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Why France is the Best Country in the World to Study Finance

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated February 21, 2021 Updated February 21, 2021

Sponsored by EDHEC

Considering studying finance at a top European school? You might think the UK would be the best country to study in given its rich history as a financial center, but think again. In the wake of Brexit, France, not the UK, will emerge as the new financial hub of Europe.

Home to a handful of the continent’s largest banks and a financial sector of about 180,000 workers in the capital, France is on track to snatch more than 20,000 roles from the City, according to the lobby group Europlace. If you’re thinking of pursuing a master’s degree in finance, here are some more reasons to consider French universities.

France has some of the best finance courses in the world

This year, EDHEC Business School, one of the top business schools in the world according to our sister site TopMBA.com, saw its MSc in Financial Markets ranked as the best in the world according to the Financial Times, beating Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Imperial Business School and the University of Oxford.

EDHEC’s Masters in Finance programs train students in areas like corporate finance, financial markets, risk, portfolio management strategies, and strategic financial decisions, and feature a three to six month internship enabling students to experience life at the world’s top financial companies.

You’ll be right in the middle of the European Union

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Eurozone is on the mend, and growth predictions in France, Italy, Germany and Spain are soaring, so you’d be sorry to miss out on job opportunities on the continent. Studying finance in France means you’ll have a much better chance of securing job interviews with European banks, top consulting firms and multinationals, such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Unilever and Capgemini.

The best way to evaluate a university’s careers team and reputation with recruiters is to look at its graduate employability rate. To give you a benchmark, 84% of EDHEC graduates with a master’s in financial economics (track) move on to work in Europe for major employers like Accenture, BBVA, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, EY, and Bluecrest Capital Management.

You’ll save on the costs of basic essentials

Accommodation in London can be notoriously expensive, with the cost of renting a one bedroom apartment away from the city center estimated by Numbeo as starting at £1,179 (≈US$1,530), depending on where you live. By contrast, France is the only country in Europe to offer housing benefits, known as CAF, to international students. Find out more about housing benefits here.

Healthcare in the country is also particularly affordable, with 70% of medical expenses reimbursed by the government if you apply for a carte vitale. According to Numbeo, France’s healthcare system ranks among the top 10 in the world, considerably higher than the UK’s (17th).

Your university should be able to help you find medical insurance and student accommodation in France. If you are still debating the logistics of moving to France for university, contact the university’s International Student Office and email them any questions.

France has relatively softer visa norms than other countries

Provided you hold a recognized qualification and are able to find a job with a wage higher than 1.5x the national minimum wage, you would be eligible to stay in France after graduation on a 12-month temporary residence authorisation. Once your 12 months are up, you would need to apply for a status change, which you can read more about here.

Not sure whether EDHEC Business School’s MSc in Finance programs are right for you? Read student testimonials, module details and tuition fee information here or get in touch with EDHEC’s admissions managers.

This article was originally published on July 31, 2017. 

This article was originally published in July 2017 . It was last updated in February 2021

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