Ultimate UK UNI IB Tier list

Tier 1a (Top target): LSE, Oxbridge

If you're in this tier, are actively trying to break into BB/EB and don't make it in by ASO level then you are suffering from a serious skill issue.

Tier 1b (Good target): Imperial, UCL

Look, who cares that LSE has beat you guys just this once. You objectively still have exposure to a more diverse set of careers and if your'e at imperial then you would be tier 1a for quant recruiting, which has arguably the most attractive modern day seats out of Undergrad (p.s. I Would love to see some braindead ib hardos in this thread arguing they would rather be GS TMT than a QT at Jane street  lol).

Tier 1c (Just about target): Warwick

For all the slander we get warwick is still an IB target school. Placements have been deteriorating but  still have a strong IB culture resonating in the uni. I like to call Warwick  the humble durham as quite literally everyone there (Except perhaps the Mickey Mouse degree bunch) is an oxbridge reject but most aren't posh twats.

Tier 2a (Top Semi-Targets): Durham, Bristol

Now we are just about entering the territory of actually not breaking into BB/EB By ASO level. Some BB/EB/MBB have designated durham as a target school, though this is probably because some MD's have to get their oxbridge reject kids in the bank without making the nepotism insultingly blatant. But seriously man your average durham student is such a prick, I honestly think if they were just a tad bit more humble this would come across positively in interviews and increase their placement to an extent they were a target. I say this as I go to warwick and the few durham interns I came across when interning at my BB pretty much had identical grade/experience profiles to the warwick lot but they just emanated this pompous, overbearing aura. Bristols placement is improving incredibly quickly and that's probably due to their more intense ib culture than durham. The Bristol guys I have met definitely want it more.

Tier 2b (Decent Semi-Targets): St Andrews, Edinburgh, TCD, Nottingham, Bath, Exeter, KCL

Nothing much to say here other than to the Scottish uni goers who would probably be seething at not being a top semi-target but unfortunately being ranked high globally doesn't dictate your placement. Edinburgh is ranked quite a bit higher than LSE globally (for obvious research reasons) but your top EDI student will probably end up in the same place as your average LSE student.

Also, Nottingham placement is rapidly improving but I don't think their average candidate is polished enough to ever be a top semi-target let alone a target.


Tier 2c (Just about Semi-Target): Cass, Loughborough

Loughborough is only here for its good industrial placement program. Cass is just Cass.

 

Its just not as granular as this anymore. "Your top EDI student will have the same placement as average LSE student" - plenty of people go to top BBs and EBs each year from Edinburgh which just obviously isn't the average LSE outcome. Yes overall total placement is a lot lower but total applications will be a lot lower as well (Edinburgh just doesn't have a finance careers culture like LSE for example). Also no point breaking it down by tiers of target and semi-target, banks just dgaf - HR spends 10 seconds on a CV and isn't weighing things up like that.

Also Imperial is same level as LSE for recruiting they just have far less people applying, hence placement numbers. Its also a tier below oxbridge for quant.

BBs will just group between targets and semis and even then the line is blurred between them (especially for springs).

 
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University prestige is overplayed. I go to a top semi-target (Notts/Edinburgh/Birmingham) and landed top 3 BB (GS/MS/Santander Corporate & Investment Banking). My advice is to keep your head up and work on building experience!

 

drop this tier list and get laid, your future self will thank you

 

Got an offer for A&F Durham currently but, as an international, I'm not sure if it's worth the costs. Would it make more sense to do a cheaper degree in the EU and then a masters?

Also is Durham significantly better than Exeter, Notts and Bath?

 

Durham student here. Based on grades and ‘prestige’, I would say we are significantly better than Notts/Exeter and just a bit ahead of bath. Based on Placements, we are significantly better than Exeter and bath and just a bit ahead of notts. 
 

A&F students here have a pretty weak ib placement but you definitely wouldn’t struggle to land a big 4 placement then maybe lateral to bb/eb. The best degres for IB in Durham are Econ, STEM, PPE etc (I.e. subjects most likely to be harbouring the oxbridge rejects haha)

would honestly recommend you just save money and do the masters plan you had.

 

Durham student here. The comment above got some things wrong. 

In terms of "prestige" in finance, we are leagues ahead of Notts, Exeter, baths and the likes. Would place us directly under Warwick, in the finance world, and below Oxbridge/St Andrew in terms of general public perception. 

Placements are a hit or miss since ultimately it's a semi-target, but just like the post above, what gives Durham an edge over Bristol is that there are designated BB/ED/MM that consider Durham to be their target uni. 

