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MD versus analyst: The top 50 universities for investment banking

investment banking managing director

There’s a big difference between breaking into investment banking and making it in investment banking. For all the hundreds of analysts taken on to graduate schemes each year, nearly half leave the industry after a couple of years and more languish in at VP or director level instead of making the step up to the much more high-paying (and high-pressured) MD role.

Investment banks scour the campuses of target universities every year for their graduate recruits, but is there a disconnect between the colleges required to secure your first banking job and the universities that provide the leaders of the future? Our research suggests so.

We analysed the 1m CVs on the eFinancialCareers database to ascertain the proportion of people in front office investment banking jobs who are now working in managing director roles. Then, we looked for the proportion of people with 1-3 years’ experience – namely, analysts – who work in front office roles. The top 50 universities are in the tables below.

While top universities proliferate the top ten at analyst level – Oxford, Cambridge and LSE in the UK, French grandes écoles and elite universities in the U.S. – the Ivy League dominates the upper ranks at MD level.

Getting your first investment banking job depends on the right mixture of excellent academics, internships and extracurricular activities, as well as showing the right amount of corporate compliance. Navigating the waters of an investment banking career longer term requires political nous, the right connections (potentially an alumni network) and the sort of competitive nature that drives you to bring in revenues year after year. Perhaps these are the qualities instilled by an Ivy League school. – Either that, or most of the senior ranks in investment banks are occupied by highly educated Americans.

 

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