Not sure how many people ask for advice about undergrad programs but I'm pretty desperate for advice as the deadline to commit is approaching fairly quickly.
Right now I'm into Hobart college and University of Maryland (for finance). I've been waitlisted at UMichigan, Colgate, Colby College, Hamilton College, and UVA, all of which I'd accept if I was invited in off the waitlsit.
My goal is to get into IB after college and then an MBA.
At Hobart I'd likely be an economics major, at UMD I'd probably double major finance with econ or another liberal art. Both are non-targets obviously, but are totally different schools in different regions so the prestige factor is hard to discern. Both schools have a few fairly prominent alumnus, but Hobart gets a lot of kids who are better connected than your average UMD student. Their career center also appears to be top-notch, and the prospect of working closely with professors is certainly a hook. Being a state school, the Maryland kids are definitely more middle-class, the classes are larger, the alumni base is more impersonal, and the school doesn't have as much of a vested interest in each student.
However, I'm certain my peers within the finance program at Maryland would be, as a whole, smarter and more motivated than those at Hobart. The Smith School of Business also seems to offer a ton of opportunities like an honors program and a student-run endowment. Also, as a prospective investment banker, I think a finance degree would be helpful.
I talked to an industry guy who said that, personally, he prefers hiring liberal arts kids because he knows they'll be critical thinkers and good writers while kids with vocational degrees from business schools are less likely to have that base. Again though, I'm sure prestige factors into this a lot with LACs and he's referring mostly to the Williams Amherst Swarthmore Midd crowd.
I've been rambling, but in your opinion, which school would you choose? I'm thoroughly undecided so any piece of advice is immensely helpful.