A good few examples are Bank of America, Barclays, Jefferies, ING and Evercore (All my interviewers for SA at these banks were Durham Alumnis). 

I do A&F, and managed to get a summer at a top BB. Generally speaking your degree doesn't matter much, Econ is fine and so is Bsc Finance or BA A&F, but there is a preference for Math/STEM degrees that can give you an edge. If you can handle it, then I'd advise you go for Mathematic, Physics, Engineering etc. But not doing these degrees wouldn't hurt your chances (I've seen plenty of Law, History and anthropology students at Durham break into IB).

I heard EU is hell, best of luck if you decided to go there. Your average student in EU competing for internships would be a 26 years old from HEC with 3 different internships from top EBs and an off-cycle at KKR. Lmao

 

How does Exeter keep coming up as a "decent semi-target"?

 

Watered down durham, Polished students with good industry connections.

 

I've met a grand total of 1 Exeter student across my connections at various BB banks.

 

"decent semi-target" This is only because of the BSc Magic course 

 

E.g if unable to break in straight out of ug and you go to big4/MBB/MM,  then you could lateral into BB/EB before you finish your analyst stint 

 

Ah okay. After your first job very few people care about your university is the reality. It’ll count a little bit but not much. And it’s not so easy to lateral jobs without having been promoted at least once. And MBB is harder to get into than banking so that sounds unlikely. But I get the premise now

 

Even though I don't agree with some of the commentary I think this picture is pretty accurate for undergraduates. Personally I also don't think it is as granular. Splits into roughly three tiers with little differentiation in how I view them in terms of prestige and chances.

Most-definitely-tier: Oxbridge, LSE, Imperial
Good chances if you put your mind to it: UCL, Warwick and perhaps Durham
Feasible in principle but unlikely: all of the other unis named

 

Hey, this is kind of a repeat but I'm currently holding an offer for A&F at Durham but, as an international, I'm not sure if it's worth the costs.

Would it make more sense to do a significantly cheaper degree in the EU and then a masters? I thought that might make sense given that I might need to do a masters in the future anyways. Things would get a bit tight for my family (financially) if I chose durham over the EU. Not really sure what to do. 

Ideally I'd like to work at an EB/BB in London 

Any advice?

 

Funny, I was in the exact same situation as you back then. Had an undergrad offer for A&F at a uni in this bucket, but decided to go with a local target instead. Did a target Masters in the UK and managed to break in. Keep in mind this is anecdotal and just one datapoint.

Generally speaking, European unis are an attractive choice if, like me, you did not get into one of the UK top-targets. That's because below them there is a degree of uncertainty and the element of randomness. All fine paying tuition fees and higher COL, when it is safe to assume you will get a spot (provided you do the legwork). But if there is a chance of striking out, I didn't want to burden myself and my family with tens of thousands in debt when I can study at a decent uni back home for free essentially.

Another advantage is that you can sometimes do internships during breaks and parallel to your studies. Gives you a leg up in recruiting and for Masters admissions. If you speak the local language you can apply for both UK and domestic opportunities (I did my internships in the UK). Applications are also less competitive when you have a non-standard profile vs. going to a solid UK uni but being second in line after top targets.

That said Durham is quite decent and you're not making a mistake if you choose it regardless. I don't know your specifics and what your alternatives are, but hopefully this gives you some considerations to base your decision on.

 

Durham getting far too overhyped above. Its a semi target simple as that. Durham students like to act like it's better because of its oxbridge reject reputation and because its ranked highly in certain uni league tables and it's very strong for law, but for finance it's a semi target I'm afraid - and this is reflected in placement numbers.

OP is also right about how Durham students are incredibly jarring

 

(p.s. I Would love to see some braindead ib hardos in this thread arguing they would rather be GS TMT than a QT at Jane Street lol).

Change GS to Natixis and we'd agree with you

 

Thumbs up to all the LSE Indian hardos with top spring converted placements

 

LSE is overrated. University doesnt mean shit these days. The LSE people that get into IB/markets are either: international rich kids whose parents run a multinational industrial firm, went to private school or grammar school in the UK, or low income but worked their arse off since they were born and are really smart despite no access to riches and opportunities. You could be an LSE finance or econ student and have zero chance of getting into IB if you aint got the right extra curriculars, societies, volunteering, interests, past experience (yes, alot of firms even for springs look at your past experiences now since competition is so so high - if you aint DEI, then you gotta have at least a few weeks of experience in finance before or while youre in first year of uni). There's just huge selection bias at LSE, and if you ain't part of that crowd, you ain't getting nowhere no matter how hard you try. Sad truth. Also, it is perceived that not all LSE students are smart and on the ball. An Lse econ student is perceived to be much more desirable than an LSE econ history or geography student. But we view all Oxbridge and Imperial students the same. An Oxford classics student is perceived the same as an Oxford engineering student (except for quant ofc). And all imperial students are smart and capable by virtue of the degrees on offer albeit in my experience many imperial kids are social awkward compared to Oxbridge and LSE.

