Anon99220099
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I'm planning on going to Durham and I've received an offer for A&F with a placement year. I'm hoping to go into M&A/consulting after graduation (if I'm lucky) with audit as a backup.

Given that there is a lot of emphasis on the degree you take in banking, should I go with the finance bsc option as it is more mathematical and therefore more challenging? Or should I go for A&F because it exempts a lot of the ACA and therefore makes it easier to qualify if I ended up joining a professional service firm?

Is BA looked down on compared to Bsc because it's more theoretical?

Thank you.
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BenRyan99
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I'm not sure about the A&F Vs Finance argument you're asking about but in terms of BA Vs BSc, nobody in industry cares. It's just formalities. For example, Economics at Durham is a BA but is more mathematical than the BSc Finance, go figure lol. Even Cambridge's Economics course is a BA when it's arguably the most mathematical Economics course, this should hopefully show that it doesn't actually matter and A-level students tend to exaggerate the impact.

The exception is that if a uni offers a BA and a BSc, then it does make a difference which one you pick (e.g. Manchester does this). Where there's only one option for that course, it doesn't make a difference.
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Anon99220099
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(Original post by BenRyan99)
I'm not sure about the A&F Vs Finance argument you're asking about but in terms of BA Vs BSc, nobody in industry cares. It's just formalities. For example, Economics at Durham is a BA but is more mathematical than the BSc Finance, go figure lol. Even Cambridge's Economics course is a BA when it's arguably the most mathematical Economics course, this should hopefully show that it doesn't actually matter and A-level students tend to exaggerate the impact.

The exception is that if a uni offers a BA and a BSc, then it does make a difference which one you pick (e.g. Manchester does this). Where there's only one option for that course, it doesn't make a difference.
Ok, thank you. I agree tbh it's just our teachers always seem to make a big deal out of it.
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K1NE
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(Original post by Anon99220099)
I'm planning on going to Durham and I've received an offer for A&F with a placement year. I'm hoping to go into M&A/consulting after graduation (if I'm lucky) with audit as a backup.

Given that there is a lot of emphasis on the degree you take in banking, should I go with the finance bsc option as it is more mathematical and therefore more challenging? Or should I go for A&F because it exempts a lot of the ACA and therefore makes it easier to qualify if I ended up joining a professional service firm?

Is BA looked down on compared to Bsc because it's more theoretical?

Thank you.
For the ACA - Keep in mind too that some employers may do internal tests or may still make you sit certain ICAEW exams. I've heard the Big 4, will still expect you to sit Accounting, Principles of Tax, FAR, AA, BPT/BPI/BPB, Tax and Compliance maybe FM and of course. So having the exemptions can be a good thing in some ways but you still may have to sit exams you are exempt from. Other companies may not require you to do so. I never had exemptions as I did a non-accounting degree but I would have felt having exemptions would have made things difficult at Advanced level for me. Just keep this in mind.
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Anon99220099
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(Original post by K1NE)
For the ACA - Keep in mind too that some employers may do internal tests or may still make you sit certain ICAEW exams. I've heard the Big 4, will still expect you to sit Accounting, Principles of Tax, FAR, AA, BPT/BPI/BPB, Tax and Compliance maybe FM and of course. So having the exemptions can be a good thing in some ways but you still may have to sit exams you are exempt from. Other companies may not require you to do so. I never had exemptions as I did a non-accounting degree but I would have felt having exemptions would have made things difficult at Advanced level for me. Just keep this in mind.
I've heard the big 4 are put off by A&F graduates because they think they know it all, and then realise the ACA is much more demanding than they think. I know a guy who went to a big 4 firm with a pure accounting degree (12 exams) and failed his first sitting.

In that case I might go for the finance one then as the big 4 clearly don't care about the degree subject, and banks do. Thank you!
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BenRyan99
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(Original post by Anon99220099)
I've heard the big 4 are put off by A&F graduates because they think they know it all, and then realise the ACA is much more demanding than they think. I know a guy who went to a big 4 firm with a pure accounting degree (12 exams) and failed his first sitting.

In that case I might go for the finance one then as the big 4 clearly don't care about the degree subject, and banks do. Thank you!
Banks really don't care about your degree subject either, this is especially true for corporate finance/M&A compared to markets jobs like sales & trading where they tend to want quant degrees.

If you even look on bank summer internship/graduate scheme requirements they all say you can do any degree, there is no preference for Economics or Finance grads. The only reason why grads from these areas are prevalent in city jobs is through self-selection (i.e. if you plan on going into finance you're more likely to pick these subjects in the first place).

