New rankings for Target and Semi-Target Uni's in the UK
Hello guys, I'm a high school student looking for a career in FO IB, CO, PE, and AM. First of all, I know they don't all share the same target units and that a ton of ranking on the subject have already been made. However, while trying to decide which unis to select, I've scoured the internet for summer internship classes, internships classes at BB posts on the student room, posts on wso and efinancial careers, videos, and then compared it to data I picked up myself from LinkedIn and some stuff don't match for instance Exeter having more people in IB than Nottingham or that Exeter has like 220 students at UBS and JPM compared to 150 for Bristol. SO frankly I don't know who to trust and who not to, and if there is stuff that is up to date and actually true. Frankly, all the posts I have seen are either 15 years old or 2-3-4 years old, and I'm also tired of trying to avoid people trying to promote their own unis and people literally talking gibberish saying that Birmingham is a target. So could you guys give me an honest ranking of target and semi-target universities in the UK for FO IB, CO, PE, and AM (also please don't put them in tiers, just do a ranking like 1- 2- 3- etc..)?
(PS if you your not qualified to speak on this subject for instance if you think your two hours of research online make you a viable source shut up)
(PS 2 doesn't mind also taking into consideration the future potential of unis of becoming more prominent in certain sectors)
Rest not sure
No idea why the formatting is such a mess but you get it
LBS doesn't have undergrad courses, and if we're looking at masters, LBS masters has better placement than LSE
Get your point but even if its just for Masters that doesnt change the fact its a target for FO roles. Tried to weigh that into the ranking.
Imperial College places much better than Warwick and more less like LBS
Wrong, ok for engineering but not the BS
Any attempt to collect data on this needs to be better thought out because you undoubtedly did it wrong by failing to account for the fact that 1. Placements exist which distorts certain unis 2. There are more jobs in an investment bank than just investment banking/front office.
This post is still accurate. The only thing imo that might change is that some more non-targets get let into the circle as banks try to increase things like socioeconomic diversity recruitment. But this obviously only helps you if you fit this category. Nothing is kicking the targets off their crown. Perceptions and biases are very sticky, they're not changing year on year.
HF I'm interning at it is Oxford, UCL, LBS and LSE kids fwiw.
Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, UCL, Imperial, Warwick (only strong for Econ and MORSE)
Semi targets: Durham, Nottingham, Bristol, Edinburgh
exeter to be added to semi target list too
I studied Economics at Warwick. People place well from most degrees not just Econ & MORSE
Maybe STEM and Law would place decently? But I'd argue UCL/Imperial would be marginally better
Missing Cambridge for Masters (Oxford grad spotted)
Imperial business school has also been placing well from what I've seen. Not all the programs, but the strong ones (MSc Fin, MSc Fin & Acc, maybe one or two more). Probably solidly 5th now behind Cambridge.
Cambridge doesn't really have a masters in finance (the one they do is more for people who want to go for phds rather than careers and is an MPhil)
Also anyone else think OP has a bad attitude? Especially for someone that hasn't even got uni offers yet lol
He sounds like a complete tool. Recruiting will soon humble him (or one can hope).
Instead of being humbled he'll just say he was never interested in IB anyways because the pay/hour sucks
From what I've seen, I would say (undergrad):
Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, UCL, Imperial, Warwick (in no particular order)
Durham (there were more Durham kids than Oxbridge where I interned, about the same as LSE), Bristol, Nottingham (I see them everywhere)
(Weak) Semi-targets i.e., places ok, strong candidates from here tend to get into FO roles, but no strong IB culture:
Manchester, York, Leeds, Exeter
That's about it from whom I've seen. List certainly not exhaustive, feel free to add/dissent! I know Edinburgh is good, but I've never met anyone from there ... I suppose strong semi-target or somewhere in between
Probably the most accurate I've seen
OK, so here's the honest ranking based on how people actually perceive a person just based on university name. Undergrad only:
Oxbridge - ultra target assuming it's not land economy or something like that
LSE/Imperial - upper target universities. Again, no brainer interview them
UCL/Warwick/Durham/Bristol/St Andrews - solid targets. Interview assuming no red flags. Not as impressive as the above
Below this are a bunch of universities that are semi targets. Most are red bricks like Nottingham, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, etc. Plus KCL and maybe City in London. These are unis where the cv needs to be strong or interesting elsewhere to interview. Im probably missing a few but they're typically unis that have been around top 20 for last 10 or 15 years. They're not things like Leeds, Newcastle, etc. which are total non targets in my view. All else are non targets
Biggest crock of shit I've ever read.
UCL and Warwick are solid targets. I've seen plenty of Land Economy Cambridge people in IB.
