Specialization in Corporate Financial Management

The Specialization in Corporate Financial Management (IFAC) provides all the expertise needed for successful careers in financial management, corporate finance or transactions services, auditing, controlling, as well as strategic consulting or advisory in the big professionalized firms. It gives students both a broad awareness of financial management and a sound technical foundation to ensure their ability to create value in the workplace.

Key Features

The Specialization in Corporate Financial Management combines 4 main assets that will strongly benefit the students’ future career:

  • A strong business orientation based on close ties with the professional world and the possible gateway to 2 strongly acknowledged vocational certifications, the French CPA on the one hand, and the American CMA on the other
  • A technical but still broad know-how that allows very diverse career paths
  • A human scale that stimulates exchanges among students and with the faculty
  • HEC-CEMS Double Degree opportunities including an academic international exchange with a CEMS partner in the second semester

Balance Between Theory and Practice

A balance of core courses by academics and job-oriented courses offered by practitioners helps prepare HEC Paris’ students to face the challenges of the financial management careers :

  • Producing, understanding and analyzing the financial information disclosed by organizations;
  • Defining, measuring and controlling corporate performance and its key success factors;
  • Contributing to controlling risks and securing corporate governance;
  • Accompanying the development of companies of all sizes by carrying out operations, such as acquisitions and international expansion.

The program is built on three corner stones, Accounting, Finance and Management. In addition to providing a sound grounding in accounting techniques (advanced financial accounting, group financial reporting, IFRS, auditing, ...), courses and conferences offer a rich and highly varied content on corporate finance (financial analysis, valuation & transactions, short-term finance, investors relations,…) and management/consulting (strategic consulting, business performance, strategic management accounting, project management, …). The French DSCG track additionally comprises specific courses in IS/IT management,  law and taxation.

The scope of the program is being driven by the evolving and increasingly rich nature of finance, accounting, audit and consulting careers. Finance directors have seen the scope of their role extend in recent years, at the service of corporate value creation. This evolution requires future financial management professionals to acquire a broad awareness of management, along with a sound technical foundation.

Beyond Finance positions, the program can provide HEC students with an in-depth understanding of financial management issues that will make a difference in their first placements or professional experience.

Finally, Corporate financial management (IFAC) major offers the students a real international experience on campus; diversity in profiles and backgrounds is promoted and each class is designed as a small class of team players coming from many different countries. The human scale of the program allows students to have easy access and enhanced exchanges with their professors, who consider them as junior professionals, and allows the whole group to move forward together.

Constant Interaction with Business World

The Corporate Financial Management specialization opens access to two high-level vocational certifications:

  • The CMA (Certified Management Accountants) is a professional certification issued by the IMA (Institute of Management Accountant). In order to become an IMA member and earn the CMA, two exams can be taken in May-June (Part I Exam = Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance & Control; Part II Exam = Financial Decision Making)
  • The DSCG (Diplôme Supérieur de Comptabilité et de Gestion) track offers the possibility to complete advantageous waivers (equivalent units) for the French DSCG, the second step towards the DEC (Diplôme d’Expertise Comptable) –French CPA. Students in this track follow courses In addition to the core courses, mostly in IT-IS Management, Law, French taxation, Advanced group reporting and Accounting for M&A.

This specialization is also characterized by its many partnerships, and rich relationships with the professional world; it can notably count on the support of the following companies: EY, PwC; Deloitte, KPMG, Mazars, McKinsey, Saint-Gobain, Edenred, Euler Hermes, Kepler Chevreux, Finharmony, BNP Paribas, etc. The participation of a large number of professionals and external speakers, and visits to facilities are just some of the activities designed to bring teaching as close as possible to the real working environment.

Academic Opportunities

This specialization offers possibilities for a CEMS-HEC Double Degree including academic exchanges with prestigious CEMS member universities: St. Gallen University, Stockholm School of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, London School of Economics, Bocconi University and Vienna University of Economics & Business.

