Penn vs Duke vs Georgetown SFS vs Brown vs LSE

Penn vs Duke vs Georgetown SFS vs Brown vs LSE

Currently at Brown (wanna transfer out since I don't like it too much) , got into these schools for transfer admission, wondering which would offer the best career prospect for investment banking/consulting. I am an international student from Asia and would like to primarily focus on landing a job in the US (or UK) after graduation (I know it's HARD for international students with no citizenship or permanent residency...)

Got accepted into:
Penn-CAS Economics (non-Wharton)
Georgetown SFS-International Economics
Brown-Economics (my current school)
LSE-Government and Economics

I have the following questions:

  1. I've always heard rumors that non-Wharton people at Penn are overshadowed by Wharton people and thus have disadvantages...

  2. How is Duke alumni's presence on the Street? Is Duke 2nd or 3rd tier on the target school list?

  3. I know Georgetown SFS is very well regarded by the State Department but how is SFS perceived by recruiters in the banking and consulting industry?

  4. Is Brown in the same cohort with Penn and Duke (or does it place higher)?

  5. LSE seems to be the top 1 target/feeder school for banks' London HQ? But too much uncertainty after Brexit...?

Would like to see how you guys rank these schools with respect to career prospect. Would also welcome any advice from you. Many thanks!

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Comments (28)

May 28, 2017 - 9:54pm

Would like to know what you hate about Brown? How'd you end up there in the first place? It tends to attract a particular kind of applicant, usually. Or did you just shotgun blast 20 common apps to the top 20 colleges and Brown was the best place you got into in high school?

May 29, 2017 - 3:26am

Brown was my dream school when I applied to schools for freshman admissions. And Brown was the best school I got into. I gave up a full scholarship at Wesleyan in order to attend Brown...

I still enjoy academic freedom a lot at Brown under Open Curriculum, and there was no cut-throat competition here (kind of laidback though)

The main reason I want to leave is that I screwed up my social life-no friends and never went to parties...a lack of sense of belonging. I normally stay in my own room (and it's single room so I have little chance to interact with roommate/suite mate).

I am just so de-motivated at Brown. No real passions for study or networking. I know it is me myself the one to be blamed for being reluctant to reach out to and get to know people, but I indeed have difficulties handling interpersonal relationships.

I want to transfer into a new environment to have a new start, most importantly, re-manage my social life. I also hope to seek motivations. I want to get into a school that offers the best post graduation career prospects.

May 29, 2017 - 3:33am

I've heard Brown is a top target school for Bain? (not sure though)

So as far IBD, Brown places better than Penn CAS and Duke?

In addition to a screwed up social life and low motivation, I don't like Providence too much. Nothing fun here...

Coming from an Asian country, I am simply more used to a convenient life (with subways, etc.) I know Providence is definitely more convoneient thansome other cities in the Midwest or in the South, but it just doesn't meet my standards...

But convenience is the minor factor; the main reason to leave is social life+motivation. (Brown doesn't really have a strong pre-professional atmosphere)

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May 29, 2017 - 3:22am

Brown is probably the best out of all those. I would say Duke and Penn CAS are on pretty equal footing, and you can attend the Wharton networking sessions, so I would just choose one of those two that you like more.

Also curious why you dislike Brown. I know there is some truth to the stereotypes about the school being full of hippies, but when I visited my friends there, there were a great deal of normal, cool people.

May 29, 2017 - 10:26am

My parents (Asian parents) are so obsessed with Ivy. They were extremely happy after learning that I got into Penn because Penn has a higher name recognition in Asia than the rest of the schools I got into...

I'm deciding btwn Duke and Penn CAS. I know Duke is pretty much in the countryside (I'm a big city person) but one of my friends went to UNC and he highly recommend Duke (he is now working in Japan but his family is based in NC and he said I can hang out with his family, a plus to me)

I just want to figure out whether I bear a better chance at Duke in companies' recruitment process than at Penn CAS (BC CAS needs to compete against Wharton)

I am entering Penn CAS as a junior so I cannot pursue a dual degree with Wharton, but I can do a minor in Statistics or Actuarial Science at Wharton. I bet my resume would look better with a Wharton minor?

I agree with what you said about Brown. There are hippies on the campus but there's also a bunch of normal people. Despite being laidback, the overall Brown student community is very supportive (I know some very nice people but they'll all be graduating...) and understanding.

May 29, 2017 - 10:01am

Duke and non-Wharton Penn are likely on the same level of "prestige"; i.e. having one or the other on your resume won't make a difference to an interviewer.

Penn beats out Duke in terms of OCR presence simply because all top-tier firms come on campus to recruit Wharton kids, and non-Wharton kids can benefit from that by virtue of sharing the OCR system. That's not to say Duke's OCR situation is bad by any means, but some firms like Evercore don't have in-person interviews there, whereas they do at Penn.

Duke's alumni presence in IB is considerably better than Brown's and on par with Penn. I can't speak on any implicit disadvantage you may have as a non-Wharton student at Penn, though it's probable that there is some.

As a Duke student who had to choose between Duke and Penn (and successfully went through IB recruiting), I'd say go with Penn, especially considering you're a city person. I say that because Durham sucks, and I had to reach out to the EB where I'm working this summer via email because they didn't come to campus, while they did go to Penn. If you don't like Providence, you'll hate Durham.

If you want the easiest possible experience getting an IB job, albeit in London, go with LSE (second-hand knowledge).

