• ESSEC Master in Finance specialized tracks make it a top choice for students with both engineering and finance backgrounds.
  • Students choose ESSEC Asia-Pacific for its diversity and the chance to be in a leading financial hub.
  • Highlights include how the program is highly career-oriented.

Gregoire Bonneval’s interest in finance was sparked while watching the movie Margin Call. Observing the events of an intense 24 hours at a Wall Street investment bank just before the 2008 crisis captivated him and made him consider a career in the sector.

Unwilling to drop out of his engineering degree, he began selecting his undergraduate modules to focus on mathematical concepts in preparation for the finance world.

This paid off, and upon graduation, he applied for the V.I.E. This program enables French companies to send those between 18 and 28 years of age abroad for work, and he scored a role as a business analyst supporting the back-office finance team at a fast-growing Belgium subsidiary.

The experience reassured him that finance was a sector he wanted to grow in and helped him narrow his area of interest to mergers and acquisitions (M&A). But it also convinced him he needed further training to achieve a successful career. To achieve this, in 2022, he joined the ESSEC Master in Finance (MiF) program.

Specialized Tracks for Finance Professionals

He shares that a significant advantage of the MiF program is that it allows students to specialize in one of these three tracks: Financial Markets, Corporate Finance, and Fintech & Analytics. The Corporate Finance track, which dives deep into the financial needs of corporations, was a perfect fit with his goals of working in M&A.

“In my first trimester, I’ve already been able to take many corporate finance courses related to M&A,” he shares.

His classmate, Alexandre Attal, concurs. Despite coming from a degree in finance and securing a sales analyst internship at Société Générale, he, too, felt a need to upgrade his skills for career advancement. To him, the Financial Markets track was, therefore, perfect for building on his existing finance knowledge to help him break into the trading world.

The Unique ESSEC Asia-Pacific Experience

Alexandre adds that the fact that MiF students can choose to complete the program at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus was also an appeal, mainly because of the opportunities that come from Singapore’s status as a global financial hub.

“I wanted to explore new cultures and find a way to work in Asia, so to study finance at a great French business school, but also in Singapore, was a great choice for me,” Gregoire chimes in, noting that this unique experience is likely to help students open doors in both Europe and Asia.

The global experience is only amplified by the campus diversity. As students work with classmates from different countries, they acquire a deeper understanding of other cultures and, in turn, develop the intercultural communication skills needed to thrive in the global financial sector.

It also helps that the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus comprises an intimate community. Alexandre observes that one of the most significant differences between his master’s and bachelor’s degrees is the “distance” between students and professors. They are closer to ESSEC, allowing more personalized attention and advice.

Career-focused Training

One trimester in, Gregoire and Alexandre are confident that they have no regrets and have been particularly impressed by how career-oriented the MiF program has turned out to be.

The ESSEC Career Services team began preparing them for their job search as early as the first month in school, with a series of career preparation workshops ranging from CV writing to simulating the group stage of finance interviews, where they work in teams to resolve a case study question.

Guest talks with industry veterans and networking sessions with MiF alumni have also been arranged for students to help them build valuable connections.

“We learned a lot about how we could maximize our chances of being accepted, but also about how we should behave when we start our careers,” Gregoire recalls, noting that these sessions are beneficial as compared to other industries, like engineering, the finance sector has an incredibly competitive rigorous hiring process that can be difficult for fresh graduates to navigate.

Reflecting on his past work experiences, he says: “I believe that success comes if you understand how to interact with a complex environment if you constantly strive to get stronger and know how to adapt and add value to the organization you are in.” And these abilities, he reiterates, are precisely what the ESSEC MiF can help one acquire.