Where are they now? An interview with alumnus Yong Wang ‘12

Where can ESSEC’s Global MBA take you? A year after graduating, alumnus Yong Wang ’12 shares his experience on the MBA blog.

What drew you to study with the Global MBA?

My previous professional experience showed me that my knowledge of business functions and operations was insufficient. Meanwhile, I was pretty interested and eager to seek further education in business administration. Among all the countries, I preferred France as a destination, so the Global MBA from the renowned business school ESSEC was naturally a perfect option. The Global MBA is an elite cohort with classmates coming from different countries with diversified educational and professional backgrounds, which gave me extraordinary insights on topics that I had never touched on before on a global scale.

Could you describe your career path since your graduation from ESSEC?  What is your current role and its responsibilities?

During my MBA, I was determined to find a job as a consultant.  Fortunately, I achieved my goal by getting hired by Ries&Ries (China), a marketing strategy consulting company that is a global leader in marketing consulting worldwide.  I am now working as an associate in Shanghai and am regularly in touch with many influential Chinese entrepreneurs and companies from different regions and industries.  My current responsibilities include performing market studies, collecting information, doing data analysis and preparing reports.

Was there anything in particular about the Global MBA that helped you prepare for your career path or qualify you for your current position?

The tangible and measurable professional knowledge I gained in marketing and strategy laid a solid foundation for seeking a job in consulting.  More importantly, the Global MBA equipped everyone with intangible and immeasurable skills, such as thinking globally, critical analysis, and an entrepreneurial attitude, which are far more crucial for dealing with job interviews and later work performance.

What advice would you to give to our new students who are just entering the program?  What advice would you give to our new graduates who are beginning their job search?

For the new batch, please take full advantages of the time in school—-seize the day and keep learning.  Value the interactions with professors, discussions with classmates, lessons from invited guests, presentations during company treks, relationship-building in networking events, and expeditions abroad during study trips and the IIPs, which turn out to be priceless later on.

For the new graduates who are hunting for a job, please be confident, patient and persistent.  It takes time to find the ideal job.  The journey is tough, sometimes frustrating.  Nevertheless, enjoy the journey and never give up.  Again, be confident, patient and persistent and you will get what you want!

Lessons on Leadership from the Women of the Global MBA

By Ingrid Cazalis, Global MBA 2013-2014, France, and the other women of the Global MBA

Boot camp, military camp, leadership camp… So many names for this new MBA trend to do something exotic. The goal of this training is to learn how to lead a team effectively; assess challenges, find alternatives and – most importantly - gather enough information to make the right decision. The key is awareness. For the ESSEC Global MBA, it was also a way to develop cohesion among the new MBA batch; to create a positive dynamic in an unconventional way, outside the classroom in a natural space.

When thinking about starting an MBA, very few of us probably pictured conducting a helicopter rescue of a wounded person in the woods or trying to reach a snake bite victim across a lake.

We spent three days at the Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan Military Academy. I chose to write an article to share the female students’ perspective of the experience. After our first introduction week at ESSEC, we were informed that next week we would be going to the camp to develop our leadership skills. It was impossible to find out concrete information about the trip, except that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were warned that it would be tough, but no details! Pressure on!

When we received instructions to pack only a fork, a knife and hiking shoes for our trip, we could only imagine the crazy scenarios in store. We participated in 15 tasks over three days. Each challenge was supervised by an army officer, who designated a task leader and facilitated a debriefing afterward.

Tuesday, 7:00 AM. The two groups went into action: strategy exercises with no defined leader. The first exercises were a mess, with lots of talking, arguments, and slow decisions. The second day, we discovered how a leader needs to understand and delegate tasks according to the strengths/weaknesses of the team members. Indeed, since we exercised in the water, in the dark, and underground, calming the fears and apprehensions of our teammates was key. Crossing the lake and crawling through a tunnel challenged many of our fears.

I interviewed some of the women of the Global MBA for their take on the exercises:

1/ Which exercise challenged you the most?

The most challenging exercises were those in difficult physical conditions, such as climbing to a high point and jumping, but all of us gathered our courage and jumped into the void (even after a 5 minute delay). Other exercises that took place underground, in a closed space and in the dark, required us to overcome our fears. The whole team was supportive during both these exercises.

