1655957
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Hi Guys
I know it is really really early but I am planning for my future at the moment as choosing A Levels is something that can impact my future.
I am hoping to get 6/7 A* at GCSE and then 3/4 A as well and I am doing Maths, Physics, Geography and Economics for A Level.
I have also got a weeks work experience at a Big 4 firm over the summer which I suppose will help.
The main question I was wondering was would it be better to get a more unrelated degree from a really good uni (Imperial, Oxbridge, LSE) or a related degree like Accounting & Finance from a slightly lower tiered uni such as Manchester or Cardiff? (I am well aware these are still great unis!)
I have read that it doesn't really matter where it's from, just so long as it's a good degree and that it doesn't really matter what the degree is in because of the exams you have to do anyway to become an accountant. Apparently the degree is seen as a "box ticker" to prove you are clever, rather than a really useful thing for the job.
Any help in this area would be great and if I have misunderstood anything; please don't hesitate to point it out!
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snakesnake
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The degree itself is oddly enough somewhat irrelevant but that doesn't mean you should ignore it completely. A relevant degree makes you more aware of financial issues/how things work and shows that you have an interest in the field. If you go in with an unrelated degree, you'll have more explaining to do as to why you want the job.

Also you don't have to go for straight up Acc & Fin at uni. Go for something perhaps a little broader like Economics, Business/Management or Finance. You're likely to get a few exam exemptions under your belt (no effect on the hiring decision but will make life a bit easier for you down the line).
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(Original post by snakesnake)
The degree itself is oddly enough somewhat irrelevant but that doesn't mean you should ignore it completely. A relevant degree makes you more aware of financial issues/how things work and shows that you have an interest in the field. If you go in with an unrelated degree, you'll have more explaining to do as to why you want the job.

Also you don't have to go for straight up Acc & Fin at uni. Go for something perhaps a little broader like Economics, Business/Management or Finance. You're likely to get a few exam exemptions under your belt (no effect on the hiring decision but will make life a bit easier for you down the line).
That makes a lot of sense, thanks. I was thinking about doing Economics, but I thought it was stupid to be set on doing a subject before I've even started it at A Level.

How about the university. Would it be the end of the world if I didn't make it into the top, top tier and ended up at what is still a good uni in the Russell Group (like, for example Manchester?) As I have read that so long as the uni isn't awful it doesn't matter because the application is more about you as a person.
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snakesnake
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(Original post by jakepds)
That makes a lot of sense, thanks. I was thinking about doing Economics, but I thought it was stupid to be set on doing a subject before I've even started it at A Level.

How about the university. Would it be the end of the world if I didn't make it into the top, top tier and ended up at what is still a good uni in the Russell Group (like, for example Manchester?) As I have read that so long as the uni isn't awful it doesn't matter because the application is more about you as a person.
I'm very pro Manchester because I went there myself. A lot of my peers ended up at the Big Four or various other large financial companies so it is quite a highly regarded uni.

Make no mistake about it: if you can get into Oxbridge, go for it regardless of degree. But Manchester and similarly ranked unis are also very good). Just don't go for something towards the bottom of the league table.
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(Original post by snakesnake)
I'm very pro Manchester because I went there myself. A lot of my peers ended up at the Big Four or various other large financial companies so it is quite a highly regarded uni.

Make no mistake about it: if you can get into Oxbridge, go for it regardless of degree. But Manchester and similarly ranked unis are also very good). Just don't go for something towards the bottom of the league table.
I am aware how Manchester is ranked highly as a whole and has a great student life, however for economics, isn't its ranking quite low? I saw that there is a degree that is linked to the Chartered accounting qualification that would be helpful as it has a year out so hopefully I could get a graduate position by impressing during that time as well.

I have also read that PwC has a course at Newcastle, you don't happen to know anything about that, do you?
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yelllowribbon
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(Original post by jakepds)

I have also read that PwC has a course at Newcastle, you don't happen to know anything about that, do you?
http://www.pwc.co.uk/careers/schools...ng-start.jhtml
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Thanks, I'll have a look into it. You didn't happen to do this course, did you?
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(Original post by jakepds)
Thanks, I'll have a look into it. You didn't happen to do this course, did you?
Nope, I was looking to do a placement with EY, got to the assessment centre but was not to be ;(
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(Original post by yelllowribbon)
Nope, I was looking to do a placement with EY, got to the assessment centre but was not to be ;(
Sorry to hear that. Will you try again or have you decided on a different career.
For the flying start degree, would one choose to do it as Nottingham or Newcastle. Which city would be best to do it at, and which is the best uni?
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josh_v
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1. Go to the most reputable university you can get in to. If Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial/UCL is a possibility, then aim for that. If not, the Russel Group is of good enough standard for the big 4. But going to a top uni certainly opens up more possibilities.

