WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: University Power Rankings (Part 10 of 10)

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Mod Note: This post features the top 50 undergrad schools from 2014 - check out our most updated rankings on the WSO Investment Banking Report and the 2018 Recruiting Report. You can also check out another detailed post about target schools on Wall Street Oasis.

best investment banking schools

The argument of how hard it is to break into Investment Banking from a non-target vs. target schools is one that has gone on for years on WSO. Which undergraduate institution gives you the best shot at the top investment banks? How hard is it to get in from a "non-target". While this infographic is not perfect and will likely not end the debate, it does give us a nice proxy of the top schools or a "Power Ranking" to the top 50 colleges and universities for overall "Investment Banking Recruiting."

Below you will find a detailed matrix of The Top 50 Undergraduate institutions for Wall St. Recruiting across all the bulge bracket banks and elite middle market & boutiques. A school only gets credit for a specific bank if it is one of the "top schools" for that bank. In other words, just because 3 people got an interview at Goldman Sachs from Non target XYZ doesn't mean it should be included in this list. Our goal was to give each of you an idea of where the WSO members are getting interviews from...which gives us an idea of the recruiting trends of these firms and what their top target school list looks like.

This does not mean you can't break in if you don't go to one of these schools or if your school is not listed (I went to Williams College and given the size of the student population, there is a surprisingly strong connection to Wall St)! In fact, some of the top ranked schools are also some of the most competitive. You need to ask yourself, do you really want to be in that culture where the competition is the toughest? What is going to give YOU the best odds of breaking in?

Good luck!

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Missed an earlier part of the 2014 WSO Community Rankings - Investment Banks? Click below:

Part 1: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Release Schedule
Part 2: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Career
Part 3: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Interviews
Part 4: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Promotions & Fairness
Part 5: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Compensation
Part 6: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Senior Management
Part 7: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Prestige & Pride
Part 8: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Lifestyle
Part 9: 2014 WSO Rankings for Investment Banks: Overall Rankings

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

Comments (49)

Best Response
Jan 28, 2015

So glad this is over.

    • 5
Jan 28, 2015

you hurt my feelings :-(

    • 3
    • 1
Jan 5, 2016

BTW I just noticed that UC Berkeley and University of California, Berkeley are 2 different schools on this list lol.

Jan 28, 2015

This is useful, thanks!

Jan 28, 2015

interesting

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Jan 28, 2015

1. The rankings are way off

2. How can these be percentages? You are telling me UPenn sends 24% of its class to Morgan Stanley?

    • 2
Jan 28, 2015

WSO is saying that 24% of all MS interviews (not sure if super day or regular at school) were given to UPenn students

Mar 23, 2016

No, actually if you take a look at the footer, it says that x% is the number of interviews that firm gave to students form that school as a percentage of all interviews given to top schools.

Jan 28, 2015

Pretty interesting, but I respectfully disagree with the percentages and I would like to know where you pulled the information from. I go to a semi-target (which I'd argue is now a target), and we sent around 14 students to the Goldman super day, 10 to the JPM super day, 8 to the BAML super day, and 8 to the Citi super day this year. This is reflective of the past classes as well, and I don't think this spread/percentages reflect our interview placement. For example, if we send 10 students to the JPM super day and it represents 8% of the total interviews, then our 14 student placement at Goldman or 8 student placement at Citi should surely be reflected in the percentages with at least a range of 5-10% of their interviews.

Jan 28, 2015

@"semitar93"- My fault since the graph is too small to read the footnote, but the percentages in the table DO NOT represent the overall percentages of interviews given. They represent the overall percentage of interviews given VS the other top schools for that firm.

So this is a way to look at relative weighting/preferences of different firms at the top 50 colleges & universities for Wall St recruiting.

Jan 28, 2015

Not to trying to be a dick but I'm fairly confident that rankings are flat out wrong and misleading.

Yale, Duke, Stanford, UChi coming in at 28/29/30/34, really? all have OCR and place well into every bank. Berkeley (which is actually mislisted as two different universities - 24/39), UCLA and USC have all the BBs do OCR for LA/SF.

The smell test totally fails. I'm sure there are better ways of compiling this data (schools OCR data/career placements) to make it more accurate and not as misleading.

    • 5
Jan 28, 2015

@"ke18sb" see my comment above. The university only gets points/ credit if it is a top school for a specific firm. Not surprisingly, Queens & Ivy do well with the Canadian banks which gives them a higher overall "ranking" vs. Yale and Stanford, but that is really more of a function of the concentration of recruiting. I could have given different weightings to each type of bank (so maybe BBs and elite boutiques would be given a 1.5x factor), but I thought there was enough data here that people could take from it what they want, such as:

Moelis recruits heavily at Harvard, Upenn, Michigan, Indiana...

Goldman recruits heavily at these 10 schools, etc etc...

