Sup guys, where should I go to school?

HS senior trying to decide between Cornell Dyson, UVA, Berkeley, and Notre Dame. On another discussion titled "Any info on Elliott", the thread basically turned into advice for where I should go to school, and I felt bad for kind of hijacking his thread. So a little context: dead set on a career in finance, and I'm looking to get to the buyside as quick as possible, ideally out of undergrad. Completely understand that MF PE or SM HF out of school is difficult, but doable from any of the schools I'm deciding between (right?). Fortunate enough to have strong connections to several BBs/EBs via family, and the reason I want to break into the buyside is that I'm really passionate about investing; not sure if I find banking intellectually stimulating. In the thread I accidentally hijacked, I made a list of HFs that I would give my left arm to work at, and I think that these funds will outperform in the next decade:

Holocene, Melvin, D1, Anomaly, Abdiel, Whale Rock, Altimeter, Alua, (former Viking CIO + senior Lone Pine PM recently launched this fund -- $2bn I think), XN (Former Soroban CIO), Eminence, Light Street, Dragoneer, and of course the 4-5 big Tiger cubs.

Going to do my best to get a high GPA, get into all the top clubs, network like crazy, and continue learning/building my investing acumen. Even if I do all of those, it's gonna be hard to break into one of those shops. My ultimate dream would be to break into one of those funds out of school (meaning try to get an internship at one of them, and then trying to impress my boss for a FT offer), or to break into MF PE, do that for 2 years, then go to one of those funds. Do you guys think either of those would be possible from the schools I mentioned? Some of the guys on the previous thread I mentioned were really surprised about how much I know: I am really interested in investing, I try to keep up with the industry to the best of my ability, and I'm surrounded by this stuff from my family. 

I see myself in NYC out of school (ideally). Berkeley has sick weather but is really far, Cornell is an ivy + I'm already in the business school, and UVA and Notre Dame are also really good. I'm sure the social life is great at all 4, and I'm sure I'd have fun at any of them. So, which school do you guys think would give me the best chance of landing a gig at one of those shops?

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Comments (55)

Apr 18, 2021 - 7:04pm

I don't understand why Ridgemont never gets mentioned. Places well into IB. Exit opps are phenomenal.

  • Investment Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
May 3, 2021 - 2:11am

Maybe because they are not as well-known? To be honest, I didn't know what it was and when I googled it, I got results for a pizza store and shoe shop.

  • Investment Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 18, 2021 - 7:09pm

So ill give my 2 cents, I posted briefly in the other thread. I think UVA is the best choice for going HF out of undergrad. UVA probably is not the best option for PE/IB but UVA has an incredible network at hedge funds due to John Griffin and Julian Robertson. Griffin donated a ton of money and started an investment class where he taught it himself, he ran one of the largest tiger cubs of the last decade, Blue Ridge (equivalent to a Lone Pine in its time) before shutting down. Julian also went out of his way to hire guys from UVA cause he loved the state so particularly in the tiger cub space you will find at least 1 person that went to UVA at virtually all the funds. I would say its the most common school except for wharton and harvard.

There are also a lot of UVA guys at Soroban, Dragoneer, Darsana, etc. so it isnt only the tiger cubs.

Dont wanna comment on any other dynamics but UVA is great for SM HFs specifically.

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Apr 18, 2021 - 8:07pm

Can't go wrong with any of those schools that you mentioned, but as a current student at UVA/McIntire, I can vouch for the placement here. As another commenter mentioned, Julian Robertson and John Griffin indeed had/have strong connections with McIntire (UVA's undergrad business school to which you apply during your second year). McIntire consistently places kids into BX/KKR/Apollo for MF PE and has sent several into a few of those funds (Melvin, D1, & Light Street off the top of my head) as well as Point72. Definitely going to be tough to break into those places since competition for those spots is understandably competitive, but hopefully this insight can serve as a data point in your decision process. 

Apr 18, 2021 - 8:28pm

As everyone has said, UVA does a great job training and placing folks into HFs. Alumni network is also strong.