2. Study something quantitative. The more maths involved, the more options you have once you finished (if you're considering finance related roles). You can go in to the Big 4 with almost any type of degree, but for a lot of roles in investment banking, you need very strong mathematical skills. When it comes to it, finance is essentially physics just slightly rephrased, so physics is an excellent choice. Many maths departments offer modules in finance so maths is also a good choice. I've seen the difference in Economics BSc at Birmingham and UCL. I can only say its no surprise that a UCL student would be a more attractive prospect in the job market given the difference in what they study.
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(Original post by josh_v)
1. Go to the most reputable university you can get in to. If Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial/UCL is a possibility, then aim for that. If not, the Russel Group is of good enough standard for the big 4. But going to a top uni certainly opens up more possibilities.

2. Study something quantitative. The more maths involved, the more options you have once you finished (if you're considering finance related roles). You can go in to the Big 4 with almost any type of degree, but for a lot of roles in investment banking, you need very strong mathematical skills. When it comes to it, finance is essentially physics just slightly rephrased, so physics is an excellent choice. Many maths departments offer modules in finance so maths is also a good choice. I've seen the difference in Economics BSc at Birmingham and UCL. I can only say its no surprise that a UCL student would be a more attractive prospect in the job market given the difference in what they study.
I've looked into a bit and seen that UCL offer a year abroad. I would love to go to the USA so would this be a good thing to be able to put down, or would one be better off having a year in industry instead?
I thought either Accounting and Finance or Economics at uni, but I think maths would be too much. I have heard it is very hard and although I am good at maths (never got lower than an A) I am not doing Further Maths at A Level so surely I'd be a bit behind everyone else?
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josh_v
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(Original post by jakepds)
I've looked into a bit and seen that UCL offer a year abroad. I would love to go to the USA so would this be a good thing to be able to put down, or would one be better off having a year in industry instead?
I thought either Accounting and Finance or Economics at uni, but I think maths would be too much. I have heard it is very hard and although I am good at maths (never got lower than an A) I am not doing Further Maths at A Level so surely I'd be a bit behind everyone else?
I didn't do A-Levels or maths/physics so not too sure on the requirements of those degrees.

A year abroad or a year in industry are both valuable experiences. Although you then go in to employment 1 year later, and I think you still have to pay some level of uni fees for that year so its costly.

Personally I think Economics is a more rigorous subject and gives you greater scope once you're done.
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(Original post by josh_v)
I didn't do A-Levels or maths/physics so not too sure on the requirements of those degrees.

A year abroad or a year in industry are both valuable experiences. Although you then go in to employment 1 year later, and I think you still have to pay some level of uni fees for that year so its costly.

Personally I think Economics is a more rigorous subject and gives you greater scope once you're done.
I was thinking of aiming for something like economics from Warwick, which is a great uni or if sixth form went well, then maybe even Economics and Management at Oxford because thats a really prestigious degree.
I think doing a year at a big firm like PwC you get paid for the sandwich year and it helps you towards your ACA qualification.
What is it you did at uni, if you don't mind me asking? And what is it you do now?
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(Original post by jakepds)
I was thinking of aiming for something like economics from Warwick, which is a great uni or if sixth form went well, then maybe even Economics and Management at Oxford because thats a really prestigious degree.
I think doing a year at a big firm like PwC you get paid for the sandwich year and it helps you towards your ACA qualification.
What is it you did at uni, if you don't mind me asking? And what is it you do now?
I did undergrad in Economics and Finance and Birmingham, and just finishing masters in finance from UCL. Im just about to start an internship at Nomura.

Id be cautious about putting all your eggs in the 'Big 4' basket. Doing the degrees you mentioned give you more scope to change path than a degree in accounting. When you start a degree (especially economics) everyone wants to go in to investment banking. You find by the end that many people have changed their mind for some reason. Point is, after 3 years of studying and looking at these potential jobs, your opinion might change so give yourself options.
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(Original post by josh_v)
I did undergrad in Economics and Finance and Birmingham, and just finishing masters in finance from UCL. Im just about to start an internship at Nomura.

