Undergrad decision time.....Yale or Princeton?

Basileus's picture
Rank: Chimp | 14

Hey everyone! As the title says, I was recently admitted to Yale and Princeton for fall 2020. I plan on pursuing a B.A. in Economics at either school. I plan on pursuing a career in finance (hopefully IB) after college, and I really don't know which school positions me better for recruiting and in terms of career opportunities. I would appreciate any insight you guys could offer as I make this tough choice.

For context, I was also admitted into Penn CAS and waitlisted at Harvard.

Thanks in advance for your replies!

Comments (30)

  • Intern in IB - CB
Mar 28, 2020

Congrats, you can't go wrong with any of those in terms of recruiting for IB. I think it comes down to more of where you see yourself for the next 4 years and where you think feels like home

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Mar 28, 2020

Congrats on the incredible acceptances. All 3 schools that you got into are strong targets for IB (although you would have to transfer to Wharton at Penn to be a "super target") so you will be great wherever you go. It honestly just comes down to where you want to spend 4 years. Princeton's undergrad prestige is arguably slightly higher while Yale probably has the more impressive alumni. I would maybe consider your political views as well- Princeton is well known as the most conservative Ivy while Yale is incredibly liberal. Look more at student life than IB recruiting -cause all those schools have you more that qualified- would be my advice. I got friends at both right now and they all love their respective schools

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  • Intern in IB - Ind
Mar 28, 2020

princeton > wharton for a few buyside firms, can't think of any yale > wharton shops

Mar 28, 2020

Hey man, I made this choice last year and ultimately decided to go with Yale. Take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I think you should definitely choose Princeton. Close-knit undergrad experience, more care for students, and a better campus environment. My friends at Princeton love their experience there and I constantly wish that I was there as well. Feel free to pm me if you want.

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  • Intern in IB - CB
Mar 28, 2020

SB'd.

This is the type of content/advice on WSO which makes it great

Mar 28, 2020

Thanks. Just trying to prevent people from making the same fucking mistakes I did. God I wish I could go back in time and slap myself.

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  • Analyst 1 in HF - Event
Mar 30, 2020

Sounds like something a Princeton kid would say...

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Mar 30, 2020

I chose Yale over Princeton a couple years ago and am so glad I made that decision. Yale has been amazing for me and I don't regret the decision at all. I haven't heard anybody like this before so don't let one outlier decide your opinion. Feel free to pm me as well

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Mar 28, 2020

Yale, as it has more grade inflation = easier to get higher GPA

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Mar 28, 2020

Wtf. Why am i getting MS on this!?!. Nobody will give a s*** if it's between Yale or Princeton , and that point it'll just come down to your gpa to get past the initial screen

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Mar 28, 2020

This is bullshit. We don't have more grade inflation, I go to Yale and it's a common misconception. If you want to find easy classes to get a 4.0, you can find them anywhere, whether it's Harvard or UChicago.

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Mar 28, 2020

Would definitely filter out Penn CAS, Wharton would be a different story. That would leave the choice between Yale and Princeton. You genuinely can't go wrong either way. It's solely based on personal preference at this point

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Mar 28, 2020

Thank you all for your input! I think the general consensus is that Yale and Princeton are roughly equal academically but have pretty starkly different environments. At this point, I'm probably leaning more towards Yale - would I be passing up any potential career opportunities by foregoing Princeton? Are there firms that don't recruit at Yale but do at Princeton?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 28, 2020

Alpine Investors? Not that you'd be missing out on much anyway.

Mar 28, 2020

Just dm'ed you. It would be much harder to recruit for quant/tech related roles out of Yale, but banking-wise they would probably be the same. It's what you make of it.

Mar 29, 2020

HYP are all complete shoe-ins for IB. First of all congrats. Second of all, you're crazy if IB chances play any role whatsoever in your decision. Go to any of those schools and get decent grades and its a breeze. Pick based on whatever else interests you.

I hear Yale has gotten a little out of control lately with the hippie nonsense, I'm sure Princeton isn't a world apart from that but as a preppier place maybe there's still some common sense left there.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 29, 2020

Was faced with the same decision. Chose Yale. Very, very happy I did. Had the best college experience I could imagine, and pretty much everyone I know that wanted a job in banking got a job in banking. Have several friends at Princeton that wish they were at Yale. Same for friends at Harvard. The community is, in general, much closer, way more friendly, and less uptight.

I know this is basically the opposite experience shared by doublehelix, and it sucks he's having a bad time, but almost everyone I know from Yale loved their time there. Cannot say the same the same for Princeton.

In terms of recruiting, the schools are about equal. If you choose Yale, apply to YSIG (and go hard on application and interview). Will teach you all you need to know to be prepared for early recruitment cycles, and it makes recruiting way easier bc there are a bunch of dedicated invite-only events with firms. If you have a high GPA, you can kinda cruise right in. Lower GPA, can pull it off with some networking.

I helped several friends prep for buyside roles and can attest to the fact that they were also aggressively recruited, and several good firms (Jane Street, Citadel, D.E. Shaw, Optiver, Blackstone, Warburg, etc) were looking for Yale student...

Also, congrats!

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Mar 29, 2020

Thank you so much for your reply!

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 30, 2020

I also went to Yale and ofc can't speak personally to Princeton, but will say the Yale undergraduate experience is super fun, inclusive, eclectic, and recruiting to finance is basically.. don't become an alcoholic and you'll be fine but if you do, you'll probably still be fine (more kids want Bain & Mck anyways).

It's hard to explain why Yale is really fun socially, but it definitely has that reputation among Wharton, Harvard, Princeton, etc.. other schools will admit it. Harvard enjoys the Game more when we host for example. Yale will place fewer kids that the others to WS, but purely by choice and even still ~30% of the student body goes to Mck, Bain BCG or finance i.e. banking or directly to buyside.

Also, talk to anyone: secret societies > finals clubs & eating clubs in terms of creating a fun social addition senior year, while not tearing apart friend groups. lol.

Yale is a great school to go to if you want to figure out who you really are. I know it's a trope, but you'll be exposed to people with different values and life experiences and ambitions and if you still want to do investment banking or private equity in four years, that option will be there for you. I promise.

But at the end of the day, you'll be a more interesting person because you went to Yale.

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Mar 30, 2020

Thank you for your reply! I really appreciate the insight into life at Yale.

Mar 30, 2020

@Basilius funny my son has same exact choice to make.. Princeton vs Yale..although could change he was waitlisted at Harvard and Wharton. I feel Yale carries bit more old world prestige but I waiver even on that myself. I feel the eating clubs at Princeton really represent essentially Greek life just called by a different name.. when I was in school (Hopkins) I was in Greek life..in hind sight I feel it was a tremendous waste of my experience at a great school if I could have done it again I would never have done that.. spent most time drinking etc..maybe I'm just talking from old guy standpoint now? Also I went into medicine so perhaps the fraternity mentality party hard attitude is more the culture of wall street? I don't know..can anyone educate me on that? What is the general culture of the IB /wall street world..find it hard to believe that fraternity type lifestyle is compatible with the reported 80 hour workweek of IB.
Interested to hear others opinions of this Princeton vs Yale choice

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Mar 31, 2020

If you are at all interested in quantitative finance, Princeton would have the upper hand. Otherwise, make a choice based on the culture and where you could see yourself for 4 years (this should be the main determinant anyway, though career opportunities are important to consider too). If you know for sure you want to work in IB, you should have no problem from either school.

Apr 1, 2020
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