Career Outlook

This specialization is a springboard towards jobs in corporate financial management, management control/business analysis, advisory positions, auditing, internal auditing, management or strategic consulting, financial analysis, valuation and investor relations.
Examples of alumni positions after 5-10 years:

  • Finance Director: Louis Vuitton, EADS, Carrefour, Véolia Asia Pacific
  • Financial Auditor and Business Valuation: PWC, EY, KPMG, Deloitte, Mazars
  • "General Inspector" in banking: Crédit Agricole, BPCE, Calyon, Crédit du Nord
  • Management Controller: Saint-Gobain, JC Decaux, Renault, LVMH, SNCF, Schneider Electric, Sanofi-Aventis
  • Strategic Consultant: McKinsey, Bain & Company, Roland Berger Strategy, Oliver Wyman.

Other companies often recruit graduates from the Corporate Financial Management specialization, among them: Safran, Air Liquide, Hermès, Société Générale, Unibail Rodamco, Faurencia…

The Curriculum

Teaching is structured around core courses, focusing on professional practice and broadening students’ awareness.

Core courses in accounting

  • Accounting Game 
  • Advanced Financial Accounting
  • International Accounting Frameworks
  • Group Financial Reporting
  • Ethical Decision Making in Accounting

Core courses in finance

  • Financial Analysis: From Economic Performance to Value Creation
  • Valuation & Transactions
  • Practice of Short-Term Finance Part 1: Current Assets Management
  • Part 2: Treasury Management

Core courses in management/strategy

  • Strategic Management Accounting
  • Business Performance Management
  • Corporate Governance & Risk Management

Core courses in tax/law

  • Criminal Business Law
  • Fiscal Affairs for Finance

Core courses in management

  • Project Management 

Read & think courses

  • Ethical Decision Making in Accounting
  • Social Responsible Investment
  • Pricing

Practice-oriented courses

  • Soft Skills in Professional Services
  • Transactions and Due Diligence Insights
  • External Audit
  • Financial Communication
  • Strategic Consulting: Problem Solving Method
  • Controlling in the Manufacturing Sector
  • Analytical System Re-Engineering

DSCG track

  • ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Mastering & Auditing IT Risks
  • Contemporary Debates in Global Economy, Politics and Society.

Academic Team


  • Hélène Löning, Academic Director, Associate Professor at HEC Paris
  • Sebastian Becker, Assistant Professor at HEC Paris
  • Carine Boiteau, Visiting Professor (Paris V University)
  • Christine Guerlain, Affiliate Professor at HEC Paris
  • Karen Guidé, Professor at HEC Paris
  • Alexandre Lamy, Affiliate Professor at HEC Paris
  • Cédric Lesage, Associate Professor at HEC Paris
  • Véronique Malleret, Professor at HEC Paris
  • Afshin Mehrpouya, Assistant Professor at HEC Paris
  • Joseph Nehme, Affiliate Professor at HEC Paris
  • Martine Rossetti, Affiliate Professor at HEC Paris
  • Nicole Stolowy, Professor at HEC Paris

Outside Instructors

  • Céline Appel, Senior Manager in the Transaction Services Department of PwC
  • Laurent Bertrand and Jean-Marc Vinot, consultants at AFTE
  • Louis Bollaert, Sales Teams Manager at Euler Hermes
  • Yann Dufief, in charge of corporate ERP coordination for Saint-Gobain Group
  • Emmanuelle Fines Laurent, IT Organization & Governance Director for Saint-Gobain Group DSI
  • Erwan Garret,  Advisory – EY
  • Peter Harbula, Executive Director of Corporate Finance of the Edenred Group
  • Christophe Marion, Public Accountant and International Auditor
  • Quentin Lambert, McKinsey
  • Fanny Najmann, Senior Consultant in Management Control
  • Sophie de Oliveira Bretxa, Civil Engineer, Chartered Accountant & Auditor
  • Olivier Piazza, Executive Coach specialized in leadership development, team dynamics and change facilitation
  • Christian Pajot, Partner in charge of Deloitte Finance’s valuation and modelling practice
  • Pierre Phan Van Phi, Chief Operating Officer for EY
  • Franck Quentin, former Director at Ernst & Young specialized in corporate valuation
  • Bénédicte Thibord, Head of Corporate Access and Client Management at CA Cheuvreux and Global Head of SmartConnect Services at Kepler Cheuvreux
  • David Willems, Partner in the Transaction Services Department of PwC in Paris.