St. Gallen has terrible prospects for non-Swiss students...

I came across a very interesting thread on the GMATClub forum, about a recent graduate of St. Gallen's MBF program who dispelled some facts about St. Gallen's career placements report.

Basically, his findings conclude that unless you are a Swiss citizen or non-Swiss EU citizen who speaks German, English and French, you're shit out of luck with finding a job after doing the MBF. It seems that St. Gallen really does a great job of posting career placement stats that are highly misleading, and (some would say) outright incorrect.

I've attached the link to the bottom of my post - what do you guys think about his revelations?

http://gmatclub.com/forum/university-of-st-gallen-...

Comments (44)

Dec 3, 2013

Fascinating

    • 1
Dec 3, 2013

i am wondering if anyone is silly enough to believe that any business school in German-French speaking area will increase your career prospects much if you dont speak the regional language at least

sure it will help with getting the job, but no way it will be a top job in the region

i mean, being an investment banker at Lazard/Rothschild/BB in France without speaking French? Evercore/BX/BB analyst in Frankfurt without speaking German? lol no way.

sure, school brand will help you with finding the job -somewhere-, but you are not entitled to anything and will have to do some heavy work on it or get lucky

those school rankings and statistics are always misleading. all those non-top-uk schools place similarly - depends on the candidate, not the school really.

Dec 3, 2013

"all those non-top-uk schools place similarly - depends on the candidate, not the school really."

...basically this

Dec 3, 2013

That FT annual MSc ranking has misled tons of kids into getting into programmes that have no prospects for them

    • 1
Dec 3, 2013

wonder how LBS MBA and LBS MiF have been doing similarily :X

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Dec 3, 2013

I think, as mentioned above, that it depends on the candidate. St. Gallen is a great European universities and they have a very strong MSF program. Some students will be a good fit. Others wont. Let this be a overall lesson that no program will do everything for you. It is up to you to take the education and do something with it.

Dec 3, 2013

Let me translate: non top tier masters recruiting lags very far behind ugrad and MBA in most cases

Dec 3, 2013

Not really. St. Gallen is a top tier university. The issue is many students fuck it up. You have people who are looking to do a 5th year. You have international students that not only require Visa's, but have horrible English skills. You have people who might be academically strong, but can't make it past an interview. Blaming the program is always the easy way out.

Dec 3, 2013

This seems pretty obvious. How do you expect to get a job in a place where you literally cannot communicate with your coworkers. I dont really understand the issue here. Its like going to a good school in the US and having no or barely passable English, of course youre going to struggle.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Dec 3, 2013

Agree though, a lot of people seem to show up to finance masters programs and think that's enough. It's really sad. However, it does appear that recruiting is weaker for masters programs because the concept is generally new in finance. They definitely help, but the recruiting strength seems to drop off more for non top tier masters programs than ugrad/MBA. Stated another way, you'd have better luck breaking in from non-top-10 ugrad/MBA than you would a non-top-10 masters program, all other things kept equal (GPA, networking, etc). Am I off on this? It's just my perception, correct me if I'm wrong.

Jan 25, 2014

I am very late on this topic; but I am considering going to St Gallen's in a few years for an Economics Ms, and I wonder, you're all talking of foreigners who never learn fluent German. However, 2 years in Switzerland give you plenty of time to pick up some language, especially if you also take a course and read some literature on the way.

And there is a vast number of job opportunities in the German-speaking world, as it's not only Switzerland that's open for you after graduating from St. Gallen's, but also Germany and Austria. And those keep growing and their finance industry is truly strrrooong. Right?

Jan 13, 2019

I'm also considering studying in St Gallen. I'd love to hear an update from you.

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Jan 25, 2014

Seriously, if you aren't as talented as a piece of wood you will have plenty of opportunities breaking into the industry coming from HSG. HSG has an extremely strong brand name in the region (up there with Mannheim and WHU) and there are HSG grads everywhere. Just put in some real effort and try to learn the language as good as possible. Frankfurt is getting a more and more international work place and I've met plenty of people in the finance industry recently who don't speak perfect German, but they are able to communicate effectively and that's basically what it's all about. Work documents are usually drafted in English and only a few selected companies require their documentation to be in German. This might change when working in MM banking / PE with "Mittelstand" companies, but in large cap banking you will get along with solid German (doesn't have to be perfect). Same for trading roles.

Only people who always stick to their group of foreigners and don't engage with German speaking students / recruiters and don't learn the language will have serious trouble finding a job in Frankfurt or Zurich. Furthermore, in case that you don't want to learn the langauge or have no interest in a career in the DACH region, you are still able to leverage the HSG brand name for internships and grad roles in London. Plenty of HSG grads in the city as well.

I haven't read the whole post, but recruiting from HSG is definitely not that hard.

