Optimistic and unassuming, 20-year-old Philippine Sarre did not think about the Dean’s List when she started her journey at ESSEC.

But in her quest to open doors and make the most of her time at ESSEC, the third-year Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) student has made it to the list three times and counting.

She also secured a position in the exclusive International Business Education Alliance (IBEA) program—a joint cooperation between ESSEC and three prestigious partner universities: the University of Mannheim in Germany, Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil, and the University of South Carolina in the US.

She shares how she did it and why she still believes that grades are not everything.

You’ve gone from not knowing about the Dean’s List to staying on it for three semesters. What motivates you to keep this up?

I learned that getting on the dean’s list was a prerequisite to securing a place in the IBEA program.

At the end of my first semester,  when I scored well enough to be both on the Dean’s List and get into the IBEA program, I started challenging myself to keep it up.

I also realized that getting on the Dean’s List can be a stepping stone in the professional world.

During job interviews, stating that you are in the top 10 percent of the cohort of an already renowned business school is something that employers consider.

It is almost guaranteed that you know how to work well and get results.

Is it a lot of work to stay on the Dean’s List?

Most of my friends consider me a hard worker because I like doing some schoolwork every day.

On the other hand, I also enjoy hanging out with my friends, traveling, and playing cards.

I manage my time by dividing the semester into two periods: one for regular lectures and another for midterms and final exams.

When there are regular lectures, I work only on what is necessary, like prioritizing group projects.

Before exams, I spend most of the day studying with little free time.

What are the changes you have seen in yourself since joining ESSEC?

ESSEC pushes its students to seize opportunities and try out new things. I’ve discovered that it is not all about the results but also about making mistakes, working in different fields, and growing other interests.

This has led me to work in various companies, fields, and sectors. And with each of these experiences, my life and career goals became more apparent.

I’d say the grades are just a bonus.

How do your parents feel about your accomplishments?

My parents are very proud of my Dean’s List accomplishments, especially my father, who did not have the opportunity to attend university.

They are proudest that I am happy and developing in a positive environment.

What advice do you have for future students?

We all have a different view of what it means to do well in our studies. It is about experiencing things, exploring other countries, and discovering what I like.

Being on the Dean’s List wasn’t my primary objective, so find yourself a goal you want to pursue.

You can see doing well by getting on the Dean’s List, joining different student organizations, having your own start-up, or volunteering in charities.

No matter what you choose, ESSEC always encourages you to chart your own path.