Finance Target Schools: Where Investment Banks Are Recruiting

For those looking for a career in investment banking, it helps to know where investment banks are looking for employees. So where do investment banks recruit? As it happens, the search field for the major investment banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) is relatively narrow.

Many university graduates are drawn from a list of "target schools" where investment banks concentrate most of their recruiting efforts in terms of regularly showing up on campus and offering multiple interviews and summer internship opportunities to undergrads.

Attending one of the top target schools makes getting an interview with multiple investment banks a fairly easy process, while students at other, non-target schools may find it difficult to line up even one or two interviews, and have to put forth considerably more effort to land those interviews.

Key Takeaways

  • Breaking into investment banking is easier done if you go to one of the top “feeder” schools where the major investment banks recruit.
  • Three of the top schools that investment banks consistently interview and hire from include the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  
  • Beyond the top schools, the Ivy League schools, such as Harvard, are also key spots that investment banks look to hire from. 
  • Students looking to get a permanent job at an investment bank should consider trying to get a 12-week internship that many of these investment banks offer.

Investment Banking Profession

It is generally well known that investment banking is one of the hardest career fields to break into. Investment banking involves, along with exciting merger and acquisition (M&A) deals, exceptionally high salaries and bonuses, which makes an investment banking career attractive and one where there is a lot of competition for the available entry slots each year.

Investment banking is a relatively small niche within the overall financial services sector. There are simply not that many jobs available in the field as opposed to, for example, the field of accounting or retail banking. Attending a school that is an established source for employees of investment banks is, therefore, a key advantage.

Top Schools

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania, home to the famed Wharton School of Business, is one of the top feeder schools for the investment banking industry. However, the recruiting statistics for the overall number one university reveal an important point about investment bank recruiting, which is that each investment bank has its own individual list of preferred schools. 

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the top schools for Goldman Sachs, Citigroup (C), and Credit Suisse (CS).

New York University

New York University (NYU) is right with the University of Pennsylvania in terms of where investment banks most frequently recruit new employees. NYU is a top school for many investment banks, including being a top school for new hires for Barclays (BCS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Credit Suisse.

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is another top feeder school. The University of Michigan is a top school for boutique investment banking firm JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

Other Top Schools

The Ivy League dominates many other spots for schools that investment banks target, including:

  • Harvard
  • Yale
  • Cornell
  • Princeton
  • Columbia

Other notable schools include the University of Michigan, Georgetown University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Chicago.

For individuals aiming to get on with a certain bank, it is important to keep in mind each bank has its own preferred recruiting sources. For example, Bank of America (BAC) tends to grant more jobs to Cornell and Vanderbilt Universities versus the University of Penn. or NYU.

The Importance of Internships

Nearly all the major investment banks offer summer internship analyst programs that last approximately 12 weeks. Students who can land one of these internships not only gain valuable experience but also have the opportunity to develop networking relationships at the bank that can give them a substantial advantage when it comes to final hiring decisions.

Article Sources

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  1. Peak Frameworks. "Investment Banking Target School List (Using Data)." Accessed Nov. 4, 2021.