LSE vs St. Gallen Masters

Hi everyone,

I got offers from both HSG and LSE to study in their main finance masters program. My main goal is definetly to break into Investment Banking, though I dont really have a preference between London and Frankfurt. So far, I have completed internships in Big4 transaction advisory, strategy consulting (lower tier but known in Germany), and middle market IB (this summer).

Now I am wondering, which of the two programs might be better to reach my goal:
LSE MSc Finance:
+For sure the better brand, known globally
+London as a city to live in
+Access to banks in London
+Exciting and international peer group
-Expensive (50,000 EUR, I would need to take a loan)
-1 Year Program, so I have to convert a summer internship into a full time offer without any buffer
St. Gallen Banking and Finance:
+Still a great brand, especially in Frankfurt on par with LSE
+Cheaper (~12,000 EUR, would be possible to finance without debt)
+1,5 year program allows me to do a summer internship and leverage that experience for a full time position the year after / another (better) summer internship to convert to a full time position
+Semester abroad in the third semester for the last holidays in the next 10 years of my life
-The brand is worse than LSE
-Stronger focus on Frankfurt
-Less exciting city
-probably less international / more German
-Opportunity costs of starting to work a year later (and real costs of housing and living, though its still a lot cheaper than LSE)

Whats your opinion on the matter? Which program is better suited to get me a job in banking, especially considering tuition and quality of life?
Thanks for your input!

 

HSG alumnus here

LSE is definitely one of the biggest brands you can have, not only in Europe. Placements are unbeatable and you can easily move between countries (England and Germany). If you ever plan to do an MBA on top, then LSE would set you up for a T10 Programm in the states as well.

HSG is also a powerhouse, especially in German speaking Europe. Places extremely well into FFM and ZH IB, also MBB (last year, 10+ out of ~140 graduates (Banking & Finance master) went to MBB in Zurich).

On top, HSG also offers banking days with firms from London, and many people actually start out in London after graduation. Because the program is 2 years, there is more room for error in that you could recruit twice. Also an exchange is always a great thing to do and you could get another very good school on your CV.

Since money is an issue for you and you don’t care too much about in which city you’ll end up, I’d say HSG. IF you want that extra prestige and work in London, it would have to be LSE.

IMO 50k student debt for the same outcome is an important consideration.

Congrats on both offers - you will do great either way

 

Yes, I think LSE places better in both cities, but the difference is so marginal that I don’t think it is worth the money (for Frankfurt)

For London, the difference is bigger but you still have a shot from st Gallen, especially since you already have some solid experience

 
Most Helpful

Time for a reality check. Former LSE MSc Finance here. Can summarize the course in a sentence. "Stay the fuck out of there". Lets start with the basics. Course is too expensive for what it offers. Case studies are ancient - studying deals that happened in 80s or 90s (believe it or not). Many of the professors simply couldn't care less about teaching, offer very limited prep resources and give exams far from the reality of teaching. Yes - I know "it's LSE - it's supposed to be like that" but I would expect something minimal more when paying 50k eur. Lets establish another thing. You are not going there to learn. Because 90% of the material is simply far from reality. Leaving the horrendous teaching and "assessment" aside, there is a massive rate of student dissatisfaction in all respects. And I'm speaking about tuition, career support, placement and teaching. Simply not what you pay for. Putting the whole experience aside, I feel I should mention a few things about placement. It's not good. Just not good. Figures they publish are inflated and majority of students struggle to get a single interview. Most of them interview at no name places. Some people land offers. A decent amount (20%?). Most of them are heading to SAs (not FTs), and from my experience it's people who would place regardless (whether you are at LSE, LBS, HEC or HSG). They have good profiles, prior internships and are typically well spoken/ charismatic. So the brand offered little to them. Additionally placement stats are inflated by students that come to the course already having a full time offer as they completed internships at BBs/EBs, and just need to spend another year in education. As such, LSE brand does nothing for either of the two aforementioned groups of people. Having graduated, I still have a couple of friends in the course and maintain occasional contact. All of them regret their choice, have not placed in IB and mainly struggle to pass the modules - which this year have unprecedented fail rates and pass. Majority of students either fail or pass the courses (50-55%) from what I heard. All in all, avoid at all costs. Not worth the money, and you can get better placement at LBS/Oxf/HEC and potentially HSG if you got the right profile. Oh and by the way - I hated my time there. Best of luck with the decision.

