If you're looking for a banking job in Europe now, there are two very good reasons why you might want to eschew the UK's top educational establishments and study in mainland Europe instead. The first is Brexit. The second is tuition fees.
Irrespective of whether thousands of jobs do indeed move out of London once Article 50 is finally triggered, European financial centres are likely to be more important in future. The genie is out of the bottle with regards to London's stability as a European base - never again will banks feel quite as comfortable placing all their eggs in the City basket. Like it or not, Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Dublin and Madrid will almost certainly house a greater proportion of Europe's banking jobs by 2025 - so, why study in London?
At the same time, the UK's cash-strapped government is hiking the fees it charges university students. UK university tuition fees are currently capped at £9k a year for domestic and EU students, but are likely to be allowed to rise with inflation from 2018. International students in the UK already pay considerably more than this - the London School of Economics, for example, charges overseas (non-UK, non-EU) students a huge £17k (€20k) a year. These elevated fees will also apply to students from mainland Europe after Brexit, and immigration restrictions will make it harder for them to stay in London and find a job after they graduate.
In the circumstances, why bother with British universities at all? There are plenty of excellent universities in Europe. The fees they charge for bachelors degrees tend to be the same as those UK universities charge local students and considerably less than the fees UK universities charge overseas students. Yes, you'll typically need to speak the local language, but courses may also be taught in English. At Paris Dauphine, for example, 21 of the bachelors courses are taught in English, at Bocconi five programmes are taught entirely in English, at ESCP EAP the intention is that you'll be able to speak French, English and Spanish fluently upon graduation. And if you choose the 'International Business Track' of Edhec's BBA degree you'll be taught in English and English alone.
The ranking below is based upon CVs uploaded to the eFinancialCareers database over the past year from people working in London, Paris, or Frankfurt. The CVs are drawn from people working in front office roles across M&A, sales, trading, equities, research, hedge funds, derivatives and capital markets.
Because we've focused on bachelors degrees, HEC Paris (which is a major provider of postgraduate education to European finance professionals) isn't listed. French business schools EDHEC, ESSEC and SKEMA are listed as a result of their Bachelors in Administration (BBA) degrees. Four of the top schools are French. There's a reason for this. "The French educational system is incredibly rigorous in maths and physics between the ages of 11 and 18," says one French banker. Not only do the French 'Grande Ecoles' give students an excellent mathematical education, he says their precursors - the classes préparatoires aux Grandes Ecoles - lay the foundation for excellence later on. "French students achieve a level of mathematical, analytical skills, combined with an ability to work under extreme pressure, that you do not get elsewhere."
Best European universities for banking:
- ESCP Europe: Based in London, Madrid, Paris, Turin, Berlin. Fees: €12,800 a year
- Paris Dauphine: Based in London and Paris. Fees: €530 a year in Paris, €11,900 in London
- Bocconi, Based in Milan. Fees: From €5,000 to €11,000 depending upon parental income.
- EDHEC. Based in Lille and Nice, with opportunities to study overseas. Fees: €37,000 to €46,000 for the 3 year BBA course.
- Essec. Based in France, Singapore, Morroco, with the opportunity to study overseas. Fees: €11,000 a year for the 3 year BBA course
- Skema. Based in France, China, the US. Fees: €8,250 to €9,250 a year for the Bachelor in Global Management.