Oxford MFE vs LBS MFA vs LSE MFin

I am aware that there are a number of threads on this topic however fairly sure I'm the first one for this upcoming academic year.

I am fortunate to have received offers from all three of the programs in the title

My sole goal is to enter IB. I currently attend a non-target UG school in the UK, I do however have MO SA experience at a tier 1 BB.

At the moment, the two frontrunners are Oxford and LBS. My primary concern with LBS MFA is that the program is rapidly expanding in terms of admits but the number of applicants has remained steady whereas the Oxford program is consistently competitive. I'm worried LBS MFA will be seen less favoured by employers/other students will crowd me out during recruitment.

LBS MFA places marginally better into IB than Oxford MFE but that could easily be as a result of the previous classes career goals (e.g. picking consulting instead).

The Oxford program is around £9000 more expensive than LBS MFA/LSE MFin however it is generally cheaper to live in Oxford as a student than London.

I was wondering if people can shed some light on the programs in terms of how they are viewed by employers and which school would be the best overall?

Thanks for your time :)

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Comments (13)

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Mar 4, 2020 - 4:32pm

Hi,

Congratulations for your admission to all three programs! I am also interested in the topic, although I have not much to had since I am applying to all three myself.

My personal ranking is the same as yours, with LBS and Oxford above LSE, although I have just applied recently.

Do you mind sharing your stats? When did you apply to the programs?

Mar 4, 2020 - 7:56pm

Along with the things mentioned in the original post I also have a 740 GMAT score and I was VP of my university's Investment and Finance society.

I also think my personal statements, references (one from a well respected professor) and, essay responses certainly helped my application.

As for when I applied, I applied for Oxford and LBS during the 2nd round of admissions and I applied for LSE in January, I emailed them about my offers and I got an offer from them the same day (I was still waiting).

Best of luck!

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 4, 2020 - 6:30pm

I had the same choice and ended up choosing the Oxford MFE. I am therefore perhaps slightly biased, but I definitely believe I made the right choice - I believe the overall value to be better, Oxford experience is unique and your class mates will be stellar.

I am not sure what you are referring to with MFA placing better in IB as the placement to EBs and top BBs has been excellent, although it is true many target consulting (significant amount go to McKinsey / BCG).

The only word of caution I would give is that the MFE is very intense and if you dread studying, you might want to opt for the MFA as this is still an excellent programme.

Mar 4, 2020 - 7:52pm
Analyst 1 in IB - Ind:

I had the same choice and ended up choosing the Oxford MFE. I am therefore perhaps slightly biased, but I definitely believe I made the right choice - I believe the overall value to be better, Oxford experience is unique and your class mates will be stellar.

I am not sure what you are referring to with MFA placing better in IB as the placement to EBs and top BBs has been excellent, although it is true many target consulting (significant amount go to McKinsey / BCG).

The only word of caution I would give is that the MFE is very intense and if you dread studying, you might want to opt for the MFA as this is still an excellent programme.

Thanks for the response. The comment about the MFA IB placement was based on 2019 employment reports for both programs, a little naive of me to use those figures as the different was marginal.
I was slightly worried Oxford MFE would be 'too hard' for me, as while I have good undergraduate grades, I am at a non-target.

What was the commitment like in terms of contact hours and study hours per week?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 5, 2020 - 11:28am

Around 14 hours of lectures and 14 hours of exercise classes for the first 2 terms (none of them are mandatory though). On top of that comes self-study and assignments, so total time spent studying depends heavily on whether you just want the IB job or aim for a high grade as well - you should in any case expect to spend a lot of time in the library.

I wouldn't worry about coming from a non-target - people come from a wide range of universities. I would more focus on whether you are happy with doing a very quantitative course (for a very non-quantitative job). Especially if you come from a business/finance background, there will be some catching up to do.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 5, 2020 - 12:11pm

both programmes are excellent, arguably the top 2 in Europe, so you really can't go wrong. It is purely up to your preference. I believe the MFA has a greater emphasis on corporate finance compared to the MFE, and judging from what I have heard from friends who have done the MFA and the MFE, the quality of life is better at LBS due to the various communities and clubs you can join. congratulations!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 5, 2020 - 12:12pm

have just seen you have also been awarded a scholarship. at this stage it is a no brainer in my opinion!

Mar 5, 2020 - 12:17pm

Got friends in both programs so here's my take:
Placement: negligeable difference
Name: negligeable difference, one is Oxbridge but masters are less their thing than undergrad, the other is the top business school in Europe
Course content: this is where it is BIG: Oxford is way more academic and you'll really learn stuff, LBS will be more practical and the true value of LBS comes from the career center. So pick on which you are more likely to fit in, either academic stuff or career focused stuff.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 7, 2020 - 8:10am

Disagree with a few things here (although course content broadly correct):

  1. For placement I would argue that Oxford MFE performs better for the well-prepared student. I would argue that the MFE placement is better due to a combination of brand name and fewer students (allowing for better profiles on average). However, I think this mostly applies to the well-prepared student The MFE starts mid-September and if you arrive without having a first draft of cover letters and your CV ready, you will already be behind in the recruiting process. On the other hand, the MFA starts in August allowing the careers team enough time to prepare you even if you arrive without any prior knowledge - so if you prefer full-on guidance, the MFA may be better.

  2. I think there is definitely a difference in name, especially outside the UK. It is true for London it is less of a difference, but the better name also helps attract more qualified people outside the UK (in combination with the smaller class size). Also it is simply not true that Oxford is more about undergrad (11,813 graduates vs. 11,930 undergraduates). You probably base this on seeing fewer people in the City with graduate degrees from Oxbridge, but this is kinda obvious given the MFE is only ~80 people and the only graduate degree really targeting IB compared to the much larger class sizes for undergraduate degrees such as E&M and PPE. You will still have access to the same investment/finance/sports clubs and their recruiting events.

  3. Location/study environment is clearly different between the two. Personally, I preferred studying in Oxford given I would be working in London, but this is up to individual preferences.

Mar 7, 2020 - 8:43am

Sorry my point about being an undergrad school is that Most Oxford Alums care about you having done your undergrad there as you had to pass the Tests in Novembers + interviews that everyone applying has to.

Master's people are somewhat in their own bubble when it comes to saying I'm an alum from Oxford, the experience will simply be different, just like someone saying he's done Harvard or HBS, yes both are Harvard, but their experience will be drastically different..

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 7, 2020 - 10:07am

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