Master's programs in Europe (on a budget).

Hi,

I recently finished my bachelor's program and want to start a master's program in September.

Basically I can't afford all the big names (i.e. LSE, Oxbridge, etc.). There is a small possibility that I could get a loan but honestly I don't want to start my working life with debt of over 30K euro.

What are the best programs in Europe that are relatively cheap (keep in mind that MSc programs are usually quite cheap for EU nationals)?
I was planning to do the MSc in Finance and Investments at the Rotterdam school of business, but I got the impression that its a bad program for getting into IB after reading a number of posts on this forum.

I'm already starting to feel dejected. What are the chances of getting into IB (I shouldn't even mention BB firms) with one of the crappier MSc program and no relevant work experience?

Thanks

Comments (46)

Feb 6, 2010

This is not a thing I would try to save on.

If you really want to break into investment banking, maybe you should do like I did - take out a loan, get in a top program in the UK/Europe, and then network your way into a top banking job. I think that you can do it with ~40k euro; and you can repay it pretty quickly when you land a banking job (a couple bonuses and that's it + you are left with a global brand on your CV - at this stage of your progression experience is all that matters).

The risk with getting into a crappy program is that if you end up with nothing, it will be a nightmare and at the end of the day you still spent 15-20k euros or pounds on living costs over the year. I know a couple guys who left everything behind to move to London and do a MSc at Cass business school, and both of them ended up going back home at the end. Believe me, at this point they really felt like crying to their mother.

Best of luck

Feb 7, 2010

Thanks for the reply.
I see where you're coming from, but what if I don't get a top banking job after graduating? I mean someone from LSE isn't guaranteed a position. In that case I'll be stuck with a large amount of debt and an average job.

Feb 7, 2010

I understand your point - indeed, it does not guarantee you a position and I can tell you that I saw some of my classmates in the past that had not done their homeworks (networking their asses off, being very diligent and disciplined during the application and recruiting process, etc .) and ended up home.

Then, one can also say that there is a bit of luck and randomness as part of the recruiting process, but this is something that you can't control...

Thus, I guess that my point is that you should try to put all chances on your side - my opinion is that when making your final decision, 10k should not be a deal-breaker considering the salary that you will make in your first year(s).

If there's anything I can do for you as you are working on your applications and making a decision, please reach out for me via PM - I'll be very happy to help and share my experience with you. I was in the same spot not so long ago (basically, I had to choose between a fully subsidised language program in China and a few MScs in Europe).

Cheers

Feb 7, 2010

Two possibilities.

  1. Not do a prestigious MSc and not break into banking with probability 100%.
  2. Do an MSc and land and job that will more than repay it with positive probability.

Are you risk-averse?

Feb 7, 2010

@BradZ,: Thanks, I'll definitely keep your offer in mind! The thing is that it wont be 10k, but more like 40k. If I do go to a good school, but am (for whatever reason) unable to get into IB, are there many other finance related jobs that will pay a similar salary (or enough to get rid of the debt in a relatively short amount of time)?

@maxcanada: I like the way you think.

In any case I think I'm going to apply and if I get in I'll think about the financing.

And if I do end up going to Rotterdam, what kind of doors are open (and closed) to me? I.e., what kind of finance jobs can I still get, and which are out of the question?

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Feb 7, 2010

To expand a bit, I have such a master's degree.

My first option was to do a 2-year master's in Continental Europe at no cost and aim for jobs in London from that vantage point. I had very good internships under my belt and graduated from my BSc at the top of my class, but my internships were MBB, not finance, and with hindsight I don't think they would have gotten me a job in current market conditions.

The alternative was to pursue a 1-year master's at Oxford/Cambridge/LSE. The price tag is around 40k EUR (minus possible scholarships), yes, but you only forgo one year of income. Also, the degree adds to your pedigree and is a strong signal of commitment to finance.

I chose the 1-year master's. It was a very good decision. However, be warned: if you don't cut it, brace yourself for an humilitating journey back home. I'd say that there were two types of students in my program: people like me who went to good schools in the US/Europe and already had solid internships, and people who studied in India/China and used the brand name to make the jump to the UK or more prestigious jobs back home.

The former did very well: Lazard, Goldman Sachs, private equity, you name it. The latter sometimes had to settle for IB jobs in Hong Kong, consulting positions like Oliver Wyman or insurance jobs, but some also did very well. You cannot stress enough the importance of a good brand name nowadays. A junior employee at GS told me that they received close to one thousand resumes from my school. Needless to say, the kids from Rotterdam didn't get the interviews.

