Penn Wharton, Vandy, or WashU ED

Hi CC,
I have a choice to make: ED1 and ED2 selections for my top 3 choices (vandy, washu, and penn). I am a white male going to a New England semi-competitive private school with a 35 ACT, 3.9/4.0 UW GPA, 8 AP classes and 9 AP exams including senior year, so I think I’m a competitive candidate at these colleges. Below, I will put my pros and cons for each. Keep in mind, these pros and cons are my assumptions as an outsider so if any students at these colleges want to correct my assumptions that would be great.


  • Excellent academics
  • Beautiful Campus
  • Great Weather
  • Excellent social scene
  • Food and dorms are good
  • Good size for the student body
  • Nashville is a good city
  • SEC sports
  • Students seem laid back
  • Students are happy, high quality of life
  • Undergraduate focus


  • Lacking prestige outside the southeast?
  • I have heard the campus is somewhat isolating
  • Job placement is worse than Wharton on average

Washington University in St. Louis


  • People are kind, chill atmosphere?
  • Students are driven
  • Food, dorms, and campus are all great
  • Near St. Louis, MO but not right in the city
  • Undergraduates can be involved in research quite easily
  • Academics are very good
  • Small school feel at a medium sized institution
  • Legacy Advantage
  • Higher ED acceptance rate than penn, vandy


  • Social life isn’t great compared to other options
  • The university doesn’t always have great name recognition
  • No D1 sports
  • St. Louis is worse than Nashville or Philadelphia
  • Not very economically diverse
  • The work seems rigorous, 5 classes per semester



  • Excellent academics, especially in economics and business
  • Good social scene, greek life is big but not too big on campus
  • Philadelphia
  • Smart/driven student body
  • Can take courses between the different schools
  • Legacy advantage
  • Excellent job opportunities after college
  • Ivy league brand
  • Campus is a nice pocket within a big city
  • Wharton is ranked the #1 Business school in the world


  • Dorms and dining are not great
  • Easy to get lost/hard to stand out
  • Competitive environment
  • Not in the greatest area of Philadelphia (safety issues)
  • Wharton curriculum could be limiting?
  • Pre-Professional atmosphere (both a pro and a con)
  • Weather isn’t great
  • There is not a big focus on athletics
  • Less of a focus on undergraduates
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These are all wonderful schools. What exactly is your long-term career goal?

As of now, I think that I want to start my career as a consultant, preferably at one of the big three consulting companies (Bain, Mckinsey, or BCG). I also am interested in healthcare management, and washu and penn have good undergraduate programs for the field.

Goes to Vandy right now and a ton of kids try to go into consulting. Can’t speak for Washu and Penn, but i think i can make some comments here.

Vanderbilt sends a ton of kids to MBB- like 25 kids per year?; however, most of them go to offices in the South. (Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Austin). This is a lot, as when you look at it per capita, it dominates over most Ivies. However, part of that is because competition is less steep in the South than NY/Boston area. For instance, I’ve heard that for the Boston office, MBBs only recruit interns from HYP (not sure though, you should double check. But this means that if you went to a similar ranked school to Vandy like Cornell or Brown, you would have a harder time in that area). I’ve heard, though, you could transfer offices after few years. If you want to go into IB, it’s less regional though.

Oh wait, if you wanna do healthcare management, go with Vandy. So healthcare management consulting is concentrated in Texas (either Houston or Dallas but im not sure. it’s one of those two though!), and the Texas offices recruit heavily from Vanderbilt. If you want to go into healthcare projects in consulting, I promise it would be hard to find a college better suited for the purpose. a fukton of my friends went to Texas BCG and Bain and they’re all doing healthcare stuff right now.

So yeah, pretty much that. As for the cons you’ve mentioned, Vandy is slowly getting more reputation that it deserves as its representation in key fields is growing. Campus is not too far from the downtown area, and some kids do go there from time to time. But honestly, it’s like a five minute drive so if u wanna go out, u definitely can. It’s not like isolating like Cornell or Dartmouth.

And job placement is worse than Wharton on average for sure, and it will continue that way for a while. No denying that. But at Vandy, you can also take classes between schools no problem. For economics though, i was honestly somewhat disappointed in the classes they offered.