There's 2 paths for you: IB/PE --> HF or straight to HF. Still don't see many people successfully go straight to HF b/c they'd rather you just get trained for 1 year in IB. I'd narrow it down to UVA and Cornell, since I think Cornell seems to be a bit better at placement into IB.

Rule out Berkeley, the investing network is weak. Had friends struggle to break into the good HFs b/c of poor network.

Notre Dame has a good alumni network, but it's just tough to compare against UVA.

Apr 18, 2021 - 8:51pm

 For me it's really a toss up between UVA and Cornell. Great academics, social scene, so-so weather at both. UVA seems to have a slightly larger presence at some of the HFs I named, if not the same as Cornell, but I didn't see anyone break in from undergrad from either-- is this true? Most were 2 years banking or PE then HF. Plus UVA has that tiger legacy connection, but are there any Tiger Global/Lone Pine analysts from UVA? I know Klarman and Einhorn went to Cornell -- is there a robertson thing equivalent at Cornell for these 2? The other thing for Cornell is that I would be passing up an Ivy, and it might be perceived as more prestigious (could be totally wrong idk). Plus if I ever needed to/wanted to transfer to a top 10 school, it would probably be easier at Cornell.

Does anyone know if any of those funds I named in the thread description would take sophomore/junior interns?

  • Analyst 1 in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 18, 2021 - 10:08pm

SM HF out of any of these schools may be difficult (current junior at one of the schools who interviewed for a summer program with one of the funds you listed but ultimately ended up at a MM HF summer program (P72/Citadel)). If you'd like more info about the specifics of what school, what single manager, and what MM I can PM you without being anonymous. But I ultimately think that there are so few seats at the funds that you listed that, as long as you're a top performer at any of the schools, you'd have a great shot of landing a seat later on in your career following top banking/PE/even MM HF undergrad programs. Just my two cents.

  • Research Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 18, 2021 - 11:45pm

I work at one of the above funds and went to a school in the same tier as you listed. I was like you in that I was very focused on my career and was dead set on MF PE>Prestigious HF. Congrats on your offers. They're all great choices and you can do incredibly well from any of them. 

Go to the school that you will be happiest at and where you are best positioned to succeed. If you want to be on the east coast, eliminate Berkeley. If you like football, go to Notre Dame. If your wardrobe is all vineyard vines, then UVA. These schools are actually quite different culturally and socially. 

People like you and me have the tendency to optimize for our careers and only our careers. At some point you need to optimize for your life. If the differences to your career are so marginal (effectively zero), then you should prioritize your life. Getting a great job is important, and I am sure you will do well. Enjoy the ride while you're on it.

I was buyside or bust in undergrad, too. Be more open minded towards banking. The reality is, unless you go to Wharton, your base case is banking. There is nothing wrong with that, and in fact, there are many benefits to doing your two years. 

  • Analyst 2 in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 19, 2021 - 1:43am

Just saw this, couldn't agree more, basically the message I was trying to convey to the kid. 

  • Analyst 2 in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 19, 2021 - 1:21am

Please go to the school that you feel like you will be the most happy in. Please, take this advice. Stop thinking about HFs/ IBs watever, just enjoy your life in college. It's not worth it. 

Apr 19, 2021 - 1:25am

I agree, I think it's important to pick a place ur gonna be happy at. But for me, problem is that I think I'd be happy at all of them so I really don't know. And the other thing is that I'm honestly eager to start recruiting/interviewing because investing is something I have a real passion for. Pitching stocks and chopping it up abt the markets with someone genuinely makes me happy, and I'm glad I realized that early on

  • Analyst 2 in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 19, 2021 - 1:41am

I understand, and look, just reading your comment I can almost picture myself years ago in your shoes. Here's the thing. Investing is really great, learning about businesses is great, wanting to do well for yourself is amazing. But please don't make that your entire life in college. When you go to a place like Berkeley and Cornell I think it will be easy to get lost with all the competition, prestige-whoring, etc. I don't know your background but I would think UVA and Notre Dame offer better student life than the other two (but I think very dependent on your background, personality, ethnicity etc). From reading your post I know you have done a lot of work looking into investing and the hedge fund industry and know that that's something you want to pursue. That's amazing man, and I feel happy for you. But just know that each of these firms will be extremely to break into and frankly takes a lot of luck. You almost certainly will need to grind IBD and likely mega PE as well. That is a tough path. When I say it is a tough path - I don't just mean that you need to be determined, hardworking to get through it etc... I mean that after you complete those, a part of you will be missing. You are exchanging a part of your being/life for something else; it is a trade. I would be careful making this trade. My sincere advice is honestly to actually explore your other interests in college and just learn knowledge, meet people, and explore, man. Take it from someone who was set on doing investing/finance in high school, went to a top target, and now works in the industry. That's my 2cents.   

