Marine Trouillez, 22, Siyu Zeng, 24, and Tomohiro Matsushita, 31, can’t be any more different from one another. Hailing from Luxembourg, China, and Tokyo, respectively, the MSc in Marketing Management and Digital (MMD) students are part of a diverse global cohort at the French business school’s Singapore campus.

While Tomohiro, who found a full-time Management Consultant role with Accenture Interactive in Singapore, and Siyu, who’s interning as a Mergers and Acquisitions Analyst at Equiteq Singapore, are both looking forward to graduating in early 2021, Marine recently joined the program in September 2020.

Aside from the differences in age, nationality, academic and professional experience, all three have one thing in common: to apply what they learn to create a sustainably better future—not only in terms of businesses but also for the people and the planet.

They’ve learned that marketing is more art than science, more human than algorithms. What they’ll do with these learnings will echo through their budding careers.

Learning by Doing

“At Accenture Interactive, I help clients build their data management system and minimize any potential issues,” Tomohiro shares like a seasoned consultant.

Although it’s his first foray into management consulting, Tomohiro, an engineer by training, acknowledges that it takes more than technical knowledge to address the challenges of a project. “It takes management and communication skills,” he adds, crediting ESSEC for exposing him to crucial leadership traits.

To add to practical experiences, the MMD cohort was involved in projects with luxury conglomerate Richemont Group, healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson, and media leader JCDecaux. Tasked to deal with real-world challenges, it’s through these hands-on projects that participants get a whiff of what’s expected of them once they graduate.

If Tomohiro is in the business of growing a company, Siyu is selling them. “I analyze the strengths and weaknesses of businesses to prepare them for clients to buy over,” Siyu shares.

Uprooting from China to Singapore for college and to Toulouse, France, for her Bachelor’s degree, Siyu returned to the Lion City to enroll in ESSEC’s Singapore campus for her Master’s.

“One of the reasons why I enrolled in the business school is because it’s highly regarded and very reputable in Europe,” Siyu says. “More importantly, you get a practical view of business and a well-rounded education.”

Marine would agree with Tomohiro and Siyu on how ESSEC gives them the practical tools to succeed. Being the program’s newest participant, Marine found the consumer behavior and digital marketing courses to be the most riveting.

“The professors adapted their learning tools to stay ahead of the learning curve due to the pandemic,” Marine adds. “We’ll be doing simulations instead of exams to create ad campaigns, research for keywords, and optimize landing pages—these are all the things I will use as a marketer.”

Human-centric Impact

Like Siyu, Tomohiro is a soon-to-be graduate at ESSEC—an experience he credits for elevating his interpersonal skills.

“In my work, it’s not only about applying marketing acumen but also to elevate the human experience,” Tomohiro shares. “The best course in the program was luxury brand management; it shaped my knowledge and understanding of human-centric needs and behaviors.”

Echoing Tomohiro, Marine adds: “I’m looking forward to the second semester because that’s when we learn more about digital and luxury.” With an ambition to work in the cosmetics, skincare, and fashion sectors, Marine is adamant about using what she will learn at ESSEC to work in a more sustainable industry area—potentially in Singapore or China.

Marine, the French-speaking German native, is also learning Mandarin. “I’ve always been fascinated by Asia and would love to start my career in a sustainable industry either in China or Singapore,” she gleams.

Marine experienced China very early and has also taken up an exchange in Guangzhou during her Bachelor’s. “ESSEC in Singapore became my first choice because it’s perfectly located for what I wanted to do.”

Siyu is as much a globetrotter as a Marine. If Marine left her home city of Luxembourg to study in Canada and build her career in Singapore and China, Siyu left China to study in France and return to Singapore to complete her Master’s.

“I want to return to China to tackle the personal development market,” she says proudly. “I’ve seen students struggle because it’s highly competitive there, and I want to empower them to make their own choices—to live a well-balanced life.”

ESSEC and a Transformative Experience

ESSEC’s MMD program is an intensive year-long experience. Through strategic, behavioral, analytics, and luxury brand management courses, participants like Marine, Siyu, and Tomohiro broaden their understanding of digital marketing and worldview with a professionally and internationally diverse cohort.

Transformation is a concept anyone can find in the library aisles of management books, but the ESSEC experience demands application and a human-centric approach. Seeing how experiential and immersive the program has been for the participants suggests that their transformative journey is only beginning.

With the ambitions of human-centric change across their passion industries, it’s reassuring to know that young leaders like Marine, Siyu, and Tomohiro are equipped with the tools to drive transformation. Time can only tell what kind of impact they will make, but if their journey so far is any indication, time might have given us a glimpse of what to expect.