I Need Help with My Transfer College List and Major

I'm a community college student in California, so I have transfer agreements with all the CSU's and UC's in the state. Also, my community college has a transfer agreement with U-Michigan Ann Arbor. On the other hand, the other classes I'm interested in have different requirements and harder to transfer into. So here are my questions:

I'm really interested in becoming a financial analyst for technology companies, but should I change what majors I'm applying as? The first question is because I'm sure if it is a good idea to get BBA focused in finance. Lastly, should I add or remove any colleges on this list? I really want to go to a college that will grant great opportunities and has a small to medium student population. I know the last thing stated is contradictory to the state colleges on my list, but those are my exceptions since I like their environments.

* = the ones I'm definitely applying to next year

Amherst Mathematics B.A.
Chicago Mathematics with Specialization in Economics B.S.
Claremont McKenna* Mathematics (Focus in Financial Economics) B.A.
Colgate Mathematics B.A.
Pomona Mathematics B.A.
UCB* Operations Research and Management Science B.S.
UCD* Managerial Economics B.S.
UCLA* Financial Actuarial Mathematics B.S.
UCSB* Financial Mathematics and Statistics B.S.
UCSD* Management Science B.S.
U-Mich* Mathematics of Finance and Risk Management B.S.
Wesleyan Mathematics B.A.
Williams Mathematics B.A.

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Comments (44)

Nov 27, 2013 - 9:58pm

1) Why all the mathematics-focused degrees? Do you want to be an actuary? If not, you should be aiming for the highest possible GPA. Think about double majoring in finance and accounting, though that's by no means necessary and your focus should be high GPA+internship.

2) Going to a business school at a large school is liking going to a small school within a large school.

3) Go to the best school you can. Do something at that school. Get an internship.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Nov 27, 2013 - 10:02pm

Also, look through any employment information the school has and look at which companies attend career fairs. Employment info can be somewhat hard to find or just non-existant, but with a school like UCB, they should have undergrad info.

Also, if you don't particularly like UCB or UCLA but don't hate them, ask yourself this: "Do I care that I have a great time for the next 2 years or do I want to get my dream job?"

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Nov 27, 2013 - 11:42pm

1) DM, should I go for a major in economics then? I think I was being naive about needing all this math to go into financial analysis. Would it look bad if I don't take differentials equations or linear algebra if I'm planning on working on the business of technology companies.

2) Is it bad that none of the programs that involve financial mathematics aren't accredited business programs?

3) I'm really leaning towards liberal arts colleges since I like the small, intimate college campuses. Maybe I should just apply to those then.

I think I would enjoy UCLA and UCB a lot if I can get through the class sizes. On the other hand, the thought of feeling of being alone.

Best Response
Nov 27, 2013 - 11:55pm

Okay, first I'm not a pro, I don't know any of this firsthand. On to the questions...

1) Why wouldn't you go for just a regular degree in finance/accounting? Unless you're really interested in risk, I don't think math will play a major role. @GoIllini @accountingbyday

2) For finance and accounting, companies want finance and accounting majors first, then econ, then quant majors, then everything else. Finance/accounting shows you're interested in the subject. If you choose to do anything other than finance/accounting, you better be in love with that subject.

3) Okay, just go to the best one you can. Do research on who recruits on campus. Do research on the colleges' jobs reports - where the students who graduated went to work.

On UCLA/UCB, that's your decision. Just know it *may* hurt you to have UCSB instead of UCB on your resume for tech jobs. While I don't know tech specifically, it's a hot sector and everyone wants to work in tech (to an extent of course). You won't be competing with just kids from your school, you'll be competing with the kids who chose Stanford, UCB, UVA, Harvard, etc too.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Nov 28, 2013 - 12:09am

I thought a math major with some finance course will look good to tech companies. I also to some CS classes and did well in them, but I understand what you mean about #2. Maybe I need to think this through better and I'm not dead-set on working for tech companies. It's more a dream to me haha. I should major in business administration with a focus in finance at colleges that offer it and economics at the liberal arts colleges.

