By now, you probably know what work you want to do after you complete school. You may have picked out where you want to live after graduation. If you’re really ambitious, you’ve started targeting particular employers. Chances are, they are all the cool brands: Google, Facebook, Apple, and Goldman Sachs.
When it comes to tech firms, you’re no doubt picturing free food, dog-walking services, and a massive rec room. For bankers, it’s car services, in-house gyms, and skyline views. At worst, the prestige of these institutions will rub off on you. At best, you’ll make an impact, move up, and land a fat paycheck (and maybe some shares). Even if you tire of the grind, you can always leverage your training and network for other opportunities.
Make no mistake: The top undergrads all want to work for an Amazon or JP Morgan. And those companies’ recruiters are buried in resumes, emails, and calls from students like you. Google may employ over 55,000 people, but they only hire 4,000 people a year. And that comes out of a pool of 2.5 to 3.5 million applications each year, said Laszlo Bock, Google’s vice president of people operations, at The Economist’s Ideas Economy Innovation Forum in 2013.
In other words, you need to stand out – because you’re competing against seasoned professionals, international applicants, and graduate students too. And one way to get your foot in the door is by choosing the right school.
WHAT ATTRACTS COMPANIES TO SCHOOLS?
There are certain programs that appeal to specific employers. It might be that a particular curriculum (and outside activities) aligns with company needs. A program may carry a track record for graduating successful employees into a company’s ranks. While high-end companies are staunch meritocracies in recruiting, alumni affiliations can tip the scales (note that Goldman Sachs’ CEO, two vice chairmen, and general counsel all hold degrees from Harvard).
Universities and employers represent the proverbial chicken-or-the-egg dichotomy. Do schools customize their curriculum to better serve their best employers – or did the curriculum itself help shape those employers in the first place? Consider it a symbiotic relationship, where alumni take their talent to particular employers, where it is applied to re-shape markets and expectations . . . resulting in schools re-tooling their programs to keep up. And let’s not forget the effect of geography. It’s always easier to hire locally.
So how do all of these elements work together? Take the City College of New York’s Baruch College for example. Although it doesn’t traditionally rank among the top 50 undergraduate business programs, it is the largest feeder school to Morgan Stanley (and the fourth and thirteenth largest feeder to JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, respectively).
Why? First, it is located within a few miles of Wall Street. Then consider its sheer size: Baruch College is the largest undergraduate business program in the United States. And it is one of its most ethnically diverse campuses, making its students attractive to global organizations like financials. Best of all, Baruch College maintains a robust Financial Leadership Program (FLP), a year-long technical and career training program designed to prepare students for summer internships at financials. With all the stars aligned at Baruch College, financials are reciprocating, with firms like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan holding case study, interviewing, and networking workshops on campus. In short, Baruch students can build personal relationships, institutional knowledge, and work experience long before graduation. Based on the numbers, both the school and employers benefit.
NEW YORK SCHOOLS DOMINATE INVESTMENT BANKING
If Morgan Stanley leans heaviest on Baruch College, where are other top employers getting their people? To find that information, Business Insider utilized LinkedIn’s University Finder tool, where students can seek out potential mentors based on areas of study, company, and geographic region. They can also figure out how many alums also work at targeted firms.
Among investment banks, Goldman Sachs picked undergraduates most heavily from nearby New York University. Goldman Sachs prefers Ivy League schools, with Cornell, Harvard, and Columbia ranking third through fifth among employees with bachelor’s degrees. The firm also recruits heavily in the United Kingdom, with the London School of Economics, Oxford University, and Cambridge University being among their favorites.
Morgan Stanley also prefers to shop locally. Four metro New York institutions – Baruch College, New York University, Rutgers University (New Brunswick), and Columbia University – ranked in the top five for undergraduate alums at Morgan Stanley. Conversely, JPMorgan’s employees were recruited heavily from Ohio State and the University of Phoenix, with nearly 2,900 employees plucked from those schools. The University of Mumbai ranked third at both Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan in terms of undergraduate placement.
STANFORD AND BERKELEY RANK No. 1 AND No. 2 AT GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK.
Looking to go the tech route? Head to the Bay Area. At Google and Facebook, Stanford and U.C. Berkeley rank No. 1 and No. 2 for undergrad alums at these firms. At Apple, these schools rank No. 2 and No. 3 respectively, with San Jose State, a Silicon Valley favorite, nabbing the top spot there.
UCLA has also staked out a big presence at Google, Apple, and Facebook, with a collective 1,149 undergraduate employees at these firms. Carnegie Mellon is also a Google favorite, with 901 alumni employed there alone. The University of Texas maintains a heavy presence at Facebook and Apple, while you’ll find a strong alum network at Google and Facebook from the University of Michigan and the University of Washington.
Finally, you have Amazon, where over 2,200 University of Washington undergrad alums work. And they’re not the only Pacific Northwest firm with a foothold there, as Western Washington University and Washington State both rank fourth and seventh respectively.
To see which schools are placing the most undergrads at the most desirable employers, check out our employer tables on the next two pages.