French national Marie Helle embarked on her undergraduate studies with one goal: To gain the skills needed to help her family business expand from France into the rest of Europe.

Having lived in France her entire life, she felt it essential to broaden her worldview. She needed a program to hone her business acumen while traveling abroad and immersing in different cultures.

With exchange partnerships across the globe and campuses in Europe, Asia, and Africa, ESSEC Business School’s Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) was the perfect fit.

Marie started her journey at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore. It was a strategic move that put her well-positioned to learn about business in Asia while having the opportunity to travel the region.

To build her international exposure further, she completed a double degree from Fachhochschule Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Germany.

Also, she did four internships—three in Singapore and one in France.

Having just enrolled in the London Business School’s Master in Management (MiM) program, Marie reflects on her global journey and the lessons ESSEC has afforded her.

With so many international opportunities available to all ESSEC GBBA students, why did Singapore stand out?

I wanted to come to Singapore because it is at the heart of the Asia-Pacific region and home to the Asian headquarters of many international companies. In addition, the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus is located in the “Silicon Valley” of Singapore.

These factors make it an excellent place to network with companies while searching for internship opportunities.

In addition, being in Singapore allowed me to explore its neighboring countries during term breaks or weekends.

I wanted to discover new cultures and create memories in new countries.

Was being in Singapore an advantage when you were looking for internships?

It definitely helped my chances! At ESSEC, many career fairs are held on campus across the year, where students can network and connect with established companies in the country.

I took the initiative to connect with the established expat community in Singapore, which helped me secure two internships: A Marketing and Communications intern for a start-up and my decisional internship as a Revenue Management intern at a hospitality group, Andaz Singapore.

Along the way, I received plenty of support from Cerella Sim, Manager at ESSEC Career Services.

She took the time to get to know us, identify our key strengths, and help us write resumes to strengthen our applications.

How do you feel you’ve benefited from these internships?

Internships allowed me to apply the theoretical concepts I learned in class to real-world matters.

For example, the communications course taught me skills to interact smoothly with my future teammates, and the managerial courses—such as in accounting and strategic management—proved very useful during my role at Andaz.

All in all, these international work experiences will be an asset for my future career.

Tell us about some other development opportunities you had at ESSEC Asia-Pacific.

In my second year, I joined the Student Council. The Council’s role was to organize student life events to help students integrate into the ESSEC community.

As Secretary, I helped plan events, wrote reports, and kept the ESSEC administration team updated about the latest happenings within the student body.

Later, I was nominated by my peers to become a Class Representative. This involved gathering feedback from students about areas of courses, teaching methods, and workload.

I built my leadership skills through discussions with the Academic Affairs team on how the school could further improve student welfare.

Looking back now, what are some of your best memories at ESSEC Asia-Pacific?

The integration weekend was definitely held at Bintan Island in Indonesia. This was a weekend trip for new students to get to know each other through team bonding activities.

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to run for Student Council in Spring 2020!

A second memorable event was when the student representatives hosted Her Excellency Minh-Di Tang and Émilienne Baneth-Nouailheta from the French Embassy in Singapore.

We had an insightful discussion on campus, where we learned about the Embassy’s cultural and economic work in Singapore.

This was a great way to stay connected with France despite being thousands of kilometers from the Cergy campus.

Some students may be worried about moving abroad for studies. What would you say to them?

Could you do it? Moving to Singapore will be an unforgettable and incredibly enriching experience, both personally and professionally.

Moving abroad at a young age has helped me become more mature and gain fresh perspectives for my future professional career.

I experienced new cultures and discovered the world by traveling through Asia and Europe.

It also wasn’t hard to adapt at ESSEC. As students come from all over the world, everyone is far from home, which makes it easier for us to bond.

In fact, I’d say that ESSEC is like a second family where I’ve made friends for life!