Each year, ESSEC’s International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) gives 10 students the opportunity to study, live, and work across Singapore, Germany, Brazil and the USA over a two-year period. Find out how this exclusive program has transformed the lives of its graduates.
- IBEA program offers a chance to travel and live with the cream of the crop
- Opportunity to gain work experience in different countries
- International profile of graduates make them highly sought after by recruiters
With the opportunity to study in the top schools in Singapore, Germany, Brazil and the USA , as well as the chance to work closely with global firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers and L’Oreal—it’s safe to say that the International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) program offers an experience that no exchange program can.
“There are not a lot of students who can say that they've traveled the world, gotten work experience and studied at the best schools all at the same time, so it’s definitely a privilege,” Danish native, Peter Bjerkén declares.
Acceptance to the program is exclusive, reserved for just 10 students from each of the four schools—ESSEC Business School, the University of Mannheim, Fundaçao Getulio Vargas and the University of South Carolina. Peter, a Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) student from the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus, is one of the deserving few.
A Global Profile that Recruiters Love
Peter shares that he was drawn to the IBEA program because of the diversity it offered, and that since joining, he has found this global experience is also something recruiters value.
“I found my first part-time job as a financial controller because the company valued the cultural knowledge that I gained through the IBEA,” he shares, adding that this also helped him secure an internship at Deloitte and a position in an upcoming graduate program.
The reason for this is simple, Peter’s batchmate, French-born Chinese, Emilie Ung-Sun explains: “The IBEA program trains us to become more culturally flexible. I feel like I could really work anywhere now!”
Real-World Experience to Increase Employability
Emilie’s confidence is in part because in each country IBEA students travel to, they serve as junior consultants that work closely with a global company to address a real-world business problem.
As an aspiring consultant herself, Emilie credits these projects for giving her the tools and portfolio she needs to enter the working world. Excitedly, she shares: “I got an offer very quickly and easily for an end-of-study consulting internship in France and Canada, with the prospects of a permanent job!”
The benefits accrue even for those who may not be thinking of a career in consulting, like Kareena Aswami, founder of online language learning start-up, Acing Languages.
“Working in groups has shown me how someone might be good at app development, while someone else might be good at public speaking, finance or marketing—and it’s really how we bring all those skills together,” she muses. “I’ve learned to understand the different needs people have, which has helped me in my current work.”
Developing the Courage to Explore and Passion to Excel
Arguably, traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures also works wonders for personal development. After all, Katherinne Zuñiga might not have traveled to Athens alone for a project management internship with telemedicine firm, Doctor Anywhere, if not for her IBEA program experience.
“The IBEA program taught me to enjoy getting out of my comfort zone, and to see moving from place to place as a new opportunity—it’s made me more open-minded,” she explains, adding that now she is in a new and unfamiliar country, her past experiences have trained her to adapt well.
There is also value to immersing oneself with the cream of the crop of top schools, Emilie shares.
“Professionally and academically, I believe I obtained the best results I could ever have obtained in IBEA because I didn't want to rest on my laurels when living with such impressive people! I wanted to reach their level,” she explains.
Her biggest takeaway from the IBEA program is to be curious, open-minded and ready to improve—traits that may well correlate with chances of success, more than any degree or certificate will.