Here is a comprehensive guide to Undergrad Banking recruiting at UVA.
First off, to provide some background, UVA offers a very interesting value proposition for someone interested in IB. Compared to most other borderline target/semi-target schools, UVA is cheaper (especially in-state) and has a higher acceptance rate- so it’s definitely a great option if top targets are out of reach or money is a big stumbling block.
The only public school that is comparable to UVA is Michigan. That’s it. Other top publics (UCLA/UCB/UT/UNC) do not compare in placement/capita or (in my opinion) quality of placements. There are a lot of reasons that could explain this disparity, but, in the long-run, I think UMich/UVA have been able to separate themselves with their large alumni bases that are incredibly loyal and have a massive sense of school spirit/pride. To provide an example, when I was going through recruiting, I received ~70% response rate from cold emails to alumni; that’s really strong for a school with 16k undergrad.
Also, anyone that still argues that getting into McIntire affects recruiting is blatantly wrong. With how accelerated recruiting has become, nearly every bank is done with recruiting by the time that any McIntire students have started a single class in the Fall of their 3rd year. If recruiting decelerates again, it could become a factor, but it currently holds no weight.
Touching on how to best position yourself to secure interviews/offers, the majority of recruiting for top firms/groups runs through the on-campus clubs. Although you do see kids every year that get top jobs w/ no affiliation to any major clubs, it is definitely more of a crapshoot, and almost none of these kids go to EBs.
The reason these clubs are the major pipeline can be explained for multiple reasons:
Self-Selection bias towards these top clubs. The kids that get in are generally some of the most driven students, and have a strong interest in banking from the start. They also have solid resumes to back it up.
Technical Prep- Unlike some other schools, we don’t have a school-run “Investment Banking Workshop”- shout out my IU Kelly homies – so the training programs, recruiting materials, and club alumni on the street give club members a huge advantage over their peers.
Club-specific Networking and Resume Drops- Some top firms have club networking/resume drops that only include a few of the top UVA clubs.
I know that all you prospects care about is rankings, so here is a ranking of UVA clubs for banking recruiting.
Tier 1: MII/AIF
Tier 2: Akpsi Business Fraternity
Tier 3: VVF/GMG/SWS
Tier 4: Everyone else
To touch on each one a little more in-depth:
McIntire Investment Institute (MII) – Student-run Hedge Fund that was started in 1985 by a donation from “Tiger Cub” John Griffin. They broke $1M AUM last year, and then donated $500k back to McIntire (so currently have ~$5-600k AUM). This club is the most long-standing of the major finance clubs at UVA, with the most robust alumni network based on its longevity alone. Generally, they have 60-80 students in the club depending on the year, and tout an acceptance rate of Analyst -> Associate -> Portfolio Manager (with special distinctions for President, CIO, etc). There are a couple MII-specific pipelines, the most “prestigious” being HL RX. Correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the group’s global heads is a UVA guy, and the club generally sends 1-2 sophomore Portfolio Manager superstars to their NY office, specifically for RX (which only takes ~10 every year in NY, according to one of my friends. Again, correct me if that number is off).
The Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) – Another student-run investment fund, this group is significantly newer than MII (started in 2007). Although MII has the legacy, AIF seems to be considered slightly more prestigious by current students because of its smaller size (40-60 students) and mix of funds (Relative Value, Global Macro, Special Sits, and Risk vs MII’s pure value-oriented L/S). To talk about actual AUM, AIF has something around 30k, but it makes sense with how new they still are. Like MII, they have a well-developed training program in the first semester, and structure is Analyst-> Management (with special distinctions for CEO, CIO, etc). AIF has their own AIF-specific pipelines, with the most “prestigious” being Evercore M&A, which generally goes to their sophomore Management superstars.
Talking to friends in both AIF and MII, AIF seems to have more of a technical focus in interviews, while MII is looking to take the brightest kids they can find. Both interview candidates every Fall, and sometimes take a class of students in the Spring, too. Generally, both clubs include 1+ screening rounds, in addition to in-person interviews. Across both clubs, you see many students with special university distinctions (Jefferson, Echols scholars) and countless kids with top 1% test scores (1550+ SAT/ 35+ ACT). If you’re able to get into either club, you’re definitely on the inside track to get a banking job.
If I had to put a number to it, I would say these two clubs make up about 25-40% of all UVA banking placements, and a wildly disproportionate amount of the placement to EBs/RX groups (65-80%). The 5-10 kids that reach a management role (between the two clubs) by sophomore spring for recruiting place lights out, with nearly all of them going to Boutiques/RX (if they aren’t one of the handful of kids that go straight to the buy side). Outside of those top candidates, you still see really strong placement across the board for other members across BB/EB/MM. Also, a few Engineers/CS kids end up in these two clubs, and nearly all of them go to Top tech.
