Is it worth it to take a loan to study at LSE?

Hi (: I'm from Singapore and I have received an offer to study BSc Economics at LSE. As im an international student, the course fees in total for 3 years is about 70k pounds, which is approximately 130-140k Singapore$. If the situation in London allows for physical classes, then that means another 30-40k pound spent on accommodation, which is again 60-70k S$. So in total it's about 100k pounds.

There are loans available in my country at about 4-5% interest rate, max 200k S$. I'm not sure if it's a worthy investment to take up a loan and then repay after graduation? I understand that the salary for economics graduate differ in various industries (the most $$ in investment banking), but I'm not sure of the figures and would love to hear anyone who is an Econs grad about their starting & current salary too!!

I have an offer from National Uni of Singapore (NUS) and Im eligible for the Financial Aid, so course fees wise it's really settled if I choose to stay local. There's also no accommodation fees since I can live at home.

I just feel that an economics degree at LSE is so amazing and one would have so many opportunities and repaying the loans (and still living on decent $) is not an issue, but I'm not sure if that's just in my head and the reality is not so... If anyone has any advice about this, please Comment or PM me, the deadline for UCAS is 10th June, so I'm rather worried. Thanks in advance! :-)

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Comments (36)

Jun 1, 2021 - 4:00am

Hi!! I see! Are you currently working in Singapore ? :) Ah, I might actually enroll in a different course locally, as compared to Econs in LSE, so I would not go into IB if I go to NUS. 

May I know what's the approximate salary for econs graduate jobs in singapore, if I do BSc in LSE? So I can estimate how tough it is to repay the loan. 

Most Helpful
Jun 1, 2021 - 9:10am

My parents could not afford to send me to the UK. I stayed in Singapore ,funded my education myself, worked in s&t (in hong kong) before moving over to the buyside.

Whatever you do, never ever blame your parents if they cannot afford your education at LSE. They probably tried their best to give you what they could. You are good enough to get admitted at the undergrad level and will get admitted again at the Msc level as long as you do well at NUS. During my days (early-mid 2000s) of course many of my (top) JC peers came from rich families who could send them to top schools in the US and UK , and I cant say that there wasnt any resentment, but you really have to play with the cards you're dealt.

TLDR : don't take the debt

May 31, 2021 - 2:29pm

I agree with the comment above: work (very) hard during your BSc, get a top grade (1st if possible), and then go to LSE to do an MSc. Doing just the MSc provides by far the best value for your money, and given that you will need to borrow money, I think that it is an easy decission. However, keep in mind how competitive admission for the MSc is and work hard during your BSc so you make sure that you can get in. 


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May 31, 2021 - 4:04pm

Not really.

MSc Finance intake / applicants: 93 / 1526: 6.1% 

BSc Finance intake / applicants: 69 / 678: 10.2%

BSc Economics intake / applicants: 256 / 3315: 8.0%



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Jun 1, 2021 - 4:01am

Ah I see, I might not be going into economics / finance if I stay locally though, so I won't get the chance to do a masters in LSE haha :) But I agree, I'm open to doing masters (healthcare related policy etc) in other London unis if I stay in Singapore. 

Thank you for your advice!!! :D 

Jun 1, 2021 - 3:57am

Hi!! If you don't mind could you share approximately the salary of one after completing 3 years of BSc without MSc? So I can estimate the number of months it will take to return the loan :") I understand there are a variety of occupations for econs grad, what's the average salary if you have any idea? 

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 1, 2021 - 4:27am

Econ undergrad at lse is one of the absolute best 3 courses for entering London finance you could possibly take (alongside PPE at Oxford and econ at Cambridge). I studied a different undergrad at lse so I know first hand both how powerful the lse brand is but specifically the outcomes from that course which are the best you can get at lse (far better than lse masters which is diluted in terms of admission prestige, with a less competitive pool of applicants since many students at lse don't go back for masters since no reason to).

Assuming you want finance in London or Europe I assure you the roi on the financial investment and the overall quality of education and opportunity is not going to be matched by a Singaporean University and will more than pay for itself.

I think the real question is about what you want post university and where you want to be. Having said that, lse undergrad will likely offer you greater flexibility to even go to Singapore whilst I doubt one could say the same the other way around.

Jun 1, 2021 - 8:57am

For careers in finance and breadth of opportunity there is absolutely no contest between LSE vs Nus/ntu/smu in Singapore.  If one can afford it then it's LSE by a country mile.

The question here is whether it's worth getting into immense debt when one can achieve a similar career outcome , at least in Ibd /s&t in Singapore/hk , by staying in Singapore.

