Econ/Finance at Columbia

<p>This might seem like a dumb question but I was wondering what the Econ/Finance undergrad experience was like. My S recently received a likely letter from Columbia. I know he is excited but would like some input from current students and their academic experience at Columbia. I know it's in NY and it's an Ivy but what are the professors like? Are there many internship opportunities? What is the teacher/student ratio, etc? I have looked at the web site and have seen the facts page but would like a student perspective if possible. He has applied to other schools including Stanford, Penn, MIT, and Priceton but has not heard from them yet. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for your time.</p>

<p>The academic experience varies greatly among the departments in the College and SEAS. My experience, as a senior in the IEOR department in SEAS, has been poor. The general attitude of professors is to do the bare minimum, whether that be using exams and lectures prepared 10 years ago or stumbling through lectures without conveying the material whatsoever. There’s a sink or swim mentality in engineering: it’s up to you to seek out the resources you need to succeed, whether that be friends, solutions, or tutors. My smallest class has been 40-50 students, especially with the Dean increasing graduate enrollment by over 20% since 2008. The professors in the economics department teach to much a higher standard than those in IEOR. The information is conveyed clearly and the difficulty is well matched to the material taught.</p>

<p>Financial services recruiting has been down recently due to the general economic environment. Columbia’s representation on Wall Street is good. We have 2 large banks recruit heavily on campus (Credit Suisse and Barclays) and Columbia places several students into the top firms as well.</p>

<p>The social environment at Columbia is lacking. There’s an undercurrent of dissatisfaction and cynicism among a large portion of undergraduates. It’s not just the fact that the bureaucracy and administration stifle fun. New York City means that Columbia has a lack of space on campus to socialize. This means that students can easily fall through the cracks between studying for classes and attending meetings. Columbia’s a socially challenging environment, more so than many other schools.</p>