Value of an Oxbridge masters Watch

daniel-leons
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Hello all,

I am just going into the final year of a Comparative Literature and Philosophy degree at Royal Holloway. I have (high) firsts in all the modules from second year, decent work experience, have published in a small journal, and I am generally a good all rounder. I am applying to a few select law firms this year, but I am well aware that this may not prove fruitful on the first attempt. My question is: how helpful is a masters from Oxford or Cambridge (or indeed institutions such as KCL or LSE) in subjects related to my Undergraduate degree? I have heard that employers care a lot more about your undergraduate institution than wherever you may do your postgraduate studies. Instinctively, it seems that a MPhil in Philsophy or English from Cambridge makes a much grander statement than a 1st from an average university like Royal Holloway. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Cheers,

Daniel
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gutenberg
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(Original post by daniel-leons)
Hello all,

I am just going into the final year of a Comparative Literature and Philosophy degree at Royal Holloway. I have (high) firsts in all the modules from second year, decent work experience, have published in a small journal, and I am generally a good all rounder. I am applying to a few select law firms this year, but I am well aware that this may not prove fruitful on the first attempt. My question is: how helpful is a masters from Oxford or Cambridge (or indeed institutions such as KCL or LSE) in subjects related to my Undergraduate degree? I have heard that employers care a lot more about your undergraduate institution than wherever you may do your postgraduate studies. Instinctively, it seems that a MPhil in Philsophy or English from Cambridge makes a much grander statement than a 1st from an average university like Royal Holloway. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Cheers,

Daniel
Why would you undertake a master's in English or philosophy if it's your goal to get into law? Would a law conversion course or similar not be more useful? I guess if you could tie the philosophy in particular into some aspect of law it could help, but otherwise I don't know. It seems an expensive way to pass a year while applying to things, with no guarantee it will necessarily help.
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k3ro
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(Original post by daniel-leons)
Hello all,

I am just going into the final year of a Comparative Literature and Philosophy degree at Royal Holloway. I have (high) firsts in all the modules from second year, decent work experience, have published in a small journal, and I am generally a good all rounder. I am applying to a few select law firms this year, but I am well aware that this may not prove fruitful on the first attempt. My question is: how helpful is a masters from Oxford or Cambridge (or indeed institutions such as KCL or LSE) in subjects related to my Undergraduate degree? I have heard that employers care a lot more about your undergraduate institution than wherever you may do your postgraduate studies. Instinctively, it seems that a MPhil in Philsophy or English from Cambridge makes a much grander statement than a 1st from an average university like Royal Holloway. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Cheers,

Daniel
I graduated from a uni that is ranked far below RHOL and was invited to interviews at half of the London firms I applied to, including ones from the magic/silver circles. I'd say doing a postgrad at a different uni purely for 'prestige' is a waste of time and instead you should work on your CV.
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Baron of Sealand
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I think only undergraduates believe that postgraduate studies is worthless wherever you go to...

From my experience as someone who didn't do undergrad at Oxbridge but an MSc at Oxford, I can tell you employers definitely care. I obviously cannot tell for sure whether my job hunting would've been even easier with only an undergraduate degree from Oxford, but I certainly didn't feel that I was treated differently in any way. Apart from undergraduates and some people on TSR, no-one has suggested that doing undergrad at Oxbridge would be better. I don't think I would've gotten the job I'm doing now without the Oxford master's, and I don't think I would've gotten people to write back to me so quickly without it. When I mentioned I was going to do my master's at Oxford which had gotten everyone in a ceremony to turned their heads to me (when they were just ignoring me previously, and these people included a government official, a Vice-Chancellor of a university, and a sultan), no-one said 'oh but it's just a master's'.

Postgraduate courses also have much better employment rates in general (mine was 100%), and, if a 'master' from Oxbridge carries a bad name, why would anyone to the integrated masters or convert their BAs into MAs?

---

With that said, things are going to be different in another field, so I cannot say for sure whether an Oxbridge master's will help you greatly. But I can guarantee you most people in the world don't see it any less. When people talked about Tony Abbott as an Oxford graduate, did they care that he did his undergrad at University of Sydney? When people mentioned how Bill Clinton studied at Oxford, did they specify that he wasn't an undergrad there? When Oscar Wilde was listed as an Oxford alumnus, did people state that it wasn't his first degree? Even in academia, the undergraduate university mattered very little - there are many Oxbridge-educated academics at Oxbridge, but they usually did only their postgraduate studies (master's + doctorate), not their undergraduate studies at Oxbridge.
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Baron of Sealand
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^ I just want to add to the above that my colleague told me she was never asked about her undergrad university (Nottingham) after she's got a master's from Imperial.
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