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Advice needed on strengthening a postgraduate Finance application

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    Hi,

    I've just finished my 2nd year studying BSc Economics at University of Southampton. I'm currently on a 2.1 and predicted to get one when I graduate next summer.

    I'm aware that my university is not particularly targeted by banks and therefore would like to studying for an MSc Finance, preferably at a London university as I believe they have better ties to employers in the industry. Ideally i'd like to get onto the course at Imperial or Cass however I know they are both very competitive and from reading the forums, the average profile of successful candidates for these courses tend to be stronger than mine in terms of relevant work experience, of which I am currently lacking.

    I'm looking to find out ways I could enhance my application for a MSc Finance course. For example would taking a GMAT boost my chances? I currently have the summer free and intend on using the time to think about my dissertation and study modules covered in my course next year to ensure I obtain decent marks in them. Would it be a better use of my time to study for the GMAT over the summer and sit it just as my 3rd year starts i.e. October/November time? Or should I wait until I've graduated. Also, does work experience after graduation before applying for a masters add any weight to the application?

    I'm also intrigued as to whether courses at other universities which are not so highly regarded are worthwhile and may still hold some weight in job applications (e.g. MSc Finance at Birkbeck or MSc Accounting, Accountability & Financial Management at KCL). Trying to ascertain whether or not courses at less prestigious universities are a worthwhile investment or not.

    Is it a lot harder to get an internship once you have already graduated from university?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, I appreciate that this is quite a long post.
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    If not for investment banks, many unis are targeted. If investment banks, as follows.

    Get an internship in banks, particularly in investment banks.
    Students from non-target can also get into IB if they are good at networking.

    Get a master degree in Oxbridge LSE UCL IC Warwick, about 80% to 90% are from these unis in IB.
    (You can get a degree in Finance in these unis, but some courses related to maths are ok)

    KCL Manc Bristol Nott Bath Edin are OK, but much harder for their graduates to get in.

    http://news.efinancialcareers.com/53...-into-banking/
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    Hey mate, I'm kinda in the same situation as you a few months ago. After some consideration, i decide to take up GMAT and do up an finance analysis internship in hope of strengthening my application. However, i believe only a GMAt score of 650 and above would be significant. I got only 590 for my first attempt which i studied studiously for 2 months! I managed to get 700 after a further 3 months of study... it's not easy, requires lots of time and hardwork on my part. As for work experience, i'm currently doing a internship at a medium enterprise. I'm not sure how beneficial it will be to my application since it's basically an 'unknown' firm, but i thought i would just give it a try since I have nothing to lose out! I think GMAT and internship are basically what is left for you to strengthen your application. That said, i'm really unsure to what extend will it help. Do whatever you can possibly do! Good luck!
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    Ok from the sounds of things it's probably not a worthwhile investment to opt for an MSc Finance if I don't get into one of the top schools so I need to make my application as strong as possible.

    Crusader, I'm sure that having an internship, even if it is a medium enterprise, can only do good for your application. May I ask how you went about getting your internship? Was it through the traditional means of applying online? I realise the intake for this summer is most likely over so i'll have to wait until November time. Also, did you study for your GMAT during term time? Perhaps I should start studying for it now and consider taking the test at the end of the summer?

    Congrats on the 700 score, if I took the GMAT i'd definitely be aiming for a score around 700 if not more.
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    (Original post by Fergie)
    Ok from the sounds of things it's probably not a worthwhile investment to opt for an MSc Finance if I don't get into one of the top schools so I need to make my application as strong as possible.
    I agree with this. My advice would be to become a specialist of something banks need and forgo generic finance M.S. which tend to be pricey and teach you very little. Unless it is from a top school in which case you are doing it for the recruitment prospects. Otherwise, become an expert at accounting or math, or IT, something banks need and will pay for. Concrete skills. Start working somewhere else if necessary and then try to move into banking.
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    With a 2.1 you will get into Warwick/Imperial/CASS...
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    (Original post by Fergie)
    Ok from the sounds of things it's probably not a worthwhile investment to opt for an MSc Finance if I don't get into one of the top schools so I need to make my application as strong as possible.

    Crusader, I'm sure that having an internship, even if it is a medium enterprise, can only do good for your application. May I ask how you went about getting your internship? Was it through the traditional means of applying online? I realise the intake for this summer is most likely over so i'll have to wait until November time. Also, did you study for your GMAT during term time? Perhaps I should start studying for it now and consider taking the test at the end of the summer?

    Congrats on the 700 score, if I took the GMAT i'd definitely be aiming for a score around 700 if not more.
    Yea summer internship was long over. But that's usually for the big firms. Try applying directly to smaller firms. I studied my gmat during my term time, like 2 a day every morning. Do the gmat diagnosis test to get a assessment of your ability as I've seen people study for 2 weeks getting 700+ !
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    I have also just finished my 2nd yr at UoSouthampton in BSc Econ and am in a similar situation to yourself.