St Andrews a strong semi target? Are you joking? I've never seen a single St Andrews student in IB, and good reason too: it's a middle of no where school so banks don't visit. It's no doubt a great school that ranks very highly for academics but not somewhere you go if your only aim is to get into IB. Placing them with Durham is laughable, almost like you're deliberately trying to misguided people. Nottingham places far more.
Birmingham a semi target? That's a new one. Haven't seen them place either, despite being a good uni. Leeds places ok, not sure they're a complete non target... people have and do get into IB from there.
TLDR: I get where you're coming from but all else equal, I have 0 doubt that the university's admissions/prestige "signal" is the key. No doubt that locational, cultural and other factors play, but I wouldn't prioritise choosing university based on those things if you know you want to do IB/buy-side.
I think "biggest crock of shit" you've ever read is a bit strong given the actual substance of your comments, but anyway...
Going point by point through your emotional response:
We agree that UCL and Warwick are solid targets
I agree, Land Economy at Cambridge can send people to IB, I'm just saying that it's not an ultra target like doing PPE or Physics at Oxford. It's still going to be a target and maybe ultra target for RE M&A / buy-side
On the rest of your comments, I think we're divided on how we define targets. I'm defining it in terms of how a mid/senior team member or employer would perceive the strength of a CV for a new analyst, driven by things like admission difficulty, strength of academic reputation (i.e. the key inputs of a "target"). I'm not talking about it in terms of the numbers of students who come from each place, which would both be affected by many factors, including how interested those student bodies are in banking and would also need to be compared to total students (propensity to get placed which is what you care about) and adjusted for quality of placements anyway (i.e. if everyone is going to tiny boutique firms and big 4 vs. BBs).
I'd add that out of curiosity, I just searched LinkedIn and found 171 people with "investment banking" in title who had Nottingham University as their school vs. 144 for St Andrews, and yet Nottingham has c. 2.5-3x the number of undergrads that St Andrews has. Not sure on whether that's accurate but if it was, I wouldn't exactly say that it supports your points of Nottingham placing far more on the face of it and actually seems to disprove the implication that you'd have a better chance from Nottingham. However, as I said, I don't really think that's the right way of looking at it.
I would say that StA isn't even the top Uni in Scotland, Edinburgh is
OP - consider it is 100x harder getting into Oxbridge than Warwick at undergrad. Rest falls in between.
That being said, here's how I'd rank (and note it's not as big of a deal as in US in terms of 1>2>3… IMO)
T1- Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial, LSE
T1.5- Warwick, Bristol
T2- Nottingham, St. Andrew's, Durham, Exeter
T3- Cass, Reading, York, Edinburgh, Manchester
Bristol grad spotted
Warwick and Bristol are definitely not on the same tier. Edinburgh is better than Exeter and StA for sure, never seen CASS, Reading or York place into IB
Target/semi target line tends to blur a lot in London. Places like citadel, point72, blackstone etc are a lot more concerned with it than banks usually are.
100% agree with this
Posts above outline the answer, culture for IB varies across unis
Oxbridge, LSE, Imperial, UCL, Warwick would probably be 'top 5'
Quite frankly though, my suggestion is that instead of focussing on this right now your sole focus should be landing in the best uni possible with exceptional grades
Ranking are meaningless if you throw away your shot at landing IB etc by missing grades and offers. Priorities matter.
Target:Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, LSE, UCL and Imperial.
Upper Semi Target:Durham, Manchester, Exeter, Kings College London, Bath (Especially for Placements) and Nottingham.
Lower Semi Target:Birmingham, City (Bayes Business School only), Loughborough and QMUL
Having just recruited I think especially in 2022 with diversity push etc., people place way too much importance on the uni you went to in the UK when your overall application is way more important.
In terms of targets its Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial/UCL/Warwick and Semi targets is Durham/Edinburgh/Notts/St.As/Bristol/Exeter/Bath/Kings.
Realistically any of those are good enough for you to recruit - the rest is up to you. Yes going to a target is objectively better than a semi but I really don't think it makes as much of a difference as people make out on this site. You're overall application i.e. strong tailored CL, test scores, strong interview answers, applying early etc makes a lot more of a difference. For example at one of my SWs at a top EB, there were more people from Notts than both Oxbridge.
Also I would take linkedin alumni numbers with a pinch of salt. For example KCL would have more numbers than Edinburgh or Durham because a lot more people apply. A lot of semi targets don't have the finance culture. Similar to how LSE has better numbers than oxbridge. Although having said that it definitely helps to be in that environment.
Anyone trying to argue between e.g. exeter or bath or warwick spanish or ucl econ is just pointless. You're course and degree is such a minor part of your application and it's only really used for screening anyway. In fact I would also say that these days, outside of niche buyside roles, going to a place like oxbridge can end up being a negative because the courses are so demanding, you have far less time to spend on making quality applications than say someone doing history at warwick when your academics are effectively viewed as the same
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