Help me select a college from my offers please !

Hey guys ! I am an international applicant (indian) and I will be starting my undegrad later this year. I want to get into IB at a BB after undergrad (preferably in NYC) with alternate preferences towards consulting, asset management and real estate, in that order. I currently have offers from University of Southern California Dornsife, Boston University CAS, Fordham University (Gabelli), Colgate University, Hamilton College, Davidson College and University of San Francisco. 

In the UK, I have offers from King's College London, Cass Business School and University of Warwick. (not considering them very seriously because cross-country placements as far as I have seen, seem highly unlikely)

Costing wise, most of them work out to be nearly the same so that isn't too much of an issue for me. I've heard good things about USC but I was a little concerned with the opportunities in NYC from there. I've been having a hard time comparing between Fordham, Hamilton and Colgate. Hamilton seems to rank better but Fordham being in NYC seems to have an advantage most others on the list don't. I know I'll have to network hard and reach out to a lot of alums for a shot at IB from any of these colleges but what are your thoughts for the best out of these options ? Thanks in advance !

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Comments (63)

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 1, 2021 - 12:06pm

You're not going to listen to me but I'll share my $.02 anyway. Picking a college based on what will maximize your chances of getting a BB IB offer is misguided and extremely short-sighted (I would know since I did exactly that). Please take some time and think to yourself, why as a high school senior am I so dead set on going into IB? Am I just following the herd and chasing prestige? Do I even know what IB is?

You should of course pick a school that will provide you with strong career options but I think you have a bit of tunnel vision here (again speaking as someone who was in your shoes). College is truly one of the only periods in your life where you 1) have the time and liberty to explore different paths and 2) can meet new friends and people basically anytime you want. Try to have a more holistic view of what you want out of life rather than thinking that IB>PE>MBA etc whatever path is your road to glory. It's not and there are better ways to make money

With all that said, I'd probably pick USC on your list since it'll give you tons of career opportunities, great weather, attractive people, and a great social life. But if you're going in with the mindset you currently have you definitely won't enjoy the next 4 years as much as you should

Apr 1, 2021 - 12:44pm

Heya ! I appreciate the perspective and honestly, I agree too. But in my opinion, if I'm considering an international education which is going to cost a bomb (it truly does), I'd perhaps look for the best risk-return college because at the end of the day, as a prospective immigrant, I have to prioritise financial stability. I mean social network's equally important, but I have to ensure as best I can that I'm not dependant on my parents when I'm 22. But definitely I'm not fixated on IB or anything, I'd just like to make the most suitable decision given my current goals. 

Anyways, about USC, I was concerned that since it's over in LA it may not offer as much opportunities in NYC as it would locally. I looked at Linkedin for this, they've got about 150 alums in banking on the east coast that I could see and exponentially more over in Cali. Thoughts ?

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 1, 2021 - 1:51pm

Judging by how you responded, it's pretty clear that you didn't want to listen to anything the above commenter was talking about. You're still fixated on getting an IB job being a freaking senior in high school. Reset your perspective and chill out. College is not solely about getting a job. If you continue to think about it that way, the next 10-20 years look pretty bleak for you.

USC is a fantastic school that I wish I went to. It places incredibly well into many finance roles including IB (and no, being outside of NYC doesn't automatically make you "less successful" as you seem to think). But if you want to keep that same "NYC IB or bust," mindset, go where your heart leads you and hopefully you won't regret your decision when senior year rolls around. To think someone would choose Fordham over USC because it has better potential to place into NY IB actually blows my mind.

Apr 2, 2021 - 7:49pm

USC Marshall here. I've landed interviews at all Big 3 Consulting, touched bulge brackets (LA & NY), and just accepted an offer at a EB here in LA. Keep in mind, Moelis LA is a top group, PWP LA, CS LA, Morgan Stanley LA, and GS LA are all solid. USC touches all of these through info sessions on campus and alumni. It might be harder to place in NY, but we send kids to JPM, GS, Evercore, Moelis, etc each year. Finally, as an aside, Ares (megafund PE) is HQ'd in LA as well, and we place there as well. LA banking isn't dead, and USC Marshall is the same story. PM me for more information if you want. 

