Northwestern vs Emory for business major

I have a half tuition scholarship from Emory so the total COA comes to around 45K. I do not have any scholarships for NU so the COA comes to around 80K. We are not eligible for any financial aid. I am a Nashville native so driving to Atlanta would be easier than NU.
My parents are generous enough to offer me some money and they will give me the rest like a soft loan. I do not have to take outside loans and I can come up with my own payment plans once I get the degree. The total amount of soft loans from my parents would be up to 150K.
I do want to get into management consulting preferably in MBB.
I like Emory since they have a BBA program while NU I will have to do Economics.
Do you think it is worthwhile to take the 150K soft loans from my parents? It is not going to be easy for them either but they are willing to do this for me. At the same time I don’t want it to be a burden on them.
Based on this what do you guys think about the 2 colleges.

Sounds like Emory is markedly cheaper, has your major, and sounds like your preferred option - so why have second thoughts?
Congratulations on your two wonderful acceptances.


Because NU is a hard target for MBB and Emory is not. That is the only factor. I intend to do my MBA anyway so don’t know if undergrad prestige matters as much.

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Yeah. I love Northerstern but that’s a $150k gamble and most won’t get there, even from a target school but uuu can get from Emory

Think about how much time it would take you to pay ba k 150k and there’s grad school. NU is financial suicide for you.

You could change Emory to MTSU and the answer would be the same.

Let your folks pay. Debt that you are talking about is lunacy.

Your parents can afford NU. But they don’t want to. And that’s their right. They should have told you b4 u applied tho. U had no business applying there.

Good luck at Emory. Great program.


Congrats on the scholarship from Emory! Go there and don’t look back. It’s an excellent school for business. Do the BBA program, which it sounds like you’ll like better than an econ major. You can get a whole MBA with the money saved.

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your parents. “Soft loans” basically use relationships as collateral. Value your relationship enough to not consider a six-figure burden that could come between you and jeopardize their retirement security if anything should interfere with your ability to pay them back. Especially don’t do this for a school that you clearly don’t even prefer, other than for an as-yet-unrealized edge with MBB recruiting. Not worth it. You can get where you want to go from Emory, and likely enjoy the ride more.


What are your other options? A $150k soft loan is still a loan. That’s a lot to pay back whether it’s to your parents or a bank.

That said, Emory is a great opportunity.

Other options are Vandy with almost $120K soft loans and no travel costs since it is 30 mins away from home, IU Kelly and University of South Carolina with no loans.

I missed these two.

Vandy - no way.

Does Emory have loans? at $45K?

I’m assuming the big publics are less but you never listed them - why - I assume because you don’t want big.

IU is a fine school but huge. U of SC is a fine school too but only really known for intl business.

I wouldnn’t hesitate to choose either and I don’t know what your loan coast is at Emory…so you should never go anywhere you can’t afford - so door 3 (IU) and door 4 (U of SC) may make sense.

That’s up to you.

If you are taking loans - you should not take more than - $25 or $30K - otherwise go to the public.

I am not familiar with Emory’s BBA program but know people currently employed at each of the Big 3. From my perspective it isn’t necessary to spend considerably more to attend NU.

I would recommend that wherever you choose to go that you concentrate on a GPA of at least 3.8, get leadership experience on campus ASAP and if possible plan on a study abroad experience during your undergrad years.

My DD attended UIUC Gies as a business student. She was directly hired on campus fall of her senior year. It is not only important to acquire business skills/knowledge, it is also important to show you can apply them in a leadership role. Be focused and driven to demonstrate your interest from day one.

I threw in the study abroad part because I think it helps to be able to converse about travel and be able to navigate the ups and downs of travel and all it entails.

Lastly, in my opinion, doing MBB consulting has definite pros and cons. So seek out mentors as soon as you can on campus. You can learn a lot from others’ experiences. My DD is finishing her MBA at an M7 school and will be returning to her firm this summer. She was sponsored by her firm, but keep in mind that path is not guaranteed to all new hires. As a former teacher, all of this was foreign to me…it’s like a complex game. Many are attracted to the money and prestige, but realize you can be very happy on other paths as well. Best of luck!

You cannot count on getting a management consulting job out of ANY school so it is not worth going way into debt to possibly increase those odds by some tiny percentage. Emory has a great reputation and If you do well there and make the most of the opportunities the school will present you will be in great shape and debt free.