Jan 25, 2014
above_and_beyond:

Seriously, if you aren't as talented as a piece of wood you will have plenty of opportunities breaking into the industry coming from HSG. HSG has an extremely strong brand name in the region (up there with Mannheim and WHU) and there are HSG grads everywhere. Just put in some real effort and try to learn the language as good as possible. Frankfurt is getting a more and more international work place and I've met plenty of people in the finance industry recently who don't speak perfect German, but they are able to communicate effectively and that's basically what it's all about. Work documents are usually drafted in English and only a few selected companies require their documentation to be in German. This might change when working in MM banking / PE with "Mittelstand" companies, but in large cap banking you will get along with solid German (doesn't have to be perfect). Same for trading roles.

Only people who always stick to their group of foreigners and don't engage with German speaking students / recruiters and don't learn the language will have serious trouble finding a job in Frankfurt or Zurich. Furthermore, in case that you don't want to learn the langauge or have no interest in a career in the DACH region, you are still able to leverage the HSG brand name for internships and grad roles in London. Plenty of HSG grads in the city as well.

I haven't read the whole post, but recruiting from HSG is definitely not that hard.

This is spot on.

Jan 27, 2014
above_and_beyond:

Seriously, if you aren't as talented as a piece of wood you will have plenty of opportunities breaking into the industry coming from HSG. HSG has an extremely strong brand name in the region (up there with Mannheim and WHU) and there are HSG grads everywhere.......

At one of the schools mentioned and I agree completely. My German is still basic but still see plenty opportunities (already have an offer for summer from a decent boutique)

Jan 27, 2014

From my own experience (as a native English speaker with little or no German and no other European languages), it is still possible to get internship/grad position in Zurich after completing the MBF program.

True, many positions require fluency in German (especially if you will be client facing) however about 1/15 - 1/20 of front office positions do not (mostly in Asset Management, research, or quant roles). Also, middle & back office roles tend to only ask for fluency in English.

Additionally, the BB banks in Zurich don't follow the Milkround approach as in London. You can apply for grad/intern positions all year round (usually starting within 1 month of applying), they probably post up 2/3 new positions every day, which takes a lot of the pressure off.
That said, London teams also come round in October, all the BBs except BAML for some reason, and they are primarily offering the front office IB or S&T roles, some AM and PWM.

Personally, I didn't have much luck with the London teams - applied to maybe 7 BBs got 1st round for 2 and then got rejected, got to the final of one MM but got rejected. However I only applied to 4 positions in Zurich, got interviews for all of them and accepted a quant/research position at a BB before completing the other 3 (I think I was going to get 1 other offer).

I think you just need to look a bit harder for the roles that only require English, but once you find them the St. Gallen brand really carries you.

Mar 14, 2014

It is still possible but extremely difficult to get a position having gone to St. Gallen if you're not Swiss or at least European. Many top-tier firms in Zurich will automatically turn you down as HR departments refuse to do any work for non-EU students as far as getting work permits (even though legally it is possible).

As far as the quality of education at St. Gallen, forget about it. The quality of teaching is very poor, the focus on every class is PowerPoint slides, slides and slides. The professors think they are gods who do not have to make time to speak to even Master students, good luck trying to find someone to supervise your thesis. Really though, it's ridiculous how poor the professors teach...in one of my classes, I learned more on YouTube than I did from the professor's lectures.

The only good thing (and probably most important thing) about St. Gallen is networking opportunities. Every one of your European peers will tell you that it's not how things are done in Switzerland, but it is, and you can be successful from that alone. But if you're not European with an European passport, be prepared to fight an uphill battle. The best thing about it is the university offers very very little support to non-European students. They act even clueless when you need a certain document for your work permit. If you are lucky enough to reach someone at the university administration during their very limited hours (usually between 2pm-3pm every Tuesday or something like this), you will have people who tell you to write an e-mail so they can defer actually doing their jobs.

I can go on and on about the flaws of the university. So every place has it's negatives and positives, but to be honest, I've been very disappointed about the quality at St. Gallen. I do not have something else to compare it to, true...as I haven't done another Master's in Finance, but the lack of contact with professors combined with the attitude of the administration and the quality of teaching create a relatively poor experience.

One main takeaway: Costs. Cost of tuition is very cheap, although cost of living is very high so it might make it more comparable to UK schools in that regard....BUT one point: if you can get a part-time job (which is another battle in itself if you're not European as you have to convince employers that the law actually allows you to work), you can easily pay for your costs AND have money left over. Wages are ridiculous. You make about $35 an hour working at the university and a bit less by working at McDonald's.

Mar 14, 2014

It has been always interesting to me that how inferior the education at many continental programs are compared to the US.

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Apr 17, 2017

Thank you for all the valuable information. Really appreciate such a detailed personal feedback based on real-life reference experience.

