Help on my College List (Investment Banking/Finance)

mpy's picture
Rank: Baboon | 104

1. UPenn
2. UCB
3. UMich Ross

1. UVA
2. Georgetown
3. UT Austin
4. UNC
5. USC
6. Boston College
7. Emory
8. Northeastern
10. Boston University

1. Indiana University
2. Villanova
3. Fordham
4. Baruch


US Citizen - Asian

- GPA : (unsure) I have an IB grade of 38/42, will probably get a predicted of the same or +1
- Rank : 6/7 out of 313
- SAT : 1470 (1480 superscored), Taking Math 2 & Chem this June (Aiming for 770+)
- ACT : none
- ECs :
a. TEDx Committee Programs and Speakers Head
b. School Rep. for Singaporean Model UN (held in NUS ; i'm from the Philippines and not SG) + (Will probably be one of the founding members of our schools first model UN club)
c. COMELEC (comm that handles elections, placing student council in power, etc.)
d. ADComm (comm that organizes a schoolwide teachers day)
e. Was part of a school summer program that taught top public school students
f. Bunch of community service stuff
g. Vice President of my class (sophomore year)
-- others

Will probably take Finance (or Bus Econ, Econ) so I'm surely applying to the colleges' business schools (Ross, McIntire, etc) + thinking of getting into Investment Banking

Questions on my mind
1. Should I apply for Wharton in UPenn or just Economics in their Econ department?
2. General thoughts on my college list and if I was mistaken in assigning schools
3. What's a better school that I can replace Boston University with? (heard it wasn't so great for recruiting/IB)
4. Any other school suggestions considering my stats/ecs?

Thank you for your advice/thoughts!

Comments (69)

Best Response
Apr 24, 2018

I would make sure to also look at fit. It's important to look at which schools place well, but after a certain level it doesn't really matter. The 4.7% increased odds of breaking into IB from School A (private school in a big city semi-target) vs. School B (sports-crazed public ivy located in a college town semi-target) isn't worth it if you'd be absolutely miserable at School A and really happy at School B or vice versa.

    • 7
Apr 25, 2018

I'm definitely looking at fit! I was about to place some colleges but upon researching, they weren't really good for me in terms of fit. I definitely need to research more on the other schools on my list though.

Apr 24, 2018

Solid list. You might also consider including Wisconsin on the lower end of target / as a safety, it seems to place decently and is similar culture-wise to many schools on your list (big state school).

You should also be aware that some of the undergrad business programs are 2 or 3 year programs, meaning that in some cases you'll need to apply once you're already attending the school (adding risk). Ross recently switched to taking a larger number of kids into their "preadmit" program, but I believe UVA still has you apply to their business school after your Soph year.

Wharton/Penn Econ is an interesting question. Obviously Wharton is top for undergrad IB recruiting, but is harder to get into. If you're comfortable with that higher risk/reward, then go for it. If you're OK with the idea of studying econ rather than business/finance, then you could add Northwestern to your list. They seem to place decently well.

I'd also second thexfactor336's comment about fit. Not only will you be miserable at a school that's a poor fit on a personal level, but that might also translate into worse grades.

And above all else, take everyone's comments (especially mine) with a grain of salt. There is no magic formula, and people are all affected by personal bias and experience in their opinions of schools.

    • 2
Apr 25, 2018

Alright, I'll look into Wisconsin! Yea I know that already, schools like Berk, UVA, and some others have that sort of program. I'll look into applying to Northwestern if I can manage to get a decent ACT score.


Apr 25, 2018

Indiana, Villanova, Fordham and Baruch can't be considered safeties because they're all holistic. Some people I know with a 34+ ACT and great EC's were rejected from those schools or other schools of a similar caliber so be careful and find a real safety just in case. Also try to raise that SAT to become a contender for UPenn.

Apr 25, 2018

For Indiana, am I not roughly safe with it because I have met their Direct Admit requirements? (not saying guaranteed though). I definitely checked out the others though and asked people about it. Yea i'm planning to take the ACT instead and see if I can get a high enough one for UPenn

Apr 25, 2018

Consider Stern as well

Apr 25, 2018

I would love to go to Stern tbh, but after researching, I read that they weren't so generous with aid and my parents can't afford for me to pay the tuition of NYU.

Apr 30, 2018

I would love to go to Stern tbh, but after researching, I read that they weren't so generous with aid and my parents can't afford for me to pay the tuition of NYU.

That and CoL is just rough.

UT Austin is fabulous. I'd really go hard at that and UVA. Austin is more fun though.

Apr 25, 2018

Perhaps you might want to add NYU Stern to your list, not uncommon to break into IB from there either. Also, if you're considering economics, perhaps Columbia as well?

