Taking out a large loan (£50k+) for target masters

I am currently applying for several top masters programmes in the UK with the aim of landing a role in IB (although I would be open to AM and ER positions too). Schools I am applying to include LSE, LBS, HEC, and Imperial. I have a strong profile and I am confident that I would be accepted into at least one programme.

However, the tuition for these programmes is crazy (40-50k) and the cost of living is also very high in London. I come from a low income background and I would have to take out a loan of between 40-60k to cover both tuition and living costs for the year.

Assuming I don't get any scholarships, am I stupid taking out such a large loan? I would happily take the loan out if I was guaranteed an IB role. 

Most Helpful

Well obviously there are no guarantees but you could try to assign odds. Here’s a quick checklist :

  1. Do you have a/couple of brand name internship(s) on your CV already? Bonus points if these are brand name IBD internships (with direct or semi-direct relevance to what you’d target post-Masters)
  1. Do you possess any “interesting” traits? (speaks multiple EU languages/diversity/plays or has played for the national team or something along those lines)
  1. Did you have a good undergrad GPA? Was your undergrad school prestigious? (though the latter may matter less)
  1. While HR has quite some power in the UK, it might still help to know someone higher up in a team/bank you’re targeting. Is this the case for you?
  1. Are you able to take a gap year during your Masters program (or extend it by a few months if it’s a 1-year curriculum) in case recruiting doesn’t work out for you the first time?
  1. Are you able to work in the UK without sponsorship?

If your answers to a majority of these questions (and specially 1,2,3 and 5) are no, it might be worth reconsidering taking out debt.

Please do not fall into the classic WSO trap of assuming - if target school = yes, BB IBD = nearly guaranteed. Of course a target school will make things 100x easier BUT only relative to somebody coming from a non-target or semi-target. Things however change a bit when you think about a target Bachelors able to get in through the spring week pipeline


Totally agree with this list.I would add that you should be ahead of the recruitment process, i.e. applying as soon as the application opens, attending all networking events you can and get the e-mail addresses from HR (and message them in case your app is ignored), already be prepared for the math/SJT tests, having talked to ppl from the bank so you know the Why this bank questions.

I have a similar background and currently attending one of the MSc programmes you mentioned. I already have an IB SA offer but I applied for like 50+ positions (most of these during the first two weeks of September), went to like 10+ networking events and only got 5 first rounds.

These MSc programmes are good for breaking into IB but they would not even guarantee you first rounds if you don't apply early/aren't super involved in the recruitment process IMO.


Would do it for HEC and LBS, wouldn’t for Imperial and LSE.

I would rather do a cheaper program in continental Europe (Bocconi or HSG) than Imperial. Personally haven’t seen a ton of LSE MSc grads in London IBD, vast majority are undergrads that converted their spring weeks. No doubt the MSc program has strong candidates but for banking recruiting when you’re bucketed together with all other LSE students a large part of the quota will be filled by undergrads ie less spots for MSc students.


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