Getting a graduate job in investment banking is arguably tougher than ever. Anyone securing a position now needs to have internship experience, gleaming extra-curricular activities, impeccable academics and the seemingly elusive characteristics of passion, commitment and enthusiasm.
It helps to have an edge, but undertaking a Masters in Finance qualification in order to boost your technical knowledge is an expensive investment. Top schools charge upwards of £20k ($32k), and this is before the cost of living is factored in.
Is it really worth it if you have ambitions to work in investment banking? Our analysis of the class of 2013 at top banks like Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland suggests that only a small proportion of those gaining a place on investment banks’ graduate schemes possess a financial Masters degree.
However, we wanted to test which schools offering financial Masters degrees were most favoured by the large investment banks. By analysing the eFinancialCareers CV database, which encompasses around 1.2m resumes of financial professionals globally, we’ve come up with the rankings below.
The league table is based on the proportion of people with finance-focused Masters degrees in our system who have gone on to secure a ‘front office’ investment banking job upon graduation. This means those who have moved into corporate finance, capital markets, sales and trading or equity research. Since the rankings are simply based upon individuals’ moves upon graduation, we’ve included both pre-experience courses (which make up the majority) as well as the small number that recommend students have industry experience before undertaking them.
We’ve allocated a greater weighting to those gaining a position in a tier one investment bank (Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley), followed by tier two banks (Barclays, Credit Suisse, UBS) and finally tier three institutions (BNP Paribas, HSBC, Nomura, Royal Bank of Scotland and SocGen) and, together with the proportion of people securing a job, have assigned a score to each college. We’ve also broken out the data to show the proportion of graduates gaining roles within the different tiers of investment bank.
We don’t claim that this ranking is perfect, but it gives you an idea of the chances of securing a full-time job if you choose to shell out on an expensive Masters degree.
There are a few of points worth noting on the rankings. Firstly, the reason that the University of St Gallen’s course comes in third is predominantly down to the fact that so many graduates are hired by the Swiss banks – 54% of those working in investment banking from this school secured roles at either Credit Suisse or UBS. This, combined with a small proportion working in tier three institutions, has worked in its favour. A similar regional bias is present at the French universities – graduates of which ended up in predominantly in either SocGen or BNP Paribas. As our rankings give less precedence to the French banks, this has impacted these schools’ position, particularly at Skema Business School, where 79% of graduates on our database ended up in ‘tier three’ banks.