How did Macron become an MD and partner at Rothschild so quickly?

His career trajectory is so odd. He graduates from a prestigious administrative school in 2004, works as an inspector of finances for 4 years in the finance ministry, then joins Rothschild in 2008. With no prior IB experience he is an MD closing massive deals and is promoted to partner in 2010...

I don't know if this is a particularity of the French banking ecosystem but how on earth does someone hyper-accelerate their career like this? It's outstanding. He quits Rothschild in 2012 after 4 years, works as a minister and is elected president in 2017... 13 years after graduating from the administrative school.

 

If you go to an elite school like he did and graduate near the top of your class, then this is a very reasonable trajectory. He has experience as an inspector which would put easily at a high level at a bank. The elite education and scoring fast tracks him to MD. Many French banks will pluck these students from these schools. They will work in inspection and learn about how the whole bank works. Then will join a specific team of their choice (I.e. coverage, M&A, Credit, etc.). From here they will very quickly rise through the ranks.

I think I did this right
 

France is all about where you went to university and how well you do there.

Macron went to ENA which is the most prestigious university and was an Insoecteur de Finances which meant he was at the absolute top. Unlike the US or UK where your 4.0 at Harvard means nothing in the real world, in France that’s a badge that stays with you for life. He then had a high powered job at the treasury where again unlike the US or UK, the civil service and finance are interlinked. This allowed him to build top corporate connections at a young age and join Roths as a Director despite never having done banking. And he did well there given his obvious brains and relationships. But it’s a very French story. 

 

Nah. French universities are something else. If you graduate at the top of your class from an elite university, then it is a golden ticket. You’re set for life.

I think I did this right
 
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By way of background, Macron graduated from the top French school of public administration, the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA). Nearly all French presidents and ministers come out of ENA.

Admission to ENA is through an exam, for which the admission rate is around 5%. French students usually take a gap year after their master's to prepare for this exam (which spans public finance, European law, social policy…).

Once in, you are not still not quite there yet… during their time at ENA, which lasts for 2 years, students will take classes but also complete 2x internships: one in a French embassy, and one in a domestic governmental body. At the end of these 2 years, students are ranked based on their academic achievements (both in-class grades and performance in their internships). This ranking is crucial in determining which government body a student will be able to join, as the first ranked gets to pick first where he wants to work, then the second, and so on.

The 3 most prestigious gov bodies (the French equivalent of the Supreme Court, along with 2 state finance inspection bodies) each have 3 seats available. So effectively, only the top 9 students (out of c. 100) can access these 3 institutions.

Macron ranked in the top 9 and joined the Finance Inspection. He was quickly identified as a top performer by Jacques Attali, a very influential French public servant and former president of the EBRD. Attali and Macron worked together on a paper for President Sarkozy on how to unleash economic growth. As part of their research efforts, Macron met with numerous high profile CEOs (including Accor, Nestlé, Essilor…).

Attali then recommended Macron to the Partners of Rothschild. The partner who interviewed Macron for the role of MD was questioned by a French media for a documentary… he said he had never met someone as smart as Macron and proceeded to offer him the job in the middle of the interview.

Remember when I said Macron had met with numerous CEOs for his paper? Well he just leveraged this network to originate deals...

Overall, Macron went through a terribly selective and prestigious academic pathway, which led him to be among the few French finance inspectors, a role holding a lot of prestige. The Finance Inspection has been the launchpad for multiple high profile French politicians. He then showed outstanding interpersonal and technical skills, which allowed him to stand out from an already small group of highly competent individuals. This was topped by the support of influential people, allowing him to be introduced to the right persons.

 

Just wanted to say that the quality of responses such as these are what keeps me floating around this website. I'm no longer in banking or PE, and 90% of the content is irrelevant to me.

The quality of posts like these still makes it worth it to visit this website, so thank you.

 

In complete fairness, the French love their rioting....

In addition, our representatives (assuming you are an American) are just as smart as Macron, if not smarter, but they still make baffling decisions (often in the name of compromise and for their constituents but I digress).

 

The French are lazy and entitled as evidenced by them feeling they should be able to retire for 40 years with 70% of their wages after working 35 hour weeks. Les Incompetent 

 

I call bullshit on this response. Here are two truths of banking.

