Investment Banking Target Schools

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Dan Buckley
Dan Buckley is an US-based trader, consultant, and part-time writer with a background in macroeconomics and mathematical finance. He trades and writes about a variety of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, commodities, currencies, and interest rates. As a writer, his goal is to explain trading and finance concepts in levels of detail that could appeal to a range of audiences, from novice traders to those with more experienced backgrounds.

Investment banking target schools are the college and universities that are commonly “feeders” into top investment banks.

Many investment banks recruit heavily at these schools because they’ve tended to provide good talent in the past or because current people working there/key decision-makers went to these schools.

Below we have a list of popular investment banking target schools:

Ivy League

1. Harvard University

2. Yale University

3. Princeton University

4. Columbia University

5. Brown University

6. Dartmouth College

7. Cornell University

8. University of Pennsylvania


Top Colleges & Universities Outside the Ivy League

1. New York University

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

3. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

4. Stanford University

5. Northwestern University

6. Georgetown University

7. Duke University

8. University of Chicago

9. UC-Berkeley

10. Queens University (Canada)

11. McGill University (Canada)


Business Schools

1. Harvard Business School

2. Wharton School of the Univsersity of Pennsylvania

3. Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University

4. Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

5. Stanford Graduate School of Business

6. MIT Sloan School of Management

7. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

8. NYU Stern School of Business

9. Darden Graduate School of the University of Virginia

10. Yale School of Management


Liberal Arts Colleges

1. Amherst College

2. Bowdoin College

3. Carleton College

4. Colby College

5. Davidson College

6. Pomona College

7. Swarthmore College

8. Wesleyan University

9. Williams College

10. Middlebury College

11. Claremont McKenna College

12. Harvey Mudd College


1. Carnegie Mellon University

2. UT-Austin

3. Southern Methodist University

4. Rice University

5. Vanderbilt University


Regional Target Schools

Some universities don’t feed in particularly commonly to NYC i-banking internships and full-time roles, but they may fill well when it comes to regional banking hubs, like Houston or Los Angeles.

Here are some examples:

1. Rice University (Houston)

2. USC (Los Angeles)

3. Claremont Colleges – Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer (Los Angeles)

4. UT-Austin (Houston)

5. Southern Methodist (Houston)

6. University of Washington (Seattle)

7. Tulane University (New Orleans and southern cities)

8. Ohio State University (Midwest banking hubs)

9. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Minneapolis/St Paul & Chicago)

10. Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta and southern cities)


International Investment Banking Target Schools

Top banks also recruit heavily at international universities, such as:

1. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE – UK)

2. INSEAD (France/Singapore)

3. HEC Paris School of Management (France)

4. Oxford University (UK)

5. Cambridge University (UK)

6. National University of Singapore (Singapore)

7. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST – China)

8. Fudan University (China)

9. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (India)

10. Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India)

11. Tsinghua University (China)

These are just some examples, but there are many schools that top investment banks may recruit from such as top international universities or smaller local colleges and universities with great finance programs.

It’s important to research which schools may be best for you if you’re looking to pursue a career in investment banking.


FAQs – Investment Banking Target Schools

Why is it important to go to a target school for investment banking?

Target schools are important because they are the universities from which banks traditionally recruit from.

Banks have relationships with these universities and often find that the students who graduate from them meet their requirements for hiring.

This means attending a target school can give you an edge when it comes to job applications and interviews, as well as expanding your network within the industry (since other bankers tend to come from them).

What if I don’t go to a target school?

If you don’t attend a target school, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to pursue a career in investment banking.

There are many other paths into the industry such as working at an accounting firm or getting hired through on-campus recruiting events.

You may also need to rely more on your personal network. If you go to a school that is large enough, there are bound to be alumni that have gone into i-banking or the industry you’re looking to break into. You can always check LinkedIn for this purpose.

Additionally, if you’re able to demonstrate your skills and knowledge of the industry through internships and specialized courses, this can make up for any lack of an i-banking pedigree.

No matter what school you go to, it’s important to remember that hard work and perseverance will always be key to achieving success.


Summary – Investment Banking Target Schools

The schools that tend to produce the most investment bankers are Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, and Cornell.

Top undergraduate business schools such as Wharton (UPenn), Booth (Chicago), Stern (NYU); Ross at the University of Michigan; Kellogg at Northwestern; Tuck at Dartmouth; Darden at UVA; Fuqua at Duke; and Johnson at Cornell.

Other well-regarded universities for investment banking recruiting are Stanford and MIT in the US, Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, HEC Paris in France, and INSEAD in Singapore/France.

Many liberal arts colleges also do well in i-banking recruiting, such as Williams, Swarthmore, and Amherst.

Certain engineering schools like Caltech or Harvey Mudd also feed some kids into investment banking programs.

In addition to these target schools, certain regional banks also focus their recruitment efforts on local or regional colleges with strong finance programs.

For example, Goldman Sachs is known to recruit heavily from Vanderbilt and Southern Methodist University, while JPMorgan focuses on Carnegie Mellon and Duke.

In the end, attending a target school is not essential for a career in investment banking, but it can certainly give applicants an edge when competing against other candidates.

Finally, if you’re looking to break into investment banking and need some help deciding which school to attend, consider consulting with an admissions counselor or financial advisor for advice.