Uk vs. US Master Programs

Hi Guys,

I recently received offers from the Duke MMS and Warwick MSc Business & Finance programs. To give a little background about myself, I'm a US citizen who just graduated from a semi-target with a 3.5+ gpa. I'm interested in asset management/research. I have various PE/VC internships and worked as an analyst at an investment group for almost a year before getting laid off due to the pandemic. I want to do a masters to get another shot at OCR and expand my network. I'm struggling to decide on which program to attend (financial costs aren't a problem for me). 

Duke Pros: 

  • Duke has a better global brand than Warwick. 
  • The MMS curriculum appears to be much easier than Warwick's, so I can dedicate more time to recruiting. 
  • Duke alumni appear to be extremely loyal and often go to bat for students.

Duke Cons:

  • A lot of people on WSO and other finance forums have called the Duke MMS a scam and not worth the money. 
  • MIM degrees aren't respected in the US like they are in Europe. Most positions are given to undergrads or MBA students. 
  • The employment reports are OK but not that impressive. Don't know if it's because students lack experience or employers don't respect the MMS degree.  

Warwick Pros:

  • Warwick is a target in the UK and is well-represented in the City. 
  • I've always wanted to work in London (studied there for a semester and absolutely loved it). 
  • Masters are way more highly-regarded in Europe than in the US.

Warwick Cons:

  • I don't think MSc Business & Finance is Warwick's flagship program.  
  • Not sure if I can get sponsorship, especially with Brexit and pandemic going on.
  • Not well-known outside of Europe. If I can't find a job in the UK and have to return to America than this might be an issue.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what path to choose. Ultimately, I don't care where I work (US or UK), I just want to get the best job possible after graduation.  

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Comments (24)

Most Helpful
Apr 14, 2021 - 6:27am

Can't speak for Duke, but Warwick - outside of STEM - is a lot weaker at the MSc level than it is at the UG level. For postgraduate, only LBS, LSE, Imperial, Oxford, and Cambridge are properly targeted for finance/econ/management related programmes (plus a few continental programmes, e.g. Bocconi). Also a note that Warwick is very different to London, it's a nothing campus that people either love or hate. 

I do have a lot of respect for Warwick, it's criminally underrated by most people in the UK. However, at PG it's a semi-target. I'd try to connect with foreign students on LinkedIn for the MSc and see what their experiences were like. The Visa situation has just changed and should, in theory, make your life much easier as an American (no advantage for EU students anymore, while you get 24 months rather than 6). I'd also agree about postgraduate degrees being far more respected in Europe than in the US. However, if the "best job possible" includes a monetary component, NYC pays more than London, even after the extortionate cost of living is accounted for. 

Neither Duke nor Warwick will be particularly known outside of their own regions unfortunately. Warwick has a bit of a brand in East Asia, but is surprisingly weak in continental Europe itself from what I gather. Duke would probably be perceived as a tad more prestigious by most people "in the know" - but I don't think most people in London would actually be familiar with it, to be entirely honest. Did you apply to LSE or Imperial for anything? Both still have some "relevant" programmes open and would give you a much better shot. For example, LSE Management & Strategy or Imperial Investment & Wealth Management. It's late in the season, but might still be worth a go. A 3.5 GPA is broadly a middle range 2:1; you'd probably have a chance at some of them.  

Apr 14, 2021 - 12:03pm

Thanks for the advice. I'm still waiting to hear back from Imperial and LSE. If I get accepted by either school do you think I should take it over Duke? How are LSE and Imperial's reputation in the US? Also, I know that NYC pays more than London, but I'm more concerned with getting brand name experience post-graduation. Not sure whether the Duke MMS program can do that for me. 

Apr 14, 2021 - 2:09pm

Yes, I'd take either over Duke or Warwick. LSE is pretty well known in the US, lots of American alumni doing MScs there and even quite well-represented in Biden's current administration. Imperial much less so as it's prominence in finance is relatively new (think a slightly less prestigious version of MIT), although I'd still expect most people will have heard of it - whereas that might not be the case for Warwick. 

I'd also say that for most MSc courses, LSE > Imperial Business School. The main university (STEM) is treated pretty equally to LSE in terms of recruiting, but the Business School lags behind a little to be perfectly honest. Still, it would give you a reasonable shot and some of the specialised MScs have exceptional placement. 

Apr 14, 2021 - 12:45pm

Did a program similar to mim in the us. Thought about applying to duke but got into my preferred choice before starting.

