Last-minute Decision: Vanderbilt vs. IU-Kelley (undergrad)

xby90's picture
Rank: Monkey | 31

I posted once earlier, but now I've narrowed my choices down to Vanderbilt and direct admittance to the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University (and KLLC membership). I would graduate Vanderbilt with up to $50k in debt and leave IU without any. Also, I love to travel internationally, so this would become very difficult if I attend Vandy. I want to go into BB IB or PE, but I also want to enjoy my four years as an undergrad. I would rush at either, but I'm concerned about the social experience at Vandy (I want a solid party scene) and the increasing amount of liberal intolerance on campus. Also, I'm not sure if Vanderbilt is as strong as its career center projects. Is Vanderbilt a semi-target or not? If a have a decent chance of the IB workshop at Kelley, does that make IU the smarter choice? I'm pretty confident that IU will be a good time, but I don't want to pass up Vanderbilt if it will open more doors for me in the future. Can anyone please weigh in on the undergraduate experience at Vanderbilt and its placement opportunities in comparison to IU to help me make this last-minute decision?

Comments (106)

Jul 25, 2017

As an upperclassman at IU with multiple friends from Vandy, I think IU would be the best decision even if the terms were similar, but without any debt, it should be a no-brainer.
IB Workshop almost guarantees you an internship junior year if you work hard enough, and the greek life party scene is one of the best in the country (Even with the houses in trouble the past few years)
Feel free to message me for any more help

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Jul 25, 2017

IU is the safer, smarter choice. Go Big Ten. :)

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Jul 26, 2017

IU for undergrad man!

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Jul 26, 2017

Vanderbilt is a better school

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Jul 26, 2017

I don't go to either, but the Vanderbilt name recognition is very well known. I think that Vanderbilt places more of their graduates in PE or IB, but I would consult their placement reports.

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Jul 26, 2017

Kelley in a heartbeat. Vanderbilt doesn't even come close in front office placement. Plus the social scene at IU is one of the best in the nation.

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Jul 26, 2017

vanderbilt social scene is pretty damn goood as well. nashville is lit, greek life is strong, and the weather is 10x better. much more prestigious as well. i wouldn't bank on getting into the IB workshop.

still the money factor makes this a tough choice.

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Jul 26, 2017

I don't wtf you're talking about dude. In terms of undergraduate finance programs, Kelley kills Vandy. I mean it's not even a close race, Vandy doesn't even make top twenty in the rankings. If you want to work in the south I could understand Vandy. But for anyone that wants to go to NYC/Chi/SF Kelley is the route 100%.

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Jul 27, 2017

triggered college kids!!!!

Jul 26, 2017

IU is a hell of a lot more fun and have an outstanding finance program.

Jul 26, 2017

IU ONLY if you got into the workshop, otherwise it's vandy hands down!

Array

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Jul 26, 2017

100% IU

Jul 27, 2017

Guys, how can I be so sure that I'll get into the workshop at Indiana? That's what concerns me. I do want to have a very good time though, but kids I met at vandy also said they party a lot. $42k in loans when I graduate isn't horribly extreme, but it'd be nice to avoid debt too. Btw, I would prefer to work in NYC or Florida if possible. If not IB or PE, I'm also open to working for a F500 company and moving up the ranks there potentially. This is hard as hell to decide on

Jul 27, 2017

If you go into school knowing that you want to do IB then you're already one step ahead with getting into the workshop. The way I see it (and I did not go to IU, but a similar semi-target with a similar organization), if you are set on the workshop from the get go and do not get in, then you will likely not be competitive for IB regardless.

The workshop just filters out kids they think won't get offers (and they have a pretty good eye for it). There's definitely a bit of risk relying on the club, but if you keep your grades up, get involved early and do decently in your interviews, you should be fine. These are all characteristics that will come into play with real recruiting anyways.

Jul 27, 2017

IU

Jul 27, 2017

Apples to Apples: 100% Vanderbilt. It is just a better undergraduate program - I do not think this can be argued. With IU free and Vandy not, then less clear. If add on just want to do IB, then I think IU can make sense.

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Jul 27, 2017

This. If you are not certain you want to do IB (or corporate finance) then Vandy makes sense. If all of a sudden you want to pivot to STEM/consulting/law/etc. Vandy would be far better,

Jul 27, 2017
The Nightman:

This. If you are not certain you want to do IB (or corporate finance) then Vandy makes sense. If all of a sudden you want to pivot to STEM/consulting/law/etc. Vandy would be far better,

Disagree. IU has an awesome CS program. Same with their IB Institute. Provocatively, it's also cheaper for OP-- he would not graduate with any debt from IU.

