While many can share stories about travelling abroad, few can say they have travelled, worked and studied with their friends for close to two years. Yet, this is exactly what the ESSEC International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) program does. Hear from Peter Bjerkén on how his IBEA experience enabled him to grow both professionally and personally.
Meet Peter Bjerkén:
- Peter is an IBEA program graduate from Denmark
- He has found that his international exposure is an advantage when seeking employment
- Testifies to how the IBEA program is a platform for both academic and emotional growth
Fourth-year Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) student, Peter Bjerkén was lured to the ESSEC International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) program by the prospects of travelling the world and studying at some of the top schools in the world—the University of Mannheim in Germany, Fundaçao Getulio Vargas in Brazil, and University of South Carolina in the USA.
Today, having completed the IBEA program, his global profile of having lived and worked in the USA, Denmark, Germany, Singapore and Brazil is catching the eye of recruiters, giving him a head start in the working world.
Tell us about yourself—what are you doing now that you’ve completed the IBEA program?
I’m currently in my last year at ESSEC. Throughout my studies, I’ve been working part-time for a software company, and I’m now at Deloitte, interning within the audit and assurance department. When I graduate, I have a position in a graduate program with Novo Nordisk to do international operational finance. I’ll start in Denmark for the next eight months, and overall do three rotations in three different countries over the next two years.
How did the IBEA contribute to helping you secure these employment opportunities?
Whenever I've told anyone about the IBEA program, they say “wow, that’s incredible”, and they are super interested in me. For example, when I found my job as a financial controller during my semester at the University of South Carolina, the interview was a relatively straightforward process as I had a diverse background that the company was interested in. I think it was the same for my internship with Deloitte, and with the firm I will be starting my graduate program with.
Besides this, I think the IBEA program also gives us a lot of opportunities to work with people from all around the world. It really teaches us to appreciate the uniqueness of people from different backgrounds, which I think is a great skill to have when you work in teams.
How does the Singapore campus compare to the other schools you studied at?
The campus is relatively small, so you feel like you’ve got a little family on campus. You can ask the professors questions, and get them answered immediately, and they’ll know your name by the end of the lesson. It’s really nice because elsewhere, in a lecture hall of 200 people, you won’t have that intimate experience.
What is it like being part of the IBEA program?
I think some of the smartest people I’ve ever met have been from the IBEA program. That said, the program is not just about studying and trying to achieve academic excellence—it’s also about having fun with the people around you.
Interacting with them, I’ve definitely become more outgoing. I used to be a little bit conservative about trying things, but having been to so many countries, I’ve definitely come out of my bubble and am more willing to try new things!
What’s one of the best memories you have had?
The semester in Brazil was done virtually at first, so my IBEA friends and I took the opportunity to go to Spain, travel together and do our classes remotely. That’s the nice thing about the IBEA program—you become such good friends with your cohort that you find these opportunities to do things together and help each other improve.
What tips do you have for students looking to get into the IBEA program?
I think one of the most important things is your grades. My best advice for getting a good grade is to be structured in the way you study. If you put in the effort right from the beginning and you plan your habits and routines around studying, it's very possible to be accepted into the IBEA program.