European investment banks may be losing out to their U.S. rivals on both their home turf and state-side, but this doesn’t mean that they’re willing to crack open the door to prospective new recruits any further.
To secure a front office position in any investment bank requires a top class degree, usually in a quantitative subject, from a university that regularly sits in the top part of any rankings, according to our analysis of the analyst class of 2016. Have an economics or Masters in Finance from the London School of Economics (LSE), University College London or Oxbridge? Great, you’ll make the cut. Studied finance at an Ivy League or top U.S. university? Welcome aboard! Achieved excellent results anywhere else? Bad luck. Unless you studied a tiny handful of the outlier universities which these banks recruit from.
Based on analysis of 260 public profiles of analysts who started in front office roles in either IBD or markets at these Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and UBS this year, we can draw some conclusions on what it takes to get in.
In the UK, the banks’ analyst classes are hugely weighted towards the LSE. Graduates from this school comprised by far the highest proportion of new analysts at the banks in question. UCL, Imperial College London and the Oxbridge universities all predictably performed well. There are some less obvious trends, however.
Deutsche Bank has been building a front office presence on Birmingham in the UK and has turned to graduates of the local college – the University of Birmingham – to fill some of its front office roles in the city. The University of Warwick ranked highly too – as it did among the U.S. banks – and Loughborough University, a college more famed for producing athletes rather than bankers, crept into the rankings for Credit Suisse.
If you studied at the right university, a finance degree is far from mandatory. Habib Salihijo Ahmad from Imperial College and David Walker from UCL both studied chemical engineering, for example, and were hired by Deutsche Bank. Credit Suisse hired history graduates who went to Oxbridge.
In the U.S., Deutsche, CS and UBS appeared to cast their nets wider. No one college dominated and a number of non-Ivy League schools all made the rankings. Deutsche, for example, hired more people from Duke University than anywhere else, while UBS fished from the University of North Carolina at Chappel Hill. The vast majority of recruits at all the investment banks in the U.S. had studied either finance or economics.
Banks in the U.S. also by and large only recruited from local universities. This year, you were more likely to be hired if you went to the Southern Methodist University in Texas than if you graduated from LSE. In the UK, banks also favoured UK-based colleges but were also more likely to hire graduates from MSc Finance courses in Continental Europe, particularly HEC Paris.