Asia’s exponential growth over the years and impressive post-pandemic rebound have cemented the region’s position as an economic powerhouse globally. No matter the industry or country one wishes to carve out a career in, one thing is sure—it is imperative to understand the context of business in Asia.

Case in point: Before coming to ESSEC Asia-Pacific, Pauline Glever, class of 2020, spent part of her undergraduate days in China. She says this was pivotal in securing an internship at luxury brand LVMH.

“My French background meant I could relate to the brand’s history and bond with the central teams in France, but I could also speak Mandarin, so I could bridge communication with the local teams,” she explains. Realizing how global firms valued the Asian experience and knowing that Asia was “doing a jump in time” made her adamant she would pursue her masters in Singapore.

Many others share her sentiments and, like her, have taken the same journey to Singapore for the ESSEC Asia-Pacific’s Master in Strategy & Management of International Business (SMIB).

See the World From a Global Perspective

Their reasons are partly because the specialized tracks offered in the SMIB program—Corporate Strategy or Strategic Consulting, are tailored to the Asian market. But it is also because the Singapore campus is the epitome of diversity, with students hailing not just from countries in Europe but also India, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, and more.

For French national Guillaume Auneau, class of 2021, who is already fluent in six languages and has work experience across Europe and South America, coming to Singapore was an opportunity to meet with people from vastly different cultures and finally add Asia to his global profile.

It is also precious to gain perspectives from people from different backgrounds, his classmate, Pauline Grimault, adds.

As someone who grew up in France and was used to the “French way of working,” Grimault saw Asia as “a different playground, where you have to work with people who have a different way of thinking,” she shares. “You need to adapt and understand—gaining this ability is a tremendous program strength.”

Having scored a management trainee program at Virtuos, an international game developer with offices in Asia, North America, and Europe, she credits her ability to fluently navigate the communication channels and connect with colleagues from all over the world today to her time in ESSEC.

Solve Real-World Asian Business Challenges

Another significant benefit of being in ESSEC Asia-Pacific is participating in the Asian Strategy Challenge (ASC). During this six-month project, SMIB students act as a real consulting team to solve a real-world business problem a business in Asia faces.

Grimault’s team was tasked to help Supernova, a Singaporean beauty brand, become carbon-negative, and in the process, learned volumes not just about business but also sustainability and how the concept affects companies in Asia.

Glover, on the other hand, whose passion lies in the world of luxury, got to work with LVMH’s Parfums Christian Dior to analyze the consumer journey and behavior of Chinese travelers. Her team’s performance on the project was so exceptional that she was eventually hired by Parfums Christian Dior as a Direct-to-Consumer Services Project Manager.

Gain from an Intimate ESSEC Asia-Pacific Community

One should also not discount the intimate size of the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus—this allows for more personal attention and fosters deep connections proper in the working world, Mayriem Meddah, class of 2021, testifies.

After all, Mayriem’s current role as Product Specialist at global pharmaceutical company AbbVie is in part credited to the resources and connections established by ESSEC Asia-Pacific, she shares.

ESSEC Career Advisor Will Chang walked with her each step of her career search and an ESSEC alumna who shared a similar pharmacy background as she generously stepped in to offer advice. Ultimately, her hard work paid off, and an ESSEC professor introduced her to a professional who became her mentor. This mentor put her in touch with the HR at AbbVie, and the rest is history.

Looking back at her time at ESSEC Asia-Pacific, Mayriem admits that risks come with leaving one’s comfort zone, but she believes that the journey and its challenges have been worth it.

“I’m not the same person anymore—I am better and stronger now,” she says. “I’d tell future SMIB students that if they want to be a better version of themselves, do it, go to Singapore!”