In any case, being an alumni of Oxford/Cambridge/LSE is also valuable in and of itself.

Feb 7, 2010
maxcanada:

To expand a bit, I have such a master's degree.

My first option was to do a 2-year master's in Continental Europe at no cost and aim for jobs in London from that vantage point. I had very good internships under my belt and graduated from my BSc at the top of my class, but my internships were MBB, not finance, and with hindsight I don't think they would have gotten me a job in current market conditions.

The alternative was to pursue a 1-year master's at Oxford/Cambridge/LSE. The price tag is around 40k EUR (minus possible scholarships), yes, but you only forgo one year of income. Also, the degree adds to your pedigree and is a strong signal of commitment to finance.

I chose the 1-year master's. It was a very good decision. However, be warned: if you don't cut it, brace yourself for an humilitating journey back home. I'd say that there were two types of students in my program: people like me who went to good schools in the US/Europe and already had solid internships, and people who studied in India/China and used the brand name to make the jump to the UK or more prestigious jobs back home.

The former did very well: Lazard, Goldman Sachs, private equity, you name it. The latter sometimes had to settle for IB jobs in Hong Kong, consulting positions like Oliver Wyman or insurance jobs, but some also did very well. You cannot stress enough the importance of a good brand name nowadays. A junior employee at GS told me that they received close to one thousand resumes from my school. Needless to say, the kids from Rotterdam didn't get the interviews.

In any case, being an alumni of Oxford/Cambridge/LSE is also valuable in and of itself.

What two year masters are you referring to? The only continental european 2 year masters in finance that I know of is Bocconi in Milan. sounds like a good program- the extra year gives you another shot at recruiting if you mess up your first time around.

Feb 7, 2010

@OP: It's kind of late to apply, but give it a shot. You absolutely need a GMAT/GRE, but TOEFL can wait.

Affirmative_Action_Walrus][quote=maxcanada:

What two year masters are you referring to? The only continental european 2 year masters in finance that I know of is Bocconi in Milan.

I wasn't a finance major.

Apr 28, 2010

well, I am a RSM undergrad. and a lot of the good students got interviews at GS. Last year several got summer internships in London. Just my experience. It's true the career services won't help u much (I've never tried them either). You're basically on your own. IMO graduating from LSE, Oxbridge, HEC will give you an edge over RSM. Perhaps Imperial and SSE too.

For the dutch students it's so easy to get into any job in the Netherlands. Dutch students get invites from BCG, McK, GS, DB, CS, etc. without any work experience, etc.

Apr 28, 2010
Cdawg:

well, I am a RSM undergrad. and a lot of the good students got interviews at GS. Last year several got summer internships in London. Just my experience. It's true the career services won't help u much (I've never tried them either). You're basically on your own. IMO graduating from LSE, Oxbridge, HEC will give you an edge over RSM. Perhaps Imperial and SSE too.

For the dutch students it's so easy to get into any job in the Netherlands. Dutch students get invites from BCG, McK, GS, DB, CS, etc. without any work experience, etc.

Why only dutch students? What about internationals? Is it because of language or is it government mandated?

Feb 7, 2010

The MSc in Rotterdam is also 1 year in length.

If the debt were on my own shoulders it would be a no brainer, I'm still young so I would definitely go for it. The problem is (without going into too much detail) that screwing up (i.e. failing the program or even not getting a high paying job afterwards) will have serious repercussions for the rest of my family. That is something which I definitely don't take lightly.
Furthermore I have quite a lot of work experience, but none of it is in finance, meaning that even with a prestigious degree I'm still at a disadvantage.

What kind of jobs would I be able to get with an MSc from Rotterdam? Will smaller investment banks look at me? If investment banking is completely out of the question, what other kind of finance work can I expect?

Feb 7, 2010

Ok I guess if you want to achieve something significant you have to take risks - I'm going to do my best to get into Oxford/Cambridge/LSE.

I have a few questions (this could go in a new thread but I figure I might as well ask here):

- My grades were good, but not excellent. I got a cum laude (I guess its tough to compare to the US GPA, etc., but according to wikipedia: Generally, less than 20% receive the "with honourable mention" distinction, and "cum laude" is even harder to attain (less than 5-10% depending on the university).) with an average grade of just over 8/10. The distribution is a bit skewed - during the first, and half of the second year I had average grades (I slacked off), but in the second half of my BSc I really started working hard and got quite a few excellent grades (could they see this as a plus, i.e. a consistent improvement in grades?). Based on grades, what are my chances for the big 3 universities?

