It all started with a class trip to the Russian Federation during the ESSSEC Global MBA. Michael Paraschos developed an attraction to the risks and opportunity of doing business in Moscow.
Paraschos, who had always worked in his native Greece, now works there as a wealth consultant at deVere Group after graduating from ESSEC in 2012.
ESSEC is known for familiarizing its students with international business through class trips – and it was during a weeklong trip that Paraschos’ class visited with a traditional watchmaking company in St. Petersburg and companies such as Christian Dior, BMW and Abbyy in Moscow.
The energy and activity that Paraschos observed in Russia caught his attention and gave him the idea to work there after graduation, even without being able to speak Russian!
“Russians have a unique style of doing business,” Paraschos said. “It’s like a small child discovering the world; they are still in the infancy period with capitalism.”
As a Greek national who previously worked at ING Group in Greece as an investment advisor, Paraschos was intrigued by this Russian way and he said his sense of curiosity was sparked.
“You have to think more than twice if you want to get into finance in Russia,” Paraschos said. “You have to have a great spirit of adventure.”
This “adventurous” attitude is needed because the market in Russia is quite dependent on the country’s oil and gas industry: Paraschos describes it as high-risk with high returns, especially in his field of wealth management.
“The mentality that Russians have towards investments… from the very little things I have understood, Russians aren’t into long-term investment; they want more short-term returns,” Paraschos said.
“With their history, it makes sense that they think ‘We need to make as much money as we can now because we don’t know what will happen in one year.”
Despite this attitude, Paraschos said he enjoys the challenge of working in Russian finance and said that, as an MBA, he likes to be pushed each day – something that he experienced during his time at ESSEC as well.
“Generally, the ESSEC program was very intensive from every angle and the business trip we had gave me exposure to the market,” Paraschos said. “The major reason I chose ESSEC was this.”