Sebastien started his career in Engineering but quickly realized his lack of certain business skills. He chose HEC Paris for its international outlook and quickly found his affinity for Finance.

“I chose the Engineering subjects at university because it was where I was most comfortable, where I felt at ease, but I also knew that it wouldn’t bring me a broad knowledge base. My first few years in the Civil Engineering business as a project manager, it was crystal clear to me, I ended up as the acting head of a subsidiary, and when my accountant would come and show me the numbers, it was very difficult for me to understand them. I knew I had a gap in my understanding, and I was not very comfortable with that, and I thought it was clear for me to an MBA to fill this gap.

Why HEC Paris? At the time, HEC Paris was moving away from a classic French MBA into a proper international MBA, and that’s why I signed up for it. I learned a big lesson from my MBA and my experience in banking afterwards, which I never realized before I did it, and that is that an MBA is an investment, and it can only support people who are seeking to go for a challenge in their lives after a few years in the industry, yes do an MBA, take the challenge.

If there is a lesson nowadays it is that you cannot plan for you future career, yes we have to have dreams, we have to have long-term objectives, but how do you get there? My hat goes off to you if you know. I think it’s important to effectively keep your options open all the way through.

That’s what I loved about the MBA, because you touch upon so many different topics, you are effectively equipped with the right tools.

One piece of advice for MBA candidates: just do it. For those who are about to join: don’t lose a minute – it’s amazing how 18 months can go very quickly, and in fact what I realized back then is that you should think you’re already in the market, from the day you start your MBA.”

identity card

Sebastien Abbate

Sebastien Abbate

France Class of 2000


Head of Wealth Solutions, EMEA- HSBC