Talk to graduate recruiters at investment banks and they'll suggest that they don't want to take a 'cookie-cutter' approach to hiring. The ideal candidate - the theory goes - is a well-rounded individual with top grades studying English literature or History at a reputable university who has a range of interests, and hadn't just thought about going into investment banking from the get-go. Financial theory can be taught, creativity cannot.
But, if the 2017 analyst class at Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley in London are anything to go by, finance and economics graduates with multiple banking internships still make up the bulk of recruits. What's more, they're most likely to have gone to a top London university, or Oxbridge.
In previous years, the London School of Economics has dominated the UK investment banking classes at most firms. But, as we reported, this is one the wane - just 29% of LSE graduates applied for investment banking jobs, compared to close to 50% in 2012. The LSE is still one of the most popular hunting grounds for U.S. investment banks, but there's a more balanced picture in 2017, with University College London, the University of Warwick and Oxbridge all making up ground.
Our rankings are based on analysis of 300 public profiles of analysts who started in front office roles in either IBD or markets at the three U.S. investment banks this year.
If the range of universities recruited from is on the up, there's not much diversity in terms of subjects studied. The vast majority of new recruits studied either economics or a financial subject (20% had a Masters in Finance across the banks), while management, engineering and maths made up the remainder of the top five. The dominance of economics has ensured that less prestigious universities with high-regarded economics departments made the rankings - the University of Nottingham and Loughborough are good examples.
Predictably, the vast majority of recruits this year had also completed internships at the bank they were eventually hired by.
One leftfield recruit was Patrick Jack, an analyst at Goldman Sachs who was hired into a sales role after graduating from Pearson College - a degree provider owned by the FTSE 100 company. He had completed both Spring and summer internships at the bank. Matthew Beal, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, not only interned at the bank but was a campus ambassador for it at University College London over the past year, as was Suki Nahl, who racked up internships at J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Citi while studying Neuroscience at Imperial College London.
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