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NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

Dear MSc Finance Alumni, At the end of November, we had our final exam boards meaning that we have now welcomed to the MSc Finance alumni community Grenoble intake 5 and London intake 4 students. Congratulations to these new graduates that have worked very hard on their dissertations over the last year. In this Newsletter, you will find information about your program electives: we will run next April a new “Project Finance” elective. You will also meet with two alumni (Florian from London 3 and Brjann from Grenoble 4) that have accepted to tell us (almost) everything about their lives before, during and after the MSc Finance. More Alumni interviews to follow in our next newsletters. Finally, we will give you some information about the newly opened GEM finance community, publications from your professors at GGSB and the March 2013 Graduation ceremony and Gala. This Newsletter is for you. So let us know what you think about it, information that you’d like to get etc… I wish you a merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2013 for you and your dear ones. Kind regards,

Stephanie Boyer

CONTENT Electives News - Alumni Success Stories - News from your Faculty CIMA - GEM Finance Community - Graduation Ceremony


NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

Electives News We will be delivering a new elective on Project Finance for the first time in April 2013. It will be taught in London by a project finance professional (CFA charter holder, currently working in Project Finance for Societe Generale) and students from all locations (Grenoble, Singapore and London) could attend. 30 out of our 100 students this year have decided to take it. 40 students have chosen the IT tools for market finance elective (delivered in Grenoble or in London) where they will study financial modelling using VBA and trading on the Bloomberg trading platform. The remaining 30 students have decided to follow the Financial Management elective (in Grenoble or Singapore) where they will develop short term cash management skills and advanced strategic controlling competences. Project Finance is typically used to fund large greenfield projects such as building infrastructures in sectors including transport, energy, oil & gas, mining, telecommunications and public utilities. Unlike classic corporate lending where the ultimate credit rationale resides on the creditworthiness of the borrower, under Project Finance structures lenders have recourse primarily to the revenue stream of the project or asset they are financing, rather than to the balance sheet of the sponsor. This area of finance is developing at a fast pace as governmental funding of large infrastructure projects is reducing. This 30 hours module covers the fundamentals of Project Finance including: Overview of Project Finance: What it is Advantages and disadvantages Description of a typical transaction, including key parties Understanding key project risks: Risk identification Mitigating and managing project risks Evaluating / structuring a project: Overview of the credit process up to financial close Credit risk appraisal – general considerations Financial structure, financial ratios and sensitivity analysis Financial documentation: Review of the main financial documents and their key terms. This module is practical, based on concrete examples and cases. It offers a solid background to students considering a job in Project Finance, either in a firm, in a bank or in an infrastructure fund. This new elective will definitely enhance our student’s chances to work in Project Finance teams.



NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

Alumni Success Stories… some news from you! One of our MSc Finance 7 Grenoble students, Anthony Abou Khater is our new program ambassador and has started to interview our Alumni. We are very pleased to share with you their experiences.

Florian PELLEGRINI MSc Finance London 2009-2011 Tell us about yourself: career and education background. If you had the opportunity to start over again, what would you change? Before joining the MSc in Finance in London, I was part of the Grande Ecole Programme. At that time, I had a one-year experience in Capital Markets as Derivatives Sales Assistant in France and the United Kingdom at BNP Paribas. Right after the MSc, my previous team offered me to come back for a 16-month fixed-term contract (VIE). I received a permanent job offer after 12 months and joined the Rates Derivatives Sales team in Milan in October 2011.

What are the possible next steps for you? I cover a portfolio of Italian Large Corporates and for this reason I am in touch with corporate treasuries on a daily basis. As I strongly believe that several years are necessary to build strong relationships and GGSB MSc IN FINANCE

reach an appropriate level of expertise in a particular area, my short-term objectives are basically learning from the bank’s senior staff and from my clients. I hope that following this approach, I would be able in the long term to jump into a more general role within the bank such as Senior Banker or to a corporate treasury department. What is it that attracts and excites you the most about Finance? What inspires you to continue working in it? Finance provides an unlimited source of information and there is always an exciting topic to read about (in particular in the current context). Working on strategic transactions is also one of my main motivations. What do you do to keep your financial skills up to date? What do you read? What are your Financial Associations memberships? Do you regularly attend seminars and conferences? I always try to have the meaning of every financial word/ concept that I don’t know


NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

Alumni Success Stories… some news from you! explained by a specialist within the bank. Market standards are continuously changing and it is essential in this context to have an updated knowledge. I participate to both internal and external seminars as much as I can.

What are your most memorable moments at GGSB? I really liked discovering trendy and original places in London with my classmates and gathering around a beer in the pub near the school.

Is there something that worries you about the financial industry? The financial industry has been severely hit since 2007 but I am sure that we will see better days in the near future.

What advice do you have for the 2012-2013 MSc in Finance students? Enjoy the student life and don’t hesitate to widen your job search.

