When ESSEC Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) Chengxiang Zhang hit his third year, he had gotten onto the prestigious Dean’s List four times in a row. He credits the Dean’s List for giving him an edge when applying for internships and believes consistency is critical to maintaining good grades. He shares his journey.

Getting onto the Dean’s List four times is no mean feat! Has this always been part of your plan?

I’ve been aiming to do this since I first joined ESSEC. There are two main reasons for this: First, academic excellence is necessary to break into the competitive financial industry.

Secondly, being on the Dean’s List will give me the first pick for an exclusive one-year exchange program at one of ESSEC’s partner universities, which I believe will be crucial in helping me maximize my international exposure.

You mentioned finance—is this where you hope to work?

I am highly interested in the finance industry. I’m passionate about the challenges of being in the finance sector and hope to find a role where I can work closely with other businesses. I’m looking at roles in investment banking, specifically those related to mergers and acquisitions or initial public offerings, private equity, and venture capital.

Have you seen your accomplishments on the Dean’s List pay off so far?

I felt it was extremely helpful in helping me secure my first internship in investment banking! As a freshman, I had limited experience, so the Dean’s List accomplishment was an important way for me to demonstrate my capabilities to the recruiters.

I believe being on the Dean’s List will continue to help me in the future because even though there will be other markers of my abilities, being on the Dean’s List consistently is a testament to how I can achieve yet maintain high standards simultaneously. If I’m able to translate the same rigor in my professional life, I’ll be able to find success at work.

What is the most challenging part about getting onto the Dean’s List?

I found it vital to remain humble and consistent each semester. Instead of dwelling on my previous academic achievements, I took every semester as a fresh start and a new challenge.

Other students have mentioned challenges juggling school work and their social life. What about you?

Actually, what I find challenging is to be able to juggle very diverse subjects—from marketing to finance—across each semester. Each topic requires a radically different approach and mindset! I’d recommend focusing on one thing at a time and prioritizing quality over the speed of completing each task.

Looking back, how have you changed to get onto the Dean’s List?

One of my biggest takeaways is how to deliver quality work under pressure. This will be extremely useful in the working world, where multitasking is required, and errors can be costly.

I’ve also found that getting onto the Dean’s List has continuously pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve seen innovative solutions to cope with the intensive research and steep learning curve—this capacity to absorb large amounts of information quickly will prepare me well for the fast-paced economy.