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What is my chance of going to Oxbridge?

Hi all

Hope I can get your opinions to see if I have any chance before applying.

I was an international student coming to the UK in 2013 to study Foundation at Bournemouth University. My high school grades back home were very good, as well as the Foundation (Distinction). I then finished an undergrad degree at Bournemouth University, but achieving only 65%, or a 2:1 due to having to work nearly full-time to support myself financially.

I'm 28 now, having been running my own business ever since graduation and sold the business, I now want to continue my education. My interest is in Business, Finance and Economics.

I have looked at all the relevant graduate course offerings, Cambridge requires 68% from undergrad degree minimum so I'm 3% short. Oxford requires and Upper 2:1 but doesn't stipulate the percentage so I'm not sure my 65% undergrad degree will cut it.

Some courses can consider professional experience but I'm not sure my experience running my own business is good enough.

Also, I am Asian so might be able to get some leniency for being under represented?

All in all, I have a feeling that I'm just borderline between meeting/not meeting the entry requirement.

What is your opinion?
When I was at Oxford (as an undergrad), there was an informal understanding that a high 2.1 means 67% and above. That said, typically postgrad scholarships go to people with a First at undergrad level.

There won't be any leniency for being Asian, btw!
Original post by Aaron250
Hi all
Hope I can get your opinions to see if I have any chance before applying.
I was an international student coming to the UK in 2013 to study Foundation at Bournemouth University. My high school grades back home were very good, as well as the Foundation (Distinction). I then finished an undergrad degree at Bournemouth University, but achieving only 65%, or a 2:1 due to having to work nearly full-time to support myself financially.
I'm 28 now, having been running my own business ever since graduation and sold the business, I now want to continue my education. My interest is in Business, Finance and Economics.
I have looked at all the relevant graduate course offerings, Cambridge requires 68% from undergrad degree minimum so I'm 3% short. Oxford requires and Upper 2:1 but doesn't stipulate the percentage so I'm not sure my 65% undergrad degree will cut it.
Some courses can consider professional experience but I'm not sure my experience running my own business is good enough.
Also, I am Asian so might be able to get some leniency for being under represented?
All in all, I have a feeling that I'm just borderline between meeting/not meeting the entry requirement.
What is your opinion?
I think part of this comes down to what courses at Oxbridge are you specifically considering, some take into account post-graduation experience a lot more than others (especially if they're more practical degrees). I think you have to question what you're looking to get out of a master's and why you're interested in Oxbridge specifically.

But the really important thing is to consider is that some of the Oxbridge degrees in this areas, especially the ones focused on economics & finance, continue on from the end of these university's undergrad courses in these areas. So unless you're under the delusion that your Bournemouth course covered the same level of content as an Oxbridge undergrad degree, there's going to be a gigantic mismatch in the level of prerequisite knowledge going into these degrees. This is the main reason why Oxbridge economics & finance master's courses reject the vast majority of applicants from weaker undergraduate institutions. Moreover, the useful knowledge gained running your own business is unlikely to be in the sort of topics which are covered in master's level economics & finance courses (unless your business was in a very niche related area).

Therefore, the odds of admissions into many of Oxbridge's economics and finance master's degrees is probably fairly low. But there are some courses which are less focused on advanced theoretical material and for which your experience running your own business would be more applicable. These are typically courses like MBAs. Unfortunately, the fees for MBA courses are pretty extreme.
To add to the above, I would also question what you want to do in the future?

If you are looking to do a course just for your own personal interest and education, which is a perfectly good reason to do so, I would not get too caught up in needing to attend Oxford or Cambridge where the competition is comically higher than many many other universities which will provide you with a course of very similar quality.

If you are aiming to enter a certain career, then knowing what that is would be helpful as there are likely to be more direct and useful paths for you to take in almost every case.

If you plan to continue running your own business (a new one), something you have presumably already been doing somewhat successfully for some years, I am not convinced that an advanced degree will be more useful to you than simply getting started.

This all being said, my advice in these situations is always to just make an application and see what happens. Apply elsewhere too so you can asses your options. Your application academically will not be strong and you have essentially no chance of funding, but people are admitted every year to postgraduate courses at Oxford and Cambridge with non-standard backgrounds. If you can make the case that running your business is adequate preparation for the course then it is certainly not impossible. The worst they can do is say no, in which case you've not lost much and you will be in good company as every course is oversubscribed with very qualified candidates.

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