Choosing Between LBS MFA, LSE MSc, Imperial MSc in Finance for Investment Banking and Future PhD Pursuit

Hi everyone,

I'm facing a bit of a dilemma and could use some insights from those who are familiar with the finance industry and academic pathways. I've been fortunate enough to be accepted into both the LBS MFA (Master of Financial Analysis) program and the LSE MSc in Finance program, and I'm finding it difficult to make a final decision.

My primary career goal is to break into Investment Banking in London, and I've been leaning towards accepting the LBS offer mainly because I feel a stronger personal connection with the school. However, I also have a keen interest in pursuing academia and potentially a Ph.D. in finance after gaining a few years of industry experience.

I'm aware that LSE is renowned for its academic focus, but my concern is whether choosing LBS MFA would completely foreclose the possibility of pursuing a Ph.D. later on. Can I still get into a good Ph.D. program with an MFA from LBS, or am I sacrificing that opportunity by going with LBS over LSE?

I'd greatly appreciate any advice or insights you can provide to help me make this challenging decision. Thank you in advance!


Hey there,

First off, congratulations on your acceptances! That's no small feat. Now, let's dive into your question.

When it comes to breaking into Investment Banking in London, both LBS MFA and LSE MSc in Finance are excellent choices. They both have strong reputations and networks in the finance industry. However, LBS does have a slight edge due to its strong focus on practical skills and its extensive alumni network in the finance industry.

As for your academic aspirations, it's true that LSE is known for its academic rigor and many of its graduates do go on to pursue PhDs. However, that doesn't mean an MFA from LBS would completely close the door on a future in academia.

If you choose to go to LBS, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting into a PhD program in the future:

  1. Focus on your grades: PhD programs are highly competitive and having a strong GPA from a reputable institution like LBS will definitely help your application stand out.

  2. Get involved in research: Try to get involved in any research opportunities available at LBS. This could be through a thesis, independent study, or even assisting a professor with their research.

  3. Build relationships with professors: Having strong letters of recommendation is crucial for PhD applications. Make sure to build strong relationships with your professors so they can vouch for your academic abilities and potential for research.

  4. Consider a Master's thesis: If it's an option, writing a Master's thesis could be a good way to demonstrate your research skills and deep understanding of finance.

Remember, the most important thing is to choose the program that aligns best with your career goals and where you think you'll thrive. Both LBS and LSE are fantastic schools and you really can't go wrong with either.

Good luck with your decision!

Sources: Profile Evaluation: MSc in Finance at LBS, LSE, Imperial, Said or MIT,, LBS vs UCL vs Imperial for IB

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

For Jobs / IB, go with LBS MFA.

For PhD, people rate LSE more, Imperial MSc Finance is also very academic (vs LBS).

LBS MFA is probably the best choice overall IMO.


I agree with the MFA as the overall choice. 

You should have the PhD in your mind as a relatively low priority. Your interest now is a job (hopefully IB), and the MFA is the best way to do that. 

People can go direct to PhD from bachelors, so you aren't doing yourself a disservice by choosing LBS. While LSE/Imperial may be more academic, the reality is mfins really aren't that academic to begin with, especially in a 1yr format. 

If you're accepted to all 3, you are clearly a champ. 

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