Listen to this article
Fourteen months after the UK voted to leave the EU, finance graduates from the world’s top business schools have shrugged off Brexit, an analysis of FT data shows.
According to the 2017 Financial Times ranking of masters in finance, the UK held its position as the main employer of overseas graduates with the qualification, the dominant degree for people seeking a career in financial services, despite a slight drop from the previous year.
In contrast, FT data show Ireland, France and Germany — all presenting themselves as alternatives to the UK for finance workers worried about Brexit — failed to increase their shares of foreign finance graduates.
Finance graduates from the class of 2014 and from outside the UK made up 90 per cent of such graduates employed in the UK in 2017. This is an increase of 3 percentage points on last year’s survey of the class of the 2013 at the same stage of their careers.
The FT rankings are based on the career progression of business school graduates three years after graduation. It surveyed about 5,800 finance graduates in 2017, with a response rate of 33 per cent.
Of the overseas students in the FT survey that are now working in the UK, about 40 per cent are foreign nationals that remained after completing their degrees at British business schools. However, most relocated to the UK for work after graduating, chiefly from France and Italy.
About 50 per cent more Italian-born graduates from the business schools ranked by the FT currently work in London than in Milan.
“Universitá Bocconi’s master of finance is the best in Europe to work in bulge-bracket investment banks,” one Italian-born graduate said of the Milan institution. “Our alumni network in Canary Wharf and in the City is much bigger than those from other schools.”
One reason British nationals are a minority among the masters in finance graduates now working in the UK is that very few of them study finance while at business school.
Although 13 of the top 60 schools listed in the FT ranking of masters in finance courses are in the UK, British students accounted for only one per cent of all newly enrolled students on this degree in 2017. More Greeks students are enrolled on this course at the schools covered by the FT ranking, despite no Hellenic school featuring among these institutions.
Warwick Business School has nearly 10 applicants for each place on its masters in finance course, the majority of whom are from outside the UK, according to Alex Stremme, assistant dean responsible for the course.
“We only take the best students, so those in the UK are competing against students from across the world,” he said.
British graduates of masters in finance courses now working in the UK are also out-gunned on pay by their foreign counterparts.
German-born graduates are paid the highest salaries at an average of $139,000, followed by their Italian and French counterparts on average salaries of $129,000 and $113,000 respectively. British-born graduates, who already have a smaller salary than their foreign peers on graduation, earn an average income of $71,000, adjusted for purchasing power parity.
The 2017 FT ranking of masters in finance courses features the 60 best programmes for students with little or no work experience. The top four schools are all based in France: Edhec Business School, HEC Paris, Essec Business School and ESCP Europe. Warwick is the highest ranked UK school, in ninth place.