Is William & Mary a finance school now?

Saw a couple recent posts comparing W&M to IU-Kelley and UVA, and it seems the consensus is it's better than IU-Kelley (but not necessarily IBW) and roughly the same academic level of UVA (but recruits worse than McIntire). I've seen people in the industry here and there who went to W&M, but I always figured it was a small school that was more focused on liberal arts than finance. Is that changing now? What's with all the prospective monkeys deciding between it and schools that are known to be finance hardo heavy? I grew up in tristate area so know a few people who went to W&M but don't really know anything about it compared to the other two mentioned. 

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Comments (39)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Apr 27, 2021 - 10:40am

UVA places the best in in Virginia followed by W&L probably, maybe Richmond 

Would bucket W&M below

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 27, 2021 - 7:59pm

As a former in-state comm student at UVA this is false. UVA >> W&M > W&L >= UR. W&L and UR place well at some MM and southern banks, but they're nowhere near the level of academic prestige that UVA and W&M are at. Obviously, none of the other 3 place nearly as well as UVA, but I've seen way more W&M at BB/EB than the other two, and I know for fact hiring managers take W&M far more seriously. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 28, 2021 - 11:38am

W&L has extraordinary placement given it's class size.. one of the top semi-target LACs out there. 

W&M is a good school but is a non-target comparatively.
 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 28, 2021 - 2:20am

Incoming McIntire student here and I'd rather go to Colorado School of Mines than a school literally named after a confederate general, you couldn't pay me to apply to W&L. Have no strong thoughts about WM and Richmond, as far as I'm concerned both are non targets and don't even come close to UVA in recruiting which is definitely a target school despite what first years on WSO tell you

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May 3, 2021 - 10:10pm

You did it, OP. You stopped racism.

I was born seven months too early. Incubation technology was still in its infancy, so they placed me in a cast iron pot inside of a pizza oven until I was ripe enough to walk. My bones never hardened but my spirit did. Be strong and crush your enemies!

Most Helpful
Apr 27, 2021 - 10:50am

I graduated from W&M a few years ago so will try to add some color (just one perspective). In my opinion the business school (Mason) is pretty strong and the Finance program in particular has a lot of excellent resources, from interesting classes to great professors to well-run student orgs. From an IB / high finance recruiting standpoint, it is a mixed bag. Between 2012-2018 or so, they were kind of hitting it out of the park relative to the school's small size / previously low presence on the Street. There were multiple MS / GS matriculations per year, and even more JPM offers. Smattering of offers across the rest of the bulge bracket as well (pipeline not as strong however) and people also went to MMs like HL, Harris Williams, BB&T, Stephen's, etc. There were also a couple of kids who got CVP over the years and I think W&M kids still land interviews there once in a blue moon on the back of goodwill from previous analysts or exceptional networking. Would say that HF / PE undergrad recruiting was essentially zero, however (compared to some schools which get looks from the likes of BX, Sculptor, P72, etc.).

The counterpoint to the above, as you likely have already inferred, as that most of these opps have been and continued to be obtained largely through personal networking chops, and networking chops alone. I don't think any of the BBs recruit actively on-campus at W&M (JPM used to come down but don't even think that's a thing anymore) and even MM on-campus presence is muted (BB&T and HL might make an appearance or two...someone definitely correct me if that's changed). If you're a prospect at W&M you're likely relying on upperclassmen and LinkedIn to help you figure out which alumni at which banks to reach out to, and try to worm your way into processes from there. It's not remotely comparable to McIntire's on-campus recruiting scene if you ask me, especially given UVA is usually landing multiple MS/GS/JPM SA offers every year, and also consistently sending one or two kids to most if not all of the EBs per year (whereas W&M, as I mentioned, really only has / had real traction with CVP, and that too on a limited basis). And to be honest this makes sense - even though W&M and UVA are academically comparable, most banks probably wouldn't feel inclined to go through all of the motions of on-campus recruiting for a school so much smaller than its sister with comparable talent (W&M class size is like ~1,500 on average, UVA is double that I'm pretty sure).

