Dress for Success Workshop with Charles Bennett

By Huang Yu, Strategy & Management major, Global MBA 2019-2020

This week, Charles Bennett conducted his second workshop titled “Dress for Success”. We were happy to have him back to talk to us about key soft skills that MBA participants need for their career development. This time, he focused on the dress code and other codes of conduct in various professional conditions. 

Before the actual workshop, Charles invited everyone to talk something unique about himself or herself. As a group of MBA participants, we are very familiar with each other professionally. Hence, during this exercise, we spoke about our personal interests, hobbies, or anecdotes that we never shared with others before. It was a great moment that allowed us to be more connected with each other with empathy and understanding, after sharing our stories and ideas from our heart. 

After that, Charles moved on to the main topic of the day, the dress code. The dress code “Business Casual” is a frequently-seen required dress code in different professional events such as networking sessions, “Casual Friday”, company dinners, etc. Yet, the actual definition of “business casual” is not well-defined. The challenging part of the definition is that the line between business formal and business informal (or casual) is not clear. The company culture, or the general culture of a country, is unique. The dress code in a company or a country may not be acceptable in another. 

During the workshop, Charles discussed various rules to follow and here are just some takeaways:

  • Our dressing is part of our identity and value. Hence, it is important to be consistent in our dressing and our behavior.
  • Dressing in the correct way is also showing respect to others. 
  • If you are new to an event and curious about the dress code, ask the HR for guidelines. As an alternative, you can always ask and learn the dress code by observing other people at similar events.
  • Over-dressing is always better than under-dressing because it is easier to “downgrade” your dressing rather than “upgrade” it.
  • To match the colour of your dressing/suit is less critical. The golden rule of “business casual” is to dress as close as you can to business formal, but adding your own style. 
  • Looking good does not mean spending lots of money. The trick is to buy something relatively affordable, and get a tailor to make it perfect for you. 
  • Your tie node is important. It is the “face” of your dressing/outfit.

Besides speaking about dress codes, Charles also mentioned various codes in other professional situations and here are some highlights:

  • In France, being polite and formal in emails and phone calls is extremely important. You can only earn respect from others when you respect others in the first place.
  • Whenever your supervisor asks you for a coffee break, go for it. It is a good chance to enhance your professional relationships.
  • Patient is always the key, in both emails and meetings.
  • Always be punctual for any meeting. 
  • Don’t use your mobile phone during meetings.

There are also many questions during the Q&A sessions and Charles answers all of them with his insights. We look forward to meeting him again for the third session.

Integration Week in France | September 2019

Current participants Sarah Chen and Chitra Birole reflect on the Global MBA Integration Week in Chablis and share their key takeaways.

Sarah's Reflections on the Integration Week

This year, the cohort beginning their MBA at ESSEC's France campus, along with some of the alumni, spent 4 days at the scenic countryside of Chablis, Burgundy, in east-central France, a famous region for producing white wine. We felt immensely privileged to have been able to visit the Abbaye de Reigny, the Caves Bailly Lapierre, and the Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard to understand the wine industry more in-depth as a semi-formal introduction to the luxury industry as well as to get to know the French culture better. 

Even more exciting was having Station F professionals join us on our last day for a Sustainability Leadership seminar, where we learned about the triple bottom line and how sustainability impacts all sectors, and gave team presentations on strategies of how to handle PR issues in the luxury industry in connection with sustainability.

Fund Manager & Global MBA alumna Theany Bazet teaching us about
how sustainability plays a role in finance and economics.
The Caves de Bailly Lapierre and the Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard offered us first-hand insights on how the wine industry in the region was developed and how it is run today, the most interesting aspect being how they’re combating weather instability due to climate change and the strategies they’re implementing to stand out in the market (i.e. organic wines, biodynamic wines). We came to learn and appreciate the art and process of winemaking.

Tour led by Julien Brocard at the Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard
The Abbaye de Reigny is a beautiful and historic monument constructed in the 12th century by Cistercian monks as a refuge for other monks coming from neighboring regions; at one point, it hosted over 300 monks and it was them who developed this wine region. Most of our activities took place here, from learning how to play P├ętanque (a game/sport born in Provence) to participating in play-pretend auctions, group activities (i.e. strategy games, blind-folded challenges, and barrel rolling competitions), and where we undeniably embarrassed ourselves by performing songs we wrote on the last night we spent at Chablis! All in all, it was a very memorable and fun experience where we got to know our peers better and we can’t wait to see how the year ahead of us unfolds.

Chitra's Key Takeaways from the Integration Week

1. You need to understand the person more than understanding his/her language.
During the week, I had the opportunity to work with people from several nationalities with whom I have never had the chance to interact with before. Initially, it was a little challenging to understand their thoughts and approach to certain problems. However, as opposed to many networking events I attended in the past, this experience made me realize how taking the time to understand the person is so important in exchanges with others. This practice also made us aware of everyone’s natural leadership style.

