Given the massive popularity of our previous story this year, it will come as little surprise that our Wall Street version of it did exceptionally well. Despite the demands of working in finance and the long hours, many young people head to Wall Street each year in search of fortune and meaning.
The top feeder colleges to the best jobs turned out to be a somewhat predictable group of schools, though not always. Overall, the University of Pennsylvania edged out New York University among Wall Street recruiters. For example, Penn ranked as the #1 feeder school to Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital (tied with Harvard), Citigroup, Blackstone, Houlihan Lokey, and Nomura Holdings (Tied with NYU) among undergrad schools. However, it didn’t reflect across-the-board dominance, with Penn failing to even crack the top 10 for interviews at Credit Suisse, UBS AG, and Evercore.
New York University finished a close second, with its 2.35 power score just a shade below Penn (2.39). Technically, NYU made the top 10 lists of more firms (18 vs. Penn’s 14), outpointing Penn in the bulge bracket set as well. Overall, NYU students drew the most interviews at JPMorgan Chase, UBS AG (tied with Boston College), Lazard (tied with the University of Michigan), and Nomura Holding (Tied with Penn). Surprisingly, NYU failed to reach the top 10 for several high-end boutiques, including Evercore, Jefferies & Company, and Moelis & Company.
Of course, you don’t need to be an east coast Ivy Leaguer to make it on Wall Street. Just look at the University of Michigan, which finished third and placed in the top 10 for interviews at 14 firms. Michigan was also the top feeder school to Evercore, BNP Paribas, and KeyBanc Capital Markets.
Still, the Ivy League still dominates the undergrad recruiting pipeline on Wall Street, with six schools in the top 10 overall, including Harvard University (4th), Cornell University (5th), Princeton University (6th), and Columbia University (9th). That’s not surprising given their close proximity to Wall Street. Boston College, the University of Toronto, and the University of Texas at Austin also made the top 10.
Reflecting parental and even student concern over post-graduation employment, one of our most read stories had to do with how employers rank the best business programs. Each year, Bloomberg Businessweek surveyed corporate recruiters to find out which business schools they most liked. We carved out the survey results from the magazine’s annual rankings to come up with a very hot list of schools.
So which schools scored the highest among employers? That honor goes to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which maintained its #1 ranking from the previous year. Kelley, which jumped five spots to #8 overall in the overall undergraduate rankings, maintained its A+ placement grade. The University of Texas (McCombs) and Brigham Young University (Marriott) ranked just below Kelley. This comes as a bit of an upset, as these schools respectively rank #34 and #41 on Bloomberg Businessweek’s academic rankings.
Rounding out the top five are Notre Dame (Mendoza) and Texas A&M (Mays), making Indiana and Texas the de facto recruiting meccas for undergraduate business talent. The remaining top ten includes Penn State University (Smeal), Boston College (Carroll), the University of Southern California (Marshall), and the University of Illinois.
Some readers will notice that this story actually dates from the time Businessweek published its previous survey data—not the deeply flawed 2016 version of the survey which ridiculously found that employers most liked John Carroll University’s Boler School of Business best. Sad to say, the magazine’s editors put forth a new survey design which resulted in completely non-credible results.
Speaking of that flawed Businessweek ranking, our overall assessment of what will be the magazine’s final undergraduate ranking quickly became one of our most-viewed stories of the year. Long known for judicious research and high standards, Businessweek dumped a wacky ranking on the education world with as many holes as a gopher’s nest. In Businessweek’s wild final ride Wharton – regarded by some academics as the finest undergraduate business program in the country – doesn’t even make its top 10. And the University of California-Berkeley (Haas) and Washington University (Olin), long-time fixtures in the top five, are afterthoughts.
Many business programs earning high marks from recruiters in the new ranking also received below average starting pay, such as Bentley (3rd among employers and 53rd in pay), Ohio State (7th among employers and 65th in pay), and John Carroll (1st among employers and 95th in pay). While demographics, nearby industries, and supply and demand may be factors, they don’t explain these wide gaps.
So it was poetic justice that 2016’s top undergraduate business program – in Businessweek’s view, at least – is Villanova University, a terrific school with a very strong business program but not one that many would consider the best in the U.S.