All that being said, I think the opportunities are there for those who are willing to seek them out and have the interpersonal skills to measure up to the task of networking. It's one of the few 'non-target' / 'semi-targets' where the school's branding (by virtue of its age and commensurate perceived prestige) and the engaged alumni network can get you a decent amount of looks. Most of the kids who matriculated into banking roles have done very very well for themselves (high hit rate on buyside exits, more and more M7 MBA admits). Also, if you enjoy the small to mid-sized school vibe, there's something to be said about being a 'big fish' in the relatively 'small pond' of Mason...lots of opportunities to differentiate yourself and position for SA recruiting.

When I was there, the SA recruiting cycles were still 'normal' (i.e., the interview grind didn't start til ~October of junior year), so I don't know with any certainty how the school has adapted to timelines that seem to have moved up across the Street. It also seems like, at least from what I've seen with my limited finger on the pulse of the school, that the BB recruiting pipeline has been a little lackluster for the school the last couple years (though could just be an anomaly / function of the times / my own lack of optics given I'm not tracking recruiting outcomes as an alum). All in all, don't know if I would say it's a 'finance school' but it's certainly a much different (in a good way) environment than it was like a decade ago before some of their finance orgs really started to come into their own

  • Prospect in IB - Ind
Apr 27, 2021 - 12:48pm

Yes, it is a strong school academically. But very hard to believe that there's much real recruiting. Despite it being a public school, many of the kids do come from very well-off backgrounds with connections. Not a knock on any of those kids (you have to use any advantages you may have)... but hard to believe the school played much of a role in some of the mentioned placements. 

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Apr 27, 2021 - 1:04pm

School did facilitate a lot of intros though that have helped students over the years - events, info sessions, etc.. (source: me)

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Apr 27, 2021 - 2:53pm

Not a finance school and not comparable to IU Kelley's placement, let alone UVA's. Nothing personal, excellent school otherwise. 

  • Intern in Research - FI
Apr 27, 2021 - 8:26pm

The size argument is washed. It's only relevant when you're comparing something like Brown vs. UVA or Duke vs. Stern. Not when the two schools are in completely different leagues (in this context, for finance recruiting.. UVA and W&M do not compare at all).

  1. Alumni presence: There are 5-20+ active and employed UVA alumni at virtually every EB, BB, and MM - that range doubles at a few core banks like BofA and CS. These alumni run dedicated on campus processes, you are not competing against everyone applying to X bank, just your peers at your uni. It's pretty damn easy to get an offer when you've got that many people to talk to and mesh with.. only takes resonating with one person to push you to final round.
  1. Reputation. UVA students and those from IU Kelley's IBW workshop are both a known quantity. Both send 100+ SA's each summer to just BB/EB/MM in NYC. Banks, hedge funds, PE firms, and consultancies know they're likely getting a high quality intern/analyst. McIntire, and over the last few years UVA at large as well, has always been a finance target school.
  1. OCR. See point one and two for why this point exists. Every bulge bracket hires 3-10 interns per target in IB every summer alone. When you consider that there are at minimum like 20 banks that are all very well regarded with both awesome dealflow & exits, you can see how hard it is to fail if you're on it from day 1.

At a school like W&M you have none of that. I've only ever seen one kid from W&M on the street and they were hired through a diversity program (this is not meant to demerit them, as a lot of hateful posters on here have made that word come with completely unjustified asterisks - but that is a pipeline that exists regardless of where you go to school and is contingent on networking and having an excellent resume in the first place... those kids make it no matter what).

Apr 27, 2021 - 11:32pm

This thread is a prime example of why everyone who has ever had to work/deal with UVA people hates UVA people. Imagine ranting on the Internet over a meaningless title like "best school in Virginia for IB" it's embarrassing.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - ECM
Apr 28, 2021 - 2:02am

Idk which shit nontarget you went to, but just say you didn't get into UVA and hop off. Our non-comm kids recruit better than any other school in VA and McIntire placement is better than most ivies. UVA is the best combination of social life and academics and its not even close. No one who's had to work/deal with UVA people hates UVA people because UVA people are more fun, more hardworking, and just better people to be around...

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