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So if I want to go into Consulting or I-Banking...

IntransitIntransit Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
edited July 2006 in Business School - MBA
...what should I do during undergrad? I'm going to Columbia, and I'm thinking of doing the combined poli sci/econ major. I've been hearing a lot of people say that as long as I do well at the school I'll have plenty of job opportunities come senior year, but that answer seems a little to fluffy to me. I have a friend who graduated from Yale a few years ago who said that a lot of her friends who took easy classes there and got 4.0's are now at great law schools. I guess my question is whether Columbia's prestige and a very high GPA will be worth more than a the prestige with a lower GPA in more difficult courses. Thanks in advance.
Post edited by Intransit on

Replies to: So if I want to go into Consulting or I-Banking...

  • aristeiasaristeias Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    You should aim for a 3.5 minimum. A 3.5 GPA in any major at Columbia will definitely get you interviews at the major banks/firms, with the exception of McKinsey and GS. Then it is a matter of the fit/personality/drive that you display. Econ-Poli Sci is not considered a difficult major at all and is extremely common at Columbia. The average GPA in that major is probably around a 3.3/3.4.

    You don't need a very high GPA for I-banking/consulting. After a certain point, it is more important to develop good communication skills. Do not sacrifice other things for the sake of a marginally higher GPA or a courseload you think people will be impressed with. You will want to do a good internship junior summer, and that depends far more on how the interviewers like you after you pass screening.

    As far as prestige goes, I think the stat is that 25-40% of Columbia in any given year will go into a finance-related field. That is very high. I do not know of anyone (at CC at least) who wanted an i-banking job but could not get one. Consulting at the higher levels is harder to break into, but the same rule of thumb applies.

    If you do well at Columbia, you will without a doubt get a good job coming out.
  • IntransitIntransit Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Aristeias,

    Wow. I wasn't expecting such a great answer on my first shot. Thanks alot. However, some clarification would be much appreciated. I know that poli sci in general is not a tough major, but Columbia has one of the best undergrad programs in this department. I'm not saying prestige makes for a more rigorous program, but wouldn't it look better coming from columbia? And I know econ isn't as difficult as the harder sciences, but I wouldn't call it an easy major; in fact, after the bio, chem, maths, and physics, I'd call it one of the harder ones. Maybe I'm not as familiar with Columbia's program as you are. And is it true that the Political Economy combined major is common?

    One more question too...

    What would be the necessary prerequisite for an interview with McKinsey and GS. 3.75+? a more difficult major?

    Thanks alot again. Are you an alum? Or a lot of friends that went there?
  • WildflowerWildflower Registered User Posts: 1,254 Senior Member
    "You don't need a very high GPA for I-banking/consulting."

    While true for I-Banking, I would say that is simply not so for the very top consulting firms. Consulting is a much more intellectual enterprise and as such attracts extremely smart individuals. If you want to fit within the top candidates you will want to have a very,very high GPA.

    Political Economy is not the same as studying Economics and Politics together; it is much easier. IF I were you (unless you are planning to go to law school), I'd stick with Econ Only. Then again, at Columbia it's probably worth it to study both--but you'd probably be better off studying something more rigorous instead of Political Science. Think hard sciences, math; heck, even classics as you have to master Ancient Greek.
  • IntransitIntransit Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    "Political Economy is not the same as studying Economics and Politics together"

    Actually, the only difference in the requirement for a major in Political Economy and a double major in poli sci and econ is that you are not required to take all the BS fluff classes you normally would for poli sci (12 points in related fields history, econ, philosophy, etc).

    The Political Economy major does require three less higher level econ classes, but I'm interested in a lot of those upper level classes and plan to fill out the rest of my schedule with them. If there's something I'm missing about why the double major is much more difficult than the single major, please tell me.

    In addition, I was told that it doesn't matter so much what you major in, but what classes you took; that is, employers will look at your GPA, say "o you majored in ______", and then look at the classes you took and the grades you received in them.

    Thanks for the input Wildflower!
  • WildflowerWildflower Registered User Posts: 1,254 Senior Member
    Hey, if you are still taking Econometrics, Mathematical Economics and Macro and Micro at an intermediate and/or advanced level, more power to you.

    I don't know how Columbia's curriculum is structured, so excuse me if I was wrong. But at most school, Political Economy is basically Poli Sci with a couple Econ courses. Most people I know, from I-Bankers, Professors and Consultants have that impression. Some people may even presume you took the poli sci courses in order to boost your GPA. If possible, I would focus your Sr thesis on Economics analysis, rather than political analysis--just a though.

    But you have a lot going for you: school name, econ courses, etc. Just make sure your GPA is as high as it can be (aiming at a 4.0 is always a good way to go).
  • aristeiasaristeias Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Poli Sci is not a prestigious major in the eyes of the i-banks. It is seen as far less rigorous than the sciences, economics, and history. It will not give you an advantage. Econ-Math, Econ-OR, and engineers in general are more in demand if they have the soft factors to correspond to math skills. With that said, major in what you genuinely enjoy and take a few of the necessary classes (corporate finance, accounting, micro, macro) to get you in shape for internships. Relatively few applicants will differentiate themselves through coursework, and the ones who do are the ones who took Stochastic Modelling and Time Series Finance, advanced programming, etc.

    For McKinsey, learn to start thinking on your feet, how to answer behavioral questions, how to package yourself, etc. You'll need all that to get through the rounds of interviews.
This discussion has been closed.