LSE vs. HEC Paris

Hi guys,

I received offers for both the MSc Finance at LSE and the MSc Finance at HEC Paris. I am really having a hard time deciding which one to confirm... at the moment, slightly leaning towards HEC Paris.

Here are some of my thoughts...
> Pro HEC
- ranked n1 BS in Europe by FT (2 years on a row)
- a real business school, not a university like LSE
- placement should be fine, based on their salary statistics (http://www.hec.edu/MSc-in-Finance/Employment)
- small class size, about 20-30 people in MSc Finance, but you attend the core courses together with the Grande Ecole Degree students, electives in small groupes
- would be able to improve my french
- less expensive

> Con HEC
- are they famous within the financial sector? Do they even have a brand name in the industry??
- no idea about the prestige/acceptance rates for the MSc in Finance, HEC itself said that this is one of their most selective programs, but they couldn't give me any figures...

> Pro LSE
- not really highly ranked by FT, but seems to have a pretty good brand name (certainly in Europe)
- famous about it's placing records
- everyone says the acceptance rates are extremely low at LSE, making it extremely prestegious (is this true? any estimates?)
- nice location

> Con LSE
- class size of 60 people for Msc Finance, a bit high if you ask me.
- much more academic, less pragmatic (?)
- no business school, but uni

What do you guys think? Don't hesitate to disagree with some things mentioned above...

Thanks in advance for your help!
mice

Comments (49)

Apr 8, 2009 - 11:02pm
indian-banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

HEC is a great school and the classes there are amazing, one of my friends did his undergrad at LSE and masters at HEC and he definitely enjoyed HEC more. That said, I would go with LSE, because of the name and placements you get, comparable to top ivies in the US. In normal market conditions, this would have been a very tough choice, but in these market conditions, you simply have to go for the place with the better name even if the other place has better classes. HEC's major placements are in Societe Generale or BNP. Your recruiting choices at LSE will be broader.

Best Response
Apr 8, 2009 - 11:34pm
GoodBread, what's your opinion? Comment below:

HEC's biggest payoff goes to those who do their grandes ecoles programme. In France, there's not a whole lot better than doing a bac S, prepa HEC and going to HEC on a resume (other than doing Math Sup/Spe and going to X). People who do a specialized Msc at HEC are at a disadvantage to those who went the prepa + grande ecole way, unless you get a really prestigious degree like the Master 203 from Dauphine afterwards.

Going to LSE will get you in front of a lot of City recruiters and that's probably what should matter most to you. I wouldn't worry too much about how pragmatic LSE is, they should give you the knowledge to kill your interviews and that's all that matters if you want to work in IB.

To sum it up, if you want to work in finance, LSE, hands down, especially in this market.

Apr 9, 2009 - 7:32am
HiB, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I agree that LSE is the safer choice to get a job in Banking, but what if I tell you that I have a good chance of scoring an internship at one of the major banks this summer already... (and hopefully, I'll get a full-time offer after that...)

So my point is; if you already got a job, would you still go for the brand LSE or for the content at HEC?

thanks for the advice so far mice

Apr 9, 2009 - 8:57am
vadremc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

mice,

It sounds as if you are already leaning toward HEC. My advice, go where you WANT to go. You'll gain much more from the experience. Just remember that there are consequences for every action, so while going to LSE doesn't guarantee you better placement, there is a strong likelihood that it will. If you can build a strong base of contacts, perform at a high scholastic level and sell yourself to employers, you'll be fine wherever you go. Good Luck.

"In the end, there can be only one..."

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time
  • 3
Apr 10, 2009 - 5:38pm
ReadLine, what's your opinion? Comment below:

apply to both, pay the deposits, and act like you are going to both of them. then if you get the full-time offer, go to HEC.

If you don't want to waste the money, just go with HEC. I HAVE heard of it. And I'm sure in France/Europe it is much better known. Americans haven't heard of IESE, HEC, IMD, INSEAD but I am sure they are all very prestigious across the atlantic.

Apr 15, 2009 - 3:54pm
indian-banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I just spoke to one of my professors about HEC. He knows some of the professors and career resource people over there. He said HEC Paris places really well. In some sense, better than LSE for certain jobs that involve quantitative skills. So, be aware that you need to be very good with math to succeed there. When you say, it is one of their most selective programs, you are right. It is pretty tough to get into. Also, the cost factor is great. But it seems banking is the choice for you, and I have to admit LSE would probably be better for that. As far as learning experience goes, HEC is one of the few programs where you actually buy an education in addition to a network or job (direct quote from a professor).