I actually don't mind have UCSB on my diploma after finding this awhile back: http://www.pstat.ucsb.edu/STATS_Alumni_Job_Placement.pdf

Thanks, DM

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Nov 28, 2013 - 10:40am

I'm not sure why DM is underplaying the importance of university. The weight of a degree from UMich, Berkeley or UCLA will make a huge difference in becoming a financial analyst at a prominent tech firm. The opportunities there will be much greater than the LACs you listed. Unfortunately the only small schools that carry serious punch are highly selective targets.

Nov 28, 2013 - 3:53pm

Wasn't trying to underplay the importance of it, but it can be extremely difficult to convince someone of where they should go to school. I do 100% agree he should go to the best school/business school he can go to, though.

Also, a lot of schools do send kids to jobs you wouldn't expect them to get, that's why I told him to read employment reports/career fair/OCR info.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Nov 28, 2013 - 10:47am

"Unfortunately the only small schools that serious punch are highly selective targets."
That's my biggest problem with my college list.

Will those majors that I listed for Umich, UCB, and UCLA help me get recruited?

Nov 28, 2013 - 11:17am

For many entry level positions recruiting is based more on raw potential, work ethic and fit than your major. Obviously there are exceptions, but finance/accounting at a tech firm is likely not one of them.

You should be positioning yourself to have the opportunity to get the job you want after college or to at least give yourself the greatest amount of options after graduation.

In order:

Go to the best school you can. This is based on price, network, OCR, fit, etc. Fit is an oft overlooked factor in choosing schools-- it's going to be a lot easier to be successful if you are at a place that you feel comfortable.

Get the best GPA you can within a major that is somewhat relevant to your general career path. None of the ones you listed would seem all that odd/disqualify you when applying to any finance related job.

Get as many relevant internships as possible. A lot of this is a function of your hustle/hard work, but your choice of school can make it much easier or harder.

Use solid school reputation, GPA, and relevant internship experience to position yourself well to get the full-time job of your choice.

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Nov 28, 2013 - 10:55am

D M was right about major. If you aspire to become a financial analyst it makes sense to pursue a Business / Economics degree. Studying something more quanty like Math / Engineering might be impressive, but will ultimately be another hurdle to navigate when it comes to getting a job - you'll have to explain why you want to change and defend what will likely be a lower GPA. The upside of a technical degree is you actually have other options if finance turns out to not be for you...

Nov 28, 2013 - 11:20am

The downside is that UCB and U-Mich are the only colleges on my list with an accredited program. I guess it won't be hard explaining why I want to get into finance if I apply as these majors at these colleges:

UCB* Operations Research and Management Science B.S.
UCD* Managerial Economics B.S.
UCLA* Financial Actuarial Mathematics B.S.
UCSB* Financial Mathematics and Statistics B.S.
UCSD* Management Science B.S.
U-Mich* Mathematics of Finance and Risk Management B.S.

Nov 28, 2013 - 3:56pm

Just curious as to why you're looking at just about every degree EXCEPT finance and accounting

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Nov 28, 2013 - 7:19pm

I need a back-up plan just in case becoming a financial analyst doesn't work out; partially I'm a little nervous about getting a degree in BBA and stressing out about transferring. In a perfect world, I would like to transfer to Haas, Ross, Dyson, Stern, McDonough, Marshall, Wharton, and Sloan, but that isn't going to work out for me. That's why I was looking at the financial mathematics, mathematics, and management science programs as possible alternatives. Don't get me wrong though, I really like liberal arts colleges.

Nov 28, 2013 - 7:52pm

DM, I just looked at around 20 financial analysts job qualifications. The job postings ask for finance and accounting major the most, and then business/economics occasionally pop up. I finally see what you mean about majoring in finance or accounting. I feel like wasted a lot of time.

Nov 29, 2013 - 1:01am

These are important decisions so don't feel your time is wasted.

Majoring in finance / econ puts you squarely on firms' radar, whereas coming out with another degree you'll have to make some noise on your own. The same applies to brand-name of school. Entry level finance does not reward originality - your best bet is to do what everyone else is doing, just a little bit better.

