US vs Canada Undergrad?

Hey everyone,

I'm Canadian and just graduated this past spring from a New England prep school (think Andover, Exeter, Deerfield, etc.). I applied and was accepted to a few colleges last year, but I'm currently taking a gap year for various reasons & am planning to reapply to some universities soon. While I didn't really do any business-related ECs in high school, I've read a bit about IBD on WSO forums & am interested in IBD as a possible career (ideally, I'd really like to work in the States in the future). My options are:

  1. Go to school in Canada. I was accepted to, though ultimately declined an admission offer from University of Western Ontario Ivey AEO program. I'd apply here in the fall and spend ~$30-35k CAD per year. Another possibility is University of Toronto, though I think Western would be better for finance.
  2. Go to school in the US. I'm a swimmer and am able to recruited to Amherst College, which I've read is a target school. I'd apply here in a month, though tuition for me would be ~$65k USD per year (approx. $80k CAD per year) - I'm factoring in applying for financial aid, though I won't receive much as I'm international. My parents would be willing to pay this much for my undergrad, if it'll be significantly beneficial for my career. It does cut into their retirement savings, though, which I feel bad about...

Obviously, Amherst is considerably more expensive than Ivey. Is the extra $ worth it? Are the Wall Street connections, alumni network, etc. that much better from Amherst compared to Ivey? Also, how difficult is it for Canadians/internationals to be hired by Wall Street firms (I understand I'd need to be sponsored with a TN/H-1B Visa - are firms still willing to do the paperwork for these visas nowadays)?

What would you do if you were me?

Thanks in advance.

Comments (50)

Best Response
Oct 4, 2017

Ivey has very strong placement both in Canada and in BB and EBs in the US. Given the material savings you would have by going to Canada, I would personally choose Ivey. The university social scene their is also pretty awesome. All in all, Ivey seems like the logical choice to me. That being said, I don't know too much about Amherst so maybe someone else can touch on that.

    • 4
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Jan 18, 2018

What could you say about the Schulich School of Business? Do most of alumni that come from Schulich get into BB or any firm on Wall street?

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Jan 18, 2018

What could you say about the Schulich School of Business? Do most of alumni that come from Schulich get into BB or any firm on Wall street?

Jan 18, 2018

For a non-canadian, how do you get into an Ivey from HS? (test scores, extracurriculars, sports, etc.)

JC, john cena, jesus christ, etc.

Oct 4, 2017

Amhrest isn't a target

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Oct 17, 2017
Oct 4, 2017

Ivey is lowkey a solid target for US BBs, EBs, and even buyside positions. There are quite a few Ivey kids at Goldman, Evercore (for which they are a core school), and CS, and others spread across various BBs and EBs. This doesn't even include Canadian BBs such as RBC and BMO, where Ivey has very strong placement. Even top buyside shops like LGP and Silverlake recruit at Ivey, so there are plenty of opportunities there for finance. Taking this into consideration plus the fact that it's cheaper, and I would recommend taking Ivey over Amherst.

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Jan 18, 2018

[deleted]

JC, john cena, jesus christ, etc.

Oct 17, 2017

Would echo the other users - I hate to break down targets even further, but while both schools are technically targets Ivey gets better recruiting than Amherst so I'd say this is a pretty easy decision. If you're coming from a Andover/Exeter type school you should try for Wharton or Harvard - those would give you the best of both worlds, in terms of being a target for most shops (including LGP and Silverlake mentioned above) and demonstrate your interest to work in the US.

Mention the interest to work in the US because you studied here for high school, so going to Canada might create some (admittedly easily dealt with) questions about your dedication to work in the US.

Other factor to consider is if you study in the U.S. you get OPT (and CPT depending on the school) which makes it easy to stay in the US longer if you're a Canadian citizen.