The gap between the other unis get much smaller all things considered. A bath econ student with dece volunteering and interests and experience will do way better than an LSE econ student with nothing. The gap is not what it seems anymore.

If you have the right characteristics, you will get into IB/markets from any uni top 15 uni.

I didn't go to a top tier target, only semi top.

 

Agree with this. Before recruiting, from reading this website it made it seem that university prestige made way more of a difference than what I actually experienced. Its realistically more like 10% of your overall application. Yes its nice to have oxbridge on your CV but if you have fuck all else you're toast.

 

The LSE people that get into IB/markets are either: international rich kids whose parents run a multinational industrial firm, went to private school or grammar school in the UK, or worked their arse off and are really smart but without access to riches and opportunities.

true. also the reality in other countries as well

 

Current lse undergrad student. I 100% agree with you. I myself did not land a EB/BB offer and am going to have to lateral out from the MM I am at in the summer. I only started applying in October 2023 -  OP's point about not making it into a BB/EB while at lse oxbridge is just retarded - it is not a "skill issue" it is far more nuanced as mentioned above. LSE or even Oxbridge alone without: DEI, Prior Experience, Extra-Curriculars and the ability to speak clearly and in a succinct manner will get you nowhere. Even with the aforementioned it is still extremely hard to get FO IB at GS - this year second years were competing with European Guys with 4-5 previous IB internships and sometimes even Masters. OP I would recommend you search up some of the BB LSE guys and see how many PE/IB internships they had PRIOR to coming to lse lol. It is not as black and white as you think. 

 

I myself did not land a EB/BB offer and am going to have to lateral out from the MM I am at in the summer. 

Tell me you go to LSE without telling me you go to LSE 

 

I said by associate level. IE if you’re not making it out by UG then you should be able to lateral in your analyst stint like you plan on doing

 

LSE is overrated. University doesnt mean shit these days. The LSE people that get into IB/markets are either: international rich kids whose parents run a multinational industrial firm, went to private school or grammar school in the UK, or low income but worked their arse off since they were born and are really smart despite no access to riches and opportunities. You could be an LSE finance or econ student and have zero chance of getting into IB if you aint got the right extra curriculars, societies, volunteering, interests, past experience (yes, alot of firms even for springs look at your past experiences now since competition is so so high - if you aint DEI, then you gotta have at least a few weeks of experience in finance before or while youre in first year of uni). There's just huge selection bias at LSE, and if you ain't part of that crowd, you ain't getting nowhere no matter how hard you try. Sad truth. Also, it is perceived that not all LSE students are smart and on the ball. An Lse econ student is perceived to be much more desirable than an LSE econ history or geography student. But we view all Oxbridge and Imperial students the same. An Oxford classics student is perceived the same as an Oxford engineering student (except for quant ofc). And all imperial students are smart and capable by virtue of the degrees on offer albeit in my experience many imperial kids are social awkward compared to Oxbridge and LSE.

The gap between the other unis get much smaller all things considered. A bath econ student with dece volunteering and interests and experience will do way better than an LSE econ student with nothing. The gap is not what it seems anymore.

If you have the right characteristics, you will get into IB/markets from any uni top 15 uni.

I didn't go to a top tier target, only semi top.

Missed OP's point by about a mile and a half.

If you're at LSE and are actively trying to break into BB/EB but don't have any extracurriculars, societies, volunteering, interests, past experience, etc.

Then what the heck is wrong with you?

Going to a good Uni is only part of what makes a good candidate.

LSE & Imperial don't have the same brand name, history, and international presence as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and the likes.

No one is going to hand you an internship just because you have LSE/Imperial on your CV. (I can see some leeway at Imperial if you do a hard STEM degree).

The fact of the matter is, a well-polished student at LSE with an OK resume (regardless of the degree bias) is RIGHT UP THERE competing against the Oxbridge kids, who probably aren't working as hard or taking it as seriously as they could.

