Very Tough Decision...Vanderbilt vs Cornell?

Hello all, I am a current college student who has been accepted to Vanderbilt as an Econ transfer and Cornell in the Industrial and Labor Relations school (just today in fact). My deadline is fast approaching and I need to decide which would be better for investment banking. I am interested in mostly BB, preferably in NYC but the location is not very important. I have read many threads online about both of these schools, but still not exactly in the situation that I am in. With Cornell, I will not be able to transfer into any other major or school due to their university policy, so I would graduate as an Industrial and Labor Relations major. At Vanderbilt, I will graduate as an Econ major, but I could change it to a different one (but I wouldn’t see the point as Vanderbilt does not have a finance major). Both schools are offering generous aid that’s pretty equivalent, so it pretty much boils down to which one would have the best prospects of breaking into IB? Thanks for your help.

Since IMO it is hard to get an investment banking job no matter where you go to school, if I were you I would focus more on where you would rather study. Not what specific job you might, but probably won’t, get. Which you might change your mind about anyway. Attaining a specific job is speculative, but how you will spend the next few years is not.

In particular, each school has a particular curriculum and set of requirements you will have to fulfill. Since ILR is not a liberal arts college, those requirements will be somewhat different than Vanderbilt’s. I suggest you analyze your prospective courses sequences at each school carefully. You may find that you have a preference. In one direction or the other.

@monydad Thanks for the advice, but this is why my choice is so hard. I actually like the atmosphere of both school as well as the curriculums. I know the atmosphere is different but to me both is appealing. I understand that Cornell definitely has an edge due to the location, its ivy name, as well as the history of sending students to IB, my one concern would be my major (ILR), I don’t know if banks would be welcoming to that major. Which is why I am giving Vanderbilt very equal weighing. So I still don’t really know which school to go to :frowning:

This is just my largely uninformed guess, but I imagine that if a firm is coming to campus to interview at Cornell,students from any college there can presumably ship them a resume and, if they want to, you can get interviewed. The question is will you stand out enough to get an interview. That is largely up to you. What they see on the paper has got to make them want to interview you. There possibly are (just guessing) fewer of such people at ILR than at some of the other colleges. But it’s not so much ILR as the students themselves. You have to stand out.

Remember, at the end of the day you are competing for these jobs not just with other students from Cornell, but also with students graduating from : Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, etc.

I can tell you that CC poster @morrismm posted that his daughter got a NYC finance job as an ILR graduate. A couple of CC posters @Alexandre and @gomestar, got Wall Street jobs out of ILR, but they were in the field of Human Resources, where ILR truly excels.

I encountered a new Vanderbilt hire at a non-Wall street securities firm located in the South some years ago, . So that firm evidently recruited there. Other than that I have no insight about Vanderbilt.

@monydad So is it possible that its just that ILR students themselves don’t have an interest in banking? That would make a lot more sense. I have 0% interest in working in human resources, I’m interested in solely IB. The work seems challenging but rewarding to me.

Yes my D works in finance as an ILR major and Information Technology or Information Science minor. I can’t remember which. It was basically Computer Science.

She planned to be a lawyer. She got an internship at Goldman Sachs after sophomore year in the Global Compliance department. This exposed her to the world of finance, so she was interested in persuing it and seeing if she liked it. The following summer she was offered a front office job at another company. GS has a policy to hire you back into the same area you interned in and then you could ask for a transfer. But there was no guarantee. So she went with “bird in the hand” and took an internship in fx trading in the IB division at another top finance company.

She loved it, did well and was offered a job upon graduation. She has done very well and is now a Vice President.

So an iLR grad can land in IB. But you need very good grades and something to make yourself stand out. Getting into IB is provably more competitive than getting into most Ivy’s and other top schools.

@morrismm Thank you! I’m definitely heavily leaning on going towards Cornell now after consulting this thread and some other resources (that’s the thing that sucks as a college transfer, you don’t have access to counseling like hs students). If you don’t mind me asking, could you say what your daughter’s experience was like at Cornell? I know the general feel of each school, but haven’t much personal accounts.

