Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

Why are students at this top college so particularly prized by banks and hedge funds?

Find a college where no one wants to be a banker

If you're a student who wants to leave college and get a job in the financial services industry, it might still be worth your while studying in the UK. And - no, you shouldn't study at Oxford or Cambridge, or even the London School of Economics. Try applying to Imperial College London.

The recently released Times Good University Guide put Imperial Students as the most employable in the UK, above Oxford and above Cambridge and above the London School of Economics. Our own research earlier this year suggested that Imperial is ranked first or second among all European universities for people working in M&A, trading and risk. Hedge fund Brevan Howard is known to hire a lot of Imperial alums and even offers a clean energy scholarship to people at the college. Elspeth Farrar, director of the careers service at the college, tells us that "all the main investment banks are very active on the campus this year," and that hedge funds regularly notify her when they have junior vacancies.

So, what makes Imperial students so hot?

(Related articles: 

The EMEA head of recruitment at Goldman Sachs is answering your questions

19 pieces of indispensable careers advice from top bankers

Meet the keen young analysts hired by Barclays and RBS this year)

Farrar points to their quantitative bias."Our students are highly numerate, highly analytical and good problem solvers." Antony Sommerfeld, an Imperial alum and former credit analyst at Goldman Sachs-turned venture capitalist, agrees that Imperial students are analytical, entrepreneurial and international. "The people there are very proactive about getting in contact. They have some good private equity groups and a lot of Chinese students."

We suspect, however, that there is more to it than simple analytical skills and proactivity. From the perspective of finance employers, Imperial students also have scarcity value. Whilst other colleges like the London School of Economics and Cass Business School are overflowing with would-be bankers, students at Imperial have other priorities. "Healthcare is the biggest destination for our students," says Farrar. "We have a big faculty of medicine. Last year, only 10% of our students went into banking and finance."

This looks like a good strategy for students choosing where to study. Forget finance-focused institutions and choose a school which banks and hedge funds rate highly and where most of your peers will be looking at careers far beyond banking and finance. You will be all the more sought-after as a result.



AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • ab
    28 September 2013

    Typical comments from sour oxbridge students. You'd be surprised at how socially adapt many Imperial grads. The proportion of Imperial students that have got jobs in top city firms speak for themselves...

  • Ob
    28 September 2013

    You obviously don't know what you're talking about because financial firms don't hire people based soley on academics and having charisma is key. I know many other Imperial students with charisma and would personally love the opportunity to watch you consume your own overly inflated head, so please leave your details so we can set up a meet. Cheers

  • im
    imperial neek
    28 September 2013

    Haha, sounds like sour grapes to me from the oh so reputable oxbridge

  • Je
    28 September 2013

    Imperial definitely offers a better course structure which is highly numerate and analytical as has been correctly highlighted in this article. While Cambridge has its fair share of quite capable students too, it definitely loses to Imperial's proactive, hardworking and ambitious students. This makes sense as Imperial is a college of technology and specifically focuses on this one area. Imperial's constant mention in several high- tech projects from IBM, JP Morgan or NASA proves Imperial student's technical aptitude which is no wonder in high demand from the investment banks.

    It's not just the studies, Imperial is in London and not in some small town. Imperial students live right next to the financial centre, experience a highly multi-cultural environment and see and aim for the higher things in life.

    On the topic of sociability, Imperial has a large number of international students who's background and idea of being social might be different to the usual British standard - this does not make them socially inept. The various successful social societies at Imperial show that Imperialites know how to balance both fun and work.

  • Fr
    From previous comments...
    27 September 2013

    Cambridge is clearly full of arrogant twats who think they're the best

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Articles
Latest Jobs
State Street Corporation
Fund Accounting & Administration (Private Equity), Officer (Hybrid)
State Street Corporation
Clifton, United States
State Street Corporation
ISA Legal Vice President
State Street Corporation
Boston, United States
BNY  Mellon
Senior Associate, Corporate Tax
BNY Mellon
Pittsburgh, United States
Bank of America Corporation
Wealth Management Summer Analyst Program - Private Bank 2025
Bank of America Corporation
New York, United States

Sign up to Morning Coffee!

Coffee mug

The essential daily roundup of news and analysis read by everyone from senior bankers and traders to new recruits.