1. No matter how smart you are, your promotions are lock step. Analyst 2 to 3 years, Associate 2 to 3 years, etc. etc. This business is full of super smart people. You don't see leap frogging practically ever. In fact, I think this one of the most frustrating aspects of IB. Top bucket analyst and bottom bottom bucket analyst will both be second year analysts next year.

2. So, he got to know some top CEOs. Ok, again not particularly unique. I'll give myself as an example. I worked in equity research and was on a first name basis with probably 40 executive teams who thought very highly of me. This by no means that investment banks were ready to roll out the red carpet and promote me directly to managing director in IB.

I'm not saying that Macron is not smart or connected but these are generally common characteristics in this industry yet his career path is very very uncommon.

 

>So, he got to know some top CEOs. Ok, again not particularly unique. I'll give myself as an example. I worked in equity research and was on a first name basis with probably 40 executive teams who thought very highly of me. This by no means that investment banks were ready to roll out the red carpet and promote me directly to managing director in IB.


Yes because he's Macron, while your hopes and dreams are a Kelley MBA. The outcomes correspondingly diverged despite an ostensibly similar situation.

 

Hi, just wanted to chime in with the rest and say I really appreciated this post. Very insightful and in-depth explanation that actually covered France's education, public service and finance sector all in one.

 

Kazhar

By way of background, Macron graduated from the top French school of public administration, the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA). Nearly all French presidents and ministers come out of ENA.

Admission to ENA is through an exam, for which the admission rate is around 5%. French students usually take a gap year after their master's to prepare for this exam (which spans public finance, European law, social policy…).

Once in, you are not still not quite there yet… during their time at ENA, which lasts for 2 years, students will take classes but also complete 2x internships: one in a French embassy, and one in a domestic governmental body. At the end of these 2 years, students are ranked based on their academic achievements (both in-class grades and performance in their internships). This ranking is crucial in determining which government body a student will be able to join, as the first ranked gets to pick first where he wants to work, then the second, and so on.

The 3 most prestigious gov bodies (the French equivalent of the Supreme Court, along with 2 state finance inspection bodies) each have 3 seats available. So effectively, only the top 9 students (out of c. 100) can access these 3 institutions.

Macron ranked in the top 9 and joined the Finance Inspection. He was quickly identified as a top performer by Jacques Attali, a very influential French public servant and former president of the EBRD. Attali and Macron worked together on a paper for President Sarkozy on how to unleash economic growth. As part of their research efforts, Macron met with numerous high profile CEOs (including Accor, Nestlé, Essilor…).

Attali then recommended Macron to the Partners of Rothschild. The partner who interviewed Macron for the role of MD was questioned by a French media for a documentary… he said he had never met someone as smart as Macron and proceeded to offer him the job in the middle of the interview.

Remember when I said Macron had met with numerous CEOs for his paper? Well he just leveraged this network to originate deals...

Overall, Macron went through a terribly selective and prestigious academic pathway, which led him to be among the few French finance inspectors, a role holding a lot of prestige. The Finance Inspection has been the launchpad for multiple high profile French politicians. He then showed outstanding interpersonal and technical skills, which allowed him to stand out from an already small group of highly competent individuals. This was topped by the support of influential people, allowing him to be introduced to the right persons.

Thank you, just one addition/question.

So he knew all the right people, but then jumped shit no? I though he left the PS to start his own party en marche and then won, disrupting the French status quo in the process.

Don't think he wouldve been prez 13 years after graduating had he continued to work his way up the PS to return to the question above

 

To give more colour to his academic pedigree to underline how exceptional it is. The traditional path is as follows: the top of their class in high school usually go to what we call a preparatory class after graduation. They will study from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for two years, and take two weeks of exams based on the two-year curriculum. The 10% best performers will enter the best schools. From there, some outstanding students will take a gap year after their master to prepare for the entrance exam of the ENA. And among this very restricted pool 5% are taken. And then again, only the top 10 of the promotion can occupy positions such as the finance inspection. 

Finally, it is important to understand the importance of the academic background in France. Especially at the beginning of your career, you are defined by your school, and I would even go so far as to say that the GPA does not matter compared to the degree. 

