Choosing between RSM / HEC / LBS / Bocconi for masters in Finance

Hey would highly appreciate if someone could give their opinion. Basically, Dutch business student at a non-target university looking to work in Investment Banking preferably in London but if not possible would be willing to stay and work in the Netherlands. My GPA is equivalent of a UK First Class and I have participated in a lot of extracurricular activities as well.

What do you guys think would give me the highest chance to land an IB job/internship in London. If I choose RSM for my masters I can skip the GMAT as it is not required and I’m basically guaranteed a spot.

Is it worth trying to pursue the other masters? Will it significantly increase my chances? If so, which of the universities ranks the best in London IB placement? Or which of these universities will be more convenient to get into without having internship experience at the time of application? I do have experience with my own startup and several other part-time jobs.

Would highly appreciate any kind of help. Thanks!

 

Based on the most helpful WSO content, when it comes to choosing between RSM, HEC, LBS, and Bocconi for a master's in Finance with the goal of landing an investment banking job in London, here are some insights:

  • LBS (London Business School): LBS is highly regarded in the London finance community, and its MiM (Master in Management) program is well-recognized. LBS also offers an optional 4th term which allows students to apply for summer analyst positions, which could be beneficial for gaining IB experience.

  • HEC Paris: HEC is known for its strong MSc International Finance program and has a good reputation in the finance industry. It's considered to be on par with other top-tier institutions and can open doors to interviews in London.

  • Bocconi: Bocconi is a well-respected institution, especially in the European finance community. While it may not have the same level of on-campus recruiting as some UK schools, it still holds a strong brand name that can help with landing interviews.

  • RSM (Rotterdam School of Management): RSM is a good school, but it's mentioned that there are way fewer people from RSM in London compared to the other mentioned universities. However, if you can secure a spot without a GMAT and you have a strong profile, it could still be a viable option, especially if you're considering staying in the Netherlands.

In terms of convenience without internship experience, schools like LSE and LBS are known to land many interviews for their students, which suggests that they may be more forgiving of a lack of traditional internship experience if you have other strong aspects in your profile, such as a startup or part-time work.

Ultimately, if your primary goal is to work in London, attending a school with a strong brand in the UK, such as LBS, might significantly increase your chances. However, it's also important to consider the network and recruitment opportunities each school offers, as well as the fit with the program and city.

Here is a question that you might be interested in and I can help you with: What are the key factors to consider when choosing a master's program for investment banking in London?

Sources: International Student - Chance of getting an IBD internship in London?, LBS vs UCL vs Imperial for IB, European Master in Finance programmes (pre-experience), Msc Finance ranking Europe, University Of St. Andrews experience? Opinions?

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.
 

I would suggest to take a year off, complete 2x off-cycle internships in IB/PE and do the GMAT in the meantime. Apply for LBS, LSE, Oxford, HEC, Bocconi, HSG. You should have a decent chance to get in either one of these with your 1st class and decent GMAT.

You will be at a target school with 2 solid experiences and applying for SA when the market will have recovered.

I strongly recommend against doing a 1-year master's degree without any strong previous experiences.

 

Agree with the poster above extend your masters to 2 years for experience, all those you mention are fine. Would say RSM is not weaker than the other unis as you are a Dutch speaker as recruiters know RSM is a top target for Dutch native speakers.

 

Analyst 1 in IB - Cov:

Agree with the poster above extend your masters to 2 years for experience, all those you mention are fine. Would say RSM is not weaker than the other unis as you are a Dutch speaker as recruiters know RSM is a top target for Dutch native speakers.


Hey thanks for the reply! So you suggest not taking a gap year but just extending my masters to 2 years (completing 2 internships I assume in the meanwhile)? Do you think that this will also give me a high chance of landing a London IB internship as well? Or just NL based opportunities? Thanks you.

 

Analyst 1 in IB - Cov:

Agree with the poster above extend your masters to 2 years for experience, all those you mention are fine. Would say RSM is not weaker than the other unis as you are a Dutch speaker as recruiters know RSM is a top target for Dutch native speakers.


Thank you*

 
Most Helpful

Hey thanks for the reply, highly appreciate it. I have some other questions regarding your reply if you don’t mind.

1) Let’s say I finish my bachelor degree Sep 2025 and take a year off to complete 2x internships. If I want to start my masters degree in 2026 I would need to apply for most of the business schools around Oct/Sep 2025 (first rounds). By this time I still wouldn’t have any internship experience so how does that work? I know I might be missing something but I’m very new to this that’s why I wanted to be sure.

2) I’m pretty sure I might be able to complete an internship (3-4 months but still need to find a company) by the end of my bachelor as my uni gives me the opportunity to do so while writing my thesis. This way, I would be in time to apply with a relevant (M&A/PE) internship and hopefully with a decent GMAT score. Do you think it’s worth trying with just one internship? In the meanwhile (Sep 2025 - Sep 2026) I could complete more internships (but as suggested at my previous point idk how I can show it during my application which happens earlier).

3) Do you think extending the RSM master in F&I to 2 years (and completing internships) would be better for me as a Dutch student instead of going to Bocconi or HSG? Basically, I do believe for landing a London IB internship LBS/LSE/Oxford would be ideal as they’re UK based. Perhaps HEC as well. But I’ve heard stories that for Dutch students RSM would be better than Bocconi & HSG. But I’m not sure if this is true. That’s why I wanted to ask you.

Thanks for reading this long message. I tried to keep it short :) (failed doing so)

 

1) You will have at least an internship offer by Oct 2025 that you can showcase in your master application

2) See above

3) I would say LBS/LSE/Oxford/HEC are the ones what will give you the highest chance. Bocconi/HSG/RSM would be in the same bucket given that you are Dutch. I don't know your financial situation but keep in mind the significant higher cost for the UK + HEC degrees vs. the others for in my opinion a marginal improvement

Overall comment:

The idea with the gap year and internships is not necessarily to help you get into business schools (sure it helps) but most importantly to tailor a strong CV for SA applications. All the above unis will tick the box for the education part. What will give you an interview in London as a European student is your work experiences. I have seen too many bright students at top schools but without any internships who end up at big4 or no name boutiques.

 

Intern in IB - Cov:

1) You will have at least an internship offer by Oct 2025 that you can showcase in your master application



2) See above



3) I would say LBS/LSE/Oxford/HEC are the ones what will give you the highest chance. Bocconi/HSG/RSM would be in the same bucket given that you are Dutch. I don't know your financial situation but keep in mind the significant higher cost for the UK + HEC degrees vs. the others for in my opinion a marginal improvement



Overall comment:



The idea with the gap year and internships is not necessarily to help you get into business schools (sure it helps) but most importantly to tailor a strong CV for SA applications. All the above unis will tick the box for the education part. What will give you an interview in London as a European student is your work experiences. I have seen too many bright students at top schools but without any internships who end up at big4 or no name boutiques.


Yes, understood. Thanks for the explanation. So I basically really need to focus on getting internships as soon as possible.

 

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