2. Focusing on improvement
When we were given tasks such as barrel-making and blindfold driving, all we had to do was focus on giving our 100%. We learned the power of unity. It taught me how we could make a great team of completely different people work just by understanding the objectives of the task and the strengths of each individual. Even in our victories, we could have done some things better.

3. Look out for each other
Working as a team through several activities, we learned that we all had our individual strengths and weaknesses. We leveraged our strengths to the advantage of the team but we also ensured that we covered for each other. For example, some from the team were great in creativity and some were stronger in analytical thinking We made sure that every team member is encouraged and supported. We learned that every individual is answerable to the sustainability of environment. We must work in a team to create the beautiful world for our next generations.

Into the Wild

By Mia Cara Mendoza, Global MBA Student Ambassador 2019 – 2020, Strategy & Management Major, Singapore

The ESSEC Global MBA 2020 cohort went on a one-of-a-kind learning experience that took us to the jungles in Northern Sumatra.

After an early morning flight from Changi airport and a 4-hour van ride through the bumpy roads of Indonesia, we arrived at Bukit Lawang. Bukit Lawang is a tourist village located on the edge of Gunung Leuser National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Sumatran orangutan. Racing through the village is the river Bohorok, where locals and tourists alike can take a leisurely swim or ride on a tube through the river’s rapids. The winding streets were lined with a mix of jungle foliage, small inns and restaurants, tourist shops, and glimpses of the Bohorok river. Our group carried our luggage on a 10-minute mini hike through the village until we reached our home for the next four days – Hotel Orangutan.

The ESSEC – Hotel Orangutan team wasted no time to kickstart our Jungle Innovation experience. After settling in and having lunch, we immediately dived into to our first workshop on Design Thinking. Here, we were taught to reframe our problem-solving minds and focus on being human-centric. Over the next few days, we would be living in and experiencing Bukit Lawang in the way the locals and visitors do. We were challenged to talk to the different people we meet, learn as much as we can, and come up with an innovative solution on how to make Bukit Lawang more successful.

ESSEC also arranged for us to meet with DBS’s former Chief Innovation Officer and the owner of Hotel Orangutan, Neal Cross. Neal is considered as one of the most disruptive CIOs in the world; and, within minutes of meeting him, we could tell that a passion for learning and a drive to do things differently was ingrained in him. Neal talked about his unconventional background – coming from years of martial arts training. He shared with us that what he learned then – and all his experiences since then – he takes with him wherever he goes. Whether it’s in the boardroom or in the jungle, Neal challenged us to find learning opportunities in every situation and to never limit ourselves to what we think a certain field of knowledge should be. He told us to never call ourselves an “expert”, because that means we already know all there is to know. And that’s never the case.

Jungle Trek

Our second day was dedicated to exploring Bukit Lawang and its most visited attraction – the jungle. We went on a 6-hour hike through Gunung Leuser National Park; and, with the help of our guides, we were able to spot different species of monkeys, birds, as well as the endangered Sumatran orangutan. Coming from a big city to being in the jungle made us realize that it can be so easy to forget that we share our world with many other living things. Seeing these creatures in their natural habitat was beautiful and inspiring, and allowed us to experience nature in a totally different way.

Our guides were so at home in the jungle. They shared with us their tidbits of knowledge that they learned over years of experiencing the jungle and its inhabitants first-hand. They spoke about the environment with much respect and reverence. The jungle was an integral part of Bukit Lawang’s community, and you could feel that the locals knew and appreciated that.

We capped off our jungle trek with a refreshing swim in the river and a trip down the rapids heading back towards Hotel Orangutan. Before ending the day, we took our new jungle knowledge and combined it with insights we gained from talking with locals and tourists both in the jungle and in the village. We were ready for the next day’s Jungle Innovation challenge.

No More Monkey Business – Time to Get Serious

In the process of Design Thinking, we were taught that it’s difficult but important to learn how to let go of your initial good idea and pivot to something new – especially if the stakeholder research points you in that direction. It was vital for us to keep remembering whose problem are we solving, what are their considerations, and how would they use our solution. People. People. People. They are the center of our ideas, and our groups had to tweak, adjust, and refine our solutions to better address their concerns.

We ended up with one group pitching a platform to push ecotourism in Bukit Lawang and another group developing a program to empower the locals to play a bigger part in improving their economic situation. Two powerful and interesting ideas centered on the same goal – how to make Bukit Lawang more successful. At the end, we learned that every proposal has its loopholes and even great ideas can still have a lot to improve on. Our workshop facilitators gave excellent feedback on our pitch and our overall discussion strategy that made the exercise that much more enriching. 

