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I'm studying E&M at Oxford and I hate it.

Just wanted to hear some of your thoughts.

I am first-year undergrad at Oxford studying Economics and Management. Regarding the course, I have enjoyed the academic challenge of so far and the majority of the content, particularly econ and financial reporting & analysis; however, I have developed an abhorrence towards management theory and having to write 1-2 essays every week.

Though I do not find the course difficult in any way (averaging a 2:1 in HT collections and predicted a 2:1 by my tutors), I do not enjoy writing at all. I'm perfectly ok with writing one essay every other week or so, and had I known beforehand that the E&M course would require this many essays, I would never had applied.

I do find the problem sets very easy however. I believe my skill set lies more in mathematics and crunching numbers quickly, though unfortunately the Econ course at Ox is not very mathematically taxing.

Thus I've applied to study BSc Finance at LSE and BSc Econ at UCL for 2021 entry (leaning towards LSE), where the courses are much more quantitatively demanding and examinations are not as essay-centric. I have received offers from both in the past, thus I am fairly confident that I will receive offers from them again. I think that at LSE or UCL, I will feel much more motivated to put the effort in to achieve a 1st then at Oxford. Also, the 'Oxford experience' has been somewhat limited given that everything has been online - societal activities merely involve staring at a screen, and the opportunities to network are limited.

The E&M course is tailored towards a career in management consultancy - an industry that I harbour no interest in. My end career goal is to become a hedge fund manager, and I feel that the lack of quantitative content in the course may be somewhat limiting. I completely understand that the purpose of essay writing is to develop your critical thinking skills and your ability to articulate arguments in an eloquent, comprehensive and concise manner; though I do not believe it will be impossible for me to further develop these skills at LSE or UCL. I also recognise that an E&M graduate is highly employable in any industry, arguably over a graduate from a top London uni, and because of that I am torn between whether to switch or stick it through for two more years.

I have received spring insight week offers from numerous bulge brackets and boutiques - I don't think they would respond very politely if I decided to switch between universities.

What are your thoughts?

A-level grades: A*A*AA with A* in EPQ
TSA score: 83

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Think about what your career is. Apply for the course that fits what you desire in a course and how it relates to your goal on life. LSE and Oxford are on the same level so prestige is unlikely to make a difference. It all comes to where you’ll be happier thus likely to do better in.
It's pretty well known the Oxford economics course (whichever version, as it's only available as a joint school) isn't as mathematically oriented as Cambridge, LSE, UCL, Warwick etc. In any case, bear in mind that you can make some more decisions about which papers to pick in the FHS and potentially avoid more "essay-ish" papers in your selection (although this is somewhat dependent on which papers are available to you). Also, remember that in any course there are going to be topics covered and elements of assessment that you don't particularly enjoy doing, and in later years as indicated it is usually possible to steer your education slightly more to focus on those aspects of the subject area (including ways of being assessed and learning) to those which you prefer.

I would point out that I don't think a more mathematical degree is necessarily "better" for becoming a hedge fund manager. I don't think you are going to be doing much sophisticated mathematical analysis in that job - that's what hedge funds hire quants to do. My impression was the hedge fund managers role is more that of an executive to make the decisions on the direction of the fund based on the information provided by those who do undertake that analysis (albeit being able to understand and interpret the trends may require a little more quantitative savvy than as a CEO or something, but I doubt anything more than what you're currently doing at Oxford).

Practically speaking, you only really need a very quantitative degree in e.g. maths, CS, physics, engineering or maybe some of the extremely mathematical economics courses, to become a quant, and that typically necessitates you get a PhD in one of those subjects eventually anyway. Your current course will be perfectly fine for going on to eventually work as a hedge fund manager, if you can get a 2:1 or 1st and do the usual working your way up as an analyst in a bulge bracket bank and then moving on and upwards to the goal of being a hedge fund manager.