Some unsolicited advice: if you're looking to transfer for social reasons, you should reconsider. You will have a much harder time assimilating/making friends as a transfer student at either of these schools than you would as a junior at Brown. As a transfer, you will be placed into independent housing, where students simply don't speak to each other (at either of these schools); to have a vibrant social life, you'll have to rush for frats/SLGs, which will be painful considering you will be a junior AND you won't have a support base of friends from freshman year. Of course, you could stay independent and just join clubs or something, but you can do that at Brown as well.

May 30, 2017 - 8:31pm

If it were me, I'd be torn between Penn and LSE. Even though you are not in Wharton, you will still have exposure to Wharton and be able to network with not only companies but students there, who will likely be valuable friends down the road. I also think you are underrating LSE's reputation in the US, you'd could easily carry that degree back over to NY and find a BB job. Idk about all the Visa problems that might be an obstacle for that situation though. I think LSE will also open you up to better graduate school opportunities in Europe or Asia.

Jul 16, 2017 - 6:11pm

I think the choice is Penn here. While CAS is non-Wharton it is still better for business recruiting than all of the other schools you mention. You would have access to the same classes, recruiting resources and opportunities as Wharton kids. Recruiters do like hiring a diverse group of people, so they do not limit themselves just to Wharton kids. The whole overshadow thing is not particularly true. Look at the career series stats of non-Wharton Penn kids and you will see that they do very well. Also Penn is the overall strongest school out of the bunch.

Brown and Georgetown definitely do worse than Penn for business recruiting, and their prestige in business circles is much lower than that of Penn. Also penn has a much bigger/successful alumni network in business than either of these schools.
I would also give Penn the edge over Duke due to the ivy league tag and the stronger alumni network in business and the presence of Wharton. (Penn CAS kids have greater business exposure through the Wharton clubs and also by taking Wharton classes so they tend to be more prepared/knowledgeable).

Best Response
Jul 26, 2017 - 10:46am

First of all, they're all great schools, so at this point we're splitting hairs. None will leave any doors closed to you, so at this level, prestige is irrelevant. Let's just get that out of the way. However, if your only goal is to maximize your chances of breaking into banking, go Penn or Georgetown. They were the top two last year for placement into BB banks, according to a LinkedIn survey.…

According to the survey, Penn, Georgetown, and Yale got the most kids into banking, respectively, followed by Princeton, Columbia, Duke, and Harvard. No surprises here. And I think we can all agree that Penn probably wins because of Wharton, not the CAS.

This means if you go Penn, but you should be pretty confident that you could pull off a transfer into Wharton- which is a hard sell anyways and will only be made harder once you consider that fact that you're ALREADY coming in as a transfer to Penn CAS. I'm sure it still happens though, especially if you do well academically, it's much easier to transfer within a college if your GPA is at the top. But they're very wary of people trying to backdoor into Wharton through the CAS. You can still land a banking gig at Penn CAS, it's still a great school- just on a different level than Wharton, so be prepared to play second fiddle to the Whartonites.

Whereas if you're at Gtown, it doesn't matter what school you're in. My cousin is an ART HISTORY MAJOR there, and she'll be working MS IBD next year. Honestly, my overall vote would probably go to Gtown, I mean it's number two for placement and you don't have to worry about transferring.

Now, clearly, to say that any of the seven top schools in that study is a "target" is almost an understatement. You're set to go for finance in any of them. It's just that, statistically, of all these schools, GU and Penn are the best bets, At Penn though, your prospects in finance are somewhat- not totally- contingent on whether or not you're Wharton.

Like I said though, everything that I just was splitting hairs. They're all amazing schools, you'll be more than fine in finance coming from any of them, and like I said, there is little to no distinguishable difference between any of them in prestige, at least to people in the real world. Go where you want man.

There is one asterisk to this:
This all goes if you're going for a gig in the US- if you're aiming for a gig in the UK, it would be LSE hands down.

Dec 7, 2017 - 3:14pm

Not entirely true. Penn CAS does very well at business recruiting. The career survey data prices this. They have an advantage over kids at other colleges because of the access to wharton classes and wharton clubs to bolster their resume.

Dec 5, 2017 - 7:03am

If you're looking for better OCR opportunities, especially as an international student, Georgetown is the way to go. But tbh, its probably going to be just as bad socially for a transfer student, people tend to fall into their little cliques pretty early on in their college career and from what I've seen, most transfer students (especially those that transfer as juniors) struggle to fit in socially. LSE is a fantastic option if you're looking to avoid Visa-related hurdles when you start looking for your first finance gig out of college. As you're well aware, the situation is still rather uncertain for international students in the States. I also know, however, that you can recruit directly for i-banking/consulting positions in London, HK, Dubai etc via the OCR process at Georgetown.

My two cents? The culture at most top-tier schools is more similar than you'd think, most kids are holed up in the library for much of the week. Brown is a fantastic school. And college is a hard transition for most people, period. Even more so for international students who navigate the ups and downs of being in college in a foreign country. My roommate freshman year was completely antisocial and such a f$%ng weirdo and there were certainly times when I questioned my decision to go to school where I did. Reflect on what aspects of your college life you dislike and take steps to rectify/ improve those, go out and date/ meet people. Hang in there, give it time, it certainly helped me. I was in a very similar position my freshman/ sophomore years. Having said that though, my years as an upperclassman were some of the best times of my life, I might've certainly regretted it had I transferred mid-way like I'd considered and found myself on the outside socially at the new school. Just my perspective based on my experiences.

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