Last year, EDHEC Business School of France—which has five campuses in Lille, Nice, Paris, London and Singapore—was ranked the first worldwide for its Master in Finance pre-experience degree by FT; it was also named among the world’s top 20 (16th rank) in the 2017 FT Master in Management ranking. These rankings back EDHEC’s consistent performance in a competitive global arena, and the efforts started long ago. “About 20 years ago, we set up a research centre in finance, and opened research-focused campuses in London and Singapore (global centres of finance).
Today, research in finance not only contributes to 15% of our revenues, it has also made our educational programmes among the best in the world,” said Emmanuel Métais, the dean of EDHEC Business School, whom we met at the Lille campus, in northern France. EDHEC offers five Master in Financial Economics programmes—MSc in Finance; MSc in International Accounting & Finance; MSc in Corporate Finance & Banking; MSc in Risk & Finance; and MSc in Financial Markets. “Our programmes help students become innovative thinkers who can easily adapt to change and excel in complex situations,” added Métais.
However, to evaluate the strength of a school, it is important to know what all it has to offer beyond its ability to administer classes or deliver lectures. For students who want to study finance, this means they need to know how the school can support their desire to learn complex ideas, make professional connections, and prepare them to compete at an international level.
According to EDHEC professors, there are three reasons why it is the right school to study finance.
Location: The Lille and Nice campuses are located at a short distance to Paris, London and Milan—Europe’s international business centres. “This makes it easy to maintain close ties with the corporate world. Students not only benefit from on-campus visits by leading executives, they also travel off-campus to network with global enterprises,” said Métais.
The Nice campus, where EDHEC offers finance programmes, is on the French Rivera—the economic hub of southern France. “Monaco, Cannes and Sophia Antipolis, the largest cluster of ICT companies in Europe, are a short distance away,” added Métais.
In addition, students can expand networking opportunities by participating in student associations and accessing the EDHEC alumni community. Métais said that EDHEC’s ability to create professional opportunities and sustain a global community is its core strength.
Expertise of instructors: “The professors teaching finance are at the forefront of their profession. The publication record, professional experience and research led by our professors is confirmed by academia as well as businesses,” said Métais.
An example is the recent study published in the journal European Management Review, showing that Philippe Very, EDHEC Professor of Strategy, is one of the most prominent authors in the world for his scientific collaboration in mergers & acquisitions.
“Our research policy has led us to create several research centres to meet global academic standards and make the results available to businesses and policy-makers,” said Métais. A prominent among these is the EDHEC-Risk Institute. Set up in 2001 and led by Martellini Lionel, Amenc Noël and others, it has become the premier academic centre for industry-relevant financial research. (Noël is also the CEO of ERI Scientific Beta—an EDHEC-incubated start-up that, among other things, sells to banks and investors the results of the school’s research, generating revenue.)
Structure of programmes: The EDHEC Master in Financial Economics programmes, Métais said, place an equal impact on skills and careers. “Students learn to deepen analytical thinking, develop practical skills, and design creative strategies for business success,” he said.
Going forward, are there huge expectations that EDHEC improves upon its rankings in areas other than finance—for instance, in the FT European Business School rankings it was ranked 14th and in the Executive MBA ranking it was at 86th position? Métais said that excellence in education goes beyond rankings, yet rankings are important. “If we retain the top rank in finance for, say, five years, the world will respect our consistency. While our focus is being an excellent education provider, we would also like to remain in the top three in the world in finance.”