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From Engineering To Consulting: How My Master In Finance Fueled My Career Switch

Alejandro Fernandez Falques was studying aerospace engineering before he discovered his passion for consulting—find out how his Master in International Finance is helping him achieve his goal


Wed Feb 28 2024

Switching career paths is one of the prominent advantages of an advanced business degree. You can use the valuable experience you’ve already gained in a different sector while building a new set of business skills. 

For professionals seeking to change careers, a business education can be a powerful asset. In fact, 51% of MBA students are seeking to switch careers, according to the 2022 GMAC application trends report.

This was the case for Alejandro Fernandez Falques who was studying for his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering when he discovered his interest in consulting. 

Realizing a passion for consulting

Before setting his ambitions on a career in consulting, Alejandro was undertaking an aerospace engineering degree in Barcelona.

Alejandro’s interest in consulting was first piqued through the processing components in his degree before he interned at a small consulting firm, LEANBOX. 

During this internship, he was immediately drawn to the versatility of the industry. 

“No project was the same—in one project, we were seeking efficiency in a fabric company that made chairs for dentists. Then, the next project was with a pharmaceutical company,” he says.

While his degree gave him a technical understanding, during his internship he realized he was missing the financial understanding that he needed for consulting. 

“I found that all companies made decisions based on the potential growth that a project can bring and the profitability of that project,” Alejandro explains. 

The project that made him realize this was when he was tasked with designing an electrical airplane. Alejandro and his team studied the market to analyze which type of airplane could be introduced, providing a final design based upon their assessment. 

Alejandro was the team coordinator, determining the costs, profitability, and future status of the project.

“I didn’t know where to start. I could only go online and look for existing data. I didn’t have any judgment whether it was good or bad.”

This led him to enroll in the MSc in International Finance at EDHEC Business School in Nice, France to kickstart his professional journey. 

Harnessing new skills during a Master in Finance

When looking for a master’s program, Alejandro had three sets of criteria. First, a strong reputation and networking advantages. Second, he wanted the curriculum to deep dive into technical concepts, and finally, he wanted an active career center. 

EDHEC Business School ticked off each one. 

Placing in the top 10 in the Financial Times 2023 Master’s in Finance pre-experience ranking, EDHEC's Nice campus has a wide portfolio of Master in Finance's including MSc in Climate and Sustainable Finance with comprehensive curriculums. Its career center ranked first in France in the FT's 2023 MiM ranking and is committed to help students map out and achieve their career goals, preparing them for successful post-graduation careers.

The MSc International Finance at EDHEC starts teaching students the theoretical basics but it moves quickly to practical case studies, explains Alejandro.

“After your first month, you start getting into more practical subjects. We started on advanced valuation, which is interesting, because we faced real-world cases.” 

One practical experience Alejandro enjoyed and found useful involved a quick turnaround presentation that prepared the class for the intensity of the workplace. 

“We had to evaluate the annual report of the aerospace company, Saffron. We had 45 minutes to read and prepare a presentation about the report and deliver this to an expert at the company.”

As this was an aerospace company, he was able to evaluate the company from a perspective that he had never considered before. 

Generating an international network to secure a career switch

A major advantage of business school is the network you build with fellow students, professors, alumni, and industry experts.

Alejandro says that the EDHEC Career Center prepared him for networking, helping him to navigate his nerves when approaching new people. 

“At first, I didn’t want to bother people, ask questions, or even introduce myself,” he says, “but the career center offer coaching on how best to focus your networking.” 

After the coaching sessions, the career center arranges events that help connect students with industry experts and companies.  

“We met successful alumni and those working at top banks, who explained their experiences and the different opportunities that we could have in their career path,” he says.  

Through career fairs and business school initiatives, Alejandro was introduced to recruiters and analysts in various industries.

He’s even kept in touch with an analyst from UBS who he met at one of the EDHEC career fairs.

Alejandro also leveraged the opportunities provided to him during the Paris trek. He visited companies and spoke with the analysts there to gain information about operations and team structure. 

In his future career, Alejandro hopes to use the technical skill set and network he has built during his master’s degree to launch a new career in the finance industry. 

Alejandro says the Master in Finance has given him the skills to make his career switch and the confidence to enter the highly competitive, fast-moving industry. 

“I’ve gone from not having any idea [about the finance world] to now being able to discuss annual reports and speak about interest rates,” he concludes, “Every two to three weeks, I notice my rapid progression, thanks to my master’s degree.”