My thinking on this is that everyone promoting Vanderbilt is from the East Coast. Everyone plugging IU is from elsewhere. They're equal schools, but one is going to carry less debt.

If OP is fine with working at a Chicago prop shop and starting at double the pay of NYC IBD for half the work, IU is a perfectly fine choice.

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Best Response
Jul 27, 2017

taking IU over Vandy is insane

Jul 27, 2017

Go to Vandy. You'll have plenty of placement opportunities to break into IB, and it's a more elite and prestigious school all around. Your peers will be from wealthy families who are well connected, which means that your peers will end up being well connected when they become adults. If you ever decide to do literally anything else or go to grad school (MBA or otherwise) you'll be in a much better position. You're 17 or 18 (presumably). Sure, you want to do IB and if you pursue it from Vandy you'll get it, but if you want to do ANYTHING else, Vandy will give you the opportunity to jump around and explore in a way that IU won't.

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Jul 27, 2017

Lots of triggered snowflakes in this thread.

Anyways - I give a slight edge to IU but its a coinflip depending on what school you personally like more.

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Jul 27, 2017

I would focus on how hard it is to get into the IU boot camp. # applied, # accepted, etc.

I do agree that I would pick Vandy myself, given what I know now, and simply network nonstop with rich kids. You only need one rec to introduce you to other yacht members and fund your first biz.

Or marry some blonde whose daddy owns some oil fields. ??? & Profit.

Jul 27, 2017

OP, like you said, you want to do IB in NYC. And Illini (who I have a lot of respect for btw) said as well that Vandy is the clear choice for IB in NYC. I think the reason you're asking WSO is that you're trying to find a reason to pick IU over Vandy because of the social scene, but you know that Vandy is probably better for your future.

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Jul 28, 2017

Thank you for this. This is the most accurate comment I've seen so far. WSO seems seriously divided on this decision and that shows how hard it is for me to decide.

I can picture myself doing IB in NYC, but I could also change my mind (definitely, definitely possible - I am known for getting bored with things fast). However, it is important to know more about me as a person. I'm incredibly conservative, love to party, love to travel and am not religious at all. I didn't apply to Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, etc. because I would lose my mind dealing with the amount of liberal bullshit on campus. I consider myself intelligent, and I applied and was accepted to other good schools (UVA, Notre Dame, etc.). I turned down Notre Dame because the fit seemed off and UVA because I got no aid at all. I was deferred ED at Penn (Wharton), the one place where I felt I had both a strong fit and solid career prospects.

I've done some more looking into the financial situation. If I can't convince Vandy to give me another additional dime in aid, I'll likely graduate with $35-40k in debt. However, I make $20+ an hour at my job currently and can make $1000 on good weeks. Also, I'm looking into some summer jobs that could help and also satisfy my craving for travel (i.e. Working on a cruise ship, waiting tables in another country, etc). This could further reduce the amount in loans.

My parents are pressuring me to choose IU now. Their IFS program begins in two days, so I basically have to decide sometime today (July 28). I would choose Vandy in a heartbeat if I had knowledge that the curriculum would give me both strong practical knowledge for future careers and a great social life. I have heard that IU-Kelley and the KLLC prepare students so well that they often walk into interviews with much more knowledge than their T20 competitors. Also, I'm concerned about Vandy because the chancellor continues to lead it in a more and more liberal direction. I appreciate diversity, but I also want a strong fraternity scene and a campus that isn't so politically correct (it's college after all). Vanderbilt is now more minority/international than white and while visiting campus I was told that students self-segregate into their own in-groups. I want to have fun (parties, girls, frat life), learn the skills I need, and graduate with lucrative job opportunities.

I'm not stupid guys. I earned my RD spot at Vandy. And I won't see Vanderbilt as a step below Harvard or Columbia. I know people going to Stanford, Harvard, Brown, Princeton, etc. next year and I have to say I'm shocked that many were admitted. This is about what is best for my enjoyment the next four years and my success in the years after.

Considering all of this, what is the final consensus? I'd like to hear one more time before I decide. Thanks to all for taking the time to offer thoughts I wouldn't have otherwise considered.

Jul 28, 2017
xby90:

Thank you for this. This is the most accurate comment I've seen so far. WSO seems seriously divided on this decision and that shows how hard it is for me to decide.

I can picture myself doing IB in NYC, but I could also change my mind (definitely, definitely possible - I am known for getting bored with things fast). However, it is important to know more about me as a person. I'm incredibly conservative, love to party, love to travel and am not religious at all. I didn't apply to Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, etc. because I would lose my mind dealing with the amount of liberal bullshit on campus. I consider myself intelligent, and I applied and was accepted to other good schools (UVA, Notre Dame, etc.). I turned down Notre Dame because the fit seemed off and UVA because I got no aid at all. I was deferred ED at Penn (Wharton), the one place where I felt I had both a strong fit and solid career prospects.

