Banking conjures images of people wearing sharp blazers and pointing at pie charts loaded with numbers. It is one of the most lucrative career paths in the world, and there’s no shortage of big banks looking for fresh graduates to beef up their workforce.

Being a banker can mean a number of things. You can be a financial analyst, investment banker, hedge fund manager, etc. The common denominator is that all these require you to be good with numbers. Many roles are also client-facing, which means that you’ll need to brush up on your sales and PR skills.

There are several degrees you can take to get into banking. Majoring in economics is possible, but it is more theoretical, and often leads to jobs in the public sector instead. A finance degree is the best preparation for a banking career as it equips you with more relevant skills. In this article, we will be looking at the best banking schools in the world!

Top Banking Schools in the World

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT’s Sloan School of Management is a top school for banking across the globe and is one of the best places in the world to study business. It offers degrees in finance at the bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD levels. These programs emphasize collaborative learning. You won’t just be sitting down and listening to lectures all the time. You’ll be expected to contribute your knowledge and opinions to the class, as well as learn from those of your peers.

MIT excels in connecting students to the industry. As a graduate finance student, one of the key courses you can take is the Finance Lab or Fin-Lab. Fin-Lab gives students the opportunity to work on a team of three or four on a real-life project. These are provided by sponsors, which are usually finance companies.

2. London School of Economics

The London School of Economics is one of the top universities in the UK for the social sciences and a world’s excellent school for banking. It offers a wide range of programs that are relevant to banking at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This includes degrees in Accounting and Finance, Economics and Management, and Finance and Private Equity.

LSE also offers pure finance programs for both bachelor’s and master’s students. Studying there gives you access to two top research centers: the Financial Markets Group and the Systemic Risk Centre. Scholars and practitioners frequent these hubs to share their knowledge and conduct research.

LSE is a gateway to banks like Barclays and Standard Chartered, which have their headquarters in London.

3. University of Oxford

Oxford University’s Master of Science in Financial Economics is jointly offered by the Saïd Business School and the Department of Economics. Students here learn by doing: case studies, group works, and teaching by industry practitioners are staples. The program has close ties with banks in East Asia, so if this is a region you’re interested in, Oxford should be at the top of your list.

Oxford is one of the best universities for banking in the world and also offers a doctoral degree in finance. Each student is assigned two supervisors, who are responsible for guiding them through their academics and research. Graduates from this program normally work in research, whether in academia, the private sector, or with government organizations.

Oxford also offers a short program in bank governance, which is ideal for those who want to be decision-makers in the industry.

4. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania’s finance program is offered by the legendary Wharton School of Business and is a top banking school globally. Besides learning from some of the world’s best teachers, students can also work with two of the world’s premier financial research institutions, namely the Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research and the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research.

While Wharton doesn’t offer a master’s degree in finance, its MBA allows you to specialize in the subject and is one of the most prestigious in the world.

Wharton is especially popular among those who want to be investment bankers. The school offers a variety of courses on financial markets, accounting, and risk analysis, and has forged strong ties with the industry over the years.

5. University of Cambridge

Cambridge University is a recognized banking institution globally, and its Master of Finance program gives students an in-depth understanding of banking while allowing them to apply what they’ve learned in real-life situations. The program prides itself on being comprised entirely of students who have worked in finance. This means that you’ll need to have some work experience before applying.

Cambridge also allows you to do a PhD right after your master’s degree. The university offers a finance pathway that lets you do research in asset pricing, corporate finance, and other topics. While this course is catered towards those who want to go into research, a PhD will make you extremely valuable to a bank or other financial institution.

6. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley University is one of the few institutions in the world that offers a Master of Financial Engineering. Experiential learning is at the heart of this program: students are required to undertake a twelve-week internship. If this sounds daunting, don’t fear: the UC Berkeley Career Center and the Haas School of Business provide a lot of support when it comes to finding work.

Berkeley also allows PhD students to focus their research on finance and, by extension, banking. Here, you’ll be supported by faculty and draw inspiration from fields like economics, maths, and marketing.

7. University of Chicago

While the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business doesn’t have a program dedicated to banking or finance, its list of alumni includes CEOs and former CEOs of some of the biggest banks in the world. Martin Blessing, Brady Dougan, and Archie Bloe all studied here.

Booth’s MBA and PhD programs offer finance as an area of study and are thus great pathways to a career in banking in the university. Students can take advantage of the Fama-Miller Center for Research in Finance and the Initiative on Global Markets to learn from some of the top academics in the field and do research of their own.


I hope that this article on Best Banking Schools in the World was helpful. If you are interested in knowing more, make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!