Undergrad Exchange in US/Europe

I'm a finance/economics undergrad at a go8 uni in Australia whose looking at going on exchange next year for 1 semester.

I am looking at going to either US or Europe.

Is it worth considering which schools are the best or is it irrelevant given I'm only there for 1 semester? If it is relevant, which of the schools I've listed have the best reputation? If it isn't, then which do you think will give me the best overall experience?

I want to pursue a career in IB and if I can work overseas. Do large financial services or IB in US/Europe ever take on exchange students for a short-term internship? If not, would smaller firms consider exchange students? (FWIW I have an expired UK passport)

I don't speak any languages other than English atm, but I'd be open to learning a new language.

Schools I am eligible to apply for include:

US - Penn State, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Boston College, Indiana Uni Bloomington, Purdue Uni, University of Vermont

UK - Queen Mary ULondon, UBristol, ULeeds, Nottnigham, USheffield, UC Dublin, Loughborough

France - IEPG, Limoges

Germany - Free University Berlin, UMunich, Humboldt University Berlin

Italy - Bocconi

Netherlands - Maastricht, Utrecht, Free University Amsterdam

Switzerland - USt Gallen

Scandanavia - Copenhagen Business School, Aarhus, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Admin

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Comments (4)

Jan 9, 2013 - 1:16am

The only non-US one of those I can say I've heard of is Bocconi. As an American, I can tell you that absolutely zero of those schools will help set you apart for recruiting in this industry. If that's your goal, aim for Bocconi.

If that isn't your real goal (and realistically, it shouldn't be since one semester at another school doesn't help you for recruiting) and you want to see the American school "experience" for yourself, you need to look at Penn State or IU. Go in the fall. You'll see football, Greeklife, constant parties, and be surrounded by more new trim than you'll know what to do with.

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Best Response
Jan 9, 2013 - 3:24am

As APAE said, going for one semester on exchange will not help you in recruiting in that country (or in that region) since, as you said, they don't usually interview exchange students which do not hold a proper visa.
Having said that, going on exchange can help you during the interview process in your home country. It may give you a different profile and give you something to talk about which is less boring than P/E or accretion-dilution analysis.
For instance, I clearly remember an average/below average guy from my school who received a FT offer from a low tier BB because he aced an interview with a MD talking 85% of the time about his exchange semester in Australia and how Australia was cool from an European perspective.
Because of this, if you want to work in IB (starting from your home country or your region (APAC?)) I think you should pick a school that would give you an interesting story to tell.
Personally, I think that your best options are:
- Bocconi (I went there, PM me for more details if you need them) because it is a target school in Europe and because it is in Italy (more interesting experience than UK I think (for an australian person at least);
- St. Gallen: target school and the best university you have there. Only problem, St. Gallen is an awful location but you can leverage the fact that you had the chance to travel to France, Italy, Spain, etc;
- CBS and UCD: semi-target, don't know if Australian people find Scandinavia or Ireland interesting though;
- US universities as listed by APAE (I cannot rank them, what about Boston College?);
Stay away from all the other European universities since they are not target schools (especially the UK ones) and they don't sound that interesting (IMO).

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Jan 9, 2013 - 7:21am

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