• ESSEC’s 2022 Finance Week adopts a new interactive panel discussion format.
  • Attracts 50 speakers from companies like Credit Suisse, Amundi, Standard Chartered, Maybank and more.
  • Students are inspired and encouraged by alumni stories and speakers sharing their personal journeys.

Held over five days, ESSEC’s 2022 Finance Week is an opportunity for students from the ESSEC Master in Finance (MiF) program to network with finance professionals and learn more about the different facets of the industry.

But as the MiF program already offers students comprehensive career services, the 2022 student organizing committee, comprising Melvin Gallu, Chloé Dauvillier, Thiebault Husson, Théophile Cordiez, Alessandro Astore and Boyi Yao, found themselves with one big challenge: “We needed to do something different from what we already have—something better and significant for our cohort,” Melvin, who was president of the organizing committee, shares.

Doubling the Efforts to Create an Event of Value

To achieve this, the team opted to mix individual talks with panel discussions involving multiple speakers to expose students to different perspectives on a common topic. They also ran concurrent events for the Corporate Finance and Financial Markets tracks to ensure their peers would always have a talk to attend that was most relevant to their specializations.

This structure required more complex logistics, more speakers, and more work. Still, with their efforts combined, the team successfully secured 50 speakers from companies like Credit Suisse, Amundi, Standard Chartered, and more.

This allowed for in-depth and diverse content, with companies like leading global investment group Eurazeo sharing insights on sustainable investments and tech venture capital and companies like Mastercard, General Atlantic, and iLEX stepping in to address the evolution of the fintech sphere.

“Several banks sent teams of senior bankers to help students gain a comprehensive understanding of the processes in financial institutions, and the students even managed to arrange an immersion trip to one of the well-established foreign banks in Singapore,” Peng Xu, Associate Academic Director of Master in Finance at ESSEC Business School, Asia-Pacific, recalls.

She adds that the panel discussion format was incredibly well-received, and even for someone as experienced as herself, “It was fascinating and mind-blowing to understand what professionals were doing in their different fields and to hear the different opinions from diverse speakers.”

Diverse Insights to Open Career Doors

Students echoed these sentiments, and many, like MiF student Chen-Po Hsiao, felt hearing from industry professionals was pivotal in educating them on how to approach their desired roles.

“I was able to gain practical knowledge and understand the perspective of a working professional, all of which I believe will be helpful for my future interviews, networking, and career opportunities,” Chen-Po explains.

As someone keen on sales, he found the talk by Tareck Horchani, Head of Trading and Sales Trading, Prime Brokerage at Maybank Investment Banking Group, particularly useful for helping him understand how to navigate the trading floor.

For other students, simply hearing about day-to-day life in different facets of the finance world was enlightening: It opened their eyes to new areas in finance they were not previously interested in and gave them renewed momentum for their job search, Melvin says.

Receiving Inspiration and Encouragement For the Future

He shares that to add value to the experience, the organizing committee provided their classmates with emotional support for their new journeys.

A networking dinner was arranged with ESSEC alumni so students could connect with those in similar situations. Speakers across all days of the conference were also encouraged not to just share about their companies but also their own personal experiences.

“Students can always research on their own if they want to know more about a company, so we thought it would be more valuable to hear the speakers’ advice and tips for us,” Melvin explains.

He adds that for himself, it was Raphael Cheminat, Group Country Head of Singapore & Head of South East Asia at Société Générale, who inspired him the most—encouraging him not to fear change, but to boldly take risks and seize opportunities to learn.

Reflecting on the running of Finance Week, Peng applauds the cohort for a well-run event. “I’m proud of the organizing committee’s terrific organizational capabilities, and also very proud of all the MiF students for their professionalism, active involvement in the event and valuable discussions they sparked,” she declares.

Connections have been made and knowledge gained—now it is up to the students to harness these lessons learned as they leap to the next stage in their lives.