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Columbia for I-banking

blankusernameblankusername Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
edited July 2010 in Columbia University
How is good is Columbia for investment banking (compared to Wharton, HYP, NYU, etc.)?

Columbia is one of my top choices, and also being interested in business, I want to get a feel for what kind of opportunities Columbia kids have on Wall Street.

Also, I'm heavily leaning toward SEAS; how do engineering students fare compared to Columbia College kids for Wall Street jobs?
Post edited by blankusername on
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Replies to: Columbia for I-banking

  • gunit5gunit5 - Posts: 188 Junior Member
    In today's economy, most people getting recruited I-banking have MBA. There are little ibanking jobs out there available for undergrad, most go to people who have undergrad business degree and great internship experiences, it is very competitive. Being in Columbia actually don't give you much leverage over other schools.
    If you think oh Columbia = wall street connections => best chance to work on wall street. That's actually not really true. If you go to Wharton, you can still get an intership in NYC, and probably an even better one in Philly. @Harvard, you got Boston and NYC. At NYU, you got NYC and Columbia to deal with. So really there is really no significant advantage at Columbia. So really go where you want to go. Of course, Columbia is next to wall street but you don't have to go to Columbia to get an internship and ultimately a job at Wall Street. So really, go where your heart wants to go. If it is Columbia, by all means apply. If you like another over Columbia, go to that one, you don't want to be second guessing yourself as you spend 4 years at Columbia.
    Also, I'm heavily leaning toward SEAS; how do engineering students fare compared to Columbia College kids for Wall Street jobs?
    What i don't understand is why go into engineering if you want to do business? Unless it is financial engineering. I think the best post about it is beard tax's in this thread: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/columbia-university/920232-financial-engineering.html
    Columbia's Financial Engineering is very prestigious but also rigorous, probably more than Econ.
    beard tax wrote:
    Financial Engineering is a concentration with the Operations Research major. It is definitely the most rigorous major in the IEOR department and one of the more difficult majors in the engineering school.

    To be accepted, your cumulative GPA is not a huge concern, especially in humanities classes. However, you'll need A's in math classes (Calculus, Linear Algebra, ODE), an A in Accounting and Finance, as well as good grades, which means A+/A/A-, in computer science. You'll also need to show consistent performance in your science classes. These rules aren't hard and fast, but they are general guidelines for the academic performance expected of you. That's not to say you can't speak to the IEOR administration and network your way in. However, if you can't gain admission to the program academically, then you're probably not prepared for the program and you may do poorly. Overall, the program accepts 20-30 students, with some opting out as the 4th year begins, due to the rigor, and the fact that many students already have offers at firms. I'd say that around 40-60 students apply, but it's a self-selecting pool because many students, by the end of freshman year, find themselves academically unprepared for the program or interested in another major.

    The program shares many of the same requirements as the IEOR core, which consists of Stochastic Models, Mathematical Programming, Database Systems, Production Planning, as well as some other classes. However, the program differs in senior year, when students begin taking classes in pricing models, asset allocation, and FE specific classes. I've not reached this point yet, but 4th year classes are rigorous and time consuming, more so than 3rd year classes. Essentially, as an engineer, prepare to be challenged every year (unless you've taken a lot of the material of freshman year). There is no plateau to rest on your laurels and every year will feel like a wound torn anew.

    If you want to go into the financial services, Financial Engineering is overall not going to give a huge advantage over other engineering majors. There will be an extra word (financial) in your major, so it shows that you are interested in the sector. However, most recruiters and first year analysts reading your resume don't know the difference between Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In general, the FE pool is strong enough as is to work in the financial services. I'd say the students make the program more so than the program shapes the students.

    As an FE major, prepared, like all engineers, to work very hard. A gripe is that College students majoring in Economics can do joint programs (essentially 2 minors) with many different departments. It makes them look impressive - like Economics-Operations Research, Economics-Mathematics - but you'll find that the Financial Engineering Program almost encompasses Economics-Mathematics-Statistics-Operations Research minus 4-7 classes, which are trumped by harder senior year courses. You'll compete with these students and FE won't give any discernible advantage.
  • unionclubunionclub Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Assuming that you're an undergrad, I think it's pretty good. Many bulge bracket firms conduct on campus interviews. SEAS kids do better in my opinion, especially financial engineering majors, because they can take more relevant courses. Having said that, I know of many others (econ, math majors) who is working as a summer intern right now. What really matters is your GPA (can't stress enough the importance of this, as my friend with a 4.0 GPA got almost all interviews, albeit she had no finance knowledge or relevant experiences) and previous work experience in addition to extracurricular activities and your interest in finance.

