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I'm a first undergraduate studying Economics. So far I'm not very happy with my life at LSE, both socially and academically.
Workload is just tremendous - you can hardly imagine there can be more work than that. Though some (smart) people can imagine to handle that without sacrificing their social lives, of course they are the minority. Good grades, social life, enough sleep - choose two.
Social life can be just awful if you're not really into drinking or clubbing. Although you might say there are lots of other non-alcoholic things to do, you won't as the majority favours the former. The atmoshpere is just as grey as the skies of London. You'll feel the place is desparate in which people are only work-oreinted, looking for internships, whatever. Superficiality of people you can observe, pretedning to be friendly - perhaps they have attened too many networking evernts.
A very culturally diverse university but the groups hardly mix together. Asians literally isolated themselves and even with the presence of a non-asian, they continue to speak their own language, loudly. Maybe not to blame them too much because of their limited usage of English and it's how their culture is.
I believe that LSE overall, isn't that bad. It's only part of the LSE that I've seen but that is my true experience. LSE is definitely good for your future because of its excellent reputation in UK perhpas internationally, among employers. It also makes you grow as a person by undestanding how different kinds of people - good or bad - interact with one another; LSE is a really special place to understand such with a culturally diversified group in the heart of London. Sad thing is, the place can be so depressing that some can't handle it.
By the way, teaching is good or bad, really depends on the professor.
It is true that the quality of teaching should improve. Many teachers just don't care. Library is another nighmare with printers rarely working and e-journals never downloading.For some reason LSE manages to maintain its reputation, probably because of the amount of papers that professors publish.
I studied at the London School of Economics for a one-year finance-related masters immediately after obtaining an Oxbridge BA in a humanities degree. I lived off campus, but was on campus Monday to Friday, either attending lectures or working in the library.
I absolutely loathed this school. Having been at Oxford for three years previously, I jumped at the opportunity to move to London, especially as I was interested in going into the banking sector at the time - LSE, for obvious reasons, has a good reputation amongst investment banking recruiters. When deciding shortly thereafter whether or not to stay in London or return to Oxford for law school, my decision couldn't have been easier - my year at LSE made me realise just how much I took for granted at Oxford.
Firstly, LSE is the grumpiest place on earth. This statement encompasses students and staff. Students are miserable, alternately embracing the corporate lifestyle and turning up to class in suits and never ceasing to talk about what job applications they've done or what interviews with top firms that they've had, or loathing that culture and sticking clipboards in your face on Houghton Street whilst you're trying to simply take some money out. People literally live in the library once it becomes 24 hours, downing Red Bull (which leads their extremities to shake uncontrollably) and constantly trying to 'one-up' one another in terms of the amount of work done. I was 'introduced' to this competitiveness on the first day of my course - when peopled asked me what I had done for my first degree, I responded, truthfully, 'English'. I was almost immediately dismissed, with people beginning to talk at great lengths about the science and maths degrees they had achieved (leading of course to other science/maths degrees holder talking about how wonderful their course had been, as well).
I had been to a very competitive school for my BA, but people there knew how to 'turn-it-off'. I knew full well that for people to be successful, there is literally no reason for them to have zero personal skills, be outrageously arrogant, or otherwise loathsome. But this was just the way it was at LSE, and I found people there genuinely unhealthy and otherwise unpleasant. Talking in the library is rampant, and no amount of polite 'Can you please keep it down?' will stop them, whilst doors slamming in your face are a common occurrence as people rarely take the care to hold them open. Elevator doors will NOT be held open for you, and worst of all - you'll stop holding them open for people yourself! Because one too many times, someone's held the lift up just to go one floor down.
Like I said, this attitude problem was not limited to the students. In the canteen, I once asked for slightly more baked beans on my jacket potato - the woman serving me literally barked at me that that was all I could have. In the library, more than once I was yelled at by the female janitor cleaning the bathrooms as I tried to enter, even though twice, she was already pulling her cart out of the toilet - indicating that the clean was indeed, finished.
In terms of academics, it's OK - I expected a lot more, to be honest, from the academics I came into contact with. Admittedly, many of them were getting mentioned in 'The Economist' and 'The FT' for the models they were writing, but it was clear that that is where their focus was - teaching was definitely not the top priority.
If I have anything positive to say about my experience there, it's the following: one, it made me appreciate my undergraduate experience so much more - if I had been faced with life at LSE for three years, as opposed to one, I definitely would have not finished my degree. Two, it forced me to go out in London and meet people from outside of my school, giving me a solid friendship base there. Three, the Hare Krishnas' free food helped me save on money!
