MSc in Finance: Rotterdam (RSM) vs. Stockholm (SSE)


I am planning to apply for the finance programs at RSM and SSE for the intake in 2015.
My problem is that I have a very low gmat score: 610 (Q45, V29). I think I'd still be able to get into RSM as they accept on a first-come first serve basis and I meet all their minimum requirements.
My chances for SSE are therefore quite low, but I could retake the GMAT and submit if for the second round.

I slightly prefer SSE, for the following reasons:
- 2 year program (cause i will certainly miss the studentlife after graduation)
- possibility to do another exchange semester
- stockholm is way nicer than rotterdam
- their msc finance is top notch in europe

Pros for RSM:
- 12 months only in duration
- what i heard rotterdam is more like a studentcity than stockholm
- the school itself is maybe better known than SSE (even though the msc finance at SSE is one of the top programs in europe)

Can anyone tell me a little bit more about life at RSM and SSE? I think in terms of recruiting in IB or consulting (London or Europe in general) they are very similar. Pls correct me if I am wrong?!
What would you guys recommend to do if I, lets say, get accepted at RSM but not at SSE unless I retake the GMAT? Is the RSM placement in London as good as the one of SSE?
I am currently doing an internship in corporate finance (Big 4 company) and I am also in the application process for an IB internship after that.

Thanks for your help!

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Comments (47)

Nov 3, 2014 - 7:40am

Thanks for your input but for now I am looking for some more information about the 2 schools I mentioned. The only schools in the UK for which I'd be ready to pay 30K is LSE or Oxbridge. And since Finance at Oxford and Cambridge is out of the game anyway, there's only Acc&Fin at LSE left. (I guess it is as hard to get into pure finance at LSE as it is at Oxbridge)

I think RSM and SSE, especially SSE, offers high value for money and so far i know they are also both target schools for IB.

Nov 6, 2014 - 5:15am

With 610 any programme at LSE will be difficult to get into. OP needs to retake GMAT if he wants at shot at OxBridge or LSE. SSE is a good school and indeed a target for London IB. So is RSM but Stockholm is a really awesome city. Don't know about Rotterdam but cannot imagine it's as good as Stockholm (Stockholm is expensive as fuck though).

Nov 4, 2014 - 10:58am

For a useful program at LSE i'd definitely have to retake the GMAT. (Theres accounting, organizations and institutions for which u dont need any GMAT but its for non-business undergrads and I think I wont learn anything new because i specialized in accounting)
Since you can also get into london IB with RSM and SSE i'll probably go with one of these schools. Besides the city itself is there any difference in terms of school reputation, placement etc.?

Ps: I am female :P

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Nov 4, 2014 - 6:58pm

Your GMAT won't be enough for LSE or SSE. RSM is possible though, especially if you apply early. Recruiting at LSE and SSE is obviously stronger than at RSM, but RSM still places some guys into FO roles in London. LSE makes your life easier though, and SSE is two years which gives you the chance to go the easier SI -> FT route.

In terms of cost of living, RSM is much cheaper than the others. Student life in Stockholm and London can be cool though if you have a cool crowd to hang out with and a big wallet. Living in Rotterdam doesn't sound too appealing for me to be honest, but that's just me. It's kind of boring compared to cities such as London.

Anyway, all depends on your GMAT. If you are not willing to retake it, RSM is definitely one of the best choices out there with a 610 GMAT and in terms of value for money. If you were to retake it and score higher, I don't see why you shouldn't try your luck with LSE and SSE.

Good luck.

Nov 5, 2014 - 2:02am

thanks for your advice!
my gpa is good, i don't know how to convert it exactly, but I am among the top 1% at my university.
I also spent 1 semester abroad (Singapore) and have some relevant internship experience.

I already applied for SSE (1st deadline) and RSM. RSM result will be released in about 4 weeks and SSE in about 6 weeks. I am aware that my chances at SSE are very slim. However, I sent the admission office an email and asked whether the GMAT is the most important part and they said that they do overall assessment and grades etc. are equally important. Also, my quant score is fairly competitive (45), so I still have at least a little hope.

