Opportunities in a Time of Covid: Growth Comes When You Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

At 18 years old, Elodie Gouellain had already lived in Poland, Russia, France and Morocco—but her move to Singapore was the first she would be living away from her family. She shares how constantly making the choice to step out of her comfort zone has helped her thrive in a new chapter of  her life.

Why did you choose to come to ESSEC Asia-Pacific?

I came to Singapore because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, discover Asia, and gain greater exposure to new cultures and languages.

Having moved around a lot with my family when I was younger, I learned early that the exposure and understanding of different cultures is priceless. Living in Warsaw, Moscow, Casablanca, and Orléans, has brought me unforgettable experiences and cultural nuances I still relate to today!

With the pandemic raging on, did you manage to gain the exposure you wanted in the last year?

Yes, thanks to Singapore’s multicultural environment. I leveraged on the diversity in the classroom by working with different groups of people. This gave me a chance to meet new people, form friendships and learn about their cultures and ways of thinking, all of which added to the foundation of my global perspective.

I also became a Student Ambassador, which gave me the opportunity to meet and work closely with students from different backgrounds that I wouldn’t have met in class. One of my favorite memories was during the student council campaign, when I got to negotiate deals with restaurants and arrange activities for other students.

Finally, the company I interned at emphasized multiculturalism, openness, and diversity. I was able to meet new people from different nationalities, while discovering how a major international company functions!

What was it like looking for an internship? What did you do?

Cerella Sim, our Career Advisor from the Career Services team at ESSEC, helped me refine my resume and improve the content. I also researched available internships across different platforms like ESSEC Alumni, JobTeaser, JobStreet, and LinkedIn. After searching for a few weeks, I narrowed down several global companies I was interested in and contacted them through LinkedIn.

Kuehne + Nagel Asia-Pacific/Singapore, an international logistic company, replied to my message and wanted to get to know me better. They were very warm and quickly scheduled several rounds of calls and interviews. The fact their process was very organized and serious is testament of a healthy organization and I eventually took on an internship with them.

What was it like as an intern? Did you find it difficult to adjust to the company culture?

I was a marketing intern in the Human Resources (HR) department and had the chance to work with the HR team in Singapore and Malaysia. We worked on projects for both countries like implementing a mental health app for employees and establishing a graduate program for students

I had the chance to go to the office for two weeks before we switched to working from home. I didn’t feel like it was difficult to adapt as we had adequate supervision and meetings twice a week with the entire HR team. I think it helps to be responsive to messages and participate actively during meetings, as well as to go above and beyond to deliver work ahead of time.

Looking back at your first year away from your family, how have you changed?

I think I have become more outgoing, open-minded and understand the business world better. Making the most out of my time in Singapore and at ESSEC Asia-Pacific has allowed me to grow academically, personally, and professionally. It also helped me to find out who I really want to be in the future and how I can succeed and make a meaningful positive change in the world.

For more information about the program, please visit: https://www.essec.edu/en/program/global-bba/global-bba-international/

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