Level Up Your Career

How to Refocus, Shift Gears, and Grow, Nearly a Decade Into a Successful Finance Career

This article is sponsored by HEC Paris Executive MBA

After two years as a financial analyst in New York, Tatiana de Dalmas fulfilled a lifelong ambition and moved to France. There, still in finance, she rose from Analyst to Senior Associate, settling down in Paris and starting a family of her own.

Her career progression was the product of her own relentlessness as much as it was shrewd decision-making. Still, Tatiana admits that as much as she learned during the first decade of her career, she felt she was still missing some fundamental skills that would help take her to the next level in her career.

“As a young professional, I learned to focus on the tasks right in front of me, but as I moved along in my career, it become more important to me to acquire the skills that would eventually support me in a more strategic role.”

Nearly a decade into her career, she wanted to refocus on the big picture.

“I needed space to realign my priorities around my personal values and plan for my next professional move.”

She wasn’t going to have the time or space to do that if she stayed put. At the same time, she wasn’t willing to compromise the considerable career progress she had made by going back to school full-time, to say nothing of her family priorities. After much due diligence, she found the right balance: an Executive MBA.

Here, she discusses the factors and motivations that led to that decision.

Why was pursuing an Executive MBA the right choice for you?

The EMBA was an obvious choice for me. I wanted to purse an MBA, but I was not interested in becoming a full-time student again, and I wanted to continue working. Also, I really appreciated the positioning of the EMBA: students are usually older and further along in their careers, which makes for a richer experience.

My program, the HEC Paris EMBA, is also very flexible with class schedules. My classmates and I all have to juggle a career, sometimes families, as well as  the EMBA, and we felt the HEC EMBA format was flexible enough to fit with those responsibilities. I appreciated having so many options in terms of class scheduling to make that work.

What is the defining piece of added value from an EMBA?

The EMBA enabled me to consolidate all the knowledge  I had accumulated over my career. Being in classes again and discussing different subjects with my colleagues and professors broadened my understanding on a variety of industries, roles and cultures. I was amazed by the different approaches to problem solving my classmates from different industries had— and the possibilities for solutions. Through the EMBA, I gained a better understanding of myself and my professional surroundings, as well as a broader vision of possibilities.

Just the admissions process— with essays that asked me to reflect on who I was, what inspired and what drove me— was revelatory in helping me further develop my career path.

What is your go-to piece of advice to other leaders considering an EMBA?

There is never an “ideal” time to do an EMBA. Yes, it’s hard to manage an EMBA on top of work and personal life, but my classmates and I all made it happen because it was important to us. I don’t know a single person who regrets embarking on the journey, so my advice would be to take things one step at a time and just take the plunge if it’s something that’s important to you.

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