Apr 1, 2021 - 4:06pm

This is so spot on. As a high school senior, I almost decided to go to a school in the middle of fucking nowhere with a super small student body as well as a school in the middle of a major US city with a small student body just because they were highly ranked/prestigious/all the bullshit high school seniors get caught up in. Luckily my parents talked some sense into me to save on tuition (since it was in-state) and I ended up going to a big public school that had nearly as good academics in a quintessential college town with a huge student body and big time sports (think UMich, UVA, UNC, Texas). It was the best decision I made as I wouldn't have fit in at the schools I was initially looking at. I still ended up getting the career opportunities I was looking for. So please OP, listen to this comment. I'm also a first gen Asian immigrant FWIW

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Apr 1, 2021 - 4:56pm

It's easy to talk like this when you were born in a mansion and never have had to worry about money. For the rest of us that have to actually worry about financial independence right after college, a risk reward analysis with career trajectory vs tuition costs is absolutely necessary. 


  • 4
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 1, 2021 - 6:20pm

This is the correct answer, no one gives a fuck about location when you want to achieve success coming from a poor background. These posters sound like upper middle class people that live in a bubble. 

Apr 2, 2021 - 12:33pm

Completely true - as much as everyone loves to say you ought to prioritize the experience, at the end of the day most families can't afford a $100k 4 year vacation. No other way to look at it as an investment, especially if you want to be one of those people that looks down on gender studies majors who complain about being in debt

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 2, 2021 - 6:38pm

Say it louder baby! 

People on here already in the industry

Bro, so much more to life than money, you're so shallow, why don't you explore something else.

All of us ambitious prospects: 🤔🤔

Apr 3, 2021 - 7:44pm


It's easy to talk like this when you were born in a mansion and never have had to worry about money. For the rest of us that have to actually worry about financial independence right after college, a risk reward analysis with career trajectory vs tuition costs is absolutely necessary. 

Lol his parents are paying for school. He mentioned that tuition costs will be pretty similar to all of the schools. He is just talking about what school to go for IB in NY

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 2, 2021 - 4:39pm

Completely agree with this perspective. OP should seriously consider USC. It places well in west coast banking, plenty of people in my summer analyst class are from USC. I picked my school based on fit. It's a very fun west coast school and it's by no means a target for finance. I landed an SA position regardless and I've had an amazing college experience. You only go to undergrad once, make sure you enjoy it.

Apr 1, 2021 - 12:53pm

I would go with USC. While it's west coast placement is a lot better, it is tiers ahead of the other US-based universities and therefore is a clear choice. Also, it has a good social and sports scene plus good food around you being in LA, so it will be more fun than Davidson (another decent choice).

Apr 1, 2021 - 1:47pm


It's a strong school on your list and places well into finance. There are a ton of finance jobs in Cali / LA.

I wouldn't worry about not being in NYC. Fordham is a fine school but I wouldn't pick it over USC just because it's in NYC. USC would also be a lot of fun with great weather and a super strong supportive alumni base. 

Another point - as an international applicant, in general I would focus on the larger schools on your list that have a wide variety of recruiters. You'll need someone to sponsor you when you graduate and your career interests may change in a few years. Also, IB and consulting firms sponsor, asset mgt and real estate not as much.  

Best of luck! 

Apr 1, 2021 - 1:58pm

USC is a west coast finance target school. What is your reason for focusing so much on NYC? If you try and go to NYC you'll be competing with literally all of the Ivy league and East Coast schools, at which point nothing on your list is going to be particularly competitive.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Apr 1, 2021 - 2:10pm

Ah I see. Well, one aspect to consider is how often you would see your family if you lived in NYC. If it's once or twice a year, just take a plane trip and visit from California... but I'm coming from a perspective where I moved across coasts when I went to college and had no family around either (though still in the USA).

USC has a huge Indian community of students and alumni, so you won't exactly be isolated. I'm at a West Coast BB and we hire from USC every year. Just a single data point to consider. I believe consulting recruiting is also quite strong. The alumni network is huge. You'll have no shortage of clubs and activities to do.

