Developing an International Career in Corporate Finance, December 15th 2014
A few months after “Chasseurs, Mode d’Emploi” in May, this second conference about the do’s and dont’s when interacting with Executive Search firms was held in English - a first for HEC Finance d’Entreprise, and a successful one : over 40 people attended.
The conference, hosted by DS Avocats and facilitated by Cyril BUZUT (H.94), presented both the executive search consultant’s view and the corporate finance client’s view.
Alain AMIEL, CFO GE Capital SAS and Productivity Leader GE Capital International, talked about the challenges and benefits of an international career, based on his experience within GE – a truly international company. In GE the culture is meritocratic: it’s not about who you know or where you studied, it’s about what you can do. So no certainty… but a lot of opportunities to re-invent oneself. Companies look for people who can easily adapt, which is a capacity you develop and prove in an international career.
Jeremy ALDERWICK, Founding Director of Alderwick Consulting, London, fully corroborates this view. For companies, it is not difficult to recruit smart talent, the challenge is to deploy experienced talent globally. For international roles, they recruit candidates based on achievements, or sometimes even more: “a bet on achievements”. In Jeremy’s experience, French candidates focus too much on hierarchy (“how big is my team?”) and not enough on achievements – up to the point that it is sometimes difficult, for the executive search consultant, to identify them from the resume!
Building an international mindset and allowing for diversity is key – a point that some French companies seem to have missed, as illustrated by a few press clippings. Jeremy further illustrated his point by having the audience read and vote on several resumes. His advice for International resume is without picture, marital status or age, all detailed in no more and no less than 2 pages.
Sophie TURPIN, also from Alderwick Consulting, gave useful advice about building an effective online profile (there are 350 M people on LinkedIn, how do you show up?) and preparing for interviews (the STAR model : Situation, Task, Action, Result).
The speakers’ final advice: leave the safe route, take some risks! When considering an international position, don’t ask “where is the job” or “what is the pay” - think about “what impact will I have”. To quote Sheryl Sandberg : “if you are offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat, just get on !”
After a very open Q&A session, conversations continued in the lounge where drinks were served – thank you to DS Avocats and to our fellow alumnus Bernard TEZE (H.85) for their hospitality!