Statistical Science vs ORIE

Right now I am looking at Cornell as an ED school. After college I plan on working in Wall Street/finance in the quantitative finance field i.e financial engineering/quant.

This brings me to the 2 majors and which specific college to apply too. Both seem like they have all the right classes and post-grad employment prospects, so I wanted to know if there is a “better major”, so to speak.

I have no first-hand knowledge of current Wall Street recruiting practices for undergraduates at Cornell. So you’d think I wouldn’t post here, but I will anyway.

Back in my day most undergrad hires to my Wall Street firm were for “analyst” positions, and those hires had to demonstrate a breadth of capabilities and interpersonal skills that transcended a particular narrow technical major. Because they were considered potential future bankers-in-training. The quant jobs were for the most part filled from people with advanced degrees. But I imagine a lot has changed since then.

The jobs were highly coveted and hard to get. At some schools there were GPA minimums to get interviews at my firm. I’ve read that at Cornell recently there was a 3.5 GPA minimum to get wall Street interviews. But merely having the right GPA in no way means one is going to get hired.

The firms don’t just hire from a particular college at Cornell; applicants can come from any of its colleges.

Two parents who posted here had Cornell kids go the “the street”. One was an ILR grad who had done a lot of computer work. The other was I think a CAS Math + econ major, with strong technical skills and a broad background, with likely great interpersonal skills.

Your decision transcends specific majors, because these majors are housed in different colleges. Each college has its own set of distribution and other requirements, above and beyond the major requirements. You should decide in part on what you want to study besides your major, since 2/3 of your courses will indeed be outside your major.

Also decide based on more than getting particular jobs with particular industries. Because that may not happen.

As for GPA, I think it is still the case that the Engineering college has a lower GPA cutoff for dean’s list than say CAS has. which means it grades lower. But your particular grades will not necessarily be lower in COE than CAS if you are worse at all the subjects you would have to take in CAS for distribution et al than the COE courses you would have to take in COE. So it still comes down to what program of studies beyond the major you like and are good at. I believe for statistics there is also a CALS major that may be relevant as well.

Hopefully somebody with more current information will post here.