Undergrad School Prestige - London (2021 Edition)

Per the Wall Street post, interested to hear people's opinions on school prestige for London. Trying to keep the tiers roughly equivalent to the other thread.

Tier 1: Oxford, Cambridge, LBS at post-grad?

Tier 2: LSE, Imperial

Tier 3: UCL, Warwick

Tier 4: Durham, Nottingham, Bath, Bristol, Edinburgh, KCL, a couple of other unis depending on the bank but effectively semi-targets that give you a shot at it if you put in some effort.

If you put in continental schools, then maybe Bocconi and HEC Paris would be Tier 2, with the likes of SSE, St Gallen and others on Tier 3? Anticipating some objections over the separation of Tier 2 and Tier 3, but I think the US Tier 3 schools below have similar overall prestige to UCL and Warwick internationally. LSE and Imperial are definitely more prestigious in their respective fields, and few recruiters would choose a UCL/Warwick student over a LSE/Imperial student, ceteris paribus.

For reference, the Wall Street post had the following:

Tier 1: Harvard, Yale, Wharton, Stanford, Princeton, MIT

Tier 2: Columbia, UChicago, Penn, Dartmouth, Duke, Cornell

Tier 3: NYU Stern, UMich Ross, UVA McIntire, Georgetown MSB, UCB Haas

Tier 4: Northwestern, WashU Olin, USC Marshall, Emory Goizueta, UNC KF, UCLA, BC Carroll

Comments (28)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Feb 20, 2021 - 6:10pm

Tier 1: Oxford, Cambridge, LSE

Tier 2: LBS, Imperial, HEC

Tier 3: UCL, Warwick, St Gallen, ESSEC, ESCP, IE, Bocconi

Tier 4: KCL, Durham, ESADE, Copenhagen Business School, SSE


EDIT: modified because of MS and posters' recommendations

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Feb 21, 2021 - 8:33am

This is actually pretty spot on. Maybe LBS should be Tier 1 as well. 

ESCP (and KCL ?) tier 3 

Also add other schools tier 2/3 like IE, ESADE, EDHEC, German schools like Manheim, some Italian schools like Politecnico de Milano in tier 3/4maybe. 

Also tier 3 some of the nordics schools like Copenhagen, NHH, etc. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Feb 21, 2021 - 8:44am

Yeah so I mainly followed the US tiering list to determine European tiers. I don't feel like schools like ESCP, KCL, or EDHEC are comparable to the likes of Berkeley, NYU-Stern, or Georgetown in both prestige and placement, hence why I'd have them a tier lower. Maybe the US ranking is flawed in that sense, and we could move up some of their tier 3 to tier 2, but I mainly thought of this ranking as European equivalents to US targets (so Oxbridge/LSE = HYPSWM, Imperial/LBS/Bocconi = lower Ivies, Warwick/UCL/St Gallen/ESSEC = non-Ivy targets). 

Feb 21, 2021 - 6:16am

Can someone explain to me how Imperial is a Tier 2 whilst not having any relevant courses in Economics/Finance? What courses would someone take at Imperial that would but them a level up from those who take Economics/MORSE/Finance at UCL and Warwick? (Thanks in advance)

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Feb 21, 2021 - 12:22pm

Can't seem to find Warwick data, but UCL send 9.5% of people into finance & accounting, compared to 15-20% (no up to date data) for Imperial. That's despite Imperial being STEM-focused. Huge difference in placement rates. Incidentally, LSE supposedly send 22% of students to finance and accounting. There's probably a lot more than 22% of LSE students gunning for those roles but missing out, whereas I'm guessing that Imperial's placement ratios are actually a bit higher given that most students are focusing on STEM.

Oxbridge still wins out in terms of top tier, at least for non-joke subjects. A like for like Oxbridge student will always be picked over LSE/Imperial, possibly with the exception of LSE Economics or some of the highly specialised engineering courses at Imperial for quant roles. But Imperial is a clear winner over UCL for the courses they offer, and as others have said, degree doesn't really matter in London. The fact that Imperial offer no joke courses probably leads to a higher placement rate, and STEM is generally going to be preferred to finance, everything else being equal, as it's just perceived as more rigorous at the undergraduate level. It's definitely on the same level as LSE for placement ratios in London.

Feb 21, 2021 - 12:22pm

Thanks a lot for this response. Do you mind me asking what courses at LSE are respected at the level of its Economics course or is it really in its own league? I've noticed its Finance course, for instance, seems a good course to then go into IB.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Feb 21, 2021 - 10:17am

Yes they are. Or if you want to think about tiers with Tier 1 = LSE/Oxbridge, then HEC/Bocconi would be top of the bucket for Tier 2

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Feb 21, 2021 - 10:29am

any perceived advantage comes from the fact that the applicants speak multiple languages (e.g. Italian / French and English) and have more internships due to the 4-year system / different term time set up in those countries. 

no one cares or knows about these continental alphabet soup universities like ESSCP or w/e, let alone think that someone who is an otherwise identical candidate in terms of languages/internships is more impressive / better hire from there than UCL or Warwick. Not to mention the candidates from UCL/Warwick would have been able to network with the companies more directly due to proximity. 

  • Prospect in PE - Other
Feb 21, 2021 - 12:22pm

Bocconi and HEC are the top universities in their respective countries for what they offer. UCL and Warwick are (usually) rejects of Oxbridge and Imperial/LSE, depending on the subject. Granted, UCL in particular attracts some brilliant foreign students, and they are probably more qualified than the mostly domestic pool at Bocconi and HEC - although that seems to be changing.

Warwick has no international prestige, arguably unfairly. It suffers from not being associated with a proper city, and in terms of what the layman would know, universities like KCL, Manchester and Edinburgh may be better known internationally. UCL has consistently ranked within the top 20 universities in the world in recent years, and is definitely well-known - moreso than Bocconi or HEC.

So for global layman prestige: UCL > Bocconi, HEC > Warwick

For finance prestige or quality of the students: Bocconi, HEC > UCL, Warwick

Feb 21, 2021 - 11:06am

There is quite a comprehensive FAQ about IB in London that covers this. What´s the point of a new thread on this subject? Search function would've answered it perfectly well.

On a side note, tiering like this is not reflective of how the system works in reality. Target, semi and non-target is how it works.


  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Feb 21, 2021 - 11:47am

Doing this way makes no sense for Europe, a more sensible approach would be to do Target/Semi-Target/Non-Target for individual countries (or regions). i.e:

In terms of global prestige, only Oxbridge and maybe LSE compare to the top American school (Ivy League +), nothing else really.

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