Upenn LSM or Yale College?

Hello all,
I recently had the privilege of receiving acceptances to both UPenn LSM and Yale. I plan on doing a neurobiology concentration and eventually going to med school. I love the business aspect of LSM, but I also love the culture at Yale, and it is great for neurobiology as well. I understand that part of it is based on fit, but I was wondering if you could give thoughts on which you think is better and if Yale would also allow me to pursue my business interests? Thanks for the help!

You cannot major in neurobiology at Penn LSM.

Yale School of Management is a graduate school, but some of its courses are open to undergrads. See the section on Special Arrangements in the Yale catalog:


Yale would seem like the better option to pursue both of your interests.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the average age of incoming first year medical students these days is 24. Med schools seems to like applicants who have done something else after their 4 years of college. So, another option would be to pursue a master’s degree from Yale School of Management before med school.

I believe they now allow you to pursue a neurobiology concentration in the LSM program. I would definitely like to take management classes at whichever institution I choose, but I wonder which would provide the most opportunity in my life after Yale. Do you think that it would be a viable route to double major in neurobiology and economics at Yale? (Also, I wanted to note that I don’t care for the “brand” of either school because I don’t know how that all works, and I’m much more focused on having an enriching undergraduate experience. I know you didn’t bring this up, but I thought it would be important to note)

It is becoming more common to double major at Yale when it once was rare. About 1/3 of economics majors double major. So, it’s theoretically doable.

But practically I don’t see how it can be done in 4 years. The neuroscience major requires 18.5 course credits + 5 course credits of prerequisites. Economics requires 12 course credits. Combined, that’s a total of 35.5 course credits committed to those 2 majors out of the normal 36 courses needed for graduation. That does not leave room for distribution requirements without an extra semester or courses in summers.

And neurobiology and economics? These are both demanding, time consuming majors with no overlapping courses that you can count toward both majors. I’ll never say never, but I think that the more viable route would be to construct your own concentration in economics + management (from the Grad School of Management) without worrying about qualifying for a major.

I see Yale as providing the more enriching undergrad experience. The residential college component with resident deans works to build a true community of learners. This creates an undergraduate experience which goes beyond the classroom.

So if I wanted to pursue a management position somewhere down the line, would getting the degree from Wharton as a part of LSM be more beneficial or is there something about Yale that could still appeal to my business interests and help me navigate the business/financial side of the medical field and beyond? I like Yale’s liberal arts curriculum, and I have always been a little uncertain with what exactly I want to pursue in life. I feel that at Yale I won’t have to make such a huge commitment to the business/management curriculum if I don’t like it, but I also wonder if I’d miss out on a huge opportunity if I ultimately end up liking business. I guess what I’m asking is, does Wharton offer an unparalleled path to the world of business or could I find something of similar caliber at Yale that will keep the door open for me into business if I end up enjoying it? Also, thank you so much for your advice—this is very helpful.

Penn’s Life Sciences & Management may be the better option simply because you will be exposed to a group of students with similar interests. Plus, good chance of interning at Merck.

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you could always do a one year masters instead of double majoring. If its going to take you 5 years anyway you might as well get a masters

In terms of how businesses would view Yale against LSM, do you think LSM is better by a large margin? Would performing well at Yale be favorable against LSM? I don’t mean which is more prestigious to the public but rather which one is valued more by businesses (just something I’m considering).

In my opinion, you are over analyzing the potential effect of attending either school.

What will be most important for entry to med school is a combination of grades and MCAT scores.

Yale is probably the better preparation for med school, but to combine neuroscience with Econ in a double major at Yale would probably be stressful and could threaten the high gpa that you would need to maintain for entry to med school. You could certainly add courses from Econ and Yale School of Management for the equivalent of a minor without the double major, which would be less stressful but still give you the background you are looking for.

Wit the right gpa and MCAT scores, you could certainly go to med school with the right selection of courses. Given your strong interest in keeping open the option for a business position down the line, I think this is probably the route to go because it would be less stressful and therefore the place where you’d be in a better position to maintain a high gpa.

You have a choice. Yale would better prepare you for med school If this is your priority. You can back that up with some Econ and management courses. Penn LSM is tailor made for a management position in a business or corporation focused on health care and/or biotech. If this is a priority as strong as the med school option, then this is better preparation for your future. Your choice.

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you could also minor in business/ econ and major in neuro at yale

I don’t think Yale does minors, but someone mentioned before that I could take enough credits to gain an equivalent to a minor. If I did end up focusing my interests on business, how would I convey that I have a background in Econ if it is not recognized as an official “minor”?

Thank you for this. I think that Yale seems like a safer option considering I am still unsure about pursuing business, especially in healthcare and biotech. I would definitely keep my options open at Yale since I don’t have to declare a major until the end of my sophomore year. I’ll be visiting Upenn this weekend just to see if I like the feel of the campus, but when it comes to school culture, I think I’m more of a match for Yale, and I value what you said about Yale having a more enriching undergraduate experience because I am looking to develop those life skills beyond my education. Do you think I would be able to apply Econ credits when working through my Master’s degree?

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You’re right they don’t do minors at Yale, but that might be changing. There’s been a lot of noise at Yale about dissatisfaction with the lack of minors and an exploratory committee established to study the issue. Call Admissions and ask for more information. If they don’t know, ask them to set up a phone appointment for you with someone who does. You could also Google back issues of Yale Daily News.

As far as getting recognition for the course work, it’s all in how you present it on your resume, Call it an “unofficial minor”. If anyone asks, simply explain that Yale doesn’t do minors. Any employer can check your transcript to see what courses you took.

I will reach out to admissions to see what’s available. I can’t thank you enough. This has helped me a lot with making my decision.

This is probably true. I’m not well-versed when it comes to understanding the potential of each college’s curriculum and program. I applied to my reaches with the expectation that I would only get into one at the maximum, and now that I am trying to seriously consider them I realize there’s a whole new world of networking and connections that comes with each college. This site has helped a lot though, and if you have any advice for someone going into college trying to decide if they want to combine their scientific and business interests or pursue one interest individually, that would be much appreciated. Hopefully I’ll figure it out by the time I have to declare a major.

Best of luck with it. Kudos to you for reaching out to them. Let us know how it goes.