An overview of LSE MSc Economics

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Sw1997
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#1
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#1
hi all, I wanted to write a sort of description of my time studying at the LSE and doing a MSc in economics. I won't be discussing any specifics about myself, my colleagues or any details in particular as I don't feel it is fair to make general points from only one perspective. I will instead try to help prospective and incoming students on what they can expect out of the course and whether it suits them.
First thing, the course is very TOUGH. Do not be under any disillusion that you can simply cram the course at the end or that you are still at an undergraduate level. The course is brutal in its length, there are no reading weeks, you start off with a introductory course that whilst holds no value to your degree, gives you a taste of what is to come. I believe the only little break we got was after our January exams, which lasted about 4 days. My point being in the space of 9 months, you will get no breaks and no life practically. This is not necessarily true, however, I feel for a large majority of students they would say the same thing.
Second, the calibre of student is very high, so the atmosphere is very intense. That comes with the course, however, you should decide whether you do better in that environment or if u prefer a slower course over a 12 month period. I argue that LSE are for those who want to push themselves to the extreme and whose sole purpose in life is this MSc economics, and let me stress this is for the MSc economics course. I cannot say for other courses what it is like.
Thirdly, you will have great teachers. They are fantastic. Interms of teaching I can't fault them. I think the course structure is terrible, but again this is LSE, they find a way to make your life harder through the admin side.
The dissertation is a pain, there is little help for it and no actual time to do it ( in our case the coronavirus situation helped as it allowed us to defer that part) but I was struggling to even get a paper done before the deadline.
Lastly, the LSE as a whole is a pressure cooker. There is a reason why mental health is so bad in LSE and that reason derives from a bad mindset of everything is a competition. What I found was the minute you just forgot you were at the LSE and just focused on yourself you could actually get through LSE
So in conclusion, the course will push you and it will make you feel like you are the stupidest person in the room, but it will also help you to grow. I think some people should think hard about what they are going in there for.
I am happy to discuss my experience in more detail or answer questions if people private message me. Otherwise for those who have offers congratulations and get ready for a once in a life time experience and for those who are considering applying, dont simply go off its name and instead think if the environment is one you will actually learn. I apologize for the rambly nature of this, my results are coming out tomorrow, so I am trying to get as much information out before I get my results so it does not influence my perspective. Thank you for reading and good luck to everyone 🙏
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MrChill
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#2
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#2
Thanks so much for sharing.

Sounds intense- but that's to be expected at LSE. It is one of the options I am looking at but I am unsure if it will have any benefits in my future endeavours.

How did you do in the exams then, if you don't mind sharing? What are your plans for the future now: jobs or PHD?

Sorry if I am asking too many questions.
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Sw1997
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#3
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#3
(Original post by MrChill)
Thanks so much for sharing.

Sounds intense- but that's to be expected at LSE. It is one of the options I am looking at but I am unsure if it will have any benefits in my future endeavours.

How did you do in the exams then, if you don't mind sharing? What are your plans for the future now: jobs or PHD?

Sorry if I am asking too many questions.
I won't share my grades, again I want to remain as anonymous as possible. I started planning to do a PhD however decided against it for a number of personal and professional reasons. The main one being that my interest in specifically studying a PhD had wained a little after doing 4 years continuous of economics. Now without corona, I would probably have applied for jobs, but with it Im planning a little break and then will probably apply for jobs for next year
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MrChill
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#4
Report 2 years ago
#4
(Original post by Sw1997)
I won't share my grades, again I want to remain as anonymous as possible. I started planning to do a PhD however decided against it for a number of personal and professional reasons. The main one being that my interest in specifically studying a PhD had wained a little after doing 4 years continuous of economics. Now without corona, I would probably have applied for jobs, but with it Im planning a little break and then will probably apply for jobs for next year
Fair enough. Thanks for sharing again. I think Corona has definitely made a lot of people change their plans and you deserve a little break after LSE!

I have a few questions that I hope you can answer. Feel free to ignore or answer as many questions as possible. You can even PM me the answers or come back and answer them in a months time lol.

-Would you be prepared to discuss which universities you applied to for masters and if any others accepted you too? - Just to gauge which unis I should probably look at aside from LSE.

-What modules did you take in your 3rd year undergrad (not the OFFICIAL names just the type e.g. advanced econometrics, maths in Economics etc) and did LSE attach any specific conditions to you achieving certain marks in those modules or overall in final year/degree? -Just to find out which modules I should look at doing in my 3rd year and what marks I might be required to get.

-Are you aware of your any of your peers successfully holding offers from banks, think tanks or any other top jobs from this course already?

-Are there any books/videos/resources that you would recommend which helped you tremendously at LSE aside from official reading lists?

