Oxford MFE vs LBS MFA vs LSE MSc Finance

Hi all,

I am currently in the process of deciding between the programmes mentioned in the title. I think the MFE programme sounds very interesting, but in the early years of the programme it got some relatively negative reviews. Does anyone know if major changes have been made to the curriculum/structure since the programme was first introduced?

I realize similar questions have been asked before, but the newer threads don't really have any insights from current/past students, so if someone is currently studying the MFE/MFA or previously has, any comments would be much appreciated.

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Comments (8)

Mar 10, 2019 - 11:50am

All three are great programs and will place anywhere in the industry. In my opinion, Oxford carries a better name - but you might consider what you study - Oxford being more academic, costs both tuition and living (London is expensive).

If you are going into your masters with a lack of work exp going to LSE/LBS would allow you to take a part time job at a VC/PE/HF fund or small IB boutique so that is also something to consider.

I think there is much more than just the curriculum than in terms of factors to consider.

Most Helpful
Apr 26, 2019 - 5:15am


I'm currently doing the MFA. It's a great program with great people, there are some cool classes and we have plenty of time to search for jobs, enjoy London, travel, attend conferences, network etc... Also most of us got offers from the best firms in London so if you have previous experience, you will get a job (career team is amazing, LBS alumni super close and helpful). I think Oxford and LSE will definitely challenge you more intellectually because LBS is much less academic and more focussed on giving you the skills that will land you a job and make you succeed there.

If you want to land a job in finance, build a great network (plenty of opportunity to network with MBA students which is unique), meet some cool people and have a chill year, you cannot go wrong with LBS.

Apr 26, 2019 - 6:18am

Do you know if there is any scope to enter the MFA program with three years work exp? I am looking to apply next year and by then will have three years non finance work exp, so technically not eligible for MFA or Mfin.

Apr 26, 2019 - 6:57am

I would ignore the negative comments you have heard about the MFE. It is an excellent course with great placement. You might also like the fact that it's in Oxford and not London. Studying in a city like London is not for everyone, as it is a megacity with many distractions, making it difficult to focus on your academic work. The cost differential however will not be that significant as the MFE costs about 7k more than the MFA/MSc Finance.

Overall, the three programs are top tier and you can't really go wrong. Do keep in mind the courses are quite different though. The MFE is way more quantitative/theoretical than the other two.

  • 1
Apr 21, 2021 - 3:18pm

Oxford MFE here. MFE is an academic program, if you are not prepared to sacrifice all your free time it may not be right for you. My normal day was about 12 hours of studying everyday including weekends - it was tougher than any workplace I have ever been in (and I have done IB and Audit). It is truly the first two years of a PhD condensed into a nine month program, with significant python work so you can imagine that if you do not commit yourself it is very easy to fall behind. Career wise, most MFEs have something secured prior to the degree (as did I) but getting jobs is quite easy after the degree. Your peers are also going to be some of the smartest people you meet, in my year we had students from top unis from the US and UK, and everyone has a VERY strong work ethic, so you will really have to grind.

This was a bit of a rant. But hope this helps. Got to get back to studying

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Jul 27, 2021 - 5:56pm

Incoming MFE here - am rather worried by you saying most people have the job secured before applying - is this because most complete a summer with a top firm pre MFE and then get the return offer? Or are people just applying to roles so early that they have been through interviews before even coming on campus?

Jul 27, 2021 - 6:20pm

Essentially there are two time periods you can secure an internship (Michaelmas (October to December) and Hilary Term (April to July)). Michaelmas is quite rigorous in terms of the course content and things will be ridiculously fast paced - you will have to learn python to an advanced level and at the same time your course work will pile up. So while it is good to look for internships during Michaelmas I do not recommend it. If you enter the MFE without an internship, I recommend you avoid that problem ahead of time and secure something before the program or wait till Hilary term when you can take electives (which are easier than the core courses). That way you can balance networking and your job search. If you want to push yourself in academics and gain a ridiculously deep understanding of financial economics this is the degree for you. If you care more about the social side and landing the right internship or getting the right job, then apply to a more vocational MBA-type masters. From what I have seen those who go to the MSc Finance or MBA programs are more sociable. But the work ethic of MFEs is truly unmatched.

Also, please note that this is a Masters degree in Economics! It is NOT a MSc in Finance. You will rigorously build on your understanding of Utility Curve, Budget Constraints, DGSE models, etc. And the program is very python intensive. 

Final Thoughts: What really stood out to me about my cohort was their passion about financial economics. There was a palpable passion for the field of economics and everyone was very analytical. There was also a really passion for academics for the sake of academics the students enjoyed the work and enjoyed being students if that makes sense. Roughly 20% of the class will go on to pursue PhDs post MFE. So there is that side, if you are so inclined.

I believe someone also asked for my stats:

740 GMAT

GRE (Q169 V166)

Undergrad First Class

Apr 24, 2021 - 7:19pm

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