Sylvain Jérôme: success story in London

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Like many graduates of the MBA Institute/INSEEC Bachelor, Sylvain Jérôme (class of 2007) chose to build his career internationally. He currently works in the investment and project finance subsidiary of the Crédit Agricole Group. The beginning of a success story in London! Testimonial.

My journey at the MBA Institute/INSEEC Bachelor

The international dimension of the school, the quality of the teaching staff, as well as the warm recommendations of a friend who had followed this program, convinced me to join the MBA Institute/INSEEC Bachelor in 2003. After a general business apprenticeship, punctuated by internships in telemarketing and then in an accounting firm, my preference for quantitative subjects became obvious. Thus, I had the opportunity to study for a semester in the USA, at the University of Florida whose finance program had an excellent reputation. When I returned from the United States, I was able to put my knowledge into practice through a first internship in a bank as a financial analyst. In my last year, I naturally started a finance major, before doing my end-of-school internship in the sales team of a Parisian asset management company.

As I didn’t feel ready to enter the professional world at the end of this internship, I preferred to prolong my learning by doing a Master 2 in Banking-Finance (Paris II Panthéon-Assas).

What do you remember from your student years?

Attendance at the MBA Institute/INSEEC Bachelor was very heterogeneous, but this melting pot of students and professors from all walks of life made for a dynamic and stimulating atmosphere. The many group sessions often led to lively and productive discussions, which resulted in some of the best presentations I have ever seen.

I also have fond memories of the teachers who, although intimidating because of their professional backgrounds, were happy to make time for students seeking advice. Some of my schoolmates remain close friends today, despite their often distant backgrounds and directions.

What was the added value of your curriculum in this success story in London?

The possibility of bilingual teaching in French and English allows students to apply for positions in international environments. The English vocabulary acquired during the MBA Institute/INSEEC Bachelor program has enabled me to make the difference in interviews on several occasions, and remains for me the key asset of this training.

What advice could you give to the new classes about their choices during their studies (internships, semester abroad, major)?

The professors are a great source of knowledge, and their academic and professional experiences have often been a great help in my choice of internships and orientation. Students may not always realize the privileged access they have to teachers. Choosing a career is too important to miss out on sound advice. My advice would be to make the most of the time they have in school to regularly discuss with the teachers the different academic and professional options that will present themselves in the short, medium, and long term.

How long did it take to get your first job?

Although I had completed my Master’s degree in a French university, I still had the “MBA Institute/INSEEC fiber” pushing me to try my luck abroad. I went to London for my end-of-study internship, as soon as I finished my master’s exams. The internship contract was quickly transformed into a VIE (a kind of French graduate program), then into a permanent contract.

What is your job today? What are your main missions?

I currently work for the Corporate & Investment Bank of the Crédit Agricole Group in London and am part of the department in charge of infrastructure finance. The objective of this department is to advise the bank’s clients and to help them in the completion of their investments in projects such as highways, airports, hospitals, railroads, etc. Our team is active in Europe and the Middle East, and finances acquisitions of infrastructure already in operation as well as new projects to be built.

According to you, what elements of your curriculum, your personality, your network, have guided your career towards this profession?

The different internships I was able to do during my studies allowed me to refine my preferences and to better choose the direction I wanted to take. My first professional experiences lacked, to my taste, concrete application. I was therefore looking for a field that combined (i) the application of my financial skills, (ii) an engagement where the outcome would be visible/tangible, and (iii) an international exhibition.

During a career forum recommended by several of my professors(, I had the opportunity to speak with different companies promoting jobs related to project finance. This field, especially when applied to infrastructure, was what I was looking for. I therefore spontaneously applied to various industry players, focusing mainly on French banks, which are among the industry leaders and all have a strong international presence. At that time, Crédit Agricole CIB was looking for an intern to join the Infrastructure team in London, and that’s how, after a few rounds of interviews, my career in project finance started.

Updated 24 February 2022