Oct 25, 2013 - 4:50am
Schleiden-D'silva, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Aysel:

You should have applied to the joint LSE and HEC program..It's only one year too

hi could your explain the joint program please because i am quite interested in both LSE and HEC paris and this seems to give me the best of both... however neither site seems to show this program.... Also is it HEC that is offering the program or LSE
Jun 11, 2014 - 5:42am
markb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@indian-banker "That said, I would go with LSE, because of the name and placements you get" --> HEC has at least as good placement if not better than LSE. This year, they placed guys into PE at BX and Silver Lake, besides the usual GS, MS, JPM, SG, BNP... HEC is definitely well respected in London and has great alumni networking... ofc, being/living in London is great for recruiting but getting a great job from HEC is totally doable

Jun 11, 2014 - 7:57pm
techie674, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Go to LSE. LSE is a much bigger name. And LSE is big in finance. Probably most alums in London and finance of all European schools (except LBS and INSEAD but those have MBA programs).

Who cares about the FT rankings. FT has one of the shitties ranking methodology out there. And are you looking at MBA rankings? Because LSE would not be be there anyways as they don't do FT MBA.

  • 1
Jun 12, 2014 - 3:40pm
swissstud, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't take into account the FT's Master ranking. I have nothing against the following universities but do you really think Kozminski University (Poland), Brandeis University International Business School (USA) and Vlerick Business School (Belgium) have a better reputation and have a better MSc in Finance program than the LSE?

There you go.

Jun 22, 2014 - 1:50pm
hypermonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

LSE is overrated. If you talk to anyone from HEC and you will realize that the placement at HEC is incredible. Everyone is going to a McKinsey, Bain, BCG or a top investment bank. Additionally, people at HEC are fun and its a great place to meet people from all around the world. LSE's network is London is meaningless as there are way too many people from LSE in London. HEC have cool alumni meetings and the atmosphere is very laidback. People at HEC coming back from an exchange at LSE from HEC find LSE peeps stressed and nerdy. If anyone's CV is solid enough HEC or LSE won't matter yet the experience I believe will be very different. To anyone hesitating between LSE and HEC: do you prefer living in a fun city or an a fun campus?

Jul 24, 2014 - 1:22pm
fours, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A lot of it has to do with the education system. HEC has been the most elite business school in francophone world and will remain so, making it also the most competitive one. Once you are at HEC, recruiters see you as the best candidate since recruiting in France is mainly based on school name than grades which is also the reason I guess for campus being fun and relaxed. Meanwhile LSE guys have to compete against Oxbridge/Imperial/Warwick + work for competitive grades. I would take HEC as well for person reasons if I had the chance but generally speaking if you are looking to build credibility outside Europe, LSE wins.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:32am
swissstud, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I might be biased since I'm going to the LSE but I thought I'd chip in.

One of the reasons I think HEC people might be more laid back than their LSE counterparts is because, as fours mentionned, in France, only the diploma counts, they have a "diploma" culture. Also, they have a very elitist culture, whereby only a handful of schools produce the top talent (HEC, ESSEC, ESCP,..) and the rest of their university system is in a terrible state.

If you're french and manage to get into HEC, then that's it, to french recruiters, you're the holy grail, and you'll always manage to find a job. I've met a few guys from these schools and they all seemed a little snooty to be honest, it's no wonder when you think about it, you're basically set for life.

World-wide reputation/brand prestige ---> LSE by a long shot.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:31pm
swissstud, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I agree, short term, LSE = HEC Paris, if you're good, both these schools will give you the same opportunities.

However, long term, definitely LSE. You'll have that name on your CV for life. Whether you find yourself in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles,... LSE is known, HEC Paris is not.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:32pm
Psyc18, what's your opinion? Comment below:

MSc in Finance HEC Paris vs LSE (Originally Posted: 03/26/2012)

Hello guys,

I would like to follow a career in the sector of finance(financial advisory, PE ,trader etc I am not quite sure about the path I want to follow).

Up to now,I have been accepted to the Master in International Finance program at HEC Paris and to the Master in Finance(full-time) program at the LSE starting in Sept 2012.

However, I have great difficulty in picking one of them as I cannot figure out which one has better career prospects especially during these harsh times.

