Undergraduate Representation Among PE Firms (With Data)

Hi Monkeys,

I just had some downtime during my internship, and I thought it would be interesting to quantify how many alumni from the top undergraduate schools are at the top PE firms. Many PE firms will list their MD, Principals, VP, and even Associates in their public directory, so it was pretty easy to gather this data. 

The PE firms presented include Apollo, Blackstone, KKR, Carlyle, TPG, Warburg Pincus, Bain, etc. 

Notably, I forgot to include Cornell and NYU Stern in this process......Sorry to those who attend those schools.


Adjust for undergraduate percentage for each school is calculated through this formula = (Total Number Represented)/(Undergraduate Size Per Class*Percentage Pursuing Finance Jobs)

*All data are taken from university official career outcome reports

Undergraduate Represented Most

Penn/Wharton - 114 (Adjusted % - 41.0%)

Harvard - 97 (Adjusted % - 18.1%)

Princeton - 53 (Adjusted % - 28.7%)

Duke - 42 (Adjusted % - 13.4%)

Stanford - 34 (Adjusted % - 5.33%)

Dartmouth - 30 (Adjusted % - 18.0%)

Columbia - 25 (Adjusted % - 8.2%)

Yale - 24 (Adjusted % - 7.0%)

MIT - 15 (Adjusted % - 6.5%)

Brown - 13 (Adjusted % - 4.2%)

UChicago - 10 (Adjusted % - 1.7%)

Any thoughts from the expert in the field about this data? Was shocked to see how well Duke and Dartmouth performed with respect to other schools.

Comments (58)

Most Helpful
  • Works at Jane Street
Jul 29, 2022 - 8:20pm

Would be interesting to see this data normalized with the number of students earning an economics degree at each of these schools. Wharton has something like 750 undergrads matriculating each year, Harvard around 210, Princeton around 120, Dartmouth about 160 -> 15% Wharton to PE, 46% Harvard, 48% Princeton, 19% Dartmouth, etc.

Jul 29, 2022 - 8:32pm
monkeychimp555, what's your opinion? Comment below:

that would be quite interesting; however, while searching I did see many people who majored in areas not related to economics or finance. Perhaps adjusting for pure undergraduate class size would be a more viable comparison. 

  • Works at Jane Street
Jul 29, 2022 - 8:36pm

Economics would be the best proxy at the Ivy+ schools. It's reasonable to assume that the number of students recruiting for finance positions is better correlated with the number of economics majors than the total number of students as some schools lean more towards engineering or other subjects (Stanford as an example).

  • Incoming Analyst in Consulting
Jul 29, 2022 - 9:40pm

Wow, Princeton and Harvard really do dominate finance. I thought Wharton per capita would be the highest.

Jul 30, 2022 - 12:20am
monkeychimp555, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just updated the data to account for the undergraduate sizes base on the number of people at each university pursuing finance. Felt this way would account for people pursuing finance in majors other than economics/math 

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jul 30, 2022 - 9:36am


  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 1, 2022 - 3:38am

I definitely agree with you that it's important to normalize the data, but I don't think the economics major approach is the best way. If we use that approach, MIT has a placement rate of 62.5%, and Columbia would have a placement rate of 31.6%. While these are (obviously) great schools, I think most people would agree that MIT and Columbia do not place better than Wharton/Harvard/Princeton for PE/finance. I think the best approach is what the OP updated the post with: Normalizing with the % pursuing finance jobs. These are some of the best schools in the country, and the vast majority of students who want a job in finance will get it (just that it might not be the most coveted roles). I don't think there's a better proxy for 'finance interest' than that.

Also, if I'm not misinterpreting the data, this is not based on direct undergrad to PE, but rather based on school representation in general amongst all levels of the firms. Hence, I think that's another reason why normalizing using college major isn't the best approach, but instead looking at how many of these students from each school actually entered a finance job in the first place is better.

  • Works at Jane Street
Aug 1, 2022 - 1:37pm

Yes, I agree that "finance interest" would be the best metric here, but there's no way we can access that without sophomore/junior year survey data. Like someone else said below, using career outcomes data results in survivorship bias.

