Harvard vs Yale vs Princeton

Was lucky and got accepted to all 3. I am trying to decide between them.

I would like to go to the one that

1) sets me up the most for MBB (not so much IB)

2) surrounds me with the friendly people (and doesn't feel competitive)

3) makes me the happiest in the long run

EDIT: also, does the Harvard name outweigh the Y or P name? is that enough to sway a decision? 

Thanks in advance

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Apr 16, 2021 - 12:43pm

LibArts1012

Harvard. 

Most people I know there say it's not as competitive as you think. I'm pretty sure Princeton is really competitive but I'm not too sure about that one. 

yea, ive heard that h and p are known to be more competitive than y. but i dunno, all else being equal, does the h name carry substantially more than y? 

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 16, 2021 - 12:35pm

not trying to be a dick, but you are asking the wrong question here. What makes me the happiest in long run is going to be very different than what makes you happy. 

Apr 16, 2021 - 12:44pm

not trying to be a dick, but you are asking the wrong question here. What makes me the happiest in long run is going to be very different than what makes you happy. 

totally see where u r coming from, but an environment where others are happy certainly makes it more conducive for me/others to be happy too

Apr 16, 2021 - 12:48pm

Have a ton of friends who went to Harvard and loved their experiences. Something about Boston being a college town with tons of other awesome and fun colleges in the nearby area helps a lot. Pack a lot of winter clothes though haha

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Apr 16, 2021 - 12:53pm

Razja

Have a ton of friends who went to Harvard and loved their experiences. Something about Boston being a college town with tons of other awesome and fun colleges in the nearby area helps a lot. Pack a lot of winter clothes though haha

right, boston seems awesome. although if i had to give the counterpoint, id say being in Boston lends itself to a more spread out school community whereas with new haven it's much more insular 

thanks for ur input

Apr 18, 2021 - 2:15am

State of MA is a lot colder than city of Boston and other coastal areas that benefit from being by the water in the winter. In Boston the cold really isn't that bad, it's the snow that can get annoying. We had snow a couple days ago in fucking April. Plenty of times we get snow on or before Halloween. Sucks but you get used to it. For the cold, just bring a jacket lol.

Dayman?
Apr 16, 2021 - 1:46pm

First of all, congrats. Not many kids get into all three. 
 

Secondly, realize that you are going to have the same ability to go to MBB from any one of these schools - getting an offer is going to be entirely up to you and your ability. Therefore, you should choose the school based on cultural fit. 
 

Princeton will be much more of a traditional college experience because it isn't in an urban center. Additionally, the lawn parties in the fall and spring are SUPER fun and the eating clubs are a good way to make friends. The main disadvantage here is that Princeton likely will be the most challenging institution from an academic POV and they practice grade deflation. 
 

Harvard obviously has a massive brand name which is great, and if you decide you want to go down a super engineering focused route you can take classes at MIT. You'll also be around a lot of other kids because BC, MIT, and BU are all in the city. Essentially, this means more tinder date options. On the flip side, Boston is really really cold and a lot of students get pretty depressed during the winter months. I know it sounds like a stupid thing to base your college decision on, but weather can have a significant impact on your enjoyment of the college experience. There is a reason why UChicago is where fun goes to die. 
 

Yale is obviously also another great institution. I don't know too much about them, but I know that they have a significantly more "woke" population than either H or P, and that New Haven is pretty dangerous. Personally this would be my third choice but research more and talk to alumni from your highschool to see what they think about their experiences. 
 

Personally I'd probably go to Princeton just by virtue of how absurdly fucking fun it is. I've never heard of anyone who didn't love it. 

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Apr 16, 2021 - 3:20pm

appreciate the input. wow, for some reason I've heard of Princeton being pretty depressing although the alumni donation rates seem to say otherwise. and yes, the woke pop. at yale is something to be considered, but in all honesty, i think id rather be surrounding my politically passionate students than finance meatheads which I've heard dominate at h (and maybe p, but u'll know more than i do). thanks again

Apr 17, 2021 - 1:37am

I don't think that finance meatheads (lol) dominate at any one of these schools. Most kids have remarkably diverse interests. Obviously, by virtue of being competitive universities most of your pre-professional friends will end up in tech, consulting, or finance (or they will go to grad school for law or medicine) but that's more a result of going to any Ivy than a result of anything else in particular. 
 

It's good to be around people with varying views cuz it teaches you to argue, but the whole ultra woke thing can be tiring at times. 
 

princeton is really good in that the eating clubs force you to make friends with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. This stands in contrast to Yale and Harvard which have both been very unfriendly to Greek or pseudo Greek life, leading to a greater number of students making friends thru academic clubs and preprofessional societies. 
 

idk get on the phone with people from these schools and make an informed choice. Are you able to do days on campus or is that not possible due to covid?

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Apr 16, 2021 - 3:23pm

Deo et Patriae

You've already chosen Harvard. You just want validation from anonymous strangers on a message board.