Nov 29, 2013 - 1:13am

Like D M said, nothing will set you up for a finance job like doing well in a finance program. Economics is a thinking degree whereas finance is a mechanical degree, like physics to engineering. Entry level jobs are about doing grunt work, not generating ideas. That being said economics will still give you a great shot at the jobs you're thinking about.

Nov 29, 2013 - 1:18am

In the spirit of taking the path more traveled, I would recommend going on LinkedIn and seeing what current financial analysts at Amazooglehoo have done in the past. That will give you a good idea of what skills and experiences these roles typically require.

Nov 30, 2013 - 10:42am

If you want to do Finance in California I can give you a bit of advice, coming from a top northeast LAC and having just accepted a job in Cali.

Stay in California, even though some of the small liberal arts school in the east are very prestigious, their ties to California are weak. I had to really work hard to establish contacts on the west coast. Even though an Amherhst might be "better" than a Pomona or Claremont, you get a much stronger west coast network. With that being said, Amherst and Williams are the top ranked liberal arts schools in the nation. If you could get into either, the name brand of the school would help carry you anywhere and is probably more beneficial in the long run. People turn down ivies for Williams and Amherst and I know tons of kids in Finance from both these top schools.

As others have said, decide on a major that will let you keep your GPA as high as possible, with the least amount of effort. Its really all about networking and finding internships

Looking at that list, you can't really go wrong with any of the Cali schools, especially if you can do really well at them, obviously though, Claremont, Pomona, and maybe a Cal Berkeley are going to be stronger schools. Michigan would also be a good choice as it has placement all over the country. I would stay away from Colgate and Wesleyan, still great schools, but will make it tough to get back out west. If you apply and get into Williams/Amherst, for me those would be tough to turn down. I do have an affinity for the liberal arts schools, but those are such great schools that I would absolutely take those for the long term. It might be slightly easier to get an entry level job as a finance major from UCSB, but when you're in the running for CFO of google, that amherst degree is what you're going to want. Just my 2 cents.

Nov 30, 2013 - 12:00pm

Mrharveyspecter, thanks for all that good information.I was looking to do finance in either DC, LA/SF, New York, Boston, and maybe Chicago. I should've mentioned that earlier in the thread, my apologies. Based on everyone's input, I recreated my college list and planned a tentative class schedule to follow to get through all the prerequisites. just found yesterday JHU has an undergrad business program and a minor in financial economics.

Amherst Economics B.A.
Georgetown-McDonough Finance B.S.
JHU-Carey Business Administration B.S.
NYU-Stern Business Administration B.S.
UCB-Haas Business Administration B.S.
UCD Managerial Economics B.S.
UCI Business Administration B.A.
UCLA Business Economics B.A.
UCSB Economics and Accounting B.A.
UCSD Economics B.A.
U-Mich-Ross Business Administration B.S.
USC-Marshall Business Administration B.S.
Williams Economics B.A.

Nov 30, 2013 - 2:10pm

For tech jobs in Cali, this would be the order I'd go with:

1) UCB Haas
2) UCLA Biz econ / UCSB acct and econ / USC Marshall
3) Georgetown McDonough / NYU Stern / UMich Ross / UCSD Econ /JHU Carey
4) Williams Econ / Amherst Econ
5) UCD econ / UCI biz

Reasoning for this is: location, how good the school is (and how likely the school has decent recruiting), and how well the school name will follow you up the ranks of your job. Keep in mind that I'm making this list with just a simple knowledge of those schools.

Seriously, here's what you need to do now (in Excel):

1) Rank the schools by how much YOU like them
2) Go to the tech companies' websites you're interested in and try and find out where they recruit (specifically for business, if possible). Read job posting, go to their careers page, etc. Rank the schools by who recruits there.
3) Go to those schools' business program site and find out who goes to their career fairs. Look for employment statistics. Rank the schools by their career outlooks.
4) Rank the schools by US News ranking.

Now look at these all side by side, narrow it down to the top five schools. Then come back and let us know where you're at. This could take you about 10-20 hours of work. It's a bitch, I know, I've done it. But it's worth it and you REALLY know what you're getting into.

