MSc Finance at LSE or HEC Paris?

JSL's picture
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I have offers to study an MSc in Finance at LSE and at HEC Paris. I realise I am very lucky indeed to have the opportunity to study at either of these universities. I am extremely keen to break into M&A at a top tier bank. I would be really interested to know which of these two courses would be the most highly respected programs within the investment banking industry.

Although studying in Paris would be wonderful, I do not have fluent French (the course is in English) and from what I gather it is extremely hard to get an IB job in Paris unless you are fluent. Therefore it seems most likely that I would have to focus on jobs in London. However the HEC Paris MSc in Finance has just recently been ranked the number one Masters in Finance programme in the world by the Financial Times. But would LSE still be a more highly regarded and a bigger brand name in IB especially working in a field such as M&A in London and NY?

I would really appreciate some advice.

MOD EDIT: Moved to correct forum.

Comments (43)

Jun 20, 2011

I would say LSE hands down. Especially if you don't speak french fluently, and you want to work in London or NY.

Jun 20, 2011

Both are extremely good- I know someone who did HEC, went off to work for Lehman brothers, and is now a partner in Bain capital, literarily swimming in cash. He's American, and had no difficulty getting a job in NYC.

Jun 20, 2011

lse, slight edge but really marginal.

both will open many doors

Jun 20, 2011

Both a great schools, I wish i had such a hard decision to make ;) Why not go to Paris to take the opportunity to learn the language?

New FT ranking for MSc's:

http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/mast...

Jun 20, 2011

LSE and I studied at University of Phoenix

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

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Jun 20, 2011

LSE, and I'm French.

Jun 20, 2011

HEC Paris.. and I studied 4 years at LSE.

Jun 20, 2011

I wonder why the MSc. Finance programe at London Business School did not make it to the Top 25?

Jun 20, 2011

I wouldn't put too much stock in the FT rankings. From what I've heard Oxbridge, LSE, Bocconi and HEC are probably the schools best represented in the City. LOL @ HPM.

Jun 20, 2011

I've just finished my MSc Finance at LSE, so feel free to PM me any questions.

Jul 3, 2011

HEC. But you'll see next year's FT ranking, the first in the world will be EDHEC for finance (in Nice, France). They are currently recruiting all the best teachers in the world and former MDs of BB and had an amazing article on them in the FT of June 20th (day of the ranking). They weren't in the ranking this year because the MSc needs to exist for at least 3 years.
In Europe, you cannot imagine how many guys from this school I met in excellent banks

Best Response
Jun 27, 2017

Your prediction has come true. But only in 2017.

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Jun 18, 2018

And HEC Paris replaced Edhec again in 2018.

Jul 3, 2011

I think HEC is great, but more of a continental Europe program. LSE is going to be much more London/UK centered. Both area great programs though and I think most people who know their shit know that these are top notch schools.

Jul 6, 2011
ANT:

I think HEC is great, but more of a continental Europe program. LSE is going to be much more London/UK centered. Both area great programs though and I think most people who know their shit know that these are top notch schools.

Agreed

Jul 5, 2011

Does anyone know why the LSE program did not appear in the financial times rankings?

Jul 19, 2011

Definitively HEC.. you'll easily find a job in London. u absolutely don't need to be fluent in French!
And u'll be part of HEC network, which trust me is a really good one( i've friends who did the International Finance specialized master and who are now workin' in ML or GS) ! it will opens you the same doors as LSE, and probably more.. Besides, it'll give u the opportunity to have some notions in French, it's a Plus!

Good luck!

Jul 19, 2011

I know some guys who get jobs in the US after HEC. But neither HEC nor LSE wlll guarantee you a job in IB in the US. The banks use to hire people geographicaly.

No problem for an HEC graduate to get an IB job in London or in EMEA. But from what people told me when I worked at JPMorgan, it is very uncommon to start working in the US when you come from Europe (except if you study in an American university). You can move later from London to NY more easily, but at this stage it will not be your degree which will matter the most.

If you have already two years of experience in PE, I do not think you will benefit from a specialized program in PE. MSc in Finance at LSE or MSc in Finance at HEC would be better choice.

The best way to get a job in NYC is an MBA from an American business school.

What the New York Times thinks might also interest you : http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/10/20/educa...

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Jul 19, 2011

HEC is prestigious in France, but that's only true for the undergrad programme. Lots of people from the IBs and PE look down at the Specialised Masters from HEC, in fact. Forget about breaking into NYC PE/IB from there.

LSE is better, but only good to get a job in IB (maybe PE, long shot though) in London. Again very hard to get a job in NYC straight from LSE.

An US MBA is the best way to get a job in NYC, and I strongly advise you not to waste time and money on those European masters. If you want to learn French, go to Wharton and do an exchange at Insead.

If you can't break into NYC IB immediately, join a big bank in London and ask for a transfer, that's what everybody does.

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Jul 19, 2011
rastarocket:

HEC is prestigious in France, but that's only true for the undergrad programme. Lots of people from the IBs and PE look down at the Specialised Masters from HEC, in fact. Forget about breaking into NYC PE/IB from there.

