From finance to sustainable business

Joëlle Kanyana decided to join EDHEC to shift her career from finance to sustainability. She got admitted to the MSc in Global & Sustainable Business. Joëlle shares her experience. What is your…
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26 Oct 2021

Joëlle Kanyana decided to join EDHEC to shift her career from finance to sustainability. She got admitted to the MSc in Global & Sustainable Business. Joëlle shares her experience.

What is your background prior to joining EDHEC MSc in Global & Sustainable Business?

I was a senior financial analyst at a hospital. I was part of the budget team.

You led a Finance oriented-career. Why this shift?

By the time that I decided to change my career in hospital finance, I had a couple of opportunities for advancement. But the pandemic opened my eyes to how behind the private sector is in implementing sustainable practices. Also, since undergrad, I always had corporate social responsibility in mind because of my experience in a social enterprise student organisation. Even though I was working for a company with a good mission, I couldn’t directly consider how we were impacting people. Finance sometimes made hard decisions that led to unsustainable working conditions. The pandemic showed me that you have to be proactive about CSR.

You are American. What is your attachment to France?

My dad is a French professor. My family has a francophone background. I studied French for a year in France from 2016 to 2017. That year challenged my worldview. I knew that for matters of CSR, I would be better off studying in France. The United States is far behind Europe in implementing laws and innovating business models that address CSR.

Can you tell us about your experience so far?

It has exceeded my expectations. I did not know what to expect, but first, our program director, Professor Van der Linden brings together intellectual information and experience. The content challenges us to consider sustainability in the private sector. We have a lot of group-based projects, so it really feels like I’m being prepared for the real world. It's less theoretical than in my previous university experience. And I absolutely love my classmates! I guess that’s what happens when you gather people interested in sustainability.


How different is it from your experience at Southern Adventist University?

Although I had attended a Christian university, we did not consider sustainability much in our business courses. The teachings mostly focused on shareholders as your key stakeholders. The EDHEC MSc in Global & Sustainable Business considers the whole community in which the companies operate. The classes are super practical and the support –administration, student life, Career Centre- is extraordinary. I'm truly impressed. With the career coaching, I have received very concrete feedback on how to present myself, talk to the recruiters, had a conversation with a consultant who looked over my CV, made it France ready. I just had to click a couple of buttons to prepare for assessments. And it’s only the start of the year. 

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to work in France or in Europe for its proactivity because the European countries are way more ahead with sustainability. I'm interested in the private sector, but I am also super open to being part of the international bodies that help shape policy or create frameworks for the private sector.

Can you tell us about the admissions process?

I wrote a motivation letter and I also had to do my GMAT. It is a growing process; you need to make sure that you have a good motivation letter. I had also people write letters of recommendation. The most surprising part is the video questions we are asked on Kira. It shows that the school cares about your professional presence.    

Three words to sum up your EDHEC experience so far?

Practical, stimulating, convivial. 

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