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Oct 17, 2017

Thanks for the info... the reason I'm not applying to Wharton/Harvard is bc I'm on a Gap Year and already applied to Penn (albeit not Wharton) and Harvard last year when I was a senior. I didn't get in, so I doubt I will this year. Amherst is basically my best option in the states.

Oct 17, 2017

Why would you go to Canada after going to a top prep school in U.S.(which probs cost tons of money too)? Especially when your goal is to go into IBD in U.S.? Doesn't matter what people say about Western Ivey placing kids well in the street, top U.S. schools place better than Western period. Plus, why are you choosing schools based on IB placement, when your college title goes with you for entire life. Western isn't recognized much around the world and though it is a good school it is definitely not one of the top schools. Try going to top U.S. school even if it is not Amherst. Pretty sure you posted something similar asking for this and everyone was along similar line with me.

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Oct 17, 2017

I get what you're saying. My prep school was really generous with financial aid, so much so that my cost of tuition was about the same as my previous school here in Vancouver. However, only the top Ivies will have FA even close to what my prep school offered. I can't apply to Harvard/Wharton as I did last year when I was a senior and didn't get in.... doubt I'll be able to this cycle. Amherst is basically my best option in the states.

Oct 17, 2017

Ok.
100k is a lot of money, but very small compared to what you will earn for the rest of your life. I would still go to Amherst, unless you simply cannot afford it.
Trust me, if you go to Amherst you will get better education, stronger alumni (because its small like andover exeter deerfield feel you have) and you will have better time.

2 if you don't get in <abbr title="investment banking

">IB through Amherst, that means you wouldn't have gotten in even if you went to Ivey. Because if this is the case, it is not because you didnt have Ivey that you couldnt break into IB but its because you weren't good enough, didnt put the best effort or simply unlucky because this process is so random.

Oct 20, 2017

Ok, thanks for the info. Leaning towards Amherst rn.

Jan 16, 2018

Let me know if you end up going through with the swimming. Swimming D1 was one of best decisions, brutal but highly recommend. Also the reason I was able to attend a top liberal arts school. Bankers seem to love the swimmer mentality.

Also, did not know Amherst acceptance rates was so low.. 14% acceptance.. damn

JC, john cena, jesus christ, etc.

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Jan 18, 2018

Yeah, I think Amherst, Williams, Wesleyan, Middlebury, Colby, and Tufts all have a < 20% acceptance rate nowadays. Brutal.

Jan 18, 2018

Those schools are all very hard to get in, though I rarely hear about them. I've heard Williams has a very tight-knit finance alumni group.

Side note: low-key Georgetown kids are sick at finance recruiting.

JC, john cena, jesus christ, etc.

Jan 19, 2018

I should've included Bowdoin as well in my first list. They are < 20% acceptance rate, too. I think only three schools in the NESCAC are > 20% at the moment.

If you look through at enough teams in I-Banking, PE, VC, etc, you will see quite a few people from these schools. Not the same representation as HYP, Stanford, Duke, Dartmouth, etc, but still a pretty strong showing for being small schools.

Jan 18, 2018

Education at the undergraduate level is mostly the same across all good schools.

Ivey is a second entry program with a small yet extremely loyal alumni

"...and you will have better time." Western ranked one of the top party schools in the world. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

Jan 25, 2018

lol all the canadian kids throwing monkey shit at me. Face it tough, if you can afford it, why would you go to western when you can go to a top college in the world?

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Jan 16, 2018

My take on Ivey: the top 5% places well, but everyone's competing for the same type of jobs and the vast majority do not get BB / EB type placements. Given the current political environment also, I heard this year a lot of banks stopped looking at Ivey because of perceived difficulty with the TN visa. If you go to Amherst (which is what I would choose), make sure you go into STEM so can get the 2 year extension, which will give you looks at a lot more places.

