Post-MBA Job Placements in Investment Banking, 2020

June 22: The original version of this report incorrectly defined elite boutiques by the list of “boutique investment banks” from the Corporate Finance Institute. The revised report below uses a list of seven banks commonly agreed to be elite boutiques: Centerview, Evercore, Greenhill, Lazard, Moelis, PWP, and PJT.

Summary

If you’re seeking a role in the highly competitive field of investment banking, business school represents an excellent opportunity to gain the skills (and networking contacts) required to land a top-tier position. 

But how should you go about school selection—or how do you determine which MBA program will enhance your intended career in investment banking? 

The employment reports published by MBA programs are a great place to start to learn about the total number of investment placements or to view lists of “top employers.” However, you’ll also want a breakdown of placement results by firm to understand the full story of each MBA program’s career placement achievements.

Enter Menlo Coaching’s detailed analysis of post-MBA investment banking placements. Menlo Coaching’s research team has analyzed 51,991 student profiles (and counting…) to give you information about each MBA program’s job placement history in investment banking, with data grouped by:

  • Bulge Bracket vs. Elite Boutique vs. other. 
  • How many students get investment banking jobs, both as a total number, and as a % of the student body (so you can accurately compare larger and smaller MBA programs on an apples-to-apples basis) 

What we found in our analysis may surprise you…

First, location appears to be a big factor for successful investment banking outcomes, with NYC-based programs Stern and Columbia at the top of the listings—but one Chicago-area school outperforms even the storied Wharton MBA program.

Second, our analysis reveals some surprise winners in terms of which MBA program sends the highest percentage of its total investment banking graduates into Bulge Bracket firms. And if you are targeting Elite Boutiques, you might want to extend your target programs beyond the usual East Coast business schools.

For more details on how we compiled our data and how you can best use the information in your research into top MBA programs in the US and abroad, see the methodology section.

Generally, our data will not exactly match official employment reports, and the methodology section explains how employment reports differ from the public data sources we use. The reason we prepare data from unofficial public sources is to offer transparency into per-employer or per-city placements that is not included in (most) official employment reports.

The methodology section also explains the advantages of our approach, which uses multiple data sources and has numerous data cleanup steps, compared to the common alternative of running simple queries on LinkedIn with filters on job title, employer, or school.

Unless otherwise stated, all data in the following sections refers to 2020 placements.

Bulge Bracket & Elite Boutique Placements

Top 5 Programs – Bulge Bracket Placements as % of Overall Banking Placements*

*for schools with 5 or more placements in Bulge Bracket roles

MBA programTotal% of overall banking placements
#1Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business2592.6%
#2University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business1881.8%
#3University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business777.8%
#4Yale School of Management1777.3%
#5UCLA Anderson School of Management1173.3%

Analysis

  • Duke Fuqua shows an impressive 93% of graduates who go on to work for Bulge Bracket banks—the highest of all programs that send a significant number of graduates into banking
  • Michigan Ross makes their mark in second place, at an impressive 82%, followed closely by Marshall and Yale

Overall Bulge Bracket Placements

MBA ProgramTotal% of overall banking placements
Columbia University – Columbia Business School5656.6%
NYU Stern School of Business5166.2%
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business3455.7%
The Wharton School2847.5%
Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management2760.0%
Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business2592.6%
University of Virginia Darden School of Business2167.7%
University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business1881.8%
Yale School of Management1777.3%
MIT Sloan School of Management1372.2%
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth1356.5%
UCLA Anderson School of Management1173.3%
Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management1137.9%
University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business1071.4%
The University of Texas at Austin – Red McCombs School of Business1047.6%
Harvard Business School857.1%
London Business School853.3%
University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business777.8%
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School533.3%
INSEAD480.0%
Stanford University Graduate School of Business2100.0%

Analysis

  • It is no surprise that Columbia and NYU Stern perform well, given their NYC locations and strong networks in the industry.
  • If you’re aiming to work for a major bank post-MBA, don’t discount Chicago Booth, which is a close #3, and comes out ahead of Wharton in total Bulge Bracket placements.
    • And before you object by saying that Booth’s placements are all in Chicago, see this table from the appendix: NYC is the top destination for Booth investment banking grads

Top 5 – Elite Boutique* Placement as % of Overall Banking Placements

*(Centerview Partners, Evercore, Greenhill & Co., Lazard, Moelis & Company, Perella, Weinberg Partners, and PJT Partners)

MBA programTotal% of overall banking placements 
#1The Wharton School1932.2%
#2Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management827.6%
#3The University of Chicago Booth School of Business1321.3%
#4Columbia University – Columbia Business School2020.2%
#5University of Virginia Darden School of Business516.1%

Analysis

  • The Midwest continues its strong showing: Kellogg and Booth deliver solid Elite Boutique hires as a percentage of the programs’ overall banking placements
    • As with Chicago Booth, Kellogg sends the majority of its investment banking graduates to NYC (see this table in the appendix)
    • Additionally, the most common Elite Boutique firm across Kellogg’s 2020 class was Evercore 

Overall Elite Boutique* Placements 

*(Centerview Partners, Evercore, Greenhill & Co., Lazard, Moelis & Company, Perella, Weinberg Partners, and PJT Partners)

MBA ProgramTotal% of overall banking placements
Columbia University – Columbia Business School2020.2%
The Wharton School1932.2%
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business1321.3%
NYU Stern School of Business810.4%
Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management827.6%
Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management511.1%
University of Virginia Darden School of Business516.1%
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth417.4%
Harvard Business School321.4%
Yale School of Management313.6%
The University of Texas at Austin – Red McCombs School of Business314.3%
University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business214.3%
Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business13.7%
UCLA Anderson School of Management16.7%
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School16.7%
University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business111.1%
MIT Sloan School of Management15.3%

