Yale vs. Columbia vs. NYU Stern (Undergraduate)
Hello WSO, I'm currently deciding on where to attend this upcoming school year. I've been going back and forth on what school is the best fit for my interest for the better part of a month, but unfortunately, I only have a few more days to make a final decision. Let me preface this by saying I am extremely fortunate to be in this position, so this is definitely a "good" dilemma to have.
As of now, I am quite certain I want to go into finance after college. While doing applications, I did a lot of soul searching to see what I really wanted in life, and ultimately, I found out that I'm not all that interested in other career paths. Another thing to note is that I will be full-pay at all three of these school, and money isn't something I will take into account when making a decision.
Now onto my options. After opening all my school decisions on ivy day, my immediate gut feeling was Yale, but now looking back on that, I think that was largely in part to the Yale name brand being among the elite HYP. Although, after reviewing all my options I think I am still leaning ever so slightly (by a very small amount) towards Yale.
For Yale, I like its curricular flexibility. There are general ed requirements but they can be fulfilled by a variety of classes, so I can definitely tailor my education to specific interests I have. This shouldn't matter as Columbia is also very well regarded, but I think Yale slightly edges it out in prestige. At Yale, I would most likely double major in Econ and Applied Math (w/ Data Science concentration). I am hesitant to commit to Yale mainly because it has a reputation of producing humanities focused graduates and politicians. I always hear of large fund managers and Wall St. executives being Harvard/ Wharton grads, and very rarely do I see the same for Yale. Another downside to Yale is the location. It isn't far from NYC, but it doesn't compare to actually being in the city.
Moving onto Columbia. I absolutely love the city. Having the heart of NYC and the financial world a short metro ride away offers so many opportunities in term of self growth. Sure New Haven isn't a rural town, but having the world's most famous museums, concert halls, BB banks, etc. so close is definitely an advantage. The biggest think I dislike about Columbia is the common core. My ideal curriculum would be that of Wharton's or Stern's where it is hyper specialized in what I want to do, and even Yale's seems like an ideal in-between (can be specialized while integrated with liberal arts). The common core overall seems extremely restricting, and to be honest, when I objectively look at who I am as a student, it seems like it would be somewhat of a waste of time. And of course, the "name brand" is highly recognizable, but it isn't Yale. Also, I do know some Columbia alums (like 2/3 Ziff brothers) are very known in finance.
I think NYU Stern is at the bottom of my list. While it has excellent placement on Wall St, it seems like that is mostly due to self selection. It is good for finance, but I can't justify turning down an Ivy for it. Also, while I will be graduating with more of a background in finance, I have heard from a lot of people that those additional skills aren't all that necessary. The biggest positive for NYU is its location. I love the idea of being completely integrated into the hustle and bustle of the city.
Overall, what would be the best option to prepare myself for a career in finance in terms of alumni presence, networking, internship opportunities, etc? If I went to Yale, would I be missing out on anything, as opposed to being at Columbia or NYU? Even though Yale is my current number one, I am very open to any opinion you guys may have; Yale definitely isn't the clear choice for me (I would be open to either Columbia or NYU).