• Getting on the Dean’s List gives students an advantage for exchange programs.
  • Highlight your Dean’s List experience when applying for internships.
  • It is not all work and no play.

At first glance, ESSEC Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) students Matteo Keller, Tommy Zhang, and Eun Li Seo appear like every other undergraduate student.

Speak to them a little longer, and you’ll notice that beneath their humble and unassuming exteriors, the three are highly determined and diligent—characteristics that have earned them positions on the prestigious Dean’s List.

They have found that although challenging, the journey has proven to be worth the effort.

Gaining An Edge For Exchange Programs

“I was able to secure my exchange with the University of California at Berkeley because I was one of the first students who got to choose where to go,” Matteo, who comes from Switzerland, shares, explaining that a significant advantage of being on the Dean’s List is that students have the first pick from ESSEC’s 175+ partner universities for their exchange program.

This is also how Eun Li scored one of the only five spaces in the competitive double degree program ESSEC has with the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University.

Acceptance to this double degree program also secures her position in Peking University’s “Future Leaders” program—which will equip her with the unique skills and knowledge to tackle the rising Chinese market in the future.

As the South Korean native has dreams of building her own coaching and mentoring company to develop talents in Asia, being part of the “Future Leaders” program is the perfect training ground for her to acquire the skills and experience she needs, she says.

Raising One’s Internship Chances

She adds that being on the Dean’s List also has benefits when one applies for internships. After all, “being on the Dean’s list is proof that I am diligent and responsible,” she explains.

Tommy, who hails from China, concurs. As a freshman, he needed more experience approaching recruiters in the competitive finance sector.

He shares that being on the Dean’s List was an essential feature of his application—and helped him secure his first investment banking internship at China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited.

Even later in one’s career search, when one has gained more experience, having been on the Dean’s List consistently can be helpful because “the capability to maintain high academic standards can translate in one’s professional life.”

What it Means to Wear the Dean’s List Badge of Honor

Tommy may be right because while the joy of making it onto the Dean’s List accomplishment may only last for a semester, the skills developed in the process will last a lifetime.

For example, while he learned volumes about how to work under pressure, Matteo became a master of organizing his time—he adeptly maximized his 45-minute bus ride to school to help him prepare for his lessons. He developed a good habit of working consistently in small amounts.

In Eun Li’s case, breaking big goals into more minor, bite-sized milestones has improved her planning skills, while learning to speak up whenever she has questions has boosted her confidence in public speaking.

All Work and No Play? Not if You are Organized

The students are also adamant that getting on the Dean’s List does not mean sacrificing other, more enjoyable aspects of undergraduate life.

“We are not nerds who study all the time and have no free time,” Eun Li candidly shares, adding that she, for one, spends a fair amount of time with her friends and enjoys both reading and dancing—the trick is simply to be present no matter what you do.

“When it’s time to study, I focus and remove any distractions, and when I am with my friends, I try to enjoy myself without worrying about my schoolwork,” she says.

“Everyone at school has the same workload; the difference is having a good system that allows you to work efficiently and stay on top of the work,” Matteo concurs.

Case in point: Working towards his academic goals has kept him from co-founding a start-up to improve sustainability in packaging, playing music and sports, or seeing his friends every week.

His experience in juggling the different facets of his life has taught him that the Dean’s List is not an elusive accomplishment, achievable for few, but a goalpost that is easily within reach for those who, unlike the rest, decide to put their mind and heart to it.