Best Unis for investment banking

Best Bank For Investing / March 10, 2016

The Top 20 UK Unis for doing an Undergrad
degree to get a Front Office* job at a Top 7 IB**

* Investment Banking, Corporate Finance, ECM, DCM & Global Markets (Sales, Trading, Research & Structuring for Fixed Income, FX, Commodities & Equities)
** Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, UBS, Lehman Brothers

01 LSE
02 Oxford, Cambridge
[small gap]
04 Imperial
[big gap]
05 Warwick
06 UCL
[huge, huge gap]
07 KCL
08 Bristol
09 Nottingham
(An MSc from CASS after an OK undergrad
and you're about on par with 07-09)
10 Bath
11 Loughborough
12 York
13 St Andrews
14 Edinburgh
15 Durham

16 Reading (ISMA)
17 Manchester
18 Royal Holloway
19 City (undergrad degrees)
20 Birmingham

This table gives an idea of your likelihood of getting an IB offer if you do an undergraduate degree at one of the above institutions.

LSE, Oxford and Cambridge give you your best chance of a front office IB job, and most British front-office grads at the top 7 IBs are from here (GS, Ci, MS, ML, DB, UBS, LB). I'm putting LSE first purely because of the additional networking opportunities of having the banks right at your doorstep, the ease at which you can meet young bankers who can help you etc. Imperial is perhaps better than these for some quant/structuring roles, but there are very few in IBD, sales etc given few there have top social skills.

There's an ongoing debate about which is better between Warwick & UCL. Warwick's maybe a slightly better uni with a better rep, but UCL has the London advantage, but it's perhaps easier at Warwick where so many more of the Economists, A&Fers etc go into IB, people all around you to give invaluable advice. At either of them you are perfectly capable of landing a front office job at a top IB if you focus on it.

Now that these 6 unis, which constitute maybe 90% of the British intake at the top unis is out of the way, things get a lot trickier, you guys outside this pret set really have work cut out if you want to make it. At KCL, Bristol, Nottingham you're gonna really have to shine if you want a front-office spot at a top IB. KCL has the location, Bristol the prestige and Nottingham the great careers service to help you on your way.

After this come 6 prestigious institutions with a pretty dismal record of getting people into tier 1 front office, but from here the 2nd division (the likes of ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Dresdner etc) are all really accessible - made easy particularly at Bath and Loughborough with the sandwich placement years giving you valuable experience.

The bottom five of the table will give you the occasional superstar making it big, but largely filling up the middle/back office and 2nd tier spots.

Hope that helps. The obvious counts, that university institution is only one piece of a large jigsaw, and an ambitious networker from Exeter has a better chance than a lazy ar$e from Oxbridge, but uni rep is damn important. This is purely my opinion based on experience - I have seen the CV books for maybe 1, 000 new grads now from different top banks for the 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 grad and intern classes, so know very well where the talent comes from. Year on year the intakes are getting more and more impressive, and as this happens unis outside the top 6 are being increasingly squeezed year on year, as are people on course for a 2.1 not a 1st.