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Finance and oenology have one thing in common: you need a good nose

At first glance, Bernardo Bluhm's career is fairly conventional. His financial CV includes a host of major banks and international companies. But if you look more closely, this 34-year-old Brazilian has already worked in a variety of professions and explored much of the world. In search of growth markets... but also the best vintages.

"I love this job because it involves a lot of negotiation, I like to look for commonalities between two structures in order to bring them closer.”

When he describes his work, it's with the passion of a winemaker. This seems a good time to explain that as well as being an expert in financial markets, Bernardo is also a connoisseur of fine wines. A scientist by training, he carried out several internships in the field of finance before joining the Brazilian energy giant Petrobras. He initially worked there as an engineer and then as a consultant in mergers and acquisitions, before joining the Brazilian Development Bank where he gained his first experience in private equity. To complete his studies, Bernardo chose an MBA from INSEAD and travelled to Fontainebleau, Singapore and Tbilisi where he completed his graduate internship. After three months of training in the Georgian Co-Investment Fund, the biggest private equity fund in Caucasus, they offered him a job. Except that, at the same time, his application had also been accepted at ENGIE, in Paris. Without hesitation, "I chose to join the Group because I want to have an international career, and the company operates across much broader and more varied markets".

Off the beaten track

And so, Bernardo joined ENGIE as part of an internal training initiative called "Financial Boarding Program". This two-year scheme is designed for high potential financial candidates and offers young executives the chance to develop and diversify their skills by performing three missions, of about eight months each, in various Group entities. Bernardo's first assignment was in the Group's Investor Relations department. In a team of five experienced employees, he worked on benchmarking and contributed to compiling and presenting financial results: "I am particularly fond of studies and benchmarking", he explains. "It's mainly because I like to analyse things, and it allows me to gain a good overview. Understanding changes to the energy sector and anticipating the expectations of investors means you really have to think out of the box, it's very motivating.”

And will his next to assignments be in France, or abroad? "I don't mind!", he replies. "What I want is to gain as much international experience as possible." He jokes: "For now, the only country I can't see myself working in the short-term is Brazil. I've already spent a lot of time there!" Home-sickness isn't really an issue for him: "My parents usually come over to France". And Bernardo's career has inspired his younger sister, who is also studying at INSEAD in Fontainebleau.

A globetrotter, a sports-lover, and a bon vivant

A seasoned traveller, Bernardo has already visited some fifty countries. And one of the main criteria for choosing his destinations? "Wine! I am passionate about wine. I was part of the Brazilian Association of Sommeliers, where I attended classes for two years, and participated in tasting groups with experts. So I have been on many wine-related trips: Tuscany, Sicily, California, Argentina, the Loire Valley... Wine creates connections between people, it gets us talking about travel, and it helps us get to know each other better." Out of all the countries he has visited, Bernado puts Italy in the top spot: "It's a fantastic country, in terms of its culture, history, architecture, landscapes, and for the generosity of its people and cuisine.”

A few years ago, he discovered another passion: skiing. "I discovered the sport in Montreal in 2004. Since then, I haven't stopped. I took private lessons to help me improve and I ski every winter now." There's little doubt, Bernardo doesn't do things by halves: "Whether on a professional or personal level, I need to set myself goals." Ultimately, his goal is to play a role in the management of an entity. And we wish him every success!

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