Was paying full price for a target school worth it?

I went to a target school for the full price, meaning I (my parents) are paying like 250k+ for my BA. I have a hi family income so it's not like we can't afford to pay it, but I feel guilty every single day of my life. Sure, I am now gonna be working as an analyst in IB and will make six figures coming out of college, but was it worth it? I could've gone somewhere way cheaper. Sure, it would've been harder to get into IB, but if I wanted to, I'm sure I would've ended up in it eventually. I'm going to feel guilty about this for the rest of my life.

Any other people on here knowing how I feel? What did you all do to overcome the guilt?

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Comments (21)

Most Helpful
  • Quant in Research - Other
Aug 29, 2021 - 5:47pm

People often contribute their successes to themselves, and contribute their failures to the environment.

You think you could land a job in IB because you are good. The reality often is the environment(target school) plays a big role as well. If everyone can land jobs in IB from most schools, there won't be a notion called target school. You can occasionally see many posts on people who have high gpa, many internships saying they couldn't land IB.

Nevertheless just work hard and pay your parents back by visits, calls, gifts etc

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 29, 2021 - 8:10pm

Thanks for this. I know that going to my school has given me good outcomes and offers that my friends who went to state school don't have. I'll just have to make the most of the chances that have been given to me and hopefully be able pay my parents back one day.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 29, 2021 - 7:26pm

I know someone who's paying quite nearly $200k for a BA at my nontarget. He's not uncommon; there are people like him at all schools all over the country. But what is uncommon is for people like you to end up in jobs where you could write your parents a cheque for their money back over 3-4 years. And because you're now in banking and have a target on your resume, your lifetime income is probably 3-4x that of the kids who went to your school but didn't place as well. 

Think about the position you are in now and stop worrying over nothing.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 29, 2021 - 8:09pm

If you don't mind me asking, how much money should I expect to make if I stay in banking at a BB over the next 3-4 years. I'd love to pay my parents back somehow. I know bonuses fluctuate so you can just give me a range if possible.

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 29, 2021 - 8:15pm

It's really going to depend on your performance and your bank. 

AN1 Base is 100 (JPM, MS, etc.) - 110 (BofA, GS, ?) + 50-100% bonus, depending on how you rank in your analyst class and how much the bank pays in bonuses in the various buckets, as a % of bonus.

AN2 Base 105/110 - 125 (GS) + 50-100% again.

AS0/1 Base is 150k or so, with bonuses being around 75-100%. 

So over three years you can be certainish of a floor of ~$500-600k gross earnings. Performance and bonus pools in the next few years you work will determine how much more than that you'll make. You can decide instead of paying them back all at once or monthly, you can put something aside for them -- and maybe even let them know it's there -- for any emergency expenses they may need or just for when they retire. But IB is a lifechanging thing as far as compensation. The fact that you go to a 'target' also means that it may be easier to break into more elitist/'elite' UMMs, MFs and HFs where recruiters and hiring managers may value the name on your degree. 

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Aug 29, 2021 - 8:00pm

10 yrs plus ago it used to be mainly target schools that were ridiculously expensive. But in the last 10 yrs the cost of all schools have risen dramatically. Many non targets now cost the same as targets  - if you're going to pay that anyway you may as well pay for a target if you can get in. 

Aug 30, 2021 - 10:09am

10 yrs plus ago it used to be mainly target schools that were ridiculously expensive. But in the last 10 yrs the cost of all schools have risen dramatically. Many non targets now cost the same as targets  - if you're going to pay that anyway you may as well pay for a target if you can get in. 

If you're smart enough to get into a target plenty of non-targets will give you close to, if not a full ride for UG. You just got to do your DD and find those schools.

