PETAP Blog

The Top 5 Accredited Business Programs to Break Into Banking

June 25, 2013 ·


Banking can be a challenging and lucrative career path … and it all starts with the right undergraduate program. Choosing a business school can seem overwhelming, especially for the vast majority of students who can’t get into Harvard.

 

However, there are options beyond Ivy League walls that can offer students just as solid a chance of making it big in the world of banking.

 

Start by making sure every school you are considering is accredited. There are a number of reputable sources that create “best of” lists every year for various programs, including US News and Peterson’s.

 

A school doesn’t have to be trending to be reputable and boast a great track record of preparing students for a career in banking. Here are five of the best accredited programs that can give you the training you need to succeed.

 

1. 0-tier school: Harvard

 

There’s no getting around the generally held belief that Harvard probably runs the best business program with a banking angle. This also makes it nearly impossible to get into, but the good news is that it’s the graduate program not the undergraduate path that’s widely known.

 

For students with the suitable background, a great GPA, high test scores, and sheer luck to get into Harvard, it’s well worth the investment. No matter what type of banking a student wants to pursue, this is the best place to start.

 

2. 1-tier school: Yale

 

While Yale might technically be considered a 0-tier school, it's simply not as strong in the finance department as other 0-tier schools. This makes it a prime contender for 1-tier.

 

The good news is that many of the people angling to get into 0-tier schools don’t even bother with Yale or quickly opt for what they consider a “better” school upon acceptance. This makes it a great choice for students who aren’t quite the cream of the crop but can still boast an impressive GRE score.

 

3. 2-tier school: Georgetown

 

This is an even more accessible school with a reputation that is still pretty sterling, and it offers the courses and professors you need to build a successful banking career. From hedge funds to bank management, everything a student might require to become a success is available at Georgetown.

 

It’s also highly competitive, but the accessibility factor makes it feasible for some top-ranked students. Considered a safety school by those who are trying for 0-tier schools, getting on the wait-list here is a great achievement.

4. 3-tier school: UCLA

 

Experience can count for more than education in the real world, so the geographic location of a school is not something to underestimate. UCLA is known for a lot of things, but many people aren’t aware that it has a killer finance program.

 

You get the benefit of being surrounded by industry leaders, which makes work-study positions and internships throughout the year more accessible. Don’t ignore this school when you’re putting together applications.

 

5. Other options

 

Amherst, Williams, and Notre Dame also have exceptional finance programs. No matter which school you pick, take a close look at the school of business and graduate statistics to get a clear picture of where you’re headed.

 

Don’t bank solely on the school’s reputation, because what industry leaders are looking for can be vastly different from what laymen regard as the “best business schools.”

 

Before even starting the application process, make sure that banking is a good career fit for you. A person should have an aggressive yet friendly personality and a way with numbers; finance can be learned, but it works best when it’s coupled with a natural talent.

Getting a foot in the door as a teller during your undergraduate years is a great first step to acclimate yourself to the banking industry.

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