Is an offer for a UK UG target worth the tuition fee?

So I was offered a place at a lower target (WW, UCL) as an international non - EU citizen. The cost of tuition + living expenses will be around 135k - 150k USD for a 3-year course.

 Is it worth it to go if my goal is to get into IBD/S&T? Are the sentiments roaming around (less competition, 2-year post-study work visa, etc.) really going to make recruitment a more straightforward process for international students.

I've also read that many banks don't sponsor intls in the US. Is this also a prob in the UK? Do most banks sponsor?

Comments (16)

Jan 12, 2021 - 9:26pm

Sponsorship is an issue in the UK as well. Your choices are excellent, but if you aren't 100% set on banking, I'd explore some other options even outside of the UK. 50k a year is a lot for the UK. There's no guarantees anywhere.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jan 13, 2021 - 4:44am

If you will be at Warwick costs like living expenses, nights out (whenever that will be lol) be a bit lesser since its not in main London.

As far as recruiting goes it does make things a lot more straightforward for internationals vs US since there's no lottery to get your work visa. You get a job, you get the work visa. The 2 year post study work visa also opens up you potentially doing internships or off cycles after graduation if you strike out in the regular process which helps. I know a lot of non-EU friends of mine who have got jobs lined up this year so if you're on top of things you will have a good shot.

But like the other comment says, sponsorship is an issue in that it's mainly the big banks (all BBs, most EBs except I think centerview and some MMs sponsor) that do sponsor so the small boutiques as a back up option is a lot more hit or miss. When it comes to recruiting both warwick and UCL are solid for placement and personally I feel that as an international makes more sense since a lot of the US targets are hellishly expensive to attend without scholarships.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 13, 2021 - 7:58am

How did you compute these 150k?


The one thing to factor in is the tuition cost. You would incur living expenses anywhere in the world. Say, for example, that you would pay £30k tuitions vs. A free school wherever you're from, you would easily be able to pay it back in 2 years post graduation. Are £30-50k in additional debt worth having a global brand name on your CV, a better salary and opps ? I think so. 

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Jan 13, 2021 - 9:26am

For WW, it depends on whether you get into certain competitive business/econ/finance courses. Similar for UCL but to a lesser extent.

Also, just to warn you that these schools actually take thousands of internationals every year. And there are also hundreds of classmates applying to IBs from your school.

Most of them actually don't end up in BB IBD and MBB. It would be better if you have a lower expectation of accepting big 4 TAS / 10 man boutique IB after graduation.

  • Prospect in Consulting
Jan 13, 2021 - 9:34am

MORSE and Econ & Stats for WW and UCL, respectively. 

As for your second point, doesn't that also apply to any competitive field that offers high compensation? If I were to measure the risk I am taking by paying high tuition fees vs. the possibility of landing a BB IB/MBB position, is it worth it in your opinion for these courses (and unis).  

Edit: assuming I will work hard to land those roles (which I will)

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Jan 13, 2021 - 10:45am

Personally I would say it depends on whether your university option in local country is great.

All jobs that pay high are competitive and if you are non-white it is pretty tough imo.

Would you be able to network and get some boutique IB / finance internship in your home country before attending school in UK? Your profile could be more competitive if you have this. Otherwise things are quite tough if you just study hard, joining student society and apply spring week without a very strong resume.

Jan 13, 2021 - 10:09am

Multiple factors to consider:

1) When you say you are international - non EU; does that mean your other option would be to study in the US because you are a US citizen or LPR? Or are you international - ROW and you are looking for a way to emigrate because local options aren't that great? Those are different scenarios. If you were paying the same tuition as a potential admission in the US, and you'd eventually return to the US I would prefer to pick the US school and build a life there.

2) A decent school in the UK will still allow a good outcome, given all opportunities are used wisely (grades, internships, networking, etc). There is no guarantee you will end up in banking though. You will most likely able to secure a job, I believe.

3) I think there will be less competition from EU countries going forward, at least for the initial 1-2 year period. Higher tuition fees and visa requirements would deter quite a few people. And we haven't seen how many jobs may migrate to another location.

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  • Prospect in Consulting
Jan 13, 2021 - 10:37am

1) Not from the US/Canada, looking to emigrate as local options are not great. Through there is a strong banking/finance industry here, yes, the Middle East. So if I don't break in LND, I will be looking at Dubai, where I'd reckon to have a British Target brand name + local awareness, and Arabic will be respected. If you have any experience regarding the industry there  (if breaking in there is easier, typical recruitment structure, etc.) I would appreciate that. 

