• ESSEC Master in Strategy & Management of International Business graduates find careers in diverse financial and luxury sectors.
  • Solid academic foundation paves the way for their unique career trajectories.
  • Learning by doing is a crucial factor in securing future employment.

Tactical Sourcing Director at multinational industrial gasses company Air Liquide S.A., Global Client Insights Project Manager at Louis Vuitton, and Assistant Manager at the M&A Operations team of Deloitte Finance.

These are where French ESSEC Master in Strategy and Management of International Business (SMIB) graduates Guillaume Kurtz, Pierre-Jean Housse, and Jean-Christian Derouin, respectively, have landed after graduation.

The diverse sectors they have joined are characteristic of an SMIB graduate because, as Guillaume from the class of 2017 so aptly puts it: “The SMIB does not make you an expert in a given field, but it covers a wide range of topics that allow you to build broad skills for different industries.”

A Business-minded Perspective Opens Doors

Guillaume entered ESSEC Asia-Pacific with an engineering degree and a strong desire to go beyond his technical expertise and understand the how and why behind each business decision.

Classes on finance, economics, and geopolitics helped him hone his business acumen and understand how companies function globally. This paved the way for his acceptance to the French International Internship Program (V.I.E), taking him to the United States and back to France with Air Liquide S.A.

For Jean-Christian, an engineering graduate who joined ESSEC a year later, the cumulation of these modules made the most significant difference. Although he had every intention of returning to the luxury sector he had come from, his classes piqued his interest in consulting, and he began reaching out to different companies to learn more about the type of work they did.

“I wasn’t looking for a job with them at the time, but to my astonishment and great pleasure, some of the people I reached out to offered me job opportunities—and one of them was Deloitte,” he recalls.

The Gains of a Learning-By-Doing Approach

Arguably, Jean-Christian also shares that it is not what is taught but how it is taught that matters, citing classes on financial accounting and negotiation as pivotal in shaping his perspective and management methods.

In the former, the professor went beyond explaining formulas to help students understand how each analysis was essential for a company to achieve its goals. At the same time, the latter opened his eyes to the power of role-playing and how this can be crucial in helping him prepare for his client pitches. Years after graduation, the skills from these classes still serve him well today as he advises his clients on strategic, financial, organizational, and operational issues.

Pierre-Jean echoes these sentiments from the class of 2017, noting that ESSEC’s learning-by-doing approach was crucial in helping him carve out his career path in luxury.

For example, in his strategic marketing management class, he worked on a project to develop the strategy for the Moët & Chandon brand in Singapore. Later, he also participated in a consulting project for Van Cleef & Arpels—an experience that taught him to respect deadlines, lead a team, and develop concrete and actionable plans.

“It felt like proper consultant work, and like I was no longer a student,” he recalls, adding: “Such projects helped me deepen my knowledge and passion for the luxury industry and helped me finally create the bridge between my studies and future professional life.”

Better yet, it was when Pierre-Jean’s talent was noticed by LVMH Chaired Professor Sonja Prokopec.

Prokopec brought him on board for a second consulting project with Louis Vuitton Maison, where he impressed the company so much that he was offered a role in the Singapore retail performance team as an analyst trainee.

“I am extremely thankful for professors like Sonja, who taught me so much about the industry, got me in touch with the right people, and advised me on properly shaping my career path,” he enthuses.

Upon completing his stint, he was offered a position at LVMH through the V.I.E. As they say, the rest is history.

Reflecting on The International Experience

Reflecting on their journey across the world to the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus in Singapore, Guillaume, Pierre-Jean, and Jean-Christian agree that it was worth it.

“I firmly believe that it is crucial to be extremely open-minded and take advantage of discovering new cultures through the different projects, courses, and extracurricular activities,” Pierre-Jean says, adding that “by meeting people from different backgrounds, you begin to appreciate other ways of thinking and are pushed out of your comfort zone.”

“It teaches you to be modest because what is obvious to you may not be to someone else—you gain perspectives you would not have had if you remained in your home country,” Jean-Christian chimes in.

And perhaps, if his and his fellow alumni’s stories are anything to go by, then the same courage it takes to move one’s life across the world will also propel one to dare to try, reach out, and explore the promising careers that await.