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Best uni for Strategy related Masters?

 
#1 Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
18/12/2006 17:24

stratlad

Hi, I have a 2.1 in psychology and would like to be a Strategy consultant. What would be the best MSC to do and where to pursue this career?

Initial thoughts were management or international business but would a subject like finance perhaps be more relevant or is that more for banking?

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#2 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
19/12/2006 00:55

Rombix to stratlad (#1)

Depending on your preferred focus:

MSc Strategy & Marketing at Warwick Business School (if you like marketing)

MSc Global Business Analysis at Manchester Business School (if you like international business)

MSc's in finance are more suitable if you are interested in investment or banking careers - if you're clear you prefer strategy consulting the degrees above will have a better focus for you.

MSc's in management may be suitable if you don't have business experience in addition to your psychology degree. Otherwise, they may be a bit too generalist for your needs.

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#3 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
19/12/2006 01:57

McK to Rombix (#2)

The alternative viewnis that an additional qualification may not help you if you do not laready have the aptitude - give that they will look more for skills than knowledge. In this case then you might have been advised to have done a degree in a proper subject.

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#4 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
19/12/2006 09:21

IN to McK (#3)

IMO the three best masters would be Warwick's MSc in marketing and strategy, Cambridge's MPhil in innovation, organisation and strategy and LSE's MSc in management (CEMS/IMEX route)

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#5 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
19/12/2006 09:46

stratlad to IN (#4)

McK, that is a view I've heard in fact and one that concerned me. I just felt doing a masters might put me on a par with those who had done a more relevant subject at undergrad level.

Also,I've spoken to a lot of strat consultants with masters degrees so I guess they must help to some extent?

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#6 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
19/12/2006 10:26

Strat to stratlad (#5)

Doing a Masters is a serious investment of time and money. Unless you are really interested in the content it is not worth it. The benefit it will give in terms of gaining a place at an MBB strat house is marginal at best. As Mck said, they look for aptitude not knowledge - plenty of people in Mck, BCG and Bain did English, Philosophy or other non-relevant degree subject.

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#7 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
19/12/2006 10:34

IN to Strat (#6)

I'm with strat on this one. Doing a masters can be time consuming and expensive, and you're probably going to be doing business theory that rarely serves any purpose beyond the classroom. If you're worried about your cv, how about some relevant work experience?

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#8 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
19/12/2006 11:04

stratlad to IN (#7)

Not such a good idea then, going for a masters.

I'm just temping just now so guess I'll need to try and hope I get an offer from a grad programme next time. Didn't get any offers this year.

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#9 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
19/12/2006 11:51

anon to stratlad (#8)

What university did you go to stratlad? Also what extracurricular activities do you have on your cv?

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#10 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
20/12/2006 09:33

ben to anon (#9)

manchester business school is definitely positioned and perceived widely as far better than warwick.

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#11 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
20/12/2006 10:57

stratlad to anon (#9)

Glasgow.

Extra curricular consists of things like sergeant in army cadets, regional swimming team, EFL teaching overseas, running own events business part-time.

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#12 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
20/12/2006 11:58

IN to stratlad (#11)

Stradlad, I mean this to be constructive criticism and is in no way meant to be condescending, but I feel that you will struggle to get interviews in strategy consulting as Glasgow is of the radar for most consultancy firms. Although Strat mentioned earlier that the likes of Mckinsey look for aptitude, not knowledge, going to Glasgow indicates average academics and your extracurricular activities don't seem strong enough to offset this. I feel that doing a masters in your position makes perfect sense - you are going to have a stronger university name on your cv and you will be studying a more relevant subject and you will be able to enhance your prospects with relevant work experience prior to commencing your masters. Your other option is to look into non strategy related consulting where competition is less intense.

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#13 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
20/12/2006 13:04

stratlad to IN (#12)

Thanks IN and no it isn't condescending, I'm all to aware of how important where you went to uni is and the advice is much appreciated.

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#14 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 01:15

John to stratlad (#13)

Hi Stratlad

I'm in the same boat as you I have a 2.1 in marketing from Leeds Met I recently posted the same question as your self. I would agree with all the posts however I would say that a masters is well worth while in our situation there is no doubt you need a good uni at the top of that CV otherwise forget it. I have been lucky enough to land a contract with a small strategy boutique for 3 months which is going well. If there isn't enough work in the pipeline for next year to take me on permanently I shall be going (hopefully to Warwick) and start again after my masters.

Oh FYI stratlad I got that contract by phoning up and offering to do it for nothing no pain no gain

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#15 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 10:02

Gila to stratlad (#1)

If you are really interested in boosting your chances to get into a strategy house, I believe that the best option would be to get some work experience for 3/4 years (anything at grad level really) and then go for an MBA.

You need to pick the right school though ... and it can be very expensive. If you're lucky - and very good - you might find companies willing to sponsor you. All the major consultancies (strat and non-strat) that recruit grads run this type of programmes.

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#16 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 14:42

anon to IN (#12)

IN, why does going to Glasgow indicate average academics? I know a few people who went and got 1sts there after knocking back Oxbridge and are a damn sight more able that most. I know you were trying to be contructive, but surely you were meaning PERCEIVED average academics.

