BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston College graduates know how to pick stocks.

Alumni from the private Massachusetts Catholic college, who now work as analysts and portfolio managers at some of the world's best known hedge and mutual funds, beat out graduates from Ivy League and other top tier universities in selecting top performing U.S. stocks, according to SumZero, an online community that has been tracking investment bets since the financial crisis.

The Boston College graduates, now picking stocks for a living, won with bets that include Clearwater Paper, which rose 356 percent between 2009 when it was first pitched and 2013 when the position was closed. Other top performing selections by Boston College graduates include Boston Scientific, which climbed 104 percent since 2010, and Graphic Packaging Holding which rose 45 percent since 2013.

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"Conventional wisdom does suggest that you need to go to an Ivy League school or an Ivy like school to get a job in the fund industry because it is so competitive," said Nicholas Kapur, chief operating officer at SumZero. "While that may be true, these numbers show that going to a higher ranked school does not necessarily mean you will perform better," he added.

Since 2008, SumZero (sumzero.com) has calculated the total return of roughly 8,500 investment ideas that have been pitched by its roughly 12,000 members who all work at fund firms and are required to submit a resume to join. The resumes show SumZero where its members went to college and allow the company to divide its data in this way, Kapur said.

To create the list, SumZero, run by former hedge fund employees and Harvard graduates Divya Narendra and Halap Mahadevia, divided all investment ideas by the schools the people who pitched them attended. It then calculated a median average return for each school.

In order to be considered, universities had to have at least 20 alumni pitching at least one idea per person that laid out where they expected the stock price to move and why.

"This ranking attempts to be completely unbiased when looking at the outcomes when everyone is on the same playing field," Kapur said, adding "It is based on actual job performance data in a real-world environment."

The Boston College graduates' median average return was 30.9 percent, edging out Dartmouth College graduates who took second place with an average annual return of 30.8 percent, and University of California, Los Angeles whose graduates took third with 30.7 percent. University of Michigan and Georgetown followed in fourth and fifth places. Ivy League powerhouse Harvard ranked eight, outpacing rival Yale, which landed at spot 10 and the University of Pennsylvania which came in 16th.

Last year when SumZero used average annualized returns to make its list, the University of Virginia ranked first.

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Boston College, founded in 1863, traditionally is not known for churning out fund managers. But one of its alumni, Peter Lynch, is considered one of the best in the investment industry, having delivered an average annual return of 29.2 percent while running Fidelity's Magellan's fund 1977 and 1990.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; editing by Richard Valdmanis and Diane Craft)