Stanford vs. Oxford (US vs. UK) Undergrad?

I've posted something along these lines earlier (Oxford vs. UChicago), and received an overwhelming response in favor of Oxford. However, I was just accepted by (and heavily leaning towards) Stanford, so here's an amended version of my previous post:

Hey guys, I was accepted to Stanford (potential Econ major) and Oxford for PPE (I've already met the conditions of my offer). I'm an international student with no real preference of where I end up (UK, US, or even HK or SG). I plan to go into IB, but have no real knowledge about the recruiting environment at these places (and in the UK and the US as a whole).

Some factors I was considering (and would appreciate some inputs on):
* Cost - not a major concern, but Oxford is approx. $100k cheaper than Stanford.
* Brexit vs. US work visa troubles
* Work visa sponsorships for internationals in the UK and the US.
* MBA opportunities - I aspire to end up at an M7 MBA in the US.
* Stanford's culture seems far more appealing than Oxford's.

Would love to hear your opinions.

Comments (14)

Apr 1, 2019


Apr 1, 2019

Hey very similar situation here! Is also accepted at Oxford PPE and another highly prestigious US uni (HYPS). Where are you from? That might affect your decision-making process.

Apr 1, 2019

I'm from Singapore.

Apr 1, 2019

Go to Stanford
Worst case scenario in the US: you still have your h1b1

Apr 2, 2019

Go to Stanford, far more opportunities in the US

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Apr 1, 2019

Really tough decision. Stanford if you want to have a career in the USA (which it looks like you do, given your M7 MBA aspirations etc.) Oxford definitely if you want to work in Europe. Asia, really tough, if you were pursuing STEM would be clearly Stanford. I would say among younger generations such as yours Stanford has a better brand name because of technology; it is just such a STEM dominated school, and the world today is very STEM dominated. Asia is also very technocratic including SG, HK, SK, JP, TW, Mainland China, the engineers dominate the philosophers. In upper echelons, government, NGOs in Asia, may give the nod to Oxford PPE.

You won't regret either choice. If you have a very clear sense of the culture and Stanford appeals to you, go for it. Oxford's PPE is the flagship major just like Stanford Computer Science. That being said Stanford Econ is great and living in California is fantastic. In LA banking we don't get many Stanford resumes, so I assume most Stanford investment banking recruits are going to technology investment banking in the SF Bay Area or perhaps NY.

    • 2
Apr 2, 2019

Stanford because the opportunities in the US is better than Europe, both finance and tech

    • 1
Apr 8, 2019


Apr 8, 2019

xyzprospect, i am a Singaporean in the same position 6 years ago. Of course, my option was not as good as yours. IB opportunities are definitely fewer in Iondon and harder to compete (they give preference to EU citizen during my time), but back then I though 3 years UK Undergrad was much better opp cost than 4 year US Undergrad. Thus I would advise going to stanford as there are simply more opportunities around and you stand equal chance with locals as you are under the H1B1 visa rule. To be honest, within US, as long as you go to top 25 schools, IB opportunities will be the same. You will see as many if not more NYU, Virginia, UCLA, Michigan kids in IB than from people HYSP

    • 1
Most Helpful
Apr 8, 2019

Fellow Southeast Asian here and had the option for HYP vs Oxbridge 8 years back in 2011 (also an Econ major).

Situation was a bit different from yours because cost wasn't an issue (HYP financial aid is kickass). I went to HYP and never looked back.

But based on what I've seen (I've worked in NYC and HK in an EB, two BBs and now transitioning to PE), please go to Stanford.

Some considerations:
- You're Singaporean, visa is a non-existent issue in the US as H1B1 quotas have never been exceeded in recent memory.
- Totally my view, but if you went to Stanford for undergrad, MBA is useless - people use the MBA as a springboard for career change or to get a brand upgrade, if you're convinced you want to work in finance, an MBA is a waste of time. But even if you want an M7 MBA, a US school will have usually an edge just because they're more familiar with it, you have more alumni and more resources to utilize in general.
- Culture-wise, speaking as a fellow Southeast Asian that sends >50 people to Oxbridge per year vs maybe 1-3 in each of HYPSM (but I guess Singapore would have more), your exposure would be far superior in the US because you wouldn't be pigeonholed to the Singaporean crowd (although this can be tempting).
- Regardless of what you want to do, opportunities in the US are far superior to the UK - where it be PE/HF/IB/Tech/Entertainment etc. If you're aiming for IB, then there is also the added benefit in the US that you ONLY require English; whereas in the UK (even in the event that Brexit does not happen), opportunities requiring pure English are rarer because they will need German/French/Italian etc. speakers to cover continental Europe.
- If money is a concern, you will get paid a lot more doing IB in the US vs UK. Back in 2014, I've received offers in the US that ranged 85-95k USD p.a., while offers in the UK were a mere 45-55k GBP (58-71k USD equiv.). And just so you know, HK/SG will actually pay even more than US due to the rental portion.
- You also have the added benefit to change your major in the US to Computer Science etc. should you see fit.
- HYPS is way harder to get into compared to Oxbridge as an international student to be honest - call it novelty if you must, but that was also a factor that tipped me the other way

Feel free to PM me for more if you would like to talk.

    • 5
Apr 11, 2019

Not sure if the H1B1 point is valid though... It seems that employers would only ask whether you require sponsorship or not in the application (regardless of H1B/H1B1/TN/etc.). Others can weight in on this though

Apr 11, 2019

FWIW I've seen Singaporeans crush it in the US, so you should be all set. Plenty of them in IB if I'm not wrong, the education Singapore pre-universities seems to be pretty insane so university is like a breeze. I've heard many Singaporeans say that H/Y/P/S/W is easier than their K-12 education.

Apr 14, 2019

Not sure how visas work in IB in US.... anyone mind clarifying? Cheers

May 2, 2019