If you want to work for a UK-based investment bank these days, your options are limited. Royal Bank of Scotland has gone from a pre-crisis behemoth, to a small player in the investment banking space which no longer competes on M&A deals. This leaves Barclays - still in the midst of an overall shrinkage within its investment bank - and HSBC.
The U.S. investment banks may hold the trump cards on prestige, but this doesn't mean you can easily get into the investment banking arms of Barclays or HSBC as a graduate. The students getting hired in London and New York still hail from the top universities. They have usually studied Economics or Finance-focused degrees and almost certainly have multiple internships under their belts.
In the final instalment of our analysis of the 2016 front office analyst classes at U.S, European and UK investment banks, we've focused on around 200 new recruits at Barclays and HSBC. RBS still does hire for its investment bank in London, but the sample size we could find was too small to be included.
In the UK, both HSBC and Barclays have heavily favoured the London School of Economics (LSE) for their 2016 recruits. This is a similar story to the U.S and European investment banks, which also favoured London universities, particularly the LSE. However, there are also some less obvious universities that have made the cut - Durham University is a top choice at both banks, whereas HSBC has also recruited from Manchester University and The University of Nottingham.
There's also something of a shift in the New York analyst class when compared to their peers. Yes, both banks still favour the Ivy League, but Barclays has predominantly hired from Princeton University this year and Cornell, our analysis shows. However both U.S and European investment banks on Wall Street were more likely to recruit from New York University, Columbia and Wharton.
It's also highly unlikely that softer degree majors will land you a job at either HSBC or Barclays. Between 40-50% of all recruits had studied either Economics or Finance.