UVA has very few buy side opps compared to other target/semi-targets, but these clubs + a Jefferson Scholar Distinction are the best ways to set yourself up to end up at one of the few places that recruit from UVA to the buy side. Also, mentioning the buy side, all of the UVA pipelines to PE/HF aren’t to top funds, so most students seem to view EBs/BBs > normal UVA PE/HF opps (Alpine Investors, Roark Capital, etc). This is not to say that you don’t see 1 off kids go to better places on the buy-side (GTCR Analyst Program Summer -> FT, EVR M&A Summer -> WP FT). These just aren’t the norm, so most kids seem to focus on banking.
Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity (Akpsi) – Business fraternity. Huge drop-off from the top two clubs. They haze kids with technicals, and honestly have a really terrible reputation. The best way to think of them is that they’re the hardos that weren’t smart enough to get into the top clubs, and are also not sociable enough to get into normal Greek life (which has a big presence at UVA). They are Tier 2 based purely on job/McIntire placement (they prep members well for interviews). Personally, I would not touch this group with a 10-foot pole, but I’ve heard that their job placement is decent. If someone is unsure about Finance v Consulting, this can be a really solid place to go because they are less Finance-skewed and prep kids for both.
Virginia Venture Fund (VVF) – The top club with a VC/PE focus. Outside of the Big 2, I would say that this is the club that garners the most respect in finance circles. They also tout a relatively low acceptance rate (not sure of the exact number, but I would say it falls somewhere in the 10-30% range), and have a decent amount of kids that are also members of MII/AIF. They have great partnerships (Bessemer, etc), and do the best LBO prep of any club. Looking at VVF vs. Akspi, VVF beats Akspi in everything except interview/technical prep and placement for banks.
Global Markets Group (GMG) – Don’t know a lot about them. They’re the most comparable club to MII/AIF from an organizational standpoint, with ~$10k in global equities. I think the best way to describe them is solid, as one of the fringe clubs that garners just enough interest to need to reject applicants. I would assume they take somewhere between 40-60% of applicants, but don’t really end up with top kids (like you sometimes see in Akpsi and VVF) because they don’t offer anything unique relative to the top 2 UVA finance clubs. Placement is probably okay.
Smart Women Securities (SWS) – A very new, and still relatively small club, this group is definitely the biggest riser in recent years. They’ve taken advantage of the Male lean within the top 2 UVA clubs, and built out a really solid platform for Female investors. While the top female applicants are still MII/AIF, this group definitely punches above their weight and could definitely become a fringe 1st/2nd tier in the next few years. If they continue to take advantage of the diversity-focus at banks, they should continue to grow their placement. Also, they seem to have a large cohort of international students, maybe ⅓ of their members being East-Asian internationals. I know a couple girls here, and the best way to describe them would be sharp, polished, and confident. No idea about acceptance rate.
Everyone Else- You could probably argue that there should be some stratification across the rest of the UVA Finance clubs, but it’s largely insignificant. None of them have amazing training programs, all lack any sort of structured banking pipelines, and only add value by highlighting your Finance interest on a resume.
Recruiting (General Trends/By Bank):
UVA gets looks from most of the top banks across the street, with the strongest applicants generally ending up at EBs. UVA Greek life is also very prominent, and there seems to be some frat-specific pipelines to a couple banks, too (although these pipelines are incredibly muted when compared to clubs).
Also, due to UVA’s proximity to NYC, the large majority of our placements are to NY offices.
(Trying to avoid Capital Markets)
Evercore: 2-4 M&A / yearPJT: 2-3 M&A / year (also a couple currently RSSG, but think they’re both FT laterals)Centerview: 2 currently there FT, no pipelineLazard: 1-2 M&A / yearMoelis: 2 currently there FT, no pipeline (old pipeline broken by multiple reneges years ago)Perella Weinberg: no pipeline, but heard some kid got 2021Guggenheim: 4-8 / year (1-2 RX), big uva pipelineGreenhill: 1-2 / year (0-1 RX)Houlihan Lokey: 4-10 / year (1-3 RX), huge uva pipelineJefferies: 4-8 / year, big uva pipelineRothschild: 1-3 / yearWilliam Blair: no pipelineBaird: no pipeline, 1 currently there FTWells Fargo: 4-8 / yearHW: 3 / year
GS: 1-2 / year, but just got upgraded to core target so this year will probably be different; assuming 3-5 / year nowMS: no pipeline, but think 0-2 / yearJPM: 2-6 / yearBAML: 3-6 / yearCS: 4-10 / year, head of Sponsors is a UVA grad and he treks down himself for info sessionsCiti: 0-2 / year, non-core for CitiBarclays: 1-3 / yearUBS: 0-2 / yearDB: no pipeline?RBC: 1 current SA, no pipeline
Everything above is estimates, don’t take these numbers as fact. There are also other, smaller banks that also have UVA pipelines: Stifel, Piper, DC Advisory, etc.