Stern: A Major Wall Street Feeder School?

Written by Tamim Alhourani

Wall Street, finance, investment banking; these terms are widely associated with New York University’s renowned Stern School of Business. The school boasts a variety of topnotch courses in multiple fields that range from the more traditional Accounting, to the more contemporary likes of Computing and Data Science. However, Stern is historically recognized for its strong presence on Wall Street, where finance is paramount. After all, the school is merely a ten-minute subway ride from the New York Stock Exchange, arguably Wall Street’s most prominent landmark. But is Stern really one of America’s major Wall Street feeder schools?

As I expressed my admiration towards the “growing” presence of Stern on Wall Street to Vice Dean Robert Whitelaw, he was quick to note that the school has, in fact, always been known for its prevalence in the “financial services” industry, and that ever since his arrival in 1992, “Stern had a reputation for being strong”. 

According to Roxanne Hori, Stern’s Associate Dean of Corporate Relations and Career Services, the school “continues to be seen (in the MBA world) as one of the key schools for Wall Street”. On the graduate level, 22.6% of 2019 Stern students went into investment banking. On the undergraduate level, more than 50% of students landed jobs in financial services in 2018 as stated by Dean Whitelaw. The 2019 percentage for the undergraduate college was unavailable. 

The popularity of Stern among aspiring bankers can be accredited to various elements, all of which have simultaneously helped shape the school’s professional image. Aside from the school’s proximity to Manhattan’s Financial District, the role of the admissions office in admitting “high-caliber talent” is an undeniable contributor to the college’s strong ties to Wall Street, as described by Hori. Surely, faculty members are integral to the success of Stern, as in any school. Stern’s reputability in finance attracts experienced professors in the same field. In turn, experienced faculty feed into the school’s reputation. Such a cycle is imperative for sustained presence on Wall Street. The array of clubs and interview preparatory events are also important, where former club presidents return to give advice and lend expertise. “We pride ourselves on having a state-of-the-art curriculum,” said Whitelaw, as he outlined the significance of three particular departments in facilitating Stern’s association with financial services: the Finance, Computing and Data Science and Accounting departments.

Stern is represented on Wall Street by a combination of fulltime, part-time, and interning Sternies. Top recruiters of Stern students include JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citi and Morgan Stanley. The school’s connection to Wall Street essentially exists via its administration. Hori states that the “building and cultivating of relationships with various individuals within banks” occurs “on an ongoing basis”. Although BS in Business and BPE students are generally equal when it comes to post-graduation recruitment, BPE students are more likely to leave Wall Street in pursuit of law school, according to Dean Whitelaw.

Is Stern also big in Silicon Valley?

Looking into this topic, I wondered whether Stern is as big in Silicon Valley’s growing tech sector as it is on Wall Street. Dean Whitelaw proposes that although more students are taking on roles that involve technology at financial institutions, Stern is “more Silicon Alley than Silicon Valley”. Silicon Alley is an area that encompasses an abundance of high-tech franchises and is situated around Manhattan’s Flatiron District. Given that Sternies are rarer in Silicon Valley than they are on Wall Street, the administration aspires to “have a significant footprint” in the Californian valley, as the “intersection between business and technology” is enlarging. Associate Dean Hori notes that 15% of the MBA class of 2019 ended up being recruited by the tech industry, for “the appetite for technology sectors continues to be strong”. 

Ultimately, it is safe to say: Stern really is a major Wall Street feeder school. It comes as no surprise, for proximity, a diverse, high-caliber student body, tailored preparatory events and programs, experienced faculty and overall reputation, are factors that collectively give NYU’s Stern its upper hand when it comes to Wall Street.

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