WashU Olin or UMich Ross for Undergrad?

Hey guys, I know a lot of posts have been made debating these two schools, but none of them really answered my questions. I've been admitted to both so far, which I'm excited about! I'm leaning toward MBB consulting as a goal after college, but may switch interests into product marketing or something along those lines. I also want to get an MBA in the future.

UMich Ross

  • Out-of-state, so about $10k/year more expensive than Olin
  • Ross is a premiere undergrad business school (wasn't expecting to get in tbh)
  • Has amazing career placement
  • UMich seems like a fun school and everyone I know loves it there
  • Don't know if I'd get "swallowed up" being surrounded with 600 other Ross students and 30,000+ students

WashU Olin

  • I personally enjoy the more academic private school atmosphere of WashU better and feel I'd fit better with the student body
  • They haven't answered my emails which leaves a bad taste in my mouth about how much they care for students...
  • Not sure about the career placement, but heard they are a target for MBB offices
  • Has a really pretty campus, great dorms, and great food

It seems to me like Olin is the place to go if I want consulting in Chicago. However.... as a senior in high school I know my career plans (and where I want to move after graduation) are likely to change and I feel Ross will give me more flexibility. Some questions:

  • How well does Ross recruit for MBB?
  • Does UMich's 30,000+ students and 600+ Ross kids/grade get to feel overwhelming?
  • Which alumni network is better?
  • Should I choose social fit and slightly less cost (WashU) over strength of business program (Ross)?
  • Will Olin still give me career/internship placements on par with Ross as long as I work hard?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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Comments (17)

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Feb 22, 2021 - 10:19am

Since you brought up employment reports, I'd encourage you to look at both schools' reports yourself. Upon doing so, you'll notice that, while overall outcomes are similar (Median starting salary of 80k at Olin vs 78.5k at Ross), Olin grads skew more heavily toward consulting than Ross (~30% of graduating class vs ~20%) whereas Ross grads skew more heavily toward financial services (~50% vs ~40%).

OP - my advice would be to make your decision based on other factors that are important to you (fit, size, geography, etc.). The employment statistics don't favor either school enough for it to drive your decision and your career opportunities won't be materially different at the end of your four years.

Most Helpful
Feb 22, 2021 - 11:50am

I don't give a flying fuck about average/median incomes --> the people who make these reports use skewed data / don't even understand statistics half the time. I want to see raw placement #s, and if you go on Linkedin and compare the # of ppl at these firms, it's not even close.

If WashU somehow has connections, it's because the school intentionally accepts only the richest of applicants (it has the highest national median family income of all US schools), and it achieves that by #1 not having need-blind admissions despite having a 10 billion dollar endowment when even schools like Gtown with 2 billion offer that, and #2 by having a lame/college rankings gamey admissions policy of having two early decision rounds to maximize yield of acceptances. Super lame, reaks of ivy insecurity / overcompensating for being a B-tier school in a C-tier location.

  • Works at Citadel Investment Group
Feb 22, 2021 - 1:46pm

Raw placement numbers don't tell the story because UMich's undergrad population is 5x Wash U's, and the student body at Wash U is skewed toward STEM/medicine. I didn't go to Wash U but felt it necessary to point out that you're an idiot who shouldn't be criticizing professionals for 'not understanding statistics'. UMich is a great school that has great placement for both IB and MBB, but it's easier to make it to MBB from Wash U.

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Feb 22, 2021 - 1:52pm

If you didn't go to WashU, how would you know that? Further, Ross and Olin have similar student body sizes if not the same so your point is mute. I was not comparing the full student body size. Also, it is certainly fair to criticize school administrators for fucking up statistics. They do it all the time.

Don't make me Melvin Cap yo ass out here, Citadel boy.

Feb 22, 2021 - 3:00pm

That's what I was thinking too. Olin's only about 200 students per grade, while Ross is 600. But with this, I believe Olin still places a similar raw number into MBB despite being 1/3 the size. If I stick with Ross, I could also see the rest of my RD decisions which could include a Northwestern acceptance, and I applied to a few Ivies/Stanford but chances are low for that top tier of schools.

Feb 22, 2021 - 3:46pm

k if you have that data and its side-adjusted better for Olin than Ross, than I rescind my MBB point.

Nonetheless, I'd still recommend Ross for broader opportunities, especially in high finance and in tech.

Northwestern vs Ross is a wash, but probably go to Northwestern. Rly comes down to fit. Ivies > than all these options, though the severity varies by Ivy/program.

Feb 22, 2021 - 1:16am

@OP -- if you really wanted MBB, your answer is HYPS and nothing else. Every other school fights for the remaining scraps. I truly think Ross > for MBB and every other possible industry... however, if somehow Olin were > Ross for MBB, it would be a low single digit difference in placement (ie 6 vs 5 or 7 vs 5 at most lmao).

P.S. (and I'm not a Ross alum, mind you), but Ross doesn't just "eke" it out vs. Olin for IBD. It fucking dominates it. Not even a fair fight lmfao.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Feb 22, 2021 - 6:30pm

Didnt recruit for consulting but went to Ross. If you want mbb I'd say it's harder to get than a banking job coming from Ross. Ton of people go into consulting, but it's primarily tier 2 and big 4 firms. You really have to be in the top quartile of the class to have a shot, in addition to being involved in clubs/business frats, and networking well. All the mbb recruit ocr at Ross iirc, so the opportunity is there, just gotta perform well. 

As for the question about getting overwhelmed, it honestly never felt that big to me. My high school class was 1/3 the size of my Ross class, but Ross splits you up into 8 sections so most of your courses are taken with the same ~80 kids through your time there. If you're a social person that's dedicated to mbb and willing to put in the work, I think you will be more than fine. Just get involved, and I can't stress that enough. I didn't take advantage of the clubs/business frats and i deeply regret it.

Feb 25, 2021 - 12:32am

Yep, I've heard lots of things about Ross's business clubs and frats. It also sounds nice how Ross is a smaller community inside of the giant UMich school.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 23, 2021 - 2:49am

Grew up in STL, so can provide some insight here. Don't really know much about the social life there, but WashU will provide great placement into consulting roles if you work hard. Not to say you don't need to work at Ross, but WashU is generally going to be more geared more towards consulting than Ross - where there is much more IB or die focus. Beautiful campus, with close proximity to DT STL and other suburban "cities". I would def consider it, especially if your saving money. Lmk if you want me to PM you, and we can touch base on stl in general. GL!

Feb 25, 2021 - 12:30am

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