New Data: Top Feeder Schools To Wall Street

Photo by Rick Tap on Unsplash

Which campus has the best parties? How good is the cafeteria food? Where can you find the most posh dorm rooms? Aside from investigating where you can spread your wings as a social butterfly and where you’ll feel most at home spending four years of your life, choosing a college has more to do with how you’ll spend your years after the pomp and circumstance of college life is over. In other words, which school is going to help you land your dream job and … ahem … dream salary.

We’ve all heard the saying it’s not what you know, but who you know. For students who want to break into the lavishly compensated world of investment banking, new data shows it may have something to do with where you go. As in, where you attend school.


If terms like capital markets and portfolio management make you giddy and an investment banking salary is what you’re working toward, data from Wall Street Oasis’s May 2018 Investment Banking Industry Report suggest New York University (NYU) is the top school you want on your radar.

Wall Street Oasis is a job search and news site for financial services professionals. The site has gathered data from its online community of members to pinpoint which undergraduate institutions bulge bracket firms and other mid-market — but still notable — banks recruit and hire from most frequently.

For 10 top bulge bracket firms such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and others, NYU has the strongest presence across all of them according to the latest data. Out of 2,223 users within these top banks, the highest number (87) are graduates from NYU. Following closely behind NYU is Harvard University with 71. Out of more than 440 schools that are represented in the WSO data, NYU, Harvard, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University have the highest distribution percentages for graduates represented in large Wall Street firms, soaking up more than 15% of the overall distribution of recruitment and hiring from bulge bracket banks. This extends to more than 25% when you widen the scope to the top 10 schools.

NYU is particularly strong at Barclays Capital, Harvard at JPMorgan, Cornell at Goldman Sachs, UPenn at Credit Suisse, and Columbia at JPMorgan and UBS. Where you don’t see NYU as heavily saturated is Deutsche Bank. Cornell, the University of Texas at Austin, Boston College, and Georgia Tech have the highest percentages of graduates there.

Still, NYU has been a leader of the pack as a top feeder school to Wall Street for the past several years according to WSO data. The last time it wasn’t in the top spot was 2012 when the school came in second to the University of Pennsylvania.

“NYU absolutely has such an advantage because they’re right there,” says WSO’s CEO Patrick Curtis in reference to the school’s geographic advantage. “Kids can network and land a lot of interviews, however it doesn’t mean NYU is the single, best place.

“It’s typically said ‘this school is a target’ or ‘this school is a semi-target.’ But there’s pretty good representation from University of Michigan, University of Virginia, University of Chicago, and others. These schools that are often considered semi-targets for Wall Street are actually in the top 10 of total placement.”

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