Want An MBA? Questions To Ask

Investment Banking is definitely important to consider as you ask yourself, "Should I get an MBA?"

The Top Schools for Breaking into Investment Banking

So you want to make the big bucks, huh? Have you imagined yourself in designer threads, tooling around in a Jaguar (as opposed to, say, the subway)? Can you picture yourself chartering a plane to ski the Alps? Are you fed up with sharing a bathroom in your Alphabet City flat? Most of all: Do you long to read The Wall Street Journal and say to yourself, “I did that!”

Well, that’s the dream of every aspiring investment banker: wealth, respect, access, and freedom. Mind you, the reality is often different. The hours are draining. The work is tedious. And the pressure goes through the roof. Even if you can reach REM, you’ll dream in PowerPoint and Excel. And your mind will always be on your next task or deal.

If you’re a high school gym rat, your chance of making the NBA is 3 in 10,000 (and that’s generous). If you’re an analyst, your chance of becoming the next Bruce Wasserstein is even less. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a great living, work with special people, leave a mark, and retire early. Like anything, getting into investment banking isn’t easy. At that level, everyone is smart and capable. Fair or not, you need the right pedigree and connections.

That’s what makes a recent ranking by eFinancial Careers so fascinating. Tapping their database of 1.2 million resumes, eFinancial Careers was able to identify the percentage of MBAs who work in investment banks at three tiers. Here’s how it worked:

eFinancial Careers

“The [ranking] below is based on the number of people with an MBA who have gone on to work in a ‘front office’ investment banking role upon graduation. This means corporate finance, capital markets, sales and trading or equity research. We’ve allocated a greater weighting to those working for investment banks we’ve deemed ‘tier one’ (Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley), then ‘tier two’ banks (Barclays, Credit Suisse and UBS) and finally ‘tier three’ banks (BNP Paribas, HSBC, Nomura, Royal Bank of Scotland and ScoGen).”

You’d expect Wharton to top the list. And you’d be close. Actually, Columbia Business School comes out #1, with 76.67% of their graduates who entered investment banking working in front office positions. That’s 10% higher than Wharton overall – and 3.3% higher among top tier institutions (where Columbia holds the highest percentage of any school). Overall, Columbia’s cross-town rival, New York University (Stern), had the highest percentage of investment banking graduates in the front office at 85.1%. The UK’s Cranfield School of Management placed the most investment bankers in second tier schools (38.42%), while the UK’s Manchester Business School led among the third tier at 33.09%.

The Yale School of Management, the London Business School, and the Harvard Business School rounded out the top five, with Harvard scoring particularly low among in front office positions (57.8%). Looking for a surprise? Check out Rice University (Jones), which ranked #14 overall, with over 60% of graduates who chose investment banking making it into first tier banks.

According to eFinancial Careers, some investment banks had specific school preferences:

“Our research suggest(s) that Goldman Sachs is most likely to target students from Wharton, but is also an active recruiter from Columbia and LBS. Both JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank have hired more students from London Business School than anywhere else. However, perhaps because of co-CEO Anshu Jain’s Indian heritage, Deutsche’s second most targeted school is the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.”

That shouldn’t be any surprise to Poets&Quants readers. In January, Editor-in-Chief John Byrne, conducted a Linkedin survey of the top financials, finding that Goldman Sachs targeted NYU (Stern), Wharton, and Columbia grads (in that order). J.P. Morgan followed a similar pattern (though Columbia slightly outnumbered Wharton here). NYU (Stern) grads also ranked #1 in our informal survey of financials at Citi, Merrill, UBS, and Deutsche. The University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) posted the highest numbers at Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

While Poets&Quants’ survey was informal (at best), eFinancial Careers also cites flaws in its methodology, which doesn’t take into account “earning potential, career progression or the total number of students securing employment immediately after graduation.” Still, their data makes one point clear: If you want a high end banking job, your best bet is a high end business school.

eFinancial Careers

Source: eFinancial Careers