Bonding & Building Blocks

The journey we undertook to discover Bukit Lawang and meet the people involved in making it what it is was a one-of-a-kind experience that our MBA cohort now shares with one another. The lessons and memories that we took from this trip was an excellent foundation on which we’ll build the next 12 months. ESSEC showed us that learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom and that we can draw insight and learning from everywhere.

Enjoy this short video clip prepared by Lemuel Chua, GMBA Student Ambassador 2019-2020: HERE

Your Guide in Finding a Job in Singapore!

There are several reasons why students choose to study abroad. Not only can they gain new knowledge and experience, they can obtain a respected degree from a prestigious university. More importantly, it provides the opportunity for overseas employment. 

University is an expensive investment, and we all hope to receive the best returns. Overseas employment provides greater remuneration as well as unique experiences, which will be useful regardless of your decision to leave or remain in your home country.

Students who are studying in Australia will be familiar with the Post Study Work Right (PSWR) visa. It allows you to extend your stay for two years on the condition that you complete at least two years of a full-time degree program. Are there similar visas in other countries that will aid international students in their job search? Let us begin with Singapore, the island city right in the heart of Asia, as we learn about its employment situation. In Singapore, it is necessary for the employer to sponsor your work permit. The types of work permits are as follows:

Personalized Employment Pass (PEP)

The PEP is for high-earning professionals, e.g. writers, business leaders and professors. It is the highest level of work permit category.

Salary: Monthly salary must not be less than SGD$18,000 in the past six months; Employment Pass holders must earn more than SGD$12,000 a month.

Qualifications: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and above; they must have a certain number of years of work or business experience, or an innovative business idea.

Eligibility for Permanent Residency (PR): Applicants can apply for PR directly; they can apply for their family as well.


The Entrepass is for entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business in Singapore. Upon approval, applicants will need to set up a company in Singapore and conduct at least six months of regular business operations.

Qualifications: There is no education qualifications requirement, but applicants must have a certain number of years of work or business experience, or an innovative business idea. The new company must also be relevant to the government's investments.

Eligibility for Permanent Residency (PR): Applicants can apply for PR directly; they can apply for their family as well.

Employment Pass (EP)

The EP is for foreign professionals working in managerial, executive or specialized positions. It is the highest level of work permit category.


Salary: Applicants must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD$3,600. They must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD$5,000 a month to apply for a Dependent's Pass (DP) for their family members.

Qualifications: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a prestigious university.

Eligibility for Permanent Residency (PR): Applicants can apply for PR directly; they can apply for their family as well.

S Pass (Mid-Level Skills Work Pass)

The S Pass is for foreign mid-skilled technical workers.

Salary: Applicants must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD$2,200.
Qualifications: Applicants must hold a local degree or diploma, or a foreign bachelor's degree.

Company Quota: S Pass holders must not make up more than 15% of the company's total workforce in the service sector; they must not make up more than 20% of the company's total workforce in other sectors.

Eligibility for Permanent Residency (PR): Applicants can apply for PR directly; they can apply for their family as well.

Work Permit (For Foreign Workers)

The Work Permit is for foreign semi-skilled workers.

Requirements: There are no salary and education qualifications requirements.
Age: Malaysians (18 to 58 years old); Non-Malaysians (18 to 50 years old).

Company Quota: Work Permit holders must not make up more than 8% of the company's total workforce in the service sector (for every Work Permit holder in a regular industry, the company has to employ 12 locals; for every local employee in a specialized industry, the company can employ 7 Work Permit holders).

Requirements for Employers: Employers must purchase and maintain medical insurance coverage of at least SGD$15,000 per year for each Work Permit holder; employers also need to place a SGD$5,000 security bond for each Work Permit holder.

Now that we have learned about the different types of work permits, we see that fresh graduates are able to apply for an Employment Pass, S Pass or Work Permit.

Which work permits can graduates of different universities apply for? 

The Ministry of Manpower offers an Employment/S Pass Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) on its website. Although the final application result is dependent on various factors, the tool still serves as a point of reference. Instructions to use the tool are as follows:

ESSEC was invited by the Singapore government to set up an offshore institute with local campus here. As such, you will find both the Singapore and French campuses listed on the Ministry of Manpower's website. After providing accurate information about your major, graduated year and salary range, the system will determine your eligibility for the various work permits. For example, an ESSEC master's holder earning a fixed monthly salary of SGD$4,000 is eligible to apply for a S Pass.

If you're interested, you may access the tool via the link below. This will help determine your work permit eligibility based on your education qualifications.


What are some of the job search channels in Singapore?


