Internships at Goldman Sachs and Rothschild’s left Sebastien de Bandt disillusioned with banking.
De Bandt graduated with a first class degree in engineering from Warwick University. He followed this up with an MSc in Finance at HEC Paris, and graduated this year.
Over the course of his studies, de Bandt landed internships at firms that would make most MBAs envious: Oliver Wyman, Goldman Sachs, Rothschild’s and most recently careers advice website PathMotion.
Here, he explains how he found an alternative career path, and warns MBA not to narrow their career options:
Live Your Dreams
I used to be a typical business school student. Ambitious and dedicated, I was fascinated by the prestige and aura around investment banking and Wall Street. I felt this was where the elite went, and I wanted to be part of it.
Earning a six-digit salary to structure billion-dollar transactions and give advice to CEOs sounded like too good a deal to miss out on. I soon realized I was not unique in my aspirations … in fact I was like everyone else in my class, we all had the same ambitions.
This might sound obvious to many of you, but for me this came as a bit of a surprise. But I held on to my goals, did the necessary networking and interview prep and finally secured back-to-back internships at Rothschild and Goldman Sachs.
These were exciting times, working inside two of the most powerful financial institutions in the world. For months I lived disconnected from reality, sucked into the world of corporate finance. However, after the initial buzz and steep learning curve, I felt I wasn’t learning much, that the work was repetitive and the hours gruesome. My salary on an hourly basis was ridiculous.
Worst, it struck me that I had started living a life of pretence. The analysts and associates around me were also an unhappy bunch: tired and miserable during the whole week, working endless hours at the mercy of the staffers and MDs.
All the same, we behaved like kings during the occasional night out in fancy London clubs. As we blew our hard-earned money on overpriced bottles of champagne, we were too happy to tell others who we worked for and how glamorous our lives were. It was pathetic.
When I went back to business school I was tired and disillusioned. A myth had been destroyed and when interview season kicked in I had crossed out banking from my list. Many of my classmates who had also worked in investment banking were doing the same.
Around that same time I met David Rivel, the founder of PathMotion, a promising internet start-up. The idea behind his project struck me as innately powerful and it took him less than half an hour to convince me to join his firm.
PathMotion is an internet start-up founded a year ago by two ex-consultants from Bain and BCG. They made a simple observation: that all individuals have specific aspirations, strengths and ambitions and hence that they are not all suited for the same jobs. Yet today no practical tool exists to help a job-seeker find the right job, one that really suits his unique profile.
The result is that so many job-seekers (like me) rush aimlessly towards the same professions thinking they are a one-size-fits-all solution, and are ultimately disappointed and frustrated.
PathMotion was launched to simplify career decisions. A powerful algorithm compares your education, professional experience, strengths and long-term goals with that of like-minded professionals to recommend careers you’ll love and pinpoint actual job openings tailored just for you. It’s an amazing tool.
I’ve become a passionate ambassador for PathMotion’s product not only because I love working there, but also because I believe it can help many talented individuals find exciting and worthwhile careers.
The paradox of MBA programs is that although they are designed to open your career options, many students feel their career options are narrowed to the same jobs. Don’t fall in the trap, go out live your own dream.