As a result it might look somewhat arbitrary to employers that you up and changed uni, especially if you are doing what as far as they are concerned is essentially the same course. It might make them start to wonder why you moved courses, which is probably not what you want recruiters to be doing as they may well then be concerned there was some kind of "incident" which necessitated you move, or that you felt Oxford was "too hard" and wanted an easier course. While that isn't the case, they won't know that and as indicated, you don't want to be creating red flags for recruiters where there are none.

Essentially, I'm not sure the job you're targeting is going to be any less qualitative than your current course. If you want to become a hedge fund manager at any cost, I don't see that moving to another uni is going to improve your prospects much if at all if you are confident you can get a 2:1 or above at Oxford, and may actually cause some issues. Additionally you may then find after years of working your way into that job, doing sub-GCSE level maths via excel and arguing about fonts for powerpoint slideshows you're making for your boss to use, that the end result still doesn't let you use any substantially quantitative skills.

So while I'm not outright saying "don't change course", if you do feel strongly that due to the style of the course you are unlikely to do well and it may cause you to suffer mentally as a result, you might have some more longer term things to think about than just the course change and potentially about career changes...
(edited 3 years ago)
Reply 3
Original post by eandmstudent
Just wanted to hear some of your thoughts.

I am first-year undergrad at Oxford studying Economics and Management. Regarding the course, I have enjoyed the academic challenge of so far and the majority of the content, particularly econ and financial reporting & analysis; however, I have developed an abhorrence towards management theory and having to write 1-2 essays every week.

Though I do not find the course difficult in any way (averaging a 2:1 in HT collections and predicted a 2:1 by my tutors), I do not enjoy writing at all. I'm perfectly ok with writing one essay every other week or so, and had I known beforehand that the E&M course would require this many essays, I would never had applied.

I do find the problem sets very easy however. I believe my skill set lies more in mathematics and crunching numbers quickly, though unfortunately the Econ course at Ox is not very mathematically taxing.

Thus I've applied to study BSc Finance at LSE and BSc Econ at UCL for 2021 entry (leaning towards LSE), where the courses are much more quantitatively demanding and examinations are not as essay-centric. I have received offers from both in the past, thus I am fairly confident that I will receive offers from them again. I think that at LSE or UCL, I will feel much more motivated to put the effort in to achieve a 1st then at Oxford. Also, the 'Oxford experience' has been somewhat limited given that everything has been online - societal activities merely involve staring at a screen, and the opportunities to network are limited.

The E&M course is tailored towards a career in management consultancy - an industry that I harbour no interest in. My end career goal is to become a hedge fund manager, and I feel that the lack of quantitative content in the course may be somewhat limiting. I completely understand that the purpose of essay writing is to develop your critical thinking skills and your ability to articulate arguments in an eloquent, comprehensive and concise manner; though I do not believe it will be impossible for me to further develop these skills at LSE or UCL. I also recognise that an E&M graduate is highly employable in any industry, arguably over a graduate from a top London uni, and because of that I am torn between whether to switch or stick it through for two more years.

I have received spring insight week offers from numerous bulge brackets and boutiques - I don't think they would respond very politely if I decided to switch between universities.

What are your thoughts?

A-level grades: A*A*AA with A* in EPQ
TSA score: 83

hi !
i think you should do what makes you happy - if oxford isn’t allowing you to achieve your full potential and the course isn't academically stimulating for you, then i definitely think that you should go for LSE/UCL !!

you’ve got this : )
Reply 4
I tried this year for E&M at oxford but didn't get in after Interview, have asked for feedback.but looks like TSA score is low.I am thinking of taking gap year and trying again. Do you guys know Oxford E&M consider reapplication?
Reply 5
Original post by eandmstudent
Just wanted to hear some of your thoughts.

I am first-year undergrad at Oxford studying Economics and Management. Regarding the course, I have enjoyed the academic challenge of so far and the majority of the content, particularly econ and financial reporting & analysis; however, I have developed an abhorrence towards management theory and having to write 1-2 essays every week.