I've done some more looking into the financial situation. If I can't convince Vandy to give me another additional dime in aid, I'll likely graduate with $35-40k in debt. However, I make $20+ an hour at my job currently and can make $1000 on good weeks. Also, I'm looking into some summer jobs that could help and also satisfy my craving for travel (i.e. Working on a cruise ship, waiting tables in another country, etc). This could further reduce the amount in loans.

My parents are pressuring me to choose IU now. Their IFS program begins in two days, so I basically have to decide sometime today (July 28). I would choose Vandy in a heartbeat if I had knowledge that the curriculum would give me both strong practical knowledge for future careers and a great social life. I have heard that IU-Kelley and the KLLC prepare students so well that they often walk into interviews with much more knowledge than their T20 competitors. Also, I'm concerned about Vandy because the chancellor continues to lead it in a more and more liberal direction. I appreciate diversity, but I also want a strong fraternity scene and a campus that isn't so politically correct (it's college after all). Vanderbilt is now more minority/international than white and while visiting campus I was told that students self-segregate into their own in-groups. I want to have fun (parties, girls, frat life), learn the skills I need, and graduate with lucrative job opportunities.

I'm not stupid guys. I earned my RD spot at Vandy. And I won't see Vanderbilt as a step below Harvard or Columbia. I know people going to Stanford, Harvard, Brown, Princeton, etc. next year and I have to say I'm shocked that many were admitted. This is about what is best for my enjoyment the next four years and my success in the years after.

Considering all of this, what is the final consensus? I'd like to hear one more time before I decide. Thanks to all for taking the time to offer thoughts I wouldn't have otherwise considered.

If you are dead-set on NYC IBD, if you believe the banks won't get eaten by fintech, if you would turn down an offer from Citi Chicago IBD or Jump Trading to wait tables in NYC on the hopes of eventually landing an NYC job, the answer is Vanderbilt.

If that's not the case, for $50K in debt, the answer is IU.

College changes you. All else being equal, Vanderbilt will make you more sophisticated but also more worried about prestige than IU. In my view you are stacking the deck against yourself with that approach.

In any case, you should be putting more weight on your parents' advice and your own feelings about the campus visits-- which students you like more; where you fit in more.

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Jul 28, 2017

I'll be honest - if I were in your spot, I'd go Vandy and wouldn't look back. Take this with a grain of salt, as I'm still in college, though I attend a school similar to Vandy and am in a really good spot for fall recruiting, as are many of my peers (who aren't in any sort of IB workshop).

Jul 28, 2017

trust me and go to vandy. i went to a public ivy (think cal/mich/uva), worked at a BB, and graduated from an M7 so i'm not just some high school kid who is a prestige whore. i know lots of people who went to both schools and as a whole, the vandy kids are way more impressive and have fared better in their careers/mba admissions. they also all loved the social scene - really what's not to like about living in nashville vs bloomington indiana.

Jul 28, 2017

At this point it seems you are leaning Vandy. I always think of it this way...if you flip a coin between Indiana and Vandy and it lands Indiana and have any inclination of disappointment than choose Vandy. Better to live college without any regrets and what-ifs which i think would happen if you went to Indiana and did not get into the IB workshop.

Jul 28, 2017

I disagree with those saying he's leaning Vandy. Just some bullet points of my thoughts:

OP - you've shown that you are self aware of all your factors. I think you want a bit of both...having the academic prestige and employment future Vandy can give vs. the social and college life of a B1G.

The social scenes of these schools are different. I went to school within driving distance of both and visited multiple times to each.

If your conservative virtues are going to be difficult to put aside when you get into the social side of college, Vandy will be tough for you at first.

Greek life at a B1G school is unequivocally larger and more prominent than Vandy. If that is going to play an important role in your development, consider that.

If IBD in NYC is your dead set goal, sure, Vandy is clear...but you've said multiple times you don't know. Vandy will also get you into many F500 programs, but IU will too...when it comes to street placement, Vandy has a leg up, but it LOSES any advantage when you get down to the other areas of finance like CF. I work in F50 development, Kelley is a very well respected name for undergrad.

I chose where to go to school almost 10 years ago. I had two options: Big XII state school where I had money for a STEM program, or a Public Ivy on no money but direct admit to a reputable undergrad B school. You know what I did? Flipped a coin.

Jul 29, 2017

Vandy all day.

