Why you should consider Notre Dame for undergrad

Recent ND grad here. Was reading the post about Brown today and it got me to write about my experiences recruiting for banking at Notre Dame, since I think it might be a little underrated on this forum. My background is that of a recent grad (Class of 2020 or 2021) and I'm now at a top EB/BB. I also have siblings and friends who went to ivies and recruited for banking and investment roles as well so I know and understand a bit about the recruiting processes at some of the top target schools as well. I just think Notre Dame is often dismissed as a nontarget or fringe semi-target on this forum when that's simply not the case anymore. I hope to encourage kids who might be looking at other semi-target schools to consider Notre Dame as well.

1. Notre Dame's placement is definitely solid. Something I've always read on WSO is how ND is a target for Chicago but not for New York, or that it doesn't really place as well as some east-coast schools. This just isn't true anymore In my class, being conservative, I'd guess 80%+ of the kids went to NY and the kids who aren't are staying in Chicago because they want to stay in Chicago. Furthermore, straight from a newsletter I received a couple days ago, the class of 2021 sent 110 kids to investment banking roles and 250 kids to jobs in financial services overall. That's pretty freaking good.

We send 4-5 kids to Evercore each year. Moelis, PJT and Lazard each take a couple each year as well, including placements at PJT RSSG each year. There are also placements at PWP/Greenhill and pretty much any other EB as well. We also have a pipeline to HL RX and we send like 1-2 there each year. On top of this, there are ~50-60 kids going to BB IB each year. I know kids going to MS M&A, GS TMT, and whatnot, so top groups are all achievable. We also have solid placement at every major MM and we send about ~40-50 kids there yearly.

On the buyside, we send ~15 kids to PE/credit each year. Bain Capital Credit takes a couple each year. Blackstone takes 1 or 2. We also send 1 or 2 randomly each year to other MF's as well. Most kids go to a smattering of UMM and MM funds like Vista, Ares, GTCR, Golden Gate, and Stone Point, among others. ~ 5 go to VCs and HFs each year but that process is much less structured.

The TLDR is that we send ~110 kids to investment banking and ~20 to the buyside each year. These two numbers are straight from career center data so no need to take my word for it. This is out of ~200 finance majors in each class. Those are some crazy numbers, especially when we aren't even looking at ER/AM/S&T placements as well. As a side note, at Notre Dame, anyone can recruit for IB successfully but its almost all finance majors by self-selection. I've seen engineering majors go to megafunds and top BB though so its not really gated.

2. Notre Dame makes it extremely easy to recruit in a non-competitive environment

Notre Dame practically holds your hand in the recruiting process, and it all takes place in a very non-competitive setting. There is no recruiting for an exclusive club halfway through freshman year which makes your breaks your chances of getting into IB. Every club is 100% open and inclusive to all students and you can start practically anytime. I know kids who didn't know about banking until literally sophomore winter/spring and they landed BB offers. If you are dedicated and motivated from the beginning, there is absolutely no way you don't land the EB / Top BB / Buyside job that you want as long as you grind a bit.

There are two main finance clubs at Notre Dame. The Wall Street Club is the professional development club. They host networking chats, Q&A sessions, career treks, modeling bootcamps, interview workshops, and all the rest. It is 100% inclusive and everyone is always welcome. There is no strict interview process to gain access to their resources and connections. The second club is the Student International Business Council which basically places teams of students to work on a semester project with firms like GS, Evercore, BAML, JPM, PJT, and others. You generally work with an upperclassman going to the firm and alums at the firm so you get to network and meet people while working on a practical finance project. There's also the Investment Club which has a student-run portfolio but I hear its changed a bunch since I was active in it so I really don't know much about it now.

The career center is also extremely helpful. You can start meeting with them as early as freshman year. They have new programs (which weren't even a thing when I was there) which place freshman and sophomores for externships or internships and pretty much hand-hold you through the process nowadays. Every serious kid I know, including myself, had an internship sophomore year at a reputable buyside firm and I've heard its gotten even easier nowadays. The career center reported 215 sophomore internships in financial services in 2021, which once again, is pretty big when considering that there are roughly ~200 finance majors in a class. And nowadays, sophomore internships are pretty much the key to recruiting. The kids with the best sophomore internships get the best junior internships, and a good relevant sophomore internship pretty much guarantees BB junior year as long as you have the stats and preparation.

