Florida State vs Indiana

I would like some feedback from parents, alumni or current students.

My daughter is a graduating HS senior from NJ. She plans to study business in college, likely finance.

She is evaluating a number of public universities and is particularly interested in Indiana and Florida State. Both have great student life and the large school amenities she is looking for.

She was a direct admit to Kelley and is very excited about the business program at IU. She was also recently accepted to FSU.

She received merit scholarships at both universities, but the annual difference in tuition after merit aid is $23K, which is obviously significant. I am wondering whether the extra $100K or so to attend Kelley over 4 years is worth it in the long run. She ultimately plans to attend graduate/business school, so that cost has to be taken into consideration as well.

She likely plans to ultimately return to NJ for employment and I am wondering what career placement opportunities are like at both colleges. I know Kelley has a particularly strong reputation in this regard.

I am also interested in learning about the culture and “work/play” balance at each university, and how well each school would prepare her for the business world.

Thank you in advance for any feedback/suggestions.


NJ Parent

Congratulations on two very good acceptances.

How would you fund the extra $100K for IU? If loans, that would be a no go. All in all I would say IU>FSU, BUT not if the extra cost would be debt, or a burden to the family.

Look at the core and major requirements at each school, as well as business major placement data.

Here is IU’s outcomes data: Salary Statistics: Statistics: Undergraduate Career Services: Recruiters & Corporate Relations: Kelley School of Business: Indiana University

On a quick search, I don’t see similar FSU salary data for biz majors. Call the career center if they aren’t out there.

As far as ultimately wanting an MBA, I would advise her to work for a company that pays for MBA school. Many of the top schools now offer one year MBAs too, so that is much less of a cost burden, both from the tuition perspective but also opportunity cost of not being able to work during the time one is in school. Some top MBA schools also have part-time programs (Kellogg, UChicago), so those are other possible options.

Thank you for your perspective.

I view the $100K difference over 4 years as an investment in my daughter’s future…so this would come out of family savings or may involve a loan. She could obviously also use that money for graduate school, which would otherwise need to be financed if she chose to go full time in the future.

FSU does offer a 5-year MBA in finance, and she is coming in with 15-21 credits from HS AP classes, so she could theoretically complete both her undergraduate and graduate degree there in 4 years (and at a very reasonable cost). Kelley does not offer a similar 5-year MBA in her major (I don’t believe).

Is the quality of business education and the job opportunities coming out of Kelley (both near term and long term) worth this investment? I have heard great things about IU’s business program and strong placement among top firms nationally. I don’t know as much about FSU’s job placement and overall quality of business program.

I will be sure to check in with placement offices at both schools but am also appreciative of informed perspectives from parents, alumni, and students on this board.

Thank you again!

I know less about FSU’s placement as well, I expect it would not be as good as IU’s, especially in the East/Northeast. I would ask the career center for salary data by major, types of jobs grads get and where.

I am not a fan of 5th year MBAs, not sure that this from FSU would equal better opportunities…again ask the career center. You don’t want to spend more money and time to access the same opportunity one would with an undergrad degree either from that school, or in this case IU. With that said, IF all of her credits transfer to FSU (need to verify that) and she could get an BA/MBA in 4 years, that could be something to consider, depending on FSU MBA placement stats.

Generally though, for an MBA to be meaningful a student needs to have work experience, that’s why the top school matriculants have 4+ years of experience when applying.

Hopefully someone with FSU knowledge chimes in!

I’m sure you’re aware that Kelley is a top 25 program, so the advantages of having that reputation may be something to consider, especially since you seem okay with the price difference. There are some industries where graduating from a top ranked program, DOES help get one’s feet in the door (how they do once they are there, is another thing).

If she does do a separate MBA, are you expecting to pay for that as well? Not trying to be intrusive, but if you’re financially dedicated for the long haul, then the cheaper undergrad option becomes more attractive.

Sometimes a good fit means more than ranking. IU and FSU are opposites in climate, for one thing. Is she leaning towards wanting to escape the cold weather? IU’s business school is ranked higher, but FSU has a tremendous alumni following, which is a big benefit. Also, there are individual degree programs within FSU’s business school that are ranked highly.

A note on the MBA - my daughter graduated from a top 20 business school in 2017 and has been working in the corporate finance industry ever since (investment banking sector). She has been extremely successful and has been steadily progressing upward in her field. She does not have an MBA, not many people she works with have an MBA, there is no mention of her needing an MBA to continue to progress. Perhaps your daughter should temporarily take the MBA consideration off of the table when making her decision on an undergrad program. She may end up not needing it.

Good luck - it’s a tough decision!