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Jan 18, 2018

I'm at an Ivy (H/Y/P) and the competition is absolutely brutal. Imagine networking events with 2 analysts and hundreds of mosquitoes. For the mid-tier BB that I will be at, there were 150 or so first round interviews, 18 or so superdays, and ultimately only 6 IB SA offers given out. The offers are capped at those numbers regardless of number of applicants. With that being said, I noticed they were less concerned with diversity (gender and race). Almost all kids at the superday were asian males.

And yes, visa always an issue. With new administration in place, my roommate is having trouble getting his visa. However, it didn't hurt him much in terms of summer intern recruiting.

JC, john cena, jesus christ, etc.

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Jan 19, 2018

Went to a similar school as you. You're generally correct, but as an analyst running the recruiting process this year, I realized a few things. 1) Most of the folks we gave first round interviews to (around 40, not 150) were easy easy cuts. They were socially inept, did not know how to answer fit questions, or did not know their technicals. We gave around 15 superdays to kids we thought could get the job (6 did). 2) Most students at Ivys (with the exception of Wharton) have no idea what banking is until it's too late to prep. Interviewers pick up on that very quickly.

Knowing that you want to do banking (like OP does) as a freshman is a huge leg up at a school with no undergraduate business school, even more so at a liberal arts college like Amherst. Several BBs are no longer hiring Canadians who need TNs (but still hire STEM OPT extensions).

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Jan 17, 2018

They're close enough that I don't think paying the extra money is worth it. Coming from a non-target state school in the US, I can tell you that as much as people like to praise "target" schools, at the end of the day your results will reflect the amount of work you put in (as a swimmer / athlete I'm sure this is an easy concept for you to understand).

Sure, there MIGHT be a possibility that Amherst attracts a bit more interest than Ivey, but at the end of the day if you're not putting in the work to network / make yourself more marketable / practice technical questions / etc then neither school is going to magically drop a BB IBD offer into your lap.

Lets assume that at Amherst you are competitive if you are top 10% of your class and at Ivey you'd have to be top 5% to be just as competitive, is the extra hard work and dedication you have to commit to being top 5% at Ivey worth saving $45-50k CAD / year? If the answer is yes then go Ivey and work a little bit harder. If the answer is no then lean towards Amherst.

Jan 18, 2018

I believe anyone at a top 50 school or top 20 liberal arts school can make it to BB if they put in the effort. People kept telling me I would get looks everywhere (HYP, 3.5+ GPA, D1 Athlete, relevant experience, etc.) but that's just not true. In fact, I don't even think they read every resume. You have the potential to be looked at but you still have to put in the work. Networking and calling random analysts/associates was almost required for getting those first phone interviews, especially since you have thousands of HYP applicants who have similar backgrounds.

JC, john cena, jesus christ, etc.

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May 4, 2018

.

Jan 17, 2018

What type of visa do you guys get when you work in the US - is it just straight to TN? If it's just TN, OP, I would consider Amherst solely for the ability to get OPT time in the US to at least give you a few at-bats at an H1B.

GreenGiant, I'd be interested to hear about how Ivey students are viewing the TN situation - I don't know the immigration laws well enough, but is there some other visa that Ivey students could use to work in the US, even just in the short term?

Jan 18, 2018

I've written a few posts on Canadians coming to the US which might be helpful to you. I've been getting a lot of questions on Trump and visas which is probably something you should take into consideration when deciding where to go to school. Here is a quick summary of some of the issues, but I'd do your homework and keep an eye on how things develop.

For a Canadian student going to a US school, the game plan was to get an F-1 visa (good for one year, eighteen months if you are STEM) and use that time to apply for the H-1B lottery. For a Canadian undergrad moving to the US, the standard was get TN Economist (to start immediately) and transfer to H-1B.

Unfortunately, with NAFTA under review, I've heard of companies no longer supporting applications, plus border guards being much stricter on admissions. Plus, Trump is taking a hard run at H-1B's, and last I heard there was some talk of increasing the minimum salary requirement to $90k from the current $60k (which makes it challenging for analyst hires).

