UCLA vs Vassar for a future in investment banking?

diwakera's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 10

Hi All. My D is accepted for undergraduate business economics at UCLA. Her other option is Vassar in NY. She wants to pursue a career in finance, may be investment banking. I am trying to see where she has a better chance to find internships as well a job in some of the top firms in the country. I know her options are limited as both schools are kind of non target, but I would appreciate any feedback. We need to decide in next few days and make a deposit. Again, I am really struggling with the decision and help me please.

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Comments (5)

Apr 26, 2018

There are merits to each. The fact that she's already thinking about target/non-target is great. UCLA, as a public university, probably is better in regards to the resources she'll have at her disposal (i.e. a finance major/program/department, maybe a student run investment fund, and is in LA which has people doing finance locally.) Vassar is also a great option though. A lot of banks are taking Econ majors from liberal art schools but its on these kids to teach themselves the accounting/finance skills needed to make it through interviews. TL;DR UCLA if she needs more of a structured finance environment, Vassar if she can handle the preparation needed to transition from a liberal arts college into corporate finance.

Apr 26, 2018

Thanks you so much. That was very helpful.

Apr 26, 2018

Another thing to consider is where she wants to end up working. Both of them will have alumni in banking and both place well enough, but UCLA would be considerably better for LA/west coast IB and Vassar should have a fairly large edge in NYC IB recruiting. The fact that you can get to the city and have coffee chats is a huge huge advantage.

Of course, a small LAC vs a large public is such a massive difference in experience too that it shouldn't be ignored. If she loves both equally then I'd pick which coast she wants to be on/end up working on.

Either way these are two fantastic schools and both place well enough in IB that if she is dedicated form the beginning and networks well, she will be fine. If I had to choose I would probably go with UCLA because it is a strong Target for west coast banking and has an established, loyal alumni base in LA Finance. But again, if she loves the idea of going to a LAC and/or has her heart set on NYC IB, then Vassar is a fine choice too.

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Apr 26, 2018

Thank you so much for your thoughts. We visited both places and there are pros and cons to each. No financial aid at either place. We are on the west coast and if LA offers same or better resources and opportunities, then we would go that route. Both me and my daughter are on the same page on this issue.

My feeling at Vassar was that it was geared towards medical, law and humanities, not so much towards finance, but this is very subjective, kind of gut feeling so to speak. So I was trying to get some hard core numbers on how these schools place kids in top financial firms, like what percentage of applying candidates get accepted. Is it relatively easier to land internship in one or the other school. That will also indirectly tell how the school prepares the student for such career.

LA offers proximity and lots of resources, but also large number of very smart kids competing for the same, and virtually no help from the career development office. Vassar on the other hand have less kids competing, great CDO, but relative distance and limited alumni presence (unlike Williams which has unusual high alumni in finance, but she only made to the waitlist) . So kind of torn between both.

Apr 27, 2018
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