Where are they now? Interview with Rajesh Ramanathan class of 2015

Rajesh Ramanathan graduated the Global MBA in 2015 and has recently realized his professional ambition by being employed as a Project Manager in Paris. 

Born and raised in Pune in India, he completed an Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering degree at Pune University, later obtaining a Masters degree in Financial Management at Symbiosis International University. Before coming to ESSEC Business School Rajesh worked for 7 years as a Software Architect in the IT industry. 

1. Why did you decide to join the Global MBA at ESSEC Business School?

I was involved primarily in a technical role throughout my career. I was seeking a change into a role as a Project Manager or a Business Analyst, wherein I could be involved more in the business side of things, and leverage my prior technical expertise to help both the customer and my organization to achieve better results. I was also seeking an international relocation.

An MBA from a top business school seemed as a perfect platform to exercise my extrovert nature to interact and gain access to a more international and diverse group of people, to hone my people and cross cultural skills and of course to learn about the latest management practices and trends from an internationally recognized school and faculty. Furthermore, I was learning French during the past 2 years at the Alliance Francaise de Pune, and so France was naturally a top destination for me to pursue my MBA. Another constraint in the selection of an MBA program was the overall tuition fees, cost of living and the availability of scholarships.

ESSEC's Global MBA offered me a perfect mix of the factors that I was looking for in an MBA program:

    (1) Amongst the top 3 business school's in France, has an award winning, international and a diverse group of faculty, has an incredible campus.

    (2) The Global MBA with its small and internationally diverse cohort, truly international experience (Paris campus, Singapore campus, International Field Trip to Shanghai, and an International Immersion Program in a fourth country - I chose to stay in Paris), affordable program cost and had scholarships based on your overall profile.

    (3) Optional French language courses, possibility to take some courses in French (electives), and possibility to meet and interact with a no. of French students meant that I could master the French language through complete immersion, which was a priority for me.

    (4) An incredible alumni network of over 45000, ever willing to help you and guide you in your career quests.

2. How has the smaller class size has been an advantage? 

The smaller class size meant that I was able to interact, learn and have a lasting impression on each of my class mates. It facilitated a number of one to one conversations, and I have made some life long friends in the Global MBA.

Apart from the personal perspective, a smaller cohort ensures that we get one to one attention from even our professors, career counselors and during the various workshops that take place during the academic year.

3. How did you find the 5 weeks spent in Singapore?

Singapore is an incredible city, and I had a whale of a time during my two months studying at ESSEC's Singapore Campus (February-March 2015).

The Singapore term was memorable in terms of academics for a course on "Geopolitics in
Asia" conducted by Prof. Dr. Cedomir Nestorovic, who I believe is one of the best professors to have ever taught me. Besides the courses, we also had a large no. of company visits, and guests speakers from the industry which made the overall experience extremely gratifying.

Outside school, Singapore offers an incredible setting. We spent many a evenings at Clark Quay, sampling different cuisines, visiting incredible hotels like the Marina Bay Sands etc.

When you are in Singapore, in the heart of South-East Asia, and are being served by the best airport in the world Changi International Airport who would not want to travel?! Many of us took off during the weekends to the visit the surrounding countries like Indonesia (Batam, Bali), Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia etc.

My advice to future students would be to come prepared to work hard and party harder in Singapore! And of course to bring along their shorts and swimming costumes to profit the most from the wonderful weather. And lastly to plan their trips in advance so that they benefit form cheap airfares to travel.

4.  What has surprised you most about yourself during your time at ESSEC? 

At ESSEC, I found myself mentoring fellow students on some courses which I was good at like Finance, Accounting, Economics etc. I was surprised at how well received these informal "coaching" sessions were. And some of them even egged me on pursuing a career in teaching and academics!

Besides that, I also realized that I was indeed a good people's person, and work well in teams and across cultures. 

5.  What's the best advice you received during your time at ESSEC? 

I personally believe that one can learn from every person around them be it peers, friends, professors or mentors. I benefited incredibly from my interactions with all these people during the course of my MBA year. However, if I were to pick one advice that stood out, then it'll have to be the one given by my career services adviser Ms. Claire Gaudissart. 

She told us all at the beginning of the year to be very open and receptive to new experiences and opportunities. She told us that the MBA will be filled with new learnings and partnerships which could open doors or make us aware of career opportunities that exist beyond the limits of those we envisaged for ourselves. She told us that the MBA year should be one of experimentation and testing our boundaries, so that we know ourselves much better than ever before.

6. What would you recommend to upcoming students for the best MBA experience?

I would say come with an open mind. You are going to work and interact with people who have cultures and upbringings completely different from yours and who can be a treasure trove of knowledge. It is for you to open up, make the effort and interact with them and eventually benefit from this interaction.

Lastly, I really do believe that the MBA year should be looked at as an year of "self development" and "experiential learning". ESSEC Global MBA assures you a great time both academically, professionally and personally and will surely propel you to greater heights in your life and career.

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