Id be cautious about putting all your eggs in the 'Big 4' basket. Doing the degrees you mentioned give you more scope to change path than a degree in accounting. When you start a degree (especially economics) everyone wants to go in to investment banking. You find by the end that many people have changed their mind for some reason. Point is, after 3 years of studying and looking at these potential jobs, your opinion might change so give yourself options.
I get how my opinions may change. But when you say don't put them all in the Big 4 Basket, does that mean to aim for other Accounting firms that are top 10 or what? I have thought of IB, however I have heard that the industry is one of the hardest to get into and things like the hours that you have to work are very off putting, with your first few years consisting of 100 hour weeks etc.
What other stimulating careers are there in the finance industry that pay relatively well and have the scope to progress right to the top of a profession.
I have also looked into law (mainly corporate law) as it is a profession similar to IB in the way you work in the city etc... if you make it into a Magic Circle law firm.
Overall I feel that it would be great to work for a big 4 firm, not only because it is interesting, but also because I could progress up the company and have a secure career, with lots of scope if I ever decided to change job.
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(Original post by jakepds)
I get how my opinions may change. But when you say don't put them all in the Big 4 Basket, does that mean to aim for other Accounting firms that are top 10 or what? I have thought of IB, however I have heard that the industry is one of the hardest to get into and things like the hours that you have to work are very off putting, with your first few years consisting of 100 hour weeks etc.
What other stimulating careers are there in the finance industry that pay relatively well and have the scope to progress right to the top of a profession.
I have also looked into law (mainly corporate law) as it is a profession similar to IB in the way you work in the city etc... if you make it into a Magic Circle law firm.
Overall I feel that it would be great to work for a big 4 firm, not only because it is interesting, but also because I could progress up the company and have a secure career, with lots of scope if I ever decided to change job.
It means don't be set on going in to accounting. Especially if you haven't had much experience in it, before you set your life path to doing it. It is also not easy and going through the Audit pathway at any of the Big 4 is challenging. I have friends who have been working from 8am-1am every day over the last few months as it has been 'busy season' (end of financial year). The benefits you mentioned of the Big 4 are also true, and partly the reason I applied to them. The first 3 years is nicely set out for you and as long as you do your job, its quite secure. There are then opportunities at the end.

However, there are many divisions of investment banking. Those with the biggest salary also generally come with the toughest working conditions. That being said, there are many roles where you don't work 100 hours a week. IMO, from the people Ive spoken to which includes people quite high up in Barclays, Santander, Nomura, PwC, EY, BoE etc IB is much more interesting than the Big 4. Thats just my opinion though.

Aside from this, technology is huge right now. Financial technology is very important for the future and there are a lot of new exciting start ups out there. I highly recommend at least a basic level of programming skill for those interested in finance.
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(Original post by josh_v)
It means don't be set on going in to accounting. Especially if you haven't had much experience in it, before you set your life path to doing it. It is also not easy and going through the Audit pathway at any of the Big 4 is challenging. I have friends who have been working from 8am-1am every day over the last few months as it has been 'busy season' (end of financial year). The benefits you mentioned of the Big 4 are also true, and partly the reason I applied to them. The first 3 years is nicely set out for you and as long as you do your job, its quite secure. There are then opportunities at the end.

However, there are many divisions of investment banking. Those with the biggest salary also generally come with the toughest working conditions. That being said, there are many roles where you don't work 100 hours a week. IMO, from the people Ive spoken to which includes people quite high up in Barclays, Santander, Nomura, PwC, EY, BoE etc IB is much more interesting than the Big 4. Thats just my opinion though.

Aside from this, technology is huge right now. Financial technology is very important for the future and there are a lot of new exciting start ups out there. I highly recommend at least a basic level of programming skill for those interested in finance.
When you say a basic level of programming skill, do you mean knowing languages like HTML for the web, or knowing how to programme apps etc.
I have thought of learning a few coding languages, but I have heard that they require hours on sites like codecademy.com and also require you to be constantly doing it, otherwise you forget how to do it.
I want to confirm that I am in the best position to get into a good university and get a great job in the city, so if that is what you think it requires, then I will look into it.
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(Original post by jakepds)
When you say a basic level of programming skill, do you mean knowing languages like HTML for the web, or knowing how to programme apps etc.
I have thought of learning a few coding languages, but I have heard that they require hours on sites like codecademy.com and also require you to be constantly doing it, otherwise you forget how to do it.
I want to confirm that I am in the best position to get into a good university and get a great job in the city, so if that is what you think it requires, then I will look into it.
It really depends what area you want to go in to. Its a huge area. If you want to go in to Risk, thats a different skill set to trading which is different to technology.

Languages that are important for a lot of quant roles include Python, Matlab, R and C++. The Python course on codecademy is pretty straight forward. Im actually working through it currently. Having some knowledge of those languages is a good start for a quant role.
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(Original post by josh_v)
It really depends what area you want to go in to. Its a huge area. If you want to go in to Risk, thats a different skill set to trading which is different to technology.

Languages that are important for a lot of quant roles include Python, Matlab, R and C++. The Python course on codecademy is pretty straight forward. Im actually working through it currently. Having some knowledge of those languages is a good start for a quant role.
Okay, I was thinking HTML because it is the most well known, but there isn't much point unless I wanna be a website designer is there?
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I am also really interested in this, I was wondering how old you are & which firm your work experience is with? How did you manage to get the placement? I've been looking for places but I just can't find anything! Thank you in advance😇


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