COVID-19 couldn’t stop fourth-year Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) student Radhika Tandon from finding an internship in Paris and making her mark at the annual L’Oreal Brandstorm contest. She shares how she overcame the pandemic odds to achieve her dreams.

Tell us a little about yourself. What have you got lined up for your future?

I’m working remotely for an NGO in Kolkata, after which I’ll start my final year at ESSEC Asia-Pacific.

My last semester will begin in January 2022, and I’ll complete it by doing an exchange at King’s College in London.

After graduating, I hope to find a role at L’Oreal in Paris. I might consider a Master’s Degree in Marketing, specializing in luxury and beauty.

How did the pandemic affect your academic year?

Despite the pandemic, I flew to France to exchange at the ESSEC Cergy campus.

When I arrived, classes were held on campus, but when the country went back into lockdown, they were immediately shifted online.

To make the most of my time, I traveled to the South of France, where I could still enjoy the natural beauty and go on walks.

Weren’t you or your parents worried about the situation there?

My parents supported me as they understood that I wanted global exposure and the experience of travelling and living in different countries—staying home in India would put a hold on that.

I also thought it would be an excellent chance to find an internship in Paris as I could physically go down for interviews.

Did you manage to secure an internship? Tell us about the process.

I was so determined to intern in France that I created a web resume. I thought that visuals would show more of my personality than a one-page resume, so I developed a three-page website where I talked about my personal experiences and added some pictures from my travels.

I posted the link to the web resume on LinkedIn along with a short summary about myself and mentioned that I was looking for an internship. Many people reacted to that post, and companies started approaching me!

That’s how I found my six-month internship with Your-Comics, a company in France that creates infographics and videos for big companies like Dior, L’Oreal, and Ubisoft.

Are there other examples of how you went out of your way to make an impression on your potential future employers?

L’Oreal is my dream company, and I’ve been looking for ways to learn more about the culture and people. When I came across the L’Oreal Brandstorm competition, I thought it would be a great way to gain exposure and experience.

My team, called MakeUp Your Mind, realized that with the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers craved a holistic and fun online shopping experience, so we transformed the online retail experience with “retailtainment.”

When we were selected as the Top 10 National Finalists, we had the fantastic opportunity to receive personalized mentoring sessions with L’Oreal experts.

My team had the privilege to work directly in collaboration with the E-Commerce Director of NYX!

We hear your team eventually won the national finals! What were some challenges you overcame?

Yes, there were over 1,500 other participants, and we were the only undergraduate team participating!

My team struggled a lot because we were split between three countries, time zones, and work schedules. Managing that itself was a great learning experience, teaching us immense teamwork and team spirit.

Presenting in front of the CEO, CMO, and the Head of HR was also intimidating. However, we practiced hard to polish our presentation. The innumerable presentations we did at ESSEC gave us an edge compared to the other teams while presenting!

Looking back at the year, how have you changed, and what have you learned about yourself?

Transformation is a personal trajectory for me. I ask myself, “Am I a better person than yesterday?” and “Did I learn something new today?”

Over the last year, I have become much more independent and confident. I have learned that nothing is impossible without the will to work for it.