IB Target Unis (LND)


I am an 18 year old black student from a low income state school background in London. I am currently predicted AAA in Maths Economics and Further Maths respectively. I am currently trying to work at my Further maths grade to an A*. I currently have an offer to study an UG of Mathematics w/ econ at a semi target (Exeter). What do you reckon my chances are for breaking into IB and do you think if I can achieve all A*s if it is worth taking a Gap year and reapplying to solely Target Unis.

Just to clarify I am predicted A* A* A ( post seemed to send strange, apologies.

I would appreciate any advice

Comments (50)

Mar 22, 2021 - 9:28am
NorthEastern, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your A level grades are definitely solid enough to study at a target uni. However, I'm not sure you'd want to start a year later - from what I've seen, Exeter seems to do reasonably well in placing into IB. Just out of interest, where else did you apply?

Mar 22, 2021 - 1:33pm
knoelz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Rej from Cambridge and UCL. Cambridge I can understand but I think due to the uncertainty of inflated grades this year UCL gave out a lot less offers. Do not want to sound cocky but I don't really know what else I had to do to get in

Mar 22, 2021 - 10:25am
StonksAlwaysGoUp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes, Exeter places very well. Probably highest Semi with Durham and Notts. Join your finance society, get relevant experience and you honestly won't be "looked down on" compared to your target peers.

Mar 22, 2021 - 1:16pm
princepieman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Would disagree, placement is definitely a peg below Durham (esp. they place extremely well amongst STs) / Bris / Notts / KCL but still pretty good.

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 22, 2021 - 11:25am

Join SEO London asap

And other diversity orgs like Rare Recruitment if you're from a state school

Will substantially boost your chances

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 22, 2021 - 11:33am

I just re-read your post. I don't mean this in a condescending way (I'm a racial minority as well) but if you are a black candidate from Exeter you won't be disadvantaged during the application process at all compared to if you were to go to a target. Staying engaged with SEO London will be crucial to you getting an offer from one of their top partner firms (GS/JPM/BAML/Citi/Lazard)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 22, 2021 - 11:29am

Being at Exeter has several benefits over going to a cut-throat target like LSE/UCL/Warwick

Students at the cut-throat places have to try extremely hard just to be on par with their peers from those unis

At Exeter it's not as cut-throat so you don't need to be on the committee for 3 societies at the same time just to be on par

Also firms have quotas for how many they take from each uni. My suggestion to you is to focus on being the top candidate from Exeter then you will be all set. Exeter has representation at almost every BB/EB spring weeks so make sure you get on to those.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 30, 2021 - 1:10pm

Having done the recruiting for summer analysts, this is not a thing that happens when considering candidates. There's no 'competition' between people at your university.

Mar 22, 2021 - 1:30pm
knoelz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Currently waiting on feedback from LSE. Rejected from Cambridge and UCL unfortunately, do not have high hopes

Mar 22, 2021 - 1:40pm
nutmegger189, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Understandable. Well, you've had plenty of great responses, esp the ones from Exeter alumni. Take heed the advice about SEO especially, crazy useful organisation, I wish I paid attention to them sooner. Good luck!

FYI using * (asterisks) around a word causes it to be in italics... sometimes.

Mar 22, 2021 - 1:08pm
princepieman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

FWIW I went to Exeter.

We get active looks from: Citi (EMEA head of IB is an alum and comes down every year - spoke to him 2x at uni, really nice bloke!), Barclays (always come down), MS (moreso for S&T than IB but they also always come down), Lazard, JPMHSBC, Nomura and RBC. My friends and I have also received interviews / offers from: BAML, DB, Evercore, Centerview, PJT, Torch Partners and a range of other firms. Some mix of the aforementioned firms also sponsor a range of our societies.

So, yes, definitely a decent school in terms of links with the street. Might require you to hustle a little (make sure you get involved with BFS and ExSIF + notch in some decent grades) but don't see why you wouldn't be able to land a spot. Of course, if you can get into a target it's probably the better move in the LR but Exeter is def no slouch.

Not a huge fan of relying on SEO (I never did even though I'm the target demo) but it 100% does make life a little easier. The workshops, networking sessions and fast-track opportunities are excellent. Have had friends go through SEO over their time at uni and have said nothing but good things about it.

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Mar 22, 2021 - 1:36pm
princepieman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I can connect you with a contact I know who's a rising final year Maths student summering in IB this year if that'd be helpful?

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Mar 22, 2021 - 1:28pm
knoelz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Although I believe recruitments at firms should always be purely a meritocracy, I am aware that they are certain schemes targeted at people from my background which tend to give them an "advantage" during applications. Whether I believe this to be right or wrong is irrelevant, but I am stating it to give a more wholistic perspective on my situation. Didn't mean to ruffle any feathers soz

Mar 22, 2021 - 2:15pm
Stonks are only going down, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Black, low-income background, STEM degree - apart from the fact that you're not female, you're literally the perfect diversity candidate for all investment banks right now

Sure there's gonna be people salty about it - but if I was you, I would take all the opportunities as fully as I can 

My recommendations: Join Rare recruitment (more helpful than SEO London imo), apply for diversity programs (GS Make Things Possible Academy/Student possibility programe, #100BlackInterns for AMs, Morgan Stanley's Foundations in Finance & MS/Rare-sponsored Amplify Trading summer programme which fast tracks black students to AC; UBS Tomorrow's Leaders program)

With your profile, and if you're this motivated before you have even started uni - your chance of breaking into IB from Exeter is really damn high imo

Will your chances increase if you take a gap year and get into a target? Yes, it will go to near-100%.

