Class of 2014
from University of St. Gallen
Internship experience in Strategy Consulting at Horvath & Parteners Management Consultants, Frankfurt
I was looking for a challenging master’s degree in a reputable institution with a strong focus on quantitative skills. The MSc in International Finance (MIF) represented this to the full extent.
- According to you, how did studying a MSc in Finance help you become a consultant?
After academic training in undergraduate business administration at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) and various internships (investment banking, private equity and consulting), I decided to pursue a career in consulting. Before embarking on such a goal, I was looking for a challenging master’s degree in a reputable institution with a strong focus on quantitative skills. The MSc in International Finance (MIF) provided this to the full extent.
I was particularly drawn to three aspects of the program. First, the broad spectrum of core-courses and electives covered contents and methodologies relevant to a career in consulting. The Oliver Wyman Strategy Consulting Course for example enabled me to apply strategic management concepts to real-word cases of the finance industry. Second, the strong focus on team work with students from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds provided me with the opportunity to work in different cultural contexts and gain an inter-disciplinary approach to problem solving. Third, I greatly benefited from the program’s focus on quantitative training. Such exposure helped me excel not only in consulting interviews, but will prove to be invaluable in my future dealings with clients as a consultant.
Eventually, HEC’s brand and the unmatched reputation of the MIF program, the career service with its numerous events (e.g. Consulting Forum) and former MIF students who work in consulting provided a crucial push during my job search
- Could you explain the decision you made when choosing between starting a career in consulting or in the Investment Banking Division?
I based my decision on my personal experience in internships in both M&A and Consulting as well as on feedback from friends who work in the respective fields. The key points were that both are great opportunities to start a career if one is looking for a steep learning curve, both offer the chance to work in teams with very smart and ambitious people, and that even in strategy consulting, a specialization and/or exposure to corporate finance topics is possible and with a MIF background, it is very likely.
In consulting I found myself more continuously analytically challenged, had greater exposure to team work and felt that the work content was overall richer in variety. Furthermore, I am convinced that working with clients from day one, a privilege not awarded to entry-level investment bankers, will contribute in an unparalleled manner to my personal growth. And lastly, I experienced that consulting offers a better work-life balance.
- Did you find living on campus important for personal networking with other students?
If I compare the experience at HEC with my previous universities, I would agree that it certainly helps to live on campus in order to get to know your class and people from other programs very quickly. Since the program runs for only ten months, having your peers around all the time is a great opportunity.
The introduction week for international students, weekly parties on campus, a great variety of sport teams as well as other associations certainly enriched the campus life experience.