Cambridge - comparing chances: Biotech vs Finance? Watch

johnwinthlow
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
So I'm in a funny position. I hold an offer from an investment bank in London and will probably be doing finance in the near term. At the same time I am passionate about biochemistry.

I have a year to fill with my masters so I can apply to Cambridge either to biotech or to finance. I like both. My questions is this - which of the two do you think it's easier to get into? I care about studying at Cambridge more than about any particular course.

Personally I think my story is much more compelling for finance (multiple internships etc) but then again I did a biology degree and as far as I know MPhil finance is a lot more competitive?

Any input much appreciated!
0
reply
ihavemooedtoday
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
(Original post by johnwinthlow)
I care about studying at Cambridge more than about any particular course.
In that case, I wouldn't recommend wasting time and money doing a master's. I study at Imperial, and there are plenty of people who are here for the name more than anything else, too, and well, their lives suck. It's a lot of misery for a name on CV. I would not want to be one of them.

There are so so much more things in life you can do in a year. Learn a new musical instrument, get a short term job, travel around the world, build something great, etc.
3
reply
johnwinthlow
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#3
(Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
In that case, I wouldn't recommend wasting time and money doing a master's. I study at Imperial, and there are plenty of people who are here for the name more than anything else, too, and well, their lives suck. It's a lot of misery for a name on CV. I would not want to be one of them.

There are so so much more things in life you can do in a year. Learn a new musical instrument, get a short term job, travel around the world, build something great, etc.
I very much appreciate this comment, so thank you. Unfortunately I have my own reasons for wanting to study at Cambridge and I don't necessarily feel miserable about it
0
reply
ihavemooedtoday
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#4
Report 4 years ago
#4
(Original post by johnwinthlow)
I very much appreciate this comment, so thank you. Unfortunately I have my own reasons for wanting to study at Cambridge and I don't necessarily feel miserable about it
Well, in that case, good luck with your applications .
0
reply
Juichiro
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#5
Report 4 years ago
#5
(Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
In that case, I wouldn't recommend wasting time and money doing a master's. I study at Imperial, and there are plenty of people who are here for the name more than anything else, too, and well, their lives suck. It's a lot of misery for a name on CV. I would not want to be one of them.

There are so so much more things in life you can do in a year. Learn a new musical instrument, get a short term job, travel around the world, build something great, etc.
Look around you. This is TSR. The place where most of those people hang around.
3
reply
sj27
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#6
Report 4 years ago
#6
(Original post by johnwinthlow)
So I'm in a funny position. I hold an offer from an investment bank in London and will probably be doing finance in the near term. At the same time I am passionate about biochemistry.

I have a year to fill with my masters so I can apply to Cambridge either to biotech or to finance. I like both. My questions is this - which of the two do you think it's easier to get into? I care about studying at Cambridge more than about any particular course.

Personally I think my story is much more compelling for finance (multiple internships etc) but then again I did a biology degree and as far as I know MPhil finance is a lot more competitive?

Any input much appreciated!
Finance is supposedly the most competive MPhil at Cam. Of course, that means extra kudos for your CV if you do get accepted.
But there's nothing, other than an extra £50 and some time, stopping you from applying to both and seeing what happens. Unless I'm recalling wrong, you fill out a separate gradsaf for each so it's not as if you need to make one statement of motivation etc somehow apply to both.
Just bear in mind graduate work is intense, and you will need to enjoy what you're doing if you want to do well at it.
1
reply
johnwinthlow
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#7
(Original post by sj27)
Finance is supposedly the most competive MPhil at Cam. Of course, that means extra kudos for your CV if you do get accepted.
But there's nothing, other than an extra £50 and some time, stopping you from applying to both and seeing what happens. Unless I'm recalling wrong, you fill out a separate gradsaf for each so it's not as if you need to make one statement of motivation etc somehow apply to both.
Just bear in mind graduate work is intense, and you will need to enjoy what you're doing if you want to do well at it.
Ah this is interesting - I just checked the website and it does say that you can apply to as many as you want, so thanks. My only worry would be - wouldn't all apps go through the same hands before they are passed to the specific department? Which would make it funny - biotech banker haha?
0
reply
Edminzodo
  • Forum Helper
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#8
Report 4 years ago
#8
(Original post by ihavemooedtoday)
In that case, I wouldn't recommend wasting time and money doing a master's. I study at Imperial, and there are plenty of people who are here for the name more than anything else, too, and well, their lives suck. It's a lot of misery for a name on CV. I would not want to be one of them.

There are so so much more things in life you can do in a year. Learn a new musical instrument, get a short term job, travel around the world, build something great, etc.
My thoughts exactly.

Posted from TSR Mobile
0
reply
sj27
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#9
Report 4 years ago
#9
(Original post by johnwinthlow)
Ah this is interesting - I just checked the website and it does say that you can apply to as many as you want, so thanks. My only worry would be - wouldn't all apps go through the same hands before they are passed to the specific department? Which would make it funny - biotech banker haha?
I'm not sure what hands you mean but no, the applications get sent to the departments for reviewing first. BoGS is not going to waste time dealing with piles of applications that will be rejected, it's busy enough dealing with the admin around offers. And yes there are people who have got offers for markedly different courses before, there was someone here a couple of years ago who as I recall got offers for both IR and management for example.

Also, a biotech banker is far from the unusual animal you seem to think it is! Many investment bankers for example in either equity or credit analyst roles or M&A in particular industries, will actually have been educated and trained in those industries before moving into banking.