 

Jesus that sounds quite harsh and is pretty far away from the perspective a few acquaintances of mine at LSE were able to provide. Looking at LinkedIn profiles, there is a sizeable number of Germans going in to the MSc Finance with just a middle market internship that ended up at a Bulge Bracket Bank. I am sure HSG offers better teaching and in depth content, but I am mostly doing a masters for the brand and career perspectives. How come a university is this hyped in the Forum if realtiy is that far away?

 

It's that placement used to be significantly better last years. Going down recently I would say. As mentioned. The same people would also place from any of the aforementioned unis. It's not worth what you will be going through and placement is far from guaranteed (as in most unis) and it's going to be far from what you expect. If you have the chance go to LBS instead for significantly better experience and placement.

 

Want to provide some additional colour: Former MSc Fin. Alum here.

Yes, placement has detereorated as the department has seemingly given up on effective career support.

Yes, exams are unrealistic and current pass/fail rates are simply unacceptable for an MSc. of that caliber.

Yes, it is too expensive for what it offers.

However, it is still the most renowned FInance programme in Europe with, as far as I could tell, the highest quality cohort alongside the Oxford MFE.

So, if youre after brand name and prestige, this will serve you well, but expect to not have a fun or chill time in London, they will work you to the bone and likely not reward you for your efforts.

 

So how can placement be that bad (I mean, the other guys comment sounded pretty extreme) while LSE is still the biggest brand out there (Or atleast top 5 with oxford/LBS/HEC). Does that mean that I just have to show a higher level of initiative when it comes to recruiting compared to a few years ago? To be percise: Given my current profile described above, would LSE get me invited to BB IB interviews, especially when compared to HSG?
The whole thread sounds kinda dire to be honest, I thought that LSE is the highest level there is (and again, I have a 2-3 friends studying at LSE right now, getting Interviews at all major players without having a significantly better resume)

 

Isnt that the case at any top tier school though? I'd assume there are just as many people that already secured a full time offer before starting their masters at LBS than at LSE.

 

Can't speak for the MSc Fin as I did another masters at the LSE (which was also cheaper), so take my perspective with a grain of salt.

I personally really loved my experience at the LSE, met a bunch of great people from all over the world. Since it's not a "campus university" you have to actively make efforts to make friends, as people usually go to class and then just go home, so you have less of a classic student experience. It's really what you make of it. Yes, it's tough and the bar is set really high, but the brand name is 100% worth it IMHO.

As for IB offers, I know most of them come from converting a SA, but you can def secure a FT offer without a prior SA if you try hard enough. Since your graduation date will be in December, you technically also have two tries (once you start and once you finish). Basically when I started my MSc I had no idea what I wanted to do after that, and got a job in an unrelated sector which I started last July. I didn't like it, randomly started exploring IB and prepared like crazy for interviews for a few months. In the end I secured 3 FT offers, and accepted an offer from a BB. Since I graduated in December 2021, I was still eligible for a starting date in 2022. I know this is quite uncommon but just wanted to share my experience. 

Congrats on both offers though. I have friends who finished HSG and they also loved it and secured great offers.

 

Only 2 important questions:

Is money significant consideration/an issue?

Can you fit in boring environment/stiff atmosphere that is prevalent in german speaking countries?

If the answer is yes for both questions, 100% HSG. You will not experience any disadvantage recruiting from CH.

 
:

You will not experience any disadvantage recruiting from CH.

He will because the UK is not part of the European Economic Area anymore. Which means that a guy from Switzerland will have to get a visa the same way a guy from South Africa or India would have to.