But besides that, LSE was a horrible, horrible experience for me. It definitely turned me off of banking and living in London for a while.
I attended the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1997 to 2000 and strolled away, without so much as a backward glance, with a respectable degree in History. The LSE was founded in 1895 by members of the Fabian Society with a generous bequest and socialist aims. It has developed over the past century or so to become, probably, the most important social sciences institution in the world. Although it is perhaps best known for the radicalism of its student after the Vietnam protests of the late sixties its enduring contributions must be the formulation of monetarism and by extension Thatcherism. The current Director, Professor Anthony Giddens, is the architect of a creed extrapolated by Blair and Clinton called the Third Way that no-one else is really comfortable with. I hope, dear reader, that you will indulge me with this opinion. I don’t have a coherent and elegant argument or an overwhelming theory about the LSE but I do have a selection of points I would like to make. Thus four random thoughts about the LSE: Not so good for Undergraduates: The LSE is the top institution of its king in the UK and Giddens seeks to make it the “MIT of the Social sciences.” It’s position is borne out in league tables and by reputation. It is strong in research and post graduate study. It employs the some of the best academics from across the globe. The library is a quite stunning and unique resource. However, of all these priorities, to my mind, the least of them are undergraduates. From my personal experience as a history student the first year was particularly undemanding. Many classes are dominated by American students attending the General Course (the attraction for the LSE being that they pay flipping great wadges of cash for the privilege. At the risk of making a sweeping generalisation, the standards of American students outside their majors is not impressive and a first year British undergrad with good a-levels
and a little light reading is a wiser and more discerning should than the generally more gregarious yank. This, for me, ruined my first year undergraduate year. Undergraduates are also simply not a priority for many academics. Although lectures are often by superb individuals classes are often held by under-qualified doctoral students, often with not teaching experience at any level or indeed, in some cases, lacking a basic grasp of spoken English. Essentially a conservative and snobbish institution: Sidney and Beatrice Webb would not be impressed if the took a stroll down Houghton street today and examined the school they founded. Among many students there exists very little of the socialist aims of the Webbs. The LSE is driven by those who believe in the sanctity of the market, the importance of profits and is attended by people who want to make stacks as bankers, brokers, consultants and finnanciers. George Soros came to speak once at the LSE and the level of adoration was stomach churning. The man who broke the Bank of England, the man who plays roulette with nations’ economies was lauded, cheered and celebrated as a god. This is hardly surprising when you consider the affluence of the students. 60% come from overseas and have to pay huge fees and have large amounts to fund themselves in an expensive city. Marches against Tuition Fee or Student poverty regularly gathered no more than a dozen participants. Prada, not poverty, was a key issue facing many students at the LSE. The wealth, snobbishness and conservatism at the LSE is shocking. And remember, I went to Eton. Too much of an exam factory? In short, it’s all about exam results. There is little in the way of continual assessment. Little importance laid on seminars. Classes and weekly contributions or anything along the way is irrelevant. All that counted was your exam score. Moreover the LSE won’t even consider changing this. Not the great melting pot:
As mentioned before, the LSE is a truly international institution. 40% are British, 18% come from other European union nations and the remaining 42% are from elsewhere with a large chunk of American and Asian students. These are admirable figures and the aim of multi-culturalism is a noble one. However. One wonders whether the 42% of the LSE’s budget that come from the fees of these overseas students might move the LSE governors more keenly. The problem is that the LSE isn’t a melting pot but a salad. The mix isn’t good. Students associate and gather in overwhelmingly national groupings. So as the LSE student’s Union struggles to function as a normal British university’s Union it also has to pay undue attention to the minefield of national differences. At the annual budget allocation meeting of the Union in an open meeting of all members observe the Greek members voting en bloc against increases in budgets for the Turkish Society and vice versa with the Cypriot society lost in the quagmire. And that is before the Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Eastern European, Polish, Slavonic Scholars pro Europa societies have all had their crack of the whip. It was chaos and chaos driven by national prejudice. It is difficult to suggest that the LSE experiment doesn’t work without sounding a little bit like Enoch Powell or a BNP spokesman. However, personally, I must admit to feeling that I would have preferred the atmosphere of the LSE if it had been, how you say, a little bit more British. To finish, I would like to add that whilst I have these criticisms, I did make some of the best friends I have. Got drunk a thousand times, perhaps. And was very rude to one of Britain’s premier historians whilst under the influence of an illegal drug. So it wasn’t all bad.
