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France's finest finance students still chasing jobs in London

Paris is Europe's new and most shiny financial centre. And HEC is one of France's finest educational establishment for students looking for finance jobs. But HEC students still want to work in London most of all. 

Ferdinand Petra, associate professor of finance at HEC and a former VP at Barclays in Paris, says that around 40% of HEC's Masters in Finance students and students majoring in finance are interning in London this summer. 25% are in Paris, The remaining 35% are dispersed around the world. 

"When I look at where our students want to work, the vast majority are still applying to summer programs in London. At that level, there’s no huge switch to Paris,” says Petra.  “Students see that London is still the central hub for banking jobs. However, Paris has become the continental European hub. When you start your career, London is still the best place for networking.” 

Students' preference for London comes as Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and others banks continue expanding in the French capital. Morgan Stanley, for example, is already advertising 2024 off-cycle internships for sales and trading and investment banking. 

While HEC students are unquestionably interested in London, Petra says they're far less enthusiastic about Frankfurt. “When Brexit first took place, everyone thought Frankfurt would be the big winner, but that hasn’t happened. If our (non-German) students can’t work in London or Paris, they mostly want to work in Hong Kong or New York.”

HEC students famously convert a high proportion of their banking internships into full time jobs. Petra said this is because HEC students are not only academically excellent but used to work in teams. "They understand that banking is a people business, and this makes all the difference," he says. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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