Imperial College MathFin vs EPFL MFE

Fadmad

Active Member
Hello everyone, I hope you are well during these difficult time.

I have been accepted into both Imperial and EPFL and wanted to get your thoughts on this issue.

EPFL:
2 years (1.5 years coursework, 0.5 years internship)
Tuition fee CHF 710 per semester (basically free)
Good connections with the Swiss job market.

Imperial:
1 years
Tuition fee 33,000 pounds
Great for work in the UK (but Brexit is an issue)


I will probably go to EPFL because I cannot afford Imperial's tuition fee (although I am still waiting for scholarships to reply).
I have also talked to some family friends who work in the financial industry in London and they say that Brexit complicates many things and I should go for EPFL.

What do you guys think?
 

Soccent

Active Member
Not really responsive to your question, but congratulations. I think both programs are top notch.
 

cheron_jrm

Active Member
Hello !
First, congratulations !
Both program are indeed very good, you cannot make a bad decision.
Indeed, both brands are strong though UK's university may have a stronger brand outside Europe, and in the UK of course.
Imperial definitely has the strongest network in the city and the program is, to my opinion, on of the very bests in terms of curriculum.
This said, in Europe (UK excluded) the brands are probably equals, so if you think about working in Germany for instance I wouldn't put Imperial above. If you are concern about the Brexit, and consider a career in Europe outside the UK ( at least for 3-4 years while the Brexit blur fades), EPFL may be the best choice !
PS : EPFL is reaaaally cheaper ! if you struggle financially and don't have any scholarship, I don't think Imperial is worth 30k + EPFL...
PSS: Make sure to consider the life cost ( and salary loss for EPFL) that are, for the first 3 semesters : (1.5year in Lausanne) vs (1year in London - 0.5 year working in the city))
 

Fadmad

Active Member
Hello !
First, congratulations !
Both program are indeed very good, you cannot make a bad decision.
Indeed, both brands are strong though UK's university may have a stronger brand outside Europe, and in the UK of course.
Imperial definitely has the strongest network in the city and the program is, to my opinion, on of the very bests in terms of curriculum.
This said, in Europe (UK excluded) the brands are probably equals, so if you think about working in Germany for instance I wouldn't put Imperial above. If you are concern about the Brexit, and consider a career in Europe outside the UK ( at least for 3-4 years while the Brexit blur fades), EPFL may be the best choice !
PS : EPFL is reaaaally cheaper ! if you struggle financially and don't have any scholarship, I don't think Imperial is worth 30k + EPFL...
PSS: Make sure to consider the life cost ( and salary loss for EPFL) that are, for the first 3 semesters : (1.5year in Lausanne) vs (1year in London - 0.5 year working in the city))

Thank you for your kind words!

I couldn't agree more. Imperial's reputation is better than EPFL's outside of Europe.

I am planning to work in commodities trading and Switzerland is the largest commodity trading hub in the world. Therefore, EPFL will definitely give me a head start in Switzerland (I also speak German so I'm set). Furthermore, after gaining work experience, the degree doesn't have as much weight to it anymore, so I think I would be able to find work in the UK, given good work experience. As for the living costs, Lausanne is very expensive but so is London, so I don't think this will be an issue.

Finally, I am waiting to hear back from a scholarship that would cover my tuition fees. In case I get the scholarship, do you think going to Imperial and working in London would be better?
 

cheron_jrm

Active Member
Thank you for your kind words!

I couldn't agree more. Imperial's reputation is better than EPFL's outside of Europe.

I am planning to work in commodities trading and Switzerland is the largest commodity trading hub in the world. Therefore, EPFL will definitely give me a head start in Switzerland (I also speak German so I'm set). Furthermore, after gaining work experience, the degree doesn't have as much weight to it anymore, so I think I would be able to find work in the UK, given good work experience. As for the living costs, Lausanne is very expensive but so is London, so I don't think this will be an issue.

Finally, I am waiting to hear back from a scholarship that would cover my tuition fees. In case I get the scholarship, do you think going to Imperial and working in London would be better?

Well, it would be a great opportunity, but EPFL + starting in Germany (Frankfurt got some great offices since the Brexit has been announced) would not be bad either. Just think about what you'd like better ! If you're not that hyped about living in London, I would not call that better.
 

Soccent

Active Member
By going to EPFL you would have the opportunity to add French language abilities to your skill set, as well as live in a more beautiful tranquil setting.
 