    I can't provide much of an answer to your questions as I am unsure of what to do also, sorry.

    I have looked into the GMAT today and it seems that few UK institutions require it when applying for a master's however I think it would certainly boost an application. From the practice tests it seems quite achievable to score fairly highly from what you have/are currently learning at uni with not too much revision needed as has been said. I have read that some struggle with it as they have become out of touch with the skills (especially for the Maths section) as they take the test after graduating.

    If you got a comfortable 2:1 then it is likely you will at least scrape a 2:1 in the 3rd yr leaving you at 2:1 overall so I would suggest doing the GMAT in the time frame you suggested and looking at applying for both master's and grad schemes for 2013. This would then leave you with the fallback option, if you don't make any grad schemes, of doing a master's and having the GMAT to strengthen your applications for the more prestigious business schools.

    Additionally you could apply for internships for next summer leaving you with a good undergraduate degree, an internship and a master's degree by summer 2014, which I would think is very appealing to prospective employers when the large majority you will be up against will have just an undergrad degree and will be a year younger and less experienced. I think it depends on how urgently you want to start in the working world earning money and moving up the ladder or whether you enjoy studying and would want to continue at uni a bit longer.
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    I think that is probably the route that I would look at taking. I finished with a 1st this summer which is promising so i'm hoping to maintain that through to next year. I intend on applying for internships for when I graduate next summer to gain some experience whilst also studying for the GMAT so I can apply for masters courses with 2014 entry - I know its a wait but worthwhile if I can get some practical experience and exposure working.

    I just had an e-mail through from the Investment society offering a full-time training course at Amplify Trading for one month. This would entail lessons on the theory behind trading with both fundamental and technical analysis as well as practical trading experience under the guidance and supervision of mentors. Normally it would cost £850 per month for 2 months, however I am being offered £750 for one month. I have free accomodation in East London I could stay at should I decide to enrol. The downside is that this is for their August intake and thus I would actually be starting this Monday!

    Though the cost is high, I am considering it as I have yet to acquire any releveant finance-related experience and believe that this could provide me some sort of edge when it comes to applying for internships later this year.

    Does anyone here have any experience/opinions on Amplify Trading or their courses. As i said I think this would provide useful experience, it's just a lot of money to part with on such a last-minute decision...

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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    (Original post by Fergie)
    I think that is probably the route that I would look at taking. I finished with a 1st this summer which is promising so i'm hoping to maintain that through to next year. I intend on applying for internships for when I graduate next summer to gain some experience whilst also studying for the GMAT so I can apply for masters courses with 2014 entry - I know its a wait but worthwhile if I can get some practical experience and exposure working.

    I just had an e-mail through from the Investment society offering a full-time training course at Amplify Trading for one month. This would entail lessons on the theory behind trading with both fundamental and technical analysis as well as practical trading experience under the guidance and supervision of mentors. Normally it would cost £850 per month for 2 months, however I am being offered £750 for one month. I have free accomodation in East London I could stay at should I decide to enrol. The downside is that this is for their August intake and thus I would actually be starting this Monday!

    Though the cost is high, I am considering it as I have yet to acquire any releveant finance-related experience and believe that this could provide me some sort of edge when it comes to applying for internships later this year.

    Does anyone here have any experience/opinions on Amplify Trading or their courses. As i said I think this would provide useful experience, it's just a lot of money to part with on such a last-minute decision...

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    You can learn the same from downloading a trading platform (MetaTrader) online and applying the technical analysis yourself. You will also have a news feed coming through (and can use sites like ForexFactory to get a preview of the coming day's main data). You can do this much more cost-effectively. I woudl suggest writing to some trading firms - cold-calling, maybe even showing them a track-record of demo trades you made. Don't hand over money to organizations like that if you are short of cash which coulld be used (in small amounts initially) to trade for yourself.
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    Everyone quotes Oxbridge, UCL, LSE and Warwick but ultimately I find that it is how hard you want it more than anything. Perhaps I am saying this because I'm not going to the aforementioned universities in September but I have seen people from Edinburgh, Royal Holloway, Bristol and Birmingham get into investment banks and have never heard of Oxbridge graduates getting into IB. Obviously it's because I don't run with that crowd, but I think by virtue of the people from a wide array of universities and disciplines getting into IB, I would say that the statistics that "80-90% of graduates in IB come from those top schools" is a load of rubbish. Rubbish, perpetuated by people on the board and propagated by hear'say throughout the years. Obviously the more prestigious school you go to, the better, but don't write yourself off if you don't.

    This isn't a reflection of everyone, but a friend of mine went to Royal Holloway, got a 2.1 in economics, no previous experience, worked in Budgens and now got a job at Barcap. How did he get it? He just tried really hard.

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