Do I have decent chances at Cambridge for MPhil Finance

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04MR17
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(Original post by AmericanBanker)
I go to an American school and have just below a 3.8 which would be a first in the UK system. I'm interested in applying to the MPhil program at Cambridge and was wondering if I have a realistic shot.

Though my GPA is good overall, I did pass fail some courses during the covid semesters, all of which were in finance/econ/stats , so my relevant courses on my transcript don't look as good as my overall GPA.

I have some solid experiences such as 2 completed IB internships, 1 completed PE internship, 1 completed PWM internship, and 1 upcoming IB internship at a solid bank in their New York office (think Greenhill/Guggenheim/Rothschild/HoulihanLokey).

I know my grades aren't the best in relevant subjects, but could my work experience potentially make up for it? The MPhil Finance program is a pre-experience program, so they don't want anyone with more than (I think) 1 year of full time post grad experience, but would they consider my internships? Will they only consider the relevant classes, or will they consider all of my grades?


Haven't taken GRE yet.

Thanks in advance. As a US student, I'm a bit lost on the UK admissions processes as they are very different (US is much more holistic)
Hiya, just to let you know I've fixed this thread, as it managed to get slipped into a filter and wasn't showing properly.
Welcome to TSR. :happy2:

I'm not entirely sure how best to advise you here. But I do know that Sandtrooper is quite well placed to share some thoughts when they get a moment (but they are a busy bee, so do be patient).
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artful_lounger
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Well, first of all do you want to study finance, or public policy? Because they're offered by separate departments anyway. Public policy is taught by POLIS and finance by (I assume) JBS. Note also the public policy programme is designed for professionals with at least two years of relevant work experience - they indicate they are unlikely to accept fresh graduates.

The failed stats classes might be a problem for the finance programme, and doing less well in finance classes when applying to a finance programme is probably not going to be that compelling. If you have relevant mitigating circumstances (beyond them being taken during covid, since that will have affected all applicants) you will probably have a chance to note these in the application (or have one of your academic references explain them).
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AmericanBanker
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Well, first of all do you want to study finance, or public policy? Because they're offered by separate departments anyway. Public policy is taught by POLIS and finance by (I assume) JBS. Note also the public policy programme is designed for professionals with at least two years of relevant work experience - they indicate they are unlikely to accept fresh graduates.

The failed stats classes might be a problem for the finance programme, and doing less well in finance classes when applying to a finance programme is probably not going to be that compelling. If you have relevant mitigating circumstances (beyond them being taken during covid, since that will have affected all applicants) you will probably have a chance to note these in the application (or have one of your academic references explain them).
Sorry ignore the public policy part. I meant to remove it. Also I didn’t fail stats. I got a B but pass failed to save my GPA for IB recruiting. My finance grades aren’t terrible (all nothing below a B, but some are PS).

I guess the reason why I didn’t do as well was because I spent most of my time working in my internships (during the term) and networking, but that’s not something I can really say in an application haha.

Do you think the internships will hold any meaningful weight?
Last edited by AmericanBanker; 1 month ago
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by AmericanBanker)
Sorry ignore the public policy part. I meant to remove it. Also I didn’t fail stats. I got a B but pass failed to save my GPA for IB recruiting. My finance grades aren’t terrible (all nothing below a B, but some are PS).

I guess the reason why I didn’t do as well was because I spent most of my time working in my internships (during the term) and networking, but that’s not something I can really say in an application haha.

Do you think the internships will hold any meaningful weight?
Not sure, maybe given the nature of the program and people it attracts. Since you didn't fail any of them then I guess I there's nothing that is likely to immediately rule you out of the competition so I suppose no reason not to apply.
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AmericanBanker
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Not sure, maybe given the nature of the program and people it attracts. Since you didn't fail any of them then I guess I there's nothing that is likely to immediately rule you out of the competition so I suppose no reason not to apply.
Thanks, I appreciate the insight. I’m also actually interested in applying to the sociology program instead of the finance one. I’ve taken a lot of relevant courses for that and did well in all of them. Plus it seems a tad less selective.

I’m just mostly interested in trying to study what I’m interested at this point because I’m planning on graduating from my US school a year early and want something to keep my time before I start full time at my banking place.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by AmericanBanker)
Thanks, I appreciate the insight. I’m also actually interested in applying to the sociology program instead of the finance one. I’ve taken a lot of relevant courses for that and did well in all of them. Plus it seems a tad less selective.

I’m just mostly interested in trying to study what I’m interested at this point because I’m planning on graduating from my US school a year early and want something to keep my time before I start full time at my banking place.
Note that a sociology MPhil at Cambridge (and most masters courses outside of JBS or maybe land economy) will be necessarily an academic course probably mostly focused on preparing students for potential PhD studies in the field. So they will be very focused on your grades and your internships would be probably not at all considered, and it will be research oriented in the sense that even the taught elements will be focusing on/related to current research in the field and giving the students the theoretical frameworks needed to conduct such research themselves.
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AmericanBanker
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Note that a sociology MPhil at Cambridge (and most masters courses outside of JBS or maybe land economy) will be necessarily an academic course probably mostly focused on preparing students for potential PhD studies in the field. So they will be very focused on your grades and your internships would be probably not at all considered, and it will be research oriented in the sense that even the taught elements will be focusing on/related to current research in the field and giving the students the theoretical frameworks needed to conduct such research themselves.
Yeah the research is what appeals to me. I have some topics that I’d love to explore very in depth, and I could get a great reference from a professor in the specific field of one of their tracks.

My grades in relevant subjects are all great. Mostly As with a couple of A-. Would they only care about the grades in relevant subjects? My overall GPA is a 3.8 with a 3.85 in sociology related subjects. I see they only require a 3.6 overall (though I’d assume most people are 3.7+)
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