How hard is a Masters Degree vs undergraduate.. HELP Watch

itrader
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Currently second year going into 3rd year studying Economics BSc, intend to study a 1 year Masters: MSc Financial Economics or MSc Money, Banking and Finance at a London Uni LSE or CASS ( City University London) and maybe Exeter as a backup.

Does anyone know what the step up is in terms of difficulty or not as the case may be when it comes to Masters.

Especially if you have personal experience in these sort of subject, or to be honest just general ideas..

Many Thanks
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returnmigrant
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Its a step up. It isnt a continuation of an undergrad degree. It involves more detailed study, building on your first degree, and in particular individual/independent study. It usually also includes a research element.

Ask yourself why you want to do a Masters degree (be honest about this). Is it 'because I want to be a Uni student for another year', 'because it sounds good', 'because I think it'll help me get a job' etc etc. And then think carefully, and do some homework. If you look at most graduate job ads they want a good undergrad degree and experience, not a Masters degree.

Masters are expensive (no automatic funding like SF) and rarely actually make any difference to your initial job prospects straight out of Uni. A much better plan to aim at doing one later, with the benefit of some relevant work experience. Without this you will still be seen a fresh young graduate with no relevant work experience - and sometimes a Masters degree can actually exclude you from some graduate recruitment programs.
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TurboCretin
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It depends on who the masters is aimed at. If they'll take people from a wide range of disciplines, it will be subject to different assessment criteria from undergrad degrees and that will essentially be it. If it's a specialist masters aimed at a narrow range of graduates from specific technical backgrounds, then it is more likely to represent a significant step up.
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Klix88
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I found the work a logical step up but not a struggle (not your subject/field though).

The big difference was the volume of coursework. My Masters was assessed mainly on coursework other than one lab test. I turned out the same volume of assignments in a term, as I'd done in my entire third undergrad year. Because it was all crammed into two terms, there was a significant deadline pile-up towards the end of the spring term - eight deadlines in six weeks.

Christmas and Easter holidays are just times you can get on with coursework without the interruptions of lectures/seminars. From May to September, you'll be working on your dissertation pretty much full-time, so you can forget the summer holiday as well.

I found the Masters a very full-on, concentrated experience compared to my undergrad years. Just in terms of stamina, there were times when I seriously thought I'd never get through it. But I did - it's just a real test of willpower
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itrader
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
Its a step up. It isnt a continuation of an undergrad degree. It involves more detailed study, building on your first degree, and in particular individual/independent study. It usually also includes a research element.

Ask yourself why you want to do a Masters degree (be honest about this). Is it 'because I want to be a Uni student for another year', 'because it sounds good', 'because I think it'll help me get a job' etc etc. And then think carefully, and do some homework. If you look at most graduate job ads they want a good undergrad degree and experience, not a Masters degree.

Masters are expensive (no automatic funding like SF) and rarely actually make any difference to your initial job prospects straight out of Uni. A much better plan to aim at doing one later, with the benefit of some relevant work experience. Without this you will still be seen a fresh young graduate with no relevant work experience - and sometimes a Masters degree can actually exclude you from some graduate recruitment programs.
thanks for response

yeah, for jobs as with being on the buy side at investment banks you need v advanced quantitative skills which my potential masters choices will give me, I've already got loads of experience and internships so I think a Masters would be a good choice especially in Central london due to the city connections..

just soo expesive haha like £24k for a 1 year course, but I've been saving haha


BTW do you know if a dissertation is mandatory for all degrees? as for Financial Economics, Banking etc would you do it..?
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itrader
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(Original post by Klix88)
I found the work a logical step up but not a struggle (not your subject/field though).

The big difference was the volume of coursework. My Masters was assessed mainly on coursework other than one lab test. I turned out the same volume of assignments in a term, as I'd done in my entire third undergrad year. Because it was all crammed into two terms, there was a significant deadline pile-up towards the end of the spring term - eight deadlines in six weeks.