Congratulations on completing one of the toughest programmes in the world and I hope you inspire some of us to go on to do what you have done.
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Sw1997
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#5
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#5
(Original post by MrChill)
Fair enough. Thanks for sharing again. I think Corona has definitely made a lot of people change their plans and you deserve a little break after LSE!

I have a few questions that I hope you can answer. Feel free to ignore or answer as many questions as possible. You can even PM me the answers or come back and answer them in a months time lol.

-Would you be prepared to discuss which universities you applied to for masters and if any others accepted you too? - Just to gauge which unis I should probably look at aside from LSE.

-What modules did you take in your 3rd year undergrad (not the OFFICIAL names just the type e.g. advanced econometrics, maths in Economics etc) and did LSE attach any specific conditions to you achieving certain marks in those modules or overall in final year/degree? -Just to find out which modules I should look at doing in my 3rd year and what marks I might be required to get.

-Are you aware of your any of your peers successfully holding offers from banks, think tanks or any other top jobs from this course already?

-Are there any books/videos/resources that you would recommend which helped you tremendously at LSE aside from official reading lists?

Congratulations on completing one of the toughest programmes in the world and I hope you inspire some of us to go on to do what you have done.
Thank you for the kind words, ...
I'll tackle these questions one at a time
I had offers from a number of universities, the main ones being ucl and Cambridge. I chose LSE as I have lived in London my entire life, and so I felt most comfortable with that. In reality the difference between ucl and LSE is simply the price, LSE has a more respected degree but the difference in that is minimal.
In my third year, the majority of my modules were macro, micro and econometrics. I think 6/8 were related to that and I believe you should try to do the hardest modules you can do as it will give you the most chance of succeeding at LSE.
In terms of peers, I'll give a general overview, really there are three types of students, one who is set on a PhD , one who wants to get a job in economic consultancy and one who is taking a year break from a job to enhance their understanding. therefore a majority end up at banks , the big 4 , etc but u will get the odd one in a more obscure one. The majority end up at large institutions though.
Text books on a whole are useless. The courses are very specific to lecturer. I don't recall ever using a text book to learn anything and if I ever did, I found it was something more basic. So yes, just look at their reading list and even that take with a grain of salt.
Hope that helps u with everything, pls don't hesitate to ask anything else. And pm me if u have something more specific u want to ask
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MrChill
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Sw1997)
Thank you for the kind words, ...
I'll tackle these questions one at a time
I had offers from a number of universities, the main ones being ucl and Cambridge. I chose LSE as I have lived in London my entire life, and so I felt most comfortable with that. In reality the difference between ucl and LSE is simply the price, LSE has a more respected degree but the difference in that is minimal.
In my third year, the majority of my modules were macro, micro and econometrics. I think 6/8 were related to that and I believe you should try to do the hardest modules you can do as it will give you the most chance of succeeding at LSE.
In terms of peers, I'll give a general overview, really there are three types of students, one who is set on a PhD , one who wants to get a job in economic consultancy and one who is taking a year break from a job to enhance their understanding. therefore a majority end up at banks , the big 4 , etc but u will get the odd one in a more obscure one. The majority end up at large institutions though.
Text books on a whole are useless. The courses are very specific to lecturer. I don't recall ever using a text book to learn anything and if I ever did, I found it was something more basic. So yes, just look at their reading list and even that take with a grain of salt.
Hope that helps u with everything, pls don't hesitate to ask anything else. And pm me if u have something more specific u want to ask
I will save this post with a star as this is one of the best insights someone has given out in the whole of internet about LSE's Msc Economics programme imo. I tried to rep you again but the TSR system wont let me, until I rep someone else but thanks again for the detailed reply.
Last edited by MrChill; 2 years ago
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Sw1997
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#7
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#7
(Original post by MrChill)
I will save this post with a star as this is one of the best insights someone has given out in the whole of internet about LSE's Msc Economics programme imo. I tried to rep you again but the TSR system wont let me, until I rep someone else but thanks again for the detailed reply.
No problem, happy to help pm me if you have any upcoming questions
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Diplomatic
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#8
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#8
How hard is it to find study spaces generally as a postgrad? Do you struggle during exam periods?
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Sw1997
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Diplomatic)
How hard is it to find study spaces generally as a postgrad? Do you struggle during exam periods?
I didn't find it too hard place called lse life that always has a place (computers are hard to find), though due to the coronavirus , I didn't see it during the summer exam session so I imagine it gets more hectic during that time
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kkllookkkk
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#10
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#10
Hi ,
What sort of uni backgrounds do students have in your cohort, does your uni where you did your undergraduate matter? A soon to be ucl student btw
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Sw1997
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#11
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#11
(Original post by kkllookkkk)
Hi ,
What sort of uni backgrounds do students have in your cohort, does your uni where you did your undergraduate matter? A soon to be ucl student btw
There is a number of different backgrounds, some are recently graduated economics ( like myself) and some are people who are in a job and taking a year to get a masters. In general people on this degree have a economics background, as if you had a maths or more quantitative background you probably would do the harder EME course.
In terms of universities, LSE don't really care where you have come from, it's more about the subjects you take and how well you do. In the introduction, I recall someone from the department telling me that everyone on the course was a top 10 student at their uni. Given that you are going to UCL, I think you will be fine.
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bensco
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Sw1997)
hi all, I wanted to write a sort of description of my time studying at the LSE and doing a MSc in economics. I won't be discussing any specifics about myself, my colleagues or any details in particular as I don't feel it is fair to make general points from only one perspective. I will instead try to help prospective and incoming students on what they can expect out of the course and whether it suits them.
First thing, the course is very TOUGH. Do not be under any disillusion that you can simply cram the course at the end or that you are still at an undergraduate level. The course is brutal in its length, there are no reading weeks, you start off with a introductory course that whilst holds no value to your degree, gives you a taste of what is to come. I believe the only little break we got was after our January exams, which lasted about 4 days. My point being in the space of 9 months, you will get no breaks and no life practically. This is not necessarily true, however, I feel for a large majority of students they would say the same thing.
Second, the calibre of student is very high, so the atmosphere is very intense. That comes with the course, however, you should decide whether you do better in that environment or if u prefer a slower course over a 12 month period. I argue that LSE are for those who want to push themselves to the extreme and whose sole purpose in life is this MSc economics, and let me stress this is for the MSc economics course. I cannot say for other courses what it is like.
Thirdly, you will have great teachers. They are fantastic. Interms of teaching I can't fault them. I think the course structure is terrible, but again this is LSE, they find a way to make your life harder through the admin side.
The dissertation is a pain, there is little help for it and no actual time to do it ( in our case the coronavirus situation helped as it allowed us to defer that part) but I was struggling to even get a paper done before the deadline.
Lastly, the LSE as a whole is a pressure cooker. There is a reason why mental health is so bad in LSE and that reason derives from a bad mindset of everything is a competition. What I found was the minute you just forgot you were at the LSE and just focused on yourself you could actually get through LSE
So in conclusion, the course will push you and it will make you feel like you are the stupidest person in the room, but it will also help you to grow. I think some people should think hard about what they are going in there for.
I am happy to discuss my experience in more detail or answer questions if people private message me. Otherwise for those who have offers congratulations and get ready for a once in a life time experience and for those who are considering applying, dont simply go off its name and instead think if the environment is one you will actually learn. I apologize for the rambly nature of this, my results are coming out tomorrow, so I am trying to get as much information out before I get my results so it does not influence my perspective. Thank you for reading and good luck to everyone 🙏
I did the MSc Economics at LSE just like the author and graduated this year (for some reason I retrospectively felt the urge to see what is out there on the course lol).

