A couple of weeks ago, I spent a little over a week in London to visit some family. Because I’m looking into studying in the UK for my MSc in Finance in a year or so, I thought this would be a great way to visit some schools there. I picked some of the obvious choices, including London School of Economics and London Business School, as well as a couple of not-as-well-known schools, including London Metropolitan University and Birkbeck, University of London. I spent a few days to look around some campuses, do some research on the programs these schools offer, meet some people, shake some hands, etc., etc., etc. After all of this, I thought this would be a great thread to read for anyone who is interested in going to the UK for grad school. My main point for this thread, however, is…are these schools really worth it? This week, I’ll be talking about LSE and I’ll be keeping the thread going through May.
London School of Economics (LSE)
When it comes to LSE, everything you heard from friends or read on WSO or ANT’s website (http://www.msfhq.com) is completely correct.
In my opinion (whatever that’s worth), it really is the best school for a MSc when it comes to the program and particularly, the recruiting. LSE offers 3 different MSc programs: Finance (part- and full-time), Finance & Economics and Finance & Private Equity. Plus, there’s flexibility. If you’re in the MSc Finance, but then realize you want to do PE, there are a lot of electives that you can take for it. There are the usual requirements for potential students when it comes to applying. For starters, they are expecting at least a 3.5/4.0as well as high (the advisor I spoke with said some of the recent class averages were around 720 and have been trending higher for the past few years now). Also, there’s the cost: £26,500 or approx $43K for a one year program…and that’s just tuition. They also want prior work experience. But the worst piece of info? LSE has an acceptance rate of around 6%. But what you’re getting is a world-class education in Central London, one of the biggest financial capitals of the world.
I had the opportunity to meet with an advisor and during the discussion, she gave advice for prospective applicants, as well as describing what I call the “benefits” of the school (networking and recruiting). First, when applying, your undergrad background usually doesn’t matter (or matter as much as you may think). If your background is non Econ/Finance/Math, just explain why this degree and this school is a great fit for you. She noted that some of the best graduates, particularly in the finance program, majored in English, Biology, or even a foreign language. Also, she encouraged more students to apply from under-represented areas in the world. Students from Asia, Europe and the UK made up ~80% of the graduate student population, and because of that, LSE really wants more applicants from everywhere else, particularly from the US. She called this a potential “edge” for some applicants.
Finally, the meeting shifted to the benefits of LSE, i.e. recruiting and networking. She showed me a list of the firms that came on campus for recruiting last year. It was simply ridiculous. Name a financial institution or corporation, they were there: small, large, international, PE, IDB, VC, Big 4, F50, S&T, non-profit, IT, anyone, everyone. Also, she mentioned that many weren’t recruiting for just the UK or Europe. They’re also recruiting for Singapore, Hong Kong, NYC, South Africa, Brazil, Dubai and many others. Apart from the usual recruiting season, the school offers so many on-campus presentations that students will always have opportunities to network. This, I believe, is the one main reason why anyone should study here.
So my take on LSE? In my opinion, if you truly have the opportunity to go, take it simply for the recruiting/networking as well as its location in London. The school seems to excel at it and you’ll almost certainly have a great job after graduation. Because of this, I think this is really all the school has to offer that most others don’t. If anyone else has a different opinion on the school, throw it on the board.
So there’s my take on LSE. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions. I still have that contact in the admin office so if you want, I can relay your questions to her. Next week, I’ll be writing about Birkbeck, University of London.