What, in your opinion, are the skills required to become a high performing finance professional? To me, commitment, curiosity and rigor are the most important qualities to succeed in finance. What would be a typical working day for you? A typical vacation day? I start at 8.30am and read the most recent research papers and top news. After that, there is nothing typical as it mostly depends on clients’ needs and upcoming meetings. It is quite unusual to have lunch outside the office as the desk must be covered at all time should a client call to execute a transaction. Usually, I leave the office at around 8pm.



NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

Alumni Success Stories… some news from you! Brjánn BJARNASON MSc Finance Grenoble 2009-2011 Tell us about yourself: career and education background. If you had the opportunity to start over again, what would y o u c h a n g e ? I did my undergraduate studies in industrial engineering and I hold a BSc from the University of Iceland. During my engineering studies, I worked part time as a teacher in math and computers in my old high school, I also spent two years teaching full time after I graduated. I had always more interest in finance and economics than designing pipes and ventilation systems. I therefore decided to try learning some economics as I knew very little about finance. I was then lucky as shortly afterwards I was offered to join the Financial Advisory Team at Deloitte. I spent one year with Deloitte and subsequently went on to Glitnir Bank where I was trusted with the responsibility of implementing a Risk Management system for their fund unit. I spent two eventful years at Glitnir Bank through the Icelandic financial crash. One year after the crash I decided to move to Grenoble and finish my post-graduate studies. After my year in France I returned to Iceland and took on the role of an account manager and later Director in the Asset Management


department of Kaupthing hf. Kaupthing was one of Iceland’s fallen banks so it is essentially in wind-up proceedings.

Therefore you could say that my role is to make myself redundant by selling the assets I’m taking care of to maximize recovery for creditors. It is however a very complicated process which is anticipated to last for some more years. I don’t think I would change much in my career to date. Even though my engineering studies are not directly related to my current profession it did provide me with excellent analytical foundation. What are the possible next steps for you? As my current role is by nature not a future role I am currently mostly focused on the various projects I am dealing with from day to day. I also aim to try to start the process of passing the CFA tests in the year of 2013. My short term objective is therefore to try and get as much experience and contacts in my current role to prepare myself for life after Kaupthing. In the long-term I am aiming to establish myself in an exciting company with good growth potentials for both myself and the firm. I am always open to new challenges and I would consider most aspect of investment banking, management consulting and every


NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

Alumni Success Stories‌ some news from you! other role offering me exciting challenges and future prospects.

What is it that attracts and excites you the most about Finance? What inspires you to continue working in it? I love the diversity finance offers. In my current role I am using the various tools and methods I learned at GGSB, but how those tools are applied depends so heavily on the sector you are working with. For example it is not enough to know the formula to calculate WACC, you have to have an opinion of so many other things which depend on the sector and region of the entity in question. Also, it is not a problem to create a functional DCF model, but the tricky part is to understand the core of the underlying business to get a result that makes sense. Without such insights the tools are worthless. In Finance you have to combine the use capabilities from many different areas. To be good at finance you really need to combine your analytical skills with your understanding of economics, accounting and in general the mechanics of the global economy.

What do you do to keep your financial skills up to date? What do you read? What are your Financial Associations memberships? Do you regularly attend seminars and conferences? I use many of the skills I learned in my daily work so to some extent I maintain and improve my knowledge every day. I also do a lot of


reading and I am a fan of financial literature and I always have at least one such book on my nightstand. I also love to read good articles from knowledgeable writers, unfortunately I don’t have the time to read them all but two of my favorites are John Mauldin and the writers at GaveKal. To date I have not attended any seminars after my graduation from GGSB but I will definitely try to do so in the future. For the moment I am aiming to start taking the CFA degree in 2013.

Is there something that worries you about the financial industry? A lot of things worry me about the financial industry and global economic climate. In my opinion one of the core problems of the financial industry is asymmetrical incentive systems which are still widely in use. Such system encourage employees in the finance industry to take excessive risks as they stand to gain a fortune if things go well, but lose nothing if things go bad. In general I am very much pro incentive systems in the finance and other sectors, but in my opinion it is essential that the interests of all players are aligned.

What, in your opinion, are the skills required to become a high performing finance professional? First and foremost good analytical skills are needed as almost everything you do in finance involves working with numbers.


NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

Alumni Success Stories‌ some news from you!

Secondly I would say that you need to have good communication skills and be able to work easily with others as you are rarely working by yourself on projects. Thirdly you have to have ambition and drive as the finance industry is a highly dynamic and competitive environment.

A day of vacation with my family is typically a trip to a cottage or camping in the country side in the Icelandic summer. I also do a lot of fly fishing, but my children are still too young and my wife is not interested so I do that with friends.

What would be a typical working day for you? A typical vacation day? My working day starts between 6 and 7 in the morning when my children get up. I take them to the kindergarten at 8 and then go to work. My job is not a routine job so no two days are the same. My job requires a fair bit of travelling so those days are different. Assuming I am at the office some days are relaxed while others are very busy and require working into the night. At my workplace we have flexible working hours so if my schedule allows for it I go for training at lunch time. I usually leave the office around 5-6 in the afternoon but I frequently take my laptop home to complete some tasks or return to the office after dinner with my family.