Though I do not find the course difficult in any way (averaging a 2:1 in HT collections and predicted a 2:1 by my tutors), I do not enjoy writing at all. I'm perfectly ok with writing one essay every other week or so, and had I known beforehand that the E&M course would require this many essays, I would never had applied.

I do find the problem sets very easy however. I believe my skill set lies more in mathematics and crunching numbers quickly, though unfortunately the Econ course at Ox is not very mathematically taxing.

Thus I've applied to study BSc Finance at LSE and BSc Econ at UCL for 2021 entry (leaning towards LSE), where the courses are much more quantitatively demanding and examinations are not as essay-centric. I have received offers from both in the past, thus I am fairly confident that I will receive offers from them again. I think that at LSE or UCL, I will feel much more motivated to put the effort in to achieve a 1st then at Oxford. Also, the 'Oxford experience' has been somewhat limited given that everything has been online - societal activities merely involve staring at a screen, and the opportunities to network are limited.

The E&M course is tailored towards a career in management consultancy - an industry that I harbour no interest in. My end career goal is to become a hedge fund manager, and I feel that the lack of quantitative content in the course may be somewhat limiting. I completely understand that the purpose of essay writing is to develop your critical thinking skills and your ability to articulate arguments in an eloquent, comprehensive and concise manner; though I do not believe it will be impossible for me to further develop these skills at LSE or UCL. I also recognise that an E&M graduate is highly employable in any industry, arguably over a graduate from a top London uni, and because of that I am torn between whether to switch or stick it through for two more years.

I have received spring insight week offers from numerous bulge brackets and boutiques - I don't think they would respond very politely if I decided to switch between universities.

What are your thoughts?

A-level grades: A*A*AA with A* in EPQ
TSA score: 83

I'm also a first-year Oxford E&M student and share some of your concerns. You can private message me if you'd like.
Original post by TheStarboy
Think about what your career is. Apply for the course that fits what you desire in a course and how it relates to your goal on life. LSE and Oxford are on the same level so prestige is unlikely to make a difference. It all comes to where you’ll be happier thus likely to do better in.

thanks for the reply!
Original post by puyi
hi !
i think you should do what makes you happy - if oxford isn’t allowing you to achieve your full potential and the course isn't academically stimulating for you, then i definitely think that you should go for LSE/UCL !!

you’ve got this : )

thanks for the reply :smile:
Original post by artful_lounger
It's pretty well known the Oxford economics course (whichever version, as it's only available as a joint school) isn't as mathematically oriented as Cambridge, LSE, UCL, Warwick etc. In any case, bear in mind that you can make some more decisions about which papers to pick in the FHS and potentially avoid more "essay-ish" papers in your selection (although this is somewhat dependent on which papers are available to you). Also, remember that in any course there are going to be topics covered and elements of assessment that you don't particularly enjoy doing, and in later years as indicated it is usually possible to steer your education slightly more to focus on those aspects of the subject area (including ways of being assessed and learning) to those which you prefer.

I would point out that I don't think a more mathematical degree is necessarily "better" for becoming a hedge fund manager. I don't think you are going to be doing much sophisticated mathematical analysis in that job - that's what hedge funds hire quants to do. My impression was the hedge fund managers role is more that of an executive to make the decisions on the direction of the fund based on the information provided by those who do undertake that analysis (albeit being able to understand and interpret the trends may require a little more quantitative savvy than as a CEO or something, but I doubt anything more than what you're currently doing at Oxford).

Practically speaking, you only really need a very quantitative degree in e.g. maths, CS, physics, engineering or maybe some of the extremely mathematical economics courses, to become a quant, and that typically necessitates you get a PhD in one of those subjects eventually anyway. Your current course will be perfectly fine for going on to eventually work as a hedge fund manager, if you can get a 2:1 or 1st and do the usual working your way up as an analyst in a bulge bracket bank and then moving on and upwards to the goal of being a hedge fund manager.