Established companies often utilize familiar job portals like Jobstreet, JobDB and Indeed. Studies
show that more than 73% of Singaporeans and foreigners residing in Singapore have utilized the abovementioned job portals. However, we shall discuss about another job portal today. JobsBank is a joint government initiative between Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Ministry of Manpower, and it is monitored by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG).

Launched in 2013, JobsBank is an official government-run job portal for Singapore job seekers, and Singapore businesses may use it to post job vacancies as well. In the first four years of launch, it was only available for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, but it has now expanded to include certain work permit holders (Employment Pass and S Pass). In 2017, it expanded its reach to include registered students of any Institute of Higher Learning (IHL). After graduating from any Institute of Higher Learning (IHL), you may apply for a Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) which extends your stay for one year. You may use your LTVP FIN number to apply for a SingPass, which can then be used to log onto JobsBank. We have compiled a guide below on how to utilize JobsBank to find your ideal job.

Firstly, you need to ensure that you are eligible to apply for a SingPass. According to the requirements laid out by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), you must be eligible for a LTVP. In order to obtain a LTVP, you must have graduated from any Institute of Higher Learning. (This includes 6 local universities, 5 local polytechnics, 8 offshore institutes with local campus, 2 arts institutions and the MPA Academy.)

You should be able to apply for a LTVP before graduation. Once you have obtained a complete transcript, you may submit an application online. There is an application fee of SGD$30, and application processing takes around 6 weeks. You may check the status and results of your application online.

After obtaining a LTVP, you may register for a SingPass, which will be used to log onto JobsBank. There are many advantages to the JobsBank portal: it only shows job listings posted within 30 days; you may filter by industries and job levels; each published listing contains details about the company, job position, job requirements and salary range along with benefits.

Job searching in Singapore does not seem as hard as one might imagine. As one of the offshore institutes with local campus invited by the Singapore government, and home to a top ranking Global MBA program globally, graduates of ESSEC will be able to seek employment in Singapore successfully. ESSEC also has a team of career advisors that will help graduates prepare for employment. With comprehensive support from the school as well as government-backed initiatives, seeking employment in Singapore is the obvious choice. If you're interested, you may log onto the ESSEC official website to find out more:

Luxury Brand Management - Visit to the Omega SA Manufacture

By Emilia Wilson, Global MBA Ambassador 2018-2019, Luxury Brand Management Major

During our final installment of international trips, the Luxury Brand Management participants went to Switzerland to explore the watchmaking industry. An alumnus of the ESSEC MBA in International Luxury Brand Management program was gracious enough to offer us the opportunity to visit the Omega headquarters in Bienne, a major hub within the Swiss watch industry.

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Upon our arrival early one Monday morning, we were welcomed by our alumnus and a variety of other members of the Omega team. Moments after settling into a meeting room, we were honored by the presence of the President and Chief Executive Officer, Raynald Aeschlimann, who shared his passion for Omega, his thoughts on the industry as a whole, and his best wishes for our futures. The presentation that ensued covered the history of the brand from its inception and the monumental moon landing in 1969, through to 1995 when Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek, the founder of Swatch Group, turned the business around to the strong pillar of the industry that it is today. A discussion of the business strategy, communication pillars, product, and distribution closed out this portion of our visit, followed by a tour of the new production facilities that were inaugurated in 2017. The oldest building on Omega’s campus was built in 1917. The juxtaposition of buildings new and old solidify the image of the brand as an age-old player in this industry.

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Japanese architect Shigeru Ban brought his personal style to Bienne, while not forgetting local design culture or the world of sustainability. In an effort to be physically and metaphorically transparent, the glass-enclosed building features visitor areas in the middle of each floor, showcasing the human touch given to each Omega watch.

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The changes that took place during the move to this new production area also included innovations of process. The move to a paperless facility eliminated the possibility of contaminating the movements with paper dust. Aligning with the stricter laws for the “Swiss Made” label and going even further than necessary, Omega made traceability of each component of each movement possible with a new system that will also help them improve productivity and beyond. One of the most major advances in Omega’s recent production is the dedication to creating watches that are Master Chronometer Certified. This certification, awarded by METAS, requires every single watch to pass eight very strict tests, including those of water resistance, magnetic resistance, and time variance.

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With a clear understanding of the production and certification processes, it was time to discover the product in a hands-on demonstration. After a brief overview of each of the four families – Constellation, Speedmaster, Seamaster, and De Ville – we had the wonderful opportunity to see and touch models from across the product range. Geared with all the knowledge we’d absorbed over the last few hours, the participants were asking questions about the timepieces, trying them, and noting the references for their graduation present wish lists.

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It’s not a common occurrence to have the opportunity to tour a manufacture such as this, not to mention share a few moments with the global President and CEO. On behalf of our participants, I would like to thank each member of the Omega team who treated us to this lovely experience. We will hold this with us for years to come.