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The top 30 Masters in Finance for getting a job in investment banking

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What does it take to make it into an investment bank these days? Impeccable grades, multiple internships, ‘executive’ positions in university societies, the CFA level I? Maybe, but now that junior bankers are more qualified than ever, will spending tens of thousands of dollars on an Masters in Finance qualification really give you the edge?

Masters in Finance qualifications are far from being de rigueur among front office analysts. Our own analysis of nearly 800 analysts who were hired in top investment banks in 2017 suggests that around 20% possessed these post-graduate degrees. They are typically most common for UK analyst classes and among analysts in sales and trading roles, but more recently Masters in Finance qualifications have sprouted up in Continental Europe and the U.S. and they’re gaining traction.

Masters in Finance courses aren’t cheap: they typically cost tens of thousands of pounds, euros, or dollars per year. If you’re studying a Masters in Finance with the intention of moving into banking, you therefore need to make sure it’s the right one. So, which course is most likely to land you the job?

Our analysis of the eFinancialCareers CV database suggests that the MSc Finance course at London School of Economics is now most likely to land you an investment banking job. This is followed by the Masters in Finance course at London Business School. Imperial College London, the University of St Gallen and Warwick Business School, which has risen rapidly up the rankings this year, make up the remainder of the top five.

The league table is based on the proportion of people with finance-focused Masters degrees in our CV database who have gone on to secure a ‘front office’ investment banking job upon graduation. This means those who have moved into M&A, capital markets, sales and trading or equity research. Since the rankings are simply based upon individuals’ moves upon graduation, we’ve included both pre-experience courses (which make up the majority) as well as the small number that recommend students have industry experience before undertaking them.

We’ve allocated a greater weighting to those gaining a position in a tier one investment bank (Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley), followed by tier two banks (Barclays, Credit Suisse and UBS) and finally tier three institutions (BNP Paribas, HSBC, Nomura, Royal Bank of Scotland and SocGen) and, together with the proportion of people securing a job, have assigned a score to each college.

While it’s not easy to get a front office investment banking job anywhere, the U.S. investment banks still attract more applications and hold more prestige. Our weightings have worked in favour of those schools which feed into the U.S. firms, therefore. Some of the French schools, which have very highly-regarded MSc Finance courses, would have ranked higher were it not for the fact that so many graduates go on to work for French banks. The means that the likes of HEC Paris, Edhec Business School and Grenoble School of Business, which tend to feature highly in the FT rankings, are all out of our top ten. At HEC, for example, 43% of people working in banking on our database are at tier three institutions.

Contact for news, tips and comments: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

Image: Getty Images

Comments (14)

  1. I can honestly say that this list is a joke.

  2. For anyone looking at the top schools listed here it could be worth noting that the Stockholm School of Economics is completely free if you are a EU citizen. SSE can therefore be a really good choice for a banking career. Also worth noting is that their Masters degree programmes are two years long which could be something negative, but also something positive, depending on your situation.

  3. What you guys think of Cambridge’s MPhil in Finance? Does IB recruit from there at all?

  4. JohnW – Cambridge MPhil finance is one of the best fin programmes in the world (not very practical like IE’s programme, but more theoretical) and those who actually manage to get in and have good work exp credentials will have their pick of whatever they want to do for a career. Note most would probably shun IB for something better paid/more prestigious/more exciting. Source: personally Studied at IE and Cambridge and have friends from most of these programmes.

  5. how good is the bocconis msc in finance.it was ranked 8th in the world in the ft rankings however it has registered a massive drop in these rankings.however in the another etc ranking it was ranked second for breaking into banking in london.i had offers from warwick,bocconi and melbourne and have chosen bocconi.have i taken a wrong decision?

  6. Ranking changes depending on the economy, amongst other reasons.

  7. why there is no Mathematics here? surely quants would have strong math background…

  8. Claremont McKennas is top 5 for sure

  9. 44 year old male with no banking experience, 20 years running my own small/medium sized businesses, and B Com / MBA degrees completed 15 years ago from an OK university. Am I wasting my time considering doing a MIF degree to fulfil a dream of breaking into corporate finance? Would any banks consider employing such a dinosaur ☺?

  10. You picked Bocconi over Warwick?! O_O.

  11. Is this list worth to follow for sorting out universities and sending applications in IB careers perspective ?
    And what are the precautions i have to take to get accepted in these top schools with non-finance undergrad(now working in an IT MNC from past one year) ?
    Please provide valid inputs if have any ideas. Thanks in advance. :)

  12. Hi alex oldguy,

    I have 15+ years experience with top-tier banks in London/Singapore and came across your comment while researching a good uni for someone close.

    MIF is for entry level jobs in banking e.g. Corporate Finance. Though all banks have “equal opportunity” policy, but in reality these factors become quite real unless you have good networks in banking. Then there are issues of working under a 27 year old associate.

    Instead of targeting a technical area e.g. corporate finance, M&A or trading where you would suit more entry level role, I would suggest pick where you can show transferable skills gained in running your business.

    Suggested areas:
    Project manager in banking (regulatory / risk / compliance etc) – Normally project managers have anywhere between 7-30 year experience. It’s not uncommon to see people with less than 2 year experience in Finance rest in other industries. A PMP certification + a finance / risk mgt Masters will help.

    Business Analyst – experience range from 1 year to 20 years. There are Director level BAs in banking who manages team of offshore BA teams in say India/Poland etc.

    Route suggested: Once you have relevant qualification get a contract role in large companies (easier to get in non-London location), then to contract role in banking and then to permanent role. It’s easier that way.


  13. It has always been based on connections – kids of some related / influential people with money to start the fund…
    Probably their kids are already in.
    Next hires need real skills… since they came up with many ‘sophisticated’ products to crash themselves.
    It also depends on which country these companies are from – hire their own

    Mostly scam ‘news’ and ‘analyses’ – ivy league standard!

  14. Like every other normal person would do – at least when we’re talking about MiF degree.

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