ESSEC’s reputation is a product of over a century of legacy—built by an established alumni network and perpetuated by promising Student Ambassadors like Radhika Tandon, Ng Yue Ning, and Catherine Villarosa. Find out how they developed their success even before they graduate.

To graduate from ESSEC is, in many ways, a badge of honor. It is a symbol of competence and character recognized by global brands across industries.

Yet, as Student Ambassadors Radhika Tandon, Yue Ning, and Catherine will tell you, this reputation is not gained by sailing through calm seas but earned by navigating through the storms.

After all, it was through sheer determination that Catherine’s team emerged as winners at ESSEC’s Digital Competition Week. In this challenge, Global Master in Business Administration (GMBA) participants try to solve real-world digital problems that partner companies face.

It was also tenacity and skill that carried Radhika and Yue Ning through the 29th L’Oreal Brandstorm, an innovation contest for students worldwide. Yue Ning’s team from the ESSEC Master in Management and Digital (MMD) program came in second in Singapore. In contrast, Radhika’s team from the Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) cohort emerged at the top in Singapore and went to the semi-finals.

Unparalleled Proficiency Across Industries

Recalling her first thoughts when tasked to develop a digital solution for a logistics firm, Catherine exclaims: “My teammates and I knew nothing of the industry, hardly anything about the China market, and barely anything about who we were communicating to.”

Thankfully, their ESSEC training equipped them with frameworks and knowledge from marketing, entrepreneurship, digital disruption, and business model innovation classes. This helped them overcome unfamiliarity with the sector, rapidly moving from “knowing nothing to being able to propose executable solutions.”

Over at the L’Oreal Brandstorm, the sheer number of competitors meant Radhika and Yue Ning were up against fierce competition.

Therefore, Radhika observes that ESSEC’s presentation training was part of what led them to victory.

“It really gave us an edge compared to other teams. We were very confident, well prepared, and most of all, believed in what we presented,” she says.

The Privilege of Partnerships

Radhika’s takeaway from the contest was the importance of collaboration. Her team went through three weeks of intense research on consumer needs, current innovations, and possible solutions before developing their winning suggestion—a make-up competition in collaboration with Amazon Prime.

True to the brief to reinvent the beauty shopping experience through entertainment, their proposal included recruiting influencers to showcase different looks for the audience to vote for and options to test products online.

Yet, to keep such an ambitious project scalable takes a village. Radhika’s teammates, Navya Gupta and Kareena Aswani, were on hand to help. She also applied advice from their innovative merchandising professor at ESSEC. To top it off, she received mentoring sessions from the e-commerce director of NYX Professional Makeup.

Yue Ning’s group echoes these sentiments. Being open to feedback helped her team develop their idea for a new product for Atelier Cologne and an accompanying virtual reality experience at the launch.

“It was beneficial to hear our mentor’s insights about the business. It helped us structure our ideas in a clear and concise way,” she shares.

Poised in the Face of Pressure

The biggest challenge the student ambassadors faced? Working within time limits.

Radhika’s team had to coordinate across three countries with different time zones. Although Catherine’s group was all in one location, they had just two and a half days to prepare a pitch, presentation, and video production to sell their ideas to the judges.

“The time constraint forced us to strategize well on managing the work, what to focus on, and how detailed we wanted to go with our executions,” Catherine recalls.

In fact, precisely, these hurdles made victory all the sweeter.

“No matter where I end up, solving problems and developing solutions will always be a part of what I do,” Catherine shares.

“I believe the digital competition week captures what we ought to do after graduating—to channel our knowledge of digital technology and privilege of understanding both global and local perspectives towards leading and creating value.”