UVA McIntire vs Duke vs Brown

I was recently accepted to Duke, UVA, and Brown, but I'm wondering which one I should choose if I want to go into IB straight out of college. To give some perspective, I was accepted as Echols Scholar & College Science Scholar to UVA, and was accepted to Duke and Brown regularly. Im wondering which school I should choose if I want to go into IB or PE straight out of college?  I would go about 90K in debt for Duke, 120K in debt for Brown, and 0K in debt for UVA (assuming I get into McIntire). I'm a little scared I won't get into McIntire-I heard some 4.0 kids w/ stellar ECs don't get in-which is why I'm considering Duke and Brown.

Is there anyone w/ experience that can give me some advice on which one is best?

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Comments (24)

Apr 17, 2021 - 4:09pm

That's tough... I would go to UVA simply because it's so much cheaper. I believe that it's pretty fair that we can cross Duke off this list. I think that UVA is a gamble you should take unless you are really dying to go to Brown. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 17, 2021 - 4:16pm

There's the fit aspect of this question as well. You'll have a vastly different experience at all 3 schools which you can bet will make a difference on your overall life, not just first job placement.

Apr 17, 2021 - 4:28pm

First off, duke and brown is sort of on the same level. Tho two offers completely dif experiences. duke is more state-school like (more fun and better sports. Brown is an ivy, more liberal arts. Given the huge difference in cost between the two, I will go with duke over brown.

Second, comparing duke with UVA. I think it comes down to if u are comfortable with the debt. 55k isn't too much if u do get into banking after college. Duke is an overall better school than UVA. Altho UVA provides good recruitment opportunities, duke is still slightly ahead in terms of recruitment, let alone being way ahead in other aspects.

TLDR: duke or UVA. If you are comf with 55k debt, go w duke and don't look back.

Apr 17, 2021 - 4:41pm

Yeah, I'm pretty much between Duke and UVA right now. Maybe it's my imposter syndrome, but I'm weighing between 75K in debt (and a guarantee I don't have to apply/get accepted into an undergraduate business program like McIntire) and 0K debt (but risking not being accepted into McIntire w/ a ~50% acceptance rate).I kinda feel like if I don't get into McIntire then it's goodbye to BBs and elite boutiques. 

Apr 17, 2021 - 4:50pm

Then just go w/ Duke. It won't be goodbye even if u don't get into McIntire. And I think since you are admitted as Echols scholars, u r p smart and have a high chance of getting in. But if u are still stressing about getting into McIntire, why go through that stress when you could enjoy the great culture, brand name, and recruitment opportunities at Duke? 

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  • Intern in S&T - FI
Apr 17, 2021 - 6:26pm

McIntire has a 60-66% acceptance rate at UVA. It's not that hard to get into.

Also, being in McIntire doesn't really limit you from any opportunities.. recruiting happens before 3rd year starts; in the spring of your 2nd year and throughout the summer. Most of your applications will be in before McIntire decisions go out, and some BB's and EB's like Citi, CS, and Lazard give out offers as early as March.

WRT buyside placement: being in the top clubs and getting into a management roles is much more important.

Tons of Econ, Math/Stats, and STEM majors placing lights out at UVA. Not sure why people perpetuate the McIntire or bust rhetoric on this site despite this being a fact for the last 4-5 years or so. It's not like Ross or Haas where recruiting is segregated/exclusive to the b-school.

All of that being said, you should go to Duke or Brown. If the debt is something you're able to stomach more than you are hesitant for the right opportunity, go for it... You're gonna make more than enough to wipe that down and you'll never need an MBA either.

Apr 17, 2021 - 4:41pm

I myself had all three of those at my choosing and I picked Duke actually. Looking back, I'm confident I made the right choice. 

Many of my friends were easily able to go into IB and other areas of finance, while many of my friends at UVA who didn't get into McIntire were less fortunate. Additionally, Duke recruits pretty well to the buy-side, but am less certain about UVA or Brown. 

Now I was very lucky to not have to worry as much about college debt, but still, I think that Duke is your best choice. But I definitely would not pick Brown over Duke to take on more debt. 

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 17, 2021 - 4:44pm

Brown. Way less competition. Grade inflation. Prestige attached to the name (people will think you are smarter than you actually are if they attended state school's). You still get very strong recruiting options. Only schools I would take over Brown would be a few other ivies, Stanford, MIT. 

Apr 19, 2021 - 7:26pm

I mean, I'd definitely pick Brown if I wanted to be pressured into having sex with a trans woman.


  • 5
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 19, 2021 - 8:44pm

On the other hand, you could potentially snag a Goldman offer by pressuring the other econ students to join a non-profit instead of Wall Street

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 17, 2021 - 6:32pm

If the costs were similar I'd probably go Duke or Brown, depending on your personality. However, UVA being free complicates things a lot. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't recruiting essentially happen before people even know if they've been accepted into McIntire? If that's the case, getting into McIntire shouldn't really matter in your decision. If you're considerably wealthy, the debt from Duke or Brown isn't really going to matter but recruiting wise there's not that much of a difference between these 3 schools so choose the one where you fit best and based on your financial situation.

Apr 17, 2021 - 7:02pm

If you choose UVA - you will have a blast there. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Apr 17, 2021 - 11:51pm

Even if you don't get into McIntire, Econ at UVA recruits just fine. Most banks recruit SA before McIntire decisions even come out. MII and AIF are the two big finance clubs at UVA with pipelines, and you'll have a good shot at interviews for them being Echols.

Also, a testament to UVA is the alumni network. People on here talk about 10-15% hit rate with networking... I get 80-90% easy. Alumni are always willing to take calls.

Apr 19, 2021 - 3:38pm

Current student at UVA/McIntire so I can hopefully add some info to your decision process. Getting into McIntire can certainly be difficult, but those students you mentioned with 4.0s who didn't get in likely did not have strong essays and/or some sort of leadership position(s) in their ECs. I'd say in general students with strong GPAs and strong ECs will have great chances of getting in. 

For what it's worth, it's possible to have the same recruiting opportunities in Econ rather than McIntire but you're going to have to network a bit harder. As another commenter mentioned, a lot of banks begin their recruiting cycles before your McIntire career would even begin in your third year. Hope this helps!

Apr 20, 2021 - 1:39pm

That's a fair worry, and fortunately UVA has a plethora of ECs, all of which McIntire largely values equally in the admissions process. Personally, my EC leadership roles were not related to finance at all, and I know several other students who had similar applications. The focus of McIntire's admissions committee has been shifting over the past couple of years from the sort of litmus test of students needing to have the "right" clubs to now looking for students who demonstrate a committed interest to something that perhaps may be uncommon for someone interested in finance/accounting. 

UVA does have some very solid long/short finance clubs and these are understandably quite competitive to get into. However, students who have leadership roles in other clubs are still on a level playing field, especially if they maintain a strong GPA. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Apr 20, 2021 - 3:54pm

I'd pick Brown for reasons stated, except UVA is free... so definitely go there. All 3 will get you to IB just fine.

May 10, 2021 - 10:17pm

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May 10, 2021 - 10:55pm

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"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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