Cambridge vs LSE

Hello fellows,

I know this neverending dispute between Oxbridge and other unis for IB is starting to be quite annoying, however, I am in a quite unique situation that, at least from my point of view, has never been discussed on the internet. I very much appreciate any additions to the discussion and perspectives on the topic.

To start with, I am from Eastern Europe, finished high school a year ago (I have taken a gap year) and I wanted to work in finance ever since I remember. At the moment I am facing a decision whether to go study maths and econ at LSE or maths at Cambridge. The problem is that I was offered to study at a mature student college (age 21 and above) and my starting year was thus deferred by a year, whereas I could enroll at LSE this year already. Furthermore, since the UK has left the EU, Europeans are subject to overseas tuition fees, which are pretty steep and Cambridge isn't famous for being particularly cheap either, while LSE is a much more viable option in this sense. It's important to note that although my family could afford the tuition at Cambridge for my bachelor's it would create a big pressure on me after graduation. Please provide your thoughts on this with respect to breaking into IB/PE, overall prestige, potential career growth, etc., and last but not least what would you do were you on the same footing.

To sum it up, I have to decide between:

LSE ≈ 120£, 3 years

Cambridge ≈ 180£, 4 years & one year of lost income/exp

Thank you in advance for your responses!

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Comments (12)

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 7, 2021 - 6:45pm

Wouldn't take into account foregone income as a calculation for overall cost.

Cambridge Maths will by far set you up better than LSE Econ and Maths due to the fact it is well regarded as one of the top maths undergraduate degrees in the world and you will easily get looks from MM/Quant HF as well as IB/Consulting etc just because of how respected the course is. 

The collegiate environment, including at a mature college, will by far trump the social experience at LSE and you will find that the city is so easy to navigate and the fact that it is small allows for you to build a network and a solid social group. Societies are far better at Cambridge than LSE, by the finance ones who will be better at LSE since it is more careers focused. 

Moreover, in the long term, a Cambridge degree in Maths will carry much more weight than an LSE Ec+Maths degree and the Cambridge network is much more solid for if you want to move into Tech/CS/start up/research and further academia. 

Apr 8, 2021 - 1:43am

Thank you very much for your insight! In your opinion, would LSE (maths and econ) + masters from Oxbridge carry the same weight as an undergraduate degree from Cambridge in maths?

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Apr 8, 2021 - 9:26am

I would say that they would carry a similar level of weight however masters at oxbridge are quite expensive if one of your main considerations is cost. 

Moreover, you can go to the same majority of positions within IB/HF/PE from Cambridge Maths as you would be able to from Lse ec+maths + oxbridge masters 

I would still strongly suggest Cambridge maths as the most straightforward and enjoyable route to finance as opposed to LSE (great uni for finance but the place is miserable)

Apr 8, 2021 - 8:19am

For UG, Oxbridge will usually offer a more wholesome experience than LSE.

There's a reason why LSE has diabolical student satisfaction!


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Apr 12, 2021 - 5:16pm

Cambridge > LSE

Cambridge Maths is 24k/yr 
LSE Econ + Maths is 22k/yr 
cost of living will be cheaper in Cambridge

LSE will likely be more expensive than Cambridge overall, and the gap year is irrelevant from a long-term perspective

Add to this, Cambridge Maths is the best Maths course in the country and a core feeder for all top quant/prop shops... GS S&T literally have an insight every year specifically for Cambridge Trinity Maths students

When you're 40, 50... do you really want to be a Cambridge alumni or LSE? 

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Apr 13, 2021 - 5:21am

Picked a London university (LSE/Imperial) over Oxbridge myself, but there's no comparison in this case. Go with Cambridge. This is the best Maths course in the country (well ahead of the rest of COWI) and will get you any place you want to go. At LSE you'll just be another Economics grad, albeit one with some extra quant skills. 

Apr 13, 2021 - 7:18am

Thank you guys, your insight is paramount. Do you have any advice on what I could do for the year?

My options include:

  1. Improve in foreign languages (currently Russian - advanced, German - beginner)
  2. Learn the technicals and maybe acquire some certifications (FRM, CMT, CFP)
  3. Study ahead and thus increase my chances of attaining first class honours
  4. Try to secure an off-cycle internship at an investment bank (this will be incredibly hard if not impossible at this point)

I could probably, except the last one, join two of the above-stated, which ones would you pursue?

Apr 13, 2021 - 8:24am

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