The Best MBA Programs for Investment Banking

An overview of the best business schools for a career in investment banking, including sample courses and average salaries.

Posted May 9, 2024

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Investment banking is the division of a financial institution that serves other institutions, corporations, and governments. It provides many different services, including raising capital and providing merger and acquisition help, among others. Investment banks also act as intermediaries between investors and companies. If you’re interested in the workings of investment banking, here are a few articles to get you started:

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Here is a list of the top five MBA programs for those interested in pursuing a career in the business field.

1. Columbia Business School

% Graduates in Investment Banking: 16.3%

Median IB Base Salary: $150,000

Median Other Guaranteed Compensation for IB: $57,500

A substantial portion of the graduating classes of Columbia typically enters a career in investment banking. They don’t offer a specialization in Finance, but they do have one for Operations Management that includes many beneficial courses like Pricing and Revenue Optimization. CBS also has an important Investment Banking Club whose mission is to educate members about IB and the recruiting process. Through the club’s alumni network, it maintains a strong relationship with Wall Street, which is also just a subway ride away.

Sample Courses:

  • The Credit Superhighway
  • Electronic Trading in Financial Markets
  • Advanced Value Investing
  • Security Analysis
  • Short Selling

Learn more at Columbia Business School — MBA Program & Application Overview.

2. NYU Stern

% Graduates in Investment Banking: 25.7%

Average IB Base Salary: $145,695

Average Signing Bonus: $55,065

Stern has one of the highest percentages of its graduates who enter investment banking among all of the top MBA programs. There are several prominent banks among the top employers of the class of 2020, including Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan, Citi, Morgan Stanley, Guggenheim Partners, and Goldman Sachs & Co. Stern is also uniquely positioned to produce successful investment bankers because it offers a Banking specialization through the Finance department. The specialization includes many relevant courses and electives, as well as connections to recruiters and internships.

Sample Courses:

  • Bankruptcy and Reorganization
  • Global Banking and Capital Markets
  • Equity and Fixed Income Research
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Asset Management

Discover more at New York University Stern School of Business—MBA Program & Application Overview.

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3. University of Chicago Booth

% Graduates in Investment Banking: 11.1% (51 hires)

Median IB Base Salary: $175,000

Median Signing Bonus: $50,000

The Investment Banking Group at Booth is one of the largest student groups on campus. It serves the interests of Booth MBA candidates, the Booth Career Services office, and investment banks. The group is sponsored by many prominent investment banks and this helps facilitate recruiting. Evidence of the prevalence of this group is in the number of full-time hires upon graduation: ten to Credit Suisse; eight to Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan; six to Morgan Stanley; and five to Citigroup.

Booth also offers a concentration in Finance, with courses that take an empirical approach to the evaluation of risk and reward. There are two Nobel laureates that teach classes for this concentration, Eugene F. Fama and Lars Peter Hansen, as well as other world-class staff.

Sample Courses:

Financial Instruments

  • Portfolio Management
  • Financial Markets and Institutions
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • International Corporate Finance

Learn more about the MBA program at Booth here: Chicago Booth—MBA Program and Application Overview

4. The Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania

% Graduates in Investment Banking: 12.9%

Median IB Base Salary: $150,000

Wharton offers a Finance major for its MBA candidates who are interested in a career in investment banking. The program places an emphasis on analytical foundations, micro and macroeconomics, and mathematics (especially statistics). Of the top employers of the class of 2021, there was Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs & Company, J.P. Morgan, Lazard LLC, and Morgan Stanley.

Sample Courses:

  • Corporate Finance
  • Investment Management
  • Valuation
  • Financial Derivatives
  • Fixed Income Securities

Learn more at Wharton Business School — MBA Program & Application Overview

5. Cornell University CS Johnson

% Graduates in Investment Banking: 25%

Average IB Base Salary: $156,571

Cornell is well-known for its excellence in financial education and for preparing students for careers in IB. Among the school’s 15 top employers for the class of 2021, there are several investment banks including Citi, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank, and Evercore.

Cornell also offers Investment Banking as an area of focus. Students who choose to pursue this are required to take nine credits of electives in the corresponding area. Lastly, there is an Investment Banking Immersion Learning Program available for students to take, as well as several clubs, including the Old Ezra Finance Club, Johnson Private Equity and Credit Club, and the Investment Management Club.

Sample Courses:

  • Advanced Financial Statement Analysis
  • Derivative Securities Part I and II
  • Valuation Principles
  • Investment and Portfolio Management
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: Accounting, Modeling, and Evaluation of Deals

Read more at Cornell University SC Johnson Graduate School of Management — MBA Program & Application Overview.

Where Can I Start?

If you’re interested in a career in investment banking, here are some articles to get you started:

If you prefer one-on-one help as you navigate the investment banking recruiting process, or as you apply for some of these MBA programs, browse our coaches. They are experts with tons of experience in top careers and MBA programs, including these schools and top investment banks.

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