To op, My point still stands , if your parents cannot afford it, don't take the loan. It is a significant millstone around your parent's neck. Save the money, spend it on a Masters degree instead at LSE. Don't burden your parents and yourself with this.

Jun 1, 2021 - 12:51pm

Ah I see! I do not intend on taking a masters, unless the companies / industries require me to :-) Thank you for sharing your insights! 

May I know if you can share more about working in IB / Actuary / Consulting? The working hours , lifestyle , pay and generic competitiveness for such jobs in london? :) 

Jun 1, 2021 - 1:37pm

Agree with the LSE brand BUT the idea that the course will help is a bit eh imo. Econ grads tend to go into IB because of self-selection rather than the course itself being prioritised, if anything other courses can help people stand out in the interviews and on the CVs since you can bet every LSE and Cambridge economist will apply for the spring weeks and internships and yet the number of students at both Oxbridge and LSE not getting the FO offers is still higher than those that do. Thus, FO IB or consulting still isn't guaranteed with LSE economics and there's a lot OP will have to do in order to break in ( i think internationals can only apply to certain places too which will sponsor them or something but this might be wrong, if its true then its even harder for OP)/

LSE will give OP much better chances but by no means is it guaranteed at all. The cards will still be stacked against them and they will have to do alot of other things to land a role, btw OP these positions are very  competitive in the UK lol. The main argument that needs to be made is will the chances LSE give him worth all that money? Probably not since at that point its a gamble, if LSE gave them a >40% chance then yeah maybe but it doesn't, its still largely up to the individual. 

Jun 3, 2021 - 8:21am

yeah... the competition is the biggest hurdle imo as well, but i'm looking to returning to SG for employment (altho of course for spring wks/ internships definitely i'll have to compete). the lifestyle of IB / consulting is also quite tough, and many end up quitting the industry despite the high $? If I choose not to go into these lucrative careers, what would you say is the average salary to look at? 

Jun 2, 2021 - 9:09am

I don't understand the comments telling OP to do an MSc at LSE instead of a bachelors. MSc programs at LSE are extremely expensive (30k-40k GBP) and he'll still have to pay the one-time costs associated with moving to London.

@OP also keep in mind that Singapore salaries are significantly higher than LDN. Good luck with your decision.

  • Associate 3 in PE - Growth
Jun 2, 2021 - 12:08pm

I went to a local uni in HK so fairly similar situation but trade your NUS for HKUST. Similarly to you, I chose local over Penn and LSE due to fear of debt. I'm 5 years out of school now, but when I recruited, I was lucky enough to get BB SA at GS/MS/JP - did my two years there, and then jumped to a European megafund. Back then, I could count with 2 hands the number of local uni kids who ended up in FT BB IBD every year, and this was HK where there were a lot more opportunities than SG (or so I've heard). Perhaps things have gotten better since, but I really feel like trying to land BB IBD from a local uni was 10x harder than getting into a top school, and certainly harder for me than even my relatively mediocre but privileged friends who went to places like NYU. And my academic life also sucked because as you know, it's a great deal harder to get a non-eyesore of a grade at a place like HKUST (guessing Singapore schools are similar) than it is at LSE, or getting cum laude at an Ivy. 

I am posting anonymously so I'll just be honest to help you out: There are so many times I regret not going to Wharton/LSE, mainly because of the long-term network and the opportunity to live abroad. If I could go back in time, I think I would have. In my days I've met a ton of people like me who graduated from those places with significant debt, but they're honestly fine. If you land a top paying job, as long as your loan terms aren't crazy you'll be able to live your life fine and pay it off over 5-7 years. I even know Singaporeans who broke their bond while overseas and have to pay crazy penalties (think 250-300k USD total), but they're fine because they landed a great job. Instead of saving 30k a year, they save 5-10k - not a big deal for most people.

If the opportunity to live and study in a place like London doesn't spark joy in you at all, and you also really have confidence in yourself that you don't need the "side benefits" of going to a name-brand school, then just stay in SG. But as someone who is 9 years post-decision, now with 7 figures in the bank, yeah - I kind of regret not betting on myself and just taking the 200k loan. 

Jun 3, 2021 - 8:14am

Oh wow! Thank you so much for your candid response :) It's amazing that you've managed to reach where you are now, either way! And I hope you're doing fine :D If you can still see this comment, perhaps could you elaborate a bit more on the work / lifestyle of working in the bank, 7 figures is insane!

Jun 26, 2021 - 3:14pm

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