University decision

Hi all, 
I am interested in work in finance, particularly investment baking or private equity, so have applied for university in September and have received an offer to study PPE at Exeter. I was rejected from both Oxford and Warwick and I would guess it was because of my relatively average GCSE profile. I am aiming for 3 A*s at A-level and I am curious as to whether its best to firm Exeter or apply to Oxford and Warwick again next year with my A level grades. Obviously that wont guarantee anything and I may not get in again so I will be taking a risk. This all depends on how important what university I attend is so any advice would be appreciated. As a note I also would like to do an MBA a couple of years after and wonder if where I go for that would be more important than where I go for my undergraduate degree.


Based on the insights from Wall Street Oasis, the university you choose for your undergraduate degree can significantly impact your initial opportunities in finance, especially in investment banking and private equity. Here’s a breakdown of your situation and some advice:

  1. University Reputation and Target Status: Exeter, while a respected institution, is not typically listed among the top-tier universities (like Oxford or Warwick) that are heavily targeted by top finance firms, including investment banks and private equity firms. This doesn't mean you can't break into finance from Exeter, but it may require more networking and effort on your part.

  2. Reapplying to Oxford and Warwick: If you believe you can achieve 3 A*s at A-level, reapplying to Oxford and Warwick could be a strategic move. Both are well-regarded in the finance industry and significantly enhance your chances of landing roles in top finance firms. However, this comes with the risk of not getting in again, as you've noted.

  3. The Role of MBA: Pursuing an MBA from a top business school later can indeed help pivot or boost your career in finance, potentially offsetting a less targeted undergraduate institution. Top MBA programs often value diverse backgrounds, and a strong performance at Exeter coupled with solid professional experience could make you a strong candidate.

  4. Immediate Next Steps: If you decide to firm Exeter, focus on excelling academically and seek finance-related internships as early as possible. Join finance societies, network extensively, and consider taking additional courses or certifications like the CFA to bolster your profile.

  5. Long-term Strategy: Whether you choose to firm Exeter now or reapply to Oxford and Warwick, having a clear strategy for internships, networking, and continuous learning will be crucial. For your MBA aspirations, gaining solid work experience and building a strong professional network will be just as important as your academic background.

In conclusion, both paths have potential risks and rewards. If you are confident in your ability to secure top A-level grades and are prepared for the possibility of not getting into Oxford or Warwick even then, reapplying could be worth considering. Otherwise, firming Exeter and strategically planning your path into finance is a viable and sensible route.

Sources: LSE is Paradise, 3.9 GPA from an Ivy League school in a useless major. What are my options?, Screwed up my A Levels, what courses can I go for to still make it in IB?, Unsure on what to do next or where to go as UK undergraduate, UK Target Admissions?

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

That's a bot.

Exeter is just okay for finance. Hit or a miss in terms of recruiting. 

If you can get 3A*, and you really want to get into Oxford/Cambridge/Warwick, then take the gap year and apply again.

MBAs are not helpful in the UK.


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