USC (Marshall), Indiana (Kelley), UIUC (College of Business) or Babson College

Hey! I am an international student and will be studying at undergraduate level in the US. I have been admitted to University of Southern California, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Babson College. I have been offered admission directly to the business school of all the universities.

Major concerns for me are costs, prestige, exposure and career opportunities. I haven't been to any of these colleges so I cannot base my decision on that. I am not dead set on any major but I'm leaning slightly towards finance. I haven't given a lot of thought to my career options but I would certainly consider that once at college.

I have tried to highlight my preferences in the discussion of every college and I have to decide which college to choose from the 4. It's been really hard to choose the right one for me because of lack of exposure and knowledge. Being an international student who would kill to land a job in the states, it only gets harder to compromise on certain preferences. Please help...

USC would cost me around 70k although the exposure and prestige that comes with it are incomparable. Studying international business at Marshall (not 100% sure about studying that) in LA would be huge plus point considering better weather and internship opportunities. Not to mention a better lifestyle because of the urban setting but costs are a huge concern for my parents and living in LA is also not cheap. It was really hard to get into USC in the first place as it had an acceptance rate of 16.5% this year.

The issue that arises with studying entrepreneurship at Babson College is that I would choose working for large multinationals or top BBs over starting a new business. It would get harder to do so especially because I am an international student. Attending this college would cost me around 66k. I would rather spend this kind of money at USC but thats because of certain preferences (Weather, higher prestige)

The biggest advantage that comes with IU Kelley is that it would cost roughly 50k. I am also offered a scholarship of 5k which would reduce the costs to some extend and add to the opportunities available at Indiana. What keeps me from choosing IU Bloomington is that it does not have a really good overall reputation. Another driving force apart from costs, is Kelley's placement stats and ofcourse IBW. I know it's a bit of a gamble to choose IU for its IBW but other than that Kellley does have a lot to offer to finance majors. Nevertheless it lacks the exposure that a college in an urban setting would provide.

UIUC College of Business is quite a bargain compared to Babson and USC as it comes with a pricetag of 55k. It may not have a solid reputation for finance but it does have a amazing social scene and a highly reputed accounting program for those aspiring to work for the big 4 one day. Its placements are pretty good in Chicago but it hardly places its students outside illinois.

Comments (23)

Apr 1, 2016

Illinois is a great bargain and you will get a top-quality business education. The career fair and job placement opportunities are fantastic and can help you land a great finance job.

Apr 1, 2016

I would say USC Marshall, LA is always attractive and i have many friends who got fabulous jobs afterwards.

Apr 1, 2016

I agree with the posters above. Your choice should be between Kelly vs Marshall.

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Apr 4, 2016

Assuming you do well in school, you'll be fine at USC/IU/UIUC in terms of careers (like you should have a good shot at getting into Big 4 or some sort of corporate role.) If you're dead set on IB, then it's probably USC first and IU a close second, but you have to balance that against A) cost, and B) the fact that you might not actually end up going into IB for whatever reason.

I don't know much about Babson so can't comment there.

Can you say what country you are from? I only ask because UIUC has a big international contingent that apparently has not always integrated well - you don't want to be one of those int'l kids in college that only hangs out with people from your country just because they speak your language and share you customs and it's just easier that way. It seems your English is fine so I wouldn't really be concerned about that, but just something to keep in mind when you think about the type of college experience you're looking for.

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Apr 6, 2016



Apr 7, 2016

I think the social experience at U of I vs IU will be pretty comparable (which is to say: you will have fun at both if you are outgoing and sociable).

FWIW, I didn't go to either school, so you might want to take that with a grain of salt.

Apr 4, 2016

They let anyone into USC these days. Just kidding. If you're an asian international, the prestige in Asia is getting up there for USC.
If money is a factor, DONT go to USC. Living in LA cannot be done for cheap. You won't have fun unless you have money to spend.

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Apr 5, 2016

As others have said, USC/IU/UIUC are really your options. I can only speak on Babson because I'm from Boston and know how it is viewed there. I wouldn't do it at all. It is really viewed as a 3rd tier school in its own city (1st tier: Harvard/MIT, 2nd Tier: Tufts/BC/BU) and there are a lot of very elite schools that aren't in Boston that feed into there: NESCACs, Brown, Dartmouth.

