A career-focused curriculum, industry exposure, and rigorous financial training from industry professionals and academics are characteristic of the ESSEC Master in Finance (MiF) program—no matter if one chooses to complete it at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific or Cergy campus.

But as MiF students Dario Faggi and Elsa Saada have found in their journeys from Europe to Singapore and back to France, some features have made their time at ESSEC Asia-Pacific stand out.

1 | Global Exposure

The first difference is in the sheer diversity of cultures that students experience. Elsa explains This partly because of Singapore’s multicultural society, noting that “when you walk around Singapore, you will see Chinese temples and Indian temples side-by-side—something you don’t experience in Europe.”

However, it is also because of the country’s proximity and ease of access to countries within the region, making it the perfect base for students to explore countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and more.

Also, although the ESSEC campuses in Singapore and France have a diverse student body, “Cergy has a more European focus, with a majority of students coming from the region,” Dario shares. In contrast, the Singapore campus has students from all over the world.

“This brought a rich mix of different perspectives and experiences to the classroom,” he says. He adds that this multicultural environment has contributed to developing a more global worldview and improved his cross-cultural communication skills.

2 | Opportunities to Work in Asia

A second difference—worth noting for those who hope to work in Asia—is the higher probability of finding internships in the region from the Singapore campus.

This is undoubtedly because of the proximity to companies in the region and because Singapore is home to many global financial institutions. However, credit is also due to the support provided at ESSEC Asia-Pacific.

“The campus has strong connections with top financial institutions and corporates in the region, and the Career Services works closely with students to help them identify and apply for suitable internship opportunities,” Dario says.

Case in point: During Elsa’s time in Singapore, MiF students had a Curriculum Vitae (CV) book sent out to ESSEC partners in the region. This led to her profile being picked up by private equity firm Corecam Capital Partners, and she eventually scored a six-month internship with the company.

3 | Industry Talks

Elsa adds that a major highlight of being at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific experience is the sheer number of guest talks arranged for MiF students—which she estimates occur at least once a week.

Although there are industry events at other ESSEC campuses, the difference is that “in Singapore, it’s not student clubs but the program director, Peng Xu, that organizes these sessions,” she says.

“This means they are specific to the MiF program’s needs, and If you want to work in Asia, they are also a great opportunity for you to connect with the right people.”

Dario echoes these sentiments, adding that these guest talks, case studies, and group projects all allow for a more in-depth, applied approach to learning about the finance sector in Asia.

“I believe the practical focus of the program at the Singapore campus helped me better prepare for my internships at Azimut Group and Bank of America Merril Lynch,” he says.

4 | Cohort Size

Finally, it matters that the MiF cohort size at the Singapore campus is about half the size of that in Cergy. While one might assume that bigger equates to better, both Elsa and Dario testify to how the more intimate cohort size brings benefits, especially regarding the personalized support available and the relationships developed.

“One of my favorite parts of being in Singapore was the social events organized by the cohort,” Dario recalls.

“There were barbecues and sporting activities that brought us together and allowed us to build strong relationships—I have many great memories from these events that I will cherish for a long time.”

“The vibe is just different,” Elsa chimes in. “In Singapore, it’s very family-oriented, so although we are all interviewing and looking for jobs, everyone’s also helping each other and wanting to move forward together.”

She concludes: “It felt like Singapore welcomed me with open arms. The experience changed me, and I believe it’s been a precious opportunity.”