Important of Undergraduate College Prestige

Rank: Chimp | 14

At least based on the forums here, a school's name even on the undergrad level seems to matter a lot... more than it should.

Like on the thread discussing Berkeley vs Cornell, or AKA Haas vs Cornell, many people were saying Cornell simply due to its ivy league name. But on that note on sites like College Confidential, there's many people saying Cornell's ivy name doesn't matter since it accepts many more students than other ivies, and is also the lowest "ranked" ivyschool. Also Cornell's location in Ithaca isn't ideal for internships and whatnot.

This being said, does a school's name matter significantly AS LONG AS you come from a target undergrad school (like UPenn, Cornell, Stern, Ross, Haas).

Comments (25)

 
Dec 31,2014

Ok,the point of going to a target school is that you have more exposure to recruiting and networking opportunities.That's it!
It also helps when you want to go to b-school but you still have to get a 720+ gmat score.

Once you're in a target school it's all up to you to milk it for what it's worth.

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Dec 31,2014

Even among the targets, the school name still matters. It all depends on the tier of the schools you are comparing.

If you have a list of schools you are debating among, we can offer input.

 
Dec 31,2014

I was thinking:

Cornell AEM (Dyson School of Management) vs NYU Stern vs UMich Ross the undergraduate level.

 
Dec 31,2014

Objectively I would pick Cornell. Is cost a factor for you?

 
Dec 31,2014

Coming from a non-target, yes, your undergrad institution is HUGE in your first 2 or 3 years out of school (I was able to overcome it through luck, hard work, luck, perseverance, and luck). By the time you're 30, it's ALMOST entirely irrelevant. We were hiring recently at my institution for a highly experienced (10+ year) associate, and when we received resumes the last thing we looked at was institution(s) attended. Specific, relevant work experience was overwhelmingly huge, quality of company they had worked for was a distant second, college major was a close third, and actual undergraduate institution was almost irrelevant.

The further I got away from college the less I really cared about college sports or my old fraternity. Similar things happen professionally as you get further away from college--as time goes on your undergraduate institution has less of an impact on your career. However, the quality of your work experience COULD be directly impacted by your undergraduate institution because it can directly impact the roles you obtain upon graduation, but if you attend a non-target and overcome it and get hired into a target role then your undergraduate institution really doesn't impact you. I even knew a guy at my institution who got on with Goldman Sachs IBD, but he had family connections...

Edit: I also wanted to add (and I think I read it from a link on this site) that your undergraduate institution plays a statistically noticeable role in your likelihood of admission to top MBA programs. So yes, the institution you attend at the undergraduate level CAN impact your career. With that said, I've read numerous studies that seem to indicate that people who are admitted to Ivy League institutions and choose not to attend (in favor of other institutions, such as their local state university) ultimately end up with the same level of earnings by their 30s. To me it suggests that ultimately, people with equal intellectual horsepower tend to achieve the same levels of success over time.

 
Dec 31,2014

This is very true. After a few years your college and even your degrees (unless it's a technical job-a history major could be a great IB'ER, but an english major isn't going to cut it in engineering) and no one really cares. Where you attended ollege comes up more in conversation regarding what did you do from 18-22.

Although my general rule is that you know within 5 minutes if someone went to Harvard. No offense Harvard kids...

 
Dec 31,2014
Dingdong08:

Although my general rule is that you know within 5 minutes if someone went to Harvard. No offense Harvard kids...

cuz they tell you ;)

 
Dec 31,2014
Ipso facto:
Dingdong08:

Although my general rule is that you know within 5 minutes if someone went to Harvard. No offense Harvard kids...

cuz they tell you ;)

Exactly. I never notice it from other top schools but for whatever reason Harvard guys tend to say it very early on when you meet them. And typically out of context. I used I work with a guy when I was around 30 and he was 50 plus. Whenever he met new people he'd drop something like "well back when I played football at Harvard..." One time another guy, who I think went to Yale so there was probably built in contempt anyway just fired back something along the lines of "that was over 30 years ago. And we're talking about valuation and dcf."

But OP, I suppose a better way of stating what I did earlier is that your the importance of your undergrad dissipates as you get more experience but you're definitely more likely to be in a senior finance role if you went to a target school simply due to how many undergrads get into IB or MBB's and subsequently top bschools from top schools.

 
Dec 31,2014
Dingdong08:

This is very true. After a few years your college and even your degrees (unless it's a technical job-a history major could be a great IB'ER, but an english major isn't going to cut it in engineering) and no one really cares. Where you attended ollege comes up more in conversation regarding what did you do from 18-22.

Although my general rule is that you know within 5 minutes if someone went to Harvard. No offense Harvard kids...

And in my area, it's much cooler and more fun to be from my institution than Harvard when it comes to the social scene. :)

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We know you have questions as you prepare to apply to your target business schools. What are your chances of being admitted? How can you differentiate yourself from so many other applicants? What is the best way to showcase your accomplishments or mitigate your weaknesses? Start getting answers to all your questions by taking advantage of a free 30-minute consultation with an expert from mbaMission’s Senior Consultant team. Learn more.

 
Dec 31,2014

VATech pretty much nailed it so little to add here. Basically undergrad prestige plays an important part in getting a top finance or consulting gig out of college. For law/med/Phd admission it doesn't matter nearly as much. As a general rule, the further you are out of school the less it matters.

It is awesome though to name drop at cocktail parties if you went to an elite school.

 
Apr 30,2017

This is the most professional and nicest response to the similar questions based on my weeks of searching on this forum.

 
 
Apr 30,2017

There is no myth. Targets have it easier than non targets. That doesn't mean non targets don't make it though. You would probably have an easier time at queens or ivey but any kid who is out there hustling has a shot.

 
Apr 30,2017

Is it front office IBD at BBs though?

 
Apr 30,2017

^What he said, i go to a non target and a lot of my alumni on linkedin have investment baking profession but only a very few are in F.O. Though i have notice that those who are in F.O write what group they are in TMT, FIG or worked on M&A while usually those in BO/MO don't write anything and just say Associate at GS investment banking.

 
Apr 30,2017

Look at it this way: The nontarget kids have to network, apply, and interview, and even then run a very good chance of not getting what they want. The ivies walk down to the OCR office and get introduced to the recruiters.

Pick one

Get busy living

 
Apr 30,2017

kk, that makes sense

 
Apr 30,2017

i remember you having a low GPA in pharmacy.
just sayin

 
Apr 30,2017
YE777:

i remember you having a low GPA in pharmacy.
just sayin

I do, which is why I have bit of a hope seeing non-ideal candidates getting offers. My mistake was that I just went into the wrong major. I destroyed calculus and lin. algebra/geometry, and did the worst in biol / anat in my freshman year. Idiotically, i went the pharma route haha

 
 
Best Response
Apr 30,2017

Q1: If you come from a "preftigious" enough school, you can potentially get away with not being the usual finance major by utilizing the school's network and OCR, and more importantly, by proving your interest in finance via other ways (clubs, case comps, student investment fund, relevant work experience etc). Breaking in with a poli-sci major from a target is definitely possible with enough hard work. However, you'll still probably have a harder time than your peers majoring in finance.

Q2: In MBA level recruiting, nope, not really.

Q3: I'm pretty positive they do ask for your transcript. It's part of the background check.

Q4: I'm not sure about this one, but 3.5 is usually the red line, so I'd go with that. Although just try to keep it as high as humanly possible. That goes for everyone.

To infinity... and beyond!

 
 
Apr 30,2017