• SMIB students from the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus secure roles in the region.
  • The SMIB program’s Asia focus and opportunities for professional exposure contribute to their success.
  • The ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus is conducive to building strong networks.

Carving out a career in Asia is a common reason that students choose to complete their master’s program at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore. Christiane Chung and Alexis Maissant, both Master in Strategy & Management of International Business (SMIB) alumni from the class of 2022, had similar motivations.

“The tracks offered in Singapore are focused on businesses in Asia, and the country itself is a cultural hub in the region,” Christiane explains. “I felt studying here would give me international exposure and help bridge the gap into the Asian market.”

Alexis, whose interests lie in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), felt similarly: “Southeast Asia is an extremely fast-paced market with massive challenges to solve—this potential drew me to the region. I also felt Singapore’s diversity and its importance as a business hub in Asia made it a perfect place to start my career,” he says.

Today, their goals of working in Asia have become a reality: Christiane secured a role as a sales planner at Louis Vuitton in Japan, and Alexis found work as a strategy consultant at Arup in Singapore.

This, they say, is a credit to the ESSEC SMIB program.

Building an Asian Portfolio

“The Singapore campus helped improve my knowledge of strategy and understand the ESG challenges faced in Asia,” Alexis says, citing the opportunities to obtain professional experiences as particularly valuable in contributing to his development.

He chose to take on the Asian Strategy Challenge (ASC), an initiative offered exclusively to students following the Strategic Consulting Track at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus.

Over around seven months, he worked closely with Decathlon to help develop the mountain sports segment in the Asia-Pacific region, honing his skills in research, analysis, and strategy development.

“The project allowed me to better understand business in Asia. It also helped me see my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and consultant.

He shares, “This gave me insight into how I can improve my professional self and the key elements to building a good client relationship,” he shares.

On the other hand, Christiane took the option for a company mission at the end of her program. This allowed her to work at Van Cleef & Arpels in Singapore as a strategic business consultant—a step that helped kick-start her journey in the luxury sector.

A Chance to Travel in Asia

A second highlight for the two was the SMIB Study Trip. This annual business trip takes SMIB students overseas to meet professionals from different industries and learn about business in a different culture.

While other batches have visited cities like Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, Christiane’s and Alexis’ cohort visited Kuala Lumpur, where they met with companies from F&B, FMCG, luxury retail, and more, with each a different phase of the growth journey.

Christiane says this was an “enriching experience” that deepened her understanding of business in Asia and helped her clearly see the challenges companies face in a different country.

Benefits of the Intimate ESSEC Asia-Pacific Community

Alexis and Christiane also testify to the richness of the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus. There were at least 10 nationalities in their class, which allowed them to learn more about other cultures—especially as ESSEC emphasizes teamwork and includes several group projects for students to develop their collaborative skills.

“There were also many opportunities for us to meet with alumni from diverse backgrounds,” Christiane recalls, adding: “I found the alumni were very willing to share their journey and provide advice for how we can create our own.”

In addition, as the campus is more intimate than its Cergy counterpart, professors are “extremely available” to offer support, and it is easy to build close relationships with peers both within and outside of one’s program, Alexis says.

“Great friends are what you build your network with—and it all starts at ESSEC,” he declares.

Looking back at their time at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus, Christiane sums up her experience as follows: “I developed the knowledge for a strategy-related career, acquired professional experience in Singapore, broadened by international exposure, and built my professional network.”

With this background, she, like Alexis and their other classmates, can hold their ground in the workplace—not just in Asia but worldwide.