Student Stories

08.08.2018

Going East for a global experience – Gregoire Lecomte

Class of 2011 (Switerland)
Pre-MBA: Advisor, Real Estate Financing, Credit Suisse (Switzerland)
Post-MBA: Business Development Consultant, HuaAn Asset Management (Hong Kong)
Current: Group Head of Treasury, MicroCred (France)

After growing up in Switzerland and spending nine years in the financial services industry in Europe, Gregoire Lecomte, Class of 2011, wanted to do something that would bring him a solid international experience. He looked East, to Hong Kong and HKUST, where the blend of Asian and Western ways was a perfect introduction to a new part of the world – and a new career.

When Gregoire Lecomte decided he wanted to gain Asian experience, there was only one way to do it.

“Doing an MBA was the right way to expand my experience in this part of the world,” he says.

“HKUST has one of the top MBAs in the world and I learned a lot of new things quickly. My studies have given me confidence to approach new things without fear.”

 

One of the standout examples of this was a field trip to Beijing, where he and his teammates had only a few days to come up with a 10-page industry and company presentation of a bread manufacturer.

“We had to learn about a new industry and company and what drives the consumers, products and branding in China and we had to do it really quickly. It was a great experience,” he says.

It also prepared Gregoire for his current job as Investment Manager at Azure Partners, a company specializing in socially responsible investments and focusing mainly on microfinance. Microfinance is a powerful tool to alleviate poverty, offering poor people access to basic financial services and serving 150 million people worldwide.

The job is meaningful and challenging, and very different from his previous work in private banking. Gregoire is in charge of the selection of funds that provide capital to the microfinance institutions while achieving a meaningful social return in addition to a credible financial return.

 

One of the requirements of his new job is to travel around the world, visit fund managers as well as microfinance institutions and make assessments, in order to define the investment opportunities. This means not only making a quick appraisal, but doing it in different cultures and circumstances – something he also got exposure to through the MBA program, which develops students’ soft skills in an international environment, with a particular focus on teamwork.

“The fact that you work with so many different people gives you a better understanding of what you are good at and what you’re not good at. I’m not the analytical guy crunching data on excel files, I’m more the person who puts people together and tries to reach a consensus,” he says.

Gregoire’s enthusiasm for the program and for Asia left him determined to stay here after graduation. He spent four months in Shanghai on exchange with CEIBS, then came back to Hong Kong where, through the HKUST alumni network, he met the Chief Investment Officer of a Chinese Asset Management company looking for expansion of its client base in Europe. That job gave him industry exposure that was useful in helping him to land his current position, which came available just as his temporary post came to an end.

 

Although Azure is based back in his home country of Switzerland, Gregoire believes he would not have got this job without his MBA and Asian experience.

“A lot of why I got this job was quitting my country to go to another city and culture, and doing the MBA. The fact that I was able to be in an international environment, and in a transforming region, has been useful for the work I do today,” he says.

He advises potential students to narrow down the industries they are interested in, target companies and keep a blog so people in their home region can keep tabs on them. It might even attract a potential recruiter.



We use cookies to ensure you can have the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse our website, we assume you are ok with this. For more information, please check our Privacy Policy.