Vandy you'll meet people from all around the country who are high achievers. At IU you'll mostly meet people from Indiana. Some will be smart, but many will be lazy. With a Vandy degree you can move anywhere and it will be immediately obvious to your employer the strength of your school, you won't be confined to the midwest. This "Vandy kids have a chip on their shoulder as a bunch of Harvard rejects" thing just isn't a thing. Vandy's a top tier school and most people who go there are proud as shit of going there. Advising you to put yourself in a worse situation so you'll learn grit is insane, give yourself the best chance of success possible. If you're estimating about $42k in loans, you'll be able to pay that back easily as long as you can find a way to make $65k+ out of college. You'll be out of debt by 26/27 if you get into IB and throw a large portion of your bonus at that debt, and 30 at the latest if you go into corporate finance or something else entirely. At Vandy you won't have to get into some workshop, and arguing for the workshop is an IB specific argument. If you end up deciding you want to do something else, that workshop won't mean anything to anyone. I went to a Vandy peer school, did OK, and got into a MM IB right away. I also took about $50k in loans to do it. I'm 27 now and been out of debt for a few years. My other option was going to my bigass state school that sometimes places into IB for free as some kind of "presidential scholar" or whatever - not as good as IU, but many alumni on the street, definitely the kind of school where if I had worked hard I would have made it. Lots of people advised me to save my money and work hard at the state school, but I know for a fact that if I had went there I would have no chance in hell of moving around the country into increasingly elite jobs. In retrospect, I made by far the right choice because I opened up myself up to a national network and a significantly higher caliber of peers. Go to Vandy, you won't regret it.

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Jul 28, 2017

IU probably gives you enough option if you work a bit harder. for $50k less in debt (and given that you'd pay a ton for college more than estimates) that's sort of worth it.

M7 MBA, iBanking. Top MSF grad. AntiTNA. Truth is hard to hear! But... :
DickFuld: Yeah....most of these people give terrible advice.:
Jul 28, 2017

guys, Princeton or El Paso community college? Full-ride at El Paso. Help me decide pls.

Jan 1, 2018

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jul 28, 2017

If you look at those in IB on LinkedIn, IU has about 4000 compared to 2500 from Vandy.
Also if OP decides IB is not for him, Kelley also has the Consulting, Real Estate, and Investment Management Workshops which offer placement in elite companies in each respective industry
It's clear most the people here aren't too familiar with Kelley and it's recruiting, which has significantly improved over the past 5 years

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Jul 28, 2017

Are you sure it's actual IB analyst positions, or that they work for investment banks, i.e. HR, operations, etc? because 4000 seems crazy high and even 2500 from Vandy seems like too much too.

Jul 28, 2017

IU undergrad is nearly 6 times larger than vanderbilt's.

Jul 28, 2017

Great point. definitely shows that Vandy having over half the kids IU has, along with 6x less students, mean it's way easier to break in from Vandy (if we are to believe the 4,000 and 2,500 figures).

Jul 30, 2017
brobby:

IU undergrad is nearly 6 times larger than vanderbilt's.

OP is probably also going to place in different parts of the class at IU vs Vandy so it's a wash overall IMO.

Jul 29, 2017

As a current Vanderbilt undergraduate, I can speak to the school's academic strength. In terms of placement, Vandy [probably] does not send as many students per class to NYC IBD as IU. I could be completely wrong, since I don't know any IU kids personally.

Generally speaking, $50K debt in student loans is not something you should worry about. Think about it like leverage on your personal balance sheet. Yes, you pay up for a top 20 school, but from my experience, it is worth it.

In addition, I would advise majoring in something besides Economics (like every other wannabe banker-bro). I would suggest majoring in History, as our department is incredibly strong and you will learn more about the world (and yourself) when sitting in a 15-person classroom discussing ideas with your peers. I can't speak to IU, but I assume 60-70 person BBA lecture halls are the norm.

Lastly, Vandy is fucking lit. People in this thread probably haven't even been to Nashville.

Feel free to PM me if you want more advice. Thanks.

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Jul 30, 2017

Vandy undergrad > Kelley undergrad no doubt about it. And if you're worried about social scene, Vandy goes hard with tons of hot southern belles.

For MBA/bschool that's up for discussion depending on your goals.

Jul 30, 2017

Vanderbilt is a top 20 undergraduate school (some even would say top 15). That means it is an ELITE university. IU is just not in the same league. The people arguing otherwise are severely misinforming the OP.

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Jul 30, 2017

VANDERBILT

Thank me later.

Jul 30, 2017

Seems like there's debate over IB, but if at any point you decide you may want to do anything else, Vandy will set you up

Aug 1, 2017
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Aug 16, 2017
Aug 10, 2017