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Top Feeders to Wall Street

Updated July 2021

Teens aiming to one day work at a major bank or investment firm often wonder which undergraduate colleges and universities will best aid this professional quest. This is, after all, a field where the most reputable players often draw from a small pool of elite schools, and where tapping into one’s alumni network can prove critical to landing the most desired jobs. As expected, Penn, Columbia, and a few other “usual suspects” grant nearly unparalleled access to Wall Street; however, there are some surprising schools that send impressive numbers of grads to the top investment houses each year, including many smaller liberal arts schools.

To identify "top feeder" institutions into the banking sector, we relied on publicly available data from LinkedIn, a professional networking site featuring profiles of more than 170 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of approximately 9,500 entry-level Investment Banking Analysts across thirteen of the most reputable banking firms, including Goldman Sachs, Citi, JP Morgan, Bank of American Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Barclays, UBS, Evercore, Jefferies, Lazard, Moelis & Company, and Centerview Partners. We then constructed two lists. The first list looks at the raw number of alumni employed by these select companies. The second list looks at the top 30 producers when adjusted for undergraduate enrollment, which allows us to highlight schools that may be smaller in size, but still send a significant number of graduates directly into the halls of Goldman Sachs JP Morgan, etc.

Finally, we identified the two top employers for each “feeder” institution. The first top employer is the bank employing the most undergraduate alumni from a particular school. The second top employer is the bank with the highest share of employees from that undergraduate school. For example, Penn’s first top employer is Goldman Sachs, because more Penn (undergraduate) alumni work at Goldman Sachs than at any of the other twelve banking firms. Penn’s second top employer is Centerview Partners because its graduates comprise a larger share of all employees at Centerview than they do at any other bank in our analysis. If a school's first and second top employer are the same, we indicate the banking firm with the second highest share of employees instead. Measuring both total graduates employed and institutional share of an bank's employees allows us to identify schools offering the best pipelines to smaller yet highly prestigious firms, such as Centerview and Evercore, which may draw heavily from one particular institution but wouldn't otherwise make an institution's list of top employers because of their relatively small size.

Top Feeder Rankings (by total employed)

Rank (Total)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1University of Pennsylvania486Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
2New York University302CitiEvercore
3Columbia University 267Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
4Harvard University254Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
5Cornell University245Goldman SachsLazard
6Georgetown University 225CitiLazard
7University of Chicago224Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
8University of California, Berkeley203Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
9University of Michigan194CitiMoelis & Company
10Yale University181Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
11Duke University146Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley
12University of Southern California144BOA Merrill LynchCenterview Partners
13University of Texas at Austin142Goldman SachsEvercore
14University of Notre Dame136JP MorganBOA Merrill Lynch
15University of Virginia132JefferiesCredit Suisse
16Princeton University131Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
17Boston College127UBSCiti
18Brown University122Goldman SachsBarclays
19Dartmouth College119Goldman SachsJefferies
20University of California, Los Angeles111Credit SuisseBOA Merrill Lynch
21Stanford University110Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley
22University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill88BOA Merrill LynchJefferies
23Northwestern University84BOA Merrill LynchCenterview Partners
23Vanderbilt University84JefferiesEvercore
25Emory University82CitiLazard
26Southern Methodist University72Goldman SachsMoelis & Company
27Washington University53JP MorganCenterview Partners
28Middlebury College50JP MorganBarclays
29Massachusetts Institute of Technology49Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley
30Northeastern University44Morgan StanleyUBS

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1University of Pennsylvania486Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
2Columbia University267Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
3Harvard University254Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
4University of Chicago224Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
5Yale University181Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
6Georgetown University225CitiLazard
7Dartmouth College119Goldman SachsJefferies
8Princeton University131Goldman SachsCenterview Partners
9Duke University146Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley
10Williams College43Goldman SachsBarclays
11Claremont McKenna College27CitiMoelis & Company
12Middlebury College50JP MorganBarclays
13Amherst College33JP MorganLazard
14Brown University122Goldman SachsBarclays
15Washington and Lee University31JP MorganBOA Merrill Lynch
16Cornell University245Goldman SachsLazard
17University of Notre Dame136JP MorganBOA Merrill Lynch
18Stanford University110Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley
19Boston College127UBSCiti
20Vanderbilt University84JefferiesEvercore
21Emory University82CitiLazard
22Bowdoin College21Goldman SachsJefferies
23New York University302CitiEvercore
24Colgate University33BOA Merrill LynchBarclays
25Southern Methodist University72Goldman SachsMoelis & Company
26Massachusetts Institute of Technology49Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley
27Northwestern University84BOA Merrill LynchCenterview Partners
28Wellesley College21Goldman SachsLazard
29Swarthmore College13CitiMoelis & Company
30University of Virginia132JefferiesCredit Suisse
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