  • Associate 3 in HF - EquityHedge
Apr 19, 2021 - 2:37am

If you really care this much about investing and honing your craft (and I don't mean working this hard because you ultimately want to prestige-whore - there is a difference) you will be successful no matter what school you go to, what banking program or hedge fund you start out in.

Let's say you got into none of these schools, didn't get into any bulge bracket or hedge fund, but you were able to compound your personal capital at 15% a year for the rest of your life - would you be happy? The answer to that question will tell you a lot about how much you enjoy this intrinsically versus how much you want to tell your social circle you work at Tiger Global.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - FI
Apr 19, 2021 - 10:11am

In terms of career outcomes it's Dyson and not even close. Not even the same tier. Sometimes I really doubt the intelligence and impartiality of this forum. I don't know why anyone would argue for UVA when both schools proudly post their career outcomes for all to see:

https://dyson.cornell.edu/programs/undergraduate/careers/employment-dat…

https://career.virginia.edu/UniversityofVirginia-Class-2019

The fact is that if you want to work at a hedge fund, banking is your base case from either of these schools. No matter how hot you think you are, single digit numbers of people actually work in investment roles in quality PE/HF out of undergrad from these schools. The difference between them in that regard is marginal.

UVA: 15% in IB

Cornell: 34% in IB

Cornell wins.

That said, if you were smart enough to get into Dyson you probably will be toward the top of the class at UVA, in which case this is all irrelevant. Go to whichever you prefer personally. I imagine UVA would be way more fun. I have heard bad things about campus leadership at cornell killing fun.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - FI
Apr 19, 2021 - 2:24pm

Lol sorry I only have what their students choose to report. FWIW I agree these numbers seem low based on how many kids I've met who went there, but I think it is still a tier below Cornell if IB recruiting percentages are the only metric you want to look at.

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  • PM in HF - RelVal
Apr 19, 2021 - 12:11pm

By the time you're done with school, the desirability of working at these funds will probably be much lower than they are now. Don't underestimate performance chasing by not only the media and investors, but perspective employees. When I went to school the hot funds were Greenlight, Paulson, Pershing, Saba etc. No one had even heard of Tiger Global.

Echoing the above, just choose a school that you like, use it as a time to explore your interests and yourself, and don't be overly fixated on career. No one likes that kid that spends his entire life doing career clubs and networking events. Making friends and connections in school will be much more valuable than a HF job out of college.

  • Managing Director in S&T - Other
Apr 19, 2021 - 1:43pm

Agree you are so far ahead of other people. You really do not need to network/join every club etc. Find the school you are most comfortable at, it will let you relax and enjoy school (high gpa, good connections, a few clubs) but also then you will have time in your free time to keep honing your passion of investing. Trying to find the "cheat code" to get into one of these places is a waste of time. What if the first place you intern is a smaller than those funds you mentioned and they like you and ask you to come back etc...Never know where life will take you. 

I don't get why the HF grouping on here is 5-10 funds or bust...while even the PE discussion of MF/UMM/LMM is much more diverse.

  • Intern in Research - Other
Apr 19, 2021 - 1:12pm

All good schools from brand name perspective. If you are looking to have a good time notre dame and uva got nice looking gals while berkeley is... granola. Idk where you're  from but the top kids in my high school either went to VTech, uva, or william & mary. The running joke was the smart kids went to tech and w&m while uva is where the kids who cheated off them went and honestly having worked with uva people out of school this seems to hold true more and more. The fact remains it sounds like you are super driven (hopefully for the right reasons) and will do well no matter where you go so just go to a school where you will feel comfortable and have a good tome.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 19, 2021 - 2:50pm

This is pretty accurate for outcomes from NoVa. I went out of state, but I can't recall a single person from my year who went to UVA who was very impressive outside of high grades. Some really great people went to W&M and VT though and I would work with them anyday. 