    As for Wharton and NYU Stern, I saw lots of them at recruiting events. I was actually surprised to see NYU kids everywhere. HYP is not much different from us.
  • confidentialcollconfidentialcoll Registered User Posts: 2,491 Senior Member
    In today's economy, most people getting recruited I-banking have MBA.

    no this is patently inaccurate, banks hire as many post college analysts and post mba associates. This is what people who don't cut it out of undergrad tell themselves to make themselves feel better.
    There are little ibanking jobs out there available for undergrad, most go to people who have undergrad business degree and great internship experiences, it is very competitive.

    completely false again, there are many i-banking jobs available at the top colleges, I had several interviews in bulge bracket investment banking divisions without a business degree or "great" previous internship experience. It is completely false that banks like business degrees. They like econ/engineering/math/science/finance majors, but will hire anyone (even english or art history) who are smart with a strong work ethic.
    Being in Columbia actually don't give you much leverage over other schools.

    yes it does, for investment banking columbia is probably a top 5-7 recruited school. For overall finance, when you include trading + i-banking + hedge funds + wealth and asset management, columbia is easily a top 5 school. Most top divisions at top banks choose a few (5-15) schools which they focus their recruiting efforts on. It's very difficult to break in from a non-target school.
    If you go to Wharton, you can still get an intership in NYC, and probably an even better one in Philly.

    virtually no wharton kid opts to work in philly, all the prestigious jobs are in nyc.
    If you like another over Columbia, go to that one, you don't want to be second guessing yourself as you spend 4 years at Columbia.

    well, if you like dartmouth or duke or harvard or upenn more than columbia, then it wouldn't hurt your i-banking job prospects to go to any of these schools. If you like wake forest or vanderbilt more than Columbia, you will be at a disadvantage for i-banking jobs. It is an arrogant, exclusive and prestige oriented industry.
    What i don't understand is why go into engineering if you want to do business? Unless it is financial engineering. I think the best post about it is beard tax's in this thread: Financial Engineering

    FE has virtually nothing to do with investment banking. Any engineering gives you good analytical skills and shows that you are either smart or work hard. F.E. is specialized and trains you well to be a quantitative analyst.

    OP, you are getting some highly mis-informed input.
    SEAS kids do better in my opinion, especially financial engineering majors, because they can take more relevant courses.

    seas kids do better for sure, but financial engineering majors only do better, because they have higher gpas which they needed to get into the FE program in the first place. They are hardly taking more relevant course than an operations research major or an applied math major with some econ and accounting background.
  • confidentialcollconfidentialcoll Registered User Posts: 2,491 Senior Member
    What really matters is your GPA (can't stress enough the importance of this, as my friend with a 4.0 GPA got almost all interviews, albeit she had no finance knowledge or relevant experiences) and previous work experience in addition to extracurricular activities and your interest in finance.

    yeah this is good advice, although after 3.7, it doesn't matter so much anymore. Students get prestigious investment banking interviews and jobs with a 3.2-3.4. I had a a couple of friends who were interviewed by a few top 10 management consulting firms with a 3.2-3.4 One of them got a couple of offers, because he was a good interviewer with strong extra-curriculars

    NYU stern does well with finance recruiting, but not quite as well as Columbia, you'll probably need to have a higher gpa at stern to get a front office position at a bulge bracket bank.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,106 Super Moderator
    I second all that confidentialcoll said. There are few universities (15-20 in total) where undergrads are as highly recruited by major Wall Street firms (be it IBanks or Management Consulting). Columbia is definitely of of those universities.