Graduating with $150,000 or so in student loans would handcuff your life decisions for 20+ years after graduation. The large payments you would have to make to repay your parents would interfere with every adult decision you make – it would mean you probably couldn’t take that amazing job at a start-up for less pay, get that new car, take a nice vacation, get the home you want, afford grad school etc. Take the affordable option that you love.

And congrats on your success in the college admissions process.

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So what exactly are soft loans? Will your parents take out loans and you pay them back? Or will they cash flow the $45k/year at Emory and you pay them back?

A $150k in loans is a lot regardless of who takes them.

Kelley is a top B school. International Business at USC is top notch. I did my MBA there years ago.

I am also confused. Will you have soft loans to your parents if you attend Emory?
As a Northwestern alum, the tuition is expensive, so I would pick Emory, particularly if you even think of grad school in the future. I would think MBB firms would value a Master’s degree as well, which is $$$.

$60K in soft loans to parents for Emory

For some perspective Emory is a target for MBB Atlanta. It is on the list of traget schools for all of MBB and there is a recruiting team for all. McKinsey hires the most out of MBB. This year recruiting picked up quite a bit from MBB at Emory. Nearly 10 to Mckinsey and about 5 each at Bain and BCG. McKinsey and Bain hire the most but BCG picked up quite a bit this year. Honestly Emory is very strong in consulting and you can get anywhere you want. In fact the MBB recruiting team in Atl has a preference to Emory because of the current people on it. If you get a 3.8+ GPA and do a lot of case prep then it is very possible to get MBB. You have a shot if you’re in the top 20-25% of applicants from Emory. Along with these Emory gets recruiting from some other very elite consulting firms like Guidehouse, Oliver Wyamn, AT Kearney, Kaiser, Cornerstone research, IQVIA. The healthcare consulting is especially strong and many go to very cushy roles at elite healthcare consulting firms that have emory and northwestern as targets. Don’t think that Emory will limit you in any way. I would chose on fit and money in your case

Mckinsey- Emory University | Careers | McKinsey & Company

Bain- Bain at Emory University | Bain & Company

BCG- Welcome to BCG at Emory University: Undergraduates & Masters


Parents will sell some of their assets. So they will cash flow and will not take out any loans.

Oh, in that case - IU. Unless you are studying international business, then U of SC.

$60K on undergrad - waaaay too much.

Shouldn’t even be in the picture.

I’d choose from the last two. At U of SC, if you are in the Honors College, it will give you some sense of the smallness you seek.

Kids from many schools and industries can get to your career goal. But it’s even rare for kids from the “target” schools…

$60K in debt to your folks is not worth it - and what if you can’t find a job, can’t pay them back…then you risk family friction. Plus your parents will sell some assets - that’s not good. And markets are tanking - so now they will be selling assets potentially that are sinking.

You should have eliminated the two privates up front. They were never a viable option.

Everyone is acting like when they get out, there’s going to be loads of money and opportunity - because the last 12 years have been mainly great…but then there’s years that kids from top schools can’t find jobs…that’s why debt is never good, even if it’s interest free.

The fact that your parents have to sell stuff off - forget it - choose IU (or U of SC)…

You have zero guarantee going to Emory. My company is in Atlanta…it’s more likely you get a job as an analyst for $50-55K out of school than going to consulting. You’d have that same opportunity out of Kennesaw btw (the job at my company) at the same pay.

Good luck.

Were these assets set aside for your college? Then by all means, do it. If not, perhaps think it through a bit more.

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I agree that even $60k in loans is a tremendous amount – especially if you are considering a MBA. Not sure why but I thought Emory would be debt free or close to that. I’d strongly consider other less expensive options.


If cost were equal or close, I’d recommend Northwestern. But it isn’t, and Emory is strong in its own right – Goizueta is respected – so I think the choice here is pretty clear.

It’s very impressive to get a half tuition scholarship at Emory and this student is clearly a top applicant. Does the scholarship come with any additional perks or opportunities that may help with career goals? My S (at Vandy) has an upcoming MBB internship and chose not to ask for a referral so it can be done. However, I wouldn’t have let my kids take on 60,000 in debt. Best of luck and congrats on your great acceptances.