fl0w wrote:For all the rank obsession on this site, everyone seems to forget that after you get your first job, where you went to school barely matters anymore.
Except you need to be able to actually get a job in the first place.
I think the point is that the difference in placement may not be as huge as people make it out to be. Vandy will be better in the South, DC and NYC. In Chicago or the West Coast, WUSTL will be comparable. if OP is looking at both NY and the West Coast there are competing interests there. I would actually think West Coast would be preferable for an eventual move to Tokyo, but really am not super-familiar with lateral transfers to international branches (though my guy tells me there should be more shared offices b/t Tokyo and the West Coast than Tokyo and NYC).
The real question for OP is, would you go to your WL schools at sticker? And how likely do you think you are to actually get into one of them (some schools, even in the t14, are more transparent with approx. odds than others)? It seems that if the chance is half decent, you are probably better off saving that extra $ and sticking with WUSTL, while keeping you fingers crossed for the WL schools.
I agree with some of the previous posters that Vandy may not be worth the debt you would take on (and yes, I know OP says he has significant financial resources, but couldn't those be better spent elsewhere? ...buy a house, invest it and make more $, whatever).
Also, getting that 1st job depends far more on your grades than your school -- more so when these schools aren't THAT far apart. I can't see Vandy having more than a few % points extra value over WUSTL (hypothetically top 1/3 at WUSTL = top 40% at Vandy, I would think, right? -- pulled these numbers out of my ass, but I don't think they are unreasonable).