Christmas and Easter holidays are just times you can get on with coursework without the interruptions of lectures/seminars. From May to September, you'll be working on your dissertation pretty much full-time, so you can forget the summer holiday as well.

I found the Masters a very full-on, concentrated experience compared to my undergrad years. Just in terms of stamina, there were times when I seriously thought I'd never get through it. But I did - it's just a real test of willpower
thanks for your answer, what masters did you do?
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Klix88
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(Original post by itrader)
thanks for your answer, what masters did you do?
It was archaeology based.
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freida20
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(Original post by itrader)
Currently second year going into 3rd year studying Economics BSc, intend to study a 1 year Masters: MSc Financial Economics or MSc Money, Banking and Finance at a London Uni LSE or CASS ( City University London) and maybe Exeter as a backup.

Does anyone know what the step up is in terms of difficulty or not as the case may be when it comes to Masters.

Especially if you have personal experience in these sort of subject, or to be honest just general ideas..

Many Thanks

Hi! Further to the very good advice in the above posts I think the best people to talk to would be a combination of your current tutors who know your work and your capabilities and the information on the place where you are planning to study.

I am currently studying for my MA and hadn't studied for 15 years. It has been a huge step up for me particularly as everything is now online and when I did my degree I spent all my time in the uni library and the British Museum library researching my dissertation and now I can access all the academic journals online and I can read blogs and articles on line too. Referencing is completely different and I have had to relearn how to write an academic essay.
Because I hadn't studied for a long time I did a 'practice essay' on a course I was on last year (didn't need to submit it was related to something else I was doing) This was at undergraduate level. The tutor very kindly fed back to me on it and said it was currently at a 60 mark and that to pass at post graduate level you need to have a 50. I think the pass mark for undergraduate is about 40? (this is very simplistic and just to give an idea - and of course may vary from uni to uni)

I am now part way through and have had further feedback saying I am in line for a merit and maybe even a distinction.

What I'm trying to say (in a very round about way!) is I think you will find the transition easy but get some feedback from your current tutors as they will be able to give you an idea of your potential.

Good luck with degree and best wishes for whatever you decide!
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Georgie_M
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I am about to enter a masters (very different subject) and from what I have researched it is more the volume of work which is a step up plus more independent study. Rather than say the actual difficulty of what you are doing, the standard is expected to be higher and every essay is twice the length expected at undergrad.
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jelly1000
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(Original post by Georgie_M)
I am about to enter a masters (very different subject) and from what I have researched it is more the volume of work which is a step up plus more independent study. Rather than say the actual difficulty of what you are doing, the standard is expected to be higher and every essay is twice the length expected at undergrad.
Depends - at my uni in final year undergraduate essays have been 3000-4000 words and the masters I am going to do the essays are mostly 3000
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Georgie_M
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(Original post by jelly1000)
Depends - at my uni in final year undergraduate essays have been 3000-4000 words and the masters I am going to do the essays are mostly 3000
Oh yeah I meant on my particular course but OPs is very different to mine so I have no idea if what I wrote is even relevant at all, just giving my personal experience
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itrader
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(Original post by Georgie_M)
Oh yeah I meant on my particular course but OPs is very different to mine so I have no idea if what I wrote is even relevant at all, just giving my personal experience
Yeah from my research so far it seems like similar module structure at Masters, if there is coursework its mainly like projects e.g. fund management project etc

In terms of the maths we're already doing econometrics and advanced calculus so wondering what else there could be for the aforementioned MSc in financial economics or Money banking and finance or Finance and investment...

