Columbia, NYU & Chicago Rank As Top B-Schools in Banking

by Carolyn Wise on

Of the almost 2,000 banking professionals we surveyed this summer, only 8.8 percent said location was a major factor in their decision to join their firm. For prospective MBAs, location plays a much bigger role–not only when choosing a business school, but also when considering prospective employers at graduation. A whopping 79 percent of business school students we surveyed in May told us that location influenced their decision to attend a particular school. And if you want to pursue a career in finance, location should play a major role in your business school decision, too.

Top Business Schools for Employability in Banking Nationally

1. Columba Business School
2. New York University, Stern School of Business
3. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
4. Harvard Business School
5. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
6. Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
7. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
8. Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business
8. University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
10. Emory University, Goizueta Business School

New York City is the home of investment banking and most other financial services, so it should come as no surprise that it’s the home of the best business schools for employability in banking. Columbia Business School and NYU Stern School of Business are No. 1 and No. 2 in New York City, as well as in the Northeast and nationally. NYU Stern even scores the No. 1 spot in San Francisco and No. 3 in the West. Columbia also makes it into the Top 5 in the Midwest and Southeast.


How important is business school prestige in banking employability?

But don’t think you won’t get anywhere in finance without a NYC MBA. The finance industry is not as geographically focused as the legal industry and lacks the prestige obsession of consulting. Aside from the broad geographic reach of New York schools, employment patterns in finance show a slight regional tilt. In each region, a local school is No. 1 in our employability rankings.


Top Business Schools for Employability in the Northeast
1. Columba Business School
2. New York University, Stern School of Business
3. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
4. Harvard Business School
5. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
5. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School


Top Business Schools for Employability in the West


1. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
2. UCLA Anderson School of Management
3. New York University, Stern School of Business
4. Harvard Business School
4. Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
4. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
5. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
5. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School


Top Business Schools for Employability in Canada


1. University of Western Ontario, Richard Ivey School of Business
2. McMaster University, DeGroote School of Business
2. University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management
4. Harvard Business School
4. University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business


Top Business School for Employability in the Midwest


1. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business


Top Business School for Employability in the Mid-Atlantic


1. College of William & Mary, Mason School of Business



Top Business School for Employability in the Southeast


1. Emory University, Goizueta Business School



In each region, the No. 1 school is located within the region: University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in the Midwest, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in the Southeast, College of William and Mary’s Mason School of Business, Columbia Business School in the Northeast and University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business in Canada. In the West, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School tops the list, likely due to its Wharton West campus. UCLA Anderson School of Management is No. 2. Not surprisingly, Southeast banking firms are the most regional; the only business schools in the Top 10 that aren’t located in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida or Tennessee is Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School. The rest of the Top 5s are a mix of regional schools and very prestigious business schools. Harvard Business School, for example, is in the Top 10 of every regional except the Mid-Atlantic.


Location, location, location

Major cities are even more regional than regions. In Los Angeles, for example, the Top 3 schools are Wharton, UCLA Anderson and University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Even in San Francisco, NYU Stern ties for the No. 1 spot with UCLA Anderson and Wharton. In fact, in all major cities, the No. 1 business school for employment in banking is located within city limits.


Top Business Schools for Employability in New York


1. Columba Business School
2. New York University, Stern School of Business
3. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
4. Harvard Business School
5. Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business


Top Business Schools for Employability in San Francisco


1. New York University, Stern School of Business
1. UCLA Anderson School of Management
1. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
4. Harvard Business School
4. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business


Top Business Schools for Employability in Los Angeles


1. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
1. UCLA Anderson School of Management
1. University of Arizona, Eller College of Management


Top Business School for Employability in Chicago



1. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

Top Business School for Employability in Atlanta


1. Emory University, Goizueta Business School


So where should you go to business school if you want to pursue a career in banking? Obviously, an MBA program in New York City or a top-ranked program like HBS or UChicago Booth will get you there. But if you can’t or don’t get into Columbia or NYU Stern, it’s wise to consider where you want to work after graduation. Earning your MBA at a top school located in the city where you want to work will provide the leg up you need to get a job in a top firm. Truth be told, going to school in the city where you want to work is a smart move in any industry. Alumni networks are very strong close to campus, meaning you’ll have ins with tons of local professionals. Schools also often have very good relationships with employers close to campus, meaning you’ll have many options when it comes time for on-campus interviews. Moreover, interning during the school year is easier because you’re a local student and a great in to a potential employer, as you’ll be able to show your commitment to working in the city and with that firm.

Carolyn C. Wise is Vault.com’s Senior Education Editor. She oversees the production of 10 annual guides covering undergraduate and graduate admissions, top internships, and career advice compilations for entry-level law and MBA job seekers. Her team is responsible for all educational content on Vault.com, including law school profiles, admissions advice, GMAT prep and business school industry trends articles.

  • LTP

    So Georgetown beats out MIT? I find that hard to believe.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    I agree with you.

  • Matthew

    Are these adjusted for class sizes? Schools with larger classes will naturally send more into banking jobs, even if they send the same % of students.

  • ZD

    Haas and Stanford don’t make the top 5 for employability in San Francisco, but UCLA does? Sorry I can’t take this study seriously.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    ZD, I agree with you!

  • Jay

    Gotta remember despite haas, Stanford, and MIT being top 8 business schools, they are more tech, non profit, and entrepreneurial focused. So I don’t know what impact that has but I would also assume those three schools rank higher in the three areas I mentioned.

  • daddyV

    Yes it does, this study focuses on finance and banking employability not an overall ranking. MIT students are fare better in consulting, tech, entrepreneurship etc but Georgetown has the edge in Wall St.

  • DaddyV

    Like Jay said this is a banking/finance employability survey, Stanford is a very entrepreneurial school with almost 20% students getting involved in startups, and both Haas and Stanford are very strong tech and consulting schools. This obviously hurts their finance/banking numbers.

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