LBS vs. Oxford

Hey all,I'm struggling to make a decision between two very different paths for masters. I have offers for the LBS GMIM (As well as INSEAD, Fuqua and UVA but I feel those are weaker programs), and from Oxford for an Msc in Economic History. Obviously I know that the LBS would be better career wise, but history has been a long time passion of mine and it would be a dream to study there. It's jointly offered by the Econ and history department so I would be doing some mathematical work there, and my proposed dissertation concerns the stock market. I am pretty open as to what I do after uni, as long as it pays well with good career progression, but I have a preference for finance. So my question is, would getting the Oxford degree really hurt my career options or is the brand name strong enough to carry the

Edit: Thanks for all the replies, 99% sure I'm going to go with Oxford and work my ass off to secure an internship/job. Will let you know if I'm living in a box after graduating.

Comments (30)

  • Intern in PE - LBOs

Tbh I think an MSc in Economic History at Oxford is way more impressive than the GMIM programme at LBS. The GMIM programme is really not that difficult to get into as long as you work for it, whereas Oxford is way more selective.

The downside of going to a small and specialized programme at Oxford compared to LBS is the environment/no recruiting events etc., but in the UK it is not common to "network" your way into a role anyway. If you actively pursue career opportunities, I think you are better off with the Oxford programme. Oxbridge trumps any other name in EU imo

Another downside with Oxford tho is that you'll be worked really hard. In comparison, I believe there is non grade disclosure policy at LBS, basically meaning you can do whatever you want the whole year.

  • 3
Fat Walrus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly wasn't expecting these answers, very happy that going to Oxford might actually boost my career over LBS if I put in the effort. I've spent this whole year on exchange so I'm not afraid to work my ass off next year. Thanks so much for the advice.

  • 1
rumanddone, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah Oxford/Cambridge has global prestige on par with Harvard/Yale/Stanford etc. People know it and respect it anywhere in the world. Not to mention a way larger alumni network which will help you even decades down the line.

  • 1
Most Helpful
cataractum, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's not the prestige of the university, but the prestige of the program that should guide your decision.

For example, Oxford is clearly better than the University of London. But, the Oxford MBA isn't well known among IB and consulting recruiters. As such, it's hard to break into IB and MBB in that program. The LBS MBA however, despite not being Oxbridge or even LSE, has a well established path to those industries. I know people who have done the Oxford MBA, thinking the brand name is great and that the prestige makes it an obvious choice (like the Oxford BCL for lawyers), but found out the hard way that it's only beginning to get recognition among employers. These people only managed to get internal strategy offers back in their home country, which is what they would have likely gotten anyway being ex-consultants (but at good firms, think large series B startups or established sexy corporates)

Similarly, there's no guarantee the MSc in Economic History will be career enhancing. If a firm filters only for Oxbridge (like some employers do for Ivy League in US?), it's *possible* that it could help. But I recommend you talk to people who have done that degree to get an accurate picture of career prospects and value-add. Unless you're doing so for academic interest, to progress to a PhD, say. 

This advice also applies to the LBS GMIM. Check with alumni and do cursory LinkedIn checks to see what the trend of the program is.

Fat Walrus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the very well thought out answer.

From the people I have talked to as well as LinkedIn searches, it seems it is very much possible to get placement into good positions at places like Deutsche Bank and BoA. Though, because of the small program size and the diverse exit careers, data is sparse. In addition the degree holds value for me academically as you said, the possibility to do a PHD now or later on is very attractive to me while still having the opportunity to enter the private sphere. Of course LBS GMiM has better placements into business roles, to be expected from a pure b-school degree. But I feel like the additional cost, and the personal enjoyment I'd get out of Oxford makes up for having an easier time getting that first job. 

  • 1
cataractum, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think you're largely on the money, but the program is actually the MSc not the MPhil:

It's one year. Though with quantitative courses seems rigorous enough. 

OP - I would be tempted to go with Oxford myself (i'm a nerd and the experience would be unbeatable if it's not online only), but I would also first try to contact some alumni and do some deep dives on Linkedin to see where people ended up with that degree. 

Fat Walrus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah that's the correct program. Interested in China so it made it tempting but don't think it's worth the money.

  • Works at Bain & Company

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