And taking all of this into junior year recruiting, WSO is right about one thing, Notre Dame is practically a cult. Alums are going to bat for you no matter what. You might not have anything in common with them, but they're going to bat for you either way, because you went to Notre Dame. The upperclassmen will give you their pirated, hand-me-down interview prep materials and their strategies for firms, applications and networking. You don't have to be in the same club or frat as them, they will help you out. The career center will get you in touch with unique alums and opportunities and leverage pipelines that only they have access to. Frankly, you can't go wrong.

On top of all of this, Notre Dame is not that competitive. You're not going to hate yourself. Nobody is cutthroat. It's a collaborative environment with relatively easy business classes. I graduated summa cum laude with over a 3.9 and honestly I did not even work as hard as high school. It's not a hardo school either where you're competing with several hundred kids who want to work in IB. You're not going to spend every minute of your life worrying about getting into investment banking and living with students who live, eat, and breath finance. You're going to have a helluva good time and still get the job you want anyways. This kinda brings me to my 3rd part.

3. Notre Dame doesn't have crazy, draconian, religious culture

This is something that I think a lot of people worry about when thinking about going to Notre Dame. It's a hardcore religious Catholic school where you live in same-sex dorms under the supervision of priests. Everything I just said above is both true and false. Yes, Notre Dame is a catholic school. Yet, I was, and am, a liberal atheist who will argue with you about why God is not real, and I had no problem with religion at Notre Dame.

Firstly, politically, Notre Dame, like any other reputable institution, is liberal. The students are liberal. The profs are liberal. It might be a bit more conservative than Brown, but the student body is still mostly liberal. Most students you will find are pro LGBT and all the rest.

Academically, Notre Dame's Catholic roots mean taking two courses on theology. One of mine was basically on church history and another one was on biblical literature. Not so much theology as english and history. The theology courses really don't have a religious focus unless you want them to. 

Outside of academics, what worries people most is the living culture. I am a guy and am speaking for guys here, this is WSO so I doubt it matters anyways. Girls and guys live in separate dorms and they are generally supervised by a religious person as their rector. There are also rules like you can't have girls in your room past 12 on weekdays and 2 on weekends. However, IMO, these rules are pretty much a farce, and the dorm you live in for most people is a fantastic experience. 

You are assigned to a dorm before freshman year. I think something like 80% of the kids stay in that dorm because they love it so much. You are encouraged to bond with your dorm a lot during freshman year and the dorm you are in pretty much becomes your family. You eat with them, you drink with them, you chill with them, you party with them. The closest thing I liken it to is a frat. The people in your dorm become your brothers and it is a very fratty culture. Dorms literally have their own dorm alums who contribute to dorm funds, just like frats. Notre Dame has a huge (underage) drinking culture and this is propagated by parties in dorms. In no uncertain manner, our rectors and RA's pretty much look the other way in regards to this. The rectors in guys dorms are generally really chill, old priests and they basically only intervene if someone needs to go to the hospital. The will say hi and walk past you if you are shambling around drunk at 2am in your dorm building. Similarly, in my experience, nobody cares if you have girls stay the night. Just be discreet about it. The RA's are just seniors who partake in the drinking culture and don't cause any trouble either. They won't report you, they'll have a beer with you. Notre Dame is a normal school, with a normal college student body, who like to drink and have fun. Not a draconian catholic institution. However, this only goes for guys dorms. Girls dorms are way more strict and super dependent on what dorm you're in and who oversees you. I won't go more in depth because the high school female readership of WSO is probably quite low. 

This is just a narrow example about how Notre Dame isn't this school full of crazy catholic zealots but I hope it illuminates the broader picture that Notre Dame is just like any other college. The kids here do the same things that kids do at any other school, and that means you will have just as much fun here as anywhere else, especially considering the D1 sports and football culture. Protip: just follow football and you'll be able to network with any ND alum.

Also, going to speak a little bit about South Bend here. It's a county of 300k people 90 minutes from Chicago. Not Ithaca (Cornell) which has 30k or Hanover (Dartmouth) which has 8k. It's not a small city, and there are parts of it that are quite nice and gentrified. Yes, parts of it suck. But Notre Dame is not one of those schools where you need, or want to, go more than 5 minutes off campus. All the kids who live off campus live within 5 minutes, and all the requisite food/clothing stores and bars are nearby. You live in a bubble of rich white people, just like any other top private school. You really don't need to go off campus, and I promise you won't want to.

