ESSEC’s exclusive International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) program, open to only ten exceptional students a year, is an opportunity to study across three of ESSEC’s prestigious partner universities—University of Mannheim in Germany, Fundaçao Getulio Vargas in Brazil, and University of South Carolina in the USA. Emilie Ung-Sun shares how this international adventure has pushed her to become a better version of herself.
Meet Emilie Ung-Sun:
- A French-born Chinese who joined IBEA program to explore the world
- Has found that her IBEA classmates both inspiring and motivational
- Believes in the importance of staying curious and open-minded
Before joining ESSEC’s International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) program, French-born Chinese Emilie Ung-Sun had never left France. Today, the aspiring consultant is at the cusp of graduation and brings with her an international profile of having lived, studied and worked across, Germany, USA, Singapore, and Brazil—thanks to the IBEA program. This is her story:
Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you take on the IBEA program?
I'm passionate about human psychology and in understanding how cultural differences can translate into a rich diversity of behaviors and communication styles. As such, my primary reason for joining the IBEA program was to explore the world. Of course, I was also enthusiastic about the prestige of the program, and about the hands-on experience I would get through the four consulting projects!
Having been in Europe almost all your life, what was it like at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore?
My Asian roots made me feel really comfortable here, and I was happy to help my friends navigate the transition. As the Singapore campus was smaller, it felt like our cohort was living as a family. It had a very different atmosphere from Cergy. While the Cergy campus was large-scale where you always meet someone new, the Singapore campus had a warm family vibe to it and we were close-knitted. You’ll quickly become friends with everyone—including your professors.
Looking back now, what’s one of your biggest takeaways from the IBEA program?
When we all started the IBEA program, I felt we were perhaps all a bit full of ourselves because we were among the hand-picked "top students". But after witnessing how truly capable, smart, and inspiring our classmates were, we all learned what humility truly meant.
Spending two years with incredible people challenged me in all aspects: Whenever I thought I couldn't do better, I would quickly be put back in my place, because there is always somebody who can do it better or differently. That was true in the classroom, across my internships, and even my hobbies. Professionally and academically, I believe I obtained the best results I could ever have because the program constantly challenged me to become a better version of myself.
What is some advice you have for aspiring IBEA students?
You need to be curious—curious about people, cultures, business, and how you can become a better version of yourself. You’ll meet people who work in different but inspiring ways, and there is so much to learn, so stay open-minded.
Also, you have to devote your heart and soul as soon as you start at ESSEC to get into the program!