While a shorter, cheaper master’s in finance degree may now be the preferred option to getting a front-office job in banking, the eventual financial payoff of earning an MBA still outweighs any alternative qualification, at least in the first five years. But if you are going to make the commitment to getting your MBA in the hope of landing at high-paying job at an investment bank, you’ll likely need to attend a target school.
A quick glance at employment reports from programs ranked inside our top 10 and outside our top 30 suggest you can earn more than 40% during your first year at an investment bank if you graduate from a premier business school. At MIT Sloan School of Management, for example, 2018 graduates who entered investment banking earned a first-year salary north of $137k, plus a median signing bonus of more than $52k. Meanwhile, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a consensus top-50 business school in the U.S., recent grads who went into investment banking took home just over $100k on average.
For our rankings below, we looked at the proportion of people with MBA degrees in our CV database who have gone on to secure a ‘front office’ investment banking job upon graduation, meaning M&A, capital markets, sales and trading or equity research etc. We’ve allocated a greater weighting to those working for a tier-one investment bank, as defined by Coalition. That list includes J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citi, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Lesser weighting was given to tier-two banks (Deutsche, Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC and UBS) and all the other tier-three firms. We also took into account total enrollment numbers from each program to level the playing field for smaller schools.
Cornell not making the top 10 was a bit of a surprise considering how many alumni work on Wall Street, though many graduates now appear to work in the middle and back-office. Alumni from Manhattan’s Baruch College (Zicklin School of Business) tend to gravitate toward similar roles, but it made this year’s list due to the sheer number of graduates that take jobs across all divisions in banking, including front-office roles.
The list is also top-heavy with other universities located near New York and London, including Columbia, NYU Stern and LBS. Not as many alumni from Stanford matriculate to investment banks, but when they do, they tend to take front-office positions with tier-one banks. The same can be said about Harvard. While the numbers don't quite match up to the top five, HBS grads often find themselves in revenue-generating roles at top banks.
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