Peter Bjerkén’s connection with Asia was forged during a pre-high school exchange program between his native Denmark and China. When selecting an undergraduate program, he knew he wanted to spend more time in Asia. At the same time, Peter was not ready to commit to an entire degree in Asia. Winning a spot on ESSEC’s prestigious International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) track struck the perfect balance and paved the way for a finance career.

Why did you choose the IBEA track rather than a typical exchange program?

In IBEA, you manage to travel the world with the same 40 people, and I think that is an experience you will not get in your future career. It’s possible to go abroad, of course, but you won’t travel with some of your best friends for two years straight.

At the same time, you also have work experience in all the countries you go to. In each country, you have one consulting project to complete and get the training to do it. For instance, I was unfamiliar with making a consulting slide deck before this experience, but then you get the teaching, the information, and the guidance throughout the project.

Ultimately, you feel pretty equipped to execute these kinds of projects. Not many students can say that they traveled the world while getting work experience and studying at some of the best schools.

How did IBEA help with your career?

I’m in my last year at ESSEC and Deloitte, working within the audit insurance team during my internship here. Plus, only recently I have been accepted into an international graduate program in international operational finance. I will start in Denmark and then complete international rotations.

Perhaps more importantly, whenever I’ve explained to anyone what I’m doing in IBEA, I’ve only experienced people saying, “Wow, that is absolutely incredible.” And they are super interested in me.

For example, when I found my job as a financial controller during the COVID semester at the University of South Carolina, it was relatively straightforward to get through the process because I felt like I had a diverse background. The interviewers had an interest in me.

It was the same with the graduate program I’ll start after the summer. I only got that because of my international experience from my degree at ESSEC, that’s for sure.

Can you share some of your best memories?

I’ve met some of the most intelligent people in the IBEA program. However, the program is not only about studying and achieving academic excellence.

During one summer, my IBEA friends and I decided to go to a summer house in Spain and simply be there together. Our semester in Brazil started a few weeks later, but it was remote initially. So, we took classes together in Spain and taught remotely in Brazil. You find these opportunities because you become such good friends with your cohort. You not only enjoy this time together, but you also work together to improve.

I also like being in Singapore; I’m so happy I came here. There are many opportunities to do things and meet people as part of your school life. The campus is super cool because it’s relatively small. This makes for a more intimate life, and you meet more people. You can form this little family when you’re on campus.

Which tips do you have for students looking to get into IBEA?

I think one of the most important things is your grade. My best advice for getting a good grade is to structure how you study. If you put in the effort right from the beginning and structure your habits and routines around exploring, I think it’s very much possible to be accepted into the IBEA program.