

  • Get An Edge For Your Interviews & Finance Career
  • The Best (and Most Affordable) Financial Modeling Self-study Courses.
  • WSO Members receive a 15% discount

Comments (32)

Feb 9, 2018

300K? For UNDERGRAD??

Yeah, I'd advise against that. Take the full ride. Best case you get the Columbia program as well at no incremental cost. Worst case its a full ride.

Under no circumstance will it ever be a good idea to drop $300K on a degree if you're not already wealthy or studying to be a Doctor.

And what's with the school list? It's either HYP or Northeastern? Lots of great cheaper options in between.

Feb 9, 2018

I knew going in my financial options places wouldn't be great so I primarily applied to places where I'd get merit aid. I gave Boston College a shot early in attempt to get their full ride merit scholarship (didn't work out), USC for their half tuition (which I received), and Northeastern for their half tuition. I also preferred city schools so i didn't apply to the ivies in the woods or other schools where I'd be hit with big bills as well.

Apr 26, 2018

.

    • 1
Feb 9, 2018

Can confirm

Feb 11, 2018

not sure if you can, as you obviously haven't picked up on the joke.

    • 1
Free Consultation

Vantage Point MBA's clients are accepted to the top MBA programs at a 3x higher rate than the average acceptance rates. Request a consultation with their team to learn how they can help you gain admission to your dream schools. Learn more.

Feb 9, 2018

What were you offered from Boston College? I know a good amount of people there that have broken into BB's, might want to give it some more consideration.

Feb 9, 2018

5k in loans only :(

Feb 9, 2018

Not at all familiar with the 3+2 Fordham/Columbia program you described. Which school(s) issues your degree? Do you leave with a masters?

Feb 9, 2018

It's a joint program with the engineering school at Columbia. It has about 50 liberal arts partners and has the student completing engineering pre-reqs as well as most of their partner school degree in 3 years then guarantees transfer (with 3.3 GPA, no less than a B in every pre-req). Once at Columbia you complete 2 years of an engineering speciality (im shooting for operations research) and you leave the program having done 5 years. Upon completion you receive the degree from your liberal arts school (usually a B.A or B.S) as well as a B.S.E from Columbia. It works best in certain majors that naturally have you taking engineering pre-reqs to begin with which is why I'll be opting for the Math/Computer Science joint major at Fordham if I go this route. They're able to offer it because all engineering take the same curriculum in the first two years and then specialize in the junior and senior year.

Feb 9, 2018

That sounds pretty awesome man. An engineering degree from Columbia? If you keep above a 3.5 that alone should open doors to a ton of great careers. Add in networking and some leadership ECs and you should be able to go anywhere you want.

Feb 9, 2018

I completely agree with @slippy777 above. And this is the full ride scholarship - why are you not taking this again??? It sounds like a great deal for you and a degree from Columbia is very impressive. Under no circumstances does it make sense to bypass this option and take on the 300K in debt.

Free Consultation

Vantage Point MBA's clients are accepted to the top MBA programs at a 3x higher rate than the average acceptance rates. Request a consultation with their team to learn how they can help you gain admission to your dream schools. Learn more.

Best Response
Feb 9, 2018

Browse LinkedIn for general sense of placement of those schools to jobs you want.

But for god sakes take the full ride and aggressively network and pack your resume from the second you hit campus.

    • 4
Feb 9, 2018

Whenever TippyTop11 gives serious advice you better take it...

    • 1
Feb 9, 2018

They're on to me!

I like to maintain a strict 6:1 ratio of BS to Gold comments

    • 1
Feb 9, 2018

Have a few friends who graduated Columbia Engineering for grad school and they say it's no joke. However they are wanted everywhere for their skills and background. It also does depend on what you want to pursue in finance. If you want to go into investment banking then it's not a great idea to necessarily pursue engineering as it'll probably tank your GPA hard. If you want to go into Equities trading or derivatives, then Columbia engineering is perfect.

Feb 9, 2018

Why the huge difference between the two fields? Also to be honest I dont know the specifics of what makes equity different from investment banking on like a day to day work basis. In my mind finance kind of gets lumped into one big category haha.

Feb 11, 2018

As someone from NYC, please enroll in Fordham and take advantage of the scholarship..
Going to Fordham will not impede your chances of getting to whatever area on wall street that you want to end up in. It's also a plus that you have a scholarship, and you can definitely use that to strengthen your profile for recruiting.\
Your plan for after you start at Fordham is to:

  • Get a 3.5 + gpa
  • Enroll in finance clubs
  • Participate in recruiting events / network with people from Fordham that have broken into the industry

Do the above from the very beginning, and your chance of success will be astronomically high.

I am only paying 50 dollars every month in student loans, and it's an amazing feeling.

