ESSEC Asia-Pacific: Gaining an International Mindset with the Comforts of Home

The first batch of ESSEC Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) students at ESSEC Asia-Pacific graduated in 2019. We speak to Keivin Cheng from Raffles Institution about why he took the leap to be part of the first cohort, and how the experience has shaped his career.

Meet Keivin Cheng:

- Raffles Institution alumni was one of ESSEC Asia-Pacific’s pioneering batch of students
- He now works at BP Singapore Pte Ltd
- Believes that ESSEC has boosted his intercultural communication skills

We understand you were among the first batch of ESSEC Asia-Pacific Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) students! What made you take the chance on ESSEC?

As I was born and bred in Singapore, I wanted to pursue an educational experience that would give me international exposure. At the same time, I also wanted to be close to home. ESSEC Asia-Pacific offered me the best of both worlds: I could pursue a globally recognized program and immerse myself in an international community of students from different cultures, while still building my local network in the comforts of my home country. 

Has it paid off? Where have you gone on to work since graduating?

I am currently working as a business analyst at BP Singapore Pte Ltd. I support the organization in the management of oil and gas-related digital projects and initiatives to ensure we can remain competitive and lead the way in reducing our carbon footprint, so we can become a net-zero company.

This aligns well with my interests, because I’m passionate about new energy sources and renewable energy! I believe that for the good of mankind, the world needs to transition faster from using traditional forms of energy, and I hope to do my part to make this happen.

How did ESSEC help you secure or excel in your role today?

I benefited from the one-on-one curriculum vitae (CV) review sessions, and mock interviews that helped me prepare for any tough and technical questions I might face during the interview process.

ESSEC also taught me to communicate well with people from diverse cultures. I’ve learned to build a strong rapport with just about anyone I meet, which has served me well in my project management role, where I liaise with multiple stakeholders. 

Looking back now, what are the highlights of your time at ESSEC?

Definitely my international friends. Over the years, we’ve learned so much about each other’s cultures and lifestyles, and today, they are still my pillars of support despite all of us being located across the world.

Being able to learn Japanese and French was also a highlight. ESSEC built a strong environment conducive for the practice and usage of different languages. Because of this practice and the motivation of my peers, I’m now able to communicate in both languages on at least a conversational level!

Was it difficult to adjust to the French education system?

Not really. The academic rigor required was similar to the junior college system, so I was familiar with what to do and able to cope well with the pressure.

What are the changes you saw in yourself since studying at ESSEC?

ESSEC pushed me out of my comfort zone, and taught me how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. My experience taught me that accelerated growth comes from pushing through obstacles, and I’m a lot more comfortable taking on challenges and overcoming setbacks today.

What do your parents think of your transformation?

My parents are proud that I have grown up to become a mature adult—one who has a positive outlook, and is always looking to find new challenges and experiences to learn and understand the world we live in. They’ve definitely seen how ESSEC has opened my mind to a world of possibilities.

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

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