Since enrolling in the ESSEC Global BBA program at ESSEC Asia-Pacific in 2019, third-year student, 19-year-old Laura Cao has made it to the prestigious Dean’s List in two consecutive semesters and counting — all while balancing a part-time job. The motivated go-getter shares why she isn’t ready for a life goal yet and how she organizes her life to maximize her time.
Tell us what life is like for a Dean’s List student.
During the school term, I was doing part-time research work for a headhunting company. I'm now doing my internship at BMW during the summer vacation. I’m also volunteering with an online learning platform, Acing Languages, to tutor students in learning Mandarin.
Time management is essential. I make a clear schedule to divide my time between work, school and rest. When I’m in class, I also concentrate on what the professor is saying, so I don’t need as much time to revise later.
That sounds like a very busy schedule. Do you get any free time?
In my free time, I watch movies on Netflix, hang out with my friends, explore Singapore, visit shopping malls and enjoy all the good food. I especially love the ArtScience Museum, and I’ve been there at least three or four times.
What are some of your best moments at ESSEC? Is getting on the Dean’s List one of them?
It’s an honour to know that you’re one of the top students in your year. It can help you find a good internship and exchange. I’m going to do my exchange at the National University of Singapore — it is competitive to get in, and I knew then a good ranking was essential.
I also enjoyed doing my humanitarian project at Lions Befrienders, where my classmates and I would spend time with the elderly doing craft projects, watching movies, or just listening to their stories. Being in Singapore, I miss my family and grandparents, so spending time there made me feel like I was with them again. I appreciated ESSEC giving us this opportunity.
How has your time at ESSEC changed you?
Before I came to Singapore, I lived with my parents. I’m definitely more independent now.
I’m also more confident because of all the group projects. This taught me how to be a team player and how to cooperate with others. I used to be nervous presenting my work in front of many people, but now there’s a sense of achievement to show what I worked so hard for, and I really enjoy it.
What does the future look like for you?
Although making a goal is important, a life goal is too far ahead for me. I prefer to focus on and work towards short-term goals. For example, before the examinations, my goal was to get good grades, and I stopped my part-time job to focus on that. In May, I set a goal to find a suitable internship for June and worked towards that.
After this, I might look for another internship in companies like Shopee or Richemont. Thanks to the Global BBA’s strong career orientation, I’ve completed internships in finance, marketing, headhunting, and now, in IT business administration. I’m only 19 years old, so I want to try different industries before deciding on my future.