Apr 5, 2016

I vote for USC, even though it is very expensive for its prestige.
Honest to god, USC is like the west coast version of NYU, overpriced. But it is a good school compared to a lot of other and is better than kelly.

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Best Response
Apr 7, 2016

If you are certain you want IBD and not just finance in general, I would choose Kelley. Kelley gives you the best shot at NYC IBD.

If you want finance, but you could be happy working as a trader, Illinois is probably the stronger school. And when it comes to Engineering or Accy, UIUC wins hands down-- it even outranks every Ivy in most engineering disciplines, and outranks Wharton at Accy. Overall, UIUC is the stronger school.

USC, Kelley, and UIUC are all very high quality state schools. USC will give you more options for the west coast. Between UIUC and Kelley, pick Kelley if you're sure you want IBD, and pick UIUC if you want to give yourself options.

If you go to UIUC, seriously consider business honors or a double major in EE or CS. I think there is also an investment banking institute at UIUC that gets good placements. Electrical Engineering or CS doubles or triples your options, because now Jump, Citadel, Getco, GS, etc all want to talk to you and hire you as a quant.

Engineering is the new liberal arts degree for business. Whether you go to USC, Kelley, or UIUC, these schools all have excellent engineering programs, and you should consider it-- it will open more doors. UIUC's is arguably the best of the three, and a combined finance/engineering degree can position you extremely well.

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Apr 11, 2016

IU doesn't have engg. You can do CS though.

Sep 3, 2019

Can you elaborate on your reccomendation of majoring in engineering?

Apr 7, 2016

UIUC is a nice social life.

If you're in Engineering, you spend your free time playing D&D, board games, and computer games and drinking a little.

If you're studying anything else, you spend your free time drinking a lot.

There's hundreds of clubs at UIUC ranging from a skydiving club to a waterskiing club to dozens of fraternities and a few business fraternities to all kinds of religious organizations.

UIUC has a gigantic auditorium called the Krannert Center, which routinely hosts all kinds of stuff for the performing arts. It also has two museums. Oh and a football and basketball team- how could I forget that. (This is also true of IU and USC)

There are 40,000 students on campus. It is literally a city of college students. It is easy to get lost, but if you're bored there, it's your own damn fault.

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Apr 8, 2016

There are too many people in la already

Apr 8, 2016

My USC friends ended up at top tier BBs. My UIUC friends landed jobs too but nothing out of ordinary.

Quality comes at a price and low quality is usually cheap.

(from international student perspective)

"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."

Apr 13, 2016

yaaa br00

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

Apr 9, 2016



Apr 9, 2016

Thanks of writing. I'm not as familiar with these programs as I am East Coast/Southern schools, but I'd think it comes down to location in no small part. I looked at them earlier myself for a grad program and learned that IU's got strong placement into financial services firms (lot of big 4 alumni) and into specifically IB IF you can get into the IB workshop or Academy, but the director is very picky about who he works with. LinkedIN search shows most recent banking alumni being at large Chicago/NYC firms.

The others I'm not as familiar with.

Apr 9, 2016

Kelly is the obvious choice here. No one cares about accounting rankings. Accounting is the same anywhere you go. The order is Kelly -> USC -->> UIUC -->> Babson.

Hope this helps.

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Apr 11, 2016

If you are going to do business. It is between USC and IU. UIUC isnt really a top business school. College experience in Urbana and Bloomington are pretty much the same so you are not gonna miss out on anything.

Between IU and USC, as an international student I would take USC as being in a city gives you an opportunity to do school year internship which comes up really handy during the recruiting process. Good luck.

Apr 12, 2016

International, you have some wonderful choices and choosing a school is very personal. Two of the schools are in cities so in addition to a higher cost, you also have easier access to companies that have offices in those cities. You may want to factor that into your ROI. I suggest you several contact alumni and students from each school, gather intelligence from them and figure out the best fit for you given your desires and your constraints. You really can't go wrong with any of your choices. Good luck! Natalie

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Apr 22, 2016