One day to decide: US or UK?

I've asked this so many times but I have to make a decision by tomorrow. I have to choose if I want to go to school in the US or the UK.

I don't know what to do.

I've gone back and forth over the past two months and I still haven't come to a decision. I'd probably get decent opportunities from both, in their respective countries, but this isn't really about the schools.

For IB, I've heard that in London it's easier in terms of hours, that networking isn't a thing, and pay is worse. I'd need a work visa, so getting out of IB wouldn't be easy (not that that would matter though, b/c I'd want to come back to the US after a few years). Staying here would mean more pay, worse work-life balance,

Honestly, I don't care about being in a BB bank in the US or the UK--I don't even care about banking. I just want a good salary and (long-term) a good work-life balance. I'd be fine at a much less prestigious bank (like SunTrust or something) or a different area (like CF) if that means I get a better work-life balance.

My life would be entirely different the next 5-7 years based on this decision. I would have very different experiences. I don't know what to do, and at this point I'd probably feel better if someone just made the decision for me.

Please help.

Comments (30)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 1, 2020 - 11:39pm

UCL is a better school. If you're down for a sick life go UCL. Not many Americans have the chance to ship it to London and start a career so that's pretty awesome

Jun 1, 2020 - 8:05pm

Judging from the fact that you're posting from the UK, I'm going to assume you're a UK citizen with family/friends in the UK. If that's the case, I would recommend you go to school in the UK since most people looking to make an international move usually have a strong, compelling desire to do so and given that you're on the fence I'd say stay with your friends and family. If you truly don't care about any of that then comp is like 2x higher in the US but hours are worse so pick your poison.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

Jun 2, 2020 - 12:30am

Oh then stay bro, food fukin sucks in the uk

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

  • 1
Jun 2, 2020 - 12:55am

Definitely. That's the problem though...

I'm not a super social person, and I think that being in Europe would be cool, but I don't know if I want to leave the US b/c idk how easy it will be to get back and I don't think I'd like it more by a ton (and I may not like it more).

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 2, 2020 - 2:23am

US 100%. Pay is higher, more opportunities, girls are way hotter, food and life better. UCL isn't that much more prestigious than Vandy but Vandy is way more fun. Plus you can always transfer if you think you are shortchanged by Vanderbilt in terms of prestige. You can always recruit for London from US (have seen a lot of non-targets getting BB/EB/PE) but not the other way round.

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Jun 2, 2020 - 2:26am

Go with where you have work authorization.

Market is slightly bigger in US and pay is higher. UK may be better if you are less of a networking guy and willing to prep more to ace your AC.

But without work authorization in US, you are easily f*cked

Jun 2, 2020 - 8:27am

I made the decision last year to quit my job and move to London from the U.S. to get my MSc in Finance.

-Networking is still a thing. If anything, networking helps you stand out even more, as I found many of my European/International classmates were afraid of it.
-IB hours being better is a myth, though it is a law here that you get 25 days off.
-Pay is pretty shit unless you're at a BB or top tier MM / boutique, but cost of living is cheaper than in NYC.
-Upgrading your student visa to a work-sponsored visa is not a difficult or expensive process for the employer, so I wouldn't worry about that. Plus, there is a new law that international students enrolling in 2020 and on get a 2 year visa extension after graduating (opposed to mine which expired 4 months after graduating).

Moving to Europe was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Your 20's should be about having cool experiences...Vandy may have the "best parties", but I've had round trip flights for weekends in random cities across Europe for a price less than an Uber ride to and from the bars on a night out back home. The states will always be there, but this opportunity won't be. Though from your post you seem a bit timid and willing to settle, so if you're not an ambitious person and all-in then you're probably going to have a bad time. PM me if you want.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 2, 2020 - 4:51pm

For a career? USA
For college and traveling? UK / Europe

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 3, 2020 - 6:52am

You'll have a much better, life changing experience living abroad as a foreigner, especially in London which is one of the best cities on earth. UCL is a good school, you can start in London and go back to the US later if you want to. Honestly I don't know anyone who went to London and regretted it.

Most Helpful
Jun 3, 2020 - 8:21pm

As others have said, don't base the decision based on recruiting and getting a job in IB, that's a classic of thinking very small and only focusing on one outcome. You have no idea if you'll like banking and it sounds like you already don't think you have any passion for finance.

Also, while the advice on here is good as a sounding board, ultimately you need to make the decision and own up to it, guess what, life is about making tough decisions. You've have months to research and decide and now you simply need to look at all the facts, combine that with your gut feeling, and make the best decision you possible can at this moment. It's unlikely you'll look back at this decision 5-10 years down the road and think of it as right/wrong, they will just be different.

Vanderbilt is a great school and a lot of fun, it will set up you nicely for jobs in the US. While there will be opportunities abroad as well, it won't be quite as easy to get a job or start a life in the UK post-grad. Nashville is a super fun town and the social scene is great.

While I don't know UCL that well, I do know that it's a good school and London is a fantastic city, one of the best in the world in my opinion. As much as I love Nashville, London is on a different level in terms of the experiences you could have. It's a truly global city, not to mention you'll only be a short flight or train ride away to another county. My buddies in London would sometimes do Friday dinners in Paris or would just casually head to Italy for the weekend on a whim.

Really depends on the experience you want to have, I think UCL will be a more unique experience, but if you 100% know that you want to be in the US longer term, coming back for US jobs might be a little tougher. Not impossible my any means, but I'd imagine a Vandy background will be easier for US firms to understand than a UCL one. On the other end of the spectrum, if you're going to need a Visa to work abroad, but want to spend a more significant time in Europe, go to UCL and start building your network and base there.

Lastly, it depends on what type of person you are. Assuming you're living in the US now, London is far from home, maybe that's good, maybe that's bad, maybe you don't care. Living in London will push you more (not by much, London is pretty easy to live in), but still a consideration. Some kids are really ready for college and the independence, others need a little more time to mature, which in my opinion is why you see some undergrads really struggle in their first few years with grades, prioritization, social life etc.

No one on here should be making the decision for you. Both are great opportunities and you can't go wrong with either, do your own diligence, make a list of pros and cons if you have to, discuss with family/friends, and others that are close to you, and make the best decision you possible can with the current information you have.

Best of luck.

Jan 9, 2022 - 7:52pm

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