From what I remember duke mim program is like 35-40% Asian students hence the critics and placements (harder for Asians to get jobs in us/take lower pay jobs in Asia diluting average program salary)

I think duke will be your best bet. Still get on campus recruiting ans great opportunities. Since you already have experience this would be like senior year again but way easier to crush interviews cause you have ft experience not internships to talk about.

It's will be high stress cause it's a one year program so gonna have like 30 interviews the first semester.

Hoping foe the best!

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Apr 14, 2021 - 2:25pm

I did graduate from a semi-target in the US, so that should give me some wiggle room if I eventually come back to America. My main concern about Duke is that MSF and MIM degrees are still not very respected in the States. In fact, most people in my professional network have never heard of the Duke MMS program. Conversely, in Europe, masters degrees are treated like MBAs, so they hold far more prestige and open a lot more doors. This is why I'm really struggling to decide which path to take. 

Apr 14, 2021 - 3:04pm

MIMs in Europe usually still want pre experience (less than 1year) students. This usually leads to entry level jobs from what I've seen. Even the mim from LBS only has average salary of 55k or so... Mim ≠ mba.

From my program experience no one ever questioned it in an interview because they hadn't heard of it before. You'll have to explain what it is but people always reacted positively in interviews. I think MIMs will grow in popularity in the US. Many bschools have been adding them (It may be a money grab but who cares).

I really think Duke, even though it's not an established program, is the way to go. Still name brand. Especially cause it's through fuqua.

May 9, 2021 - 5:58pm

Just to give everyone here an update, I recently received offers from the Imperial MSc Finance & Accounting and Bocconi MSc Finance. Which program should I choose? I don't speak any Italian, so, in my opinion, Imperial is the better choice. However, I've heard that Bocconi is a higher target than Imperial in London.

Also, do you guys think I should still stick with Duke given that I'm an US citizen? 

  • Intern in HF - Other
May 9, 2021 - 8:27pm

Just reading through your post you say you're impartial to either choice but seem to be looking for permission to attend a school in the UK/EU (just how it came across when I read it). 

I'm a US citizen and would take Bocconi even though you don't speak Italian. Unless somethings changed in the last couple of years Bocconi is a top school for breaking into London and will place above Warwick and the MSC in Finance and Accounting at Imperial. Bocconi will also offer you a more direct pipeline into FO roles that is jusy a bit murkier of a process out of MiM/MSF programs in the US (not as established of a route here as in Europe). 

May 9, 2021 - 8:46pm

I guess the attractive thing about Imperial is the new UK graduate student visa that allows me to stay for two years. Also, I heard rumors that London firms only hire Italians from Bocconi to fill a quota. I think Pan European Monkey, who's an expert on recruiting in Europe, mentioned this problem in one of his posts. I know the MSc Finance and Accounting isn't Imperial's flagship program, but I feel like it's less of a risk than Bocconi. 

I'm honestly not too confident about MSF programs in the US. Duke is a fantastic name, but like you said the process is a lot murkier, which is why I'm targeting the UK. 

May 16, 2021 - 9:33pm

OP, any new thoughts on this choice? I'm struggling with the same thoughts you are (i.e. MiM worth it in the states, or better to go overseas). I'm waiting on an admissions decision from Duke's MMS but have been accepted into several other US based MiM programs. Funny enough I did a semester in London too, but went to very much a non-target and no finance internships. 

May 16, 2021 - 10:53pm

I recently got an offer from a fintech startup with great base salary and health insurance benefits, so I'll probably take it. Regarding your dilemma, I would say that US based MiM programs aren't worth it if you're dead set on high finance, even if they're from prestigious schools like Duke and Northwestern. Now, if you're content with working in industries like financial advisory or commercial banking, then these programs can open doors. Since you went to a non-target and have no finance internships, the MiM can be of great value. Just set realistic expectations. 

In terms of going overseas, I think it's quite risky. Even if you attend a top European MiM, why would any employer want to sponsor someone who has no finance experience? Unless you're able to secure an internship soon, I advise you to stay in the US. PM me if you have more questions.  

May 17, 2021 - 1:48pm

Congrats! That sounds like a great offer and thanks for those two cents. I certainly think I'll go to one of the US programs, as like you said - with no relevant work exp (using it for an early career change) I'm realistically shooting for more financial advisory or consulting roles, and I'll at least gain a strong alumni network to leverage. Appreciate the update!

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