P.S. I'm a Harvard College and Harvard Business School alum. Feel free to DM me if you need advice.

not sure what makes u think that. i can speak from firsthand exp that I've already got enough external validation from teachers, peers, etc-much greater validation than anyone on wso can give me. 

and thanks for the offer, hope i didn't come off as too critical. lemme dm you with  a few q's I've got rn

Apr 16, 2021 - 3:08pm

I went to one of the schools that's not Harvard, but unless Harvard is sending a hundred kids to MBB a year I don't actually think getting into MBB is all that different in difficulty between Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. At my undergrad, if I remember correctly, around 20 students went to each of the top 3. That doesn't include people who got offers but chose something else. My understanding of the process is that for schools of a certain tier, each recruiting team has a cap on how many offers they can give out. I would be shocked if Harvard's cumulative cap across MBB is higher than Yale / Princeton's given similar class size, but even if it were it's a wash because you have to competitive against your classmates to get an interview anyway.

OP, just go where you like the atmosphere the best. You'll probably end up where you want to end up / deserve to end up independent of school when choosing between those 3.

Apr 16, 2021 - 3:15pm

Oh by the way, unless the student bodies and their goals are substantially different between the three (which I don't believe they are), I remember a little less than a third of my class applied for MBB positions (rough number per career services). This is in the hundreds of people. Now many of those are throwaways and people who have no shot, but it really was not that hard to get an MBB interview. Just keep your GPA above 3.6, have some good internships, and don't be an idiot in the coffee chats. Position your resume around real impact / business experience. Of the 400 or 500 that applied to MBB, there were around 120 interview slots I believe? Maybe less? It's been a couple years. Point is, MBB is tough, but it's not that hard to get an interview at any of the targets. You just have to compete well against your class and you're already benefited by the greater number of interview slots they'll give your school. These are rough numbers and I might just be a boomer misremembering things, but I do think it's directionally accurate and hopefully helpful

Apr 16, 2021 - 3:35pm

100%. Don't get me wrong - Harvard is a great name. But 90% of the people who say "choose H" and never go back never had the option to go to any one of the three lol. But exit outcomes between the three are so vastly overstated. You'll get the exact same opportunities, even MF PE Analyst jobs (I could go on about this, but there's a common misconception that only H/W get MF PE analyst recruiting... simply not true), out of any of these schools. HYPSM are all comparable and direct competitors, and I know people who've turned down one school for the other for every combination of those schools. Go where you feel the happiest, OP. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 16, 2021 - 7:47pm

As someone who landed 2 MF PE SA roles from P/Y I have to agree that there's no difference in outcomes for any of these three. It comes down to your own abilities and which campus you'd thrive/excel the most in.

Apr 16, 2021 - 4:57pm

I went to a semi/target think Northwestern/GTown. If I were in your shoes I would have taken Harvard in a second. Because in 50 years the rankings of all other schools might differ slightly but there is no question that Harvard will always be in the top 1-4. However, you will still get immense opportunities from Y & P. 

Apr 16, 2021 - 6:45pm

BumbleBee45

I went to a semi/target think Northwestern/GTown. If I were in your shoes I would have taken Harvard in a second. Because in 50 years the rankings of all other schools might differ slightly but there is no question that Harvard will always be in the top 1-4. However, you will still get immense opportunities from Y & P. 

thank you for your input. i do have to agree with that, in the recent years, it seems that yale has been slipping (likely due to increased demand in stem and a seeming low quality stem ed at yale)

Apr 16, 2021 - 4:59pm

Even if H leaves you with a quarter million in debt the name alone will solve all your worries

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Apr 16, 2021 - 6:47pm

Fintech is Fun

Even if H leaves you with a quarter million in debt the name alone will solve all your worries

its funny actually, harvard is a tad bit cheaper than my state school. and its also on par with a t-20/15 school that gave me full tuition scholarship 

it's insane how good the fin aid at top schools is these days

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 16, 2021 - 5:01pm

Depending on your major: more STEM/quantitative = P, liberal artsy = Y, undecided = H

Easy grading = H > Y >> P

Learning experience = P > H > Y

Parties = P/H > Y

Career-wise = all three opens doors to basically everywhere depending on how you do

Location = H > P > Y

Girls = Y > H > P

(More SJWs) Y > H > P (Less SJWs)

Overall I'd choose H/P > Y

Very biased and personal opinion lol

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 16, 2021 - 6:18pm

Something to think about, but shouldn't be THE deciding factor: Let's say you kill it in UG, get to MBB, do something else for two years, then get into H/S for MBA - is not a crazy scenario given getting into HYP. If you go to Harvard then HBS, you will only have "unlocked" the Harvard network - twice. By going to P, you "unlock" a top tier network, one which you won't be looking at again for MBA
 

first year analyst, so someone with more runway behind them, please correct me if this thinking isn't correct.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 16, 2021 - 9:22pm

I hear you and this makes sense, but you could also do H UG, and then go to Wharton, or Stanford. Which opens just as many doors as any of the other similar combinations. So for that reason, I really wouldn't rule H out. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 16, 2021 - 7:44pm

If you're interested in MBB all three schools will give you an equal chance of breaking in. It's a different story when it comes to PE recruiting, but with MBB there's a pretty equal pipeline across all three. In the end it'll come down to personal fit and the environment you prefer and where you'd excel the most. I agree with the poster above though about how if you want to go to H for business school you might be better off choosing Y or P since you'd be able to unlock two networks.

Apr 17, 2021 - 6:07pm

Namaste.

D.O.U.G.

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