UCLA Business Economics vs. UT Austin McCombs vs. Claremont McKenna vs IU Kelley (URGENT)

Currently stuck between the first 3 options in the title for Undergrad, but leaning towards UCLA. Any advice for which school would best set me up for a career in IB or consulting is appreciated! Also waitlisted at Cal Berkeley, Cornell, Northwestern, and Georgetown.

Have around 10 days to decide on those I've been accepted to.

UCLA 

Pros:

International Brand Recognition 

Highly Ranked  

Great Student Life

In the good part of LA

Can intern in LA in the summers 

Decent Economics Program

Decent but very large Alumni Network

Diverse Student Body

Decent Alumni Network between undergrad and Anderson

If I do not want to pursue business, can easily switch into other majors which are also well ranked. 

Cons:

Very Competitive Environment

Have to take 7 challenging pre req courses and maintain a 3.5 to stay in the major. Many cannot maintain this and drop Biz Econ.

Supposed Grade Deflation (although not as bad as Cal).

Hard/weeder classes in freshman and early sophomore year such as econometrics

Lots of people in classes (Lectures can have over 300 people)

Clubs with very low acceptance rates (UBS, Bruin Investment...)

Business Economics major is basically econ with accounting and management classes

Lots of Accountants from UCLA (hence U C Lotsa Accountants)

UT Austin McCombs

Pros:

Already in Finance @ McCombs

Top Ranked undergraduate business school and finance department/program.

Lots of on campus recruiting albeit mostly for BHP students

Many Pre-professional clubs and activities

Relatively more chill environment than UCLA

Large and Strong Longhorn Alumni Network

Austin!

Cons:

Not in the BHP Program - could put me at a disadvantage for job opportunities outside of Texas

Large Class Size

Lacks geographic diversity with 90% of undergrads coming from the state of Texas

Most Job placement post graduation is in to Oil and Gas in Houston 

If I decide to not pursue business, UT's other departments are relatively weak

Claremont McKenna

Pros:

Small school with incredible career services (can spend a semester studying while taking on a paid internship in Silicon Valley)

Excellent economics department

Very personal education with class sizes being very small

Small yet strong Alumni network with founder of KKR as graduates

Supposedly gets similar numbers as UCLA for IB in LA with way less people (1350 undergrads as opposed to 32,000 at UCLA)

Great Grad School Placement

Potentially Grade Inflation 

Cons:

Relatively unheard of on the East Coast where I am from --> Could lead to most job placement being on the West Coast

Non traditional college experience with very small class size

Small town of Claremont is very nice but up to 90 minutes from LA depending on traffic

Could potentially not see myself there as it is too small 

Not a huge feeder to NYC IB.

Small classes can also be quite demanding and more research oriented

As I stated earlier, I am leaning heavily towards UCLA for the overall experience, location, large alumni network, despite the large class sizes and sheer competition. However, I could still see myself choosing the other two school as they are also very strong. I'd appreciate any advice or information, as I still have a lot to learn/see. I'm willing to grind in any environment, but I'd like to go in with the most information possible. 

Thanks in advance!

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Comments (9)

Apr 21, 2021 - 7:14pm

College is more than placement/career, but seeing as this is a forum around banking/finance, your opportunities at UT in finance will be leaps and bounds above rest on your list. With that said, go where you're going to enjoy college, those are all solid schools that you can't go wrong with.

Apr 22, 2021 - 1:28am

Congratulations! My vote is for Texas especially if you are relatively sure you want to go into consulting or banking. However, just wanted to address two cons that you listed. Although McCombs does have heavy placement within the state of Texas, many of those jobs have nothing to do with Oil and Gas. The tie to the energy sector was much more of a thing ten years ago but these days, that is no longer the case. Second, perhaps Texas' overall ranking isn't as high as UCLA but that is mostly because it gets dragged down by it's massive liberal arts schools. Look at any STEM major and it is likely ranked in the top 10. Good luck with your decision!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 25, 2021 - 4:16pm

Either McCombs or CMC. CMC places better on a per capita basis for IB and C but McCombs is probably the more fun experience.

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Apr 26, 2021 - 4:53pm

Toss up between Indiana and UT. Both are semi-targets and have excellent business programs with elite IB prep networks. 

UCLA is a good school if you are hoping to stay on the west coast. Claremont McK is well known for being a school for the wealthy but not academic. 

Good luck!

  • Intern in PE - Other
Apr 26, 2021 - 10:17pm

I go to UT and am in BHP. From what I've heard, it's difficult to get opportunities from UCLA Econ but if you're open to consulting and tech, it could be a good fit.

In my opinion, BHP is nice but doesn't necessarily you much above the rest. It's a lot of self selection. It is competitive to get into IB and finance orgs, even as BHP. However, there's a decent amount of non-BHP kids in the orgs. Also, you don't need to get into them to get jobs in those industries. I like that UT provides good opportunities in all industries like finance, consulting, and tech, but most opportunities are in Texas. I imagine UCLA is also very regional. By pure numbers, UT Austin is best, but I'd suggest getting input from an UCLA student.

Apr 26, 2021 - 11:47pm

Three great choices! Sounds like you're aiming for IB in NY but know you might change your mind?

UCLA and UT both have national name recognition, though I suspect people in the Northeast are generally more familiar with UCLA. That being said, UT is the second best school in Texas (behind Rice, which is only ~4,000 undergrads), which makes it a top feeder for everything in Houston, Dallas, and Austin.

I don't think you can go wrong here in terms of setting yourself up for career success. Four years is a long time, though, so go where you think you'll be happiest (your engagement can also make a big difference in your success).

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