I'll answer any questions if you guys want. Feel free to discuss, ask me anything, or even just make fun of Notre Dame grads.

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Comments (68)

  • Prospect in IB - Restr
Jul 16, 2021 - 3:44am

In your experience, how much of this applies to international students (wrt placement)? Are alumni and the career services center as supportive of international students as they are of domestic students?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 16, 2021 - 5:36am

One thing that I've noticed (and some of my ND alum can concur) is that many of the students who land the best gigs are internationals. I've seen internationals land top groups at BB's as well as top EB's (if they sponsor). I know Notre Dame has specific programs to help support internationals but as I wasn't one myself, I can't really speak to experiences with alums or the career center. I can say that I do have many acquaintances who recruited for BB IB and succeeded in getting into a bank/group that they wanted, so I would assume that they are well supported.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 16, 2021 - 4:30am

Great post, thanks for sharing.

Just a note for the kids interested in RX, you are probably making the placement a bit too good. You definitely don't send one kid each year at PJT RSSG and the 1/3 at HL RX are most likely all Chicago, very hard to land the NY group

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 16, 2021 - 5:29am

You're right about HL. Just checked. It's all in the Chicago office. However, I know for sure I'm right for PJT RSSG. 2 went to RSSG in 2020. One in 2021, and at least one kid is summering there right now. In terms of restructuring, I know Evercore and Lazard each take 1 or 2 for RX each year as well, although I'd assume Lazard is in their Chicago office as well.

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Jul 16, 2021 - 7:58am

Might also be worth noting that Notre Dame does not have the most 420 friendly culture. While as long as you're not dumb, you won't get caught, but if you do, especially on campus, possible suspensions can and have occurred.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 16, 2021 - 8:26am

Yeah, this is one thing to consider that I shoulda mentioned. Alcohol is fine but weed is a big no-no. Most students are fine with it though but the administration is not. If you get caught, the first time, you won't get suspended or expelled. You will just have a disciplinary hearing and all that jazz. But after that, no promises. Its illegal in Indiana too I think but I think students don't really get in trouble from the state. There are still many circles who do it in more secluded areas or off campus though, and it's gotten a lot more popular in the past couple of years. However, you have to be careful.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jul 18, 2021 - 6:40pm

ND does have a huge underground 420 culture because of this, though. If you're a smoker then you'll quickly find other kids who are. Plus, the school is a 15-minute drive from the dispensary in Michigan.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jul 16, 2021 - 9:31am

Interesting post. I've seen people on here comparing ND to UMich/IU and I don't really get it. Personally I have met like 3x more ND grads on Wall Street than either of the other two. Obviously not Wharton/Harvard, but from my experience it's on-par with the second-tier Ivy's/Duke in terms of placement.

Jul 16, 2021 - 12:51pm

Prospective Notre Dame applicant here. How is the location and weather (I'm from a hot climate, how would the adjustment be)? Did you feel like there was a lot to do in the surrounding area? Was it ever inconvenient to fly out for interviews? Cheers

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Jul 16, 2021 - 2:59pm

To be honest, those are probably the two biggest downsides of the school. Jan/Feb are tough, but I wouldn't say it's any worse than other midwest or northeastern schools. South Bend isn't the best city, but people frequently take day/weekend trips to Chicago during the spring (2 hr drive, or a train from SB into downtown CHI). During the fall, you'll be going to football games every Saturday so not a huge incentive to leave campus. 

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Jul 16, 2021 - 2:41pm

Great write up, very educational. Would echo others and say you're misleading about placements, especially at top banks and buyside, but otherwise seems like a solid semi target if comparing to other state schools, etc

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Jul 16, 2021 - 2:55pm

As a current student, would not say this is misleading. Alums will 100% go to bat for you and haven't heard of anyone who put the work in, not placing well

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Jul 16, 2021 - 7:55pm

My brother just graduated last spring from ND. These placements seem about right from what I've seen and heard talking to him. Definitely an underrated school.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 16, 2021 - 10:31pm

115-120 kids placing a year is not a fucking semi-target you nonce. 

Jul 16, 2021 - 6:41pm

Just a quick note as this is posted in the Business School forum:

The recruiting experience for undergrads vs the recruiting experience for MBA's is day & night. The roles you are seeing discussed here are almost exclusively for undergrads.

