Armel: his American career in finance

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Armel Ahidazan, on the right, is a graduate of the MSc Corporate Finance and Financial Engineering. He is currently working in the US as a Junior Finance Manager at BP2S – BNP Paribas Securities Services. From his New York office, he tells us about his career path and goals.


What are your daily missions?

I work in duo with Geoffroy GUEZ (CFO of BP2S Americas) on multiple topics related to finance and strategy.

We have a wide range of assignments from managing the North and South American workforce, to validating, integrating or implementing a new business/client/entity within our scope. For example, we recently worked on the creation and integration of a new hub in Denver (200 new employees and 3 new activities). A large part of this management involves the financial analysis of our various activities.


What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

My favorite aspect is definitely the fact that I have a global view of BNP’s activities and challenges. This involves exposure to a great deal of confidential strategic information and a direct link to top management. Rigor is therefore essential for this type of position.


What was your background before getting this job in the US? How did you get it?

Previously, I worked in the Operations Department of Natixis in Paris and also in the Finance Department of Ferrero International in Luxembourg. To get my current position, I went through the classic process of applying on the BNP Paribas website. After more than three months of interviews, I was the successful candidate for the position. Three more months were needed to set up all the logistics for my arrival in the USA such as visa, accommodation, luggage moving etc.


Why did you choose the Corporate Finance and Financial Engineering specialization?

I chose this specialty because it is a comprehensive program. It allows you to develop soft and hard skills simultaneously. In addition, the modules were all taught by professional speakers who were extremely competent and willing to take the time to support us on both academic and non-academic subjects. I would like to specifically mention the director of my program, Jean Philippe BELLANDO, and the tutor of my thesis, Christel MONNET, who have both particularly marked my time at INSEEC with their support.


What were your objectives in joining the INSEEC MSc & MBA? Were they satisfied?

My main objective in joining the INSEEC MSc & MBA was to come out of my training with sufficient knowledge and skills to hold a position in the finance sector like the one I currently hold. Objectives that I believe have been achieved.


What was the added value of this training for you in terms of your professional career?

The first added value is the possibility of doing a sandwich course. This is the type of curriculum I chose, which allows me to evolve both academically and professionally.

The other added value is the role-playing exercises such as the business games.  For me, this is a very important parameter of the training. They allow interaction with other functions present in each company (Sales, HR, Marketing…). In addition, these business games are supervised by speakers who also have a professional and practical vision, which gives a direct insight into what the job market is looking for.


Do you have any advice for students who want to have a career in this industry?

Finance and more precisely the financial markets are disciplines that will never disappear. That being said, these are also sectors that are undergoing total restructuring.

We often hear about digitalization, robotization and transparency of financial information, I think it is at the heart of banks that these changes are most striking. It seems obvious that we will not be able to do the same job for our entire career. In this sense, a sustainable and changing industry is in my opinion the best environment to evolve with change.

The advice I can give to students is to stay informed on a continuous basis, on the financial markets and on current events in general, because the two are closely linked. And above all to stay focused on their goals. The diploma they will obtain upon graduating from INSEEC MSc & MBA is not an end in itself but simply the beginning of their, hopefully, excellent career. So stay focused on your goals.


How do you see the next step in your professional career?

A professional career is always different from what you imagine. It is very often punctuated by difficulties. It is then necessary to know how to evolve and seize the best of each situation. I’d rather not get ahead of myself. I would then just say that I have big goals that I hope to achieve (finger crossed).”

Updated 24 February 2022