I'm in a pickle

<p>I'll try to save everyone the sob story but basically I'm considering transferring to Cornell for the 2011-2012 school year but I'm not totally sure, so I would like your input on the matter.</p>

<p>College Stats:
Just finished freshman year
University of St. Thomas (MN)
Majors: Actuarial Science, Economics, Statistics
3.92 GPA - including calculus 2 and 3
Math & Actuarial Science Club
Investment Club</p>

<p>HS Stats:
3.65 GPA-Unweighted
28 ACT
AP Calc 1, Macro Econ, Micro Econ, English, US history, World history, Statistics
Key Club
Not much else lol</p>

<p>Reasons for Cornell:
-More challenging
-Better overall career prospects
-Transformative experience (I've lived in Minnesota almost all my life so it doesn't make me branch out)
-Pave my own path (Dad's a professor at my current university)
-Meet new people (everyone here is from the same area as me, including 15 from my hs)
-Better shot at a top MBA program (one of my BIG goals)
-Far more diversity (St. Thomas is 85% white, upper middle class)</p>

<p>Reasons to stay at St. Thomas
-I can triple major in 3 things I like
-Tuition is about $4,000 a year due to discount from dad and merit scholarships
-Longtime girlfriend is starting freshman year next year at St. Thomas
-I'll likely still be able to get $60,000 starting salary as an actuary (more than a lot of Cornellians)
-Easier to stand out, professors all know me by name, have taken me out to dinner, etc.
-Known pretty well locally (I still think I want to live and work in the Twin Cities eventually)</p>

<p>So basically here are my options:</p>

<ol>
<li>Stay at St. Thomas, appreciate my education, work hard, scratch and claw my way into a top MBA</li>
<li>Retake ACT (if Cornell lets you do that...i guarantee at least a 32 this time, i should have taken it more than once in HS) and apply for Cornell CAS as an Economics major.</li>
<li>Don't retake ACT and apply for Cornell CAS as an Economics major</li>
<li>Do or don't retake ACT and apply to CAS as a Mathematics/Economics double major</li>
<li>Retake ACT, apply for Cornell, then worry about the decision if I get accepted.</li>
</ol>

<p>I'm really really sorry for the length but really any input is greatly appreciated. Put yourself in my shoes and give your opinion. All views are welcome, I just want some straightforward advice. Thank you all!</p>

<p>Sounds like a lot to consider. In my humble opinion - I would go with option 5. Wait until you have a decision to make before you rule out an option. :) Best of luck to you.</p>

<p>If you know you want to be an actuary, it may not be worth the money. getting away from home and going to a much more diverse school will certainly add to your life, but if it's much of a financial burden you rally need to think it through.</p>

<p>Good chance, however that Cornell and a top MBA program will opn your eyes to many careers that may look much more attractive than being an actuary.</p>

<p>I actually think you should triple major and get done at StT's with basically no debt. Think of all that saved cash for the MBA. </p>

<p>There are better ways to individuate yourself from your father than go into debt for your undergrad degree. Spend your next few summers in foreign countries or doing amazing internships.</p>

<p>I seriously think the "grass is greener" mentality is going on here - you are in an amazing situation with COA, a great small school that has professors personally mentoring you, -- get creative and individual in other ways and hang onto the great leverage you already have. Those profs will write you great recs for your MBA apps btw.</p>

<p>I would also advise you to stay at St. Thomas unless you are absolutely miserable there. You have a great GPA that would look very good when applying for your MBA, so I would hesitate to transfer to Cornell if you are mostly looking for a better shot at that. Save the money now and build up a great resume/extracurricular record.</p>

<p>That said, if you are truly miserable I think you'd have a shot at Cornell, provided you can get your ACT score up.</p>

<p>I was in a somewhat similar position before I transferred. My experience, at my now previous institution, was nowhere near miserable as is the case for many others. I was the "star" student in the business school, all of the profs and dean knew me etc. The reason I transferred was for recruiting in the industries I was interested in: banking and consulting. If you want to go to a good B-school for your MBA, it all hinges on the job you get coming out of undergrad. The question is, do you think you can get the same job coming out of Cornell as opposed to St. Thomas? If not, it's something to consider. There are obviously many other variables but that's how I see it.</p>