@Mastodon97 congratulations they’re both great schools! ILR has Labor Economics and the curriculum looks interesting. My S goes to C but not in ILR and loves it. My take is that NYC is 50,000 Cornellians strong in alumni so as a fellow Cornellian you will have plenty of connections to work Wall Street. It sounds like Cornell grads have no problem finding jobs in finance so with all else being somewhat equal, I would choose Cornell. I think you’d like it and I have heard other Cornell parents who have had their own kids transfer there (from all schools, CC, Emory, Boston U, etc.) they had nothing but great things to say and loved it much better than their former college. All the best to you!

@CALSmom Good to know! I think its a good sign that I really haven’t heard anything negative about Cornell so far, except for the weather (but I rather like the cold).

@Mastodon97 I hear the gripe about housing at Cornell but don’t let that shape your view. I think transfer students get guaranteed like freshmen? If you choose Cornell I’d recommend west campus dorms for you as a transfer. It’s an engaging live and learn housing community with lots of social events. You’d make friends quickly and I know that’s the key to making your Cornell experience wonderful. That’s good you like cold weather. My S is from SoCal and this being his first year I’d have to say he did pretty well for his first real winter

@CALSmom Yes I’ve heard a lot about the West Dorms, I think that they reserve a fair amount for incoming transfers so hopefully getting a spot won’t be a problem. I’m originally from Minnesota and I go to college in Chicago, so I definitely have experience with cold weather!

@Mastodon97 if you do go to Cornell, West Campus should be your first choice, and is great for dining, social activities, and comfort, as the West dorms were fairly recently constructed/renovated. But if you do end up in Cascadilla Hall instead, where some transfers (and non-transfer sophomores) do, don’t worry – it’s on the edge of Collegetown, which has great dining and social opportunities, and it’s not too far a walk from the ILR School.

Another vote here for Cornell – it’s amazingly diverse – socially, ethnically, economically, and academically!

@xanthippe Is Cornell also intellectually diverse? I go to a college thats pretty much 99% liberal (not exaggerating, it is in Chicago, not uchicago though). Thats one of the reasons I chose to leave my school in fact. I understand that the case with almost all colleges is that they will always be more left-leaning, but I would appreciate at least a more diverse atmosphere than my current school.

People in ILR do get IB jobs. You should pick a related minor too. You can minor in any college at Cornell.

I doubt your school is 99% liberal. It probably just seems that way because it’s likely more liberals than you’ve ever come across before.

Cornell leans liberal and was a hotbed of student activism in the 60s and 70s (ancient, right?). Ithaca has always been somewhat of a “hippie” town and still has that vibe, although certainly a A LOT less than in the '70s. But I don’t think you’ll find a “99% liberal” student body. I will say, though, that ILR always has leaned more liberal than the other undergrad colleges at Cornell.

If it’s important to you, Vanderbilt is more conservative overall than Cornell.

I would agree with @brantly about Cornell being more left leaning than Vandy. However, their college republican club had two conservative speakers this school year on campus: Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (which students tried to shut down without success) and there weren’t any violent protests. They do support sanctuary and DACA students and will protect them from being pulled from the university and there was a cry-in after President Trump won. It’s a big student body so there’s a place for any viewpoint and plenty of clubs to satisfy one’s interests.

@brantly Maybe not 99% but definitely not less than 90% (both are way too high imo). I come from a very liberal town so I definitely am aware of what the atmosphere looks like. Vanderbilt is more balanced for sure, but unfortunately that just makes this decision even harder :frowning:

@CALSmom Wait, what is controversial about Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum? I’d understand people like Milo Yiannopolous or Ann Coulter, but those two are just normal conservatives? And what do you by a cry-in? Is that exactly what it sounds like?? Oh jeez, I really don’t want run into the same exact situation all over again at Cornell :frowning:

BTW, Cornell has an AWESOME new president, Martha Pollock. She’s there under unfortunate circumstances (the previous pres died, nine months into her term, at a young age), but she was a great pick.

@brantly What has she done?

Illinois is a liberal state for the most part.
If you’re looking for like minded students politically then you definitely can find them at Cornell. They may not be the majority of the student body but they’re there. Because of the rigor of classes most students are too preoccupied with getting their assignments and reading done, socializing and the like to worry about the next thing to protest :smiley: