European Masters Ranking | 2020

Hey guys,

As I've spotted an increasing number of questions related to European master's degree programs for IB, PE, and MBB placement, I've decided to prepare a ranking that would guide potential candidates. I am open to your comments, and after a discussion, I will make a final update of the classification.

Tier 0: (academic): Cambridge, Oxford, LSE
Tier 0: (practical): HEC Paris, LBS, Bocconi
Tier 1: Imperial, HSG, UCL
Tier 2: ESCP, IE, Warwick, ESSEC, ESADE
Tier 3: RSM, SSE, EDHEC, WHU, Cass, EMLyon, Paris Dauphine, IMD

I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions for improvements :)

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (60)

Most Helpful
Apr 30, 2020 - 10:06am

Hate to be this guy, but you need to provide some more context on how you got to some of these. You can find plenty of rankings from sources like QS or FT. You can also look at LinkedIn. But I'll bite and based on your rankings here are some broad comments:

  • For London, in what world is MIT on par with the others in the first bucket? Yes, MIT is great but by no means places as well or even similarly to the others in London IB.

  • Not sure if you realize the size and quality of the Bocconi network in London. It is miles ahead of HSG and UCL and quite a bit ahead of ICL. Would put it with LBS and HEC

  • No offence to our Norther European friends, but SSE and RSM need to either be in a tier of their own or one below. Not comparable to the others you have in Tier 2

  • WTF is IMD? Googled it but honestly never heard of it before. No offence again, but would not put it in Tier 2 and am struggling to make it fit in Tier 3 too. Find me LinkedIn proof that says otherwise

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 30, 2020 - 10:15am

I was also thinking about points 3, and 4 but decided to be a bit less harsh. Let's see other comments on that. Bocconi goes up, fair point is that it should be 'Tier 0.5' as something between but let's apply premium due to potential move of financial hub from London to continental Europe after Brexit. MIT deleted, let's stick with European schools.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Apr 30, 2020 - 10:29am

These rankings rarely make sense in terms of tiers and usually made by people who attended one school and base the rest on hearsay. In any case, as I was once faced with the decision myself, I will give my (probably biased, because we all are) input, in case someone in doubt should find this thread. The below is based on placement, because in the end that is what matters to most people on this forum (and thus not whether you enjoy London life or academics).

-Cambridge doesn't make sense on this list, they don't have any "career-focused" master within finance, the Mphil Finance is targeted people who want to do research. The Finance & Economics Master is also a relatively small programme.

-Oxford MFE arguably the top choice in Europe with LBS MFA and LSE MSc Finance (& Private Equity) following just behind.

-I see MIT was removed, but top candidates are usually deciding between MIT and Oxford, definitely possible to recruit for Europe with the MIT Master in Finance, and it's a highly regarded programme. Only downside is the extra cost and you can't do a summer internship the year before as it starts quite early.

-Bocconi only on par with the others for Italians.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 30, 2020 - 2:27pm

Looking at this year's summer placement of LBS students I'd be cautious about such move.

Also, I don't get the idea of distinguishing between "academic" and "practical" tiers. What does it stand for? Maybe the author should clarify if he aims at ranking the schools by placement/ quality of teaching etc.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Apr 30, 2020 - 3:42pm

Intern 1 - these schools are hardly comparable due to the different preparation of students model (academic - you get overall knowledge and open-minded thinking, your aim is to learn, practical - your aim is to get a job without focusic much on schooling per se. Therefore as these schools have similar prestige, I decided to divide it in to these categories for potential candidates, so that they could understand the difference.

  • Intern in S&T - Other
Apr 30, 2020 - 3:33pm

UCL might be pretty good for undergrad but their Master's degree doesn't compete with the rest of tier 1. Drop one, perhaps two tiers

  • Intern in Other
Apr 30, 2020 - 3:44pm

Here is how I perceive the different European schools for London:

Tier 1: Oxford > LBS, LSE
Tier 1.5: HEC, Bocconi, Imperial, Cambridge
Tier 3: CBS, RSM, Warwick, Cass, WHO

Could potentially put Oxford in a tier of its own, and left MIT out since it's not European.

May 1, 2020 - 5:20am

There is no way you can generalize a Master's at Oxford to be superior to LSE or LBS...

The only course at Oxford that rivals the two is the MFE.

It's also widely known that Master's students at Oxbridge are not as highly regarded as the undergraduates, especially when you go beyond the MFE (due to the fact that undergraduate courses are much more competitive than postgraduate). I think it would be misleading to imply that it is the number one Master's school on its' own, as your ranking suggests.


  • 7
  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 1, 2020 - 6:44am

Naturally you would focus on the top programmes targeted IB for these rankings, I think that is implicit in the ranking. Otherwise you delve into a mass of programmes not relevant to banking (I don't think anyone would argue that LSE's ranking here should be based on how good its MSc Marketing is for getting you into banking).

Not sure where this "Master's students at Oxbridge are not as highly regarded as the undergraduates" comes from. Master's students at Oxbridge have entirely different goals compared to undergrads (many continue on to a Dphil), and I think it is a bit weird to claim they are less valuable when their purpose is entirely different compared to that of a Master at LSE or LBS.

Basing on the MFE therefore appears accurate (which is arguably a stronger programme than LBS/LSE although those are also solid programmes).

