College list for kid looking to go into wealth/asset management

S24 is interested in a client-facing career in wealth/asset management (CFA and/or private banker and/or fundraiser for alternative asset funds; sales/customer-facing side) in the Southeast US (FL, GA, SC, NC). Of the following colleges (alphabetical order), assuming all other considerations work out, which would be most helpful in maximizing opportunities in those areas and why (assume Finance, business and/or econ major):

College of the Holy Cross
Loyola Marymount
Santa Clara
Trinity College
University of Miami
University of South Carolina

It’s a cliché because there’s a lot of truth in it, and most people discount it too quickly with a ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’, but irl the biggest difference in his outcomes from any of these colleges will be how he maximizes the opportunities- explicit and implicit-that they will all provide. The most unknowable variable is what contacts he specifically makes.

It also matters how much he wants to stay in those states: the local networks of (say) a Sewanee could well outweigh any other advantages that a uni in another region (say, Santa Clara) would offer.

So, consider ‘fit’- b/c the better the fit the more he will shine, and be able to make the contacts and get the internships that will be the key to getting the roles he wants. Furman, Clemson and USCarolina would all be good candidates, and are good for considering what type of uni will suit him best.


He ruled out Wake? I’m pretty sure that was a strong consideration at one point…

Does not want to go into school with a business program that has competitive admission at end of sophomore year.


Yes, we are planning trip in Spring 2023. Also waiting to see if recruited for Div III sport.

Honestly if he’s interested in client facing, asset management, I would look up local money managers. They have people that went ‘everywhere’. I imagine I’d want to go to school in a city so I had access for a during the semester internship….some offer. But I don’t think where they go will block or provide significant advantage for this career.

You can look up their teams for resumes.


I know people in financial fields, but I am not in one and it is not my area of expertise. I will say though, that the south has historically been very partial to local and/or personal connections. I’d take a super close look at the schools in the desired states, or perhaps neighboring states. And if your son doesn’t choose a school in one of the designated states, I’d recommend he do everything possible to find summer internships in those areas.


Thanks! Not Georgia? Quick question on Furman, are you familiar with their business program? Looks tiny and requires application sophomore year without stating factors for admission.

Washington and Lee


I think you’re best to reach out to Dr. Verde or have your son do so - you can set up a joint zoom - she’d be best to answer questions on their business program which looks like doesn’t even start until I suppose junior year since you apply as a sophomore. Thats really your best bet….talking to her. Since she runs the program, she’ll have the knowledge no one here could.

Looking at the website, it seems a general business degree since they call it ‘like an MBA’…like a full time first year but not a second year specialization that I see anyway. So I’d question that. Opportunities with a generalist degree are fewer and pay less. But it’s a great question to ask her - is there an opportunity to specialize or is it just generalist ?

Back to your son’s interest in money management/client facing…I’d go so far as to say the major will have little impact. He needs to network, express interest and get hired by a team in support fir a during the semester job in this field. Each team will have its wealth management and client facing methods and all will have a brokerage - whether a Schwab or Morgan Stanley, etc as their fiduciary.

I looked at some of the teams yesterday from the article I sent you plus a local team I’m familiar with. These guys manage hundreds of millions to billions and have their own strategists.

It might be W Michigan. It might be U Chicago. It might be Florida. It might be Kennesaw State.

It might be history, econ, art history. It’s all in the resumes.

Actually he might even reach out to a few client facing money/wealth managers and ask for guidance in selecting a school or about their background for perspective.

I don’t think a business degree gives a leg up although an investment analysis class can help.

I think he can pursue a passion if he has an alternative and still break in if he has the fortitude to do so.

Back to Furman…it’s great practice for your son to reach out to Dr Verde. That’s what a wealth manager often has to do to start. I’m sure she will welcome a discussion with your son and you about her program.

Good luck.


Those 3 SC schools 1) give a good range of collegiate environments for your son to compar, 2) have strong reputations & networks regionally and 3) are often overlooked by people from outside the south- all pretty close together. Re: Furman, imo you go to Furman to find fellow travelers (it skews more conservative and the students tend to be hard-working) and for the connections (also, the campus is stunning). The secondary admission thing for business is real, but (anecdotally) is a lot about commitment. More relevantly, for your student’s goals an Econ major will be just as useful as a Business major (arguably better, if he follows the quantier side of econ). I tend to agree with @tsbna44: the actual major isn’t as big a deal as you might think.