I know that LSE would be the best choice and it was actually always my favorite. But now, that I know that I have no chance to get in with my score I started thinking about the tuition fee and whether it is really worth it if you can reach the same goal in terms of recruitment with another school that is (almost) free.

I'll wait for the SSE result and then I can still retake the GMAT and submit for the second round. And in case I score high enough for Acc&Fin at LSE I will definitely apply for that program too.

Nov 5, 2014 - 5:40pm

Just to let you know, RSM accepts people into their Msc if you have sufficient GPA and gmat >600. As long as you have a business, econ or finance degree you are fine! Considering you're in the top 1% of your class I would for sure retake the GMAT and you'll have a very good shot at LSE and SSE.

Nov 6, 2014 - 4:57am

Yea they say first come first serve on their homepage until all spots are filled.

Hm so you guys would definitely prefer SSE or LSE over RSM? Oh man its such a hard decision. I mean I am sure that I could do better in the GMAT but its such a pain to study while working full-time. I know that LSE is way better than RSM and london is a great city etc. The only thing is, even if I retook the GMAT and scored 680/700 or above I still don't know If i would get accepted at LSE. The same applies to SEE since they only accept about 40 internationals in their finance program.. Do you know what I mean? I dont have the guarantee that retaking it is worth the effort. I am usually a very determined person and if I want to achieve something I work for it but at the moment I am doubting a little bit, because I think/know that you can also get an IB position in London without having done your MSc at LSE.. And that's what I want in the end. Another very important factor for me is: I really want to do another exchange semester in the US or canada. Thats possible at both schools, RSM and SSE (they have similar/the same partner schools), but not at LSE.

Is there really such a big difference between rsm and sse in terms of placement?

Nov 7, 2014 - 9:19am

Hey, I am a current RSM student.
I think the MSc Finance & Investment here is a challenging programme, and definitely gives the opportunity to get a job in banking later on. I do think it is hard to get a job at a bank in the UK with any degree from outside the UK though. Unless you have done internships in UK banks beforehand your chances are always low, because they usually prefer students from their own Universities.
Concerning student life in Rotterdam it is actually quite great. Rotterdam is an upcoming city, which has become nice every year since I live here. There are constantly new pubs and clubs opening, there are great museums and restaurants, ... . The campus life is also vibrant, with many student associations to join for various activities from sustainability to investment. The master programmes are however tough and time intensive, and may therefore not give you a lot of time to invest into extracurricular activities if you want to maintain high grades simultaneously.
Lastly, you can always add an exchange to your master programme at RSM too, by adding another half year to your master programme. You would then complete all subjects and your thesis in your first academic year, except for one elective which you complete during your exchange. RSM has a large partner network, so there are many Universities you could choose from.

Nov 7, 2014 - 10:00am

You should look into LBS and Imperial College too. I would stay far away from LSE though - it's well known but the quality of their finance program stinks.

Nov 11, 2014 - 6:53am

@ JuliaLae: thanks for your input!
I think it's always hard to land a fulltime position without prior relevant internships, regardless of the location (London, Frankfurt, NYC,...)
My plan would be to do an internship first in London and for that you definitely have chances from RSM to get an interview invite. That's at least what I've read in various forums.

Yea I've already seen the exchange opportunities at RSM. I think it's great, some really good schools in the US! Do you know how hard it is to get accepted for an exchange spot in the master program?

LBS is not possible since their Master in Finance is only for experienced professionals. What are the requirements for Imperial? My GMAT is toooo low I guess and at the moment I don't have the time and motivation to retake it!

Nov 25, 2014 - 10:54am

rg and co:

LBS offers Master in Management for pre-experience students. The program is great, I know two guys who finished it. One guy works at GS IBD in London and another at Jefferies. Your GMAT is not competitive though and the application process is closing.

I was planning on applying to LBS MiM for the January 6 deadline. Will I have a smaller chance of admittance by applying this late?

3.7 GPA with a major in finance and 750 GMAT..

Nov 12, 2014 - 2:24am

i also know a guy who is doing the management master at LBS, but its designed for students who did their undergrad studies in a field other than business/economics etc. .. so i think its very basic and i wouldn't learn anything new

Nov 12, 2014 - 2:45am

I don't know for whom is the program designed, I just know that it has an extraordinary placement. Also, these 2 guys have bachelor degrees in finance from much less reputable institution.

