Scoring a job on Wall Street, whether as an investment banker, stock broker or corporate manager, often translates into high pay and prestige. Getting there, however, is not easy, and attending the right college is critical. Wall Street firms typically conduct their recruitment at only the most prestigious universities in the United States, so prospective Wall Streeters should thoroughly consider attending one of these institutions.
Harvard University has long been a feeder school into Wall Street positions. Though the economic crisis of 2008 negatively affected Harvard's recruitment into Wall Street firms, the university has historically had as many as 47 percent of a graduating class say they wanted to work in the financial industry. Elite firms on Wall Street, according to "The Huffington Post," use a student's previous admission to Harvard as a sort of proxy for intelligence in their employment process: Since a student managed to get into Harvard, he or she must have the smarts to make it on Wall Street.
Like students from other Ivy League universities, Princeton graduates are also heavily recruited into Wall Street firms. According to Beverly Hamilton-Chandler, director of Princeton's Office of Career Services, the financial industry and the management consulting industry are two of the top employment sectors for recent Princeton graduates. Princeton's career office maintains strong relationships with Wall Street firms, and recruiters are regularly on campus, so prospective Wall Streeters would benefit from being in the presence of possible employers on a regular basis.
Though located far from Wall Street on the West Coast, Stanford University's prestige and rigorous admissions standards still manage to attract Wall Street recruiters. To ensure that only the most important recruiters come to campus, Stanford sells the ability to recruit students at a high price. These include different levels of recruitment access, sold for annual fees ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. These high fees ensure that only the wealthiest firms can afford to recruit at Stanford, which in practice means that Wall Street is well represented.
University of Pennsylvania
Another Ivy League university, the University of Pennsylvania, is well known for its business sensibilities, with the Wharton School prominently represented on Wall Street. The Wharton School is considered a top school at Penn, but that doesn't mean a student must study business for four years at Penn to work on Wall Street. In fact, even among non-Wharton students, the financial industry is very popular. At Penn's engineering school, for example, the financial sector, not engineering, was the top employer.
Kevin Wandrei has written extensively on higher education. His work has been published with Kaplan, Textbooks.com, and Shmoop, Inc., among others. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Cornell University.