EDIT: You're in a great place. You just need to understand what going to each one of these schools means. #s 1-4 in my list of schools I'd go with are school names that will follow you everywhere and make you look like an excellent candidate. The 5s are still great schools, but they don't have the name recognition outside of Cali that the first 4 do.

Also, once you're accepted, look for a small-mid size accounting firm/business and do everything you can to get an unpaid internship for the summer. Even if it's only 10-15 hours per week, it will help you a lot come recruiting season.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Nov 30, 2013 - 3:20pm

I found paid accounting and business internships at NASA that have quarterly job offers for community college students every year. I'm planning on kissing some teachers' butts and getting recommendations from them so I can get one of these positions. Then I found another one at Texas Instruments as an operations analyst and I just applied for a sales job at the Microsoft retail store yesterday. I just started researching the colleges I am applying to and ranking them.

I'm ranking them now and GTown, USC, U Mich, UCB, and NYU (no particular order) are coming up a lot on top for most of these rankings. On the other hand, UCI, Amherst, and Williams aren't doing to well in my overall rankings so far. JHU is the middle of the pack right now with UCSD and UCSB. It's taking a lot of work so I might be finished with ranking Sunday night or Monday afternoon since I have to an English essay due Monday morning. I'm still trying to figure out a number system to rank them, and sadly, I might have to take out Amherst and Williams from my list.

I'm ranking them in these ways:

How I like the school
Top 25 Tech Jobs Placement
USNEWS Rankings - General (Research Universities)
USNEWS Rankings - LAC (Just Amherst and Williams)
USNEWS Rankings - Finance (Accredited Business Schools only)
Businessweek Rankings - General (Accredited Business Schools only)
Businessweek Rankings - Finance (Accredited Business Schools only)
Geographical Closeness to Tech Companies within the East Coast the Area (All)
Geographical Closeness to Tech Companies within the West Coast the Area (All)
Geographical Closeness to Business Companies within the East Coast (All)
Geographical Closeness to Business Companies within the West Coast (All)
Gay Life within College (All)
Gay Life outside College (All)

Nov 30, 2013 - 7:15pm

A couple of things to note:

-Ignore the rankings for finance, only business in general really matters.

-As far as gay life, most major cities will deliver except some places in the south (though most do). So even if they aren't ranked on whatever "gay life" scale/ranking there is, if you're in or near a big city, you'll be fine.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Dec 2, 2013 - 10:18am

Yes that is correct, @D M . For corp fin positions, you should focus on majoring in finance or accounting or both. (If you can do both so you're CPA eligible) If you aren't interested in holding higher up accounting positions, the CPA won't be necessarily, and thus you don't need to double major.

Just go to a large well ranked business school. Georgetown, Mich, etc will fulfill that. A lot of the B10 schools and the big east coast schools will meet this requirement.

Dec 2, 2013 - 1:24pm

Heads-up, to make the @ thing work for someone with a space in their name, you have to put it in quotes, ie: @ "D M" without the space between the @ and "D

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Dec 2, 2013 - 2:51pm

Young and Indecisive:

I didn't know that it doesn't really help haha. I read somewhere that having both an MBA and a CFA is good combo. Is there any reason to get M.finance degree?

It might be depending on the industry/position, but not at my company. MBA & CPA is the combo of choice imo.

Not really. Masters of Accounting is the only one I see.

Dec 2, 2013 - 7:02pm

Link didn't work for me. That said, you can't go off something general like I'm assuming this article is. Once you get in with a company that you want to stay at, you see what that company's modus operandi is and roll with it. If the senior guys got MBAs, get an MBA. I they just have CFAs, go with it. I have no doubt you'll see plenty of people with CPA or CFA + MBA, especially in tech where business jobs are highly coveted.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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Dec 2, 2013 - 11:10pm

What do you mean by financial portfolio management positions? Do you mean at a hedge/mutual fund? If so, yes, you do only need a CFA as long as you started out working at a fund. But if you don't start at a fund, it's very likely you'll need to get an MBA to switch industries. For more on that, you're going to want to ask on the hedge funds/Asset Management/equity research forums.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
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