Keep in mind as well, the social network you build is not just for fun (although it will be fun at USC for sure). It also ties into your career prospects and overall assimilation into the culture. You have to put yourself out there, not be quiet/passive, and take full advantage of all of the amazing opportunities. Recruiting nowadays is just as much "fit" and culture based as it is knowledge based. Who you know, and who you have access to, is still very important.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
  • 6
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 1, 2021 - 3:33pm

USC or Colgate, depending on which vibe you prefer, they're pretty different, but IB & the like are achievable from both for sure

Apr 1, 2021 - 3:49pm

If you're set on the US / NYC, I would take Colgate. I'm strongly biased in favor of liberal arts colleges and I've only ever had good interactions with Colgate students / grads. Going to a NESCAC school also opens up the entire NESCAC alumni base, which is incredibly strong and loyal. I've seen Amherst alumni move heaven and earth to place Wesleyan students they liked. 

The other consideration is how easy it will be to get sponsorship. It is significantly easier to get post-school work authorization in the UK than in the US. Furthermore, Warwick is a higher tier target for London than any of the schools you got in are for NYC. If you're just looking to maximize the chances of breaking into IB (including all factors, like school prestige / work authorization), I'm pretty sure Warwick is your best bet. 

Personally, I would take either Colgate or Hamilton. 

Apr 1, 2021 - 4:10pm

Hi ! I wasn't aware of the NESCAC alum perspective so that definitely gives me something to think about. I concur with you on the work-sponsorship part being easier in the UK than in the USA. I've been under the impression that some of my family being in the NYC area should count as a factor, which is why I was bending towards that. But, the advice I've received here on the thread, has rid me of that notion. Definitely considering Warwick and a few other offers much more seriously now. (Also, UK's easier on the pockets for undergrad cause it's only 3 years). Thanks for the input !!

Apr 2, 2021 - 12:57pm

I agree that Warwick is your best choice. Not sure why so many people on this thread are picking USC. It's a good school, but definitely not a target in the US like Warwick is in the UK. I have a few friends who went to USC and they all said that those who got the best offers (BB IB, MBB, etc.) almost all had insane connections. Since, your relatives are located on the East Coast, they won't really help you with landing a job on the West Coast. The only downside with Warwick is that it's located in Coventry, which isn't the most exciting place to live. However, if you're primarily focused on job placements, then pick Warwick. 

Apr 1, 2021 - 11:02pm

That is true, I think I got caught up a little bit with the herd and a little bit with my family, to pursue NYC. That has certainly changed after listening to people on here. Thank you !

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 1, 2021 - 6:57pm

USC. Will be more fun, hotter girls, good weather, good recruiting for West Coast. Not ivy level recruiting, but still very solid. 

Apr 1, 2021 - 11:00pm

Yeah that's what I've heard too ! Since I can pick two in the UK, with Warwick as my firm choice, I'm thinking of going with King's as my insurance option. Royal Holloway was a safety anyways. Thanks !!

May 5, 2021 - 1:24pm

Simply not true

It certainly isn't the most prestigious in London (Cass< LSE, LBS) but it is still a good semi-target. Just take a look at the alumni and many are in BB FO roles

They have a reputation for practical courses with good academics. There are lots of intl students, but is there everywhere else in London unis!

Apr 2, 2021 - 9:49am

Out of the schools you listed, USC seems like your best choice. Maybe NYC IB is difficult, but USC has national recognition and expansive opportunities and alumni/ recruiting. It's also a very fun school.

The schools you mentioned like BU, Colgate, and Fordham don't have much ties. Your chance of IB from Fordham won't be better than from USC.

The only reason I would consider the others is if there is a large difference in cost.


Apr 2, 2021 - 10:33am

Going to deviate from the pack here and suggest you go to Fordham.

I don't feel like people are really reading in to your situation. Rather they are like "where would I go given these set of opportunities"

Well guess what?
These posters have connections already. They could go to no name community college and they would still get a quality internship freshman year through someone that their family knows.

They know the culture well. There's a certain culture that comes in high finance. Little things that come with being professional that you grew up with if you were born upper class.

Money isn't an issue. Sure, some posters here have to take loans, but if things really went south, family members would step in and help cover the loans or would offer them a place to stay for a year or so. They could also get into an MBA and reset.