As a result it might look somewhat arbitrary to employers that you up and changed uni, especially if you are doing what as far as they are concerned is essentially the same course. It might make them start to wonder why you moved courses, which is probably not what you want recruiters to be doing as they may well then be concerned there was some kind of "incident" which necessitated you move, or that you felt Oxford was "too hard" and wanted an easier course. While that isn't the case, they won't know that and as indicated, you don't want to be creating red flags for recruiters where there are none.

Essentially, I'm not sure the job you're targeting is going to be any less qualitative than your current course. If you want to become a hedge fund manager at any cost, I don't see that moving to another uni is going to improve your prospects much if at all if you are confident you can get a 2:1 or above at Oxford, and may actually cause some issues. Additionally you may then find after years of working your way into that job, doing sub-GCSE level maths via excel and arguing about fonts for powerpoint slideshows you're making for your boss to use, that the end result still doesn't let you use any substantially quantitative skills.

So while I'm not outright saying "don't change course", if you do feel strongly that due to the style of the course you are unlikely to do well and it may cause you to suffer mentally as a result, you might have some more longer term things to think about than just the course change and potentially about career changes...

Thank you very much for your reply.

In regard to becoming a HF manager; I've done some research and I now realise that my prospects of transferring to HF ultimately depend on my progress within IB; and that whether I have a degree from Ox or LSE would realistically make no difference in the grand scheme of things. The question now is "Do I want to write essays for the next three years and be bored; or switch to a more quantitative course that I believe I will enjoy and consider myself to be better suited to?"

I have looked into the papers for the FHS modules and have found that almost of all of them contain essay-based questions; it's just that some papers contain more of these than others. Though I understand that in any degree course there may be forms of assessment that I may not enjoy, I have asked a number of my friends who study BSc Econ/Finance at LSE and have found that the weekly problem sets and exams are highly quantitative and have very little essay content relative to E&M. I believe that my mathematical aptitude surpasses my writing ability by a significant margin, and that I would perform much better at LSE then at Oxford if I switched. I think that what is best for me now is to continue on with the course and work out whether I really cannot stand writing or if I find it ok enough to tolerate for the next three years, before I come to a definite conclusion of whether to switch or not.

Once again, thank you for the advice, and I hope you continue to prosper and succeed against the countless challenges that you may face during this pandemic.
Original post by embasy
I'm also a first-year Oxford E&M student and share some of your concerns. You can private message me if you'd like.

Will private message you shortly.
Hi this is kinda irrelevant but I was wondering as I don’t do further maths, I do maths, economics and German, will this hinder my chances of getting in? Any ‘tips’ or book recommendations? Thanks :smile:
I would go straight to the finance course at LSE don’t waste your time or money on management theory!
I applied for E&M this year, because it’s oxford, but was rejected, I had the grades and TSA score! However, I’m almost relieved as LSE is where I want to be as I’m also thinking of finance as my future. Just waiting on LSE now !!!! I did work experience with a European bank and they said they prefer LSE students. Not sure why!!
Original post by Qwasdz5
Hi this is kinda irrelevant but I was wondering as I don’t do further maths, I do maths, economics and German, will this hinder my chances of getting in? Any ‘tips’ or book recommendations? Thanks :smile:

In regard to your application, not studying FM shouldn't hinder you in any way.

In your personal statement, mention ideas/concepts that you've learned from books you've read, and your thoughts/opinions on them. This will show that you have critical thinking skills, which is what the tutors interviewing you will be most interested in. In my PS, I spoke about some criticisms of traditional economic theory by K Raworth in 'Doughnut Economics', coupled with my own opinions on her criticism. It doesn't actually matter what books you read, as long as you can identify useful info/concepts from them and show that you can critically analyse such info in your PS. What might make you stand out is if you undertake the same approach but for academic papers (either on economics or management theory) - as very few applicants would probably do this.

In regard to the E&M course, what you need to be comfortable with is probability and stats, as your econ prelims exam contains some probability & stats questions. The uni gives lectures and classes on this so it should not be an issue if you haven't studied probability and/or stats before. The uni will also provide you with a (digital) maths workbook that goes through all the maths you'll need for the course - this is very similar to the content you go over in A-level mathematics.

