A summary of my questions:
I have every option available to me. From the perspective of someone who has been on wall street, what is the best thing to study at MIT in order to optimize my chances of making it to a big IB?
Would it be a waste of my time at MIT to NOT study some form of engineering, especially because I am at least mildly interested in it? Or since I really want to work in finance, should I embrace that now and forget engineering? Can you get a good job in IB after studying Mechanical Engineering, and how much more difficult is it than if I studied something else? What is the easiest path?
I'm a freshman at MIT with the best programs in the country for basically all the disciplines I'm interested in right in front of me, and I can't decide what to major in at all. My goal is to go to an IB and make bank for about 10-15 years and maybe after that spend my time starting a company that makes assistive technologies (or maybe not) then drift back to the finance world at a hedge fund or VC firm (one that I start?). The majors I'm considering are:
Management Science (aka quantitative courses for optimization and finance)
Mechanical Engineering with a specialization (I'd probably do Control, Instrumentation, and Robotics which involves computer science/EE a little, also avail: Product Development, Energy, more)
Pure Mechanical Engineering
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Applied Mathematics or Mathematics with Computer Science
Management Science, Minor in Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering, minor in Management Science
EECS, minor in Management Science
Management Science and Applied Math (or math with CS) double major
Management Science and Physics double major
I want to learn finance ("management science") and that is what I'm truly interested in-- as I said I see myself on Wall Street and that is what I want to do. At first glance the best option seems, of course, to be Management Science (look at it here if you want: http://web.mit.edu/catalog/degre.manag.ch15.html), which is ranked 2nd for ugrad business in the country. Nevertheless, here it is considered a wimpy major and one of the (if not the) easiest at the school. I think recruiters know this as IB jobs often go to EE/CS grads, often above Management Science grads. EE/CS grads with stellar grades here are probably the smartest quant thinkers in the country. I don't think I'm capable of being in that ballpark- if I did EE/CS, I'd probably have around a 4.0/5.0. I would also not enjoy it very much.
If I weren't to do finance (though I do want to do finance), I would want to start a company developing assistive technologies like special robotic wheelchairs. I am also interested in cars and engines quite a lot, but mostly for fun/as a hobby. I'd rather have tons of money and buy nice cars to play with than spend my life designing them for $80K a year. The only way I see myself working in engineering is if I did study ME, got a great idea for something, and turned it into a startup. Even then, after the technology was developed, I'd be much more interested in the business side of the company. I anticipate I could do reasonably well in ME (4.4 or 4.5 /5.0-- not bad for MIT standards)
If I did Management Science, I'd probably have around a 4.6 of 4.7 /5.0. Note at MIT this is a very solid GPA (but in Management Science, it's not respected as much, at least within the institution, because of the engineering driven culture). I suppose I could minor in engineering, though this seems like a strange thing to do.
I know guys in my fraternity who didn't do particularly well and still got great consulting jobs. Would you say GPA matters less on the IB front too, because it's MIT, or does GPA still play a large role?
Note: I'd still want to get an MBA later in life, which may deem the degree in Management Science somewhat useless, though that doesn't matter for the immediate task of getting recruited at a top IB BEFORE I would get the MBA.
Anyways, to quit the BS and ask a question already... given my interests (primarily in finance but also in the stuff above), the MIT culture where the smartest students study engineering, and grade considerations for hiring outlook... what do I major in? Does it matter a whole lot?
I'm open to suggestions on any Major/Minor Combination (minors possible in anything except EE/CS) or double majors in math/M.S. or physics/M.S. If you truly think it would not matter what I major in, please say so, but I get the feeling that it does matter. The things I actually like the most are Management Science and Mechanical Engineering, but I don't think I could pull off a double major in those two areas in the remaining three years I have. I don't really think ME is great for finance when it could have been math or computer science. Is it?
Thanks for any help, and for actually reading this all if you made it down this far. I appreciate it-- this is a stressful decision and could use some help from people who have a different perspective on this all than I do.