Why you should pursue an international degree even during Covid-19


If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we live in a highly globalised world where everything is connected. We buy food that comes from all corners of the globe, we have companies with headquarters overseas, and some of us have family members living abroad. It’s precisely because our economies and societies are deeply intertwined that even in these trying times, we need more connectivity, not less.

The pandemic has triggered the sharpest contraction in the global economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and has shaken the rankings of the world’s most connected cities. Those which have managed to keep supply chains open and have strong digital connectivity have found themselves in a better position.

It may all look like doom and gloom, but the silver lining is that it shows us how resilient and adaptive humans are. Countries like Singapore are in a good position currently – both in terms of safety and economic growth – so if you’re planning to get an international degree, now’s a great time to grab the bull by the horns. 

As a current student, you’ll be able to experience the unique challenges COVID-19 brings, and already be ready to take advantage of new opportunities in the new normal. While nobody knows how we’ll come out of this pandemic, those who seize the opportunity now to learn and do new things will ultimately be the ones with a head start once things begin to rebound.

This is precisely what makes taking the Global Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program at ESSEC an advantageous move right now. 

ESSEC’s Global BBA is ranked the #1 BBA in France (by Le Point & L’Etudiant 2020/21), and the university is in the top 6% in the world in QS World University Rankings in Business & Management Studies 2020 for its academic excellence and reputation. In addition, its quality and breadth of programmes and graduates’ salary increase have ranked ESSEC the #6 Business School in Europe (Financial Times Rankings 2020).


Take advantage of the Global BBA’s global reach and flexibility

ESSEC’s Global BBA has been known for its immersive curriculum that comprises a healthy amount of global exposure in the form of exchange/double degree programmes at over 170 prestigious universities abroad and 10-16 months of global internships. This is in addition to the option of studying at any of their three campuses (Singapore, France, Morocco), and during their studies, students will take three different language courses so that upon graduation, they will be truly multilingual. 

The flexibility of ESSEC’s Global BBA also allows you to have full control over how you want to complete your international degree due to the unknown situation surrounding COVID-19. 

You can choose when to take your semesters abroad, where to do your internships, as well as where and when to do your exchange/double degree. The benefit of ESSEC’s Asia-Pacific campus is that you can begin your education in Singapore where the COVID-19 risk is low, and then plan to travel later without losing any opportunity to take advantage of world-class education in the meantime. 

Current student Louise Depuydt from France chose ESSEC precisely because she could schedule her programme in terms of exchanges and inter-campus mobility, as well as gain important field experience and internships anywhere in the world. 

“When I went to the interview, I really felt like I would fit in,” says Louise.

Since the pandemic began, ESSEC immediately adapted its BBA programme to take all necessary precautions against COVID-19 so that students continued to stay safe, and were still able to stay on track with their educational goals and future career plans. Even during the global pandemic, ESSEC has struck a good balance between making sure students don’t miss out on important opportunities like internships and semesters abroad while maintaining safety amidst COVID-19.

Despite the impact of COVID-19, many of ESSEC’s current students are able to pursue their academic goals. Radhika Tandon, who’s from India, is currently doing her 6-month internship in Paris.

“I chose the normal exchange path for my ESSEC journey and hence I will be doing my 6-month exchange at Kings College, London next semester,” says Radhika. 

Chen Siyi, from China, just finished her semester with the Cergy (France) campus and is doing a 6-month internship in her home country; she’s planning to go to Canada for exchange next semester. ESSEC helped Louise Depuydt secure her field experience in France in January; she will start her semester at Mannheim University as planned in March.



Image above from Left to Right: Louise Depuydt, Radhika Tandon, Chen Siyi, Alexandre Loo

ESSEC puts students’ safety first 

While the BBA’s curriculum can involve plenty of overseas travel, students worried about travelling during this time can take advantage of the fact that the initial years of the BBA programme are based in Singapore, where COVID-19 risk is low. ESSEC’s Singapore campus has already started welcoming students back, with safety measures in place. 

The choice to travel for their subsequent semesters can be made at a later date when the global COVID-19 situation is more stable. The pandemic has opened new opportunities and has provided time for reflection.

For Chen Siyi, it’s given her “more personal time to learn new things to better prepare for her future career,” while Radhika Tandon got a chance to “think about her future career, read more books, and attend several online workshops.”

Currently, ESSEC’s programmes are in a blended format of learning where lessons are conducted both in-person and streamed online. Many professors have adopted the flipped classroom model where students will watch their lectures at their own time and attend classes to discuss selected topics.


In addition, their online learning experience not only benefits those with access to campuses. Prior to starting her semester at Mannheim University in March, Louise Depuydt’s classes have all been online. Despite being digital, the quality of student-teacher interactions remain the same.

Singaporean student Alexandre Loo, who is currently doing a double degree with Peking University, praised the quality of the online lessons, saying that “online polls were used to acquire student feedback, and learning platforms were adopted to share resources.” 

This means that wherever you are, you can take advantage of their lessons which may have some unintended benefits. The challenges of coordinating group projects across time zones online can actually help students acquire time-management and communication skills that are essential in a modern business – the setting is also similar to real-world business meetings which are increasingly conducted online.

For Chen Siyi, the online classes have been advantageous. “Since I had online classes in my home country last semester, I decided to use this opportunity to gain more practical experience so I started a full-time internship while doing the online classes, using the advantage of different time zones,” she says.


Taking the next step to secure your future

We all face challenges with COVID-19, and while planning for tertiary education can be challenging for students during this time, there’s actually no better time to plan for your future – because time marches on and you want to be ready when things rebound. 

This article was originally written and published by Campus Magazine. 



For more information about the program, please visit: https://www.essec.edu/en/program/global-bba/global-bba-international/

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