2 and 3; For the "There is no guarantee you will end up in banking though," it is certainly not guaranteed (nothing is) but given that I go to a Target and complete the checklist (high grades, internships, networking...) do I stand a good chance as intl student? 

Jan 13, 2021 - 11:00am

We here on WSO obviously don't know you and your skills - but if you work hard, then yes - I think you can make it. Please also ask your network of friends, family and mentors who know you.


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Jan 13, 2021 - 10:11am

Having a break so here's my thoughts as an ex-international student. Yes, the 2 year post-study visa literally is the UK government kissing your sweet forehead and saying "please come to my country, we love you". I can't tell you how many people I have spoke to that have had to go back because they couldn't secure a work visa // got jerked around by employers, where the desk interviews them and ends up getting veto'ed by HR cause and I quote "its too hard to get a visa" (note this is before the new rules and for a decent-sized MM advisory boutique with international presence). I still see myself going to the Home Office website looking at the new rules and it gives me rage and joy because the old rules gave me so so so so so much grieve.


Is it worth the expense? 3 things: Yes, Yes, and ......... YES. I came from a non-target UG and then a target Masters, I cant even tell you the amount of interviews I got after, at this point I'm like 99.99% sure that initial screening is just ticking off if you come from a target and they do a cherry pick to hit diversity quotas for non-target. Can't blame them, its just easier when you have a few thousand applications. 


Regarding whether Warwick or UCL, go to UCL. 1) Warwick is more or less unknown outside of UK, UCL is known globally. You rather have a safety net of a strong brand name if you do end up having to go home 2) UCL have a stronger alumni network - imagine being in a uni that recently became good vs. going to a uni that have been good for idk decades, how many more people can you network with?. And not matter how much people tell you networking doesn't help in Europe, it still helps in terms of just saying you spoke to someone when in interviews. 3) and probably the most important, its so, so, so, so, so, so, so much easier to go to company networking events when you are based in London and if felling adventurous, you could work part-time in a fund in London in second/third year. Being based outside of London, you start thinking "man is it really worth waking up at 9am on a cold morning to catch that 9.30am train to be at the event at 10.30am". You say yes now, but consider the hangover from the night out, the last-min submission you had to do, or simply your GF/BF not knowing how hard recruiting is and go "why not spend time with me?" - also good note, probably time to run if this happens 4) if you do break into IBD/S&T you make back your expenses pretty quickly. Although I do agree with other people here saying that its a small % of ppl breaking in, but as with anything there's risk and taking into account you're even thinking of spending the money, im assuming you come from a ok-background family in terms of wealth and if you dont break into IBD/S&T, you would still have a home to go back. Are there future opportunity to enter IBD/S&T if not at grad level; sure there's opportunities in the future to enter a lucrative role, but when I was in your position, I just thought to myself that its better to have more options earlier than later. 5) Side-note I would say that UCL is target, while Warwick is lower target - just based on people I know and the % of people I see in interviews. Also not sure if your course is business related, I have heard that only the Business school in Warwick is target, the uni in general is not, so if your doing a STEM or humanities, then you really need to go to UCL cause UCL is a target based on uni name and not B-School. Again, what I heard, you would have to reconfirm on this point.


Regarding your sponsorship question, the 2 year post-study work visa is now your visa that the gov gave you, you dont need the bank to help you anymore.


  • Prospect in Consulting
Jan 13, 2021 - 10:50am

Your first point isn't surprising, as many people told me smaller firms don't sponsor. But compared to the US, it seems the process is much straightforward. Plus, do yk if being an Arab is considered diversity? As Ik they're a minority lol.

For WW vs. UCL, I am leaning towards WW as the course I got into (MORSE) opens up even more industries (Quant Finance, Tech, Data Science, Actuary, other roles where highly quantitative degrees are valued), which I think would be important if I don't break into banking. But I will talk your advice into account tho. 

Yes, I am an ok-background, but I certainly need to work after graduation, not necessarily in IB.  

Side note: I believe Warwick is a target Maths, Statistics, and Economics department and WBS. 

I have offers for Economics and for MORSE.


Jan 13, 2021 - 11:12am

I'm Asian and I think I have seen Arabs during diversity events. Recommend going to BrightNetwork website to check cause they host a few diversity events / is a diversity driven company that hosts recruiting events for companies. But I think it should be cause generally as long as you're non-white = diversity.


Ahh fair enough, do agree with getting a more quant degree to open up doors. Recommend going to speak to a MORSE Alumni through Linkedin and see where people in his cohort placed into. Gd luck!


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