Back to university after 10-year career break
If you’ve just arrived in Luxembourg or been here a while, are working, or ready to go back to work, but cannot find the right job opportunity with your current experience or qualifications, our series Changing Careers is designed to give you inspiration through real-life experiences.
Many people have taken the challenge of finding a job via a new career path, in part due to the fact that it was difficult to find work in their field of expertise, in part due to language constraints, or after a career gap.
In the first article in our series, Francesca Moroni talks about how she returned to work after a 10-year absence, by following her passion for sustainable finance, gaining confidence through academic qualifications, and taking on an internship in her forties.
After 10 years working at an Italian banking institution, Moroni, now 47-years-old, decided to take a sabbatical year to finish the last six exams and her thesis, to complete her degree in economics.
At the time her family was living in Florida, USA, and Moroni said it was “very satisfying considering the intensity”. She had to prepare for multiple exams and fly back to Italy, but she finished her degree in 2009.
“We moved to Luxembourg in September 2014 following a big job opportunity for my husband. At the time we had three kids aged four years, two years and seven months. We wanted to be closer to our families, but we weren’t close enough for them to support us with childcare. I decided to take care of the kids full time, to ease the transition to a new country and adjustment to a new life,” she said.
Masters and internship with BIL
Last year, Moroni applied for a Master in Sustainable Finance with the aim of re-entering the professional world. “Pursuing this master’s degree at the University of Luxembourg was my first choice. I had held various roles at the bank I worked for, but finance was at the heart of my career. I had also been interested in sustainability, and did my thesis on renewable energy, sustainability and the case for biofuels,” she explained.
She found her ideal course, and applied submitting a letter about her intention to work on finding a suitable equilibrium between financial returns and long-term stewardship for the environment and future generations. Her master’s thesis covered how to integrate climate risks into the financial sector’s risk management methods.
In May of this year, Moroni also started an internship with BIL in the Risk Management Department, which she is due to finish in February 2022. “The university administration helps students with job offers in various financial institutions looking for trainees, plus internship is an essential part of the second semester, and will be evaluated by an exam board, and my professional and academic tutors,” she added.
Sustainability and risk management
She gained this opportunity when one of the professional lecturers on the programme asked the class to write a practice note on how to integrate and implement environmental, social and governance considerations into risk management. She was selected for the internship based on the paper she wrote, and after further interviews she signed a contract with the bank.
“The European Central Bank is testing European banks on how they assess climate-related risks," she said. "As part of the risk management department of BIL, I’m working on how these steps can be taken, so we can run this exercise for 2022. I feel privileged to have an active part in coordinating all the departments and reaching this goal.”
For Moroni, personal interests and passions should drive professional choices. “In my case, my need to restart my career was helped by returning to academia first, as it helped me get back my confidence," she said. "It’s not trivial to get back to work after 10 years, but it can be done.”
She also recommended that those who’ve taken a prolonged career break, leverage their networks both in person and via LinkedIn.
“Do some research on institutions and companies that are doing the work you’d like to be part of, attend events and conferences related to areas you like,” she said, adding that getting feedback on your CV from someone you trust is a good way to get started.
You can read our article Looking for a new job? with details on agencies, CVs, ADEM and more, or our article on Starting a business, for details of the legal and administrative requirements and support agencies.