Sivagaminathan Sivasubramanian is a 2014 EDHEC Business School graduate. He acquired a Master of Science degree (MSc) in Financial Markets, and majored in Asset Management. Coming from India, Siva, as friends and colleagues call him, had his first international experience in the sunny port of Nice, France, where EDHEC hosts its finance-related Master’s programmes. He now works as a quantitative research analyst at EDHEC-Risk Institute – an academic centre for industry-related financial research.

Editor’s pick: The following interview is a story close to the hearts of many graduates; one which ends not with frustration and disappointment, but with optimism and success. This is the story of how Siva found employment through his hard work and commitment to an international Master’s degree. Read how the right academic decisions eventually lead to the desired professional outcome, as long as you remain loyal to your ambitions until the end.

Siva, how has the Master’s degree helped you find employment?

Education at EDHEC was very practical. It was designed in such way as to allow us to apply what we’ve learned in the workplace. Learning about contemporary developments in the industry through a curriculum in line with business trends was very beneficial. Consultants from the school’s Career Services paid great attention to preparing us for the labour market, by putting us through aptitude tests and by training us in the use of soft skills. Finally, the Master’s thesis helped me acquire much deeper knowledge in my chosen field and opened up my horizons.

Do you feel more confident as a professional at your new workplace in the wake of your studies?

Yes, I feel confident. More confident than before, for sure. For instance, I studied MATLAB programming during the MSc course at EDHEC. This comes in quite handy at my current job as a quantitative analyst, because the nature of my work at EDHEC’s risk-evaluation institute “EDHEC-Risk” now requires me to make extensive use of this programming language in order to produce grounded, mathematically correct analyses.

Do you feel satisfied with your investment? What has the Master’s given you career-wise?

Yes, I am happy with my investment, mostly because I have successfully changed my career path from IT to Finance. I got a job which is in line with my long-term career aspirations (Portfolio Management), and it also happens that this is my first international job experience. Money-wise, I have already recovered half my tuition fee through the end-of-the-course internship and I expect to pay off my loans in less than a year.

What would your advice be to future students struggling to find employment? Should they follow in your footsteps? Should they go for a Master’s? Why?

Yes, in my opinion having a Master’s degree from a reputable business school can really help in securing that first dream job that we all want so much, but often struggle to get. I think this is especially true given the heavy competition and fewer jobs in the market in recent times. In my experience, networking with other alumni is the easiest way to find your first job and I recommend to everyone to try this as soon as possible.

How did EDHEC help you get a job once you graduated?

There is a Career Services portal available exclusively to alumni where they can seek, as well as provide, employment opportunities. This is what we all turn to, once we’re done with our thesis. Additionally, when I was in the process of looking for work, the Career Services team was always available for any assistance I required.

Tell us about your experience with applying the professional skills that you acquired during the Master’s programme to your new workplace

I did my Master’s thesis for my current employer – EDHEC-Risk. That led to a placement, and later o a full time job. I learnt almost all the skills needed for my job from my work on the thesis and the placement. And then there was also the MSc course itself. As I mentioned earlier, the curriculum stresses a practical approach. Every course has an assignment or a case study which requires the application of theory. I am proud to say that all these factors made me job-ready before my first day at work.

So why did you decide to come to France?

France is a very beautiful country and very welcoming to international students, with numerous easily accessible scholarship opportunities. A big factor for me was that there was much less hassle in getting a student visa compared to the US or UK. Learning French as a third language was also a big incentive, not to mention the many travel opportunities because of the convenient location of Nice.

How did studying abroad change your perspective?

It was a true international experience. Students from different countries bring different ideas to the table: be it group work or general chit-chat during the coffee break, the interactions are always enriching. I can now see how there has been improvement in my overall personality, not just in my academics skills. One of my favourite moments was when I organised celebrations of the traditional Indian light festival called “Diwali” with my friends as part of our participation in an international student association. That and other moments convinced me that I’ve made the right choice and that the Master’s degree has given me much more than I expected: a job, yes, but also a different perspective on life.

This article has been produced by Advent Group and featured in the 2015-2016 Access Masters Guide