 

The dude was boning his teacher who was married and 20 years older than him. He’s always been ahead of or I guess, on top of, the curve. 

 

Macron seems like a brilliant wunderkind, but I just cant get over that he fell in love with his 39 year old teacher as a 15 year old and then married her later.

Such a weird thing to do.  He's either a total weirdo or he's gay and shes his "beard" to be accepted into elite french society.

 

my "gay radar" is totally messed up for europe.

like in the usa you can get a sense if a guy is gay pretty easily.  but europe all bets are off (to be honest 75% of euro men trigger my radar).

does macron seem gay to people? or is he just french

 

Damn, didn't know Manu was so OP until I read this thread. Always thought he was at Roths Ldn for some reason. Knew he was a stud with the teacher thing but didn't know about the OP things he did. Feel kinda depressed now ngl

 

Exactly. Rishi and Macron have the type of CVs everyone on this website salivates over

 

This information coupled with recent events illustrate how lucky France is. And also how low intelligence the French are - that they dont want to save a gagillion dollars by increasing the too low retirement age.

It is crazy how no smart people want to be president in the us, we have only had one maybe two genius presidents in the last 50 years.

[The american president should be paid at least in the low seven figures, fair would be way more. Would get a better pool. Congress is abyssmal, and should also be paid more. Term limits at this pt would make it worse in leg branch - ie sorry you are one of five people good at this and can make legislation and understand econ but we need to move on, sorry your dad had this job and we are sick of your last name so we need to hire this outsider who knows nothing about public policy and writing legislation.]

 

Interesting how that one school serves as pipeline to France's entire public service and government leadership chain (which then opens up lucrative private sector opportunities).  You'd think a country where the French Revolution took place would be aghast at such naked elitism and a deliberate "rich get richer" system of placement.

 

Just like many things in modern Protestantism, many things in American democracy didn't actually start with the "founders"PS: how do you become Neanderthal with so few MS? I'm just a King Kong & I already have 70 MS

 

Europe is the worst place to try and make it. You have all these historical elitist systems in place which prevents you from climbing higher and also insanely high taxation rates and a poorer business environment which makes it even harder. It's like the elites do it deliberately to pull the ladder up

 

Psst. Whisper it quietly, but social mobility (i.e. the ability to move class/income) is worse in America than it is in Europe. 

 

Yes and no.

The US and UK have way more nepotism in school admissions (legacies in the US and same in the UK from prestigious schools like Eton). In France admission to top schools is based on cold hard competition / exam results. As far as I know background, family, race, gender, sexuality do not matter anywhere as much (this might have changed), only your performance does. This seems more meritocratic to me. Obviously things will never be completely equal as kids from wealthier families might have more resources but the impartiality of the test results is something I admire. It's not because your dad went somewhere that you will too as far as I know.

The lack of diversity channels is also contentious but I prefer it that way because it does not undermine the legitimacy of diversity kids that do end up making it into these schools (in fact it enhances their merit) Work could perhaps be done to give better resources to underserved schools at a secondary school level though.

However, once you are "in" you do benefit from a very elitist and closed off ecosystem (I'd say this is more intense in France than the UK or US). This has been the subject of much criticism in France and might be why most of France absolutely loathes elitism, wealth, and prestige. It's a weird dichotomy because you have a closed off and small elite network running the country (business, finance, politics etc) from the same schools (HEC, Polytechnique, ENA, Science po etc) and a mass of French people who distrust them.  Maybe that's why the country is constantly protesting.

 

they hate elitism and prestige because they are peasants, they are spiritual slaves. a noblesse man would want to exceed to join the circles, rather than tear them down. the masses hate the good because they are resentful 

 

I don't think that Macron ended up there solely by its intelligence (for that matter he failed twice the entrance exam for l’École Normale Supérieur which is the most prestigious outcome you can get after the Classe Préparatoire in Humanities). However, I think that he possesses the right mix between pure cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence, some famous bankers even referred to him as “an individual as seductive / charming as a prostitute” in a good sense I guess. And, as someone previously mentioned because of its place within the French government, he already had the contacts and the privileged information that made him enough of an asset to directly hire him as an MD.