Axel Searle, M&A Valuations, PricewaterhouseCoopers Singapore
Please note: starting in 2019, the master 'Economics & Business' has evolved into the Master in International Management & Sustainability
I am originally from Australia. I moved to Singapore when I was 15 years old where I studied at the Australian International School. I then came to Sciences Po for my undergraduate degree at the Middle East and Mediterranean campus in Menton. I spent my third year abroad at the American University in Dubai.
I chose the Master in Economics and Business because I realised my strengths were more numerical than literary. I was also very interested in both economics and finance, having specialised in economics in Menton and taking finance courses while in Dubai. My time living in both Singapore and Dubai showed me the huge impact that finance could have on the economy. I saw the Master in Economics and Business as a great way of studying my interests in both economics and finance.
The strengths of this Master include both the variety of courses and professors. The courses in the first year gave me a broad knowledge of economics and financial subjects, while I was able to refine specific technical skills in the elective classes in the second year. I also thought one of the big strengths of the Master was that the professors came from a mix of academic and professional backgrounds, giving me both a strong theoretical base and examples of practical applications of the theory.
I did not take a gap year as I wished to continue my studies. However, I did do an internship in the securities and investments department of a bank in Lebanon over the summer between my first and second year.
I did my final internship in the Corporate Finance department of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Singapore where I was engaged in both buy-side and sell-side advisory of mergers and acquisitions. My internship was very beneficial as it allowed me to apply what I learnt in the Master in Economics and Business, as well as gain connections in the company and industry. It was also greatly valuable as I secured a permanent position in the firm.
After completing my internship and Grand Oral exam in Paris, I returned to PwC in Singapore to work full-time in the Advisory line of service, where I am involved in the valuation of businesses in M&A deals. The Master in Economics and Business prepared me with the technical skills gained in finance courses such as Financial Markets II. I also believe the Master and the pedagogic system at Sciences Po gave me a broader education that has given me an edge in understanding different industries and the wider economic system in which PwC is operating.