LSE is better, but only good to get a job in IB (maybe PE, long shot though) in London. Again very hard to get a job in NYC straight from LSE.

An US MBA is the best way to get a job in NYC, and I strongly advise you not to waste time and money on those European masters. If you want to learn French, go to Wharton and do an exchange at Insead.

If you can't break into NYC IB immediately, join a big bank in London and ask for a transfer, that's what everybody does.

HEC does not grant undergrad degrees...

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Jul 19, 2011

I think he meant the Grande Ecole programme.

It is true that the Grande Ecole degree is far more prestigious in France than the other MS or MSc. But the best GE degrees in France (HEC, ESSEC, ESCP, Polytechnique, Centrale, Mines, ENS) you get something like 0,5% of a generation. Then, the fact that the GE degree is considered more prestigious than other HEC MSc does not mean they are not of very high quality.

And if you join the MSc in Finance, you will be in class with the Grande Ecole students who have chosen the Finance major.

LSE has also flagship programmes more prestigious than the other and MSc Finance and PE is not one of them...

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Jul 19, 2011

HEC.

Jul 19, 2011

^ The height of absurdity.

Jul 19, 2011

HEC

Jul 19, 2011

although the 1 year lse is pretty sweet as well.

Jul 19, 2011

If you're aiming to work in London or NYC, go for LSE

Jul 19, 2011

LSE - given your targets

Jul 19, 2011

LSE

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Jul 19, 2011

LSE - proximity to targets, higher relevance for the job you aim for

Jul 19, 2011

HEC is ranked #1, but you will get interviews at the top banks going to either school. So, given you want to work in London, it makes more sense to go to LSE.

The timing of graduation may be an important factor here.. banks may be hiring more in 2 years from now than next year.. also, a two year program gives you the chance to do an internship (which is extremely helpful to have for landing full time gigs).

Both are great, you will get interviews going to either, congrats.

Also, do you prefer beer or wine? tea or coffee? english muffin or pain au chocolate?

Jul 19, 2011

Congratulations for securing place on such prestigious institutes. The best way to choose a B school is based on career goals. You need to see if the schools will help you realizing those goals. Apart from that factors like what the school specializes in, geography location including urban/rural factor, size of classes in school (big class or small class), alumni success rate. Also you need to keep in consideration what recruiters tend to come on campus. You can talk to alumni's and career center wings to know further the opportunities the school provides you.

Jul 19, 2011

Thanks guys for the comments. I don't have any issues with the work permit as I am a French national. I am still not sure but I now lean more towards LSE. I talked with a few students from both institutions and I think that the MSc Finance might be a better option to land a job in London.

Jul 19, 2011

.

Jul 19, 2011

Also.. trading and structuring teams are probably not the best teams to target. Banks are spinning off their prop trading units because of new regulations, and structuring teams are being put on ice too for the same reason. You know, the whole "causing the financial crisis" thing.

M&A should pick up again with the relatively low valuations, the mountains of cash that companies are hoarding, and not much growth prospect in organic development. The M&A market is just waiting for a catalyst or two to get the ball rolling (i.e. CEO confidence in deals).

ECM and DCM teams are not doing so great.. IPO market is weak right now, but may pick up this year.

Structuring is not doing so well. They are critized for creating CDOs and structuring weird crazy products/derivatives that "only cause damage to the economy." As a result, banks are slimming these teams down.

Restructuring is doing great (relative to other teams).. makes sense, since many companies are restructuring their debt obligations these days (especially in Europe).

Prop trading is not doing so well.. Goldman spun off their prop trading unit into KKR. The other bulges are spinning their units off or shutting them down.

Sales is sales.. and Equity Research is stable.

Jul 19, 2011

Hi Ioann, congratulations to your offers. Both are great schools.

Lionwater's comments about obtaining a work permit in the UK are wrong. Obtaining a work permit will not be an issue since you are French. I am German and studied in Germany, and I will start at a BB in IB in London this July. Obtaining a work permit was never an issue for me. I know of several grads from other continental European countries who will also start working at our firm. Obtaining a work permit was never an issue.

Further, just try and look up some Linkedin profiles. I see a lot of Analysts in London that did their Programme Grande Ecole in France. Recruiting shouldn't materially differ.

Regards

Jul 19, 2011

.

Jul 19, 2011

Lionwater, thanks for clarifying.

I just looked this up because I never heard before that EU nationals need a work permit to work in the UK, and I found out that this is not correct. As long as you come from the EEA, which includes amongst others Germany and France, you do not need a work permit to work in the UK. See http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/right....
Ioann, I guess at the end it comes down to which structure of studies fits you better. A friend of a friend is in the 1yr MSc Finance program at LSE and the whole cohort has absolutely no time for internships since the curriculum is so packed. So if you have not had relevant experience in trading/structuring before, you also do not have the opportunity to gain that during your Master's at LSE, which could be a disadvantage during recruiting.

HEC's MSc would leave you time for one or even two internships during your Master's programme.

Jul 19, 2011

lionwater, you are an absolute idiot and should stop spreading misinformation - you don't need no work permit as EU national

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