• Career stagnation compels students from China to pursue a Master in Finance.
  • ESSEC Asia-Pacific’s career-driven approach supports the development of hard and soft skills.
  • Students cite the alumni network as generous and helpful.

Choosing to complete an undergraduate degree overseas led China nationals Chloe Zisu Wang, an economics graduate from George Washington University, and Jing Xu, an engineering graduate from Nanyang Technological University, smoothly from the classroom and into the workplace.

Chloe found her way to NielsenIQ as a consumer packaged goods analyst and became a business analyst for Evalueserve, an advisory firm serving the bulge bracket banks.

On the other hand, Jing joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Singapore as a tech analyst. But around two years into working life, their careers began to plateau.

“My working experience exposed me to the key functions in financial institutions, and I developed an interest in asset management—but I found it difficult to move from the back-end tech team to the front-office investment team,” Jing shares.

Chloe also found she needed “more comprehensive knowledge of the financial markets” to grow. For both of them, the ESSEC Master in Finance (MiF) was the perfect solution.

Structured to Give Students a Head Start

The MiF program stood out to them for having a career-oriented approach, which Chloe notes is well-timed to fit the financial sector’s recruiting cycle.

For example, in anticipation of the competitive summer internship, students start their MiF journey with rigorous career preparation workshops covering everything from resume-writing and interview fit questions to the dos and don’ts of networking—all aimed at helping them begin their applications immediately.

Networking sessions and guest talks from industry professionals are also arranged as early as the first month in school. Hence, students gain clarity about the roles they may want to take and the skills they need—and are ready to choose their specialized tracks in the next term.

Benefits of Joining the ESSEC Family

For Jing and Chloe, who were both attracted to ESSEC Business School’s extensive alumni network, these career services workshops were where they honestly saw the advantages of being part of the ESSEC community.

“The alumni were very willing to share their experiences with us. They shared insights about what interning was like, how they secured their jobs, and also helped clarify our misunderstandings,” Jing recalls.

She found hearing their perspectives, coupled with those of seasoned industry veterans, helped give her an “eye-opening” view of what work will be like in the finance sector.

Chloe agrees, adding that she even managed to connect with an alumni member working at Goldman Sachs, who, to her pleasant surprise, generously gave her his time and advice on the career options and possible pathways to take.

Connections Amplified at ESSEC Asia-Pacific

Now that she is increasingly aware of the importance of networking, Jing muses that being at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus will likely bring additional benefits.

“There are only 40 or 50 of us in the cohort, which makes it easier for us to build strong, lasting relationships,” she explains. “These connections with our classmates may become an asset to us in the future, and we can help each other secure jobs or find career growth.”

She adds that she has also noticed that compared to her engineering school days, where assessments were exam-driven, ESSEC focuses much more on case studies and group work.

Besides helping students apply their theoretical knowledge, this evaluation mode also “gives us a taste of how to collaborate, contribute and work together in groups towards a common goal,” she says, noting that this will no doubt translate to better working relationships in the real world.

Echoing her sentiments, Chloe shares that within just two months at ESSEC, she feels “more equipped than ever.”

“I’m amazed by what I have gained from the solid and applicable knowledge from my professors, connections in a strong alumni network, and comprehensive training from various vendors,” she explains.

She admits it was not the easiest decision to leave the comforts of her full-time job and restart with a master’s program.

Still, the experience thus far has convinced her that she made the right decision, and the Master in Finance at ESSEC Asia-Pacific is, without a doubt, the place to be.