Comprehensive List of Target Schools for Investment Banking

For high schoolers interested in pursuing careers on Wall Street, school selection is extremely important. The majority of recruiting that happens for Wall Street banks occurs at what are called “target schools.”

investment banking target School Definition

Target schools are the schools that banks actively plan to recruit students from. These schools will often have on campus recruiting which mean that there will be networking sessions and interviews that occur at the university.

2017 Bulge Bracket Banks – Target Schools

Generally speaking, target schools are ivy league or ivy league equivalent schools but in recent years prestigious state schools have been improving their representation at banks making these schools a good alternative to the Ivy League.
According the WSO Investment Banking Industry Report, we have found the top ten target schools in 2017 to be:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • New York University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Cambridge
  • Cornell University
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • Columbia University
  • Duke University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan

These top 10 schools represent ~22% of all recruitment and hiring of bulge bracket banks in 2017.

The below picture, a screen shot from the WSO Investment Banking University Report shows the percentage of the recruiting class that comes from each school. You can find out about the recruitment from various schools in the report.

However, there are many other universities that make up the remaining 78% of all bulge bracket bank hires. Some other notable universities include:

  • Yale University
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Virginia (UVA)
  • Boston College
  • Duke University
  • UCLA
  • London School of Economics
  • Princeton University
  • Georgetown
  • Northwestern University
  • Arizona State University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Penn State University

These firms all place well on Wall Street and are targets at particular firms. For example – Penn State is a target school at Bank of America Merrill Lynch but not at JP Morgan. This is not just true for non-ivy league schools. WSO’s research indicates that Harvard, UPenn, NYU, and Duke were the only schools in the top ten listed schools that were targeted by all big banks. You can read more about this statistic in the WSO industry report.

2017 Boutique Bank – Target Schools

While perspective bankers often focus on the JP Morgan and Bank of Americas of the world, there are many other banks looking to hire quality undergraduate candidates. Some of these other notable banks include Houlihan Lokey, Lazard, HSBC, SunTrust, Evercore, BMO, Piper Jaffray, RBC, Moelis, Jefferies, Macquarie, and Rothschild to name a few.
Some of these firms have a more regional focus and also look to other schools aside from those mentioned. Some of the schools targeted by these firms include:

  • University of Western Ontario
  • Indiana University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Southern California, USC
  • UCLA
  • Dartmouth
  • University of Illinois at Urbana
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This list is by no means exhaustive and you can find more about university placement onto Wall Street through the WSO Investment Banking University Report.

Learn More About A Career In Investment Banking In WSO

Want to Learn More About Investment Banking Recruiting?

The Investment Banking University Recruiting Report shares 7 key takeaways based partially on the data discussed above and sheds light on the schools that banks are recruiting from. This is an extremely helpful resource when looking to determine which schools to apply to.

Investment Banking University Recruiting Report


Top target: Harvard, Upenn, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, MIT, Duke, Stanford, Darthmouth, Brown

Second target: UChicago, NYU, Michigan, Northwestern, Williams, and so on

caveat:Tried to put this roughly in order and include the huge ones but i'm not in the mood to give an actual 'comprehensive list'...

Basically, its a straight prestige ranking with a few differentiating factors. Ex: Upenn is higher than the rest of the iveys except Harvard only due to factoring in Wharton. Stanford isn't as high due to being on the West Coast and the fact that students there are not quite as IB-hyped as east-coasters.

Go to the most prestigious school you can if you're determined to go into ib.

P.S. Not to attack you personally but I find it sad that someone who hasn't gotten into college yet is already determined to be a banker. You should at least get into college before you're corrupted by greed and all that.

Maybe banking is becoming like medicine or law now. Pretty soon 8 year olds will all want to be bankers.


The NYU comment is simply not true. every bank goes there, and students get placed in everything from GS to Lazard (people I know). It is very much so a "target" school.

I am not an alumni and have no bias.

Fact: NYU has the 4th most interns at GS firmwide out of any school. So you basically are a fucking idiot

Of course NYU has an enormous amount of interns firmwide. Stern is a decent accounting school and it's 15 minutes away from headquarters/ 30 minutes away from Jersey City. So it places a lot of people in controllers or other groups in federation (non-revenue generating).

Fact: NYU has the 4th most interns at GS firmwide out of any school. So you basically are a fucking idiot

Of course NYU has an enormous amount of interns firmwide. Stern is a decent accounting school and it's 15 minutes away from headquarters/ 30 minutes away from Jersey City. So it places a lot of people in controllers or other groups in federation (non-revenue generating).

I've never met anyone from NYU with so much school spirit....


