Howie Chia describes himself as passionate about aviation and interested in marketing and branding.

His unique educational profile reflects his interests: After completing a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he went on to a Master’s in Management at Singapore Management University (SMU)—before finally joining ESSEC Asia-Pacific’s Master in Strategy & Management of International Business (SMIB) program.

He shares why two degrees in the SMIB program was the natural choice to bring him closer to his goal of working in the Singapore aviation industry.

Why did you join the SMIB program if you already have a master’s degree?

Because good strategy is something all organizations need and is essential to ensuring success.

The various courses and electives offered at the SMIB program will equip me with the tools and skills required to excel as a well-rounded professional.

ESSEC’s learning by doing pedagogy will also train me to apply lessons from class to mini-cases and projects.

What motivated you to start at the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus?

Studying at the Singapore campus was a natural choice for me as it allowed me to immerse myself in the Asian market while also exposing me to people of different cultures.

I also get an excellent opportunity to connect with people from other nationalities and learn how they interact locally.

This helps me toward my goal of working in the aviation industry in Singapore, which requires expertise in both local and international aspects.

Now that you’ve started your journey, how is ESSEC different from your previous schools?

ESSEC’s diversity makes it stand out from other schools I have attended. At ESSEC, I get exposure to different cultures and working styles that my previous schools couldn’t match.

This has allowed me to view things from different perspectives, a precious skill in the working world.

What did you learn from your study trip? What was your favorite part of it?

The trip helped me open my eyes to how business is conducted differently in Thailand, a country considered a “neighbor” to Singapore.

It taught me a lot about the world’s interconnectedness and how this will continue to affect business in the future.

The highlight for me has to be the visit to Airbus. Airbus Chief Representative from Thailand, Pierre Andre, who hosted us, gave us a really informative and engaging talk about business in Thailand, how it differs from other countries, and the different cultures he has worked with.

It was really eye-opening as we delved deeper into how businesses functioned.

How have you grown professionally since coming to ESSEC Asia-Pacific?

The Career Services office has dramatically helped me: They are very responsive and helpful.

They have organized many coaching classes and networking events, which taught us how to make our CVs stand out, build strong professional networks, and highlight unique and desirable characteristics about ourselves to recruiters.

Other than this, the program’s rigors have sharpened my professional skills. The SMIB has a busy schedule, pushing me to hone my time management and prioritization skills.

You are now a Student Ambassador for ESSEC. What inspired you to take on this role?

Knowledge is something that should be shared and not kept. Being an ESSEC Ambassador allows me to share my knowledge and experiences in the school and program with others who might be interested.

It also gives me an excellent opportunity to further hone my marketing and public speaking skills.

Additionally, ESSEC is still an undiscovered gem in Singapore, where many locals still need to learn about the school and the value it can bring. As an ambassador, I hope to spread the word and help give ESSEC more exposure among the locals!