I hope this is the right place to post this. I'm looking for some advice, preferably from people who have either been in a similar situation to me, know people who have been, or have a good idea what recruiters look for. I don't particularly want responses from smart-arse GCSE/A level students or responses from anyone pretentious on here just saying things like "should have got a 2:1", etc.
A bit about me:
I got BBC at A level (Maths, Economics, Biology respectively) = 280 UCAS points. I have a 2:2 in Mathematics with Economics, and have a place to study MSc Mathematical Finance.
I understand that a lot of employers' first filter is UCAS points, usually at around the 300 mark. This to me sounds absurd but of course I understand they have to draw the line somewhere. I'm not really up for going back to university. I have had some time off - I've been volunteering in Africa since I graduated. I would very much like a graduate job this year, or starting next year, but I know that there is little by way of jobs out there, especially for someone who narrowly missed out on a 2:1.
If I didn't do my masters I would be looking for jobs in the finance sector.
Here is my dilemma. Do I:
a) do the masters, which I am really not up for but of course would work hard at, leaving me with 280 UCAS points, 2:2, and a MSc?
b) opt out of the MSc, make it my job to look for a job and redo one of my A level maths modules (C4) to get an A, which I would be able to do with my eyes closed now, look at doing some more voluntary work probably in South America and also look to get some work experience in the finance sector. Leaving me with 300 UCAS points, 2:2, + possible work experience, no MSc.
MSc exam dates clash with A level maths C4 so cannot do both.
I know this essentially sounds like I am asking whether an A in A level maths is more important than a MSc in a finance related masters. It does sound absurd, but I'm afraid that employers won't look into it like this.
Would I fall at the first hurdle with 280 UCAS points, or even a 2:2, even if I had MSc Mathematical Finance? The cost issue (10k +) to study the masters is also an issue for me.
The answer may appear trivial to most but I have a week to make a decision that could be life changing.
Thanks in advance.
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my MSc dilemma watch
- Thread Starter
- 25-09-2010 16:15
- 25-09-2010 16:22
I didn't think employers would be too bothered about your A Levels, just your degree classification, the university you gained it from and your work experience? If it was me though, i would probably do the MSc to make up for the 2.2 as i would have thought this would be better than having better A Levels. I do not understand why employers would filter you out because of A Levels which are for university entry anyway?
If A levels do really matter then what about those people who are mature students? And if they do make a big difference i may as well as apply for McDonalds pretty soonishLast edited by Wilson90; 25-09-2010 at 16:31.
- Thread Starter
- 25-09-2010 16:33
Thanks for your input. Yes I have been looking at many different employers and it's amazing how many say that they require, for example, "300 UCAS points and 2:2 minimum" - thus getting 280 points and a 2:2 is not enough.
(Loughborough University, for both BSc and potential MSc)
- 25-09-2010 16:54
They don't ask for Alevels
- PS Helper
- 25-09-2010 16:59
Don't do the MSc if you're not really up for it just to 'cover' a 2:2. A second class honours isn't that bad It just might take you a little longer to find a job. Don't only focus on graduate jobs, anything will do until you get some experience!
I'm not sure you'll still be able to retake modules for your A-level as there will probably be different specs - have you looked into this?
- 25-09-2010 17:02
Why do either when you can do both! Would it be out of the question to defer entry, take a year out to get the A level and some work or life experience and then go back to your studies? That way, you get the best of everything, you'll have memories and experiences from a gap year and an enhanced CV.
If its a choice or one or the other, as it is, a 2:2 will probably hold you back and close a lot of doors with regard to jobs, so I would personally take the Master's and just work my arse off!
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- Community Assistant
- CV Helper
- 25-09-2010 17:13
Companies that are strict about A levels/UCAS points are likely to want them taken in one sitting or aged 18. You have to ask yourself why they are setting the limit, if their reason is that they want to see continuous achievement, you don't have that to their standards and no amount of A levels taken now will change that.
Also, does their application system allow you to complete the form or whatever with less than XXX UCAS points? Most companies I asked (in fact ALL the companies, but they were all consulting companies) about UCAS points said there was no mechanical cut-off and that a human being read every application and compensating experience or qualifications could be considered.
Do the MSc, or get a job. Don't waste time redoing exams you should have passed aged 18, doing them now won't compensate.
- 25-09-2010 17:29
I agree with threeportdrift. In fact, I do not just agree, but I am sceptical about the possibility of even improving your A level results; I think once they have been given out, and assuming you do not ask for remarks etc., then your grade is final as far as the exam board is concerned. A masters is expensive and will not cover the fact you got a 2.2; do not do one unless you love the subject or it is required for a job.
Out of interest, which employers have confirmed that they use a 'UCAS filter', so to speak?
- 25-09-2010 17:59
Have you actually tried applying for jobs?
- 25-09-2010 21:45
If you are looking into financial services graduate programmes, you should seriously think about whether you have what it takes to get past the automatic filters. Graduate schemes across all industries are swamped with applications and in some cases, they have increased the UCAS points requirements in order to reduced the number of applicants in the next round.
Unless you got some serious networks/connections, it's going to be an uphill battle to get past the automatic filter. Have you tried applying for graduate schemes/internships in your third year? If you did and you're not getting past the online form, it's probably a sign you're being filtered out based on your academics.
If you're not up for the masters, it's going to be difficult for you to motivate yourself and study hard. Getting a bad/mediocre grade in your master will make your academics look worse.Last edited by seel; 25-09-2010 at 21:49.