Analysis

  • Recruiting for elite boutiques, which hire fewer MBA graduates than larger banks, is more concentrated on a small number of MBA programs

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Overall Investment Banking Placements

Top 5 – Overall Banking Placements as % of Class Size

MBA ProgramTotals% of class size
#1NYU Stern School of Business7720.6%
#2Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management4516.1%
#3Columbia University – Columbia Business School9913.1%
#4The University of Chicago Booth School of Business6110.4%
#5University of Virginia Darden School of Business319.2%

Analysis

There are many reasons why an MBA program might have a higher or lower percentage of students choosing investment banking careers. For example, at some MBA programs, investment banking placements will be a lower percentage of the class because students seek jobs in consulting or tech.

However, attending a business school where a larger percentage of the class recruits for banking still carries certain advantages.

First, it means that “future bankers” are a big enough constituency that school leadership feels pressure to keep them happy (by devoting resources to investment banking recruitment).

Second, it also means that you’ll be able to meet other would-be bankers not only in pre-banking clubs, but also in your classes and clusters/cohorts generally.

Top 5 – Overall (Bulge Bracket Placements + Elite Boutique Placements) as % of Class Size*

*for schools with 5 or more placements in Bulge Bracket & Elite Boutique roles

MBA ProgramTotals%
#1Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business96.3%26
#2Yale School of Management90.9%20
#3University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business88.9%8
#4University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business85.7%12
#5University of Virginia Darden School of Business83.9%26

Analysis 

  • Although these MBA programs may not have historical reputations as “finance schools,” these excellent placement stats show that they are capable of placing graduates into investment banking jobs at the most desirable firms.

Overall Investment Banking Placements

Total% of class sizeEB + BB as % of banking placements
Columbia University – Columbia Business School9913.1%76.8%
NYU Stern School of Business7720.6%76.6%
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business6110.4%77.0%
The Wharton School596.5%79.7%
Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management4516.1%71.1%
University of Virginia Darden School of Business319.2%83.9%
Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management296.0%65.5%
Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business276.6%96.3%
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth238.0%73.9%
University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business225.2%81.8%
Yale School of Management226.4%90.9%
The University of Texas at Austin – Red McCombs School of Business217.3%61.9%
MIT Sloan School of Management194.7%73.7%
London Business School153.2%53.3%
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School154.4%40.0%
UCLA Anderson School of Management154.2%80.0%
Harvard Business School141.5%78.6%
University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business144.8%85.7%
University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business94.2%88.9%
INSEAD50.5%80.0%
Stanford University Graduate School of Business20.5%100.0%

Analysis

Most MBA applicants would already guess that Columbia, NYU Stern, Booth and Wharton have excellent investment banking placements, which has been confirmed by these statistics.

Other top MBA programs for banking placements may be under-appreciated by applicants, such as Cornell Johnson (whose investment banking recruitment process has been described at length by current students in this Reddit thread).

Attending an MBA program with a large total number of investment banking placements has certain advantages, such as a higher likelihood to meet fellow alumni during your career, or the fact that your MBA program has more leverage with banks (who will prioritize maintaining good relationships with their major feeders, rather than with MBA programs that send only a handful of graduates each year).

However, smaller numbers of total investment banking placements do not necessarily indicate weakness in that MBA program’s recruiting opportunities. It can also indicate that students at those schools prefer other career fields, or it can be related to a smaller student body.

Methodology

For details on our general data gathering methodology, click here.

We analyzed investment banking job placements for the graduating classes of 2018, 2019 and 2020 and calculated two primary metrics:

Per-firm placements

Specifically, placements into Elite Boutique and Bulge Bracket firms. Within this report, we offer detail on total placements into Elite Boutique and Bulge Bracket firms as well as EB + BB counts as a percentage of all banking placements for each program. 

Depending on your career goals post-MBA, this extra level of detail can help you determine the best program for Elite Boutique or Bulge Bracket employment tracks.

For example, if you want to know whether a given MBA program is likely to have alumni within the investment banking tiers you want to join, the total number of students that MBA program places into each category is the best predictor.

Alternatively, by-firm placements as a % of overall banking positions is a way to estimate the quality of an MBA program’s investment banking outcomes, without penalizing schools that have more popular post-MBA industries, such as consulting. 

Overall banking placements

This is the number of students whose first full-time post-MBA jobs are in investment banking, and it measures the strength of an MBA program’s network in the industry.

Note on class sizes: where possible, class sizes are derived from employment reports. If employment reports are not available or graduating class sizes are not reported, figures reported at matriculation (in class profiles) are used. 

Appendix: Supplemental Data For Select Programs & Placement Categories

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Investment Banking Placements by City (2020)

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The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
New York, New York, United States34
Chicago, Illinois, United States15
San Francisco, California, United States3
Los Angeles, California, United States2
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States2
Houston, Texas, United States2
Palo Alto, California, United States1
London, England, United Kingdom1
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States1

Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management, Investment Banking Placements by City (2020)

(back to section)

Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management
New York, New York, United States11
Chicago, Illinois, United States7
San Francisco, California, United States2
Atlanta, Georgia, United States1
Boston, Massachusetts, United States1
Houston, Texas, United States1
Richmond, Virginia, United States1
São Paulo, Brasil1
St Petersburg, Florida, United States1
Tampa, Florida, United States1