After years of studying in France, alumnus Vincent Bethiot moved to Bangkok and studied the Online MSc in Corporate Financial Management at our Business School in 2018. We caught up with Vincent to discuss his current role as a parliamentary assistant for a French Member of Parliament and how his experience of studying online has set him up for success.
I chose to study corporate financial management during a time in my career and my personal life when I needed to acquire new skills to be more flexible in the job market. My wife had been offered a tremendous professional opportunity in Bangkok and we decided to go; it was a huge challenge personally and professionally. I started to work as a freelancer, mostly for PR agencies, but I knew that I needed to acquire new skills and to certify that I was able to work using the English language (to be honest, I think I needed to convince myself of this too). As well as that, I had an ambition to study at a British university, globally recognised for the quality of the teaching.
As a chief of staff and a grant manager I assisted local governments, SMEs and charities to fund their projects. These early professional experiences made me particularly interested in financial management issues. Whatever the situation, there’s always a financial aspect. Gradually, I became more and more interested in this area and considered developing my career in that field but I needed more academic and business knowledge.
Living in Bangkok, I looked for an online diploma in corporate financial management. ULaw was one of them and the course matched my need. The diploma was affordable and ULaw has a good reputation. Of course, it is first and foremost a law school but I think you need the same rigour and meticulous nature to be a lawyer or a financial manager.
In the end, what tipped the balance in favour of ULaw was the fact that Sadiq Khan was an alumnus; I think he is a very inspirational person.
When I finished my studies at Sorbonne University in 2007, I wanted to work as a lobbyist for causes. I spent almost 15 years on the other side of the argument but still in public affairs. I like working for the public interest. In five years I would like to be working as a self-employed consultant to assist businesses, non-governmental organisations and local governments to fund raise public money and help them with their public affairs issues and financial PR. Whatever your cause, you need money. Finally, I would like to become a financial lobbyist. However, that’s just one of the options; I have a lot of ideas.
I currently work as a parliamentary assistant for Ms Anne Genetet, a French Member of Parliament (Assemblée Nationale) representing French people who live abroad in Asia, Pacific and Eastern Europe. The constituency is made of 49 countries from Russia to New Zealand. We particularly focus on the issues of French communities abroad; consulate and social affairs, security, taxes, soft power etc. In addition to that, my boss is En Marche! whip of the Foreign Affairs Committee which works on global affairs. I act as a chief of staff for a small team of people. I coordinate the work, which includes law-making, state budget, public relations and office management. Daily, I try to solve problems and come up with new ideas. I am heavily involved in the political strategy and speechwriting.
As a graduate of three French universities, I must say that ULaw is the institution that is most interested in helping me progress my career, the most informative and keeps in touch. I receive useful information about the University and the network which I really appreciate. So far, I haven't needed the services offered by ULaw, but I know that they can help me and, more importantly, are willing to do so.
One of the most inspiring things about studying online was the work environment. The interface of ULaw online is very well done; the courses are clear and well-structured with exercises and assignments every week. It was very demanding but the teachers were supportive. Most of all, I Ioved that we were a small community scattered all over the world - UK, North America, Africa, Asia. Our teachers were all of different nationalities and lived all over Europe. To sum it up, it was a great experience.
It's really hard to pinpoint the proudest moment of my career so far - there have been successes but also failures. I have helped with some incredible projects in the tourism field. I fought successively for funding to rehabilitate social housing at the beginning of my career. I liked the role of spokesperson for the Paris Region Tourism Board, during which I did quite a few interviews on TV and radio. It was very exciting and rewarding.
I've been working remotely for almost 5 years; this means that I work 90% of my time at home but I can do it almost wherever I want. I have to be careful to maintain a good work/life balance. My day is very organised but working for an MP requires you to be quite flexible in terms of availability. That being said, I try to have a relatively healthy life by exercising (yoga/jogging) and reading every day (and not only for professional reasons). I am very interested in the culture of the countries I live in, especially their history. And of course, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends.
ULaw has given me the opportunity to work, think and write in English. It may not seem like much but the level required is not that of a simple conversation during the holidays. In addition, it gave me back a certain intellectual rigour and a taste for academic work. It also gave me a lot from a practical point of view. I now understand the financial situation of any type of organisation and I’m able to understand managerial choices and make efficient proposals to improve the situation. I learnt a lot from management models and they have led me to think differently about some of the problems I was facing professionally.
ULaw offers rigorous courses and the teachers are demanding; that's exactly what the working world demands as well. They teach you to be clear, precise, to ask the right questions and provide solutions. ULaw has provided me with many tools to contextualise the issues and implement actions that improve the situation. In addition to that, I studied online and more people will be working like that in the future. Covid-19 has reinforced and accelerated this trend but, to my mind, it’s just the beginning. Studying online is the best way to learn while working at the same time. ULaw has been an important step in my
If I could give my younger self some advice, I’d say I should have gone abroad much earlier, especially to study, because I missed an opportunity to study in Amsterdam. However, you shouldn't regret anything because opportunities missed mean that sometimes another one comes along. More than 15 years later, I find myself having lived abroad for 5 years and now living in The Hague. I never imagined that I would be able to live abroad and have a degree from a British university. You have to be persistent, curious about everything and not afraid to work.
Find out how we could set you up for a career as successful as Vincent’s by booking on an online open day with us.