• The annual SMIB Study Trip allows students to travel and learn about Asian businesses.
  • The cohort gained from a well-curated program offering insights from the luxury, tech, and consulting industries.
  • The experience offers memories and connections to last a lifetime.

ESSEC Master in Strategy & Management of International Business (SMIB) students can choose to complete their education at either the France or Singapore campuses. Those who choose to venture to Singapore often have one goal: To explore and understand the Asian market.

No better way to do this than through the program’s Study Trip, an annual business trip that takes SMIB students overseas to meet and greet professionals in industries they are interested in.

Previous SMIB cohorts have leveraged the opportunity to explore cities like Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, and Hong Kong and learn how business is done in a localized context. In 2022, the pandemic notwithstanding, the students did the same and went to Kuala Lumpur for a week of conferences, company visits, and cultural immersion.

Dive Deep into Areas of Interest

“I saw this as an opportunity to meet with professionals from many different fields,” Damien Chanjou, a participant from the class of 2022, shares, adding that he was particularly impressed by how the program line-up included speakers from a wide range of sectors encompassing F&B, FMCG, luxury retail and more.

As someone keen on pursuing a career in sustainability and green energy, he benefited immensely from a talk by French multinational tire manufacturer Michelin, where the company shared about its R&D work on a new tire made without plastic.

“It’s fascinating because this could change the world of transport,” Damien enthuses, adding that thanks to the conference, he was also able to speak personally with the company representative to get his questions answered and learn more about the transport of the future.

Gain a Broad Picture of How to do Business

True to how the SMIB curriculum serves students with varying interests, the Study Trip gives them a broad perspective of business that they can apply to careers across different fields.

Care was taken to ensure representation from companies at different stages of growth. For example, in consulting—a popular choice for many SMIB students—the organizers brought on board brand advisory Yellow Tree to offer invaluable tips for working with local micro-businesses and consulting firm Alpha Catalyst to share insights about serving the larger Asian region.

Finally, FTI Consulting completes the story with its perspectives on the global market.

Equally important was to help students understand how different business lines can complement each other. On this front, the speaker list was curated to include local luxury retailer Mystique Universal, global beauty brand L’Oreal, and e-commerce giant Shopee—the perspectives of which, when combined, provided clarity on how different facets of fashion, beauty, and tech are deeply intertwined in business today.

Long-term Trip Takeaways

Reflecting on his experiences, Damien muses that the takeaways of the Study Trip go far beyond acquiring industry knowledge in the present to also build relationships and networks for the future.

For him, other highlights include bonding with his cohort as they explored critical attractions in the country and the Study Trip networking dinner when he was given a chance to connect with professionals on a more personal level.

“The speakers were willing to discuss everyday life, and they opened up to share meaningful stories about their journeys,” he recalls, adding that these interactions were both inspiring and encouraging for new job seekers.

There are also lessons to be learned for students who chose to be part of the Study Trip organizing committee, Career Services Senior Manager Theresa Chew adds.

Having supported the organizing students in their planning, she was impressed by how they managed to turn around the event quickly and give both themselves and their cohort a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“They had to think about everything from the program structure and logistics to how to reach out to speakers and the execution of the events on the day itself,” she says,

“These are valuable life skills that cannot be taught but must be gained through life experience.”