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Wanna work at a hedge fund? Go to these schools

The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
myLoupe | Universal Images Group | Getty Images
The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Want to make the big bucks at a hedge fund or another hotshot asset management firm? A diploma from University of Pennsylvania is your best bet as an undergraduate. If you're getting an MBA, it's University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. And if you graduated in 2010 or later, Columbia University is the top feeder school to have on your resume.

That's according to a new ranking of where employees of asset management firms went to school by alternative fund database company eVestment. The report draws from a data set of more than 35,000 professionals—mostly portfolio managers, analysts and other investment-focused roles—from more than 4,500 asset management firms, mostly hedge and mutual funds. The average age was 47.

Top schools for working in asset management

Raw rank
University
Total alumni
1 University of Pennsylvania 1101
2 Harvard University 920
3 Columbia University 886
4 University of Chicago 877
5 New York University 810
6 Stanford University 470
7 Northwestern University 429
8 University of California - Los Angeles 412
9 University of California - Berkeley 373
10 Boston College 372
Size adjusted rank University Total alumni
1 University of Chicago 877
2 University of Pennsylvania 1101
3 Dartmouth College 291
4 Harvard University 920
5 Princeton University 273
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 357
7 Boston College 372
8 Stanford University 470
9 Yale University 303
10 Columbia University 886
MBA rank University MBA alumni
1 University of Chicago 720
2 Columbia University 557
3 New York University 533
3 University of Pennsylvania 533
5 Harvard University 471
6 Northwestern University 234
7 University of California - Los Angeles 208
8 Stanford University 182
9 University of Southern California 125
10 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 124
Source: eVestment, May 2014

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Penn, home to the famed business-focused Wharton School for both undergrads and MBAs, had the most total alumni—1,101—working at firms like PIMCO, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs Asset Management, according to the report.

But Penn's dominance may be fading. The school was the top asset management feeder school nearly every year from 1960 to 2004. But Chicago led from 2005 to 2009 and Columbia had the top spot from 2010 to 2014.

All Ivy League institutions are well represented in eVestment's various rankings based on degree and school size.

"Ivy league schools predictably ranked highly across all of our rankings," the report said. "There was no clear delineation in terms of the best school for a career in asset management, but Ivy league schools with top flight MBA programs were a boon for Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University."

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One surprise was Boston College, which ranked in the top 10 for total alumni, 7th when scaled by school size and 6th when compared by bachelor's degree only. The school is ranked 31st overall by U.S. News & World Report. Another was Lehigh University, which ranked 9th for bachelor's degrees when scaled by school size. Lehigh was was ranked 41st by U.S. News.

The report also ranked schools by investment product focus. The top school for American hedge funds was Harvard University, followed by Penn and Chicago. For U.S. equities, Penn was first, followed by Chicago and Harvard. In U.S. fixed income, Penn was again number one, followed by Chicago and New York University.

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