- Given my grades, what do I need to get on my GMAT to have a good chance? Unfortunately the deadline for the MPhil in finance program at Cambridge is in a week or so, so I won't be able to submit my GMAT grades (I plan to take it in a couple of months) - do I basically stand no chance at Cambridge (they say GMAT is not necessary but is preferred)?

- LSE has rolling admissions, do any of you have a rough idea of when they usually close?

- Is Warwick worth going to? Its just as expensive, but I hear its not as highly regarded as the big 3.

Thanks

Feb 7, 2010
Silverback88:

Ok I guess if you want to achieve something significant you have to take risks - I'm going to do my best to get into Oxford/Cambridge/LSE.

I have a few questions (this could go in a new thread but I figure I might as well ask here):

  • My grades were good, but not excellent. I got a cum laude (I guess its tough to compare to the US GPA, etc., but according to wikipedia: Generally, less than 20% receive the "with honourable mention" distinction, and "cum laude" is even harder to attain (less than 5-10% depending on the university).) with an average grade of just over 8/10. The distribution is a bit skewed - during the first, and half of the second year I had average grades (I slacked off), but in the second half of my BSc I really started working hard and got quite a few excellent grades (could they see this as a plus, i.e. a consistent improvement in grades?). Based on grades, what are my chances for the big 3 universities?
  • Given my grades, what do I need to get on my GMAT to have a good chance? Unfortunately the deadline for the MPhil in finance program at Cambridge is in a week or so, so I won't be able to submit my GMAT grades (I plan to take it in a couple of months) - do I basically stand no chance at Cambridge (they say GMAT is not necessary but is preferred)?
  • LSE has rolling admissions, do any of you have a rough idea of when they usually close?
    • Is Warwick worth going to? Its just as expensive, but I hear its not as highly regarded as the big 3.

Thanks

LSE and Oxbridge are super competitive. I think that for LSE, something like only 2.5% of applicants are admitted. As for undergrad GPA, all three want you to have at least a 3.5. As for GMAT scores, you probably need above a 700, but more importantly, you need to place in a very high percentile in the quant section.
I think that Oxford strongly prefers students who have placed in the 90th percentile or above in the quant section.

from what i hear warwick is ok, nothing terribly special- but better than Cass. it may be more likely to place you in middle office than front office.

if i were you, i would consider other masters in finance or even masters in accounting programs as a back up.

good luck

Feb 7, 2010

Thats a good point, the LSE intake statistics for other programs (accounting, etc.) are much more favourable. Do IB banks put a lot of emphasis on the program itself (i.e. will I still be able to land a similar IB job with an MSc in accounting)?

Feb 9, 2010
Affirmative_Action_Walrus:

from what i hear warwick is ok, nothing terribly special- but better than Cass. it may be more likely to place you in middle office than front office.

Warwick has placed very well in FO for the last few years. From the stats I've seen, only LSE placed consistently better. Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, UCL and Imperial numbers are usually comparable.

Or maybe I'm biased coz I go to Warwick, but numbers don't lie.

Feb 7, 2010

MSc accounting probably won't get you into IB unless you go to a program at which banks recruit (texas, michigan come to mind) and you do a lot of networking, You'd definitely be able to do Big 4 accounting for a few years and then either transition into IB or go to B school.

Feb 7, 2010

Hmm thats a shame. The MSc Accounting and Finance program from LSE accepts approximately 17% of applicants and has a strong finance curriculum.

Feb 10, 2010

My feel is that there are too many people with an American set of mind posting on this thread.
The main difference between London and New York IB recruitment is that in Europe 99% of the recruitment is done online (not campus based). As a result being at a "target" university, although still gives you good points, it's not nearly as important as in the US.

This is what the FO graduate intake of 2009 looked like at my BB:

LSE 15
Cambridge 12
Warwick 10
Oxford 8
Imperial 7
Bristol 5
UCL 5
KCL 3
Nottingham 3
SSE 3
St. Gallen 3
Cass 2
Manchester 2
RSM 2
WHU 2
Bath 1
Bocconi 1
CBS 1
Chicago 1
Deusto 1
Durham 1
Edinburgh 1
Exeter 1
HEC Paris 1
KU Leuven 1
Northwestern 1
Reading 1
Simon Fraser 1
Warsaw School of Economics 1

Before getting heavily in debt, I would consider some of the European programmes above or the ones you can find on this list (http://rankings.ft.com/exportranking/masters-in-fi...). Note that some of these EU masters are really expensive, whereas others are heavily subsidized by the EU or home governments, what means that you get a very good quality education for peanuts or even free.

