It's no secret that the love affair between MBAs and investment banks is on rocky grounds. There's a debate about who dumped who, but fewer MBAs are choosing to go into investment banking and investment banks are hiring fewer MBAs in turn - banks have closed off their markets divisions to MBAs and now mostly hire them only for IBD. Instead, banks are hiring Masters in Finance students or graduates at analyst level and training them up.
Nonetheless, assuming you wish to spend upwards of $100k on an MBA, and have aspirations to work in investment banking, opportunities remain. Our latest MBA rankings suggest, predictably, that banks like top hire from the world's top MBA schools - finance-focused or not.
For the fourth year running, Columbia Business School tops our rankings. However, the top five has now changed. New York University: Stern School of Business has consistently funneled the largest proportion of its graduates into Wall Street. 35% of the class of 2016 went into the financial sector - 28% of which ended up in investment banks. The school has now moved up from 4th to 2nd in our rankings, after years of inching up the league table. It displaced the University of Pennsylvania: Wharton, which dropped down to third. London Business School, one of only two European business schools to make it into the top ten, came in fourth.
The schools that do well in our rankings, which are based on 1.7m CVs uploaded on to the eFinancialCareers Resume Database, not only have a high proportion of their graduates going into investment banking, but they also secure positions at the best investment banks.
The league table below is based on the proportion of people with an MBA from a particular school who have gone on to work in a ‘front office’ investment banking role upon graduation. This means corporate finance, sales and trading or equity research.
We’ve allocated a greater weighting to those working for investment banks we’ve deemed ‘tier one’ than 'tier two' or 'tier three'. In our ranking, tier one banks are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. Tier two banks are Barclays, Credit Suisse and UBS, and tier three banks are BNP Paribas, HSBC, Nomura, Royal Bank of Scotland and SocGen. Together with the proportion of people on the CV database who have secured an investment banking job, we’ve come up with the ranking below.
There are, perhaps, few surprises in the rankings. Investment banks hire from elite schools, and this shows no signs of changing. Students who attend colleges like Columbia, NYU Stern or LBS, which are located in major financial centres, have the advantage of being close to the big banks and therefore able to secure all-important work experience and internships.
Nonetheless, our ranking suggests the overall prestige of the college is all-important when you're choosing an MBA. This is in contrast to our Masters in Finance ranking, which suggests the top courses for breaking into banking usually based in London.
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