Which university to choose if almost unlimited opportunities?

Hello everyone, 

I am a first-year student of a Bachelor's degree at Sciences Po. The system of their undergraduate degree is quite complex, but in short, the first year is multidisciplinary (law, economics, politics, history, sociology), in the second you choose a specialization (I know I am choosing Economics&Sociology), and for the third, you have to go abroad. And this is where I would appreciate your tips and advice. 

As of today, I am certain that I will continue with a Master's degree in either economics or finance (I want to apply to econ at LSE, Bocconi, Cambridge, and international finance at HEC Paris) and don't want to continue in academia after that. Therefore, I would like to choose a university for my third year abroad that can be helpful for my future. The options are practically unlimited, or so it seems to me. I have to choose from the partner list of Sciences Po, and colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford... are missing. There is Oxbridge or MIT but no option to study econ (either modern languages or politics). So, I narrowed down the possibilities to Princeton, NYU Stern, Columbia, UC Berkeley, UChicago, UPenn Wharton, LSE (General Course), UCL, Bocconi, and NUS in Singapore. 

I am indifferent about location or living costs but mainly concerned with the reputation and how this experience can be useful for my application for a Master. I am aware of the fact that an exchange year is not that important but want to make the best of this opportunity and exploit it for the future (especially considering I don't have to pay the outrageous tuition fees of both UK and US universities). Any advice is truly appreciated and valued. Thank you so much for your time. 

Comments (4)

Jan 2, 2022 - 8:39am
marcelproust, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just to add, I am seeking to work in Europe, preferably private sphere in the UK and later the treasury of my country.

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Jan 2, 2022 - 10:33am

Tough choice, but a good one. If you're looking to be in the UK afterwards, might choose Oxford (despite no econ) or UCL - LSE general course is a joke and would recommend against it. That said, you might want to go the US so you have some connections in a different country to the one you do your MSc in. 

Otherwise, MIT (despite no econ), Wharton, and Princeton stand out in a different tier internationally to the others; slight caveat that Chicago would be an amazing place to do econ but isn't meant to be a particularly enjoyable school, and isn't that well-known in Europe compared to HYPSMW. None of those four will disadvantage you compared to Oxford/UCL for UK MScs. Would also consider Columbia if you want the NY experience and Berkeley (v strong econ) if you want the California experience; both have decent brands in Europe and won't disadvantage you. 

I don't really think you can go wrong with any of those choices, although would probably avoid Stern, NUS, and Bocconi (great school, but won't really help you here) unless you have a particular desire to go there. From a UK branding perspective for future jobs, I'd categorise it as follows:

Oxford, Princeton, MIT > Wharton > Chicago, LSE (but that LSE general course has a bad reputation), UCL, Columbia, Berkeley > Bocconi > NUS, Stern

My pick would probably be Oxford (college experience is worth something) or Princeton, fwiw. 

  • Intern in S&T - Comm
Jan 2, 2022 - 11:25am

worth noting that the general oxbridge college experience is v different for postgrad then it is for undergrads.

Jan 3, 2022 - 5:34am
marcelproust, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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