Penn vs Duke vs Ross Undegrad

Hi All,

I am a current senior in high school. I recently found out what schools I had been admitted to. However, because of this whole Covid-19 situation, all of the admitted student days/campus tours have been shut down for the rest of the spring. So I was hoping I could get some feedback from people on here.
I have a strong interest in real estate, so an ideal path for me would be to end up with a job at a private equity firm with a strong real estate investment arm (i.e. Blackstone). Hopefully, after a while on the job, I would have enough experience to go out on my own and get into development as an entrepreneur.

I got into Duke (would major in Financial Economics), Michigan Ross, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, and Georgetown. I also got into Penn CAS - I would go in with the intention of transferring to Wharton halfway through the first year, which I've heard is very possible and likely as long as you keep the grades up.

I know Penn/Wharton would be the most logical choice, but I also want to have a good college experience, and I'm worried I might not have that Penn. Would anyone be able to give me some advice on this?

Also, I'm really intrigued by Duke. Unfortunately, because of corona, I haven't been able to go down and see the campus or the people. Would any alumni or people knowledge about Duke (both school experience and recruit-ability) be able to speak on it? Are Duke alumni pretty good with helping each other out? Also, considering Duke doesn't have an undergrad business school, how strong do you all think the financial economics major is?

Sorry for the lengthy post, but this coronavirus is really making it hard to gauge schools! I really appreciate it!

Thanks,

A concerned high school senior

Region: 
United States - Midwest
United States - South

Comments (14)

Mar 27, 2020

Also, how is Duke compared to Penn in terms of recruiting? Would you say Penn would necessarily open up more doors for me in the future than Duke? My point of view is that they are both top schools, and you can't really go wrong with either. I just want to hear other thoughts and opinions on this statement based on your real-life experiences on Wall Street.

Once Again, Thanks a lot!

Most Helpful
  • Prospect in Other
Mar 27, 2020

Firstly, congrats on the offers - they're all great choices! I am current Blue Devil majoring in Financial Economics. While financial economics does offer opportunities to take finance courses (Econ256 for sophomores is basically an entire course dedicated to recruitment), for the most part your classes will be extremely heavy on theoretical economics. Finance electives will probably only be for junior and senior year. Most kids in the major also couple with a double major in CS or random minor. The pro here is that you take so many non-finance courses that it differentiates you from the average finance major. With regards to placement, the BBs tend to recruit more for Capital Markets or S&T (Citi, RBC, MS come to mind), but at least 4-6 students go into IBD/year/firm (~30 out of 150 kids total). Boutique recruitment is huge (the rest of the kids): Centerview, Lazard, Rothschild, Houlihan, Piper, etc have all been on campus.). The info sessions for all banks are intimate, as we get around 20-30 students and 5-10 alumni representatives. Alumni absolutely love students reaching out, I've probably had 70-80% respond to cold emails and LinkedIn messages. They're super helpful with connecting you to others in the firm, and ultimately offers. Something I've noticed personally is people love Duke kids because not only are they capable and intelligent but they're usually personable and down to earth + sports are a great talking point (who doesn't love Duke Bball?!). Hope this was helpful - feel free to reach out for anything else!

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Mar 27, 2020

Thanks for the details. I heard ECO 256 at Duke does not count towards Econ majors. Is it true?

Mar 27, 2020

Do you have another major, too? How rigorous would you say the Financial Economics program is? Also, you said a lot of people do a double major in something like computer science - does doing another major feel like too much. How would you say the work-life balance is at Duke. I want to be challenged and prepared for post-college life, but I also want to have fun. Thanks man - really appreciate it!

Mar 27, 2020

I would also like to hear from Penn CAS alum/students on the forum to comment on their experience (transitioning into Wharton and/or finance recruiting support). Thanks!

Mar 27, 2020

Michigan places just as well as Duke and offers what is in my opinion an easier path to IB. Our curve is definitely friendly compared to Econ at Duke and the college experience is second to none. If you enjoy sports and school spirit with stellar placement Ross is your choice.

"Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry."

    • 1
Mar 27, 2020

I thought the curve at Ross is pretty tough? How have you found the Ross brand when networking, cold emailing, etc? Thanks!

Mar 27, 2020

At least 1/3 of my class has a 3.7+
In our core classes 40% get an A- or better.

"Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry."

    • 1
Mar 27, 2020

assuming money is no issue (if you are a senior in high school targeting PE, I can't imagine that it is) - go to Penn if you think you can get in Wharton. Easiest path. If not, go to Duke.

If money is an issue, and Wharton is difficult to get into, go to Michigan.

    • 1
Mar 27, 2020

also - congrats. all excellent schools that anyone should be proud to go to :)

    • 1
Mar 27, 2020

Nothing to add but are college decisions actually still due May 1st with no campus touring?

    • 1
Mar 27, 2020

Yeah... I can't believe it is, but yeah. It sucks.

Apr 3, 2020

First of all, congrats! All of these are amazing options. I'm a Penn/Wharton undergrad student right now and can say that its amazing at Penn. One of the great things about Penn is that you can take classes across the university, meaning that as a CAS student, you will have access to all Wharton courses. The same goes for clubs and activities. All Wharton clubs are open to all Penn students, it is just a designation on where the clubs get funding. Penn will give you a ton of amazing opportunities, but I will say the transfer process is competitive, but it is definitely not impossible. They don't release stats, but there are students who do come in trying to transfer that don't get accepted for transfer. I love Penn and many of my friends who are in CAS have similar interests to you, but if you will always feel unfulfilled not being in Wharton, then I'd recommend going somewhere else. Just because you are a CAS won't limit your opportunities. Many students who are in CAS but want to go into finance study Mathematical Econ and do extremely well for themselves.

On top of that, Penn and the student clubs are always bringing in amazing alumni and guest speakers to interact with all Penn students.

Like I said, Penn is amazing -- great city to go to college in, big social scene, a lot of great connections, incredibly driven students, and a lot of opportunities for all students. Of course I'm biased, but if you decide to come to Penn, look at all of the great opportunities, not just the transfer application!

    • 1
Apr 9, 2020
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