Any relevant information/experience/advice is welcome and I would like to thank in advance for your time.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:33pm
EuroLocust, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Both offer great career prospects. The question however is where you would like to work geographically after graduation. Another point is which lifestyle you expect from your student life. HEC is for instance far from the city of Paris (doesn't mean these guys and girls don't party hard). Also, do you speak French at least conversational? It helps a lot for networking at HEC.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:42pm
QSM1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So "Partying hard" has become a deciding factor? Oxford Said doesn't have THAT "partying hard" feature so does that mean you wouldn't go there and go to some huge state school instead? Seriously? Miserable people. Also btw, MSF is your second shot at recruiting so you better work hard on your GPA, networking, soft skills, and party hard later when it's all over. Unless you want to end up where you are again.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:35pm
Psyc18, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@EuroLocust

I speak French (better than conversational level) although I would find it almost impossible to have interviews in French or work in a french-speaking environment.

As I am from Greece, where there are no longer career prospects, after graduation I would work anywhere in Europe,Middle East although I believe that only English-speaking countries are a feasible option (as I am not business fluent in other languages...)

Thank you again for your answer

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:36pm
bleudevils, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Psyc18:
@EuroLocust

I speak French (better than conversational level) although I would find it almost impossible to have interviews in French or work in a french-speaking environment.

As I am from Greece, where there are no longer career prospects, after graduation I would work anywhere in Europe,Middle East although I believe that only English-speaking countries are a feasible option (as I am not business fluent in other languages...)

Thank you again for your answer

ΖΗΤΩ Η ΕΛΛΑΔΑ!

I suggest LSE. If your French isn't great, it'd be a tough time networking there. Also, I believe LSE opens more doors. Just my Greek opinion :)

  • 1
Jul 25, 2014 - 3:38pm
Saugrenus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Most of London banks come on the campus, and London is not far from Paris. From my experience, you will be first interviewed in the Paris offices, and then be offered a Eurostar ticket + accomodation for the assessment center in London.

If you already speak a little French, one year at HEC will be an opportunity to improve it and make it a valuable asset on your Resume.

I do not know LSE, but I think the main advantage of the HEC curriculum is the huge number of electives courses. Considering that you are not sure of your career choice, you might find useful to take specialized classes in all branches you might be interested in.There are scores of electives which spread from geopolitical analysis and strategy to the most quantitive asset pricing courses (taught by Ecole Polytechnique Math dept). There is a dedicated course taught by a professional for nearly all typical jobs (fixed income, Asset Management, financial analysis, m&a, ecm, lbo, pe...)

All French students are perfectly fluent in English, so no real problem for networking. The truth is however that the LSE network is probably more powerful in London.

  • 2
Jul 25, 2014 - 3:39pm
2hot2trot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Which one is better for someone who wants to live and work in the NYC - HEC Paris MSc Finance +Energy and Finance Certificate or LSE MSc Finance and Private Equity?

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:40pm
EuroLocust, what's your opinion? Comment below:

LSE. Stronger international brand value.

That said, I'm not an American recruiter.

Also what was said about networking at HEC. Even though all students and firm representatives speak English, not everybody is comfortable networking in English. To get the full benefits you need a near-to-fluent French - that's just my impression.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:49pm
RealMVP, what's your opinion? Comment below:

HEC International Finance Master vs Lse Accounting and Finance Master Advice needed ! (Originally Posted: 05/11/2015)

I got accepted at both programmes and I was wondering which one carries the better reputation in London.

Facts: -They are both one year programmes and start in September 2015. -I am doing and IB internship this summer (MS-JP-GS) and obviously hope to convert for FT-Down the Road I am looking into HF-PE -I solely care about reputation and quality of the programme, costs would be higher in London but this does does not influence my decision.

HEC is ranked number 1 , whereas LSE is not ranked at all (FT-ranking) , is this a cause for concern and if anybody could comment on the social scene of HEC that would be great.

Cheers guys!

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:52pm
TheSanchize, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Difference in reputation is close to zero and mostly a matter of personal opinion. Neither one will give you better or worse options down the road. There are tons of alumni from both everywhere. Considering you already have your internship, go with the school/curriculum/environment you will enjoy the most. Personally, I'd rather live in London than the outskirts of Paris. However, if you'd rather try something else before you start FT in London, go with HEC.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:53pm
above_and_beyond, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Both excellent choices, congrats on the offers. LSE generally carries a stronger brand in the US, Asia and the Middle East, but for London both are the same and both have huge alumni bases. Given that you will have a BB internship under your belt, neither of those will hold you back in any way.

Jul 25, 2014 - 3:54pm
big_gun, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jul 25, 2014 - 3:56pm
RealMVP, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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