LSE is a strange university, not like the majority of British universities set in lush greenfield campuses two or three miles outside of a city centre, but basically a series of buildings lining either side of Houghton Street (just off Kingsway/Aldwych, for those who know London) in WC2. This produces a really condensed, academic atmosphere, but at the same time produces a great community vibe, helped no doubt especially by the fact that the Uni is so cosmopolitan. One of the main plus-points about the LSE is this fantastic multicultural blend which is quite unique. It's estimated that up to 50% of students at the LSE are overseas students, the highest of any university. That statistic is perhaps also testimony to the international recognition the LSE deservedly gets as a top class university; the place has a lot of history, and remains a hotbed of social socience political thought to this day. The fact that everyone from Nelson Mandela and Tony Blair to Sharon Davies and Linford Christie have spoken to students within the last 12 months reflects this. With few other universities will you be as close to the heart of one of the most vibrant cities in the world...LSE is 5 minutes walk from Covent Garden, 10 minutes from Oxford Street and Theatreland (Shaftsbury Avenue and such), and about 2 minutes from the Royal Courts of Justice and Fleet Street. You really feel that you are part of the hustle and bustle of London...for some people this may be a distinct turn-off, but urban dwellers will surely love it. The one possible negative point with regards to LSE is that because of its central location, accommodation for students is situated some distance away, normally about 20-25 minutes walk away, either in Islington (North London) or Borough (just south of the Thames). Some is a bit closer, such as in Russell Square, near Oxford Square, and near Holborn station, but of course this is more pricey. In any case, if you don't feel like the
walk, get the bus or tube (Holborn or Temple tube stations), both of which serve LSE well. LSE's social life is cool as well; it's certainly an acadmeic university but its students know how to have a good time as well - as you'll discover if you pay a visit to 'Crush' on a Friday night and witness the drunken antics of the student masses! It's a uni that's not like any other in my opinion, and that part of what it makes quite special.
The London School of Economics is the premier institution for the social sciences in the UK. Bearing in mind that whatever you study, there is a directly proportional relationship between enjoying the work and the likelihood of people regularly asking ‘can I have fries with that’ later in life, this is probably true. I’m currently in my second year, studying BSc Economics. Every lecturer you talk to knows his or her stuff inside out. No doubt in my mind that they’re all incredibly smart. Lectures though, are not always perfect. They get better as you progress and are usually very good. There have been a lot of complaints recently concerning class sizes. As the current temporary director said at the Union General Meeting, we’re about 48th in terms of staff-student ratios for Universities established before the 1960s. There is an enormous international influence to the LSE, and this is reflected in the student population and in the staff. I’m trying to get at that many people are ‘disappointed’ by the level of English proficiency of class teachers. Sometimes they try their damndest to be helpful. Sometimes not. Situated on Aldwych, its location is superb. There are halls of residence at ten minutes away at Holborn, there’s the luxurious Bankside, and lots of others (including my favourite, Carr Saunders Hall just off Tottenham Court Road). Any freshers in the crowd? Some advice: 1/ Move into halls – if you can’t make friends here, I’m not surprised you’re on the internet all the time. 2/ Join a society – getting elected is a sure-fire way of getting lots of random attractive strangers to talk to you in the hopes of… who knows what? More like who cares what. 3/ Work, but not too hard – The first year is definitely not as hard as you think it is. Just wait till year two. Also, it is kinda useful if you don’t get chucked ou
t for failing all those units of yours. 4/ Stay away from KFC – the only way to make that loan last. 5/ Feel free to ignore arrogant 2nd year Econ undergrads with nothing better to do than give trite clichés in an annoyingly didactic tone. In university, you get to be whom you want be. NB I only wrote whom as the computer forced me to. The LSE pretty much guarantees (in addition to the A-level that got you in) you a top notch job. I’ve got a very well paid internship at Barclays Capital in technology (programming), and many of my friends have accepted or are pondering offers at all the big investment banks, professional services firms and management Consultancies. As at all universities, there are the usual plethora of societies, covering all the usual activities like football and modern dance, to the ethnic, such as the Malaysia or Cypriot societies, to the political (Tory, Labour, Lib-Dem, Socialist etc.). ULU is nearby and have societies that cover stuff like rifle shooting and hiking. About the social life, what I say is only because I compare it to what my friends are getting elsewhere. IT IS STILL GREAT HERE! I have visited dozens of clubs and bars in London, last year going out sometimes every night of the week. Most importantly I have made friends I absolutely adore. Come here because you’re smart and you want: 1/ Money 2/ Status 3/ Top notch teaching Reconsider if you’re highly concerned about: 1/ Your social life
From the very moment you have the pleasure of joining the LSE you will feel the liveliness of student life. Set right in the heart of London, the LSE is surrounded by the bustle of city life. The campus itself may be spread out but make no mistake that students can be seen lounging around outside lecture halls and on the streets nearby. If you are thinking of joining the LSE you will not be disappointed at the student lifestyle! As LSE is part of the University of London it is only a gateway to the many parties and events organised to other universities suchas UCL,KCL,SOAS,London Guildhall, and Westminister. Parties are plentiful, with a range of societies to please most interests. The uni food is fairly tasteless but there are other cheap food outlets near LSE. Drinks are relatively cheap for London prices in the student union as well as halls of residence. Luckily, several popular clubs do have "students" nights where entry is reduced, not to mention when societies throw their parties at some high class clubs at a subsidised costs for students. If you are thinking of joinin LSE one will have a lot of fun if you are willing to make the effort to get out of your halls and walk the 10/20 minute walk to whereever it is you may be going.
