By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Wall Street banks remain the employers of choice for new business school graduates, despite competition for talent from Silicon Valley, hedge funds and private equity firms, according to a study released on Tuesday.

More than a quarter of those surveyed by Wall Street training firm Training the Street said they were looking to join large banks upon receiving their MBAs, followed by 17 percent who chose consulting firms. Only 7 percent of business school graduates chose start-ups as their top employment destination.

The results come as Wall Street banks are taking more active steps to both retain employees and attract new types of candidates.

Barclays PLC said earlier this month it was launching an internship program in New York to target people who had taken a career break from the finance industry. The British bank also said it is letting U.S. staff take more time off after having a baby.

In the last several months, Credit Suisse AG established a fast-track program for top performing junior bankers, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc made changes designed to retain younger staff, including promoting them more quickly.

Although the majority of MBAs said they were positive on their job prospects after school, a smaller percentage are earning an annual base salary of $125,000 or more compared to last year.

Forty percent of respondents will make $125,000 or more, down from 43 percent last year, the survey found. Training the Street said it conducted the survey by email in the spring with 300 respondents.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)