Seeking Diversity in Different Ways

By Eric Meyer
Published August 6, 2020 | 2 min read

The world-renowned École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), in English: the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, is one of the most prestigious of France’s grands establishments with over 1,500 doctoral students, including Nobel Prize winner Jean Tirole and distinguished academic Thomas Piketty. With its strong focus on social sciences, at first glance, it may not seem a natural partner for an investment bank but Eric Meyer, Managing Director and Head of France wants to change that.

For the second year, RBC in France has partnered with EHESS to provide €5,000 scholarships to two students in their final semesters who are producing excellent quality research and in need of financial support. The scholarship provided to PhD students can sometimes make the difference between completing their final years of study or walking away without their doctorate. In France, a humanities doctorate will typically take four years or more and include some extensive field research, which is usually self-funded. As state-sponsored aid finishes at three years, students will often have to work full- or part-time jobs, often to the detriment of the quality of their thesis or worse, at the risk of dropping out.

In France, most large financial services firms pull candidates from a standard academic route – typically the individual will have studied a 'hard science', such as physics, mathematics, engineering or come through a more vocational course such as business studies. This over reliance on one talent pool is bad both for French society and for corporates because it doesn’t promote diversity of experience, learning and mindset.

“Creating a partnership with the less corporate study of social sciences not only encourages more people to consider this route in the future, but over time it will also help students to have increased access to the corporate world and for corporates to have access to different ways of thinking from new talent pools”

- Eric Meyer, Managing Director, Head of France

In light of its international reputation, EHESS attracts students and academics from far beyond France. The financial support provided by RBC benefits students from very diverse backgrounds and profiles. EHESS is a public institution with little history of corporate endorsement so we are able to have a greater impact through our partnership and build strong links with the school. And, by linking our brand with the prestigious and longstanding institution, well known across France for excellence, we help put diversity into action to build an inclusive workplace that helps employees, clients and communities thrive.


Eric Meyer

Eric Meyer
Managing Director, Head of France