Written by


Blog type

Key topics

7 min read

Selecting a ‘second choice’ programme can be difficult; particularly when you would like a place on one specific programme. However, many of our programmes are extremely competitive and it’s not always possible to offer everyone a place on their first-choice programme. With a second choice, you can select two programmes to be considered for each academic year.

The only constraints we have set regarding selection of two programmes are that the programmes must be the same type of master’s programme - i.e. both MSc, both MBA or MRes. You can apply for programmes both in the Business School and the wider college if you’d like; or two in the Business School, if you prefer.

We are looking for passion and enthusiasm for your chosen programme and a clear understanding of how it will help you in your future career, therefore, we wouldn’t expect to see choices from significantly different areas.

Which Business School programmes should you choose? This is up to you! There is by no means “one size that fits all”, and there are no right or wrong selection choices (you can just choose one programme, if you'd prefer). However,  for those of you choosing two programmes, there are some choice combinations which may fit better together than others, and we’ve written this blog post to help you with making your selection.

Written by


Blog type

Key topics

Finance Masters’ Suite

Our diverse portfolio of Finance Suite Masters’ programmes covers a broad range of financial topics to prepare you for a career in finance. This suite is particularly competitive and so selecting a second choice is recommended.

Finance programmes vary in terms of the level of quantitative knowledge they require you to have, and so we advise researching the entry requirements to each programme thoroughly before selecting your choices. You can also take the self-assessment Maths test to help you to determine if your quantitative ability is suitable to apply for our Finance programmes.

We also recommend thinking about which programme(s) can provide you with the necessary foundations to achieve your career goal – you can do this by looking at the programme content in our Programme Handbooks or employment outcomes of students from each programme, as detailed in the Employment Reports published on our website.

We are aware that there will be some instances where it will be more difficult for a candidate to identify which Finance programme(s), they are eligible to apply to. Should the selection committee feel that your profile is strongly aligned with that of another programme, you will be contacted directly.

Specialised Masters’ Suite

Specialised Masters’ programmes  (as the name suggests!) are much more unique in nature and designed with specific study areas and career paths in mind. We are therefore less likely to see a combination of two specialised masters on an application form, as candidates for these programmes will need to show a clear passion for the subject area. If you put a specialised programme as your first choice, you might want to consider putting a more general programme as your second choice; many programmes have a variety of electives and module choices on offer that would allow you to tailor the programme to your interests.

For example:

  1. MSc Business Analytics
  2. MSc Financial Technology

These programmes have similar academic entry requirements and programming experience can add weight to your application – particularly knowledge of C++, SQL, Java, R or Python.

  1. MSc International Health Management/MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance
  2. MSc Management

If you have an interest in management and particularly, in pursuing a career at an NGO or in the Healthcare sector, you might like to consider a combination like the above. Likewise, if you have an interest in pursuing a managerial role in the Energy or Sustainable/Impact Investment sector.

  1. MSc Business Analytics (on-campus)
  2. MSc Business Analytics (online)

The online format of MSc Business Analytics replicates the on-campus programme (same core modules and mostly same electives) over two years delivered via our bespoke online learning platform, The Hub. The on-campus format for MSc Business Analytics is extremely competitive and so putting the online format as a second option is a sensible idea. Both formats of the programme allow you to graduate with the programme certificate which states: MSc Business Analytics (making no reference to the delivery format in which you studied it)!

Management Masters’ Suite

A lot of our Management Masters’ will cater to aligned career goals; therefore, many combinations within this bracket will make good first and second choices. However, when it comes to MSc Management and MSc International Management in particular, your profile will ultimately fall into just one of these programmes, and not both; it would be beneficial for to you to indicate just one of these programmes in your selection choices. MSc International Management is an advanced Management programme for those from clear business backgrounds. In contrast, MSc Management is more of a conversion programme, well suited to those who have not studied many business or management topics previously.

We recognise that there will be some occasions where it will be more difficult for a candidate to identify which Management programme, they are eligible to apply to. Rest assured that should the selection committee feel that your profile is more closely aligned with that of the other programme, you will be contacted directly.

 For example (or vice versa):

  1. MSc Management/MSc International Management
  2. MSc Economics & Strategy for Business/MSc Strategic Marketing

Please note you must meet the entry requirements for both choices, and this is the case for all choice combinations – for example, have a GMAT/GRE score for MIM or have studied modules in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics for MSc Economics and Strategy for Business. This combination also reflects avoiding selecting MSc Management and MSc International Management together.

  1. MSc Strategic Marketing (on-campus)
  2. MSc Strategic Marketing (online)

We have recently launched an online study mode which will commence teaching in September 2020 and be delivered by our bespoke learning platform, The Hub. As with MSc Business Analytics, the on-campus format of MSc Strategic Marketing is highly competitive and so putting the online format as a second option is a sensible idea. You can read more about what the online format will be like here.

MBA Programmes

There are lots of things to consider when selecting a second-choice programme for an MBA application: for example, how many years of work experience do you have? Do you want to study full-time for a year, or part-time for a slightly longer duration? Do you want to come onto campus regularly? Would you be happy to study a programme online?

We have varying work experience requirements for our MBA programmes, and it is important to be mindful of these when selecting a second choice MBA programme. In addition, out of four MBA programmes that we currently offer, three of these programmes are part-time (Weekend MBA, Global MBA and Executive MBA) so if you select one of these as a second choice, you would be studying part-time. If you would like to be visiting campus regularly then selecting Weekend MBA and Full-Time MBA could be a good combination for you. If you are happy to study online as well as on-campus, selecting Global MBA as a second choice could work well together.

It may be unlikely that more than one of the programmes will suit your needs, so it is worth requesting a profile review with our Recruitment Team to discuss your options and suitability for each programme.

There is not a right or wrong selection choice and no “one size fits all guide”; it really is up to you as an individual on which selection/combination is right for you! Hopefully, this post gives you some insight into what works best and what information/tools are available to you to help you in making your selection. We look forward to receiving your choice(s)!

Bridget Simpson

About Bridget Simpson

Admissions Coordinator
I am the Admissions Coordinator for the MSc Finance and MSc Financial Technology programmes.