What are your most memorable moments at GGSB? I had some great times at GGSB and met some great people which I still regularly stay in touch with. I have many great memories from time spent with those friends from GGSB such as parties, fondue nights and the gala to name a few instances. I was also lucky to get to encounter some very great and inspirational professors which are memorable. What advice do you have for the 2012-2013 MSc in Finance students? Work Hard – Play Hard

Iceland, Reykjavik



NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

News from your Faculty Christophe BONNET

Prof. Christophe Bonnet, who initiated the MSc in Finance program at GGSB in 2006 and has taught the "LBO and VC" module since, recently published an academic paper on the co-investment of venture capitalists and business angels in young technology ventures. He also published his second book (in French): “Finance entrepreneuriale: financer la création et la croissance de l'entreprise innovante” (Economica, Paris, October 2012,

(1/2) Based on a longitudinal case study, the paper investigates the relational dynamics of raising equity finance to support strong growth in a technology venture when business angels and venture capitalists coinvest simultaneously. It stresses the complementarity of these two investors types and analyses the roles they play during the stages of the fund raising process. Business angels, given their previous entrepreneurial experience and industry knowledge, play a key role in detecting and translating the project potential. They also provide an active support to entrepreneurs during the post investment phase, helping to grow the young venture. Venture capitalists play a dominant role during the deal structuring stage (negotiation

of price and contracts) as well as in monitoring the entrepreneurs during the postinvestment stage. We conclude that first-time entrepreneurs may have an interest in addressing both business angels and formal venture capitalists when they raise equity finance. (Bonnet C., Wirtz P., 2012. Raising Capital for Rapid Growth in Young Technology Ventures: When Business Angels and Venture Capitalists Coinvest. Venture Capital. Vol. 14, issue 2-3: 91-110).

François DESMOULINS-LEBEAULT In July 2012, François Desmoulins-Lebeault has published in the Journal of Banking and Finance (vol.36, pp. 1987-1996) a paper titled “Non-Gaussian Diversification, When Size Matters”. What we show in the paper is that while classical portfolio theory informs investors that they should have a large number of assets in their portfolios in order to diversify risk, the non-Gaussian features of the joint stock return distribution may not allow for this risk protection in times of crisis. Moreover, we demonstrate empirically that, if investors are risk-averse and consider higher order moments, they have numerous incentives not to diversify their portfolios fully. This is caused by the evolution of both large losses and asymmetry of returns when the numbers of assets in a portfolio change.



NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

News from your Faculty


Switzerland…and HAPPY!

Isabelle CHABOUD Audit Network Over the years, I have managed to convince some of my students that audit or auditing could be a good start for a career. Now, I am proud to say that they are successfully working for one of the Big 4 not only in France (Paris, Lyon) but also in other countries : Luxemburg, Germany, Brazil,



I keep in touch with most of them and forward you once in a while a mail when they are looking for new candidates, or I give you some advice or contact names to help with interviews… I maintain my contacts at the Big 4 thanks to my previous job as audit manager at PwC, by attending invitation-only technical training events , thanks to conferences (I recently organized a conference in Grenoble on Audit which more than 120 students attended), thanks to contacts with Alumni…

I try to keep my competences up to date to help you gain knowledge on auditing throughout my courses. I try to be very active to maintain good relationships with audit firms, to understand their needs. But today, my priority is to improve and broaden my network even more to help new students find jobs in this field. Auditing firms seem to be very satisfied with our students, so please keep in touch and help our future students by maintaining a good and efficient network . All your tips, advices, contacts and testimonies regarding audit would be very welcome.

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting An interesting information from Boris Feiguel (MSc Finance London alumni) : as soon as you have validated the taught part of the program, you can be exempted from four out of the five exams of the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting (the first level of the CIMA certification). The only exam to take to get the CIMA Certificate is C05 Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance & Business Law.



NEWSLETTER GGSB MSc Finance December 2012

GEM Finance Community : New Community for passionate finance students ! GEM Finance Finance… A community built BY YOU and FOR YOU … Prove your passion for finance! The aim is to enable you to become stronger candidates for financial recruiters worldwide by openly sharing your experience (this is a private community accessible only to GEM students and alumni). Join and participate in this community to: • Federate a GEM finance spirit • Find out what’s going on in the financial world • Share best practices • Share knowledge in the financial sector ( forums, surveys, best info sites) • Build your network • Follow the recruiters challenges and participate in finance competitions • Help build our notoriety with leading employers The name of the game… TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More… • You attended an assessment center – what were the questions you were asked? • You are submitting an application online, find a buddy who is a native English speaker and have them review your application – help one another... • Blog, share your passion ! • Team up and participate in financial competitions, make yourself a worthy job candidate! Being an active member of this community can also be a definite addition to your CV!

Congratulations to the new Graduates from the MSc Finance intake 5 Grenoble and the MSc Finance intake 4 London. The Graduation Ceremony is going to take place on Saturday 16 March 2013: Mark it on your agenda!

Season’s Greetings

We wish you all Happy Holidays



MSc Finance Newsletter December 2012  

MSc Finance Newsletter December 2012

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