ESSEC Asia-Pacific: A Rite of Passage for Students From France

  • Students from France choose Singapore for the chance of an adventure in Asia and abundance of global exposure

  • Curriculum helps them understand the business world and develop their career goals

  • Opportunities abound to network and learn about the working world

With ESSEC Business School’s reputation as one of the top in Europe, positions in its Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) program are coveted by many.

To gain acceptance to the program is therefore already a demonstration of one’s academic prowess and potential for the future—but to choose to do so across the world at the Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore, arguably says even more about one’s strength of character.

After all, for many like Elodie Gouellain who graduated from Lycée Saint Charles Orléans, making the decision to come to Singapore would mean moving far away from family and friends for the first time ever.

“I had the option to study in the UK or France as well, and the choice to come to Singapore was not easy as I had little to no understanding of the local culture and climate,” the third-year GBBA student recalls. “But I knew it would be the right path for me as I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, discover Asia and gain greater exposure to new cultures and languages.”

Elodie’s schoolmates, Louise Depuydt and Vivien Cotier from France, who are in the fourth and second year respectively, echo her sentiments, citing the international exposure and opportunity to travel through Asia as their prime motivating factors. 

Like Elodie, they too have found that the challenges of living abroad aside, coming to ESSEC Asia-Pacific has been worth it.

Exposure Breeds Clarity

For Louise and Vivien, the journey has been pivotal in developing their ambitions.

“Coming to Singapore has been a big step for me, taking me from a relatively passive and unambitious high school life, and exposing me to a larger, growing, global world,” Vivien explains.

He shares that in comparison to Lycée Jeanne d'Arc Gex, his small high school in the countryside of France, life at ESSEC-Asia Pacific is far more vibrant.

Being introduced to a wide array of subjects—from marketing to accounting, economics and law—for example, has expanded and shaped his understanding of business. Working alongside classmates of diverse cultures for group assignments also exposed him to different working styles and perspectives, influencing how he conducts himself today, he says.

Louise, who was from Ensemble Scolaire Assomption Sainte Clotilde Bordeaux, also testifies to how classroom lessons and group projects have helped her build her self-efficacy and taught valuable lessons on managing time, people and expectations. 

But the largest transformation of all came when she was accepted to the International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) program. The IBEA program, which is offered exclusively to just 10 students a year, gave her the chance to study live and work across Singapore, Germany and Brazil, alongside like-minded, ambitious and inspirational individuals.

“You really learn how to adapt to any situation, get back up after failures, and successfully reach the goal you have decided on,” she recalls of her experience, adding: “at the beginning I only wanted to travel, but today, I have many dreams that I want to chase.”

Experience Leads to Confidence

Significantly, ESSEC Asia-Pacific also matches its exposure with an abundance of opportunities to gain experience and acquire real-world skills.

Vivien and Elodie both had a chance to participate in Student Council activities, organizing and leading events to help their peers adapt to life in Singapore. 

Internships are also a mandatory feature of the GBBA curriculum, and students are required to complete three internships before graduation. Within her first year, Elodie secured work at global transport and logistics company, Kuehne+Nagel, as a marketing intern for the human resources department. 

There, she took on projects for the Singapore and Malaysian office, including but not limited to implementing a mental health app for employees and establishing a graduate program for students.

“It wasn’t just the tasks that I performed that made my experience fulfilling, it was also the company’s emphasis on multiculturalism, diversity and openness,” she declares. “I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with people from different nationalities, to learn how an international company functions, and importantly, to see how I fit into a work environment!”


A Bright Future Awaits

Today, Elodie has moved onto her second marketing internship at non-profit organization, Lions Befrienders, Vivien is a project management intern at global healthcare company, Sanofi, and Louise is on the hunt for opportunities in Taiwan, Singapore or South Korea. 

Graduation is a distance away, but they remain optimistic that their future is a bright one.

Because as Louise so aptly puts it: “ESSEC is a place that gives you access and resources—it provides you with the keys you need to unlock your dream life.” Their advice to French students like them? Choose ESSEC Asia-Pacific.

toggle Help Me Choose a program