How much does the undergraduate school you go to matter for MBA admissions? (Deciding schools right now)

Kevi7's picture
Rank: Chimp | 13

I'm currently a high school senior deciding between UNC with a full ride and Dartmouth at full cost. I would have to take on a lot of debt to go to Dartmouth, and I generally liked the culture at UNC more, so I plan to enroll there. I understand the differences in IB recruiting, but would this make a difference when applying for MBA programs?

Region: 
United States - South

Comments (13)

Most Helpful
Apr 2, 2020

For me, I would definitely take UNC.

It is still a good school, and a full ride is pretty awesome. Depending on what you want to do, I don't think UNC would close too many doors. Plus. Dartmouth isn't a HYP like place anyways.

But you are lucky to have two great options.

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Apr 3, 2020

I'm a big believer too that if you can somehow casually indicate that you got a full ride while it may not elevate the UG school's status it will DEFINITELY elevate your status as a candidate.

Apr 3, 2020

Totally agree!

Obviously there is variance between universities, but UNC is a good school. The discussion might be different if it was a full ride to Kent State vs Dartmouth or something.

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  • Prospect in Other
Apr 2, 2020

I think you should calculate how much loans you need to take out for Dartmouth. The most comfortable debt I would leave with is 50k. If you go to Dartmouth their weird schedule allows for off cycle internships which helps you get into IB. Idk much about UNC, but I'm sure its good for jobs in Charlotte.
As for MBA, I think your priority should be getting a solid first job after school. Once you do this you have more options for MBA. Take one step at a time.

Apr 2, 2020

I knew several people at UNC and they've told me that they have solid placement in NY.

But, I'd have to take out about $130k in loans if I went to Dartmouth.

  • Prospect in Other
Apr 3, 2020

130K is a ton. Definitely go to UNC

Apr 3, 2020

Go to UNC. You like it better and you avoid loans. If your goal is finance or consulting you'll be just as well off at UNC as you would at Dartmouth. Don't buy into prestige bs you might read online, go enjoy college and don't think twice.

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  • VP in PE - LBOs
Apr 3, 2020

I was in a very similar situation to you when I was in undergrad (it was Yale vs. UT for me). $130k in undergrad loans is tough. Being an analyst in NYC means you're on a shoestring budget as it is and even if you get a solid PE gig after, you're still working on paying that down. Might not be worth the better placement in NYC banking IMO, especially if you think you'd enjoy UNC more. I don't think it makes a huge difference for MBA schools either. Being at Harvard or Stanford undergrad is a tangible benefit for HBS and GSB, but I don't think any other schools have anywhere near the same impact.

Separately--and don't take this the wrong way--the fact that you got into Dartmouth probably places you at the top of your class going into UNC. Obviously you're going to have to work hard etc, but Dartmouth and UNC are in different leagues in terms of selectivity and relative to your peers, you should have no trouble succeeding academically at the latter.

  • Analyst 1 in Other
Apr 3, 2020

Assuming the full-ride is a merit scholarship? If that's the case, UNC seems like an easy choice. The full-ride on your resume is all the justification you'll need for MBA applications about why you went to UNC (and they'll honestly assume you turned down schools better than Dartmouth, especially if this is Morehead-Cain or something).

That said, the main factor for MBA admissions is work experience and GMAT. Don't worry about that for picking your undergraduate school. Your main focus should be if UNC can get you the same professional opportunities as Dartmouth based on what you're interested in.

Apr 3, 2020

Its not Morehead-Cain/Robertson, but still a full ride.

  • Analyst 1 in Other
Apr 3, 2020

Full ride is a full ride. Doesn't change anything in my answer :)

Apr 3, 2020

UNC all the way given it's a full ride vs no money from Dartmouth. Plenty of IB recruiting to NYC bulge brackets and know plenty of unc undergrads in M7 including several at HBS. The fact that you have a full ride at UNC will also put you at an advantage in terms of on campus recruiting.

Source: I am very familiar with unc IB recruiting for both undergrad and MBA.

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Apr 3, 2020
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