From a student at a semi-target, who fought tooth and nails to get any decent summer experience this year, it infuriates me when people say "Target-uni is overrated." With almost 90% of students at every assessment center I've been to being from a target (Most of them from LSE, who weren't even doing a business degree).

Doesn't help that the LSE kid above me is complaining that he got into a MM instead of a EB/BB. Must be so hard being at LSE....

Anyway. 
 

It really is a "skill issue" if you're not breaking into IB at LSE because you couldn't be bothered to polish up your CV and get some experience before applying. 
Stop acting like the situation is worse than it actually is. 

 

Yeah I get what your saying. I should have been a little more clearer. 

- Believe it or not there are a decent proportion of people at LSE especially during first year completely oblivious to Spring weeks and Banking. They just got into LSE because of a good academic personal statement and getting 3 A's or more at A-Level and searching up on Quora and Reddit - "Is LSE prestigious etc" to form their opinions on it.

I will get monkey shit for this but I don't care. Quite frankly it you didn't get into LSE that's a real "skill issue" because they literally base your application off a 4000 character personal statement and on the website it literally tells you what they are looking for and what to include. I'm come from a lower-middle class family and have been state school educated my whole life. I'm not particularly smart nor try to be and if a retard like me can get in then I think most can. 

Also your comment on 'oh the whiny LSE student only got an MM how sad must be tough' - I literally had to fight "tooth and nail" like yourself to get my offer. 300+ applications and getting ghosted after ACs etc. Especially someone from where I'm from doesn't make it to where I am alot. It's a rare occurrence. Sure LSE students are ambitious - I mean the prestige factor + being surrounded by a bunch of hardo's may ruin your perceptions of reality and sense of achievement but so what? It literally doesn't help you in any tangible way in your applications. Apart from peer pressure to get a nice IB internship there is no tangible benefit whatsoever.

Aside from that people that come here I would say are more capable and driven than most when it comes something they care about. 

Many people get serious with careers during second and third year once they find out all the better informed people from first year got springs and internships converted to FTs. But with how competitive it is now once you have a CV ready with say 1 finance related internship / 6th form finance event you attended at Rothschild/Big4 or something and a society role with some volunteering and charity work you are now just an average or below average candidate. You are now fighting "tooth and nail" (someone's a little dramatic) like everyone else and have no advantage over anyone and your university has 0 effect on your application.

I've mentored 4-5 kids very briefly from first year for spring weeks as a apart of a society role- very capable people who smashed numerical tests, smashed HVs and mock interviews and all privately educated. Not a single spring. Over 50 applications per candidate. 

A first year guy I know can make a 3 way model and do an LBO and has BB sixth form work experience in a FO role who didn't land a spring offer can't do it I don't think it's because of "skill" , I think the competition is now on steroids and it your university has way less of a bearing on your actual outcomes. 

Edit: sorry for the poor grammar and attention to detail - will fix later. WSO mobile sucks 

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Honestly I feel these tiers aren’t so huge in IB BB recruiting these days, though they are quite prevalent in quant (the tiers include a very different ordering in Imperial, Warwick and LSE though).

 

Idk how many times a year we need some dweeb (probably a student) feels the need to opine on some stupidly detailed ranking of unis but if you're a future dweeb, please just don't.

Reality is it's not this granular but targets exist. My bank's IB SA class (excl. Europeans) last year was basically 90% the typical 5/6 target unis. That's not an exaggeration. Tells you pretty much all you need to know.

 

I have an FT return offer so don’t see how the 500 will be of much help now

 

Inferiority complex, none of the other targets consider Warwick people to be equal to them

 

Ignoring how bad of a post this, given that others have already commented on it, I do need to say that to this day, both Cambridge and Oxford remain such incredibly powerful universities. There's genuine history and connection power behind them - only James Callaghan, Gordon Brown and John Major did not hail from either university in the past 100 years. Top civil servants and special advisors typically hail from Oxbridge. Political correspondents and editors of newspapers are from Oxford or Cambridge. And it's why you don't tend to see much Oxbridge kids do IB because it is a unique pressurised environment that I am slightly jealous of

So LSE is not on the same level lol

 

Indeed. I wonder when their copes awake today as Becky from Cheshire, AAA, BA English St John’s College enters her 4th sales and marketing lateral.

 

Congrats on oxbridge degree. This mindset right here is why LSE wipes oxbridge's placement numbers. Also can almost guarantee the next series of UK PMs and future leaders will not majority come from oxbridge like they did in the past (combination of diversity push which includes university background + the general public being aware of and completely sick of privately educated oxbridge graduates)