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#17 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 15:17

IN to anon (#16)

Anon, I read your comments and although you raise a valid point, I'm going to stick with my previous comment. Although you mention a few people who turned down Oxbridge for Glasgow, these people are a very small minority.

At every university in the country there are going to be excellent students but being ranked 28th in Times League Tables and 33rd in the Guardian Rankings suggests the university is average. I don't want to be drawn into a debate regarding the validity of these league tables as they are flawed, but nevertheless they give an approximate indication of the quality of students applying to universities and the education they receive whilst there.

Stradlad studied psychology at university and the entry requirements on the Glasgow website require BCC inc 2 from Mathematics, Physics, Biology or Human Biology; Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Computing Studies; Botany; Zoology; Statistics; Science (Double Syllabus) (at least one of Mathematics or Physics or Chemistry is desirable) or CCC inc 3 of these Mathematics/Science subjects or BBC with at least one Mathematics/Science subjects. Those are average academic results and cannot be perceived any other way.

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#18 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 17:11

Rupert Sloane to IN (#17)

Agreed but that is only the requirement or typical offer. This is a function of the course's popularity more than its quality.

It has even less bearing on the quality of the individual (although being realistic it is unlikely that one would find many consultant-quality candidates on BA International Tourism Management at London Met)/

There has been a lot of previous discussion about the snob value attached to certain universities and how this can disadvantage good candidates from good but unfashionable institutions, and also how this is perhaps inevitable given the degree of competition for places...

Quite a lot of people where I work did rowing degrees at Cambridge and do not seem particularly sharp. Give me a redbrick maths or physics grad any day... you may have to wait some time before I am in a position to put this into pratice though!

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#19 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 18:03

anon to Rupert Sloane (#18)

IN - very true, we're probably in agreement after all.

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#20 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 18:13

Beng to Rupert Sloane (#18)

My advice to all those interested in joining MBBB can be summarized into 3 simple bullet points. It's important to follow all 3 particularly if your undergraduate college or GPA is underwhelming.

- Get 4 years of professional experience, with at least 1 or 2 promotions under your belt within that time frame. Whether the company is blue chip or not is less important than demonstrating significant career advancement. Starting a successful business from scratch counts.

- Get into a top 10 B-school (Business Week's rankings are the bible in the US; I'm not sure what is in Europe). Doing the above boosts your chances of getting into a top 10 B-school.

- Start practicing case interviews a year before actual interviews. No matter how bright you are, if you don't nail my case, you're not moving on to the 2nd round of interviews. Aceing case interview is all about preparation -- if you're prepared, that means you seriously want the job, you've been thinking about the job for a long time, and you've been preparing yourself.

This is it. Are there exceptions? Of course. There are always exceptions to any of the above 3. But if you're looking for the recipe that will improve/boost your chances, do all 3.

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#21 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 18:25

Beng to Beng (#20)

Couple of clarifications:

- Above advice applies only to MBBB. Boutique strat firms and the Big 4 have different requirements.

- To Rupert Sloane's point -- you won't get hired just because you went to HBS or Stanford. You still have to demonstrate aptitude, drive, etc. But the whole point of recruiting from top schools is that the schools have done quite a bit of the pre-selection for us. So I might find 1 great candidate out of every 10 I interview at HBS. But I might have 1 great candidate out of every 50 I interview at California State. Do I have time to interview 150 if I'm looking for 3 new hires? No, so I go to HBS, Stanford, Wharton, etc. where I only have to interview 30 to hire 3.

Consultants do the interviewing and the hiring.

Time = money.

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#22 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 18:45

. to deleted (#0)

So, whilst it's maybe unrealistic to expect an MBBB offer coming from a Glasgow (or similar) undergrad, 3-4 years work experience and a good mba could offer a good chance at a job in a boutique/big 4 strat team?

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#23 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 18:46

Ruper Sloane to deleted (#0)

Understood, but we are talking about undergrad and I'm not sure that there is as much distinction between the candidates to be found at better universities.

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#24 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 18:49

Rupert Sloane to Ruper Sloane (#23)

I don't suppose you would be barred from strategy work at (e.g.) Deloitte with a good degree from Glasgow and all the other good personal stuff.

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#25 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 20:19

JohnP to Rupert Sloane (#24)

Rupert Sloane please don't tell me your argument is that requesting a BCC indicates "a function of the course's popularity more than its quality."

So what does requesting AAA indicate? ............Less Popularity of the course in the requesting Uni?

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#26 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 22:15

observer to JohnP (#25)

JohnP - do you understand basic supply and demand? If you do, what's to misunderstand in Rupert's comment?

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#27 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 22:54

John P to observer (#26)

observer,

I do understand basic supply and demand but I really do think you will struggle to apply it here.

Are you telling me that it is becuase of high demand that Glasgow has a lower entry standard than an AAA Uni?

Or do you think it is more because of low demand?

Are you telling me that if Uni's like Cambrigde, Imperial, Oxford or LSE are requesting BCC for entry into their Psychology course, demand would not sky rocket with applicants?

Please I would really like to know your thoughts on this.

