What attracts graduates from top universities in the USA and Canada to take a Master’s degree at ESSEC’s Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore?

Looking back at her days at McGill University, Marine Trouillez fondly recalls the majestic scenery from road trips, weekends on the ski slopes, and a challenging but exciting academic curriculum filled with group projects, presentations, and case studies.

Like others from North American universities, undergraduate life for her was when everything seemed more prominent and experiences were richer; she and her peers stood at the cusp of adulthood and surveyed the vast range of social and educational opportunities there for the taking.

This begets the question: How will these students—accustomed to North American campuses’ scale, vibrance, and variety—fare in the intimate ESSEC Asia-Pacific environment?

A Truly Human Experience

Having completed her MSc in Marketing Management and Digital (MMD) at ESSEC in 2020, Marine declares: “The experience is much more human! We are like a big family—something I hadn’t experienced since high school!”

This feeling of belonging is cultivated even before one steps through ESSEC’s gates, Octavia Maes, an ESSEC Master in Management (MiM) student, shares.

Although Octavia had expected to spend a lonely two weeks doing her Stay Home Notice upon arrival in Singapore, the ESSEC Campus Experience Manager made the experience engaging by conducting daily calls with students in quarantine—even during the weekends.

“He was absolutely amazing, and I was really touched by how he gave up so much of his personal time to make us feel welcome,” Octavia recalls.

Marine adds that personalized attention translated best when receiving career services support.

“Being part of a smaller batch increased the availability of career advisors, whether we needed guidance, a CV review, or interview preparation help,” she shares. She credits this for helping her secure an internship with the Swiss luxury watch company IWC Schaffhausen.

Learning with a Focus on the Future

“I think career support is the biggest value-add ESSEC has,” Margaux Vilon, a graduate from Concordia University, echoes. “There is a huge emphasis on taking us from the classroom to the workplace.”

Within the first month in the ESSEC Master in Finance (MiF) program, Margaux had already been treated to many workshops to help her understand how to answer recruiters’ questions, improve her CV, network, and find a summer internship.

It also helped that ESSEC’s career support “could always be relied on for honest and constructive feedback,” her MiF classmate, Raphael Lambert, a University of Chicago graduate, says.

“They were always straight to the point, and what stood out to me was how they went through our CVs in such detail to ensure we would stand out.”

This training helped Margaux secure an internship in an asset management fund in Paris at the end of her first year. At the same time, Raphael received an offer for an investment analyst role at Amundi Singapore even before graduation.

Diving Deep into What Employers Want

Reflecting on the differences between undergraduate and graduate life, Marine says, “It makes sense that you need to learn some theory and build your foundations during your undergraduate years before you can apply it to real-world situations during your graduate journey!”

The chance to work with companies like Decathlon, Giorgio Armani, Lancôme, and Richemont during her MMD program were, therefore, “amazing opportunities and the perfect transitions for me to start my professional career,” she shares.

For MiF students, the fact that the curriculum aligns with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) syllabus is also a bonus for those who are looking to take on that qualification, Margaux adds.

Their experiences tell a similar story: Although the uncertainties of the pandemic continue, for ESSEC Master’s program students, having taken the extra step to improve their qualifications may well pay off.

Raphael aptly puts it: “While I credit my undergraduate degree for providing me with a broad range of skills and experiences, I definitely owe ESSEC for providing me with targeted skills and enhancing my understanding of different practices that have led me into the financial world.”