Oh yeah, food sucks here nowadays. It used to be good- not anymore! the campus dining is doing everything to fatten up their margins… but that’s another story.

Frat isn’t big as it used to be. i know the stereotypes but stuff happened and it’s not seen really positively seen to a lot of students nowadays. there are clubs and orgs. they used to be not so competitive but now they are. i think it might be even smaller than Penn’s possibly.

Students are laid back, but doesn’t mean the school is lenient on GPA. That’s why our average GPA is low compared to peers.

Lastly, if you are a legacy at Penn, do ED there. It has an Ivy brand and better reputation overall, and i think it’s worth it. If you don’t make it at ED1, ED2 to Vandy. If you were a legacy at Cornell, NW, Dartmouth, JHU, or something, i would have definitely recommended Vandy for the purpose of your goal, but I don’t think it’s worth giving up Wharton.

Wacka wacka!

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Generally, consulting is regional based where regions have their strengths. Like San Francisco, their offices are good at tech consulting. Texas- healthcare and oil. New York- finance. you get the idea. This is so especially at Bain, a little less for BCG, but like not at all at McKinsey.

lol i think i said more than i should. but anyways, i think my post may have cleared all your thoughts and gave all the info u needed. it’s now up to you to decide.

probably not gonna come back to the forum, so you’re welcome, and wish you luck.

@blueblue8787 You currently seem like a strong Vandy proponent having previously contemplated transfer…

“I am a sophomore at Vanderbilt and I’m trying to transfer out.

The schools I’m looking at right now are Columbia, Upenn, Northwestern, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, Duke, MIT.”

“Dude… I am a Vandy student wanting to transfer to [Brown]”

You seemed very disappointed…

“current sop at vandy lol. increase your sat a bit, and you’ll be fine. some people stupid as f*** here”

What changed for the benefit of OP?


Even with your legacy status, I think that ED to Wharton is a “must” to have a chance there. You’d have a slightly-above-admit-rate chance at Vandy (ED2/RD). I don’t know much about WashU. Good luck, you are a competitive candidate to these excellent schools.

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What are your safety/match school(s)? You’re competitive but your list of schools probably have admission rates below 10%. All reaches.

Do you have a budget?

If legacy and ED are bumps for admission to Penn then I’d say Penn. We visited just to get the tshirt. Your observations seem accurate.

Why not Duke? Emory might be attractive. CDC is basically on-campus.

If MBB consulting is your goal, then no better place to be than Wharton. The legacy advantage only helps during ED. So I would suggest ED1 Wharton and then if you get deferred to apply ED2 to WashU. The legacy advantage during the ED2 round at WashU will also help. Vandy is a great school as well, so you should apply there during the RD round.

But just know that from any of the schools, you’ll still have to hustle. Its not easy to land an MBB position out of college, but if you network work hard from the beginning, its possible.

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I wonder what’s the success rate of those who set out in high school to land a job at an MBB vs. those who fell into it at university (e.g., realized that a STEM career wasn’t for them, got recruited because of their backgrounds and achievements, etc.). I’ve known quite a few MBB consultants and my sense is that they mostly learned of it in college or graduate school (particularly those with STEM backgrounds). But it’s probably a different era, as my D22 and her classmates are already familiar with these firms.

I’m also looking at Northeastern, BU, Lehigh, IU Kelley, Florida, Illinois, Uconn, and Wisconsin as safer options.

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I think that Wharton with double legacy is a good move for me ED1. I am just concerned about the workload/competitive student body/overall fit. I also like warm weather so the other two options are better in that regard. But I think that Wharton is the best business program of the 3.

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Is the GPA higher in HOD than CAS? I heard from others that hod can be less work but does that mean a higher average GPA?

If you like warmer weather then Duke, Emory, Florida or UGA would be nice options.

Industrial engineering could also be an option. Georgia Tech would work for you. S20 transferred from Scheller into the ISYE program. The companies you mentioned recruit at GT.

Lots of businesses moving south.

I agree with what was stated above. If you are legacy, you must apply ED to Penn even if you would be competitive for RD. It is expected.

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You have direct admit at Kelley which is great, so get that app in EA. Also need to get UIUC Gies, Wisc, UF, NEU apps in EA/priority which are all Nov 1. You might not need to apply to UConn, assuming IU Kelley is affordable.