Akarsh Thodupunuri was one of the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus’ pioneering Global Bachelor in Business Administration (GBBA) students. Over his four years with the school, he studied in Singapore, France, and the Netherlands, worked in Singapore and France, and visited around 30 countries.

Upon graduation, Akarsh went on to work as Assistant eCommerce Manager for Heineken in France, then took an MSc in Digital Management at Ivey Business School in Canada. Today, he has stepped up to a full-time consulting role at Deloitte. He weighs in on the highlights of his journey around the world and how his ESSEC experiences combined have prepared him for the future.

Tell us about your career goals. How has ESSEC supported you?

I have always been drawn to being a global leader in the digital space, and my experiences at ESSEC and beyond have only strengthened that desire.

Through the Digital Transformation course with Prof. Alice Bouis at ESSEC and a wide array of internships, I’ve gained a deep understanding of the marketing and branding concepts that are critical to the success of global brands, as well as the power of e-commerce, which has become more important than ever in the wake of the pandemic.

I’m eager to bring my skills and knowledge to my new role as a consultant at Deloitte with their advertising, marketing, and commerce team—which has always been a dream of mine!

You’ve been to so many countries—which experience is your favorite so far?

Undoubtedly, it was my exchange at the Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands. There, I deepened my understanding of innovation and business information management and formed lifelong friendships with people worldwide.

I’ve remained in touch with these friends throughout the years—even when I returned to India during the pandemic—and I reconnected with many of them when I came to Canada. This experience has helped me realize the importance of thinking globally and embracing diversity.

How have these travels helped you professionally?

Many ways. For one thing, it has given me a deep understanding of cultural nuances, which in my role as a marketer, has helped me create compelling and innovative campaigns that can resonate with diverse audiences.

My time in France ignited my passions for technology, fashion, and food, which I hope to explore as an entrepreneur one day.

Being able to intern with global consulting firm Devoteam during my GBBA program also exposed me to colleagues across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which broadened my understanding of the global business landscape.

Overall, I believe I’ve also secured multiple internships in France and Singapore has added to my international profile, making me a more attractive candidate for recruiters.

Was it challenging to embark on a journey to so many unfamiliar places?

Not really. I did feel that pursuing my bachelor’s degree overseas was a risk, but I also saw it as a journey of self-discovery. For example, I was able to come to terms with my queer identity in France, which I don’t believe would have happened if I hadn’t taken the leap to step out of my comfort zone.

This has in turn motivated me to participate more actively in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

The fact that I took up French at ESSEC has also proven to be an asset to my time in Canada, and I’ve found the ESSEC alumni network a great source of support and guidance throughout my career, no matter what country I have been in.

Overall, I’d say that ESSEC has helped me realize my own potential, and I’m grateful to my peers for their support. I am confident that the connections I made at ESSEC will continue to be valuable in fulfilling my future ambitions.