Also, Columbia had over 300 economics concentrators graduate last year, unless I'm mistaken. That would put their normalized value at 8%, not 32% - on par with what we'd expect relative to Wharton/Princeton/Harvard.

I'll also say: if the analysis suggests that MIT "places" better than Wharton, then that's what the analysis reveals. Our conclusions should always follow the analysis, not the other way around. Otherwise, all we'd be doing is constructing a model that validates and confirms our existing opinions, rather than performing an analysis that reveals novel information.

Of course, this is no in-depth analysis by any means, but if the data were to surprisingly show that MIT places the best out of these schools, one could reasonably conclude that while few MIT matriculates enter the world of high finance, they do exceedingly well due to rigorous training from the quantitatively-heavy MIT curriculum or some other factor.

Aug 4, 2022 - 5:33pm
LarryWinters, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nah, using college major is better. You're forgetting that most people who can't land IB end up doing asset/wealth management or MBB which is a fat chunk of people per class (also went to HYP). suvivorship bias is gonna be real bad if you use the career services info

  • Associate 2 in AM - Equities
Jul 30, 2022 - 1:24am

Recent Duke graduate here and shocked to see this as well. I know some of the people who have placed at these respective shops, but this is going above and beyond what I thought that cohort would do. I still think there is something to be said for individual accomplishment vs. school here, since some of the Duke people here did not work at the tippie-top banks 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 30, 2022 - 12:54pm

Recent Duke graduate here and shocked to see this as well. I know some of the people who have placed as these respective shops, but this is going above and beyond what I thought that cohort would do. I still think there is something to be said for individual accomplishment vs. school here, since some of the Duke people here did not work at the tippie-top banks 

What banks do you think we place best at? I know Morgan Stanley, but what else in your opinion? Rising sophomore here.

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Jul 30, 2022 - 12:20pm

I'd normalize by major rather than career outcomes. You can imagine there may be many students who wanted to break into finance, but could not do so due to being a non-target or similar. If your normalize by career outcomes, non-target schools could be overestimated in your analysis.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 1, 2022 - 3:44am

Agree with this, but I think OP here focused more on target schools in which case just breaking into a finance job is less of an issue (just that the job may not be the most "prestigious", whatever that means, but works well enough to indicate an interest in finance career-wise).

Jul 30, 2022 - 4:19pm
tigercub69, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For big firms like Blackstone and KKR, are you providing data for the headcount in their flagship funds (i.e. BCP and PE) or in the firm in total (therefore including representation in TacOps, Credit, etc)?

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Jul 31, 2022 - 1:14am

OP. Can you do Notre Dame please? I am an incoming freshman there. I tried to but could not tell the difference between different roles.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Jul 31, 2022 - 12:02pm

This is awesome but in order to get a more accurrate picture would remove Brookfield HIG and Ares as per above and add Hellman plus Advent 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 31, 2022 - 3:14pm

is this data of employees from Analyst to Partner?

edit: wait are these the number of analysts only? 

Aug 1, 2022 - 10:31am
OttoReadmore, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why did you not include Cornell or Stern? The numbers won't top Harvard or Princeton but those numbers can't be non-significant.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers
  • 4
  • Prospect in PE - Other
Aug 1, 2022 - 9:47pm

I went to Harvard and I honestly see more Cornell and Stern representation than Harvard representation in NYC PE (obviously location and school size play a role but it's still crazy). I wouldn't be surprised if they were top half of the list despite being "less prestigious" than some of the other schools noted.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 1, 2022 - 10:38pm

what do all the kids at harvard do if not gun for PE 

(note: idk how big class sizes are among schools, so this could be a reason)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 1, 2022 - 11:08pm

If anything, I'm surprised Princeton has that much?

Everyone knew Dartmouth hit way above their weight class for finance, and considering most of the top shops were founded by Dartmouth alums / have alums in top positions, it's not a surprise. 

Aug 4, 2022 - 11:45am
MasaSon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why would anyone be surprised by the Princeton numbers? I'm more surprised they didn't beat out Wharton for the top spot in this analysis.

  • Incoming Analyst in Consulting
Aug 4, 2022 - 1:39pm

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  • Associate 1 in IB - DCM
Aug 4, 2022 - 5:02pm

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