After living in China, North America, and Japan, Yuanyuan Cai finally joined the ESSEC Asia-Pacific Singapore campus. The 24-year-old completed her studies at ESSEC in 2020 and has gone on to pursue a Master in Public Policy while interning at a global consulting firm. She and her parents share how ESSEC has guided her to where she is now.
What was the appeal of ESSEC Asia-Pacific?
Yuanyuan Cai: There are a lot of exchange universities and double-degree opportunities. That’s what I found to be the most interesting — that you get to travel to various countries during your studies and gain new experiences.
Another thing I found interesting – having lived in China and America, is the fact that the schools there focus on courses heavily related to your major.
At ESSEC, they focus on real-world experiences via internships and I found that to be very, very important. In fact, my career goals became a lot clearer since studying at ESSEC.
Mr. and Mrs. Cui (Yuanyuan’s parents): We were mostly interested in the quality of the education. Although we didn’t know much about the French educational system, we heard from friends that it was reliable.
ESSEC has also let her travel to various countries through the intercampus exchange and double-degree program. We feel that this has been a valuable experience for her as she has experienced different cultures and made friends from all over the world.
We heard that even before coming to ESSEC, Yuanyuan already had plenty of experience with different cultures while living in China, Japan, and North America. How has ESSEC been different?
Yuanyuan Cai: Before joining ESSEC, I didn’t know how to present my ideas in front of people. I would get nervous, and I didn’t know how to structure my answers. ESSEC gave me a lot of training since we need to do presentations all the time. Before, I had to prepare a script and memorize everything, but now I can do public speaking spontaneously.
That’s why I think internships are very, very valuable. They’ve led me to where I am right now.
Mr. and Mrs. Cui: The most noticeable changes happen after each of her internships. We realized that she seemed to understand the working world better and had a clearer picture of her career goals. We are positive that she will soon achieve what she truly wants and reach there with what she’s learned today.
What would you say to present and future ESSEC students and their parents?
Yuanyuan Cai: To be honest, my favorite moment at ESSEC was interacting with my classmates outside of the classroom. I felt that it was a great way to communicate with people as they tend to open up about their life experiences and what they want to achieve in this casual setting. In short, it is an excellent opportunity to get to know people better.
That said, my advice is to not be afraid to speak up. ESSEC offers an opportunity to meet people, discover yourself, and experience the business world. Being more outspoken will definitely help you get the most out of it.
Mr. and Mrs. Cui: Ultimately, we hope Yuanyuan leads a life she enjoys and that she has a clear idea of where she is going. We’ve supported all her decisions so far, and everything seems to be smooth sailing. My advice for parents is to believe in their children.
“FamilyXChange” is a regular series featuring students at ESSEC Asia-Pacific’s Singapore campus and their parents and guardians. Gain a first-hand account of the ESSEC experience and learn how they navigate challenges near and far.