There is also an elementary mathematical methods course, but this is orientated to individuals who have not studied A-level mathematics so I doubt you'd need it.

Hope this helps.
(edited 3 years ago)
Original post by embasy
I'm also a first-year Oxford E&M student and share some of your concerns. You can private message me if you'd like.

Check your pm
Original post by eandmstudent
Just wanted to hear some of your thoughts.

I am first-year undergrad at Oxford studying Economics and Management. Regarding the course, I have enjoyed the academic challenge of so far and the majority of the content, particularly econ and financial reporting & analysis; however, I have developed an abhorrence towards management theory and having to write 1-2 essays every week.

Though I do not find the course difficult in any way (averaging a 2:1 in HT collections and predicted a 2:1 by my tutors), I do not enjoy writing at all. I'm perfectly ok with writing one essay every other week or so, and had I known beforehand that the E&M course would require this many essays, I would never had applied.

I do find the problem sets very easy however. I believe my skill set lies more in mathematics and crunching numbers quickly, though unfortunately the Econ course at Ox is not very mathematically taxing.

Thus I've applied to study BSc Finance at LSE and BSc Econ at UCL for 2021 entry (leaning towards LSE), where the courses are much more quantitatively demanding and examinations are not as essay-centric. I have received offers from both in the past, thus I am fairly confident that I will receive offers from them again. I think that at LSE or UCL, I will feel much more motivated to put the effort in to achieve a 1st then at Oxford. Also, the 'Oxford experience' has been somewhat limited given that everything has been online - societal activities merely involve staring at a screen, and the opportunities to network are limited.

The E&M course is tailored towards a career in management consultancy - an industry that I harbour no interest in. My end career goal is to become a hedge fund manager, and I feel that the lack of quantitative content in the course may be somewhat limiting. I completely understand that the purpose of essay writing is to develop your critical thinking skills and your ability to articulate arguments in an eloquent, comprehensive and concise manner; though I do not believe it will be impossible for me to further develop these skills at LSE or UCL. I also recognise that an E&M graduate is highly employable in any industry, arguably over a graduate from a top London uni, and because of that I am torn between whether to switch or stick it through for two more years.

I have received spring insight week offers from numerous bulge brackets and boutiques - I don't think they would respond very politely if I decided to switch between universities.

What are your thoughts?

A-level grades: A*A*AA with A* in EPQ
TSA score: 83

Can I ask if you changed Uni's and how you are finding your studies now? I have been offered a place at Pembroke to study E&M
Original post by Tabz786
Can I ask if you changed Uni's and how you are finding your studies now? I have been offered a place at Pembroke to study E&M

Congratulations on an Economics & Management offer at Oxford University!!! :biggrin: It is one of the best courses in the world and only 7% are accepted to the course. :wink:
Original post by thegeek888
Congratulations on an Economics & Management offer at Oxford University!!! :biggrin: It is one of the best courses in the world and only 7% are accepted to the course. :wink:

Thank you so much!!
Are you or will you be studying the same course?
Original post by Tabz786
Thank you so much!!
Are you or will you be studying the same course?

I researched my UCAS choices and the course structure and modules; Economics & Management at Oxford and also PPE at Oxford as well as Law but I came to a decision to apply to Cambridge University as they only want a Cambridge Law Test and it only lasts 1 hour, compared to the rather tedious TSA and LNAT tests that Oxford require! :wink: lol
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by thegeek888
I researched my UCAS choices and the course structure and modules; Economics & Management at Oxford and also PPE at Oxford as well as Law but I came to a decision to apply to Cambridge University as they only want a Cambridge Law Test and it only lasts 1 hour, compared to the rather tedious TSA and LNAT tests that Oxford require! :wink: lol

You made the best decision for you. I'm sure Cambridge will offer you the course. Goodluck!

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