When Faith Melgar joined the ESSEC Master in Strategy and International Business (SMIB) program in 2022, she didn’t have a set career goal. She was keen on sustainability but open to fashion, travel, and healthcare opportunities. On the other hand, her classmate, Howie Chia, had his eyes fixed on the aviation industry and was angling for a role there.

Fast forward to graduation, Faith found an internship as a sustainability consultant at Zero Waste SG, while Howie joined global logistics provider DHL in a critical account pricing role. Grateful for these new opportunities to kickstart their working lives, they share how the SMIB program has prepared them for these roles.

Excellent Career Services Support

For Howie, it was ESSEC Career Services that contributed most to him securing work. “They provided invaluable guidance not just on resume crafting but also how to highlight my key strengths and the value I can bring to an organization,” he explains.

What was the most memorable career event for him? The study trip to Bangkok. “This allowed me to have a close-up look at how business is done in another country and the things that we need to consider in real life,” he shares, adding that the perspectives gained have been valuable for working in a multinational business.

Opportunities for Industry Exposure

Both Howie and Faith note that the SMIB program’s emphasis on real-world learning continued back at the Asia-Pacific campus through opportunities like the Asian Strategy Challenge (ASC), which allows students to serve as consultants for companies to solve real business challenges.

Having set her sights on sustainability consulting, Faith applied to work on a sustainability-related project, which is how she first got in touch with Zero Waste SG.

The experience taught Faith volumes about project management. “I would say that your output is as fruitful and detailed as the planning and effort you put into it—and that planning for the timeline includes foreseeing the possible delays and setbacks that you might face,” she recalls.

As she navigates through the potholes of consulting at work each day, she says these lessons learned about timelines, client management, and communication have no doubt proven to be valuable.

Avenues for Creativity and Curiosity to Flourish

That said, Howie believes his most significant takeaways from the SMIB career program came not from specific activities but from the culture he was immersed in.

“The diverse student population allows for a wide range of perspectives, and the teaching actively encourages the exchange of ideas. We learned how other cultures perceive things differently and how to best manage those challenges in our working life,” he says. “Seeing all these stellar minds in my class asking tough questions has inspired me to think deeper than ever.”

Faith concurs. “It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re new at a job,” she shares. You need to pay attention, ask the right questions, and have the creativity to find connections with things you’ve learned in the past,” she explains. For her, it is this positive attitude, curiosity, and openness to understanding that she gained at the SMIB program, which she believes will carry her through.