Where are they now? An interview with alumnus Chen Peng '13

Where can ESSEC's Global MBA take you? A year after graduation, alum Chen Peng '13 checks in and shares her experiences finding a job in France.

What led you to decide to do an MBA and why did you choose ESSEC's Global MBA?

Before coming to pursue my MBA degree at ESSEC, I was working as Sourcing Manager for the purchasing office of an international shipbuilding group in Shanghai. I wanted to bring my career to the next level by having a solid international work experience and I believed that pursuing an MBA degree was the logical next step to take to achieve this goal.

In my previous job, I worked frequently with France where one of our largest shipyards is located, so when it came to choosing a business school, I was more interested in top French business schools.  Among the MBA programs offered in France, ESSEC’s Global MBA really stands out with its strong emphasis on international exposure. Finally I chose the ESSEC Global MBA based on these two main criteria: an MBA program with strong focus on international experience offered by a top French business school.

Please describe your career path since graduation. What is your current position and its responsibilities?

I looked for a job in France after graduation and I received two offers: one from Technip for a purchasing position, the other from Schneider Electric for a project manager role related to inter-group financial flows for an integration project of their latest acquisition. I finally chose Schneider Electric's offer: First of all, I’m very impressed by its truly international culture and ambiance. Second, the role is totally different from my past working experience, but I believe it’s a very good opportunity to work on new domain after my MBA and I decided to take this new challenge.

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

The diversity of the Global MBA program helped prepare me for my current position. There were 14 different nationalities in my Global MBA class and I had opportunities to work with most them as team members for different courses and projects. Schneider Electric is one of the most international companies in France and in the world and my job requires me to work with people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds.  My MBA experience with teamwork in an extremely diverse environment is truly an asset.

What advice would you give to current students in the program?

I have two main pieces of advice. The first is to have a good self-analysis of your post-MBA career goals and your own strengths and weaknesses, then try to leverage your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.  For example, if your goal is to work in France after the MBA, not speaking French could be a weakness.  You can try to target international companies, so good networking skills will help.  The second piece of advice is to to stay open-minded.  Every learning experience, every networking opportunity matters, you never know when they will lead to something.  You need to stay open-minded and keep trying (while adjusting whenever necessary) until you achieve your goal, which will be the start of a new journey!

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