Anybody doing maths based masters have any ideas / or anyone elses input..
thanks
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nunugab
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The workload is slightly higher as are expectations but the main difference is the amount of knowledge you're expected to understand.
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
Masters are expensive (no automatic funding like SF) and rarely actually make any difference to your initial job prospects straight out of Uni.
I think this second part isn't always true, and especially in the kind of field in which the OP would want to work. In an industry which is known for its (I think, shortsighted) propensity to recruit from a very few institutions, this can make all the difference, and not least for its exposing the student to the recruiters. BSc in Economics from e.g. Birmingham? Welcome to the Civil Service grad scheme. That + MSc in Finance from Imperial/Cass/LSE/LBS? The interviewer for Deutsche Bank will see you now...
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
BSc in Economics from e.g. Birmingham? Welcome to the Civil Service grad scheme. That + MSc in Finance from Imperial/Cass/LSE/LBS? The interviewer for Deutsche Bank will see you now...
Got any evidence of that - or is it just 'I've heard' or 'I think'?

Despite what many school-leavers and graduates think (even for jobs in the City) you will not get a job offer, or even an interview, based purely on which Uni you went to.
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
Got any evidence of that - or is it just 'I've heard' or 'I think'?
You might look here: http://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/business-...s/your-career/ and especially at 'career destinations'.

(Original post by returnmigrant)

Despite what many school-leavers and graduates think (even for jobs in the City) you will not get a job offer, or even an interview, based purely on which Uni you went to.
That's right. But so in some contexts is the alternative reading of "...you will not get a job offer, or even an interview, based purely on which Uni you went to".
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returnmigrant
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'Career destinations' are universally unreliable as an indicator of worth - either of the students graduating from any course or the course itself. Many of the students at London University colleges (or any other 'top' Uni) are International students or others whose parents can afford to pay for their postgraduate study. These families are more likely to have business networks or experience of finding employment in high-level jobs. It is therefore likely that those graduates will get more impressive 'first destinations'.
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gr8wizard10
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
Got any evidence of that - or is it just 'I've heard' or 'I think'?

Despite what many school-leavers and graduates think (even for jobs in the City) you will not get a job offer, or even an interview, based purely on which Uni you went to.
It helps substantially. Given you go to a target/semi, some recruiters have a biased towards certain universities.
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poohat
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
'Career destinations' are universally unreliable as an indicator of worth - either of the students graduating from any course or the course itself. Many of the students at London University colleges (or any other 'top' Uni) are International students or others whose parents can afford to pay for their postgraduate study. These families are more likely to have business networks or experience of finding employment in high-level jobs. It is therefore likely that those graduates will get more impressive 'first destinations'.
Financial institutions are ruthlessly selective when it comes to university prestige. Its not "you are guaranteed an interview if you go to an elite university", its that "if you don't go to an elite university you are almost guaranteed not to get one". The network effects you discuss only really occur at small buy-side firms, most people in investment banking just go through the grad scheme, you don't need connections.

I don't know why cambio thinks that Cass is considered in the same league as LSE/LBS/Imperial though

edit: I think itrader is naive to believe that he is going to get a good buyside job with a MSc degree. The standard way for most people to move into the buy-side is to either spend 3 years working on the sell-side in an investment bank first and then move across, or to join at MBA/PhD level. Getting a good buy-side job straight out of undergrad/masters is rare, and given that most firms only have 1-2 places per year, there is no formal grad scheme and networking + Oxbridge-only recruitment is not uncommon.
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poohat
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(Original post by itrader)
thanks for response

yeah, for jobs as with being on the buy side at investment banks you need v advanced quantitative skills which my potential masters choices will give me, I've already got loads of experience and internships so I think a Masters would be a good choice especially in Central london due to the city connections..
You seem slightly confused.

a) investment banks are sell-side, not buy side.
b) you do not need 'advanced quantitative skills' to work in banking, unless you think A level mathematics is advanced. There are some jobs in investment banking which require higher amounts of mathematics (mainly quants) but these typically go to PhDs, at least in front office. A humanities degree can be fine for most positions as long as its from Oxbridge - finding people with Oxford History BAs and suchlike is not uncommon. Trading would be more likely to prefer people from quantitative backgrounds than most other divisions but this is not because trading requires a high degree of quantitative ability (outside of a few things like exotic derivatives), its because a math background signals an analytic mindset.
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