May 2, 2017

I read a lot of frustration. That's it.

Don't say this in a banking interview:

Which superhero would you be and why? I want to be like Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor - me.

    • 1
Mar 15, 2014

St.Gallen has top notch reputation within the German speaking world. Based on that you shouldn't have any problems finding a position if you do end up studying there. The amount of alumni within the whole industry is mind boggling. When I was in a BB in Zurich, 98% of all the interns I met were from St.Gallen.

BUT, you will have difficulty landing the highly prized front office client facing positions, as they almost always require German.

Aug 1, 2014

I think, if you go to a school like st.gallen, you can get a job everywhere in german speaking world

Aug 1, 2014

"you think"

Apr 8, 2015

Bump. Any non-EUs studying in St. Gallen that can weigh in?

Apr 29, 2016

I haven't attended St. Gallen, but consider it one of the best.

Considering St. Gallen's 2009-11 data, 93% of grads obtained positions in the German speaking world and another six percent in the UK (mainly London). So yes, people do get jobs. From reading posts on St. Gallen's MBF program, it seems the people who find the best success get top marks and speak German fluently. Oh, and I read flawless English is a must.

St. Gallen is well regarded as an leading program in Germany, from what I recall. One poster pointed out that his German classmates tended to be top students in Germany and at St. Gallen, along with the Swiss. It is probably harder for Swiss and Germans to get into the program than most non-Germanic foreigners due to competition, so it makes sense that they would get top marks (not sure if there is a limit, or not).

I think the same poster mentioned that many of these top Swiss and German students already had solid internships prior to attending, which makes sense if they were top students.

Seems if you had lower marks (say 3.0/4.0) and no internships prior to attending St. Gallen, you get mediocre marks while there, don't speak German, and don't obtain a respectable internship while attending--you won't be competitive for the best jobs (especially if not pounding the pavement)--remember those top students? For those who got good marks prior to attending, speak German, and get good marks while there--it seems you have a great opportunity to get a good internship while there and a respectable position on exit, even without prior internships.

Bottom line: St. Gallen seems a bump up but don't go expecting to turn clay into gold. If you put effort in, you can reasonably expect it to turn clay into a nice brick which you can sell. Or a lump of gold into sweet Bling. Same with any grad program!

Apr 29, 2016

Never heard of it - not being rude... Just never have.

Apr 29, 2016

Elite unviversity !

Recruiting is terrible
If you get good marks, you are guaranteed Top IBS, MBB etc

Check Google : IBD saint gallen

Friends there got ski week end sponsorised by firms and so on, they literally harass you for you to chose their (top) firm..
Their master's degree is also very reputed

Apr 29, 2016

Thanks for your opinions.

Who else knows something about this school ?

Thank you,

Apr 29, 2016

I'd say, yes, you do have to speak german or french, depending on whether you want to work in Zurich or Geneva. I study in St. Gallen and some of my non-german speaking friends find it difficult to get an internship position. But for the networking events it's not a problem at all, everybody speaks english.
Then again, when I interned at UBS last year, at least half of the interns did not speak german..

Apr 29, 2016

when i talked to people there general consensus was that most jobs youll speak in english but its very helpful to be germanic.. like veryvery

Apr 29, 2016

it would not be impossible, but very difficult, your network wud suck etc...

just go to london

Apr 29, 2016

complete waste of time - Insead for german speaking europe

Apr 29, 2016

Insead is the way to go here

Apr 29, 2016

complete waste of time? when when i hear the words 'german-speaking' in the b-school context, the first words in my mind are 'HSG' - it is _the_ school in that job market

when did OP say anything about INSEAD? it has the superior reputation 'overall' as the elite euro MBA (along with LBS) -- but it does not have any special edge in German-speaking europe so LDNBNKR's comment doesn't make much sense to me. if we are going to play that game why not Wharton or Booth?

Apr 29, 2016

Insead is everywhere in european PE - St Gallen is no where. Decent untergrad but nothing else. take it or leave it.

Apr 29, 2016

St Gallen is extremely well regarded if you plan on staying in the German speaking world. If however, you ever plan on going to say the UK or US, it is worthwhile looking into INSEAD or LBS instead.

Apr 29, 2016

If you can't get into LBS; Insead or so i would consider going for the brand and doing a cambridge or oxford mba... It is probably not that much worse in regard to what you actually learn, you get a lot prestige because of the brand name and you get the "international mba" bonus in germany, which st.gallen lacks a little bit. In regard to placement in high finance, I have no competence so take it for what its worth...

Apr 29, 2016

Thank you for the answers. I'm not looking to get into Finance but more interested in general F500 placement. Will look at both INSEAD and HSG!

Apr 17, 2017
Dec 25, 2018
Jan 15, 2019