If your online application is decent, all of these unis will get you through the initial screening. Then it's just abut how well you interview or perform in ACs, and no amount of LSE pedigree will help on that.

Feb 8, 2010

what kind of salary are we looking at after an MSc in finance?

Feb 9, 2010

After reading this thread I got dejected because I was pretty much told that there is a 0% chance of getting into IB with the MSc from RSM. I did some more research and found out that this is not true (thanks UKtop for your post as well). I'm now more than happy to go to RSM.

Feb 9, 2010
Silverback88:

After reading this thread I got dejected because I was pretty much told that there is a 0% chance of getting into IB with the MSc from RSM. I did some more research and found out that this is not true (thanks UKtop for your post as well). I'm now more than happy to go to RSM.

What research says RSM MSc is good for IB? I know that the two year Masters in Management program or whatever it is (for people with work experience) is good for IB, but I didn't know that the 1 year MSc was good for IB too.

Feb 10, 2010

No doubt you would do better in LSE, but if you are good enough for IB, RSM won't hold you back.

Feb 9, 2010

I was just told that only 5 people in Warwick's programme have offers.

UKtop, Oxford/Cambridge/LSE make up 40% of your class, although they might represent maybe 5-10% of applicants. I'm just saying.

Feb 10, 2010

Excuse my lack of experience, but what do the acronyms FO and BB stand for?

Feb 10, 2010
forzafinance:

Excuse my lack of experience, but what do the acronyms FO and BB stand for?

Front office, Back office. You want FO.

Feb 10, 2010
forzafinance:

Excuse my lack of experience, but what do the acronyms FO and BB stand for?

FO and BO as explained above.
BB refers to "bulge bracket", often used to refer to the largest investment banks.

Feb 19, 2010

Is it an odd goal to do a Masters in Finance or Management in London and then land a finance job back in the states?

By doing a European Masters, are you positioning yourself for the European job market, rather than the U.S. market?

Feb 19, 2010

What do you think?

Mar 19, 2010

I am considering RSM myself... No, it's not a top target but I believe it's still good enough to lead to an interview if you have some work experience / EC:s etc.

Mar 19, 2010
jawo:

I am considering RSM myself... No, it's not a top target but I believe it's still good enough to lead to an interview if you have some work experience / EC:s etc.

RSM is a top target- on par with HEC, Bocconi, SSE, and St. Gallen in continental europe. It'll get your foot in the door for interviews.

Apr 13, 2010

Hi Silverback

I 'd say that Warwick can provide more benefit for your concern of having a job after you finish your study.
Warwick students are in their 30s and most of them have 10 years or more of working experience. It's also possible that they have a senior role in their jobs.

For more stories/ info about Warwick: http://businessbecause.com/wbs.htm

Apr 13, 2010

If he's on a budget, Warwick is out of the question.

Apr 26, 2010

I think you should definitely consider nottingham university's business school. considering the fees (GBP8-9,0000, you're much more likely to get a higher ROI. Plus their MBA program is very highly regarded by MNCs so you should leverage on that and - like what some people have said, network your way into IB.

Apr 26, 2010
pno:

I think you should definitely consider nottingham university's business school. considering the fees (GBP8-9,0000, you're much more likely to get a higher ROI. Plus their MBA program is very highly regarded by MNCs so you should leverage on that and - like what some people have said, network your way into IB.

Nottingham MSc Finance for BB IB = a big bowl of wrong

May 3, 2010

It's because of the language. A lot of good firms come to recruit at RSM, but they recruit for the Dutch office, and the few that come to recruit for the UK are looking for Dutch speakers for the Dutch desk.

RSM is target and if your CV is good it'll get you the interviews.

Mar 27, 2011

although a bit late, Copenhagen Business School is free for EU citizens... plus it has a good ranking/reputation.

Nov 26, 2012

Hello i am suraj doing my bachelors in computer science and engineering.. I am planning to do my MSc in europe. My CGPA is just 7 on a 10 point scale. I need to know about the job opportunities in IT sector. Can anyone please guide me? Which country in preferable for MSc in computer science and engineering??

Jan 8, 2013

Just to know silverback88, did u do your master in Rotterdam??? How it was??? and about to get into a IB??? I almost in a same case as your. Thanks man.....

Jan 8, 2013

I don't know which programs are low budget but from the two you mentioned, SSE is clearly the better one. HSG is also cheap and does the job. Rotterdam isn't a bad option either but the two I previously mentioned seem to place better.

Jan 8, 2013

I believe Frankfurt is pretty cheap. SSG is a great program and if you can do it cheaply I'd suggest you do so.

Jan 8, 2013
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