It seems like everyone wants to get into banking, but consulting seems a lot more stimulating, and provides more non-finance exit opportunities. How does Columbia do at the undergrad level with consulting firms? I'm also applying to Northwestern, which I heard places well with consulting firms.
Columbia's placement into banking and consulting is top-notch, along with all other Ivies (with the exception of Cornell). Columbia's placement is significantly stronger than Northwestern's because Columbia is generally perceived to be at a higher level than NW. I believe the top schools for banking would probably be: Harvard, Wharton, Princeton, Yale, Columbia in that order.
You guys are off your rocker. Bain & Co. and LEK don't even recruit at Columbia plus it isn't the top feeder school to any specific city in consulting. Northwestern dominates consulting placement in Chicago and all of MBB recruits from there heavily.
To everyone else who has posted on this thread please disregard Goldenboy's comment. Indeed, Bain and Company doesn't recruit at Columbia but EVERY other major consulting firm, investment bank, and PE firm does. From Blackrock, and Mckinsey, to Goldman. From what I gather from lurking these fora for the past few months (and his profile) goldenboy has no grip on reality and spends his free time on CC making high schoolers feel bad. If you go to Columbia and want to go into consulting, IB, or PE you'll have every opportunity in the world to get that job. Good luck, high schoolers, on the upcoming admission cycle. As for you, goldenboy, please find some other hobby than trolling CC.
You're the one that is putting down peer schools and propping up Columbia. There's no doubt that Columbia's an excellent school but there's no need to put Northwestern down. Also just to note, PE firms don't typically recruit undergraduates.
Sometimes firms don't recruit at specific schools because of the minimal yield they would expect. When I was at Columbia, Goldman Sachs only recruited 6 schools - among them Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, NYU, Chicago, and Stanford. If you went elsewhere, you were out of luck. Does that mean Northwestern is not as good a school - of course not. It's just question of requirements and yield for the recruiting company. And at the graduate level, Bain certainly recruited from Columbia (in my day - mid-1980s).
Columbia's finance recruiting is top-notch, probably only behind Harvard and Wharton (Yes, more than Princeton and Yale. I've heard from students at these schools).
While Columbia's consulting recruiting is good, it's not as great. I would say it's slightly higher than Northwestern's (only because of the Ivy brand). I have personally seen Bain, BCG and McKinsey on campus. Other notable mentions are Deloitte and Oliver Wyman.
Kellogg is amazing and does attract a lot of consulting firms. I'm assuming that would make them look into Northwestern undergrads too. I am highly unbiased and am not irrationally supporting Columbia (unlike some other CU students here), but I would suggest Columbia.
The most important thing is not your school, but you. There's no difference if you're from Yale or UCLA as long as the firm recruits at your school. It's up to you to stand out and ace interviews.