Best Bets for Banking: Business Schools That Help Land Jobs at Prestige Firms
Faculty and Coursework at NYU Stern, CBS and Chicago Booth
While top-tier business schools across the board boast star faculty and fantastic foundational courses in finance, NYU Stern sets itself apart in terms of the array of specializations offered that are especially relevant to students interested in investment banking. Of its 24 specializations, six in particular—Banking, Corporate Finance, Finance, Financial Instruments and Markets, Financial Systems and Analytics and Quantitative Finance—fall into this category, and Stern students can take up to three. Stern also offers a number of individual courses focused on the investment banking field, including “Law and Business of Investment Banking,” “Investment Banking,” “Private Equity in Entertainment and Media” and “Entertainment Finance.”
Its finance faculty also help support its extensive elective offerings in the area. In addition to more than four dozen full-time faculty in the field, there are also more than 50 adjunct faculty members and visiting professors. This combination of leading academics and practitioners includes NYU Stern Finance Professor Robert Engle, who won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on statistical modeling of time-varying volatility, as well as Professor Kenneth Froewiss, a former managing director in JPMorgan’s investment banking division.
The advantages of a New York City location are also reflected in CBS’s faculty and coursework. The Finance and Economics division is the largest at the school, accounting for more than half of all classes and counting approximately 50 faculty members, including adjunct and visiting professors. As at Stern, their backgrounds represent a powerful mix of theory and practice. In addition, many of its finance courses involve visits from industry professionals, allowing students to gain a better understanding of how their course material applies to the real world. Among CBS’s star professors is Joseph Stiglitz, former senior vice president of development economics and chief economist of the World Bank, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001 for the analysis of markets with asymmetric information.
Also of potential interest to aspiring bankers, the CBS core includes a half-term course called “Global Economic Environment.” Taken during the spring semester, it examines the way a company’s performance and management may be influenced by external factors across an entire economy, drawing on current events to illustrate the practical implications of the concepts covered.
CBS’s Financial Studies Program also offers suggested electives for students pursuing careers in investment banking and corporate banking. These include “Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation,” which covers how firms communicate with one another through financial statements and involves analyses of publicly traded companies; “Debt Markets,” which provides a comprehensive survey of the five major debt markets and their derivative dependencies, and “Advanced International Corporate Finance,” which explores varied decision-making situations regarding international capital budgeting.
There is also a Value Investing area of focus available to CBS students, administered by the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing. Designed to teach students to find value that the market might not see and make profitable investments accordingly, this focus area includes courses ranging from “Security Analysis,” which teaches students to make investment decisions by analyzing business models and financial statements, to “Distressed Value Investing,” which covers the opportunities of investing in companies in bankruptcy.
Finally, second-year MBA students at CBS also can participate in project-based electives called Master Classes, in which they analyze the problems of a partner organization and make a recommendation on the issue at hand, and several involve projects related to investment banking.
Chicago Booth, of course, has long been considered a powerhouse in terms of its finance faculty and coursework. With approximately 40 finance professors on staff, Chicago Booth offers students interested in banking careers access to a wealth of research, expertise and course offerings in this area. Faculty members include the distinguished Eugene Fama, who is known as the “father of modern finance” for his research on markets and market efficiency and holds the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics. Other finance professors bring experience as executives of major investment banks, board members of public and private companies and members of the Federal Reserve Board.
In terms of coursework, Chicago Booth’s MBA curriculum is known for its flexible structure. To fulfill disciplinary requirements, students are able to select one of several options to tailor their studies to their interests, objectives and current level of knowledge.
Under the Foundation Courses element of the core, Chicago Booth students take one course each in Financial Accounting, Microeconomics and Statistics. Students are able to select a Fundamental Course in each of these areas, or select from a list of Advanced Alternatives in the event that they already have a sound basis in the subject.
In addition to enrolling in three Foundation courses, Chicago Booth students can choose one of 13 areas of specialization. While not required, students usually choose between one and three concentrations to develop the tools and analytic skills relevant to areas of particular interest.
Chicago Booth students who hope to enter investment banking might choose to concentrate in both Accounting and Finance. Through the Accounting concentration, students learn how to assess a firm’s financial health while making investment decisions. The Finance concentration, meanwhile, covers both corporate finance and investments, preparing students to make decisions at the business and market levels. Among the courses offered as part of the Finance concentration are “Advanced Investments,” which picks up where the introductory “Investments” class leaves off, examining the activities of top financial institutions and the changes in asset pricing over the past 20 years. Other courses include “Financial Instruments,” which examines the pricing of derivatives with a pointed focus on managing risk, and “Financial Markets and Institutions,” which delves into studies financial institutions, financial crises and the design of financial contracts.
And students seeking a very deep grounding in finance theory and practice could also complete the Analytic Finance concentration, which will equip them to apply sophisticated quantitative tools to complex financial questions in a range of contexts.