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What it’s like to work in Asset Management in Paris as an international Student from China

One of our ESSEC Transaction members is sharing his experience about his internship in Asset Management at BNP Paribas in Paris!

Internship: 6-month Off-Cycle at BNP Paribas, Asset Management in Paris

Background: ASTi Grande Ecole, male from China, previous internship experience: KPMG summer audit intern, CFA Level II Passed

How did you find the job offer? What was the application process like?

I saw this offer on the ESSEC Chine google mailing list. One ex-member did the internship and distributed the offer.

I sent my CV and motivation letter to the Responsible Person and then had two rounds of interviews.

How did you prepare for the interviews?

I spent most of my time improving my French and had a mock interview in French with my friends. That helped a lot.

I participated in a buy-side report competition called CFA International Research Challenge with 4 excellent ESSEC students. We spent three months to write an initial coverage of a French Group and did a presentation in front of 4 experienced investors. So during the interview, when I showed our report to the managers, they were quite interested and asked me a lot of questions about that company.

How did a day in your internship look like?

We have routine works like update the target price for Portfolio Managers, issuing monthly, quarterly performance reports. Besides, as an intern, I also have a chance to do the initial coverage for a target company. That’s the cool part of the job and I learnt a lot from the seniors.

What was the biggest challenge during your internship? What did you like the most?

Finance classes at ESSEC, even the guide books of CFA Level I & II are not very practical because the annual reports of many companies can be really picky. The biggest challenge for me is how to apply what you learn at school in reality. When you call the investor relations person of the company, it’s not all about the answer they gave you, but also about the mood and the attitude when they replied. This is also the part I like the most. Investments are not all about numbers, but also about people.

What is it like to work as an international student in Paris?

Very painful if you don’t speak French.

Do you have any recommendations for people who are aiming for an internship as an international student in France or for an internship in Asset Management?

Apply for the CFA Exams as soon as possible. If you passed Level II or even Level I, it will be a big advantage. Almost all portfolio managers are CFA Chartholders in my team. I know it’s kind of boring to spend lots of time on three Exams, but if you really like Asset Management, you have to finish the CFA Exams to become an official Chartholder.

Thank you a lot for your time and Good Luck for the future !

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