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    Hi, I've got an offer from LSE for their a&f degree and I'm looking at IB/trading as possible job options. I picked the course based mostly on my interest in finance, but the general impression I've gotten from this forum is that recruiters look more favourably upon students with M+Econ degrees as it's supposedly more difficult and quantitative. What are your views on whether A+F graduates are significantly disadvantaged in terms of FO job opportunities and preparation for the job, as compared to M+Econ graduates? And if they are, should I consider switching course (I have the grades and I think the mathematical aptitude for M+Econ)? Thanks in advance for any advice you guys can offer
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    (Original post by sliqq)
    Hi, I've got an offer from LSE for their a&f degree and I'm looking at IB/trading as possible job options. I picked the course based mostly on my interest in finance, but the general impression I've gotten from this forum is that recruiters look more favourably upon students with M+Econ degrees as it's supposedly more difficult and quantitative. What are your views on whether A+F graduates are significantly disadvantaged in terms of FO job opportunities and preparation for the job, as compared to M+Econ graduates? And if they are, should I consider switching course (I have the grades and I think the mathematical aptitude for M+Econ)? Thanks in advance for any advice you guys can offer
    Acc & Fin is a more useful degree for IBD/Research, but I'd say Maths & Econ would be better for Trading/Structuring. To be honest, if you're from LSE it doesn't make a huge difference which course you're studying, M&E might have a little more prestige, but if I were you I'd just study what interests me.
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    (Original post by sliqq)
    Hi, I've got an offer from LSE for their a&f degree and I'm looking at IB/trading as possible job options. I picked the course based mostly on my interest in finance, but the general impression I've gotten from this forum is that recruiters look more favourably upon students with M+Econ degrees as it's supposedly more difficult and quantitative. What are your views on whether A+F graduates are significantly disadvantaged in terms of FO job opportunities and preparation for the job, as compared to M+Econ graduates? And if they are, should I consider switching course (I have the grades and I think the mathematical aptitude for M+Econ)? Thanks in advance for any advice you guys can offer

    Maths and Economics is a much better choice for Trading; you'll find it hard to switch into it however.
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    As an LSE student, I would strongly advise you to look at the difference in the courses and how they would suit you, rather than the job your degree may lead to. As already mentioned, a degree in a economics/finance area from LSE would be good enough to land you interviews, provided your CV is in order. The maths/econ course doesn’t provide much scope for outside options and some of the maths courses are very challenging if you’re not mathematically inclined. I have always enjoyed maths, got 90+ in all A-Level modules, but find the maths modules v.challenging in comparison to other options (finance/econ...). That said, A+F can be very boring if you’re not interested in the subject, although you can choose an outside module each year, allowing you to study other things which interest you such as law, history, geography (or dare I say more maths lol).

    Best thing to do is speak to your academic advisor and other 2nd and 3rd year students once you get here.
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    unsung_hero gives good advice. I really don't think it matters whether you do A&F or Maths + Economics. What will matter though is extra-curriculars, how well you interview and your interest.

    It wouldn't be entirely surprising to switch from A&F to Maths + Economics, but you'd have to do it as soon as you get to LSE - the only difference in the first year is that Maths + Economics do abstract maths, where as A&F do elements of A&F, i.e. 75% of the course is the same (provided you do full modules in A&F).
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    That's very helpful advice! Thanks so much. I think I'll ask around when i get there, but I'd probably stick to a&f
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    If you consider trading as a career option, definitely choose M&E over A&F. Even if you make it to the interview, you'll face some interviewers who will have a negative connotation of the A&F course and doubt your mathematical aptitude due to the lack of quantitative modules in the course. For trading, the constant need to prove your numerical aptitude from an A&F degree is not worth it when you could just point to strong module scores in a Maths/Econ/Physics/Engineering degree.

    If you're interested in any other area of IB though (Sales, Research, IBD etc), then either course is fine.
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    Which one are you best at and which one would you enjoy more? As you picked AccFin to start with, I'd imagine that one.
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    You are not disadvantaged at all. Furthermore you have the potential to do all 3 finance modules offered by lse (as an undergrad), whereas for Math and Econ this is not the case. You can still to Econometric modules, but steer clear of pure math side. You should probably pick both ST102 and MA100 as your first year modules as that offers you more flexibility in the future.

    (Arguably) The best module at LSE for trading (undergrad) is FM320 (Quant finance), you can do it with both M&E and A&F.

