Tuesday, 23 August 2016

How I found my first internship at ESSEC

by Sumesh Lund
I am a first year MSc in Management student at ESSEC. By way of background I am a Computer Science Engineer from India. After completing my Engineering degree I worked at BNP Paribas as a Software Developer for about two years. Currently, I am doing an internship as a Risk Data Analyst at Société Générale, Paris. I will continue to work with Société Générale as an apprentice from July 2016.

I came to France in August 2015, but even two months before that, I wasn’t even sure that I would be able to make it to France. Most students from middle-class background understand how hard it can get when you want to fund your entire studies yourself. Nevertheless, I came here with a plan. 
"Unlike most students I wasn't just looking for experience of a job fair: I was looking for a job!"
The plan was an ambitious and usual one which most students follow. I knew that with the flexibility ESSEC provides, I would succeed if I work hard. From my experience at BNP Paribas, I knew that I wanted to work in Finance Sector.

I was admitted at ESSEC in the very first round, which gave me a lot of time to research. I got in touch with some current students and alumni who helped me immensely during this period. During my research, I found that ESSEC has a finance fair in October a couple of months after we were scheduled to arrive. I knew this would be a great opportunity. Being the first job fair, unlike most students I wasn’t just looking for experience of a job fair: I was looking for a job!
"I learned from my mistakes each time I went up and spoke to someone"
After attending various talks by the Career Services at ESSEC, I came up with a strategy for the job fair. I decided to first approach the banks which I knew wouldn’t have roles that I was interested in. This would give me an experience of how to interact with them without any real harm at my chances. Once I had mastered the tactics, I approached the banks I was interested in. I started my day at about 9am, and by 11am I had spoken with more than 5 banks already. The first two talks didn’t even last for 30 seconds. But I learned from my mistakes each time I went up and spoke to someone. That was the advantage of having so many banks. In fact, I met with an alumnus of ESSEC who was there representing a bank and asked for some advice. And voila, I was ready to approach the banks I was interested to work for. Soon I got a couple of leads which I had to follow up. And even though this may sound like a fairy tale, Société Générale (where I am currently working) was the last bank I approached that day!
"...I had almost given up hope and started applying through online portals..."
I wasn’t sure that getting only two leads from more than 6 banks was good enough, but nonetheless I followed up on those leads on the same night. I didn’t get a reply for about a week. At this moment, I had almost given up hope and started applying through online portals and other channels. But after about 15 days, I got a call during a lecture from an unknown number. It could’ve been anyone, but my heart was racing like a Ferrari. If this was a football field, I would have crossed my classmates like Messi would pass across all the defenders! I couldn’t pick up that call, but I had a voicemail in French which I thought said that they’re calling from Société Générale and wanted to schedule an interview. I ran to one of my French friends and asked him to confirm the same. And there it was, my first interview call. The next month was occupied with interviews and online tests but I made through this opportunity to start my internship in January, just 4 months after coming to France!

From being the student ambassador to my first internship in France, it has been a joyride. My Return on Investment is more than 100% in less than one year. I was able to make some amazing friends, learn from the best professors around the world and travel to the most beautiful places in Europe all within this one year. To all the people who always ask me “Why France?” or “Why ESSEC”, I would like to ask “Well. Why not?!”