The LSE is without doubt a worlclass institution, as all of your professors and the most respectable Anthony Giddens (Director of LSE) will ceaselessly tell you. LSE is a good University; tough to get into, academically rigourous, a wonderful library, top notch academics. It is not however paradise. With all universities there are downsides. LSE has the advantage of being a superb institution and hence that goes quite a way to redressing the balance. hese problems are, simply, a lack of funds to pay teaching staff. The result is, yes you have some of the best academics in the world teaching... but it is at best unlikely that you will ever see them, and certainly not at the undergraduate level. On occassion you'll have them lecture you, which is a privelege which should not be undervalued, but if you are thinking of coming do not expect to become best chums with these top academics. Students know thy place!!! The other thing that cannot be avoided is COST. Yes the fees are the same as most other universities, but LSE is smack in the heart of London. This means either a.) Go rob a bank b.) Make sure you have rich parents c.) Be ready to compromise and become a commuter. LSE has accomodation for the first year, but after that you're on your own, in your third year, with a bit of luck, you might get Halls, but don't count on it. This is thesame situation as in other universities, but London is EXPENSIVE. If you aren't willing to pay £100 a week rent be aware that you will have to live quite some way out of central London, unless you are very lucky and find a reasonably priced place. Otherwise, look at a 35-45 minute trip on the tube. LSE accomodation is ALSO expensive, going past the £100 a room mark for en-suites in central London. Also, yes, fantastic! LSE has over 50% overseas students - Wooooo!!! Culturally fantastic, and it is. Diverse, for certain... But how does this affect things socially? Hmmm... Division is certainly the key
issue. There ARE divisions based along national lines, it is only natural for people who share the same mother tongue to group together. So beware the groups!! LSE is academically brilliant. Anyone who goes there LEARNS so much about the world, about politics. eep in mind that the people who go there have the grades to do so, and as a result the tone of debate can be very high. This is where LSE really does come into its own. Guest speakers are fantastic, and you will be more up to date in your chosen field of study than many other institutes. Your peers also share that dynamism... Just remember that there is a cost to that, and it depends on whether you are willing to pay the cost. any students who are pulled to a very very active social life tend to find themseles graviating to Kings - which is literally a street away, and many others to UCL and the ULU buildings further North. So keep in mind that LSE is a doorway to the rest of London, and the rest of the London Student Community.
The London School of Economics must be one of the best and well funded institutions in the world at which to study Economics. Situated right in the middle of London, it is no more than about two minutes walk away from the Houses of Parliament, and is within a stone?s throw of some of the coolest locations in the entire capital. For those who want to pursue a career in the City, the stock exchange is not too far away, and all the best clubs and bars are within easy reach for students.
With a contingent of overseas students that amounts to over 50% of the total, you are definitely guaranteed a multicultural experience here. The quality of lectures is very high, and you will find yourself in front of some fairly prominent members of their respective fields. However, on the downside, there seems to be a much lower amount of student interaction than in many of my friends' unis that I visited, as many groups of foreign students tend to stick together. Also, classes at undergraduate level, are often taught by postgraduate students whom, remarkably clever though they may be, are often not the best teachers. If you are looking for a universiity with a good name, and a chance to experience the joys of London, this is the place for you. If, on the other hand, you would prefer the opportunity to relax in a secure enclosed environment and meet loads of people, look elsewhere!