Mark Montgomery, expert admissions counselor, explains that if you want to get accepted to an Ivy League college and study business as an undergraduate, you may need to broaden your horizons.


Hi, this is Mark Montgomery coming at you with more Great College Advice, and today we’re going to talk about studying business in the Ivy League.

So when students come to me and say, “I want to study business in the Ivy League,” the first thing I tell them is we have to get straight on a couple things. First, which is more important to you? Getting into the Ivy League, or studying business? Because the reality is that there are eight Ivy League institutions, all of them very different, and only two out of the eight offer business as an undergraduate major. Now, the others, you could study economics, you could study psychology, you could study biology, you could study pretty much anything else within the usual suspects of majors. But no business. No business. Harvard Graduate School of Business, yes, that’s for graduate students. The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, graduate students. The School of Management at Yale, graduate students.

If you want to study undergraduate business, only two places you can do that. The first is the University of Pennsylvania or Penn, that’s the Wharton School of Business and it offers both graduate degrees and undergraduate degrees. My partner and fellow counselor here at Great College Advice, Andrea Aronson, is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business, but she was a MBA student, not an undergraduate student. She was a classmate of mine at Dartmouth. So you can study business at the graduate level or undergraduate level, but at the undergraduate level within the Ivy League, two places, Penn number one.

What’s the second? Cornell. Cornell offers a degree in business. It’s actually at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Or you can study, if you have a special interest in the hotel industry or the hospitality industry, you could study at the School of Hotel Administration. Now, Cornell is making some changes, Cornell is actually going to create, they announced just recently, they’re going to create a college of business and bring these two schools together, along with the graduate school of business, and create a college of business. So that’s a new thing at Cornell. Until now it’s been in, well, we won’t get into that because the future is really the college of business.

So your two choices in the Ivy League are Cornell and Penn. So what’s your priority? Getting into the Ivy League and studying in the Ivy League, or is it to study business? If it’s to study business, well of course, you can apply to Penn, you can apply to Cornell, and then you can find other great business schools in the United States where you can apply and perhaps pursue your interest in studying business at the undergraduate level.

If, on the other hand, you think to yourself, “Well, I really prefer to go one of these institutions, I don’t really care that much about what I major in, I’m not that dedicated to studying business,” well, then you can really open up your mind to a lot of other possibilities about studying business, or about the path to being in business after you graduate from whatever college you go to. Because the reality in America, and the reality, actually, the planet over, is that everybody is in business. I don’t care if you’re a farmer, you’re in business. I don’t care if you’re a doctor, my gosh, in the United States, medical industry, it’s a huge business, it’s not something people do out of the goodness of their hearts, everybody’s getting paid and is run by big corporations. Even colleges, I’ve talked about this before, colleges are businesses. So you know what? No matter what you do with your life, you’re going to be in business.

So the question is rather, what do you want to study as an undergraduate? And then what steps will you take to prepare yourself for the reality that you will be in the world of work, in the world of business upon graduation? So all of us, even those of us crazy people like me, I studied religion, I’m in business. Andrea, my colleague, she studied Russian as an undergraduate and she went to Wharton. You know, we’re in business. Everybody’s in business.

So you need to think about what is most important to you. Is business education, getting that bachelor’s of business administration, the most important thing? Then you’ve got choices. But only two within the Ivy League. Otherwise, if you are thinking, “No, I want to study pretty much anything, I don’t really care,” or “I have particular interests,” then have confidence to go study those things and then to also figure out ways in which you can be really ready and have the skills you need to be in business. And if you need some help thinking about it, puzzling this through, give me a call, this is the kind of thing I help my students with on a daily basis.

So thanks for listening and subscribe to our channel and I hope to see you again soon.

Published by Mark Montgomery

Mark is a leading educational consultant. His experience as a professor, college administrator, and youth mentor help him guide students from around the country and around the world.

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