Made ya look

    • 1
Apr 25, 2018

I want to go to Stern but my family can't afford for me to go there. Columbia seems out of my range (based on my stats) to be honest, which is why I never considered it.

Apr 30, 2018

If gaining admission to Columbia is a concern, it may be worth applying to Penn CAS as opposed to Wharton. Admission to Penn CAS should be theoretically easier than Columbia, whereas admission to Wharton is theoretically harder.

Apr 25, 2018

How about Notre Dame, Vandy, WUSTL, and Rice?

Apr 25, 2018

Out of my stats range!

    • 1
Apr 26, 2018

You shouldn't just not apply to a college just because it's out of your stats range. College admissions can be a crapshoot at times. Who knows? Maybe one of these colleges is looking for someone like you to fill their class.

    • 1
Apr 27, 2018

I think you're fine, and you're also applying for Upenn, UCB, Emory. I think UCB and Emory are on the same tier as those schools I mentioned.

Apr 25, 2018

Since you are international, do you need financial aid?

Reason is that every single school on your list is non-need blind for internationals. Which means that they will take your ability to pay into account. If you are full-pay then you are in a much better position.

Also note that your SAT score is a bit low for Wharton and Berkeley. Try to retake and get your score above 1540 and then you will be competitive.

You should pick one school and apply Early. Some schools allow EA + ED applications together (like UChicago). So consider adding a few EA schools to your list.

Apr 25, 2018

As far as I'm aware, Penn allows for superscored tests so if you get a good score on one portion, you can just study the other portion and retake then superscore.

Made ya look

Apr 25, 2018

Gonna be taking the ACT instead. Got a 1450 on my second try of the SAT and I'm afraid taking a third one will get me a lower score.

Apr 25, 2018

He's a US citizen bro

Apr 25, 2018

Oh shit! I just committed a MICROAGRESSION by assuming their GENDER. Forgive me Allah :(

    • 1
Apr 25, 2018

Yup, what Lloyd Blankfein said and what's mentioned in my post hahaha, I'm a US Citizen. I'm definitely going to take the ACT and yea that's why I made Berk and Wharton my reaches (not sure for Wharton, might go Penn CAS).

Oh I just didn't mention it but yea I am applying ED/EA.

ED - UPenn, EA - UVA, UT Austin, UMich, Indiana, (so far)

Apr 29, 2018

You can get knocked at Upenn and admitted to Yale. Think of all elite schools as being equally ranked #1, no one is tossing your resume because you went to Penn over Princeton or whatever, but you're a competitive you should be maximizing your shots at top schools. Don't let high school students perception of prestige drive what colleges you're good enough for. Good luck, wish you the best.

Apr 25, 2018

berkeley (if in state) and ross seem to be easier than gtown to get into (unless u are doing gtown business)

northeastern and boston uni move to safeties
consider adding stern

too many safeties... consider adding the state uni in ur state if u are in a decent state

nobody calls berkeley uc berk
also boston college appeared twice


Apr 26, 2018

im OOS since im living abroad. I'll be applying to McDonough, so i'll swap UMich and GTown?

For Northeastern, didn't they have a 9% decrease in acceptance rate? Heard they were being more competitive as of late. BU, I'll consider moving to my safety.

How many safeties do you recommend? Oh, yea living in the Philippines so no state school.

My bad about the UC Berk HAHAHA, my friends and I here in our school call it that. Yup, was meant to be BU not BC for the no.10


Apr 26, 2018

ross is better than gtown business
looking from ur list it seems that bu/northeastern may be much easier than the rest...
with us citizenship and not applying for financial aid (unless need blind), the process should be relatively easy
are u considering to work in the US? if not u can consider UK/Canadian school as well as backups


Apr 28, 2018

Northeastern's finance/accounting co-op program is amazing and can stack your resume. There are a few IB co-ops and the top two are MS/GS but only 1-2 positions each. In terms of breaking into IB it's still super difficult especially since they don't have many alumni in IB compared to the targets you listed (but a lot in other MO/FO roles). If you can cop a FO co-op/have 3.8+ GPA you should be fine though.

May 1, 2018

Yea one of the main reasons why i'm applying to NEU is because of their co-op program. Despite this, i've also heard about the difficulty to break into IB just as you stated. I'll make sure to take note of this advice, thanks

May 1, 2018

Yea one of the main reasons why i'm applying to NEU is because of their co-op program. Despite this, i've also heard about the difficulty to break into IB just as you stated. I'll make sure to take note of this advice, thanks

Apr 30, 2018

If you get into any of the reaches, or your top 3 targets, you'll be set. I think UCB and Ross will recruit equally well for IB, but with UCB placing heavily on the West Coast and Ross on the East. UT Austin kids also do well, but especially in Houston.

As for Penn CAS vs. Wharton - apply where your application will be more competitive. I.e. do you have the profile of someone who clearly wants to do business, or someone who is more "academic"? Just my $0.02

May 1, 2018

I guess right now, I have the profile of someone who is more "academic". I really like your advice though, it gives me another perspective on whether I should apply to CAS vs Wharton. I'm just afraid of the CAS discrimination (lack of a better word) when it comes to recruiting and I've heard from my friend's brother that the environment is really Wharton when it comes to business.

Thanks for your advice!

May 1, 2018

I was going to add that CAS isn't looked as favorably upon as W, but didn't want to sound pretentious because I think, in fact, if you were an Econ major at Penn who got in clubs, networked, etc., you would have no problem landing a job.

Apr 30, 2018

If you don't have to live in NYC or Chicago, UT Austin and Emory are your best shot. They have solid holds in the South. Especially, Emory is very strong in the Southeast of US.

Michael Lee

    • 1
Apr 30, 2018

If you don't have to live in NYC or Chicago, UT Austin and Emory are your best shot. They have solid holds in the South. Especially, Emory is very strong in the Southeast of US.

Agreed...but I'd take Vandy and Nashville over Emory and Hotlanta.

Apr 30, 2018

Good list overall, however UVA is definitely a hard as school to get into these days. Keep Boston U in there, get rid of Northeastern. BU's physical Questrom School of Business is trash in terms of their career center not wanting to have IB recruiters, but the Finance and Investment Club is absolutely amazing in terms of getting corporate attention. Last I heard, they're currently run by kids who are all going to BBs for IB. BU definitely will not give you the legacy/connections that Wharton/Harvard will but in the past 5 years they've definitely stepped up their game with the Finance Club's outreach. All sorts of IB shops recruit via the club. Definitely one of the fastest growing schools in terms of IB placement. Northeastern used to be better than BU, but they've stayed the same while BU has been sending more and more kids to the street.

Plus, if you like to fuck, BU's got talent and the 70-30 female to male ratio is only in your favor, chief.

    • 1
May 1, 2018

Wait, you've actually made me gain my interest/faith back for BU now that I know about their F&I Club. So basically, if I want to really get into IB through BU, joining the Finance and Investment Club will be my best bet? Really interesting... this reminds me of Penn State's Nittany Lion Fund. + the ratio puts the cherry on top haha

If I may ask, where did you learn about BU's career center not wanting to have IB recruiters? Also, does the Co-op program of NEU not put it at an advantage over BU? I've heard that NEU's problem is that not a lot of alumni work in IB, but I was thinking that the Co-op program helps alleviate this, any thoughts?

Thanks for the advice!!

May 5, 2018

Definitely. BU is a non-target if you're not in finance club, but id say a semi-target if you are in the finance club. Almost 0 investment banks come to Questrom's career center, rather they go straight to the finance club e-board and tell them they want students and to send them a resume book. There are tons of resume drop opportunities at places like Moelis, GS, Citi, and more. So opportunities definitely come at your face in the club. Every meeting they showcase a new SA/FT opportunity. The advantage I see is that since about 5 years ago even the finance club wasn't too hot, all the finance club kids are actively working their asses off to help every single member get a sick internship/FT offer every year. It's an extremely collaborative environment that knows they aren't given the prime position so they force themselves into it which shows hustle and I loved it. Now their hard work has paid off but its a long way to go. That being said, I know guys who've got BB offers without being in finance club, but it definitely helps to be in that environment and imo is a lot of useful knowledge.

One of my fraternity brothers was on the E-board of the club and he apparently talked to some of the career counselors and they said that they didn't like the "Wall Street" focus of the club, to which he said "I don't give a fuck". BU loves their Big 4 and F500 companies, and kids place heavily into there, but for some reason they don't like how we keep placing more and more kids into IB.

For NEU I am not 100% educated on their program. I honestly wouldn't think the Co-Op program has an advantage because Id assume that most of these co-ops really aren't in super great places and the experience isn't worth it. Depending on your sector allocation/seniors, the Finance Club will give you more experience because they do basically equity research. As a Freshman I was able to analyze industry trends, select a company, do a CompsCo table, and DCF and ultimately pitch the company, which is insane and better than anything I would've got at a Co-Op in my opinion. Ultimately this work is how I could answer questions in an interview which got me a Corporate Development internship for Freshman summer. To be fully honest BU doesn't have tons of alumni either since the school just started placing well, but I definitely think it has more than Northeastern. One of which was one of Goldman's top Partners who came into speak when I was there and that single meeting was what made me decide I wanted to follow in that path. But still it's not a huge network but it's growing.

Honestly BU is on the rise and I'm excited to see where it goes. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions. Love talking about the school.

Apr 30, 2018

The only red flag I saw here is that most, if not all, of your safeties are not really safety schools. You obviously have a pretty solid academic track record but great students get rejected from those schools all of the time.

May 1, 2018

Hmm I'm getting mixed opinions on my safety schools tbh. I've been told by people who've been accepted to Indiana (such as one guy who commented here as well) that if I meet the direct admit requirements, I'm essentially safe. I do believe the idea that college admissions are a crapshoot though, so I'll also be wary and careful with these schools.

Apr 30, 2018

Any chances of adding Vandy to your list?

May 1, 2018

With the number of schools on my list already, and me being below their average SAT score, I don't think I'll be adding Vandy. Heard so much great things about the school though, so if ever I get high on my ACT try, I'll definitely consider adding it. Thanks!

Jun 13, 2018


    • 1
Apr 30, 2018

What about Cornell? The acceptance rate would probably be similar to your target list. Although Ithaca doesn't sound fun at all haha.

May 1, 2018

Sorry, the fake ivy? HAHAHA Kidding aside, I've considered adding Cornell to my reaches but I think I have too much on my list already. + yea heard about the location haha

Apr 30, 2018

I'd pretty much forget about Gtown, Wharton and UCB unless you can get your SAT up or are confident you can get a 34+ on the ACT. Other schools are all reasonably achievable. Also consider applying ED or EA

May 1, 2018

They're my reaches so i'm still going to apply to them. I have a friend who got a 1500 flat on the SAT which is like a 33 and he got in GTown and UCB (only one in our school actually), so yea i'm aiming for 33 minimu on the ACT. Definitely applying ED for UPenn, EA to UMich Ross, UVA, UT, others.


May 4, 2018

Are u an URM? If not don't waste your ED on Penn

May 1, 2018

That's a really solid list overall. I know UCLA has some really good recruiting for the west coast. Fordham and Baruch benefit greatly from their location. Good luck!

May 1, 2018

Thank you!! I actually heard quite the opposite for UCLA hahaha, but nonetheless a great school.

May 2, 2018

Ross is a no brainer. Would choose it over Wharton. Way more fun and chill, better girls, less pretentious.

    • 1
May 7, 2018

Im just going to add my little piece of advice....

I got an offer working in IB at a BB bank in New York and when it comes to what college you go to (although some people with argue with me about this) it really doesn't matter. I went to a school that literally no one knew and I didnt even have a great GPA but i worked my ass off and and charmed the *** out of my interviewers. Needless to say its not easy if you go to a non target, obv people will look at you differently if you went to Harvard or UPenn, but what im saying is the school you go to isnt everything. I beat out 12 people from UPenn. All your schools are good but in the end its who you are that matters so dont stress! :)

May 18, 2018

I am a bit late to the party and I hate to be the person that says this but....

You do realize that you have to write multiple essays for each college you apply for, right? Yes, the CommonApp makes it easier to apply to a lot of colleges, but almost every college still asks you to write a "why us" essay. The more colleges you apply to the harder it becomes to write this essay.

I also don't see a consistent pattern in your list. UMich could not differ more with Emory/Northeastern/UT Austin. Please don't get me wrong, these are all great schools, but you need to find what you really want from a college, not just apply to schools that have a good reputation.

In addition, with schools like UPenn and even Michigan Ross/Georgetown, if your essay(s) is not exquisite, you will not have a chance at admission unless you have a parent that works at one of the universities or the president knows you by name, which colleges sadly could still frown upon this today if you know what I mean.

I just went through the college application process. I applied to 17 schools and regret it somewhat. It worked itself out, as I got into some of the schools that you have on your list, and in fact am going to attend one of them that was also my dream school. However, I got denied by some schools that I did not expect to get denied by partly because I wrote the essay in one sitting.

PM me anytime. I'll be more than happy to talk about the specific schools I got accepted/denied by and what you could do to improve your chances and help you figure out your college list. My stats were quite similar to yours.

May 20, 2018

You are purely looking at finance schools. What if you want to do something else?

Additionally, make sure you actually fit in the schools you apply to, and are able to write the large amount of essays.

Get those test scores up; as an Asian male myself, your test scores will be an obstacle to many of your matches as well.

May 29, 2018

You have a solid list, but you should be realistic about your chances of getting into these colleges. UPenn Wharton you need close to 1550 SAT. Your targets are very accurate and you should be able to get into about a third of them.

If you are looking for an Ivy to get into I would suggest Cornell Dyson. Umich and berkley will be hard to get into but you have a chance. Same with Georgetown which is very hard. I would also suggest applying to Upenn ED if you want them.

Jun 2, 2018

Would applying to UPenn CAS Econ be achievable with my score? I'm indeed planning to UPenn ED

Jun 3, 2018
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 21, 2018