If you do some research on TSR and other forums you'll find the overall consensus is that the uni you go to is far far more important than the subject you study. For example an English grad from Oxford would have a better chance at getting into investment banking than an economics grad from say Bristol/Durham, assuming they both had the same motivation. Banks predominantly hire from target unis like Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, Imperial and Warwick with the rest coming from semi-targets like Nottingham, Durham, Bristol and Bath, an even smaller amount will come from non-targets. So don't assume that banks will favour you because you study finance, they won't, in some cases it will count against you as banks increasingly look for candidates that diversify the bank's knowledge base rather than being full of Econ/Fin students. In IB you'll find a lot of STEM and weird grads like classics or history.
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Anon99220099
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(Original post by BenRyan99)
Banks really don't care about your degree subject either, this is especially true for corporate finance/M&A compared to markets jobs like sales & trading where they tend to want quant degrees.

If you even look on bank summer internship/graduate scheme requirements they all say you can do any degree, there is no preference for Economics or Finance grads. The only reason why grads from these areas are prevalent in city jobs is through self-selection (i.e. if you plan on going into finance you're more likely to pick these subjects in the first place).

If you do some research on TSR and other forums you'll find the overall consensus is that the uni you go to is far far more important than the subject you study. For example an English grad from Oxford would have a better chance at getting into investment banking than an economics grad from say Bristol/Durham, assuming they both had the same motivation. Banks predominantly hire from target unis like Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, Imperial and Warwick with the rest coming from semi-targets like Nottingham, Durham, Bristol and Bath, an even smaller amount will come from non-targets. So don't assume that banks will favour you because you study finance, they won't, in some cases it will count against you as banks increasingly look for candidates that diversify the bank's knowledge base rather than being full of Econ/Fin students. In IB you'll find a lot of STEM and weird grads like classics or history.
I've always wanted to study finance anyway, I took my A levels with the intention of going into finance, I could never see myself doing an odd degree at Oxford, for example.

I have an offer for Warwick but it's quite far away and awkward to get to from where I live, I'd much rather go Durham as it's pretty loca,. I could also go LSE if I take a gap year because my A levels projected are better than I originally expected. Do you think the benefits of going to a target are so significant that it's worth going to Warwick or taking a gap year? I.E. Will it be, say, triple the intake of IB and consultancy from Warwick than Durham?
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K1NE
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(Original post by Anon99220099)
I've heard the big 4 are put off by A&F graduates because they think they know it all, and then realise the ACA is much more demanding than they think. I know a guy who went to a big 4 firm with a pure accounting degree (12 exams) and failed his first sitting.

In that case I might go for the finance one then as the big 4 clearly don't care about the degree subject, and banks do. Thank you!
I would say Big 4 don't really care about what degree you do. Doing an A+F degree actually puts you at advantage to your peers who may have done Maths, Music, or Chemistry i.e a non-accountancy related degree, as there's a less steep of a learning curve.

Unless I've missed something, I can assure you, Big 4 won't be put off by the fact you have an A+F degree at all. Some people may walk into a role and think they know it all but maybe a little while into it, you may realise there is a lot more to learn.

There's many factors as to why the person you know failed. ACA exams aren't really like university exams, they're a little different. It's not always about how much you know in the exams too, a lot of it can be down to your exam technique, timing, making sure you have a good spread of marks on your paper.
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Anon99220099
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(Original post by K1NE)
I would say Big 4 don't really care about what degree you do. Doing an A+F degree actually puts you at advantage to your peers who may have done Maths, Music, or Chemistry i.e a non-accountancy related degree, as there's a less steep of a learning curve.

Unless I've missed something, I can assure you, Big 4 won't be put off by the fact you have an A+F degree at all. Some people may walk into a role and think they know it all but maybe a little while into it, you may realise there is a lot more to learn.

There's many factors as to why the person you know failed. ACA exams aren't really like university exams, they're a little different. It's not always about how much you know in the exams too, a lot of it can be down to your exam technique, timing, making sure you have a good spread of marks on your paper.
That's true, I'm sure that's not the sole reason, I was just told it by a guy who was a director at a big 4 firm, though he was there 10 years ago and maybe things have changed now as I'm pretty sure the big 4 do a blind CV up until the assessment centres? In that case the degree doesn't really discriminate at all.
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K1NE
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(Original post by Anon99220099)
That's true, I'm sure that's not the sole reason, I was just told it by a guy who was a director at a big 4 firm, though he was there 10 years ago and maybe things have changed now as I'm pretty sure the big 4 do a blind CV up until the assessment centres? In that case the degree doesn't really discriminate at all.
Yeah, as far as I'm aware it doesn't really matter. I've actually known people who have done A+F degrees and gone onto work in Big 4, over the last 6-7 years. Maybe that means it has changed.

They can't really discriminate people based on their degrees. It will come down to you as a person and how you perform at the assessment centre. I don't think people pick between candidates because someone did A+F and someone did something else like Music. Maybe for an entry role at a SME/Start up because it means you already have more of an understanding but even then that's a maybe. At Big 4 however, they give everyone the training they need to do the job and the exams. Everyone starts from the same base at Big 4 regardless if you have done A+F at uni or not. Everyone goes through the same training and everyone has their courses, materials and exams paid for. Generally speaking getting a role will just come to your attitude and how much you want it, not whether you have an A+F degree. This is just my from my experience.
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