Source:  yours truly xd

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 29, 2021 - 11:13pm

Unrelated but you Americans are wild as fuck - insane shelling out 200k+ on a degree! Not only that, you mfs need to be overachievers from mid-late high school(?) to even sniff a chance at getting into these schools in the first place, after which you "earn" the right to cough up all this money.. I know scholarships exist but it's more the general premise of it

I only say this as an Aussie, where a 3 year undergraduate degree (par for the course) costs ~30k for citizens, agnostic of discipline and university

Not only that, the singular requirement to get into all universities is based on a percentile ranking system solely based on how you do over your final year in high school (50% weighting towards 3 weeks of exams at the end of the year)

I spent all but my final year in high school doing drugs and drinking underage before turning it around to catch up on studies and got into my first preference for my degree

Yes lots of cons living here but for banking if you're hard working and committed it's much more of a meritocracy imo

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 30, 2021 - 4:39am

Honestly, in hindsight, it's 40% the student and 60% the parents. Think of an a kid with the potential to really achieve something as an athlete. No matter how much their potential, they need a parent to provide then access to resources, mentors, foster their dream, support, take them to trainings, etc. And also to force them to go train even when they don't want to, sometimes.

Similarly, for a kid to get into Harvard…a parent must invest A LOT and the kid's innate academic ability and drive can only really account for 40% of the metaphorical 'cheque.' It would drive them to be willing to take extracurrics seriously and study hard, but…lots of kids have those qualities, or they can be developed.

Aug 30, 2021 - 11:46am

A nontarget is not free either; even if you get a pretty decent scholarship, there's still room & board and other miscellaneous costs. I think for parents who can afford to pay full price anyway, most would rather pay the $250k+ for a target then the $100-150k for a non-target. Don't worry so much about the parent's money; I'm sure they gain more pleasure knowing you're in a target than it pains them to cut the checks. Assuming they've been decent-to-high income all their life, they probably have enough in financial or other assets that they're still able to grow wealth despite cutting your check. Just make the most of it.

  • 1
  • 1
Aug 30, 2021 - 6:58pm

quantmacro

A nontarget is not free either; even if you get a pretty decent scholarship, there's still room & board and other miscellaneous costs. I think for parents who can afford to pay full price anyway, most would rather pay the $250k+ for a target then the $100-150k for a non-target. Don't worry so much about the parent's money; I'm sure they gain more pleasure knowing you're in a target than it pains them to cut the checks. Assuming they've been decent-to-high income all their life, they probably have enough in financial or other assets that they're still able to grow wealth despite cutting your check. Just make the most of it.

This is inaccurate. I know people who got room and board free too (dorms + dining hall). 

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 30, 2021 - 2:49pm

Yes. It is important to be in the right environment, have the right friends. Having friends at Goldman, McKinsey, Google or Blackstone will help you more than you think (not I my for your job but also to have a support group, winner mindset, resourceful social circle, etc. )

Aug 30, 2021 - 3:50pm

I paid full admission for my MBA and it doubled my income, to the point that even after debt service I'm making more post-tax than my pre-MBA salary. And that isn't to say anything about increased earning potential from the degree and the new industry (development pays more than construction) and when I don't have the debt to pay off. So yeah, I'd say it was worth it. 

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Aug 30, 2021 - 4:30pm

Others have touched upon this, but going to a target has benefits that will essentially last you a lifetime. It's not actually that horrible of an investment. It's much better than buying a fancy car or watch, which I'm sure you'll do at some point.

My main friend group ~5 years out of school is from undergrad and it's nice to be surrounded by bright people. If they aren't bright, they're at least well connected, wealthy, hard working, or some mix of the above. The alumni network is always there and I've tapped into mine several times for internships, jobs, work itself, and meeting people in general. People also use alma mater as a proxy for intellect (don't agree that it is one necessarily), so you get more respect for going to a target throughout a career. Lastly, I know a ton of successful guys who went to non-targets and have this permanent chip on their shoulder. Many of them went back for MBAs and other masters to scratch that prestige itch. You even see it on WSO. The opportunity cost is way higher at 30, so be glad you have the whole prestige thing taken care of. 

Aug 31, 2021 - 10:01am

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