The Best Business Schools for Investment Banking, Consulting and Private Equity

Financial building

Investment banking and consulting have historically been the most common career paths for MBA graduates, with private equity another popular but extremely competitive option for people from the most elite business schools.

Using information from Poets and Quants and Clear Admit, we list the top MBA programs for investment banking, consulting, and private equity to help you decide on the business school that’s right for you.

Investment Banking

Though interest declined after the economic downturn in 2008, investment banking is still a popular career path for MBA graduates. At NYU Stern, 24% of 2015 graduates work in the industry, the highest figure among leading U.S. business schools. The list below uses data from Poets and Quants to rank the top MBA programs for investment banking. Proximity to financial centers New York and London figure significantly into the ease with which MBA participants can network into the industry.

Ranking School Average GMAT
1 Columbia Business School 715
2 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 732
3 London Business School 700
4 Cornell (Johnson) 697
5 INSEAD 705
6 Harvard Business School 725
7 NYU (Stern) 720
8 HEC Paris 690
9 Stanford 733
10 Yale 721


Consulting has grown to become one of the most popular industries for business school graduates. Kellogg boasts the greatest percentage of 2015 U.S. MBAs in consulting after graduation, with 35% of 2015 graduates working in the industry. Recruiters cite Kellogg’s focus on teamwork and problem-solving as one reason Kellogg MBAs tend to be well-suited for consulting.

Alongside Kellogg, Clear Admit’s other recommendations include INSEAD, Tuck, Columbia, Ross, and Wharton, based on numbers of graduates placing into consulting.

In addition, Poets and Quants examined LinkedIn profiles to see how many MBAs from top business schools work at reputable consulting companies. The top schools represented at McKinsey & Co., one of the most highly regarded consulting firms in the world, include Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia, and Chicago Booth.

Private Equity

Private equity is a highly sought-after industry for top MBA graduates. While jobs in the industry are scarce, graduates from a variety of leading business schools are represented in the world’s top private equity firms. According to an analysis of LinkedIn by Poets and Quants, Harvard and Wharton are the two business schools with the most MBAs working at top PE firms. The rest of the findings by Poets and Quants are listed below:

Ranking School Average GMAT
1 Harvard Business School 725
2 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 732
3 Columbia Business School 715
4 NYU (Stern) 720
5 Stanford 733
6 University of Chicago (Booth) 726
7 Northwestern University (Kellogg) 724
8 MIT (Sloan) 716
9 Dartmouth (Tuck) 717
10 Duke (Fuqua) 696