Also, Notre Dame is an idiosyncratic and polarizing college. Would highly recommend visiting / touring before going there. If you come just for career opportunities, it probably won't be that great of an experience.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 16, 2021 - 7:36pm

There is no undergrad forum and when we make posts about undergrad in off topic or IB forums, mods just move it here. People have talked to mods about it but they haven't done anything so this is the only place we have.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jul 16, 2021 - 10:04pm

Yes definitely, maybe someone going to Chicago can comment on this but this year there were Chicago placements at HL, CS, Citi, BofA, etc

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jul 16, 2021 - 10:01pm

Fellow Mendoza 2021 grad here. I agree with everything said above and I'm glad you made this post because I've thought about doing the same.

I couldn't be more happy with my decision to attend ND. I had an unreal 4 years, worked hard but didn't kill myself, and now I am starting with a top IB group. I had far from a 4.0 and still managed to break in due to the career-focused approach found in Mendoza. Also, the strength of the Notre Dame alumni network can't be emphasized enough… Literally everyone wants to help you.

Prospective students: Visit campus on a game day and you won't regret it.

Jul 17, 2021 - 12:21am

The Catholics vs. The Convicts

Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.
Jul 17, 2021 - 5:03am

Great post and can confirm this is accurate from experience. Also, Mendoza just started an Business Honors Program with a cohort of 60 rising sophomores that will likely help further boost recruiting.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 17, 2021 - 8:39am

Yo man. I'd be careful posting that first link. We can't access it but I'm pretty sure I know what that is, and if that is indeed the whole newsletter, as a student, I probably wouldn't want my name, firm, group, and contact info out there like that on WSO. There's other emails and stuff in it too that perhaps shouldn't be shared. Maybe cut it down to just the placements page.

Jul 17, 2021 - 11:09am

Love to see the ND people coming out here, don't see too many on this.

OP, I'm a rising ND senior looking to lateral into the industry with a pretty nontraditional background. Don't wanna give too much info on this and give myself away. Can you(I) PM me(you)?

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 17, 2021 - 6:59pm

Shit! I wished I chose Notre Dame. I'm going to it's Jesuit peer in Boston and tbh I think the recruiting might be harder for me now :(.

I never visited south bend Indiana but when I got accepted I had just assumed it was gonna be somewhere I might not get used to.

Whatever, I'm an incoming freshman so i still have time to figure out if I like my current school

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 17, 2021 - 8:55pm

As someone who doesn't go to either BC or ND, I would definitely have chosen ND over BC, but Boston is still a nice place and you can definitely land FO roles if you grind!

Jul 17, 2021 - 11:31pm

Just started this summer in Mendoza's MS in Management cohort for Spring '22 graduation. Is it possible for graduate students to get involved with the undergrad clubs OP mentioned? Haven't heard much about any finance specific MBA Clubs.

Also, I'd welcome any general thoughts on if its even possible to break into a smaller Chicago based bank (Lincoln, WB, etc.) with a non-traditional background on this tight of a timeline? (I know, probably pretty slim - but would consider roles other than IBD)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 18, 2021 - 9:02pm

ND student who just graduated this year. I don't think graduate students can get involved in these clubs, but I definitely know that there are finance-focused MBA clubs at Notre Dame. Since you're M.S. in management, I don't know if these "MBA" clubs are accessible to you or not. We also have AIM/APEP which a lot of MBA's take so see if you can take that. Your timeline for breaking into IBD is pretty strict and usually banks will want you for the summer from a non-traditional background. However, it looks like you're doing a 1-year program so you might still have a shot. Honestly, I don't think that M.S. in Management is the way to go for breaking into banking, and ND doesn't have the best graduate business programs, but I'd say, connect with past M.S. in Management grads on linkedin in the careers you want and see what they can tell you!

Jul 18, 2021 - 10:38pm

Cheers for that! Will deffo check out AIM/APEP, hopefully I'm not too late to apply to take those. Tbh most program alums are in consulting, with literally only 1 (I believe) in IB currently. Consulting opps was my original rationale for choosing the program - guess I should probably stick with that lol. Also didn't know Mendoza's grad programs were as you say "not the best" either - making me regret picking it over here 

Jul 18, 2021 - 8:44pm

How is recruiting for economics majors? I'm an incoming first year student in the College of Arts & Letters, and I'm just trying to figure out my opps if I can't transfer into Mendoza. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 18, 2021 - 9:53pm

Behind Finance, Econ is definitely the most popular major for kids at ND going into financial services. None of the clubs or anything else is gated only for Mendoza, and they are available for all majors. Similarly, no alum is going to not talk to you because you're an econ major and not a finance major, so your recruiting experience should pretty much be the same.