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 19, 2021 - 2:13pm

I think Berkeley is underrated given its proximity to the technology industry and technology investing in general.  I know people from Berkeley at Matrix Capital Management (Tiger Cub), Light Street, Kingsford, Bridgewater etc. and many in venture (Battery Ventures, Accel) /growth equity (G Squared ,Stripes) / MM AND MF pe (Audax, Ares, Leonard Green, Alpine), so I wouldn't say the investor network is weak. I think at Berkeley, just like UVA, it is important to get involved in the right activities (Berkeley Investment Group) and be around peers that are focused on similar goals as you.

Apr 19, 2021 - 6:43pm

Would I be able to get to any of those funds with the right combination of grades/skills/networking from any of the 4 schools I'm deciding between? I get that Berkeley has the location edge, but is it doable? Also are people getting to those funds from undergrad/possibly as an intern?

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 19, 2021 - 8:12pm

Everyone I mentioned is straight out of undergrad. If you want a good sample size to look at go to the Berkeley Investment Group website's alumni section. Also, I completely think it is possible to get to your goal from any of the schools mentioned, so at the end of the day you should go where YOU feel the most excited about.

May 4, 2021 - 10:20am

hard disagree. am several years into the HF space and have watched friends from Cal (some in the Berkeley Investment Group) struggle to get good gigs after the first 1-2 jobs, esp. the ones listed by the OP. at a certain point, your ability to get a good seat in the HF space is increasingly difficult and contingent on getting interview opps as a "friend of the fund". the network just is not there for Berkeley, or at least for now. could change in a few years.

but considering OP has the luxury of choice, if you want to purely do HF, UVA and Cornell have much better networks. see folks from those 2 schools at all the HFs I encounter. if interested in tech/tech investing, Berkeley could be the better choice, but unfortunately not really the case for the equity L/S funds mentioned by OP

EDIT: also, should clarify. think Berkeley is great school. know plenty of brilliant grads there who have done well. but in terms of HF specifically, and OP seems unusually advanced and focused for his age, thought i'd be more specific

  • Investment Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
May 4, 2021 - 8:34pm

Would second this. Berkeley tends to have more inroads to tech rather than East Coast HF's.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 19, 2021 - 2:46pm

I know you're set on going straight into HF, but you could get a great IB analyst position from any of these schools and then go hard recruiting for HF. Don't stress too hard about this, man. Try to tour (even virtually), talk to students, get a feel for the type of people you'll spend the next four years with. Like others above said, these schools have incredibly different cultures. Just between UVA and Cal you have a massive difference in cultural conservatism and liberalism. Notre Dame and Cornell have their own cultures, too. You'll be best positioned for finance from the school where you fit the best. Look into each school's finance club. What do they center the club on? Are interested in Greek life? Look into the courses you'll have to take, do you think you could get a good GPA? Etc. There are a lot of intangibles at play and you'll thank yourself later if you go somewhere you can succeed and be happy.

  • Investment Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
May 3, 2021 - 2:21am

I'd go with Cornell, 2 reasons. First, name brand actually matters a decent amount and I think Cornell beats out everyone else here. Look at some of the funds who have historically taken undergrad interns (Whale Rock, Matrix, Abdiel, etc) and if you LinkedIn stalk all their profiles, it seems they all went to schools with very strong brand names– often some mix of HYPSM. Don't get discouraged by that though. Know that it is doable via a ton of networking and some luck, and I hope you use this as inspiration to work harder instead.

Second, in the situation where you don't get an offer at one of these top HF's or a megafund PE (and let's be real here, both of these routes are ridiculously hard and sometimes takes sheer random luck so there's a decent chance this happens), you want to be at the school that would serve you best for IB recruiting. I assume – given your drive and passion – that you'd target mainly the top IB's (GS MS JPM). For these banks in particular, I believe Dyson has the slight edge. Hope this helps and best of luck!

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