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Where Investment Banks Are Recruiting

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

Does going to the 'right' school matter?

Breaking into investment banking isn't easy, particularly for fresh graduates. It's well known to industry recruiters that investment banks recruit from 'target schools'; at target schools, banks' HR representatives would regularly host corporate presentations and events on campus. Students from target schools are more likely to be offered on-campus interviews and summer internships.

Which are the target schools?

According to Wall Street Oasis (WSO) 2021 University Statistics (Bulge Bracket Banks), the top five schools Goldman Sachs (GS) hires from are Harvard University, New York University (NYU), Cornell University, Columbia University, and University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). Other popular target schools in the US include UC Berkeley (Hass), University of Michigan (Ross), and in the UK, Oxbridge and the London School of Economics (LSE).

The three hubs of investment banking are New York, London, and Hong Kong. NYU has traditionally been a feeder school to Wall Street- NYU students are able to network and land many interviews with their campus just a couple of subway stops from the banks' headquarters; the same case is true with LSE, with its campus located in the heart of London.

COVID might have taken face-to-face interviews and informal networking events away temporarily, but students, particularly those who will be graduating in two to three years' time, should be more forward-looking and be ready to network again as the world settles to a new normal.

Breaking into investment banking requires strategic planning and should start in your high school years

For ambitious high school students who want to break into the well-compensated world of investment banking, picking the right college or university course is the first step to success. Not all 4-year colleges have a business school in the US, making the top undergraduate business schools, including UPenn Wharton, Michigan Ross, Berkeley Hass, and NYU Stern, more competitive from an admissions standpoint.

Students need to carefully plan their classes and extracurriculars to accumulate the right set of technical as well as soft skills during their university years. Courses such as Financial Accounting or Corporate Finance may help you through your technical interviews and give you the basic financial modeling skills needed. In addition, networking, perfecting your resume and cover letters, and prepping for your interviews are crucial for students looking to land an investment banking internship.

Most bulge bracket first-year investment banking analyst roles are offered following the completion of 10-week summer internships. Interns are expected to learn on the job, deliver, and put in the infamously long hours to convince their business and HR that they will be a good fit for the analyst positions!

What if I am not studying at a target school currently?

Suppose you are not currently attending a target school, miss the boat on the summer internships, or did not successfully convert your internships to a full-time role but still want to break into the world of investment banking; a master's in finance degree may be a good option for you. Typically, a master's in finance program is one year and does not require prior full-time work experience. There are specific master's programs and schools banks prefer to recruit from, so do your research to make sure you're applying to the right course.

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