Class of 2014
from Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven
Internship experience in the Asset Management Competence Center at KPMG, Brussels
The MIF program really challenged me intellectually and by doing so, it got me even more passionate and eager to work in this field
- What were some of the highlights of your Master program?
When I arrived on campus in September, I started the Master in International Finance with very high expectations of the program. Now as I’m leaving I have to admit that the HEC Paris community and the MIF master in particular have not only met my expectations but have by far exceeded them. Often in ways I wouldn’t have even guessed.
One of the first highlights of the program was the study trip to London. Only a few weeks into the program we were already completely submerged in the world of finance; meeting finance professionals and discussing relevant events in the (financial) world with professors, HEC Paris alumni and fellow students.
The broad and often very interesting background of the international students in the program is one of its main assets. While almost everyone in the program has different professional and educational experiences they have a few things in common. They often excelled in whatever was their previous field; they have a positive vibe for finance and a strong drive in life (sports, business…). The program really succeeds in forming this mix of people into an international community with a very strong group atmosphere.
The most remarkable highlight for me however was the way in which this program prepared me for a career in “the world of finance”. The MIF program really challenged me intellectually and by doing so, it made me even more passionate and eager to work in this field. (Making the fact that the program is a great entry in this competitive field an extra plus).
If anyone would have told me how many nights I was going to spent in a small class room with some classmates working on a challenging project I would have thought they were crazy. I was going to spend my time in Paris in other ways, but looking back I have to admit it actually was great and incomparable to anything I had done before. Working on challenging assignments with interesting people really gave me an extraordinary and fun learning experience. So here’s to those great nights I do remember, but will never forget.
- How would you describe students-professors relations at HEC Paris?
There are 2 main things that characterize the professors at HEC Paris.
The first is their extraordinary level of expertise. A professor has either remarkable business experience or outstanding academic accomplishments. This allows them to keep the students up-to-date with all relevant business/finance news and go in deeper on those topics for which a bigger interest from the students exists. It is very hard to not get affected by their knowledge and passion and in general their accomplishments lead to a certain level of respect from the students, which only further stimulates the learning process.
Secondly their commitment to and general interest in the students is really remarkable. The professors try to share their experiences and help the students wherever possible. This can be by further explaining a task or lecture but often also involves general career advice or specific job application tips and do’s/don’ts. The traditional students-professor relationship can be bent for the benefit of the student. More than a traditional professor, they try to act as mentors and make the HEC MIF program only the first step of many in your career in finance. A very important aspect in this is the small class size, which allows a more personal approach.
I will never forget how one of my professors made it his personal mission to help us in our job search. He kept up-to-date (often over lunch) with how each student’s search was going and gave very valuable tips regarding specific applications whenever possible (or needed). And whilst it may be not completely unusual that another one of my professors used to take me out for a walk to explain a topic, this was a completely new way of learning for me and also very efficient.
- How does HEC alumni network help in investment banking recruiting process?
Of all the strengths of HEC and the Master in International Finance, the HEC alumni network is perhaps the most extraordinary one. It gives you an advantage even before the recruitment process has started by helping you make a well-reasoned career choice. On multiple occasions I had the opportunity to hear the experiences that alumni’s have had in all different fields within finance.
As the investment banking recruiting process gets really underway the HEC alumni network further shows its value. More information on recruitment techniques, specific roles or financial institutions can be easily obtained through the HEC alumni network. While this may sound either unbelievable or cliché as soon as you join HEC you become part of a family which means that other HEC students and alumni will find it little effort to do whatever needed to help you during this (often stressful) process. The experience and push offered by this network gives an invaluable edge.