How do you convert your investment banking internship into a full-time job? The person with the key to the process is seemingly a former Barclays vice president who's currently an associate professor of finance at HEC in Paris.
Ferdinand Petra worked for Barclays and JPMorgan before joining HEC as a visiting lecturer in corporate finance in 2012.
This year, Petra says that 97% of the combined HEC students with a finance major and pupils on the Masters in International Finance course, received a job offer from their banking internships. They interned everywhere from Goldman Sachs to Morgan Stanley, Perella Weinberg and Barclays itself.
Speaking to eFC, Petra declined to comment on the number of HEC students in the sample, but he did offer some insights into why they did so well (typically only 70-80% of summer interns receive invitations to return full time).
Firstly, Petra said HEC's Masters students receive a blend of teaching from, "world-class researchers and influential industry practitioners," making them unusually prepared for jobs. Secondly they're all very smart and talented to begin with. And thirdly HEC has a strong emphasis on diversity: "At HEC Paris, as a whole, 18% of our students have need-based scholarships. ”
It's not just this, though. Petra said that HEC also offers alumni mentoring for its Masters in Finance students and that this makes all the difference. "It really helps for them to have a conversation with people who went through the application process and had their first steps in the job previously. It also helps them to understand more about the bank, the culture, the teams... To be successful, you need to be yourself and enjoy your role. You will only succeed in a job you like.”
For students who don't have this kind of mentoring laid on, the implication is that it makes sense to try and find someone currently working for a bank who can offer you insights on what it's really like and how to maximize the potential of the internship.
Petra also noted that HEC's Paris students are still keen to work for banks in London. "London is still the number one place where our students want to go. Paris and Continental Europe finance cities are becoming more popular, but our students – who are very international, in a programme taught in English – are still very attracted by London." He notes that it helps that London is where most of big banks' graduate programmes still take place in Europe.
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