The financial services sector is one of the most important and influential industries in the world today. In this article, INSEAD's Career Services team provides important insights into this sector and how INSEAD helps to connect its students with potential employers.
What is the financial services sector?
Kynan Lee, Assistant Director and Employer Engagement at INSEAD, explains, “Financial services is split into many areas. Within banking, we have consumer banking, corporate banking, investment banking, digital banking, and many different back-office functions.
Within the asset management space - let’s say within private equity and VC - we have investment roles, fundraising roles, and value creation roles, which require more consulting skills. And then if you talk about fintech and digital banking roles, there are also many product manager roles like digital design, user interface, and business development."
In recent years, the finance sector has experienced digital transformation on a massive level. “We’re seeing a lot of jobs come up from digital banking,” Kynan confirms.
“The future is going to be more tech-focused, including digital transformation."
Kynan also notes the rise of family offices, private wealth management, and venture capital, expanding the spectrum of financial services beyond traditional banking.
How the INSEAD MIM prepares you for a career in financial services
The INSEAD MIM has a strong academic foundation with a core curriculum covering a wide range of fundamental business topics, including Financial and Managerial Accounting and Valuation.
Woven into the curriculum are two-week “practical learning” modules, where students have the chance to apply classroom learnings into real-life situations.
Those interested in pursuing a career in financial services might find the second module particularly helpful, which focuses on project and company valuation.
Increasingly centered around digital, the financial services sector is also fast-moving and ever-changing. Here, it comes in handy that the INSEAD MIM places a strong emphasis on digital and big data - offering deep dives into topics like machine learning - as well as international experience. Through group work and international study trips, the program enables its students to build cross-cultural, global management skills and adapt to the global nature of doing business today.
INSEAD: Opening doors to global opportunities
“INSEAD is one of the pioneers of the one-year MBA,” declares Zeynep Flouret, Head of INSEAD Employer Engagement for Europe/Americas. “So we have lots of experience in designing fast-paced programmes, which now also includes the INSEAD MIM. This setting is in fact ideal to train students to perform well in dynamic sectors like Investment Banking and Private Equity.
Every year, we receive great feedback from financial services organisations about their engagements with high-potential INSEAD candidates.
"Our alumni tell me that our students can prioritise, solve problems, and perform well under pressure."
To further expand the opportunities for students, the CDC organises Investment Banking Career Treks which partners bulge brackets and boutique banks, and offers individual and sector-specific career coaching.
“Our students are ready to perform well during interviews as ‘personality and motivation’ are as important as top analytical skills to break into financial services,” Zeynep adds.
David Kitterick, INSEAD MBA '08D alumnus and current Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, confirms, “We see a huge amount of value in the INSEAD people, and we’ve consistently hired probably more people from INSEAD than most other business schools in Europe."
Networking is key
While students are often focused on finding internships and full-time employment, Kynan argues, “Good jobs come actually not through applying to job portals, but the best jobs come through good engagements. This means really getting to know people and leaving a positive impression because people like to work with good people that they are sure of. So when we talk about engagement, networking is really the key skill that comes to mind.”
INSEAD’s Career Development Center offers a variety of networking opportunities to students, from virtual career fairs to monthly panel discussions with companies.
On top of these networking events, INSEAD also hosts other events and competitions, like the Startup and Scale-up Forum (SSCF) and pitch competitions hosted by the Entrepreneurship Club. There’s also the INSEAD Private Equity Club (IPEC), the Investment Banking Club, the Blockchain and FinTech Club, and the Real Estate Club (and more).
“As you can see,” Kynan says, “there are a lot of different opportunities that you can get involved with and there will be lots of engagement opportunities during your time at INSEAD."