UMD (in-state) or UVA (out of state)

UMD: 21k/year, directly admitted to Smith as a finance major, in honors college, and will probably try to double major in business analytics & operations management or computer science. UMD is a great school for sending kids to Big 4 Accounting and software companies like FB and Amazon but I'm not entirely sure what field I want to go into, leaning towards finance. It also has a very high ranked CS program.
*UMD has the Lemma Senbet Fund program in which 12 students are picked to manage a fund of $1 million.

UVA: 68k/year for first two years, then 78k/year for last two. McIntire is ridiculously expensive and requires you to apply after two years of studies, so not guaranteed but I'm not too worried about applying. I would not try to transfer if I went to UVA. Also, Charlottesville is in the middle of nowhere.

Should I go to UMD and try to network my ass off to get to Wall Street and save the money? Or will it be incredibly difficult? I'm not entirely set on IB at all but I want to keep my options open. However, I don't know if I should consider transfer to Wharton. It's pretty much impossible anyway and I don't want to start over, but it was my dream school (rejected) and I have the high school stats. My parents are willing to pay for my undergrad, but I feel guilty making them pay so much for UVA, especially if I may try to get an MBA after. Any thoughts appreciated!

Region: 
United States - South

Comments (8)

Mar 31, 2020

Breaking in from UMD is very much possible, it doesn't require extreme effort. Starting early is key to be able to break in from a non target and UMD has a decent amount of alumni working in banking. I would take UMD, although UVA is a good school for banking, it's price difference for you isn't worth it.

Mar 31, 2020

Thank you for your advice! I am definitely leaning toward UMD

Apr 3, 2020

Know people who have been able to break in from UMD (of course UVA is a target (especially in comparison)).

PM me

Apr 4, 2020

Charlottesville is much nicer than College Park, what are you smoking. That being said, since you're in state, seeing that it's still possible to get very good offers if you network, you'd be saving a lot of money which your future self will thank you for.

Apr 11, 2020

Thanks for the advice! And yes, UVA's campus is beautiful but UMD's relative location is close to DC.

Most Helpful
Apr 4, 2020

I was in your shoes ~6 years ago as a high school senior facing almost exactly the same choice; go to my state flagship (not UMD, but a very similarly ranked school) for cheap, or take on debt to go to UVA. Heck, I even applied Early Decision to Wharton with good enough stats and was rejected just like you, so I understand how you're feeling right now. Ultimately, against the advice of WSO I went to my state flagship and, although I wouldn't recommend that path to everyone, it was the right choice for me. Here's why:
1. I was able to stand out at my school in a way I probably wouldn't have been able to at UVA. I took on leadership roles in exclusive clubs on campus (my school had something similar to UMDs Lemma Senbet Fund) and was able to develop a reputation and strong relationships with professors and a few alumni. These people leveraged their personal networks to help me reach my goals in a way I'm not sure target school folks would.
2. My state flagship was good enough that recruiters/interviewers took me seriously. I had to work my ass off to network to get interviews (you can read about that in some of my other posts), but once I did get my foot in the door I was given a real chance because in interviews I could say I chose my state flagship so I could graduate without any debt. People could tell I was a smart kid who made a financially responsible choice given limited resources, and I think it even helped me in some cases because they were impressed I was able to hustle and get an interview in the first place. This would all apply coming from UMD as well.
3. It gave me perspective. I've been incredibly fortunate to have a lot of early career success so far - I broke into MBB, I've been accepted to Harvard Business School's admission program, and I'm headed to a top PE fund this summer - and going to a non-target school taught me to take none of that for granted. Despite the long hours, I wake up every day excited to go to work and genuinely thankful for the opportunity to work at such an amazing company. I'm grateful for that opportunity in a way that I'm not sure one really can be if they never experienced the struggle of fighting so hard to make it happen. I think going to a non-target gave me a bit of a chip on my shoulder that's forced me to work harder, but as a result I think I've gotten more out of myself than I would have if I took the target path.

All of this is to say that going to UMD will make things more difficult for you. You will have to network a lot harder to get interviews, and practice more to make sure you can prove that you belong once you get a shot. But if you're ready to really hustle and bet on yourself, you can come out of UMD in the exact same place you would have from UVA except have significantly less debt and have developed significantly more grit. Candidly, this is not advice I would give everyone. Your average person is better off going to UVA to increase your odds of getting a good job. But based on the maturity of your post it sounds like you may have what it takes to succeed on the non-target path.

Best of luck with your choice, and feel free to PM me with any questions!

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Apr 11, 2020

Wow, thank you so much for the thorough response! I'll be sure to PM you in the next few days with some questions.

Apr 18, 2020
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