What attracts graduates from top universities in the United Kingdom and Europe to take a Master’s degree at ESSEC’s Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore?

As president of the ESSEC Finance Club, Fabien Meyer’s days are filled with organizing networking events with finance professionals and mentoring his club members through developing educational finance-related resources.

This role comes in addition to his Master in Finance (MiF) schoolwork and has run concurrently with his internships as a private equity analyst and investment analyst.

It is challenging, but something that the former graduate from Bocconi University felt he had to do when he noticed that a dedicated finance club was absent at ESSEC Asia-Pacific.

Rather than wait for circumstances to alter in his favor, Fabien rose to create the change he wanted to see and started a club himself—just one example of how much he has grown since coming to Singapore.

Developing a Mastery Mindset

“I wasn’t as proactive back in university because I was younger and had family close by,” Fabien shares, explaining that because Bocconi University was only four hours away from his hometown, he could return home every two weeks.

He moved to Singapore to learn more about the financial markets in Asia—it was a massive step out of his comfort zone but one that has completely altered his mindset about work.

“I’ve begun to see how competitive the world is, especially the finance industry, and how important it is that I come up with something to differentiate myself,” he shares.

His MiF classmate, Chloé Dauvillier, went through a similar rite of passage: While she saw her undergraduate days as a time of exploration that eventually led to her love for finance, her Master’s degree has been a time to focus and actively chart the course of her future career.

The Allure of ESSEC Asia-Pacific

Chloé shares that the ESSEC MiF program aligned well with her goal to join the finance world for two reasons: First, the program’s reputation, and second, because of the campus in Asia-Pacific.

“Singapore is one of the financial hubs in the world, and I thought it would be important for me to graduate where I want to start my career,” Chloé explains.

Having also had the luxury of living in London, Madrid, and Berlin throughout her undergraduate education at ESCP Business School, Chloé also felt it was essential to have sufficient time to assimilate into a new country.

The MiF’s two-year program (applicable to those holding a three-year undergraduate degree) worked well for her by giving her ample time to develop a new network, she says.

Lessons Learned and Insights Shared

As a French business school, ESSEC’s pedagogical approach is similar to what Chloé and Fabien experienced during their undergraduate days. But now, their maturity, renewed goals—and the fact that they are in Asia- have changed how they approach familiar experiences, they say.

Chloé, with guidance from the ESSEC Career Services, has significantly ramped up her networking efforts. “I’ve talked to a lot of professionals in Singapore, and they’ve explained what it’s like in Asia, which has helped me narrow my interests down to wealth management and private banking,” she says.

On the other hand, Fabien relishes the learnings he has gained from his new network. Although his undergraduate experience has made him comfortable collaborating with international teams, a significant difference is that “in Bocconi, everyone understood the basics of finance.”

“At ESSEC, there are classes where we work with students from different programs. It’s really taught me a lot about how people from other disciplines think and how I can improve my explanation of finance concepts,” he says.

The lessons learned are aplenty, but his most significant takeaway is this: “Your career depends on you and you alone. So find the motivation to innovate and launch your own projects—do what you need to, to stand out from the crowd.”

He urges us to have courage because, as he has found, at ESSEC Asia-Pacific, there is room to grow and more than enough support to thrive.