The finance sphere is an industry transformed by digitalization. AI-charged banking and the rise of fintechs—just to name a few—are revolutionizing how we trade, bank, and offer credit. It is an industry rife with opportunity and, inevitably, competition, ESSEC alumnus Pascal Lambert observes.

Lambert is now the Group Country Head and Head of Southeast Asia and India for the leading French investment bank, Société Générale. The few years he spent at ESSEC may seem minuscule compared to his decades of experience navigating the storms of the financial world—but to him, the school’s effect is undeniable.

“ESSEC gave me tools that I could apply in the real world. It enabled me to follow a path that has led me—albeit with a few twists and turns along the way—to where I am today,” he shares.

Indeed, one of the defining features of ESSEC is its practicality and ability to equip participants with both textbook knowledge for the present and real-world skills for the future.

With Knowledge Comes Confidence

For Master in Finance (MiF) students, most of this comes from career services support. Each participant is given access to a dedicated career service team that advises them on areas like their resume or cover letter. AlumnEye, a consultancy founded by an ESSEC alumnus, also offers participants specialized interview training to acquire the technical knowledge needed for finance interviews.

Emphasis is placed on helping participants prepare for the competitive investment banking summer internship.

“The process is very intense, but also very formulaic,” Raphael Lambert, class of 2021, recalls, explaining that the rigorous training includes mock assessments that simulate the many banks’ group interview stage in their recruitment process.

This deepened his knowledge about the finance sector, which boosted his confidence as a finance professional. He eventually brought the lessons learned to interviews for roles outside of investment banking. He secured a full-time position at asset management firm Amundi Singapore as an investment analyst before graduation.

With Confidence Comes Connections

Clifford Lee, Managing Director and Global Head of Fixed Income at DBS Bank, declares confidence is crucial.

“As a new entrant to the financial markets, you can’t expect the rest of the market to reach out to you,” he explains. “Having the confidence, ability, willingness, and humility to reach out—to risk having a door slammed in your face—that’s important.”

His time as a guest speaker at ESSEC has shown him that the participants demonstrate this ability—thanks to the school’s focus on business etiquette.

Besides the technical aspects of finding a job, participants are also taught how to network and invite contacts for a coffee chat. For Nash Yang, class of 2021—who came from an established career in engineering, many of these concepts were entirely foreign to him, making the training especially valuable for his career switch.

And the best part? The timing. MiF participants begin their “career-ready” transformation the minute they step on campus, kicking off the school year with a week-long induction that offers an overview of the finance sector and the different career paths one can take.

“Because we learned this right at the beginning of the program, we were able to start looking for jobs right after the first week of school. It’s a great head start,” Nash exclaims.

With Connections Come Opportunities

“The earlier that participants understand their professional goals, the faster they can prepare to reach them,” Professor Peng Xu, Associate Academic Director of MiF at ESSEC Business School, Asia-Pacific, reiterates.

To help participants make informed decisions, ESSEC arranges regular talks by industry professionals to share their day-to-day work and experiences.

These often translate to opportunities: Nash secured an internship with a project finance firm precisely after networking with the speaker at an event. Through an industry talk by Eric Bramoullé from Amundi, Raphael learned about the asset management industry and the company’s growing presence in Asia—arguably leading to his job offer today.

Like their classmates, Raphael and Nash stand at the cusp of change, ready to step into an evolving marketplace that brings as much uncertainty as it does promise.

But as Lambert aptly puts it: “It’s a long path to the top, but it’s a rewarding one.” And with ESSEC’s arsenal of skills in the bag, they are reassured that they have what it takes to weather the storms.