Top University to Attend for a Career at a World-Leading Company


New research has revealed the London School of Economics & Political Science to be the best University to attend in order to work at some of the world’s leading companies. While the University of Manchester was shown to be the institution that feeds the most graduates to AstraZeneca, creators of one of the leading Covid vaccines. And Deloitte came out as the biggest prestigious employer of graduates from the UK’s top universities.

International education provider Oxford Royale Academy  analysed LinkedIn data to find the number of alumni from each of the 24 Russell Group universities – the top higher education research institutions in the UK – who are now working at some of the world’s most prestigious companies. The companies included in the analysis were amongst the UK’s 50 biggest by revenue and were in the top 60 world’s most attractive employers.

Researchers at Oxford Royale Academy took the number of alumni working at each of the companies from the seed list and then divided that figure by the total number of alumni – that showed in the data - to give a percentage figure.  

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) topped the list. The university has more than 240,000 people on LinkedIn listing themselves as alumni and 7.33% of those state on their profile that they work at the companies included in the analysis. This suggests that more than one in every 14 graduates of the LSE will go on to work at some of the biggest companies in the world. The biggest employer of LSE graduates is Deloitte.

LSE is also the best Russell Group university to attend for students who want to develop careers in the financial sector.  It has 2,442 alumni working in the financial sector at some of the world’s top companies with recent placements including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and the Bank of America.  

LSE also takes the lead in producing the Russell Group’s highest percentage of graduates currently working at Google – in total 387 alumni list the internet giant as their employer on LinkedIn. 

Second on the list is the University of Warwick, with 6.3% of its graduates currently employed by major companies. Deloitte was again the biggest employer of graduates, with companies including and Unilever and Google also employing Warwick alumni.  

Imperial College London is the Russell Group university with the third-highest percentage of alumni working at top employers. In total  6.27% of people with a degree from the London university are now working at one of the businesses included in the analysis. Incidentally, Imperial College London is the Russell Group University which has produced the highest percentage of alumni currently working at Microsoft, with 233 graduates there.

Durham University places fourth on the list thanks to 5.97% of its alumni being employed by top companies, while the University of Nottingham is fifth, with 4.79%. 

Deloitte was ranked seventh on the Fortune Best Big Companies to work for in 2021, and the company is the most common destination for Russell Group alumni. Compared to all the companies on the list, Deloitte employs the highest percentage  of graduates from 22 of the 24 universities. There are currently 1,546 LSE alumni working there, which is the highest percentage on the list, shortly followed by Durham University in second.  

For any budding scientists  inspired by AstraZeneca’s vaccine response, the University of Manchester offers a promising path. The University of Manchester currently has  529 alumni working for the pharmaceutical  multinational that is a pioneer in the world of drug discovery. AstraZeneca was already world-renowned but has become something of a household name since the development of their Covid 19 vaccination. With the rise in awareness of the brand, there should be plenty of new opportunities for graduates looking for employment with one of the biggest pharmaceuticals in the world.

William Humphreys, CEO & Founder of Oxford Royale Academy commented on the findings: “It is fascinating to see the path that graduates of top universities are most likely to take in their careers. Earning a place at a Russell Group institution is a challenge, and it doesn’t stop there once students are graduating and finding their way in the working world. Therefore, planning and preparing for professional life is key to give a student the best chance.”

The top prestigious employer of each UK Russell Group university

University Company Number from university working at company
London School of Economics & Political Science Deloitte 1546
University of Warwick Deloitte 740
Imperial College London Deloitte 458
Durham University Deloitte 733
University of Nottingham Deloitte 792
University College London EY 689
Queen Mary, University of London EY 344
King’s College London EY 531
University of Bristol Deloitte 602
University of York Deloitte 340
University of Exeter Deloitte 580
University of Southampton Deloitte 490
University of Oxford Deloitte 723
University of Manchester Deloitte 884
University of Edinburgh Deloitte 507
University of Birmingham Deloitte 696
University of Cambridge Deloitte 843
Queen’s University Belfast PwC 625
University of Glasgow Deloitte 323
University of Leeds Deloitte 636
Newcastle University PwC 494
University of Sheffield Deloitte 437
Cardiff University Deloitte 529
University of Liverpool Deloitte 340

Source – Oxford Royale Academy

What are the Russell Group Universities?

The Russell Group Universities are a group of twenty-four public research institutions in the United Kingdom. Its members are often regarded as being the most prestigious universities in the country and at the forefront of cutting edge research. It got its name from the location of the first meetings of the Group, which were regularly held at the Hotel Russell in Russell Square, London.

The original Russell Group was started in 1994 and was comprised of 17 universities in total. A few years after its formation, Cardiff University and Kings College London joined, shortly followed by Queens University Belfast. The latest additions to the group are Durham University, the University of Exeter, Queen Mary University of London, and the University of York, all of which joined in 2012.

As of 2017, the Russell Group Universities receive over three-quarters of all university research grants in the UK. Graduates from Russell Group Universities hold 61% of all UK jobs that require a university degree, despite being only 17% of all graduates. Russell Group members award 60% of all doctorates gained in the United Kingdom. Fifteen of the country’s sixteen universities in the Times Higher Education Top 100 are members of the group.

The Russell Group states that “through world-class research and education they are helping to create a dynamic economy, stronger communities and a better future for the UK.”


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