Undergrad vs Postgrad?


Hi Crimson,

How would you go about weighing up whether to study overseas undergrad or postgrad or even study abroad?

It’s something I know I want to do at some point but any advice you’d give in how to know which path is right for me?


One of the biggest mistakes and myths of university is the common adage of “undergrad here” and “postgrad abroad” with “here” referring to whatever country you are from.

This is baloney, absurdity, nuts and most certainly not the goods.

The reality is the signaling power (google: Gary Becker) of undergraduate institutions in the US and UK is much higher because the programs are substantially more selective. Firms like McKinsey and Goldman Sachs look for undergraduates from top schools like Harvard because they are the most competitive places to go and coming out of high school, have the most rigorous selection process. These firms do not recruit from graduate programs with as much frequency because on average they are less selective and competitive. A notable exception is top MBA programs.

An additional factor is doing an undergraduate degree at a top university dramatically increases your odds of getting into top graduate degrees. In my Stanford MBA class, there was more than 45 kids from Harvard and 40 kids from Stanford and then about 1 from University of Auckland (in my home country), for example. It is much harder to get into from lower ranked schools because graduate degrees always wonder - if they were so good, why didn’t they go to a higher quality undergrad in the first place?

With the growing amount of financial aid at top US undergraduate universities, why wait? Delaying 4 years of high intensity learning with the world’s smartest minds, professors and resources will have a first order impact on your career because you won’t be at as good a university but the second order impact (which may be even more important) is you as a person and a thinker will grow much slowly.

Go undergrad to the highest ranked, best fit university for you possible, wherever it is in the world for you as fast as possible.