Equity Research Analyst at Citigroup, London
MFE, Class of 2008. Previously at University of Strathclyde
With Economics you learn things which you can guarantee will be always useful
I am originally from Romania. Before HEC, I did two years of preparatory classes at Lycée Chateaubriand in Rennes. I chose Economics as I thought that it was a topic that a graduate from a business school would come across every single day in their future professional career. Secondly, I did not want to specialize immediately in a field like marketing or finance as I was not 100% sure of what I was going to do after my graduation in terms of my first job.
From a professional perspective, HEC taught me how to analyze situations from a theoretical point of view and try to formalize general ideas into numbers, variables, models etc. I had a bunch of great and inspiring teachers who also helped me in developing other skills, such as common sense, curiosity and a ‘critical’ eye on things; skills which are continually valuable in my job and in everyday life. Among all the courses, I found that ‘Country Risk Analysis’ and 'Economics of Banking' were both very inspiring.
As for conferences, the Teach-in on the subprime crisis (when we were in the middle of it) with Patrick Artus (chief economist at Natixis) was the best for me. With regards to the social aspect at HEC, I think that the ‘Pow’s’ (Party of the Week) and the ‘Dinners’ were a lot of fun. There was a very good mix of Grande Ecole and international people with whom I still keep in touch with.
My job consists of analyzing listed companies and predicting earnings and cash flows based on internal company models. On the back of these earning forecasts the aim is to produce a valuation for the stock price and to come up with buy/sell recommendations for the investors based on market misprices which produce investment opportunities. I specialize in the Telecoms and Satellite sector and look at stocks like France Telecom, Vodafone, Eutelsat, Inmarsat etc. My client base includes institutional investors based in London, Brussels, Milan, the US or Latin America and I often travel to see clients for investor days or bespoke client trips.
I would advise you to not feel obliged to specialize in finance during your last year at HEC in order to get your first job in Equity Research with an investment bank when you graduate. With Economics you learn things which you can guarantee will be always useful, from understanding a newspaper article or a candidate's electoral program ahead of an elections year.