Here are the three benefits of being a business (finance) major that I see now. Taking 1-2 finance and 1-2 accounting courses before sophomore spring legitimately really helps you for technical interviews. Taking multiple semesters of structured accounting and finance coursework really helps you understand concepts on a much deeper level, and it made a lot of accounting and finance interview questions a joke for me, because it was absurdly easy once I understood the concepts through taking a course on it. Secondly, being a finance major, many more of the kids in your classes will be going into financial services. You'll meet the people you'll network alongside, recruit alongside, work alongside, and connect with when you're switching firms 10 years down the road. You'll meet people going into the same field that you are. Finally, although this wasn't the case for me as it wasn't a thing when I was around, Notre Dame does seem to have a new Business Honors Program, which you can apply to before sophomore year, which will probably help you stand out for recruiting and give you additional networking opportunities.

Also, I know that finance is a very career-oriented major. However, business profs will definitely give you the academic/intellectual perspective, and you still have to take all those pesky core classes which will also give you the same broad range of coursework. Additionally, many kids I know do a double or supplementary major. Econ is one of the most popular options. Some of the smartest business kids I know did supplementary majors like Physics, Math, or Applied & Computational Math & Stats. You also have the opportunity to study a lighter major, maybe something that has been a passion of yours, like History, Philosophy, and the like. So being a business major really doesn't limit you.

However, at the end of the day, being an Econ major is completely fine. I know many many people who broke into financial services from econ, and it didn't seem like they had a much more difficult time than the rest of us. You will definitely be fine!

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jul 19, 2021 - 11:30am

Echo what the other guy said. I would also mention that it is pretty easy to transfer into Mendoza after your first year, just keep a high gpa (which will be easy in A&L) and you'll be fine.

Jul 19, 2021 - 7:17pm

Want to echo what others are saying here.

Background: Graduated ND over 5 years ago, came up through the special sits credit world, first at a large asset manager (~$200bn credit shop) and now as the senior analyst at a $3bn special sits fund (#2 guy on a team of ~7).

First of all on the banking side, everything I'm reading rings true. Lots of friends went to Lazard, PJT, GS etc. in NYC. Lots of those guys now at big elite shops: HPS, Tiger, GSO, Blackstone etc but also many to smaller shops that are just as good like a Victory Park, Atlantic Park, Monarch, etc. 

Long-term, though, the network is by far the most important part. The number of really senior guys in the industry who have taken time to get to know me and go to bat for me or just let me pick their brain has absolutely made my career. If you look up a who's who of ND alums in the special sits world, I've cold emailed 100% and though some took a few attempts had a literal 100% hit rate on long-term relationships with these guys. If it sounds insane, it does to me too.

I love ND, for all its flaws. Have a domer wife, all my best friends went there, I literally wouldn't have anything I have now without it. I went to a public school in a big city in the South, dad is an accountant, mom works at a church. ND was life changing.

  • Analyst 1 in HF - EquityHedge
Jul 20, 2021 - 12:00am

Current rising senior at ND interning at a HF... gotten multiple comments this summer regarding how many ND people are in the industry from PMs and people at my firm.

Jul 20, 2021 - 1:30pm

I grew up in SB, currently at Kelley. When it comes to ND and placement, are you talking about the MBA program or school in general? I'm considering secondary routes to IB in case I cant secure an internship for SA2022 and I was considering MSF programs. 

Jul 24, 2021 - 2:41pm

Hello,

My background - a rising high school senior, Asian, an atheist, born and raised in California, going to high school where 90% of the population is Asian, considering consulting for my career

I heard different things about ND, but after reading the OP, I'm adding ND to my early decision school list (with Emory and BC Carroll)

Still, I have a few questions. So I'd appreciate it if anyone could help me.

1. Among the three schools, ND seems to have the least diverse student body (~5% Asian).

How is the social scene for Asian students there, self-segregating, not visible, or meshing well with most Caucasian catholic students? 

2. In the consulting forum megathread regarding target schools, ND wasn't included. 

Because OP is about IB, would someone tell me how well ND is represented in consulting?

Are there enough ND alumni in MBB or other firms (Accenture, Deloitte, Booze Allen, EY) for me to network?

3.If I major in Math/Econ or CS/Econ, would I have the same access to OCR as Mendoza students?

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