If your view of the finance sector is colored by stories like The Wolf of Wall Street, you might view a career there as reserved for those with equal charisma and a risk appetite.

You might be surprised—or relieved—that the road to success is far less about instinct and luck and much more methodological.

At least, that’s how Theresa Chew, Senior Manager at ESSEC Career Services, sees it.  Straight shooting, intentional, and precise, Chew is the Master in Finance students’ go-to person for training and mentoring.

Practice Makes Perfect

Her rigor is encapsulated in the career services programs she has designed, most notably the mock assessment center. This mimics a crucial stage in the investment banking internship selection process. Students work in teams on a business case study under the watchful eye of assessors who rate them based on their knowledge and leadership aptitude.

By simulating these grueling conditions, the ESSEC mock assessment center offers what no classroom can: A chance to practice the necessary behaviors for success.

Chew terms this as a type of facilitative learning—a style that ensures students actively participate. She has increasingly introduced this across the career workshops ESSEC holds for its MiF students.

The reasons are two-fold: Firstly, to counter the “Zoom fatigue” people may get from staring at a screen in “information-giving” lectures. Second, because practical experience is crucial.

“Anyone can teach you how to behave at an interview, but if I don’t sit with you and do a mock interview and then give you feedback, you won’t actually know what you did well and what can be improved,” Chew explains.

Putting Together a Patchwork of Perspectives

As the markets are constantly evolving, so are Chew’s plans for the career support initiatives. Each year, she conducts small focus groups with students to obtain feedback on what worked and what they’d like to see more of.

This sparked panel discussions for senior students to share their experiences with the newer batch.

“It was very intimate and personable because it was about hearing from people who have gone through what you are going to go through and sharing different perspectives on it,” Chew recalls.

The benefits are similar to the regular industry career talks that ESSEC conducts: By having industry professionals share, students have a platform to build valuable connections, and through the stories they hear, they can cement their understanding of the roles and industries they are interested in.

Ready? Take Aim and Fire

Chew acknowledges that entering the finance industry, although alluring, comes with its challenges.

The rigor of the MiF curriculum ensures students reach a high standard of academic excellence, so on her side, the goal is to make sure students find avenues to use their acquired skills.

To do this, students should know how to market themselves to recruiters, not simply declaring they are passionate but backing up their claims with examples demonstrating their strengths.

“We want to ensure they have the correct resources and survival skill sets to thrive,” she emphasizes, reiterating that practice makes perfect.

The chances are high that with effort, combined with the advice, perspective, and training offered by the career services team, you will leave ESSEC job-ready and more than prepared to take your shot at a career in finance.