    Do whatever you think you will enjoy most, but from my personal experience A&F is much easier and means you can spend less time on your degree and more on extra curric!

    (N.B. I'm biased cause I study A&F....)
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    (Original post by Prince of Zamunda)
    If you consider trading as a career option, definitely choose M&E over A&F. Even if you make it to the interview, you'll face some interviewers who will have a negative connotation of the A&F course and doubt your mathematical aptitude due to the lack of quantitative modules in the course. For trading, the constant need to prove your numerical aptitude from an A&F degree is not worth it when you could just point to strong module scores in a Maths/Econ/Physics/Engineering degree.

    If you're interested in any other area of IB though (Sales, Research, IBD etc), then either course is fine.

    Mathematical aptitude does not go down to whether you study A&F vs M&E, your course choices can ensure you steer clear of such a negative connotation. I've never had an interview where my feedback suggested I didn't have mathematical aptitude. If you can answer logic questions and do well in the (pointless) numericals then thats fine, further if you are interested in Derivatives there are Finance options available to both students.

    However if the OP knows he/she wants structuring then M&E>A&F...
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    (Original post by Prince of Zamunda)
    If you consider trading as a career option, definitely choose M&E over A&F. Even if you make it to the interview, you'll face some interviewers who will have a negative connotation of the A&F course and doubt your mathematical aptitude due to the lack of quantitative modules in the course. For trading, the constant need to prove your numerical aptitude from an A&F degree is not worth it when you could just point to strong module scores in a Maths/Econ/Physics/Engineering degree.

    If you're interested in any other area of IB though (Sales, Research, IBD etc), then either course is fine.
    Listen to this guy. He knows what he is talking about.

    Also note he says some interviewers, and it is connotation, not actual content.
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    Still disagree, I have never had to prove my mathematical ability. At LSE you still do math/stat modules in first year. Much of what you learn in Math in 2nd/3rd year is not very relevant. I am sure *some* interviewers will doubt your mathematical aptitude, just like *some* would prefer A&F over M&E.

    As for whether you are disadvantaged at a recruitment level I dont think so, as long as you take the opportunities LSE has to offer.
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    (Original post by Prince of Zamunda)
    I was just speaking from experience and my experience showed me that there's a significant upside to studying a more mathematical degree when it comes to trading regardless of your level of numerical aptitude. It's less noticeable when interviewing for S&T rotational programs, but when applying/interviewing for desk specific trading summer programs, I think it makes a significant difference.

    I was never talking about the contents of the degree itself. Just the perception of it.
    I started my degree doing a more mathematical subject, and I changed to A&F at the start of my second year. It hasn't hindered me getting offers, (or wasn't the cause of my rejections). I just don't think there is that much of a disadvantage. I don't think you can compare having studied a mathematical degree vs not when interviewing, as the subject you study in uni is likely to influence how an interviewer decides to interview you. So in my case I have not been hindered by my lack of mathematical background, and in my opinion it can help, because you can avoid boring math questions, and start chatting about the market.

    Some interviewers (particularly those from a mathematical background) are likely to prefer M&E, but that does not necessarily mean the aggregate will.
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    (Original post by Prince of Zamunda)
    Well I'm not going to argue with you, but from my experience, it can make a difference especially when interviewing with the more exotic trading desks. The closer a desk is to the exotic space, the more significant your mathematical background is. I'm not saying its impossible to get into trading with A&F, far from it. My point however was that M&E will give you a leg up over A&F when competing for trading roles. It's a telling sign that BarCap trading ACs are filled in the majority by Engineering/Maths/Physics/Econ people whereas their Sales ACs are filled by people from all sorts of degrees.

    Even if you get onto an S&T rotational program, your university degree will be taken into account when HR decide which desks to put you on. At the intern rotation level, you'll see the same sort of split as the obvious one in the Barcap trading and Sales ACs.

    Can't speak for BarCap (never been to a BC AC-perhaps this is why ), so I can only accept what you say about that experience, as well as the edge mathematics has wrt the exotic space (as well as structuring/quant roles).

    However for most option/flow trading I still dont see the significant upside in an interview.

    As for S&T rotational, it depends on how the rotation is set up, for GS your degree doesn't matter at all. And even for BarCap/DB I imagine they only use degree as a one factor, but will take others into account, eg interview feedback.
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    (Original post by Prince of Zamunda)
    The only difference between the likes of Barcap and JPM (where desks bid for interns for desk specific programs), and other banks which do S&T rotationals, is that in the later, the bidding occurs AFTER the interns have received an offer. I find it unlikely though that the trend of interns preferred by the trading desks in Barcap/JPM (at the interview stage) will be different to that of trading desks at other banks during the post-offer bidding process.

