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The top 50 universities for getting a front office investment banking job

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It’s no secret that investment banks have target schools, and that only the top students within those universities make the cut for front office jobs. But which college is most likely to secure a front office job in investment banking? It’s not Oxford or Cambridge. Nor is it Harvard or Yale. Our research suggests that London School of Economics, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania are most likely to feed students into the ‘interesting’ high-paying, client-facing jobs in investment banks.

Being at a close top school in close proximity to major financial centres – and therefore being able to easily intern – also seems to help. New York University is fourth in our rankings, while University College London (UCL) and Imperial College both make the top ten.

The top 50 list below has been created through analysis of the profiles on the eFinancialCareers CV database which have been updated over the past year. Over 63k people on our database work in front office positions – these include areas like M&A and capital markets, as well as derivatives trading, equities, fixed income sales and trading, quantitative analytics and equity research. The rankings are comprised of a weighted score based on the proportion of students from a particular university who have gone on to work in a front office role together with the absolute number of students from an individual college now working in a revenue-generating role in an investment bank.

This creates some interesting comparisons between the top ranked schools. LSE, Columbia and Penn are both dominant in M&A – with close to 30% of all the alumni who are front office employees working in this area – while Ecole Polytechnique (one of the French grandes ecoles known for producing highly-quantitative graduates) has the largest proportion of alumni (22%) working in derivatives trading roles.

Given the amount of time bulge bracket investment banks spend buzzing around the campuses of these colleges, these might seem pretty obvious outcomes. However, there are a few surprises. The data suggests, for example, that MIT or Cambridge are not among the top schools for getting into front office jobs in investment banks, coming in at 17th and 29th respectively.

Similarly, Harvard only scrapes into the top 15. This does not necessarily mean that investment banks don’t want graduates from these universities, but rather that students with impeccable academics from top-ranked schools are instead choosing to do something other than banking. By comparison, the LSE, Penn and Columbia have close ties with financial services organisations and a high proportion of their graduates decide to enter the financial sector.

Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

Image: Getty Images

Comments (6)

  1. this list is biased in favour of UK universities – i see a lot of universities that don’t even rank with the top 25 business schools in the US from UK and Scotland on this bias and non objective list. I am an Admissions Consultant and I have advised candidates into top 5 business schools in the US, Europe, and the UK – this list is not reflective of the true market perception. Emory, UCT, IMD, INSEAD, IESE, WUSTL, Darden, University of Reading ICMA Centre, UNCKF, Carnegie Mellon is not on this list

  2. Which college or Course Under Delhi University?

  3. The data are skewed because you do not have CVs from many alumni working in BO.

    If I am the only CV submitter from an obscure university and I work in FO, then my university will have 100% alumni working in FO!

  4. @not-convinced – that’s not the case. The ranking is based on a score that combines the proportion of people in front office jobs from a particular university AND how many people they have as a percentage of the total population of front office employees. So if the proportion was high, but the total number low that university wouldn’t feature at all.

  5. May I ask what the reasons could be that HEC Paris does not appear in the ranking?
    Isn’t it the case that it is one of the very best business schools in Europe and one of the strongest feeders into London?

  6. May I inquire as to how it can be that HEC Paris is not included in the ranking?

    Isn’t it the case that it is one of the most prestigious business schools in Europe and one of THE top feeders into London?

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