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What is an Oxbridge degree worth nowadays?

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Old 14-03-2010, 09:48 PM
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Default What is an Oxbridge degree worth nowadays?

Hi guys,

I graduated 1st class and did my masters at NTU. I am working at a back office job (operations) in an investment bank but I would like to move to front office.

I really want to go into the front office - IB/sales/trading/MA
I was recently offered a place into Cambridge MPhil (Judge business school programmes, it is not a finance degree)

I've been working for 1 year already and my salary is $57k/year. The thing is programme at cambridge is gonna cost me at least $60k for 9 months.

I would like to ask what is an Oxbridge degree worth nowadays? Is it worth it getting another masters degree? or should i do an MBA later (but im not sure if i can get into any of these top schools)?

Dont wanna spend 60k for nothing...

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Old 15-03-2010, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pstarz View Post
Hi guys,

I graduated 1st class and did my masters at NTU. I am working at a back office job (operations) in an investment bank but I would like to move to front office.

I really want to go into the front office - IB/sales/trading/MA
I was recently offered a place into Cambridge MPhil (Judge business school programmes, it is not a finance degree)

I've been working for 1 year already and my salary is $57k/year. The thing is programme at cambridge is gonna cost me at least $60k for 9 months.

I would like to ask what is an Oxbridge degree worth nowadays? Is it worth it getting another masters degree? or should i do an MBA later (but im not sure if i can get into any of these top schools)?

Dont wanna spend 60k for nothing...
It's still worth a lot. My HK friend did a masters in a non-finance course in a LSE, worked for a good bank in London for a year or so, and then worked in front office jobs in HK ever since. Another SG friend did a masters in a not-so-good UK uni, but she still managed to get well-paid jobs doing strategic stuff (eg M&A) with MNCs and is now a private banker.

The 60k is def worth it if you don't want to stay in back office forever.

Moreover, the timing is about right. Economy should be more stable by the time you graduate.

Congrats on getting into Cambridge and enjoy your time studying again!



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Old 15-03-2010, 07:16 PM
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hmm.. I don't quite agree that an oxbridge degree is worth much. If it is a business degree that you are after, you are better off in LBS than in Judge. Once you take a business degree, you will be lump together with the other MBAs in the league table and Judge is ranked quite low in the league table. You also have to consider the current market environment. We recently had an opening for associate position and had tons of application. Priority were given to stanford, Harvard, IMD, INSEAD, the top few. Judge has some appeal if you plan to work in London for a while and use that experience to leap frog back to Asia. If not, I would advise you to give it a miss.

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Old 15-03-2010, 10:39 PM
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Thanks. A friend of mine knows someone who went to MIT (yep the real MIT) and he had a back office job just like me, he then completed an MBA from NTU, and could not find anything other than another back office job in a different foreign bank after graduation last year

My reservations are:
- I know IB guys work 24/7 and I am not sure if I can take the pressure. I want to be paid well, what are the other industries can i explore besides the ones that are well known for slave driving (Consulting and IB firms) Plus, I don't know anyone at the top, and ive heard most of these jobs are gotten through connections.

- If i were to get a cambridge degree, how much weight would HR put on it? I also don't wanna look like a goofball having 3 degrees and seemingly overqualified? I know people who had masters (CFA Level 3 included) had to remove them from their CVs because local banks told them that they were overqualified? Oh gosh..
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Old 15-03-2010, 11:21 PM
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Thanks. A friend of mine knows someone who went to MIT (yep the real MIT) and he had a back office job just like me, he then completed an MBA from NTU, and could not find anything other than another back office job in a different foreign bank after graduation last year

My reservations are:
- I know IB guys work 24/7 and I am not sure if I can take the pressure. I want to be paid well, what are the other industries can i explore besides the ones that are well known for slave driving (Consulting and IB firms) Plus, I don't know anyone at the top, and ive heard most of these jobs are gotten through connections.

- If i were to get a cambridge degree, how much weight would HR put on it? I also don't wanna look like a goofball having 3 degrees and seemingly overqualified? I know people who had masters (CFA Level 3 included) had to remove them from their CVs because local banks told them that they were overqualified? Oh gosh..
Your MIT friend should have gone back to MIT for a masters. I believe you other friends also did not have masters from reputable UK/US universities. With all respect, NUS and NTU are too overrated. That said, SMU is the most overrated of all! haha...
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Old 17-03-2010, 12:06 PM
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I know many pple who wants to go for the big bucks in front office. Here are my personal thoughts;

For pple who have a few years experience working and wants to get into front office, get a top MBA from a top top university (ivy league). Banks take in MBA graduates yearly and you stand a very good chance to get in (even though you have no prior experience working in front office).

CFA to me, does not add as much value as a top MBA. So either you want to do it, do a full time MBA (save and shrimp for it) and then go for big bucks.

Worst scenerio is to do a neither here nor there MBA from a mid-tier school and find yourself in the same place.

Good luck!
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Old 17-03-2010, 03:09 PM
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1) on the backoffice versus front office/IB. besides having good qualifications, personality counts and personal network counts a lot. Some people are just not used to the dealing/wheeling type of environment. It is not just about getting into good schools, I have seen people average qualification doing exceptionally well. Personal family background counts a lot as well. the bankers in China/HK invariably have powerful family background to help them clinch deals. Those matter more than just a Harvard or MIT degree.

2) on that friend of yours who went to MIT and MBA/NTU. Really, he should have continued his program in US. I figure he/she was taking a practical route, but he should have just save up a bit more and go back to US for another program. taking an MBA from a local schools diminishes the MIT degree. Or let me put it another way, someone who went to NTU and followed by a master degree in MIT has better appeal than the other way round. I had a friend who did his NTU engineering degree followed by MIT (MSc). He went to Mckinsey and his career was outstanding ever since. I know it shouldn't be the case, as the MIT undergraduate program is really tough. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to be a IB. you need to smart enough but also street smart to be a good IB. Taking a MIT and reversing back to NTU, does say a lot about this guy.
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Old 17-03-2010, 10:56 PM
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... Taking a MIT and reversing back to NTU, does say a lot about this guy.
He's saying you're stupid!
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:35 PM
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He's saying you're stupid!
That's not me. If I had an undergrad qualification from MIT, I too, would have chosen for a top tier MBA programme. Unfortunately for my friend, he is settled over here and has 2 lovely new borns. He is also taking care of his parents, whose health is not so well. I find it rather offensive to call someone stupid before understanding his situation fully.
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Old 31-05-2010, 02:31 PM
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Your MIT friend should have gone back to MIT for a masters. I believe you other friends also did not have masters from reputable UK/US universities. With all respect, NUS and NTU are too overrated. That said, SMU is the most overrated of all! haha...
I work for a bulge bracket IB and the only Singapore-educated graduates that we have taken in are from SMU. NUS and NTU kids just didn't seem to have the business sense of the SMU grads.
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