Well guess what? You have none of this.

You have no professional connections here.

You don't understand the culture of high finance.

You're already taking out substantial loans to be here and probably do not have a lot of support if thinks don't work out.

In that case you should not be looking into warm weather or which college has "attractive girls". You need to be looking at the college that has the highest chance of getting you a well paying job in finance. LA isn't a bad city by any means, but NYC has the most opportunities for finance by a landslide in the US. That is simply a known fact. When you live in NYC, networking is going to be much easier. You can easily set up a coffee chat and meet up with bankers. Fordham, while not a target, has a strong alumni network across the street. By meeting these bankers in person you will slowly get a sense of "norms" among high finance culture. You can also network with Indian bankers who may have a similar background to you. In terms of finding internships in your early years, there are so many boutiques and firms people rarely talk about where you can network your way in. On top of all this, you have the ability to do part time internships throughout your college time (not limited to summer) which will make you stand out. Finally you mention, you have family close to NYC and I think it's important to know you have support near by in case you need it. 


  • 4
Apr 2, 2021 - 10:45am

This ! This is literally what was going on in my mind as I read comments talking about the great LA weather or the pretty girls. I mean, you have summed up everything that I was thinking about and I unequivocally agree with you. There were some points raised about sponsorship and USC being a west coast target, so I'm still considering it but I think being in the hub and closer to the bank hq's definitely has some advantages that USC intrinsically lacks, so I'm not taking Fordham lightly too. Thank you so much ! 

Apr 2, 2021 - 10:56am

Eh, Fordham is dramatically less prestigious than USC or Colgate, and that matters a lot.

LA is not the ends of the earth in terms of finance... there is no reason why you can't network heavily with LA bankers coming from USC, and in fact in LA bankers will probably be almost 50% from USC, 50% from UCLA. There are plenty of little boutiques in LA too, and guess what, you aren't competing w/ zillions of east coast hardos to meet them... and theres a high chance the bankers running them will be USC alums

Honestly bad take to significantly downgrade prestige just to be in NYC

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 2, 2021 - 7:59pm

Lmfao alright choose Fordham over USC and update us in a few years on how that turned out for you

Apr 2, 2021 - 4:00pm

usc /thread

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Gen
Apr 2, 2021 - 11:58pm

I wasn't familiar with Dornsife (had to look it up), but this is an easy pick. You should go with USC. Unless there are financial considerations (i.e. you will get a full-ride at another school) - which is unlikely since you are international - you should absolutely pick USC because of those choices you mentioned, USC has the most world-class faculty, best facilities, more resources, etc. Moreover, with a large alumni community in finance, it will give you the greatest opportunity to set yourself up for achieving your future career goals. Plus the college sports and nice weather doesn't hurt either.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 3, 2021 - 1:38am

TBH it will be difficult to get an offer as an International (1) in general and (2) from a non-target or semi-target (USC, BU). 

May I ask -- and I am genuinely curious -- why do you want to study and work in the US?

Apr 3, 2021 - 1:47am

I think for me there were two big reasons. First of all, the flexibility that the American College experience offers is something that an indian education can't give. Moreover, given the huge population, there's a gigantic resource crunch. I'm not saying it's impossible, it's just that one has to work infinitely harder for things that aren't even worth that much effort. I figured, if I'm going to put in work, might as well try to get something out of it.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Apr 3, 2021 - 1:55am

Not sure I get what you are saying. You think an American college will be more fun? or that you will receive a better education? what does it offer that Indian colleges don't? 

And what's the second part? You think America has more opportunity? And I realize this might come off as an interrogation, but I actually am just curious. As an ignorant American who does not have perspective from the outside

Apr 12, 2021 - 5:13am

As a UK perspective, genuinely do consider Warwick. Its relative placement in London is much stronger than any of the American options' placements in New York, and probably relatively better in London than USC for LA too. Recruiting for internationals is also vastly easier in the UK than in the US, although you're right that UK university > NYC is basically impossible. Warwick is also a bit of a nothing place, for what it's worth. 

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Apr 12, 2021 - 10:39am

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