I would say that the main difference between targets and semi-targets is that targets do well for recruiting to all offices, whereas semi-targets do well regionally.

Examples of targets: - Ivy League - Top privates Northwestern, NYU, Gtown, Duke, Stanford - Top state schools Michigan, UVA, UNC, UC Berkeley

Examples of semi-targets: - USC, UCLA, CMC (for West coast) - UT Austin, Emory, Rice, Vandy (for Texas and the South) - BC, Baruch, Villanova, Lehigh, GW, and the top Lib Arts schools (for East coast) - Indiana, Wisco, Illinois, WUSL (for Chicago and Midwest)

Regarding your question about UGA, look into one of their organizations The Corsair Society. It's highly selective, but from what I've heard, they have placements into NYC offices and southern boutiques.


Stay away from all the Ivy's. The NE is too cold. Same with NW, ND, and Mich. Try for UT, UCLA, Duke or Stanford - great sports, awesome weather, and hot girls (except Stanford).

Or learn to use the search bar.

Best Response

-Stay away from Brown... too many pot smokers there. -On that note, Dartmouth is also disqualified. -Wanna die? Go to Cornell. If you value your life, don't go. -Harvard has too many kids with rich parents and I heard it's overrated. I would avoid it. -Princeton doesn't even do business. It's a school for shmucks. -Columbia is in NY... you want to stay in NY for as few years of your life as possible. -If you want to go to Yale... see Harvard. -UPenn is great until some ultra-competitive kid with a 2400 SAT, 5.0 GPA, and 15 national championships in 6 different sports poisons you before an Accounting exam. -All of those so-called "Little Ivies" (Williams, Amherst, Wesleyan, Bates, Middlebury, etc.) are only for the Rockefellers and Rothschilds of the world. -MIT is... why are you even reading this? -Going to Stanford is a huge risk because California is about to break off from the US and float off into the Pacific Ocean. This disqualifies USC, UC Berkley, UCLA, and Cal Tech also. -You don't sound like the type of person who would like football, so UMich and ND are off the cards -You probably don't like basketball either, so UNC, Duke, and Wake Forest are out. -Vandy is a possibility, if you relish the prospect of being thrown off the roof of your dorm building by some drunk frat guys. -UVA? Who the hell wants to live in Virginia for 3+ years of their life? -Oil will never, ever recover from its slump, so you're shooting yourself in the foot by going to Texas, Rice, TCU, SMU, Texas A&M -Northeastern? I asked a couple people sitting around me and they didn't even know it existed. -You aren't rich enough to go to NYU. -You can go to Johns Hopkins, take one step off the campus, and immediately get robbed of all your money and get shot three times. This applies to Wash U as well. -Going to Boston U or Boston College means you inevitably will become a Red Sox fan, thus disqualifying you from ever getting a job in IB in NY. -Northwestern and U of Chicago will soon have soon have less lawyers and bankers and more crips and bloods when total anarchy breaks out in Chicago. -As for Indiana... ah yes, you're not a basketball fan. -I heard Georgetown requires you to put your parent's house and your first newborn down as part of your deposit. -Tulane is only good for energy banking/trading, and you know where those are going. -Did you go to Dalton or Exeter? No? Forget about Lehigh. -Emory is so balls deep in the South, you are destined to become a country hick who drives tractors for a living. Same goes for Georgia Tech. -BYU? What are you, Mormon?

With all of those schools out of the way and bunch of other scrub schools that obviously suck also removed, here's my top 10 target schools ranking: 1. Arizona St. 2. University of Phoenix 3. Liberty University 4. DeVry 5. ITT Tech 6. University of Oklahoma 7. Art Institute of America 8. Ferrum College 9. Full Sail University 10. Florida St.

This is all just my opinion though. You should check out the search functions at or here at WSO.


Thanks for calling me a kid, I would much enjoy being able to relive my childhood and college years. Also, I hope when you're applying to Ivy Leagues and "2nd tier targets that are not Ivies", you won't write questionable phrases like "how pathetic is your time" and "lol kid you are such a bitch" on your essays. Speaking of those essays, I suggest your write about your excellent research skills, humbleness, and ability to keep your cool when facing criticism.

Career Advancement Opportunities

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Goldman Sachs 19 98.8%
  • Harris Williams & Co. New 98.3%
  • Lazard Freres 02 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 03 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 18 99.4%
  • JPMorgan Chase 10 98.8%
  • Lazard Freres 05 98.3%
  • Morgan Stanley 07 97.7%
  • William Blair 03 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.8%
  • Goldman Sachs 17 98.3%
  • Moelis & Company 07 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

April 2024 Investment Banking

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  • Associates (86) $261
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  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
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