    • 2
Feb 9, 2018

Would you then recommend sticking with the finance major in the Gabelli school? To do the Columbia program I'd need to major in math and do 3 years at Fordham first before finishing up the two in operations research at Columbia. Would this put me at a disadvantage for internships and the like?

Feb 11, 2018

Something to consider is that IBD recruiting is getting pushed forward every year, and if you participate in a 3+2 program you'll likely be at Fordham when you recruit for junior year internship

Feb 9, 2018

I'd enter Columbia as a junior but yes this was one of my big worries too. I wasn't sure whether it would hurt my eligibility to get involved in internships. Would a math major at Fordham be competitive for banking jobs if I switched out of Gabelli to pursue the engineering track?

Feb 11, 2018

Go to Fordham, get a 3.6+, get a leadership position, join one of the investment clubs, network aggressively. Plenty of us have landed BB (and a few EB) IBD, S&T, ER, AM, and other Front Office roles following this formula. PM if you want to ask anymore questions.

Apr 26, 2018

My son is debating between Fordham (where he has received a full ride and is in the business honors program) versus business at Georgetown or Notre Dame (no aid at either). We had set aside money to cover his tuition so we can pay full freight if necessary at the later two schools -- but we've told him that the money we've set aside can go toward graduate school for him later if he decides to go to Fordham. He is struggling with the decision, however, because he really liked Georgetown and ND. Any thoughts?

Feb 11, 2018

Georgetown is a great school with many opportunities for landing roles at all the top banks. It will come down to whether you & your family are willing to pay the full tuition, which you seem ready to do, for him to attend. I think that if you are fully capable of paying the tuition Georgetown would be well worth the money because of the opportunities, alumni network, prestige, & overall reputation. Personally, If I had the financial means to go to gtown, I would go over Fordham.

That being said, Fordham on the up and coming. Many of students are landing roles at all the top banks (GS/JPM/MS/) in IB, S&T, AM, and ER. Strong alumni network with ppl willing to help. And networking while being in NY is huge plus. Very easy to meet alumni at banks for coffee in the city in the morning or afternoon and run to class after. Top students here are able to land great jobs. Yes, a lot of students have to fight harder for jobs then NYU Sternies and Columbia kids, but Fordham kids are known for having grit. Hope this helps. PM me if you have any other specific questions. Unfortunately I don't know much about ND.

Feb 12, 2018

Take the ride at Fordham, or go to USC. I would not put USC and Northeastern in the same category. USC feeds a lot of their undergrad business school students into IB jobs on the west coast. From Fordham you can network your way to a great job as long as your grades are good. And if your resume notes "full scholarship" right at the top, people will assume (correctly) that you probably were accepted to better schools but would have had to go into too much debt to pay for them.

Feb 13, 2018

I am a Fordham Alumni so my opinion is biased. But the Gabelli School of Business for undergraduates just gets better and better every year. Many of the kids I graduated got offers from top firms.

Also biasis because I would kill for a degree from Columbia. That alone will open so many doors for you.

+you would be debt free. The best college is the one that doen't hinder your future options with a ton of debt that you will spend the prime of your career paying off.

Feb 9, 2018

As i would be majoring in math/comp sci would I still be able to take advantage of these resources in my first 3 years? Also as an alumni any comments on this department and their ability to get involved on the business side of things? I was originally accepted into Gabelli as a finance major (in the Global Biz Honors Program too) but I decided that if I go i'd be better off with the math/comp sci major leading into the operations research degree at Columbia but i'm still uncertain if this will lock me out of opportunities in my 3 years at Fordham.

Feb 13, 2018

I have some good friends that went to Fordham that accepted full time IB roles at Citi and Barclays. It seems like if you put in the effort and take advantage of the solid network they have, you are able to break into IB.

Feb 9, 2018

Do you think I'd be able to do this as an undergrad math/comp sci major or would I need to be in the business school studying finance (what I was originally accepted as)?

Feb 17, 2018

Abalasky, I am in a similar situation to you. I was accepted to Middlebury which has the same engineering program with Columbia and another similar program with Dartmouth. Keep in mind that you will not be able to have a concentration in financial engineering bc Columbia said it is too competitive, so only students already enrolled may apply to it. Also, it will be very difficult to fulfill the prerequisites of a CS degree and major in finance to receive the benefits of a finance major. Remember that you are finishing the degree in three years rather than four. You seem to be looking at slightly better schools than I, so I'm sure you are very capable, but essentially double majoring in only three years, networking and having strong extracurriculars, and not screwing up in even one class seems very challenging. If I were you, I would go all-in on the CS degree then worry about networking once you are at Columbia. Being at Columbia will allow you to hold an internship during the school year and catch up to others. I'm sorry about Georgetown. With normal aid this would have been the obvious choice. Take what I say with a grain of salt since I'm only in hs lol, but I'm pretty familiar with the program that ur talking about.