Financial Adviser Aims to Parlay MLS Degree into Banking Role
Peter Jean-Francois chose to pursue a Master of Science in Legal Studies (MLS) degree at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles to set himself apart from the crowds of people with business degrees. So far, his strategy is paying off.
“I want to distinguish myself in a very competitive market,” he says. “What’s going to be the distinguishing factor for me, beyond my MBA, is going to be the MLS from Loyola. It will be a value-add for any company that hires me.”
Attending MLS classes at night, Jean-Francois spends his days as a financial adviser for a multinational wealth-management company, AXA Advisors. While he is licensed to sell both securities and insurance, his goal is to transition into middle market banking. At Loyola, he is pursuing a MLS with a Business Law Specialization.
During his time as a Loyola Marymount University MBA student, Jean-Francois focused on establishing the fundamental technical and analytical skills necessary for a career in finance. But much of the activity in finance is transactional, an area in which he seeks to fill in some knowledge gaps.
“I wanted a better understanding of how the law applies and the inherent risks in each deal,” Jean-Francois says. “Loyola’s MLS provides me with in depth insight into how complex legal theory and business strategy are applied in structuring corporate, mid-level, and small business transactions. It is also helping me refine the required interpersonal and consultative skills to collaborate with various parties to close deals.”
Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Jean-Francois originally migrated to Los Angeles hoping to become a sports agent. Instead, he entered LMU’s evening MBA Program and discovered a love for Finance. During the daytime, he worked for a major insurance and wealth Management Company and a small business consulting firm.
Jean-Francois graduated in 2017 and started Loyola Law School in the Fall. So far, his classes have included Business Association, Negotiations & Drafting, Securities Regulation, and Mergers & Acquisitions.
“All my professors are very knowledgeable,” he says. “They’ve all had experience within the industry, which is a critical asset.”
Among his favorites are J. Howard Zeimann Fellow Carlos Berdejó, his Securities Regulation professor. “That class relates directly to my profession,” Jean-Francois says. “It makes you aware of securities violations you might incur and gives you the knowledge necessary to execute transactions on the behalf of clients.”
Jean-Francois says his Mergers & Acquisitions class, taught by William G. Coskran Professor Therese H. Maynard, will be especially important as he moves into the banking sector. “We have studied everything from restructuring, to the disposition or sale of assets, to which party may incur liability, to which company may dissolve at the end of the transaction.”
“Overall, the knowledge I attain from the program will give me an advantage over other job candidates who may not understand how the entities interact with one another and how to structure the deal to produce the best outcome for the client.” he says.
Being an evening student is an advantage, he adds. “I’m a big fan because you get to know a wide variety of students who have years of valuable experience in various industries.”
Jean-Francois noted that some of the senior advisers at his current job with AXA are former practicing lawyers. But he has no plans to take the Bar Exam and practice himself.
“I’m getting exactly what I need out of the MLS,” he said.