In March 2024, ESSEC MSc Marketing Management and Digital (MMD) students traded the classroom for an adventure in Hong Kong, visiting companies ranging from luxury powerhouses Richemont, DFS, and Kering to media giant Wavehouse, e-commerce company Farfetch, and more.

Their experience, part of the annual study trip, is arguably one of the most highly-anticipated aspects of the MMD program.

Besides offering students a chance to travel, the trip is also an opportunity for students to network with professionals from different sectors, learn more about the cultural nuances of another country, and gain exposure to roles they can take in the future.

It is worth noting that MMD students also organize the study trip themselves.

Thai national and Student Ambassador Patsachon Niyomthai (Pat), who was part of the organizing committee, shares that the stakes were exceptionally high in 2024 as the MMD cohort comprised over 70 students—almost double the number in previous years.

Despite the challenges of planning logistics on top of regular school work and group projects, Pat and the team delivered.

They successfully recruited 11 companies to host MMD students and even planned a networking event for their peers to meet with ESSEC alumni and corporate partners.

Gaining Valuable Career Insights and Connections

Student Ambassador Manon Portha, who is from France and hopes to start her career at a luxury brand, felt she benefited most from the visits to Kering and Farfetch.

“It was an honor to listen to the HR manager provide insights into the workings of the Kering Group, then go on to hear from the President of Balenciaga APAC and later, the Marketing and Communications Manager from Boucheron,” she explains.

She adds: “It was a unique opportunity to learn about two esteemed brands and to network with top-level managers from the most influential luxury groups in the world—and it has reinforced my determination to pursue a career in this domain.”

The advice and insights she got from speaking with different professionals were later enhanced: An HR manager from Kering and ESSEC alumni working at DFS and We+Asia.

“I am confident that networking with professionals from all over the world, each with a unique background and expertise will benefit my future career,” Manon declares.

Lessons on Asia

Another highlight of the study trip was learning more about the Hong Kong market.

Manon explains: “During our visit to Wavemaker, for example, discussions were tailored to the Asian landscape, and they shared how the company is helping Chinese brands build their reputation outside of the country.

This helped us understand the current challenges companies are facing and what solutions we might be able to propose.”

Pat chimes in that these insights, coupled with the connections made, make the trip particularly valuable for those who want to work in Hong Kong in the future.

“If I didn’t have an internship lined up in Singapore, I would be looking for one with a firm in Hong Kong,” she exclaims.

Opening Doors to New Possibilities

Pat adds that the organizing committee felt it was important to expose their classmates to different types of companies and roles.

In addition to luxury players and media firms, they included companies ranging from retailers like PAKT to developments such as Landmark Mall and consultancy giant Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

“I liked how BCG could offer us different perspectives from the other companies! Consulting isn’t a role that marketing students often think about, but we learned a lot about the consultant life and living in Hong Kong from their sharing,” Pat says.

Manon concurs. “The BCG visit was interesting as it taught us about the company’s current projects linked to trending topics like generative AI. My initial focus wasn’t to look at consulting firms, but the study trip has helped me broaden my horizons and given me new perspectives about working there.”

“I believe this week, solely dedicated to our professional development, has been the best ESSEC offering to date,” she concludes.