Path to Endowment CIO: Sloan, Columbia, or SOM

Hello, I am an incoming analyst in financial sponsors at a "top" (cringey saying it, but clarifies my situation) investment bank. Longer term I am very interested in working at an endowment. I believe it is a great way to provide value to a very important type of institution (fully subscribe to education being the best investment). I have met with my own university's CIO / head of the endowment and the late David Swenson got me into finance. 

Current path: Semi-target (PKB, lot of involvement, and 3.9+ GPA, 720 GMAT) double major in math and economics [very quant and coding heavy] -> FSG @ BAML, JPM, etc ->??? -> large university or ivy endowment (hopefully) 

Which MBA will best position me to exit b-school and enter (university) endowment management?

Current thinking: 

SOM-> (Pro) MBAs can work with the endowment (which is hands down one of the best in the world thanks to Swenson) although since the Masters in Asset Management I think the number of spots have decreased. (Con) no deferred program so I cannot apply right now.

Columbia: They have a deferred MBA program which means I get to apply now. The value investing program is second to none as far as specialized programs. Additionally, I ended up writing my thesis on a topic I got into an argument with a CBS MBA in the value program. (Con) There is no guarantee that I will get into the program, and - as stupid and illogical as it sounds - I kind of want my MBA experience to be outside of NYC

Sloan: Deferred program for up to 5 years. Very quant heavy and I could take some engineering classes and work on my algo skills. 

P.S. Tuck: I really want to go to Tuck. My parents met and were married there. Incredible campus and love the small cohort size. I just do not know how it stacks up with programming / alumni in the space (plus the FoF, capital allocation, or overall asset management spaces). 

These schools are no brainers if I get in: HBS (1), S GSB (2), Wharton (3), Booth (4). 

Comments (7)

WSO Monkey Bot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey Intern in IB - Cov, I'm the WSO Monkey Bot and I'm here since nobody responded to your thread! Bummer...could just be time of day or unlucky (or the question/topci is too vague or too specific). Maybe one of these topics will help:

More suggestions...

I hope those threads give you a bit more insight.

Most Helpful
  • Partner in HF - Other

My first piece of advice would be to seek to move to a good endowment or foundation role immediately after your banking stint - it's a small industry, and being an "insider" with a network will matter. There is value to lingering in other roles a bit longer such as doing a PE stint but you don't want to leave it too late as most really good places like to train folks young and those with a reputation for good training have people in high demand. There are a lot of good places in the NYC area - it's an apprenticeship industry so working for someone really good (such as Bowdoin, Edgehill or Brandywine, which regularly hire in the broader NYC area) would be a powerful way to kick off. (As an aside working for an excellent family office or outsource CIO firm would be good prep early in your career and you could transition well). There are a lot of great places outside NYC. You need to do your homework about the space and network well to get an offer - I know as I used to run recruiting at a top 10 endowment.

I think the most important thing for wherever you go is to network early and relentlessly with folks in the industry. I'd have a slight bias to Yale but all these schools are good options. You'll be considered excellent technically for these roles (which have a heavy qualitative component) just given your academic and employment background so you don't need to invest in that to the exclusion.

Columbia is amazing for stock picking but it's competitive to get that and will be hard to get if you don't focus very hard on stock picking (as opposed to picking managers) but will give you a great network in public equities. Sloan is very rigorous and Boston has a lot of great groups. All would be strong, and none would guarantee success. The MBAs with the best networks in the space are HBS, GSB, and SOM.

  • Partner in HF - Other

Also, following up on this with Tuck - if you really love Tuck it'd be a great choice too. They have a strong connection to the New England endowment scene and Cambridge Associates and the alumni from Tuck are very helpful to each other. There are a number of successful Tuck alums at senior levels. Your external networking is at least as important as your internal networking with your class and you can do that from any well reputed school if you put in the energy.

  • Intern in IB - Cov

Thanks for your insights! When you were running recruiting at the endowment, what were key skills or experiences you looked for? I am trying to build out a small network of people at endowments near my college, but am worried that with a vanilla profile like mine (lots of IB guys interested in capital allocation/FoF/AM) it might be difficult to stand out pre-MBA. 

  • Research Analyst in AM - Other

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