Radhika Tandon, a  Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) graduate, is not one to let obstacles stand in her way.

From flying to Paris for exchange amid the pandemic to struggling through time zones to become one of the top teams in Singapore for the 29th L’Oreal Brandstorm competition, the Indian national has proved time and time again that when there is a will, there is a way.

This tenacity led her to internships as a Digital Project Manager at Your-Comics in France and now at L’Oreal. She shares her experience.

How did you feel, and what did you learn when you first applied to L’Oreal and were rejected?

Back then, I didn’t have much experience. So, I started networking with current employees and alumni from ESSEC to understand more about the job application process.

Through them, I learned about the L’Oréal Brandstorm competition and won at the France-national level.

I also joined the Leadership and Diversity Chair at ESSEC, supported by L’Oréal. This allowed me to expand my network and learn from different industry professionals.

When I next applied to the company, these things helped!

Can you share your experiences with the Leadership and Diversity Chair at ESSEC Asia-Pacific and how the members influenced you?

The professors and the alumni gave me many tips on structuring my application, approaching the interviews, and communicating with the managers.

Also, my year was the first time the chair was opened to GBBA students, and although most students were from the Master’s programs, it wasn’t intimidating at all.

We had candid discussions and projects where we could collaborate to share our ideas. It was interesting to learn from their different experiences.

In what ways did being a Student Ambassador at ESSEC Asia-Pacific boost your confidence in networking?

We had to go out there and talk to people. From this, I learned that there is nothing to lose and that every experience is a learning experience.

People who are more experienced in the industry are pleased to share their stories with you.

There is so much to learn from each person; the more conversations you have, the more enriched you will be.

This has been helpful at L’Oreal, where the culture is incredibly diverse. My team has only one French person and people from Canada, Germany, Egypt, etc.

I’m also taking charge of lots of projects, from going into photoshoots to writing social media captions and more.

There’s a lot of networking involved as I need to constantly meet and talk to different teams to get the work done.

How does your current work differ from your past experiences at start-ups?

I’d say there are pros and cons. At the start-ups, I loved that I had more freedom to be creative, which helped me with the fluidity of ideas, but I had to create the structure myself.

Because L’Oréal is more extensive, there are already processes to follow, and I implement an existing structure.

But in doing this, I get to see actionable results of my work daily, and I’m learning from the frameworks in place and from people who have had years of experience.

What strategies do you use to manage the hectic nature of your work, and what kind of support do you find most helpful?

L’Oreal has a culture of having coffee with different project managers and interns. I’ve had multiple coffees with people outside my team who have all been friendly, warm, and willing to mentor me.

In a large organization, it’s easy to get intimidated and submerged in the pressure, so it feels perfect to know there are people here to support me, even if they are not in my immediate team.

Why do you believe it’s important to view an internship as a marathon rather than a sprint, and how has this perspective helped you?

A big challenge interns face is setting personal boundaries because they want to convert the internship into a full-time job.

They keep pushing, continuously working till midnight. But it’s not sustainable to work this way in the long run, and they will likely burn out before they can achieve their goals.

My advice is to take it slow—give your best, but don’t compare yourself so much to the people around you.