In that gap year, you can also apply for those A-Level insight programs that fast track to a Spring.

Looking at some black dudes at semi-targets on Linkedin, there are a quite a few that have secured 5+ spring week offers and multiple summers... you're in a great spot

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Mar 22, 2021 - 2:30pm

With those grades you should get into a target. If not this year then you could reapply next year (add Warwick to be safer if you reapply)

Exeter is good but I rarely met anyone from Exeter at ACs

I'm surprised to see princepieman defend Exeter. He was one of the most prepared candidates for IB, constantly talked about IB online and gave advice about applications for the past 5 years, and is a "diverse" candidate, but he still didn't make it into IB. As far as I know, the only "weak" part of his applications was the fact he went to Exeter and not a target. So if someone like him cannot make it in just because of that, it will be even harder for less prepared candidates

Mar 22, 2021 - 4:53pm
princepieman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I didn't "make it" because I wanted to focus on Product jobs instead (pretty obvious that my focus switched if you see my profile). Realised I didn't really like the idea of banking as much mid-way through uni.

And I'm not "defending" just offering datapoints and information. The OP is free to ultimately choose what they want to do in the end. 

Mar 22, 2021 - 7:11pm
SquareMileMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Shameless plug to the best resource out there


Mar 22, 2021 - 8:45pm
neverstopgrinding, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey - well done for thinking long term already and like everyone else said SEO etc are super useful, have spoken to HR at BBs and they said SEO/Rare applicants get their CVs put at the top as long as you flag it during your application and the rest is just fair game from you and your CV

Feel free to PM me I have some experience mentoring people through an organisation called Accelerate Mentoring so happy to chat if you'd like

Background: racial minority target under and post grad with experiences in reputable firms in strategy and IB, currently at EB

Mar 23, 2021 - 11:52am
SLB00, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Others have offered excellent advice on diversity initiatives. On the target school side of things, I would disagree with those encouraging you to take a year out. This year, grade inflation is rife due to government policy - most people will end up being "given" what they were predicted - and A*AA or A*A*A (not clear from your post, the second time you mention it it shows AA*A?) might not be enough for the best places for maths (COWI). Maths is generally very competitive, and those grades are under the minimum or borderline for Cambridge/Imperial/Oxford/Warwick. If you want the economics element too, then LSE makes sense as a strong target - but again, will be competitive, and maths faculty wise, is far behind COWI (if that matters to you). That appears to be A*AA, so definitely possible.

I would say UCL is the only one that you have a "good" - but by no means guaranteed - chance for with those grades. UCL seem to give out some A*AA offers, based on their website. In the maths world, there's a big gap between COWI and UCL, but from a recruiting perspective I'm not sure anyone will care. You'll probably get interviews for Oxbridge and Imperial if you're given A*A*A with strong GCSEs to back it up (note A*A*A is the minimum entry requirement for all three), but you'll need to do very well in the tests to make up for being borderline on grades. Warwick is also A*A*A minimum, but no interview - so the test matters even more, arguably. There's an opportunity to transfer onto a joint Maths-Econ degree after first year and the placement difference between LSE and Warwick is marginal (especially given Warwick's strengths in maths).

Unless you're confident of doing really well on the entrance tests, I'd go for Exeter - especially considering everything else you have in your favour.

Mar 23, 2021 - 12:00pm
SLB00, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Also adding that you'd be competitive for most non-maths STEM subjects at those top universities, just that maths is very competitive. Imperial have an 8% acceptance rate, Oxford 11%, Cambridge 16%, etc. And pretty much every one who is applying has A*A*A or better.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Mar 24, 2021 - 6:23am


Imperial have an 8% acceptance rate, Oxford 11%, Cambridge 16%, etc. 

The offer rates are higher for some of the courses that you mentioned according to https://www.admissionreport.com/

Like BSc Mathematics at Imperial is 35% offer rate, BA Mathematics at Cambridge is 36%

Dec 29, 2021 - 11:07pm
Xhamster02, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why are Econ majors held in higher regard in the UK?

Dec 30, 2021 - 7:25am
SLB00, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Somewhat disagree. Centeris paribus, econ > business or finance all the way here. The top schools generally don't offer UG finance and if they do they're generally less competitive than economics which is among the most difficult to get into. Remember the UK admits by subject entirely, rather than to the university.

That said, I do agree that subject doesn't really matter that much in the UK and WE/school is more important. But there's definitely an advantage in recruiting for econ and STEM.

  • Intern in S&T - Comm
Dec 30, 2021 - 8:55am

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