With recruitment for competitive finance jobs opening as early as a year in advance, ESSEC Master in Finance (MiF) students must start applications almost immediately upon starting school. To help them find their footing, ESSEC Career Services organizes a broad range of career preparation workshops from the start of the MiF journey.

These workshops include but are not limited to lessons on resume writing, interview preparation, networking, and a Mock Assessment Center that simulates the group interview stage for competitive finance jobs. Hence, students are well-equipped to begin the job search journey.

Alumni and other industry professionals are also invited regularly to share more about their day-to-day lives so students understand the range of positions they can apply for and what work is like in different roles and sectors. In 2022, this lineup included a mix of reputable companies like Banque De France and Citibank and those who take more unique pathways into entrepreneurship.

These workshops are why Student Ambassadors Gregoire Bonneval and Jing Xu were able to complete and send out their first round of internship applications within the first two months of being at ESSEC. They share what they learned and how it has benefited them:

1 | New Perspectives to Craft Their Own Stories

A significant benefit of these career workshops was that they brought in perspectives from various industry professionals to address questions like “How important is a cover letter?” and “What type of resume is most likely to grab a recruiter’s attention?”

“We were advised to reconsider our way of thinking,” Gregoire recalls, explaining that students were not given a single “correct answer” but were presented with a broad understanding of how common topics can be tackled and why.

This was helpful because, ultimately, the purpose of a cover letter and CV is to tell one’s own unique story.

“Having a different point of view can, therefore, change the way you think and bring you to a new level of understanding about the application process,” he says, impacting the story you tell.

2 | The Confidence to Network

Jing adds that meeting these industry professionals at guest talks and the alumni networking session was especially beneficial as it allowed her to practice what she learned at the networking workshops.

“As I graduated from engineering school, it does not come naturally to me to know how to network,” she admits. “But this is one of the most important skills for the finance sector, so I’m glad ESSEC emphasized it, provided us with the necessary tips, and organized events to try it out.”

3 | Advice on Workplace Etiquette

Equally crucial for the students was learning how to conduct themselves at the workplace after securing an internship, Gregoire says.

“Compared to the people we met during the guest talks, who have maybe 20 or 30 years of experience, we know nothing,” he muses, adding that a challenge students will need to face is to “find an equilibrium between the fact that we are here to learn and that we need to produce results.”

Hearing from the speakers was inspiring and educational, giving him advice on pitfalls to avoid and maximizing his potential and chances for success.

“My greatest takeaway from all the conversations was that it is really about becoming stronger and being able to adapt quickly, so we know how to be useful to our companies and how to interact in complex environments,” he shares.