If you wanted to, I could also adjust each of these scores based on # of students or # of finance/econ majors to get a better measure of "ODDS" (which would significantly boost the Ivys and other smaller liberal arts schools and drop the state schools), but again, I felt that added another layer of complexity.

FYI, I also just attached the PDF file so you can see the full version and read the footnote about what the percentages actually represent

Jan 28, 2015

Thanks for the follow-up. Again, I realize a lot of work went into this and the context in which it was created - I'm not trying to be difficult. However, I guess I just don't agree with the methodology/selected inputs because it's likely not yielding the "true" power rankings of these universities and thus is misleading users in my opinion (a lot of users seem to agree). For starters, the methodology is using self reported data (instead of trying to get data from actual schools OCRs) so to a degree it shows what schools have more active users reporting data on WSO. Also, it's interviews not actual placements. A smaller private such as Dartmouth (42?) could have a much higher offer to interview rate than some of the lower ranked academic schools. To me that is way more powerful than a lower ranked public/private school that interviews 25 kids for 1 spot (which is often the case). I think data on placements per school as a percent of applicants or to a lesser degree econ/finance majors is a better metric, ie where do I have the greatest odds of actually getting into IB. That is the real power.

My main issue with the rankings, and likely others, is that if I knew nothing about IB and were making a decision on what school to attend based on having the greatest likelihood of being placed into a IB role - power - the list would not be sending me down the right path. There is just no way that a Stanford/Duke/UChi/Dartmouth/Berkeley/Yale etc. would be so far down that list. I think when the results of a ranking defy reality, the inputs/methodology should be changed as opposed to just going forward with results. It's the whole garbage in garbage out argument.

On a side note, does that data breakout the difference between IB and non-ib interviews?

Jan 28, 2015

Yeah, it is all a little fishy. I know for a fact that GS took 21 kids last year from Dartmouth for IBD alone, and according to this chart GS doesn't even recruit at Dartmouth...

The only BB that doesn't do OCR at Dartmouth is Barclays.

Jan 28, 2015

Please read the methodology...this is the same way we list out the top schools in the WSO Company Database.

"Top Undergrad Schools represents the schools that are most targeted by the Company based on our data. The %s shown next to the school name are ONLY relative to the other top schools listed. These %s are provided solely to give you an idea of relative preference of each top school, not all schools."

Given our data on interviews, the top schools and relative breakdown across ONLY those schools for Goldman INTERVIEWS (again, not a great proxy for offers) were the following:

University of Pennsylvania (18%)
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (12%)
Harvard University (12%)
Princeton University (9%)
Northwestern University (9%)
Cornell University (9%)
New York University NYU (9%)
Villanova University (8%)
Yale University (8%)
Boston College (8%)

We capped this at 10 so again that we could see relative "strength"...this is also not just front office IBD, so again, maybe BC and Villanova get a lot of interviews for MO...that counts in our methodology since it's very hard to break out in the data.

Jan 28, 2015

I understand the way you are going about it, but it makes it come across as if it were a statistically accurate representation on school strength at specific banks, but the information is being drawn from a self reported database independent of the information given by these banks themselves. Additionally, there aren't any control measures to how someone reports what school they attend in the database as far as I know. No one has to sign up or report it using an authenticated school .edu address.

Maybe a more effective way would be to draw the information from the websites of the actual banks, since a lot list the campuses that they do OCR on. I get what you are trying to do, and I think it is an interesting and ambitious goal, but the methodology seems to be so flawed that it loses its value. That's just my .02, feel free to agree or disagree anyone, I would like to see what others have to say.

Edit: Could anyone here actually look me straight in the face and tell me that Villanova beats Stanford on a university power rankings for finance?

    • 3
Jan 28, 2015

yeah, i think for us to be able to get true offer percentages, that would 100% be more valid way to rank the schools, although that makes the data MUCH MUCH less robust since out of the thousands of interviews, there may only be ~100 or so offers (we obviously don't have every person getting ib interviews submitting interview insights to the WSO Company Database, but we do have several thousand per year which I think is statistically significant). So given that, we thought of an interview was a "chance" and was a better proxy (given our data) at which schools give you a good shot at which firms.

I think this matrix is best used as a way to see relative preferences (and in retrospect maybe we should have not called it a "Power Ranking")...since it's really just showing what schools tend to be granted interviews by what firms.

Obviously, this is based on WSO user submissions so it's not a perfect cross-section of the entire world (as we say in the footnote), however, given the # of interview insights we have collected, we thought it still showed an interesting picture of relative school preference across the top schools. We could have listed out every school from these top firms and done %s that way, but the matrix would have been about 10x as tall and no one school would likely make up more than ~10% at any given firm, so it would be harder to draw relative comparisons...

Jan 28, 2015

Yea, fair enough. I agree and again thanks.

Jan 28, 2015

Have to agree with this...I went to one of these schools and it was (and still is) the top recruited school at the BB I was at (and places very well into others), but has very limited data above.