Nov 12, 2014 - 4:38am

yes that's definitely true but I am not really willing to pay so much money for a program in which I won't hear anything new.
I received an offer from RSM yesterday for MSc Finance. I accepted it for now because I can still email them and decline it if I get an offer from SSE even though it probably wouldnt really make a good impression?! SSE will get back to me in about 3-4 weeks I think, and RSM gave me 2 weeks to accept, refect or defer their offer, so there wouldn't have been enough time to wait for both answers. I am not even sure any more if I prefer RSM or SSE, cause RSM lasts for 1,5 year if I go on exchange and SSE is 2 years. Also, I saw a list of interns at JPM in London with their respective schools, there were 2 people from RSM and also 2 from SSE, whereas the majority was from LSE/Oxford/Cambridge. So it's definitely possible to get into a London IB office from RSM. (Probably the same chances as from SSE)
However, I am still thinking about applying at a UK school (LSE, warwick or imperial) with my current gmat score because you never know..

Jan 4, 2015 - 4:41pm

Hey Kaypi! I git accepted as well for the finance masters program at RSM. I also applied for SSE! However, I thin SSE will turn me down, as I only score a 650 at the GMAT. Do you still consider Imperial? Is the money worth it?

Jan 5, 2015 - 8:34am

No I am not considering Imperial, I only applied to RSM (accepted), SSE (rejected in the 1st round) and LSE (the program I mentioned earlier which doesn't require a gmat score).

Jan 5, 2015 - 10:06am

As we are in a similar position I would love to hear your current thoughts!? My GMAT is slightly better (650), but still far too low to get into elite programs. I got also rejected in the first round at SSE, however I still hope that it is possible to get into the program in the second round.

I completely understand your line of reasoning. RSM is a absolute top school in Europe, but SSE and some programs in London would be better suited to get a ft position in IB in London. For my part, I hope for the SSE and maybe I am applying at LSE for the Accounting and Finance program. Otherwise: See you in Rotterdam!

Jan 6, 2015 - 3:54am

With 650 I would probably try to get into acc & fin at LSE and choose an easier program as your second choice (maybe risk & finance) if you have stellar grades.

i think the chances of getting accepted at SSE are much lower in the second round as in the 1st one because more people apply and spots are more limited since they already assigned places to students in the 1st round. Also they only take about 45 international students and as far as I know GMAT plays the most important part. I think the majority has at least 680.

You could also consider the Master in Management at LBS if you have some decent internships and international experience on your CV. I heard it's a very good program, even though its more general it will give you the chance to land an IB position in London. Only negative point is that its even more expensive than a master program at LSE.

Jan 13, 2015 - 4:50pm

Hi guys,

I am also applying to SSE MSc in Finance for 2015, but I am a bit concerned about my gmat score: 680. I have a First Class Degree which I think translates into GPA 4.0/4.0 and an internship in IB and a lot of extracurricular activities. Do you consider I have good chances of getting accepted?

Feb 8, 2015 - 7:51pm

Hi guys,

I scored a 640 (Q42 V35) on the GMAT, may i be sure to be accepted by Rotterdam for the Msc Finance and Investment? Is the first come first serve policy confirmed? Am i too late to send the applications (should be in max 10 days)? I meet all other requirements..

Thank you very much

Feb 19, 2015 - 7:10am

Yes sure thing! It's first come first serve.. its even mentioned on their homepage and I got accepted as well with a lower gmat score than yours.
They say the program is usually full in May, so no worries about being too late

Feb 20, 2015 - 7:35am

sorry, I mixed up the dates

I don't think that there is any flexibility with the requirements. That's at least what they say on the homepage: you can only apply if you meet all the minimum requirements

Sep 29, 2016 - 3:21am

Also, doesn't the fact that RSM admits students on FCFS basis itself indicate that the class profile won't be as polished as that of SSE's..SSE's students enrolled in MSc in finance have an average GMAT of 710. I'm guessing that is a good indicator. If someone can post employment statistics or even an overview of the same, then a more calculated decision can be made. Till then, I believe you should retake the GMAT and try for 700 and apply to SSE.

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