And finally, while I get the guys who say "do something else", I'm also not convinced by the argument. Learning an instrument or whatever is something you can always do later, what's the point in a short term job as they tend to be crap jobs for crap pay, etc. Taking a year out to do a master's - and here I am assuming this is something you want to do - becomes much more difficult later on when you're working.
2
reply
johnwinthlow
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#10
(Original post by sj27)
I'm not sure what hands you mean but no, the applications get sent to the departments for reviewing first. BoGS is not going to waste time dealing with piles of applications that will be rejected, it's busy enough dealing with the admin around offers. And yes there are people who have got offers for markedly different courses before, there was someone here a couple of years ago who as I recall got offers for both IR and management for example.

Also, a biotech banker is far from the unusual animal you seem to think it is! Many investment bankers for example in either equity or credit analyst roles or M&A in particular industries, will actually have been educated and trained in those industries before moving into banking.

And finally, while I get the guys who say "do something else", I'm also not convinced by the argument. Learning an instrument or whatever is something you can always do later, what's the point in a short term job as they tend to be crap jobs for crap pay, etc. Taking a year out to do a master's - and here I am assuming this is something you want to do - becomes much more difficult later on when you're working.
You are a star. Just sayin.
Thanks much for this - I will apply to both!
0
reply
Jantaculum
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#11
Report 4 years ago
#11
(Original post by johnwinthlow)
You are a star. Just sayin.
Thanks much for this - I will apply to both!
Have you considered any of the cross-discipline courses? I was talking to someone last week who chose the MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise because it combines her two interests.

I have no idea whether that course would be of interest to you, but thinking more widely shows up some interesting options.
1
reply
poohat
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#12
Report 4 years ago
#12
I'd probably just take the banking offer personally, assuming its a front office position at a respectable place. A MSc in finance wont increase your chances of getting hired assuming your undergrad is already from an elite university, and you'd have to be insane to work in the life sciences these days.

You can always go back and do a MSc Finance or MBA/CFA/whatever after a few years of working in banking.
0
reply
johnwinthlow
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#13
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#13
(Original post by poohat)
I'd probably just take the banking offer personally, assuming its a front office position at a respectable place. A MSc in finance wont increase your chances of getting hired assuming your undergrad is already from an elite university, and you'd have to be insane to work in the life sciences these days.

You can always go back and do a MSc Finance or MBA/CFA/whatever after a few years of working in banking.
Thanks for this. The offer is with a BB for M&A and I was only thinking of learning finance to then move to buyside (HF).

Why is working in life sciences crazy though?
0
reply
poohat
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#14
Report 4 years ago
#14
Getting a buy-side job is hard, and sell-side experience is generally an advantage. The typical path is to work sell-side for a few years and then transfer (you could also do a M&A/CFA/MSc/whatever at this point too). Basically, if you have a chance of getting good sell-side work experience on your CV, it will probably help you. You will probably look a lot better with 3 years at a BB and a MSc, than just being a fresh MSc. But then, with a MSc Finance from Cambridge you might get lucky and get a good buy-side job fresh out of the degree.

You are correct that if your aim is to work in finance then there is very little point doing a MSc at a non-top university, but you should also consider Oxford/LSE (and maybe Imperial at a push).

There has been a massive overproduction of PhD students in the life sciences for the last few decades, and there are now very few permanent academic jobs. Things are better in the private sector but you are still looking at very long hours in a lab, while earning a fraction of what a banker earns. Do it only if you absolutely love science.

It does depend on the field though, biotech probably fares better than other areas since there are probably more industry jobs.

I'm not in the life sciences myself so take all this with a grain of salt. But the academic job market for lab science PhDs looks fairly brutal (as an outsider)
0
reply
Theophile
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#15
Report 4 years ago
#15
(Original post by poohat)
Getting a buy-side job is hard, and sell-side experience is generally an advantage. The typical path is to work sell-side for a few years and then transfer (you could also do a M&A/CFA/MSc/whatever at this point too). Basically, if you have a chance of getting good sell-side work experience on your CV, it will probably help you. You will probably look a lot better with 3 years at a BB and a MSc, than just being a fresh MSc. But then, with a MSc Finance from Cambridge you might get lucky and get a good buy-side job fresh out of the degree.

You are correct that if your aim is to work in finance then there is very little point doing a MSc at a non-top university, but you should also consider Oxford/LSE (and maybe Imperial at a push).

There has been a massive overproduction of PhD students in the life sciences for the last few decades, and there are now very few permanent academic jobs. Things are better in the private sector but you are still looking at very long hours in a lab, while earning a fraction of what a banker earns. Do it only if you absolutely love science.

It does depend on the field though, biotech probably fares better than other areas since there are probably more industry jobs.

I'm not in the life sciences myself so take all this with a grain of salt. But the academic job market for lab science PhDs looks fairly brutal (as an outsider)
at a push? Are you sure you are well informed on MScs in finance?
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • Cranfield University
    Cranfield Forensic MSc Programme Open Day Postgraduate
    Thu, 25 Apr '19
  • University of the Arts London
    Open day: MA Footwear and MA Fashion Artefact Postgraduate
    Thu, 25 Apr '19
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
    Undergraduate Open Day - Llandaff Campus Undergraduate
    Sat, 27 Apr '19

Have you registered to vote?

Yes! (399)
37.64%
No - but I will (82)
7.74%
No - I don't want to (75)
7.08%
No - I can't vote (<18, not in UK, etc) (504)
47.55%

Watched Threads

View All