Having said that, I would echo @ibankingFTSearch 's sentiment which is that Ivey is the best Canadian ugrad school to go to for US recruiting. Can't speak to Amherst.

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May 2, 2018

who m i

Jan 24, 2018

This is a great question. My opinion is there is a good chance. They did something similar for Associates and VPs back in 2014 because of issues with deferred comp and "cash flow". Overall comp doesn't change:
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/07/28/morgan-stan...
Don't know if/when this would happen.

May 4, 2018

Canadian UGrad programs do not compare to Ivy schools especially in the networking and support arena from financial institutions. Don't get me wrong those schools that you have named are some great institutions but they do not match up to the top colleges here in the states. Your best bet is to try and get into an Ivy.

May 4, 2018

for a canadian, what range of SAT I, SAT IIs and gpa would be required to get in. btw im an american living in canada if it matters

May 4, 2018

Do you mean SAT range for US schools (ivys) or for Canadian schools? If you mean US ivys, if canadian GPA is like US gpa you should figure about 3.8 or up, depending on how tough your school is (top 10% is the general benchmark), SATs in the 700s (I'm not sure how they view the writing section), a few goods SAT IIs, but you'll also need solid ECs, good essays/recs and solid course selection. I'm sure there is more good info on collegeconfidential.

May 4, 2018

what is ivey queens and mcgill??

May 4, 2018

Do you mean their SAT/GPA ranges? I'd guess they're in line with US NESCAC schools, but I'm not an expert, especially on canadian schools. As before, I'd suggest you look on collegeconfidential or collegeboard.

May 4, 2018

you will be better off out of ivy league for sure but those schools in canada are good since you will be paying 20,000 per year as appose to 80,000. (except ivey HBA 50,000 yr 3 and 4) you need a 1540+ to be safe anything higher makes marginal difference.

May 4, 2018

ChaunceyBillups,,,,

i have heard that for ivey it is 10 thousand per year,
confirm your sources plez

    • 1
May 4, 2018

Ivey is ~20 K per year for each of the two years, whereas as Queen's is ~$10 K for the last three years - if the regulated years, the tuition is ~$5 K.

As for going to the States, the real advantage is recruiting opportunities for positions in the US. If you want to work in Canada, you might as well go to a Canadian school since all the big firms (IB, consulting, accounting, marketing etc) will be on campus.

I also think it depends on your program - if you are going to Queen's Commerce or Waterloo engineering as examples, the quality of education is probably pretty comparable and at a fraction of the price.

Reality is, these are all good schools, and will provide you with a great learning opportunity. In the end, it won't make a huge difference.

May 4, 2018

Shit didn't mean to necro..

Jan 18, 2018

Top LAC recruiting for banking sucks imo. Swim team would help but its a uphill battle. They will take a few kids a year so it's at least a shot. Would go to a target instead.

Jan 18, 2018

On the contrary, I think top LAC recruiting is easier or at least I preferred it? There's an uphill battle to balancing school + recruiting/interview prep at LACs since not everyone is gunning for it, but alums are willing to bat and student are way more likely to help each other out.

May 4, 2018

Ivey HBA places pretty well but all of the US universities you listed are better. Look at this for schools to apply to http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/list-of-targ...

"Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry."

    • 1
May 4, 2018

Sauder student here, I landed big 5 IB but Ivey would've been an easier recruit and could've landed me higher. PMF is a gamble, you could do UBC Sauder until 2nd year and find out if you get into PMF or else transfer to Ivey.

Apply to UBC, Ivey and Queens if you want IB, Ivey > Queens > UBC.

    • 1
May 4, 2018

Ivey if you're staying in Canada, go to a target US school if you want to work in the US. Also, how do you figure Columbia will be cheaper than NYU?

May 4, 2018

Wealthy American schools like Columbia, harvard, etc. offer financial aid albeit not as good for Canadians as it is for Americans.

    • 1
May 4, 2018

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Jan 25, 2018

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Jan 26, 2018