    As for major, any analytical/quantitative major will be in-demand. Double majoring in Economics and Mathematics is obviously popular. Financial/Industrial Engineering is also very popular.
  • confidentialcollconfidentialcoll Registered User Posts: 2,491 Senior Member
    schools that do well with investment banking recruiting (subjective list):

    wharton, harvard, princeton

    next tier:

    columbia, dartmouth, duke, penn cas + eng, yale, stanford, MIT, williams

    next tier:

    amherst, brown, u chicago, cornell, umich ross, berkeley haas, georgetown, nyu stern, Northwestern,
  • blankusernameblankusername Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    thanks everyone for the input, i really appreciate it.

    confidentialcoll, thanks for clarifying everything.
  • blankusernameblankusername Registered User Posts: 150 Junior Member
    oh another quick question,

    which would be better, an engineering degree from SEAS or a Econ major/Math minor from the college (assuming same GPAs)?
  • wifey99999999wifey99999999 Registered User Posts: 381 Member
    engineering degree from SEAS.

    Econ/Math major may be useful if you go on to get MBA degree.
  • confidentialcollconfidentialcoll Registered User Posts: 2,491 Senior Member
    ^wrong, MBA schools prefer engineers / science majors, but in general don't care much about what your major was.
    which would be better, an engineering degree from SEAS or a Econ major/Math minor from the college (assuming same GPAs)?

    horrible assumption, I'd say with equal GPAs seas definitely has a leg up, because engineering is viewed as more hardcore. I'd say recruiters view a 3.5 in seas = 3.6-3.7 in columbia college. But it's honestly easier to get a 3.6-3.7 from columbia college even in econ/math than a 3.5 in seas. Apply to seas if you are particularly strong in math/physics/comp sci and then want to spend 65-75% of your college classes on these.
  • objobsobjobs - Posts: 192 Junior Member
    well, if you like dartmouth or duke or harvard or upenn more than columbia, then it wouldn't hurt your i-banking job prospects to go to any of these schools.


    So going to Harvard instead of Columbia won't "hurt your i-banking job prospects." Good to know!

    schools that do well with investment banking recruiting (subjective list):

    wharton, harvard, princeton

    next tier:

    columbia, dartmouth, duke, penn cas + eng, yale, stanford, MIT, williams

    next tier:

    amherst, brown, u chicago, cornell, umich ross, berkeley haas, georgetown, nyu stern, Northwestern


    You're conflating representation with recruiting. For example, Stanford and Berkeley (Haas) will be less represented than other schools on what you admit is your "subjective list" due mostly to geographical reasons. Moreover, many Stanford and Cal grads are more interested in working (or starting their own firms) in Silicon Valley than NYC.
  • objobsobjobs - Posts: 192 Junior Member
    NYU stern does well with finance recruiting, but not quite as well as Columbia, you'll probably need to have a higher gpa at stern to get a front office position at a bulge bracket bank.


    This is highly speculative. Please provide a source.
  • confidentialcollconfidentialcoll Registered User Posts: 2,491 Senior Member
    This is highly speculative. Please provide a source.

    I don't have one, because such data does not exist and any ranking is inherently just opinion (just like your gripes have little backing, lets see you provide data for why Stanford or Berk does not belong with the groups I listed).

    Observationally I had a ton of friends at NYU stern, many of whom even with higher GPAs (3.7+) were getting few interviews and little to no job offers with top consulting firms and bulge bracket IBD/trading divisions. The friends who had GPAs below 3.5 simply were not getting front office interviews at top banks and now either have left NYC to go back home or simply settled for a smaller company / taken middle office or back office roles.
  • objobsobjobs - Posts: 192 Junior Member
    My "gripes" are with your SUBJECTIVE list. You are making speculations about OBJECTIVE data (i.e. GPAs) and results (i.e. "NYU stern does well with finance recruiting, but not quite as well as Columbia").
  • admissionsgeekadmissionsgeek Registered User Posts: 1,679 Senior Member
    objobs - he is announcing there may be a correlation here because he knows folks with objective statistics that have objective results.

    and whereas there is no evidence for most anything (though some banks or funds or the like only recruit at some places which is usually where the subjective rankings come from) there is not just from concoll but broadly agreed a sense that his list is not subjective, but MAY indeed be true. this general sense is not objective, and may indeed be false, but it provides some focus to the madness.

    i think we can all agree that an all-star from a lower tier would be offered a position over a middling kid from an upper tier, hence going to a school lower on any list doesn't condemn one to purgatory.
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