MA Economics Edinburgh university vs HPE(History politics and economics) UCL for getting into IB

Im struggling to pick my university decision, I have unconditional offers from both places as well as BSC from Nottingham (but I didn't include it in the title since it wasn't target enough).

UCL is obviously more target than Edi; however,however considering most bachelor degrees in Scotland are 4 years and they give me the offer of doing my bachelors and masters in 4 years (£9k/annually in terms of fees), that is quite the meal deal.

Pros for Edi: I'm doing a pure econ degree masters at a reputable university for cheaper 
Cons: I don't like Scotland; it's not as target as UCL, and I'm far away from London.

Pros for UCL: I'm in London; it's a much more target university for getting into IB.
Cons: my parents can't support me financially, so I'll be broke in London (my parents can't support me in any case, but I'd be the "brokest" in London); I'll be doing an economics combined course, so it won't be as numerate (which academically I lean to), so I'm afraid it'll be less respected, including as a job prospect.

I'm not sure how naive this post comes across, but if someone could give me advice on what offer I should choose, I would appreciate it.


hey, im going to UCL for HPE so would be great to connect regardless.

both are great options tbf. Financially london is a struggle (maybe try get a large maintenance loan?) and also work over summer when u can.
but also 3 yrs at UCL will probs be cheaper than 4 at Edinburgh (edinburgh is still pretty expensive)
careers wise the people who do HPE get onto loads of great stuff, probably the same with edinburgh tbf.

Most Helpful

UCL HPE offer holder here - UCL's HPE should not be numerate at all. Look at the course modules - it is a huge emphasis on humanities/politics/geopolitics. The economics in it is baby economics. Sure, you could probably specialise in econ, but it won't be as quant. Hard to say in London if a "quant" degree matters - those folks always say it "does not matter" and you see some history grads break into IB but then again, IBD is still a numerically intensive field. HPE should be fine for that.

Career wise - would not say most get into loads of great stuff. that's very subjective and not the basis for your decision making. Go on linkedin premium, type in "BA HPE", filter for UCL, filter for financial services. If you consider "Credit Risk Analyst at Barclays" or "Audit Associate at BDO" to be part of "loads of great stuff" then go for it. A more realistic and helpful statement would be:

At UCL, a second tier target school, the vast majority do not secure investment banking roles. Of the people that do secure them, the lion's share will be from the BSc Economics programme, that networked, applied to 20+ spring weeks, did a first year summer internship in financial services, led 2 societies, and achieved a 2:1, while converting at least one spring week to a summer internship, then converting that summer internship to a FT offer, in a challenging macro environment. I think that's more realistic and you don't have to limit yourself to investment banking. You are not in the US where you can "never give up" your way into IBD, there is structurally less seats in the UK & you are competing with Europeans as well + diversity recruiting + women. Luck is a factor

This is how I would see it: The probability of getting into IBD from UCL is low. The probability of getting into IBD from Edinburgh is also low. However, both are reputed. Both open the door to many opportunities in finance (risk, private credit, VC, AM, PB/PWM, corp fin / lev fin / structured finance / B4). The burden to my parents & the cost to myself of living a fiscally constrained life are not worth it.

So in summary, if money wasn't a problem, I would pick UCL. But in your case, due to very real fiscal constraints I would say that it's not worth it to pick a 2nd tier program at a marginally superior univ for a tiny boost in "prestige". Since your uni is only one line on your CV.

I think the most important thing to do right now is research on Linkedin the career placements from Edinburgh's program and find out which companies do OCR. Connect with the Pres of the finance societies there. Seek out the good opportunities there and then make your choice.



what i meant by great stuff is like top master’s programs (whether in management/econ/finance at top business skls) .Also I’ve seen people on the HPE course get a summer at goldman, a return offer in PE, spring at JPM, etc etc. obviously, you’re still stacked against it but you’re still in a far better position than atleast 75% of people applying to internships in the uk.

Even if you check the UCL ‘where did they go’ website: the majority of HPE grads do go into finance or consulting (i believe it was 40% combined dont quote me) which is pretty good considering the other 2/3 of people will go into non finance related careers eg law politics. considering that the course is more fluffy than a pure econ, you can’t really complain.

so in essence, i agree that chances are low but not impossible as long as you apply yourself.


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