 

As for money: I'd have to take out a loan for LSE, but in the end, I dont care too much. I wanna go into banking for the career path, and paying back 50k+interest is something I would be willing to do. Everything else being equal, of course I'd prefer the cheaper choice, but while tuition is a factor, its a minor one compared to career impact.
Visa would be the same issue recruiting from LSE, as I am still a German after graduating there. After speaking to German LSE grads though, it doesnt seem to be big of an issue, as banks sponsor your visa no matter what.
About German culture: I would love to study and live in an international environment - starting my career in London would be awesome too, but in the end, I would be extremely happy to get a BB offer no matter in which city. HSG seems to be very German, even in the more competitive MBF program.

 

Hi, another LSE msc fin alum here. I can provide some additional colour as both a bsc and msc grad from LSE

Firstly, everything that was said above, while harsh, is true. Especially with reference to offer placements, those who placed in BB/EB SA/FT programs were highly motivated students that I believe would have placed anywhere else too. And no, you won't learn anything new in the course.

That being said, the reason anyone attends the course is prestige. While marginal, a CV with LSE brand does make it to the top pile of recruiters more frequently. However, don't expect that placement will be easy. Expect to work as hard as you would at St gallen or anywhere else. IB early recruiting these days is extremely hard, and being at Oxbridge/LSE/LBS by no means gives you a free pass. If you do work hard, network, and prep interviews well, you will make it in the end. And even if you don't, with UK grad visa rules currently you have 2 additional years to try again. 

To summarize, you will get marginally better ops (which is also very luck-dependent) at LSE in exchange for paying high fees. If you would like to work in London for certain, this marginal difference may end up being an important factor. Being there physically while recruiting also helps. If not however, St gallen is probably what you should opt for.

Good luck.

 

Thank you for your insights!

I totally get that no uni will guarantee anything whatsoever - I know that working hard, studying interview prep material and networking on LinkedIn is a prerequisite for getting into banking from every school.It is true that this masters would be mostly for prestige, but coming from a complete non target school, I think prestige is exactly what I need.
As I said above, I understand that HSG would be the logical choice, but after thinking about it, I think I would go to LSE if there is a realistic chance of landing a summer internship at a BB (Getting out of the German speaking world, living in London for a year, flex of a LSE degree)
What’s your opinion: can I land a bunch of interviews in London with the MSc Finance on my CV, given I network a lot, have spotless application documents et cetera? Performance in interviews is obv. completely on me

 

Yes, with a few outliers aside, this is exactly how people in the course have placed before, with an above average degree of success. 

Reach out to alumni, use the careers service, go for company events. Relentless ask for phone calls and coffee chats - politely. Start early. One good thing is you can find LSE alumni from the junior to senior level at every BB.

While part of it is LSE, the other big part is the access you have by being in London. If you meet the right people, join the right society, you gain access to a whole array of motivated prospects and bankers who may be able to help you.

I think you can definitely land a few interviews if you follow this path, and a place like LSE, just like Oxford/LBS gives you the best chances. Thus, I think the important question you need to know yourself is whether you'd like to ultimately work in London or elsewhere.

Note: My advice mainly concerns recruiting. Regarding student satisfaction however, that's a whole different story.

 

Nobody can tell you whether your profile with LSE is good enough to get you interviews in London. I know a whole bunch of Germans from LSE/LBS/Imperial that could not land EB/BB internships despite having prior BB experience in Frankfurt or Zürich. HSG gives you an important hedge.

I was in the same boat and deeply wanted to go to London but went for HSG because of better career prospects (HSG Banking Days; Multiple internship opportunities; Option to do a „Gap Semester“; Placement in Switzerland & Germany besides London). From a lifestyle and prestige perspective, I would have loved to study at LSE/LBS but in the end it was the only rational decision to go for HSG.

 

I’m an MBF student at HSG. Would say it’s all about geography i.e. HSG > LSE in DACH (mainly because it’s also much more convenient, OCR etc.) and vice versa for London.

What I personally really like about the MBF is its top-tier placement in MBB/Consulting, which is not that common for MiF programmes:

Feel free to PM if you have any specific questions. FYI the full employment report is on the HSG/MBF website.

 

If you can't break from LSE MSc in ldn, Investment Banking is not for you. I've seen people from atrocious tier UGs break into bulges out of LSE Msc.

 

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