A uni you haven’t mentioned is UNC-C. Neither as famous nor lovely as it’s sibling up the road, but it has a meaningful ace up it’s sleeve: it is hand-in-glove with all the financial institutions headquartered in Charlotte (itself a town that doesn’t have much else to say for it). This means that meaningful internships during term are possible in a way that they are not at most unis. Ime, that will matter more than the name of the major.


Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. We just reached out to Dr. Verde. I have a number of friends in the field down South and will ask them for their views. One of them already told me that having gone to Florida was his number one source of business over his career. Any thoughts on Elon in particular? My one concern is that it seems populated in large part by kids from the Northeast. Maybe same re Richmond?

Any thoughts on Elon, Sewanee, Rollins or UMiami along those lines? Thanks for the suggestion on UNC-C and your thoughtful analysis.

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I think the bigger question is what does your son want to get out of his education. Some of the schools on this list are NOT “ticket punchers” for the wealth management industry, even though they can be great entrees for a kid with a lot of intellectual curiosity, ability to work with both numbers and people, maybe some training in psychology. I’d put schools like Holy Cross in that bucket. A fantastic education. It is not a trade school for the financial industry.

Some of the other schools cater towards a preppy/wealthier student body, so if the goal is to make a lot of friends who come out of multi-generational wealth-- there’s that.

Some of these schools make it possible to get a BA without breaking too much of a sweat; others, it’s hard to coast (Lehigh is not a good place to go if you don’t want to be challenged or work hard.) It does very well in financial services (across the board, not just wealth management) but that’s because it graduates hard working kids who have taken classes with a lot of rigor. It’s hard to coast in the more quant courses in econ…

So other than its placement record- what does your son want out of an education??? And why the early focus on wealth management??? The field is changing pretty quickly- I wouldn’t expect hiring patterns to look the same five years from now as they do right now. The large institutions have consolidated, are using technology in a more aggressive way, have shunted the bottom tier (in some institutions, those are folks with 5-10 Million in investable assets) to online platforms only. The small regional houses still need the folks who can network and shmooze, but the heavy lifting of constructing an investment thesis is highly automated right now (plug in the age of the client, answer a few questions about risk tolerance, pop in the number of dependents or heirs and boom- out comes the bar chart of asset allocation) so they need fewer bodies than they did ten years ago.

If it were my kid interested in this field, I’d be encouraging a psychology major. Knowing why people make decisions which are not in their own best interests, why people over-estimate their own abilities, why too much choice overwhelms some decision-makers- these are principals which will go really far in this field.

Portfolio theory? Take a class. You don’t need to devote 4 years of undergrad to becoming a wealth management associate!!!


I would put Richmond at the top. Miami second.

South Carolina and Georgia would be next but I thought they weren’t auto admission.

Are there cost constraints and what are his stats?

Wake, Davidson, GT, Emory, Duke and UNC would be on the list of Southern schools.

UNC Charlotte might work with all the finance jobs in Charlotte. NC State too. Strong in math/statistics.


Many years ago when I lived in SC it seemed like Furman and The Citadel were well represented at companies I visited or interviewed. Small but well regarded. The Citadel ring was very obvious. Seemed like an old boys network but they did well.

The question is, will Morgan Stanley or even a regional bank like Truist recruit a student studying psychology vs a business, econ, or math major?

There’s many more besides the public companies. And the answer is yes….they’ll see who can bring in assets.

In many ways todays wealth advisor is yesterday’s stock broker with a lot of sophistication and licenses/ certifications and a higher level of cost of entry.

With the online brokerages, the do it yourselves…most the big players have ceded this market. Hence today most are non commission, fee based.


If you’re talking retail advisors, yes it really doesnt matter.

I was talking about working for a financial services firm out of college (corporate, home office job) rather than working as an associate for a financial planning team.

Candidly I believe that working for a team as a junior associate is a dead end job with a narrow window of success. They dont own the book and not sure what their career trajectory is other than try to build their own client base. It’s essentially a sales job that anyone can do if they have wealthy parents or a strong network.

I’m going by the ‘Client facing’ - I believe but could be wrong that OP wasn’t referencing an IB job.

This is why I’ve been saying the school or major won’t matter much but I’d go in a city and look for a part time job supporting a practice. I’m sure there’s a ton to learn…sales process, money management, and regulatory, etc.

If it’s a high end private, then yeah the school will matter.

Wasn’t my interpretation though.