Oxford vs Cambridge (vs LSE) - Undergrad

For getting into IB which is a better undergraduate degree, BA Economics and Management from Oxford, or BA Economics from Cambridge?

Additionally how would either BSc Finance (the new course, first entry 2016) and BSc Economics, both from the LSE, fare in comparison?

Thanks for any replies.

Which UK Undergrad To Get Into IB?

The university section of the WSO Investment Banking Industry Report is a way for you to see what undergraduate institutions firms recruit and hire from most frequently. In addition to that resource, WSO members shared their insights:

All Good, Consider Location
From WSO user @Jack334" :

  • BA Economics at Cambridge is probably the best undergraduate economics degree in the world (although it's hard to directly compare a degree to a major at US universities)
  • Oxford E&M is quite good as well
  • LSE isn't bad, but do you really want to spend 3 years in London as an undergradute?

All 6 "Target" UK Unis Good for IB
From Certified Investment Banking Professional @potatohead123" :

  • You would do equally well from either Cambridge or Oxford
  • Oxbridge is incrementally better than the London schools, although all 6 "target" unis have no problem recruiting for IBD

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Comments (10)

Best Response
Apr 24, 2016 - 1:25pm

BA Economics at Cambridge is probably the best undergraduate economics degree in the world (although it's hard to directly compare a degee to a major at US universities). Oxford E&M is quite good as well. LSE isn't bad, but do you really want to spend 3 years in London as an undergradute?

Apr 24, 2016 - 1:56pm

Can I ask why you say that the Cambridge degree is probably the best undergrad economics degree in the world? (and why presumably you would rank it above Oxford's course).

Also personally I think the experience of living in London as a student would be a good one (I don't currently live there now, just for clarification).

Apr 24, 2016 - 4:29pm

The economics course at Cambridge is excellent. On the other hand, Oxford doesn't have a pure economics course; there are PPE, Economics & Management and Economics & History. Look, all the courses are great and as long as you end up at Oxbridge you will be getting interviews if you are doing well (not getting bad grades and getting leadership experience), but if you have to ask me to select just one, than Economics at Cambridge is my answer.

If you like London, that's fine, but it is an expensive place for a student to live in. In my opinion smaller college towns like Cambridge and Oxford are more fun and a better place to study.

Apr 24, 2016 - 6:07pm

All are great and won't matter in terms of differentiating you for jobs. However, the Economics course at Cambridge is, from an academic standpoint, far more rigorous, I'd argue more prestigious and probably one of if not the best undergraduate Economics courses in the world. Post-grad Econ is a different matter.

The E&M course at Oxford is known to be relatively easy. Econ at LSE is fine but you can specialise a lot more and engineer you grade as a result. It's a lot harder to get a 2.1 or first on the Econ course at Cambridge. Moreover, the applicant quality at Cambridge is undoubtedly higher.

Apr 25, 2016 - 3:36am

Do you not think that the management part of the Oxford course is a good thing then? As looking at the Oxford and Cambridge econ/E&M course this is the biggest difference (the econ units seem relatively similar, just structured differently).

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Apr 25, 2016 - 6:45am

Yeah i would think the management portion might make the coursework slightly lighter than its counterpart in cambridge. Don't get me wrong though, they're both known to be very rigorous courses (you have to write pretty long essays every other week).

For contrast, LSE/UCL students hardly write any essays on econ unless they're doing a dissertation, with the course being much more focused on math and statistics.

Edit: you would do equally well from either cambridge or oxford. Oxbridge is incrementally better than the London schools, although all 6 "target" unis have no problem recruiting for IBD.

Apr 25, 2016 - 2:43am

Its really between Cambridge and LSE. Contrary to what was said above, LSE can be made a lot more rigorous than the course at Cambridge (it has much more flexibility). Also not really sure how people can say applicant quality is highest at Camb. I've seen CVs from all the places and theres literally no difference. Its more about where you want to live for 3 years. I would say LSE and Oxford had most xp on their cvs from my limited sample.

Also all 3 of these are seen as the best economics courses in Europe so you wont go wrong with any. However non really compare to top places in the US. On this forum you will get people bigging up their alma mater so take any advice with a large grain of salt.

Apr 25, 2016 - 8:04am

The management part is great if you like it and know why you are doing it, although this doesn't stop you from doing Cambridge Economics (3 years) + Cambridge Management Tripos (1 year). I would argue that both parts are better than at Oxford. In addition people seriously underestimate how much easier it is to get a top offer if you do a 4 year degree as you will have one extra summer internship and be "one year smarter" when you look for a full time job.

One thing about LSE - it is a good place to get a finance offer, but consulting firms don't hire much outside Cambridge and Oxford. And while I don't know more than 10 LSE grads, I haven't ever met a person that would turn down an Oxbridge offer to go to LSE. Good school, though.

Apr 26, 2016 - 4:54pm

When I said applicant quality was higher at Cambridge, I was not judging by CVs as there is a higher proportion of Econ students at Cambridge who won't be as career focused. Neither of these universities differ significantly for job prospects as I stated. LSE individuals are more keen as everyone knows and to factor in the relative CV experience is arbitrary - this is driven far more by personal characteristics as opposed to the university in this situation. I was speaking in academic terms. The Cambridge course has higher applicant quality simply looking at the average grades of those accepted and the UCAS points (Cambridge sweeps up those with the highest UMS too). Simply look at the latest rankings and those over the past few years, the average difference in UCAS points is significant. Of course, it's just one statistic, but nonetheless an indication of the higher academic quality of students. This may not be to everyone's taste. The course is very theoretical too, given this is conventionally viewed as more rigorous.

Nearly everyone at Cambridge had the LSE Econ offer whereas the reverse is only true in a minority of cases if at all. Moreover, the satisfaction rates at LSE are incredibly low. The course does not offer as broad and rigorous a first year as at Cambridge, which forces you to study essay modules such as History and Politics/Development. You may not like this and can drop these from year two onward. However, the diversity in my opinion can only make you a better economist, especially since the depth of the standard Econ/maths modules are not compromised.

The management part of the course at Oxford is appealing if you think you'll find it interesting and because it's easy.

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