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#28 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 23:39

Beng to John P (#27)

RS,

The point I was trying to make is that if you can't get into MC straight out of undergrad (due to univ you went to, grades, etc.) it's a 6 year journey but it can be done quite readily. And for the record, even for Analyst positions at MBBB, the school still does matter.

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#29 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
21/12/2006 23:48

John to John P (#27)

Hi

I really think this threat has gone completely off course to what was originally asked. A individual comes on to this web-site to ask advice on his/her future about going forward with a Masters, then seasoned consultants come in and start arguing over frankly silly politics of the industry.

I mean answer the question or get a life it’s a few days to Christmas move on

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#30 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
22/12/2006 00:41

oi wing commander to John (#29)

there is a masters sponsored by accenture strategy practice ; products divison. Its held by Jonathan Knight every monday, and it focuses on the ability to lick one's scrotum effectively.

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#31 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
22/12/2006 15:33

Beng to oi wing commander (#30)

Stratlad,

Yes. Getting a Master's degree helps, but only if it's from a top school. Getting an MBA or MSc from a 2nd tier or correspondence school is not going to get you an interview with M3B...simply because M3B doesn't send recruiters to 2nd tier or correspondence schools. And we all know the probability of getting an interview by sending your resume in cold via the firm's website.

Another point that people often miss is the value of the alumni network. Right, wrong, or indifferent, we all feel a strong bond with our alma mater, and kinship with fellow alumni. Almost all MBBB consultants come from the top schools. If someone from my alma mater called me directly asking me to review his resume (and he would know my cell phone #, because it would be on the alumni directory), I would. Could someone who went to the Univ of Alabama do that?

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#32 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
22/12/2006 19:25

John to Beng (#31)

Hi

What would one consider the best course for Strategy the Mphil in Strategy Technology & Organisation at Cambridge or the Masters in Marketing at Warick? I know Cambridge has the best brand name but the course is very much theory?

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#33 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
22/12/2006 19:26

John to John (#32)

I meant to say the Masters in Marketing & Strategy at Warick

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#34 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
23/12/2006 21:41

IN to John (#33)

John, I think you would be in a strong position with an MSc/MPhil from either of those universities but I thought I'd mention the following things:

Cambridge will want a first and a first only. The academic requirements are exceptionally strong, whereas Warwick will accept you with a 2:1

Cambridge has a stronger brand name

Both courses are relatively new

Warwick's course offers greater flexibility over module selection and in my opinion is more vocational degree rather than an academic exercise. For example whilst at Warwick you will be looking at market entry timing strategies, international business strategy, corporate strategy......Cambridge will make you read Foucault and use his Panopticon to draw analogies to corporate decision making. So for me, I'd rather be studying at Warwick. Both of them are better than doing an MSc in management research at Oxford which is basically the philosophy of management.

Overall I'd say you'd get a better business education at Warwick but (marginally) better prospects by having Cambridge on your cv.

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#35 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
28/12/2006 18:46

Rupert Sloane to IN (#34)

Just to conclude the debate over supply and demand, the entry requirement reflects the popularity of the course.

Degrees like psychology often require very high grades, while physics and engineering may not. This is because more people apply for each psychology place than for each physics place. This means the university can be more selective as to who it offers a place. This effect is also obervable between universities like Nottingham and perhaps Durham and on the other hand universities that are less fashionable and receive fewer applications.

This does not mean the quality of education is any better at the more popular institution. It may mean that the average point score of the students is higher. If the popularity of the institution was more to do with the campus architecture or the city's nightclubs this may or may not translate into a better cohort of graduates.

Do you also confuse price and value, blindly assume that the most expensive item is the best, etc?

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#36 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
28/12/2006 18:56

Intellect to Rupert Sloane (#35)

Hi - going back to the original question. I did an MSc in Management @ Bristol Uni, department ranked 4th in UK, course has strategy focus, quality of students' grades is 2nd only to Oxford & Cambridge. I turned down Warwick & Cambridge for this course. I would recommend this - I received a lot of interviews for just being on the course.

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#37 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
28/12/2006 19:17

Tony to Intellect (#36)

Hi

And have you had any luck in MC industry?

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#38 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
28/12/2006 19:28

IN to Tony (#37)

What are you talking about Rupert Sloane??????

Quoting you, "the entry requirement reflects the popularity of the course. Degrees like psychology often require very high grades" Granted that some strong universities will take on chemists, physicists and engineers on low grades due to insufficient demand, but your observation hardly rationalises Glasgows CCC entry requirement for psychology.

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#39 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
28/12/2006 22:38

Rupert Sloane to IN (#38)

Presumably it is not a popular university?

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#40 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
29/12/2006 13:17

@ to Rupert Sloane (#39)

IN,

Royal Holloway cam in at 12th on the Times League Tables. Does this mean it is a top uni? If so, there is still hope for little old me....

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#41 RE: Best uni for Strategy related Masters?
06/01/2007 10:05

anon to @ (#40)

The London School Of Economics

MSc Management

Managerial Economics and Strategy Dept

Best program out there! Tell you all you need to know for strategy consulting and more!

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