Imperial MSc Finance vs. Full Time MM

Hello everyone,

I am a final year French bachelor student and am currently hesitating between several offers for September 2023 following 2 off cycles in M&A and PE LMM:

  • Imperial MSc Finance
  • FTO in an MM investment bank in Paris (Bryan Garnier, Clipperton, Cambon, Lincoln, etc.)
  • MM Private Equity internship in Paris (Naxicap, Eurazeo, Bridgepoint) followed by application to LBS/LSE for September 2024

My long-term goal is to work in a top Growth Equity firm (GA, TA Associates, PSG, etc.), either in Paris or London.

What would be the best option?

Thanks for your help!

Most Helpful

If you want to make it less messy and want to be in London specifically. You can take the masters degree at Imperial and push into a growth position given your internships.

The LBS/LSE / FT option can go south in the future and you are stuck at a mediocre bank. Probably best to keep upping your internship game until you can commit to a higher pedigree shop for FT.

If I was you it would either be the MM PE fund in Paris and try to do full time apps into London as well as LBS/LSE or go for imperial from the get go.

Interested to hear from others how big of a disparity they see in quality/pedigree between imperial’s MSc finance and LBS/LSE. I agree the latter is better but marginally from an employment perspective.

I went through finance masters apps, graduated last year from an elite program. Would say imperial is a cut below for getting FT offers in corp finance / pe. When I researched alumni profiles I found only a few manage to make it into ibanking each year (seemingly randomly) and many have to settle for big 4 / acca paths. It would however be great for the quant route.

It could work well if you manage to defer one or more offers to fit in with your masters. But honestly I think it would be better to go to an LBS/LSE/Oxford/HEC if you can. Your MM FT could be decent if you get deal flow + experience and can lateral for associate years.

Yes, I think Imperial is the best solution. I spoke today with several senior executives from top growth funds (Bain Capital, BX, KKR Growth) and they advised me to go straight to Imperial College as the difference with LBS/LSE is tiny and with the internships I've done and my profile I'll have a very good shot at off-cycle and FT recruiting in EB/BB and top funds in London.And even if I don't find a great opportunity because of the current market, I could accept an offer from a lesser-known institution and leverage the Imperial brand for lateral later on.

Bud surely the fact that you’re essentially missing out on 100,000+ euros/ pounds should factor into this… you could just do 1year to 18 months of banking then recruit for the buyside anyways … without paying 50k for the Imperial Msc 

Current MFin Imperial student here. I would say the difference between ICBS & LBS/LSE is not tiny...

Mate some of the smartest people i know, ( think oxbridge/ LSE/HEC kids), got laid off  a year ish into their analyst programs and every single one of them will be doing a target Msc, followed by subsequently recruiting for buyside/ top SS roles . Don’t get it twisted the €90k euros from MM banking + €60k opportunity cost of HOPEFULLY securing what you want is not worth it in the current market. 1000% take the job over any internship.

So if I had an offer for an MSc (not LBS/LSE), do I just give up and defer a year because of the competition from your mates/people like them?

The M&A you listed for the FT are among the best in M&A tech in Paris so if you are ok with working in France I would highly suggest taking it. Can always do an Msc/MBA/LBS MiF later if you feel the need.

Overall, I would say FT is the only option which guaranty you no regret

The thing is, I've only done a 4-year BBA in France so I'm still quite young and would like to add a nice MSc to my CV for the long term. I've also been admitted to ESCP's MSc Finance but I think Imperial would provide a much better stamp than a new French business school.

As for the MBA, I don't see many people doing them in the industry and I think that's because it's mainly the start of a career that's important in IB, so getting a boost from an MSc is probably the most valuable thing.

Any insights?

That's the point, why would you need a boost if you already have a FTO ? Personal opinion but I don't think getting in PE right after graduation is a good idea as IB really give rigor and good market knowledge (if you are specialized as it seems you would given the names you quote). 

This said, I agree with you that only having a BBA might limit you later on in France and that's why I suggested LBS MiF or MBA if you feel the need. 

If you already know which PE you would be aiming for, go through their whole junior-low senior team and compare their academics. Agree on adding a UK Msc vs French

I wonder how much of a difference there is between these Masters, or is it like the difference between HEC/X and ESCP/ESSEC in France? Of course HEC/X are much better, but ESSEC/ESCP and even EDHEC/EMLyon get you through most of screenings, especially with relevant internships.

Students currently enrolled at Imperial with relevant internships have told me they're being screened at big funds like Cinven, Astorg, KKR for off cycles. Then it's a matter of performing well at interviews, isn't it?

Plus the Imperial College brand seems to me to be more recognized in France than LBS and LSE ...

Did you apply to LSE or LBS this cycle? How did it go?

Historically, I've seen LSE can be weird. E.g. one person was waitlisted, and decided to delay to try again next year, only to be outright rejected.

Have less info on LBS.

My vote is to just take FTO, especially in this environment. Many Analysts (at LMM banks) have told me it's very easy to lateral once you are in the industry.

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