    My point is that if a trading desk only had headcount for one intern during the summer, and had a choice between two identical candidates except one was studying A&F and the other was studying M&E, I bet 9/10 times it would go to the M&E guy whereas in any other FO division (Sales, Research, IBD etc), it could come down to a coin toss. The strong correlation towards a preference for quant degrees in trading is too large to deem it as statistically insignificant as you're suggesting.

    If you look at your A&F friends with S&T summer offers, I bet you'll find that the majority of them got it at banks which do S&T rotational programs rather than those which do desk specific ones.
    Firstly:
    "I bet 9/10 times it would go to the M&E guy whereas in any other FO division (Sales, Research, IBD etc), it could come down to a coin toss"
    I lift your bet. Speaking from experience for firms like JPM I could have interviewed with 3 different desks (all trading, and one of those quant, another options)-for internship, but choose not too. I dont think your opinion holds.

    And if they had the choice between two interns then degree choice is near irrelevant. ('identical candidates' do not exist).

    Wrt to comparing my M&E friends against A&F, it is too small a sample to compare and draw significant conclusions.
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    (Original post by LittleMcBanker)
    Firstly:
    "I bet 9/10 times it would go to the M&E guy whereas in any other FO division (Sales, Research, IBD etc), it could come down to a coin toss"
    I lift your bet. Speaking from experience for firms like JPM I could have interviewed with 3 different desks (all trading, and one of those quant, another options)-for internship, but choose not too. I dont think your opinion holds.

    And if they had the choice between two interns then degree choice is near irrelevant. ('identical candidates' do not exist).

    Wrt to comparing my M&E friends against A&F, it is too small a sample to compare and draw significant conclusions.
    We will just have to agree to disagree then. I too, like you, study A&F and everything I posted in this thread was based on my experience in interviewing for S&T rotationals/trading specific summer places at most banks for summer 2010, the experience of other friends studying A&F compared to those doing other degrees (having seen a lot of their their CVs and CLs), and the experiences of friends at other universities during the recruiting process at several banks. It's great that you got to interview with 3 JPM trading desks. So did I. It doesn't change my view of what was very obvious to me during the last 5 months though.

    For trading, the choice of Maths & Economics over Accounting & Finance is a painfully obvious one and I think your view is skewed because you may be a strong candidate for trading regardless of studying A&F.

    (Original post by LittleMcBanker)
    I started my degree doing a more mathematical subject, and I changed to A&F at the start of my second year. It hasn't hindered me getting offers, (or wasn't the cause of my rejections).
    Perhaps the fact that you were quantitatively strong enough to study a more mathematical subject in the first place might have actually helped you. Ever consider that? If they're looking for someone who is comfortable with numbers without delving too deeply into the detail (you actually think many people are gonna look at your module breakdown?), perception is reality.

    My last post in this thread.
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    As an lse student could u please tell me if a switch from a&f to econ is possible or not?
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    (Original post by Black77scorpion)
    As an lse student could u please tell me if a switch from a&f to econ is possible or not?
    Yes it is
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    (Original post by unsung_hero)
    As an LSE student, I would strongly advise you to look at the difference in the courses and how they would suit you, rather than the job your degree may lead to. As already mentioned, a degree in a economics/finance area from LSE would be good enough to land you interviews, provided your CV is in order. The maths/econ course doesn’t provide much scope for outside options and some of the maths courses are very challenging if you’re not mathematically inclined. I have always enjoyed maths, got 90+ in all A-Level modules, but find the maths modules v.challenging in comparison to other options (finance/econ...). That said, A+F can be very boring if you’re not interested in the subject, although you can choose an outside module each year, allowing you to study other things which interest you such as law, history, geography (or dare I say more maths lol).

    Best thing to do is speak to your academic advisor and other 2nd and 3rd year students once you get here.
    Great post. The OP has got an offer from a great uni - where their name alone will get him Interviews - Hell if LSE came up with a cheese and wine studies degree you'd probably still get an interview - I echo this advise and just worry about getting a 2.1 or above in your course (One that you'll find interesting) because if you did A+F you might find it boring and that would lead to you doing poorly in your studies - which would make your original question a moot point really.

    Again - Just to make it clear, your degree just gets you the interview - you're the one that gets yourself the job.

 
 
 
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