MSc in Finance : LSE vs ESSEC vs Bocconi vs NUS

Hi all,

I've received offers for the MSc in Finance & Private Equity at LSE, the MFin at ESSEC (Singapore campus), and the MFin at Bocconi. I'm also admitted to National University of Singapore (NUS) MFin and MiM-CEMS dual degrees.
I value academic reputation quite a lot (ESSEC is thus put at a disadvantage here) and placement in IB/AM in London. The rationale behind applying to ESSEC's Sg campus is to gain exposure to both SG and Europe job markets, but I am curious to know whether LSE and Bocconi have a strong enough brand name to recruit in Singapore after working 2-3y in Europe before. NUS is top-notch in Asia of course but I wanna make sure it leaves all doors open after graduation (Europe + Asia recruiting).

My profile: graduated with distinction from a top uni in Canada and I've been working at a large pension fund in London for a year (Private Debt/Direct Lending). Interested in working in London but I am very keen to work in Asia someday in the future (Sg or HK, depending on what the situation will be in HK).

Thanks for sharing your insight

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Comments (7)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 6:16am

LSE and not even close. After working in London for a couple years you should have no problem recruiting in Singapore. The idea about ESSEC SG getting you exposure in Europe... I take it you'd need a visa to work in London afterwards? It'd be much more difficult to recruit from there. ESSEC in France is already not that great a brand compared to LSE, HEC, LBS...

What you really want to ask yourself is, why do you need the MSc if you're working FT in a pension fund? Shouldn't it be possible to lateral to a place you like better? You'd avoid losing a year and a lot of money both in tuition and opportunity cost.

May 27, 2020 - 6:42am

Thank you for your reply.

I'm French and I have the pre-settled status here in the UK, which, I believe, gives me a couple of extra years to work in London without the need for a new visa.

My message regarding work experience was unclear, I have been working as an intern in a pension fund since June 2019. I've tried to get a FT offer in their investment team, but I am too junior (I lack 1-2y of lev.fin experience)

On that note, my boss is offering me to renew my contract another 6 months (until Dec-20), which would (i) reinforce my work experience on the buy-side, and (ii) give me some more time to either recruit FT elsewhere, or re-apply to business schools for 2021.

Should I favor this extra work opportunity (strong exposure to high-profile leveraged loan transactions in Europe + good money), or go to LSE if I am offered admission?



  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 6:48am

Fair enough about the French citicenship. Yes, you'll have no problem visa wise. But SG based recruiting to London won't be easy. The people screening you will be French (and 99% of them did prepa and the traditional route).

I would extend your internship and recruit for January 2021 off-cycle banking internships. You'll have a great shot at that. Worst case scenario, you can jump internships a bit and do LSE the year after (ask for offer 1 year deferral). I don't see why you wouldn't be able to get an IBD off-cycle with your experience by then.

EDIT: since your boss seems to like you, you might want to ask him to push you in some banks where he has contacts. A direct referral from him would go a long way towards getting an interview.

FT recruiting will be very complicated in the months to come, I'd try to get an off-cycle in a reputable bank.

May 27, 2020 - 7:09am

Given that I've had deal exposure on the debt side, do you think I should only target RX IBD off-cycles (PJT for example), or I stand similar chances for M&A/Generalist opps?

I do agree with the fact to favor such work experience over a masters, and I'll leverage my good relationship with my colleagues going forward.

Thanks for sharing your advice, it's very helpful.


  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 27, 2020 - 7:15am

Definetly don't. Apply to all and everything. Recruiting is a numbers name. Of course, prioritize the things you like the most, but you should really be applying to all opportunities, even those you might not want to work in (it'll help hone your interview skills). You don't want to get Goldman as your first interview and flunk it (been there).

I think you stand good chances in Lev fin, M&A and RX.

The best part of your situation is that you could actively and openly be recruiting from your current job and even get help from your colleagues. This rarely happens in this sector, people always need to be careful and secretive.

You have to think that most people who do MScs would love to be in your shoes after graduating. If for any reason you can't get an internship, do the MSc after, but the experience you'll gain will be invaluable.

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