Finance: a tool to ensure change

Determination is something that is always behind a success story. Usually, though when someone achieves something great, we tend to focus on where they are and not the struggle, hurdles, or challenges they have faced while getting there. MSc in Corporate Finance and Banking track Alumna, Laetitia Champagne, winner of the prestigious AFTE best master thesis prize* is an excellent example of determination against all odds. Her story is all about “a will finding a way”.

 

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Written on 12 Jan 2021.


 

Laetitia suffers from a rare debilitating disease known as EDS. This little-known disease affects the muscles and joints and can cause severe pain. Laetitia was diagnosed with this at the early age of 17.  Despite this, with EDHEC’s encouragement, she has managed not only to complete her education with aplomb but has now started working in a job that she loves. She has reason to be proud. Recently Laetitia kindly accepted to be interviewed to give students an insight into her experience and her aspirations.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

I am Canadian but I have lived in France these past ten years. After doing my class prépa’ in Versailles, I went on to study a Master in Management at EDHEC in Lille. However, I wanted to understand more about the workings of a company, I chose to broaden my financial knowledge by coming to Nice to study in their Financial Economics Track.

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR SRT SUBJECT?

I really wanted to work on sustainable finance. I was selected by Professor Gianfranco Gianfrate, an expert in sustainable crowdfunding, and having worked an internship at LITA.co, (a sustainable crowdfunding platform) based in Paris, I decided to capitalize on both our experiences to cover that area of research.  My thesis, “Exploring greenwashing on Crowdfunding Platforms” was driven by the dishonesty of greenwashing. When I saw that the self-declared sustainable status of crowd founders was never questioned by researchers, I decided to innovate and see whether greenwashing could be at its origins.

HOW DID YOU FIND THE SELECTION PROCESS?

The selection process was a “sneak peek” at the work required to complete the Master Thesis project: select a topic and explore it from scratch to identify how you can lead a study that will produce valuable outputs. A perfect exercise to decide whether you are ready to face this challenge through your final year. Once selected my mentor Gianfranco was great and I really appreciated working with him. He has such a quiet strength; encouraging me without putting on any pressure. He gave me time to reflect but when required he was extremely communicative and reactive which was important because we were in the middle of lockdown.  I am grateful to Gianfranco for letting me choose a subject that is so close to my heart.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN SKILLS YOU HAVE ACQUIRED?

EDHEC offered me an interesting toolkit to learn more about sustainable finance: I acquired the financial fundamentals of classical finance and I could select some classes in particular areas of sustainable finance with very experienced and talented professors such as Microfinance classes, and the SRT program.  I also learned both at EDHEC and during my internships that those networks which have been opened up to me by EDHEC help a lot to move forward and succeed in your projects and work in sectors you are interested in.

WHAT ARE YOUR JOB ASPIRATIONS?

I would like to commit my career to preserving our world and our wonderful nature. I believe that that finance is perhaps the more powerful tool to shape the world of tomorrow. I therefore would like to work on shifting the lines of finance to give people opportunities to invest in this future. This would be my definition of a successful career. As of now, I am willing to discover several sectors of sustainable finance to challenge them and to make them more powerful.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?

I am working at Lita.co as an administrative and financial officer. This is a European crowdfunding platform created in 2014 that raises funds for companies with a social or environmental impact thanks to their community of involved citizens. It’s a great place to be. I can honestly say that every morning I feel very motivated because I know that I am involved in contributing to something which will have a significant impact on the way we live tomorrow.

*Association Française des trésoriers d’entreprise:  This association concentrates on the development of corporate finance and the competitivity of the French financial center.  It acts as an association for finance professionals involved in cash management, financing, and financial risks.

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