<p>Cornell CAS is very tough to transfer into. CALS (AEM) is a bit easier, though still difficult. </p>

<p>I would definitely apply and see if you get in or not. Then you can make your next move with the decision in mind. Keep in mind you might not be accepted. Continue doing everything in your life as though you will NOT be accepted. </p>

<p>Your current position is not a bad situation to be in.</p>

<p>Thank you guys all for the great advice so far!</p>

<p>@hahahahah (I feel weird typing that out lol)
My eventual goal after I get my MBA is to go into financial risk management consulting. After seeing what has happened over the past few years, where companies making bad investments (credit-default swaps and other mortgage-backed securities), could literally bring the economy to its knees, I wanted to do something where I could help prevent it from happening again. I basically have two ways to go about doing it...</p>

<ol>
<li>Get a job at an actuarial consulting firm
-Learn everything about insurance, risk management, finance through exams
-Once exams are passed, apply for business schools.
-After business school, move into management consulting</li>
<li>Go the traditional route of working at an investment bank
-Work 3-4 years
-Apply for business school
-Move from to consulting</li>
</ol>

<p>Here's the way I see it:</p>

<p>Option 1:
-Cornell degree is useless because raises and promotions are nearly all based on
exam passages. The exams are the only barrier of entry into the career, a kid from
a crappy state school with 4 exams literally has a better shot than a Cornell kid with
2 exams.
-I would be better as a consultant with the years studying risk management concepts.
-Far less traditional route to top MBA, but is it a good thing?
Option 2:
-Cornell degree is paramount for top I-Banks. Literally the only investment bank that
recruits at my school is Piper Jaffray.<br>
-Far more traversed road. Look at the profiles on HBS's website. You see so many
Goldman, Merrill, JPM employees that its sick. </p>

<p>So basically I need to decide (with input from CC poster) if I think I have a shot at top MBA's coming from actuarial consulting firms, insurance companies, or big 4 auditors. It's not the traditional route but I don't know enough about MBA admissions to see if the unusual background is a positive or negative.</p>

<p>@AntiRacist
I realize that CAS is harder to pull off than AEM but honestly I would feel like I'm not getting enough bang-for-the-buck when I'm taking classes like business management, marketing, and business statistics instead of game theory, mathematical finance, and theory of interest at my current university. I'm just against the concept of an undergraduate business degree because I think that management, marketing, etc. classes are most effective when you have work experience to relate it to (hence the value of the MBA). </p>

<p>And I appreciate the great advice to continue my life as if I won't get in. At this point I'm thinking that I will take the advice of others and at least give the transfer some consideration, but not make a decision until I'm actually accepted. That way I have extra motivation to keep my grades up, and it could lead to some interesting self discovery along the way.</p>

<p>I continue to welcome more thoughts, advice, and opinions too!</p>

<p>i give you brownie points for skipping the sob story</p>

<p>@ BoyWonder
lol my bad. I wrote that at the beginning, hoping it would remind me not to (FAIL).</p>

<p>How's this?</p>

<p>Cheap mediocre school --> actuary --> top MBA --> risk management consulting
or
Cornell --> i-banker --> top MBA --> risk management consulting</p>

<p>lol i think its funny how most everyone does type it out
Piper, although a good bank, exit opps will not be as good as bb. The reason I transferred was solely for recruiting, Vandy doesnt even have a ugrad business program but all BB's and MBB recruit there. Cornell obviously has recruiters from BB's and MBB and I think thats the better route to take. Not that Cornell is going to get you into HBS, but Cornell can get you to McKinsey or GS and you know the rest.
I'm not too familiar with the actuarial side of the industry, but in banking, all that really matters is your school. You can have 10 exams under your belt from a state school and the english major from Yale is going to have a better chance than you (something like that anyways lol)
you may want to checkout wallstreetoasis.com lots of good content there</p>

<p>BB= bulge bracket (GS,MS,JPM,BML etc)
MBB= mckinsey bain bcg</p>

<p>You may apply Biometry and statistics major in CALS, it is the actuarial program at Cornell (I guess because I saw most of its graduate become actuaries). CALS is much easier to get in than CAS, but the problem is you may need to take the biology sequence courses in order to apply to CALS.</p>