Jan 28, 2015

Not necessarily wrong -- I'm a senior at one of those schools, and we're only sending seven kids to IBD in NY next year. Then again, IBD is hardly a popular career choice...

Jan 28, 2015

Is that via self selection of the student body or because its truly hard to get in from your school?

Look maybe I'm wrong and if so I apologize for going down this rabbit hole; however, I don't think based on how I define power, likelihood of landing IB if that's what you want to do, I am.

Jan 28, 2015

It's a mix. Generally the kids that want to and are smart do get in, but very few BBs/EBs (essentially three, IIRC) have any sort of recruiting presence compared to what you'd see at peer institutions (so you have to go above and beyond more than you would elsewhere)

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Jan 28, 2015

These numbers are ridiculously off, and the methodology verges on nonsensical.. Why bother even attempting to put together rankings like this when you clearly don't have the data for it? Does WSO need more pageviews that badly?

Jan 28, 2015

Thanks for providing. Maybe the issue with the misinterpretation is more user error than anything... the methodology seems decently sound based on the inputs listed.

Sep 27, 2015

AA

Jan 28, 2015

UChicago is heavily underrated on here, and it seems like A. T. Still was a fluke because it's first alphabetically (it's a medical grad school with no undergrad)

    • 2
Jan 28, 2015

Princeton seems way off. UBS doesn't even do OCR whereas Barclays probably goes all-out more than any other bank here

Jan 28, 2015

The methodology itself is solid. I'm guessing one of the issues comes down to representation on WSO itself. These numbers come from the people that get on here and report, not from the banks themselves. At schools were there are more WSO users, they will be more represented on here.

Also curious if this is broken down to only include FO/IB positions. For instance, as far as GS is concerned, they take an enormous number of kids from BYU because of their SLC office (they actually place decently well in NYC as well) but BYU doesn't even get a single percentage point on these rankings.

Jan 28, 2015

This is a weird ranking. Can tell, already, that banks are missing that recruit on some campuses and that some of these stats include S&T.

Jan 28, 2015

Why open comments on these things when you know its just going to be complaining about how the rankings suck?

Jan 28, 2015
theallansmith:

Why open comments on these things when you know its just going to be complaining about how the rankings suck?

If I was the CEO of WSO, I would allow comments, but would delete anything that was even slightly negative, ban the user in question, and delete all of their prior posts. I would also provide financial incentives to Certified Users to talk up this methodology in advance of releasing the results, especially to winners of the member of the year contests. That makes for powerful testimonials. Not to mention that you could probably generate a lot of revenue from schools or firms that could use a little boost in the rankings if you wanted to go that route (which I would have also done).

Apparently, Patrick likes an 'above the board' business.

(PS - Those of us reading this post on the phone can't even tell what the rankings are.)

(PPS - Please don't ban me for making suggestions.)

    • 1
Jan 28, 2015

I still think LinkedIn ranking makes more sense

https://www.linkedin.com/edu/rankings/us/undergrad...

    • 1
Jan 28, 2015

I mean I know some of the data is off (for example, I know Evercore recruits heavily at wharton/nyu) and same for some of the other boutiques (they have OCR postings), but I think given the dataset it's a good effort.

Jan 28, 2015

Can we get one for MBA recruitment? That'd be solid

Jan 28, 2015

It is spelled "Richard Ivey School of Business" or now known as Ivey Business School
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivey_Business_School

Considering Ivey is a target school for Evercore (based on their website) I'm surprised it didn't place on the graph.

Jan 28, 2015

It is spelled "Richard Ivey School of Business" or now known as Ivey Business School
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivey_Business_School

Considering Ivey is a target school for Evercore (based on their website) I'm surprised it didn't place on the graph.

Jan 29, 2015

likely because we have a more US based audience....

Jan 29, 2015

Lol these numbers are wildly inaccurate.

Jan 30, 2015

At first, I thought this made sense, if it was only for American universities. But CUHK is there. Having been to LSE, it must be up there somewhere, pretty much all of my friends went into IBD, and they do Economics, never mind the Accounting and Finance course.

Jan 30, 2015

Go Nova

Jan 30, 2015

Go Nova

Jan 30, 2015

stanford #30....wtf

Feb 4, 2015

...deleted

Jan 30, 2015

It still surprises me why NYU and UMich are #2 and #3. When I did my summer stint, I barely saw any NYU kids. I couple of UMich kids, but not the the extent of Columbia and Cornell.

Feb 2, 2015

What is the need with rankings of the data you have? Why do we need a new version of the vault guide for this generation. If you move to getting bank or school submitted data then you have basically become vault.

You have a whole series of data never had that is user submitted. Instead of summarizing it and finding interesting trends and have people sum up some form of the data. You just want to rank, rank, and keep ranking.

Feb 2, 2015

know any good data scientists? not joking :-) I agree we can do a lot more interesting things vs. just ranking.

Dec 22, 2015
Jan 5, 2016