2/ Which exercise did you enjoy the most?

The majority of the ladies of the Global MBA declared the tunnel exercise to be the best thanks to its mysterious atmosphere. The second favorite was trekking waist-deep through mud, which pushed us to the edge of our physical limits, but our willpower proved to be stronger.

3/ Three words to define this special experience…

Challenge, leadership, and teamwork! The training was also described as fun, amazing, intense, hard work, and “respect for others.” Even the military food rations got a mention!

  4/ What did the experience teach you about leadership?

- Keep a little distance from a situation; don’t get so involved you can’t see the whole picture – Ting Ting
- Communication with team members is key – Ting Tin & Dhriti
- Adopting a different management style – Ingy & Claudia
- It’s important to have a project leader, even if they’re not explicitly named – Claudia
- Mountains can be moved with a good guide and team spirit – Dhriti
- Anything is possible if we help each other out – Choni
- Useful ideas like SMAP or Effet Majeur - Kathrin
- Limits in one area can be balanced out in areas where you are stronger – Haeri
- Be ready to justify your decision - Ingrid

In conclusion, this week our two nice army officers taught us to listen and pay attention, to act with confidence (even when you have doubts), to try to see the whole picture, and to consider the human dimension. Some of the activities were very physically challenging, which pushed us up against our limits, but by splitting the tasks we learned how to maximize our resources and put our strengths to the best use.

For my part, I found it very important to pay a little attention to everyone and to get to know your team very well. Otherwise we would not have been able to achieve the level of integration necessary to work together.

Finally, I hope everyone enjoyed some of the other activities like the game of Killer I organized and celebrating Choni’s birthday.

Don’t forget our army officer’s leitmotif: BE BOLD!

G22: Arriving at ESSEC and Saint-Cyr

By Rene Forjanic, Global MBA student 2013-2014, Slovenia

I bet many of us felt a bit like Edward Snowden walking to our first meeting, counting each step like a school boy (or girl) on his way home after his first day of school. Not that any of us are keeping a secret worthy of CNN coverage, but we do tend to ignore the human aspect of our decision to get an MBA at one of the most renowned academic institutions in the world, ESSEC Business School. Or any other business school, for that matter. There is no shame in admitting that at times it feels stressful, lonely, and demanding - even impossible - if you will. Well, dear future student, there is no need to blush, we are all singing the same tune! And after Professor Junko Takagi’s team building class stretches you to the limit, you will be singing and dancing and painting the world in more vibrant colors. Quite literally.

Humor aisde, after just a couple of days I knew my teammates – all of them – like they were my best friends. It comes naturally, without effort! The ladies of the Global MBA team – Sarah, Josiane, Jeanine, Claire, and Olivia – surely play a key role in this and we would like to extend a sincere and warm thank you to each and every one of them for their part! And of course we would like to thank our friends, family, the rest of the staff, and the ESSEC Talk ambassadors. If you need first hand information, future GMBA student, they are there for you.

Of course, nobody is going to write an essay, take the GMAT, or learn English for you, so we did have to do some work ourselves to achieve this class unity. At Saint Cyr, the prestigious French military school, exercises beyond our wildest imagination awaited us, which, I must say, we completed with the determination of a real platoon. There was plunging down a 10 meter rail, walking on a narrow ledge a couple meters up in the air, crawling through tight tunnels in the middle of the night, building bridges, rafting, you name it. It was a tough three days, although I hear last year's batch had three days of raining, so I am (we are) not complaining.

This intense military training showed us that we can go beyond our limits, operate under great deal of pressure, do almost anything, and most of all, have fun together. To be a great leader, one has to have character, a persona, he or she has to know the methodology of operating, and have stamina. After the camp, we know that it’s hard to be a good leader. It’s not easy to look your friends in the face and say no, which is perhaps an aspect we should work on in the future. The best take-away from Saint Cyr? If you ask me, it’s the bonds we forged between ourselves that will accompany us through our studies and well beyond.

There are 22 of us, each with his or her past, experience, and aspirations. To put it into perspective, we came as Robinson Crusoe, each on our own island with individual rules, expertise and views, but these first integration weeks gave us the tools to become Robin Hood and his gang until the school year comes to a close. Remember, we have the answer!