Just like momofmab has advised above, I would like to reinforce that she could still find an MBA not as more useful as she would have thought, particularly at this point. While having an MBA would make her appear more competitive, securing a job with her undergrad and then doing her MBA part-time would be much more conscionable. With just the undergrad degree, she can secure a good relevant job and progress steadily along the ladder, which would not only free your family from the extra $100k financial incumbrance but also enable her to get the necessary experience that those who prefer to go to graduate schools after their undergrad lack. In short, I think having her secure a job and study her MBA along the way would be much more beneficial.


Thank you for your feedback.

Just taking the two undergraduate business programs into perspective…is the extra $100k in tuition over 4 years worth it to attend Kelley vs. FSU? In the short run? In the long run?

My daughter has 2 younger siblings (one will be attending college in 2 years), so that is another financial consideration. While I don’t want to take away from her individualized opportunity to pursue the best program, that is something I need to keep in mind.

IU-Kelley is a fairly known entity in my mind with respect to the quality of its business program and job placement (as the stats provided by the school clearly illustrate). Social/cultural considerations matter as well. I have less information about these factors for FSU on which to base an informed decision.

Thank you again for everyone’s commentary. I would love to hear from anyone that could frame things from FSU’s perspective.

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FSU only has very general information about grad placement. IU’s numbers are a bit sketchy, imo. What is your student’s major? $100k difference is a lot. But it could be worth it depending on the major and how strong of a student your student is.

I worked in NYC and there are a lot of Kelley grads in the area. For networking there are are also a lot more NJ/NY students at Kelley. FSU is a solid, rising program.

Kelley is IU’s gem comparable to Purdue’s engineering strength and FSU meteorology?

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She wants to major in Finance, but may take on a different business concentration after taking some of her core business classes and meeting with an advisor/mentor at the school. Hard to make that decision I think before doing so. Joining a few business student organizations and having an internship or two under her belt would also help in that.

Thank you for your perspective, tristatecoog!

For post-graduation median pay outcomes for bachelor’s degree business majors for students who received federal financial aid:

Indiana (general business): $65,832

Florida State (general business): $38,289
Florida State (finance): $50,894

Oh my that’s a big difference.

Thank you for posting the comparison.

The type of job and geographic location matters, I’m sure.

Average salary for a global investment bank is going to be much higher than a regional bank, for instance.

Does FSU offer attractive job placement opportunities in the Northeast, for instance, or is the network limited primarily to the Southeast?

I know Kelley has pretty strong placement in the Midwest and Northeast.

Do you have family in Florida? If so, have her get a Florida Driver’s License and change her mailing address to you relatives address down here. If she lives down here full time for two years she can get in state tuition. Could help make your decision easier.

Have you visited FSU, the business school is on a separate brand new campus. Everything is state of the art. Comparing to UF because they are Investing a lot into the b school and the state is supporting them. Smaller classes than UF, all in person (UF has a ton of online classes)

She received an out-of-state tuition waiver scholarship from FSU…so she would be paying in-state tuition ($7000/yr).

Her IU tuition (OOS) after merit aid is roughly $30,000/yr.

Hence my inquiry. Is the extra $100k over 4 years worth it to attend IU-Kelley over FSU if my daughter plans on majoring in Finance and wants to get a job in the NY/NJ area?

I know Finance is a popular major at FSU as well (very popular at IU-Kelley).

I did hear FSU just built a new business school campus…I haven’t been able to visit yet, however.

Really appreciate the feedback. Is there more you can share about FSU’s business program and placement?

I don’t have more info, sorry.

I totally agree. Grad school is not relevant in the choice. If you go straight through you wastes your opportunity

College gets you out, depending on the major $45-60k. Grad school takes you to that next level and no school worth a damn takes someone without st least two years experience.

Where u go undergrad…Murray State or Harvard will matter less vs what your work experience was.

Both are fantastic. Yes IU has the rep and more NE connections. But most kids find jobs today on line, not through the school. My son does engineering at BAMA …low ranked…got a great job at an auto manufacturer.

If both schools meet her need, save the $100k

Btw back to mba and another’s comment about get a company to pay…that typically gets you nowhere. They think what they do about you before you get the degree. In essence after you get a pat on the back.

Go back full time to a top 50 school to get your best bang for the buck. But that’s many years out.

Btw my daughter got into IU and FSU. Not business but as for now, international relations. As they can only go to one school they can also secure just one job.

From a practical POV do you really want to spend $20k + more a year for hype ?

Appreciate the feedback!

FSU business is more regional, Kelley will have more leverage in the Northeast.
That being said, she could work in the South for a couple years then find a job in the Northeast based on her job performance.
Did she get into any special program at FSU (eg., Honors, which could lead to Seneff?)
On the other hand, Direct Admit to Kelley is a big deal, as you certainly know.
What’s your budget (as provided to your daughter before those 2 costs were known)?
Is there a 3rd choice under consideration?
What does your child think?