David Liam

New Member
As far as I know, starting from next year international students will have a chance to reside and search for jobs in UK for 2 years and I think being graduated from top schools anyone will have pretty good chance of getting job in uk considering 2 years of time. Period. On the other hand I heard that it is very very difficult to get a job in Switzerland as internation student.
 

Fadmad

Active Member
As far as I know, starting from next year international students will have a chance to reside and search for jobs in UK for 2 years and I think being graduated from top schools anyone will have pretty good chance of getting job in uk considering 2 years of time. Period. On the other hand I heard that it is very very difficult to get a job in Switzerland as internation student.
True. But I have EU nationality so I can easily work in Switzerland. I also did an internship there without any complications.
 

Danyiel

Member
According to my calculations there is not much of a difference in costs between going to EPFL and Imperial. You can do your own calculations but considering that you would earn money in the second year you will get to around the same costs.
 

Fadmad

Active Member
According to my calculations there is not much of a difference in costs between going to EPFL and Imperial. You can do your own calculations but considering that you would earn money in the second year you will get to around the same costs.

I agree. The only way this would be possible is by taking a student loan from my home country which has interest rate of around 9%.

Graduating debt free is the more appealing option for me. As I will start working in the EU anyways, EPFL is the better choice.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
I agree. The only way this would be possible is by taking a student loan from my home country which has interest rate of around 9%.

Graduating debt free is the more appealing option for me. As I will start working in the EU anyways, EPFL is the better choice.
WOW!
So, an EU bank charges 9% and they can borrow at almost zero% interest from ECB? Something out of kilter, out of whack.
 

Fadmad

Active Member
WOW!
So, an EU bank charges 9% and they can borrow at almost zero% interest from ECB? Something out of kilter, out of whack.

I don’t live in the EU so I won’t be eligible for loans from there. I am referring to loans from my home country, where student loans are taken out as “personal loans” i.e. you just need cash. That is why interest rates are so high!
 

Letsgoo

New Member
Really depends what your plan is afterwards.

If you wish to be in Switzerland long-term, go to EPFL: it will be much cheaper and life in Switzerland, although already expensive, is way cheaper than in Central London. Swiss recruiters like to fish local, and EPFL is definitely at the top with ETHZ and some other specialist schools. If you like the "tranquility" of Switzerland, London is the entire opposite, so to think about too!

In quants and markets, if you want to work in London (City + Canary Wharf), even in the long term (as in any time in your life), I would very very very highly recommend going to Imperial. Their students are targeted by finance companies in the area. Even if you go to EPFL and start in Switzerland, it is extremely hard to get into the world of London high finance. The "only" ways are to either get into the City from graduation or previously work in a top financial center like New York or Singapore. Even though Brexit will hit the UK, I think London will remain the biggest financial center in Europe because Paris and Frankfurt don't have the talent nor the link with the US which is important in business. In my 3-year career at the Wharf, 90% of new analysts come from the UK in quantitative activities and in markets, while it's more open to Continental Europe in Investment Banking though, in which case it's 50-50. Haven't met any EPFL graduate yet, but many Imperial alumni for sure.
 

Fadmad

Active Member
Really depends what your plan is afterwards.

If you wish to be in Switzerland long-term, go to EPFL: it will be much cheaper and life in Switzerland, although already expensive, is way cheaper than in Central London. Swiss recruiters like to fish local, and EPFL is definitely at the top with ETHZ and some other specialist schools. If you like the "tranquility" of Switzerland, London is the entire opposite, so to think about too!

In quants and markets, if you want to work in London (City + Canary Wharf), even in the long term (as in any time in your life), I would very very very highly recommend going to Imperial. Their students are targeted by finance companies in the area. Even if you go to EPFL and start in Switzerland, it is extremely hard to get into the world of London high finance. The "only" ways are to either get into the City from graduation or previously work in a top financial center like New York or Singapore. Even though Brexit will hit the UK, I think London will remain the biggest financial center in Europe because Paris and Frankfurt don't have the talent nor the link with the US which is important in business. In my 3-year career at the Wharf, 90% of new analysts come from the UK in quantitative activities and in markets, while it's more open to Continental Europe in Investment Banking though, in which case it's 50-50. Haven't met any EPFL graduate yet, but many Imperial alumni for sure.

Thanks! Your insight is highly appreciated. Currently, I am awaiting the result for a scholarship I have applied to, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. I am leaning towards Imperial, however, it all depends on the outcome of the scholarship...
 
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