Investment banking background; Does the degree matter, or 'elite target prestige > all' during recruitment?

MonkeyMoo5's picture
Rank: Baboon | 105

Hey guys,

My goal is to work in bulge brackets investment banking post Masters, and I am faced with a big internal struggle. If I got a choice of offers between an Area Studies subject at Oxford vs. a MSc in Finance at Imperial Business School vs Economic History at LSE, which one should I choose? Does the extra street cred from Oxford/LSE outweigh the more practical degree from Imperial? Further, would the global reputation of Oxford outweigh LSE's prime location/slightly more related subject?


Got two M&A internships (one at big 4 corporate finance, one at Dutch MM bank) and one DCM internship on my CV.

Also got excellent results from my undergrad major in Finance (from a non-target) and an academic exchange in another continent.

Any advice on this decision of education would help me a ton.

**PS; I am a poor dude, will have to borrow in order to pursue the Masters, with Imperial being (by far) the most expensive one **

Comments (8)

Aug 25, 2018

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Or maybe the following pros can chime in... @bbb_banker @Brianna-Conway @April'sPromise

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Oct 16, 2018

Might help you stand out, but as an FYI, fairly rare to see anyone with a masters at the analyst level in a BB. Granted, if your masters is from a very well respected institution and your undergrad is not, it may give you the boost you need to get the interview.

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Oct 16, 2018

That's absolutely incorrect, in London is very common, especially if you are from continental Europe.

To answer to your question, I'd probably go with Imperial

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Oct 16, 2018

Surprising, since in the states it's the opposite and fairly rare here.

Oct 16, 2018

From what I have heard and seen, this is more common in Europe than in the US.

Also, from my experience, I know people that got their Master's degree at Rotterdam School of Management and received offers from top EB/BB in London. I would say the difference between LSE, Oxford or Imperial would be quite minimal.

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Most Helpful
Oct 16, 2018

American perspective here, but in the States, a random degree like history from a target beats a relevant degree like finance from a non-target. When banks are hiring, all they see is "TARGET" and your foot is in the door. With a non-target, not only do you need to have a relevant degree, but there will also be fewer doors open to you.

My gut feeling is that Oxford is going to open more doors for you overall. LSE has a great brand and would be a fine second choice. Imperial also isn't too shabby, but I would check recent alumni outcomes to see how and where they've been placing.

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Oct 16, 2018

Right - and if Imperial adds a lot more debt for you as you mentioned, Oxford seems like a much better choice.

Oct 16, 2018