  • Intern in Other
May 1, 2020 - 7:00am

Lifeless Banker, when I ranked these schools I was ranking based on their flagship program for IB and London, I guess I could have specified that and will edit the post. I view the Oxfords MFE as marginally better than LBS and LSE, and I believe that view is recognized in the UK.

May 1, 2020 - 7:07am

If we are talking about flagship programmes, the only thing you may gain with the MFE is the Oxford brand.

If you're taking a perspective of people who work in IBD, the difference between the MFE, MFA or MSc Finance is non-existent, they're all great courses. But I think it's also important to consider the wider range of courses that place when selecting an institution for a Master's. For example, LBS gets excellent BB placement from the MiM and MFA. Flagship programmes narrow the scope too much because there are plenty of Master's programmes that have good placement.


  • 1
  • Intern in Other
May 1, 2020 - 7:20am

Fair enough, your point about it's more a generalization into tiers than ranking individual schools is right. It is too close to differentiate from those three schools (Oxford, LBS, LSE), as they are all very competitive. The original post had too many schools in the first tier, so I moved some down to tier 1.5 that are less competitive compared to those three.

May 1, 2020 - 11:22am

Tier 0: (academic): Cambridge, Oxford, LSE
Tier 0: (practical): HEC Paris, LBS, Bocconi
Tier 1: Imperial, HSG, UCL, SSE, RSM
Tier 2: ESCP, IE, Warwick, ESSEC, ESADE
Tier 3: EDHEC, WHU, Cass, EMLyon, Paris Dauphine, IMD.

Both SSE and RSM should be ranked higher/equal to than ESCP, ESSEC and IE (and are way better than EDHEC, EMLyon, Paris Dauphine etc) . These schools are good for London but lacks the superior status that RSM/SSE has in their regions. SSE/RSM are on par with or slightly below HSG and Bocconi.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
May 1, 2020 - 11:34am

HEC, Bocconi, and Cambridge should not be in tier 0, and I agree that SSE and RSM should be higher.

May 3, 2020 - 10:35am

Very good courses IMO but not the best at their respective schools. At LSE, MSc Finance and MSc Finance and Private Equity would be the best followed up by A&F. So if someone does not get into their MFin courses A&F is a solid alternative. I would probably place A&F in tier 2 at par with Imperial MFin or just slightly above it due to the solid LSE brand and the strong networking opportunities that come with it.
I am not so sure about Imperial IWM. IMO it is a decent course but nothing too great. ICBS would still be considered a tier 2 business school in the UK (behind LBS, Said, LSE) in terms of prestige and coupling that with the fact that IWM is not their best or even top two course certainly causes IWM to fall into a tier 4 course IMO.

Jul 19, 2020 - 7:37pm

Tier 1: Oxford (MFE), LBS (MFA), LSE(MFin)
Tier 2: Bocconi (MFin), HEC Paris (MIF), Imperial (MFin)
Tier 3: ESCP, ESSEC, Warwick, ESADE, IE, HSG, RSM
TIer 4: SSE, Cass, WHU, EDHEC

Tier 1: LBS, Oxford > LSE
Tier 2 HEC > Bocconi, Imperial
Tier 3 LSE accfin, ESCP, ESSEC, HSG, SSE > Wariwck > RSM, Edhec
Tier 4 Cass, WHU. IE. CBS, Nova

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 2, 2020 - 9:37pm

oxfords masters are wildly overrated because its 'oxford,' and the people that hype it up are usually not from the UK. LBS post-experience Masters in Finance is no 1 on many rankings

May 3, 2020 - 7:00am

post-exp MFin is more of an MBA program hyperfocused on finance rather than a typical masters in finance program FYI

May 3, 2020 - 10:45am

All three are great courses and will get your foot in the door at any of the IB. All three courses are different in many ways, which is great as it allows students to pick the course which better fits their background and personality. Picking anyone of the three courses over the other two purely on placement or their prestige level would be stupid IMO. At the end of the day it boils down to which course you prefer and how well you can utilise the course and network to secure a position at an IB. No one course is better or worse, all three are great courses offered at top tier business schools.

May 4, 2020 - 4:41am

Seems to work well for IB/PE and/or London. Overall EU MBB would look different - Warwick lower, HSG and arguably WHU higher, EMLyon likely out among others.

May 6, 2020 - 3:36am

I don't disagree - just the OP mentioning IB, PE & MBB. IB & PE are very similar from my perspective, just MBB sometimes working a bit differently.

Would be curious to see a non-Business school EU ranking with the likes of Polytechnique, ETH, KIT, Politecnico, Sciences Po, etc.

  • 2
May 31, 2020 - 11:33pm

Labore quisquam ut non accusamus earum perferendis. Impedit fugiat maxime voluptatibus in nesciunt sit. Voluptatem voluptas ex quia quos. Ut molestiae magnam corrupti optio ut.

Maiores labore libero ex inventore reprehenderit itaque. Magnam aliquid nihil qui maxime qui. Sed voluptatem dolor enim laboriosam. Quaerat cumque aut doloremque quod aut.

Sapiente dolor ipsam ut minus maxime voluptas. Et sed accusantium aut recusandae.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

October 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (39) $363
  • Associates (228) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (137) $154
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (31) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (104) $143
  • 1st Year Analyst (501) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (387) $83