Students drawn by diversity of choice at ESSEC Asia-Pacific
Internships build confidence for the workplace
Living in Singapore has fostered independence
Matteo Keller graduated from Kantonsschule Zürcher Unterland in Switzerland and plays the trumpet, bass guitar, golf, tennis and cycles. He is also co-founder of a start-up providing environmentally-friendly takeaway packaging solutions to food businesses in his home country, Switzerland.
Cecile Jean, who is of French-Polish descent, studied at Coral Reef High School in Miami before moving to Singapore. She has also lived in Warsaw, Madrid, Brussels, Versailles, and Shanghai—and is a trapeze flying artist with a brown belt in karate.
With diverse hobbies and backgrounds, the two sought an environment that gave them the freedom to explore, grow and pursue their passions. This led them to ESSEC Business School’s Asia-Pacific campus.
Diversity of Choice at ESSEC Asia-Pacific
“I believe that globalization means we must be polyvalent and adaptable no matter the situation—this is where ESSEC stood out for me, because of its diverse program” Cecile, currently a Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) student, shares.
For example, besides taking a comprehensive curriculum that addresses everything from marketing to geopolitics, students are also given the opportunity to go on exchange at over 175 of ESSEC’s partner schools across the globe. This is coupled with intercampus mobility that allows students to study at ESSEC’s France and Morocco campuses in addition to Singapore.
International exposure aside, Matteo chimes in that he was drawn by the opportunity to choose from 200 course electives. “I felt this would help me personalize my experience, specialize based on my own unique traits and eventually differentiate myself in the working world,” he explains.
He also appreciates how ESSEC encourages students to learn new languages, and has taken on Italian to add to his existing repertoire of German, French, English and Spanish.
“I feel speaking multiple languages will be useful in the business world because being able to understand my client’s language will help me build a better relationship with them,” he says.
Finding Opportunities to Flourish
Two years into their ESSEC journey, Cecile and Matteo have found that ESSEC’s diversity and flexibility has served them well.
True to how the GBBA program endeavors to give students an edge in the working world, Cecile scored an internship at consulting firm, Innovation is Everywhere. This gave her a chance to put her GBBA skills to the test, researching and creating content for innovation-related newsletters, articles, presentations and videos.
To date, she cites one of the most meaningful experiences she had when she independently secured an interview with the co-founder and CEO of a French e-commerce company for a story on carbon neutrality.
“The process of finding a potential interviewee, contacting him, setting up a meeting, interviewing him and drafting the overall story really boosted my confidence in the professional world,” she recalls.
Matteo, on the other hand, secured two internships—one at Porsche Asia Pacific Pte Ltd and the other at OTSAW Swisslog Healthcare Robotics. He also successfully made it to the Dean’s List, which gave him priority for an exchange program, and received a place at UC Berkeley for a year-long exchange, all of which will contribute to a future career in the global workplace.
Like Cecile, he too found these accomplishments a major confidence booster. More importantly, perhaps, is that it taught him the value of discipline, and showed him that things he once saw as impossible—like getting on the Dean’s List—are within reach, so long as he puts his mind to it.
Reflecting on A Home Away From Home
To Cecile, this is what transformation is: “It’s about changing the way we think, learn and organize ourselves.”
She adds that moving to Singapore has been particularly transformational for her as it has exposed her to the perspectives of international students from a plethora of backgrounds. It has also trained her to manage issues to do with housing, transport, banking and more.
“The entire process of moving here has made me a more independent person, and I feel much more prepared for the future,” she says.
Likening living abroad to the heights she scales while practicing new trapeze skills, she points out that “all challenges seem impossible when you first approach them.” Her advice to others in Europe is to give ESSEC Asia-Pacific a chance. “Make conversation, learn about what others have to say, listen to their stories because there might just be lessons there that you can take away too!”