Universities are not all the same when it comes to perceptions by employers, and graduates from some schools get higher starting offers than others regardless of grades or other factors.
Well-known salary benchmarking site Emolument compared the salaries of graduates entering the finance industry as analysts and associates from different universities across the UK. Of note, the average salary for these positions at all of the universities is £62,000 for the UK (and Ireland) and $130,000 for the U.S.
Top U.S. schools for finance careers
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Yale University is the top school for U.S. graduates interested in finance careers. Graduates from Yale working as analysts and associates in the finance industry earn an average total annual compensation (salary + bonuses) of $194,000. Harvard U is the second place school on Emolument’s top finance schools list, and Harvard grads working in the industry take home an average total annual compensation of $190,000 today. The University of Pennsylvania was ranked third on this year’s list, and U Penn graduates can look forward to a total average annual compensation of $187,000.
Top UK schools for finance careers
In the UK and Ireland, Cambridge University was first place on Emolument’s list, with Cambridge U grads taking home a total average annual compensation of £91,000. Oxford University was ranked second place on this year’s best finance schools list, with graduates taking home a total of £85,000 on average in salary and bonuses this year. Scotland’s Edinburgh University came in third place, with graduates enjoying a total average annual compensation of £84,000.
Note that while U.S. finance sector employees are paid a good bit more than their UK colleagues on average, they also must pay much higher tuition and typically face large student loan balances after graduation.
Statement from Alice Leguay of Emolument.com
Alice Leguay of Emolument comments on the survey results: “Counterintuitively, the top universities for finance are not necessarily the ones with a reputation for being business-focused, but historical red brick institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge. It seems UK recruiters are less concerned about vocational course content, giving more weight to a university’s reputation and prestige. Over the years, though, as finance has become more complex and required a higher proportion of employees to be versed in IT, financial engineering and economics, vocational technical and scientific degrees have climbed up in the return on investment charts (Imperial College is a good example). We expect to see this trend intensify in the coming years.”