All I wanted to say is that I 100% agree with the overview above: The course is really hard, moves very fast, the quality of the students is super high and everyone works super hard. It is also true that the course is pretty much non-stop. You go straight into Michaelmas Term from EC400 and then straight into Lent Term after your winter exams (I literally finished on Saturday at 12PM and had my first lecture on Monday 9AM lol). Just to give an example of how hard people work: This year, the Econ department did 24h online exams and the recommended effort was 4h, with lecturers telling us to not spend more than 7/8h max on it. However, not sleeping was a common theme in discussions and people around me where discussing whether they should sleep 2 or 3h to get the maximum return on finishing their exam in the morning. I almost felt guilty for taking my 6-7h of sleep during the 24h exams and people were perplexed when I told them I slept that much.

I don't mean to put anyone off or scare anyone: If you want to go for a PhD, LSE's Econ programme is probably (one of) the best in Europe. Also, it has a very good reputation with Econ consultancies or the Bank of England and Econ research departments in big banks from all I gathered. I also didn't hear of anyone who failed the course. However, be aware that it isn't one of those courses where you can coast and scrape by with a Merit and it also isn't one of those courses where you will have plenty of time to enjoy life in London (if you do it right and are not dead set on a PhD, you can ofc make some available), independent of your background: Literally everyone I talked to found it hard. The lecturers are excellent and I felt privileged to be taught by so many well-cited academics and be surrounded by so many smart people. And once you've done it, you can really tap yourself on the shoulder. A Distinction or even already a Merit from the MSc Econ at LSE is a massive achievement.
Last edited by bensco; 1 year ago
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