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ESSEC MBA Gets Global Mobile Games Career

A life-changing experience gave Julian Arnaud the clarity to switch careers and take on video games design. ESSEC Business School gave him an MBA Job at industry leaders Gameloft.

Mon Dec 16 2013

It has been two years since Julian Arnaud survived Japan's most powerful earthquake. The 8.9-magnitude tremor struck while he was at work at JTB Cargo's offices in Tokyo on March 11, 2011.

He hid under his desk as the world around him thundered continuously for two minutes.

"My family were with me in Japan at the time," Julian says. "The worst part was not the intensity but the length. You just don't know what's going to happen."

Julian's story is not a tale of survival, but of a rare moment of clarity amidst the chaos in Japan's capital that Friday afternoon. At the time, he was a sales manager in logistics. But flash forward 24 month's and he was plying his trade in the video games industry.

Sometimes a moment of tragedy evolves into a life-changing experience.

"It was a horrible experience, but at the end of the road it brought good things to me," he continues. "Because now when I see an opportunity, I can tell more easily if I will enjoy it. 

"That’s connected to my career switch. Why should I bother doing a job I don’t like? Maybe I will make less money, but at least I'll be doing something I love."

Julian was born and raised in the South of France and it is fitting that he completed an MBA at ESSEC Business School, one of the country's best. He would spend hours playing video games as a child and his passion has not diminished. Quite the opposite.

Soon after completing the Global MBA Program, he landed a job at Gameloft - a leading game developer headquartered in Paris. 

"In the past I was never able to enter the industry, but it was always a target," he says. "I've been playing video games for 25 years now and it's something I've always loved to do. It was a hobby but I wanted it to be a professional activity."

FIFA and military strategy on consoles may be Julian's specialty, but it is mobile games that he developed with Gameloft. Those who have played World At Arms, a popular iPhone & iPad App, have Julian to thank for it's release.

The App industry has exploded alongside the rise in smartphone and tablet technology. The industry is expected to reach $25 billion in sales by the end of this year - it a savvy decision to switch careers. Julian left JTB Cargo in 2009.

"I first went to work in Japan in 2003 and fell in love with the country," he says. "But after a time I thought I was stuck; I didn't have the opportunity to grow within the company.

"At that point it was clear that I needed to do an MBA to make a career switch. My plan was to go from logistics to the video games industry, and then find a job back in Japan. It was closing the loop."

ESSEC may have some of the highest-rated MBA programs in some MBA Rankings, but it was the culture that set the b-school apart from the rest. He considered other top-ranking French business schools but ESSEC gave him the best response when he met recruiters in person.

The Global MBA differs from the general and Executive versions because it seeks to fast-track students to management careers in an international environment. 

"It was internationally-oriented and I thought it was a good fit with my profile," Julian says. "I have always wanted to work abroad and during the program we spent a lot of time visiting companies and meeting entrepreneurs overseas."

Julian may have ambitions to launch a career in Asia, but it is not just international careers that ESSEC can help students' secure. It is a credit to the b-school that in just 12-months, Julian had the confidence to break into an industry far-removed from Japanese logistics.

He insists that gaining an MBA was essential for entering Gameloft in a managerial position. "I applied for jobs at video games companies before and the fact that I had never been to business school was a minus on my profile," Julian says.

"It was missing from my resume and I now know that it was essential."

At Gameloft Julian was developing mobile games from pitch to release. It was a combination of his passion for gaming with a love of business. A seemingly perfect fit? Almost. 

"I produced and supervised video game development," he explains. "We gathered ideas, chose development teams and then tested the prototype games before trying to monetize them.

"It was a great job but I couldn't influence the process as much as I wanted to."

Julian craved a more senior role. Being apart from his family, who were in Marseille, also posed a problem. 

He left the company on good terms earlier this year - and now has plans to bring a touch of entrepreneurship to games or multimedia design. 

"I'm now looking at jobs in start-ups and small companies," he explains. "When you join a start-up you have more influence on the strategy and product development.

"By helping smaller companies grow I can apply what I learned on the MBA program and my past experience in Japan."

Leaving Japan was one step, an MBA in France was the second. What's the third?

"I have considered starting my own venture, but you need the right idea at the right time," he says. "I would love a career in Asia, and I had a terrific experience in Japan.

"But I won't go back to logistics. It's interesting and you can make a lot of money, but I don't love doing it."

His experience in Asia proved lucrative, but the Japanese earthquake in 2011 taught Julian to pursue careers for fulfilment, not cash. 

It seems there is no career worth sacrificing that for.

Student Reviews

ESSEC Business School




On Campus

The best intercultural university

There are more than 50 nationality in the grade, so there are opportunities to interact with people from all around the world. In terms of academics, the BBA course offers diverse courses for the 1st




On Campus

Creativity, adaptability and entrepreneurship

The Master in Management program at the ESSEC Business School allows the students to choose their courses accordingly to their preferences and their professional targets. We can also go through international exchange and take part in internships with companies that are also partners with the school. The school is also next to the city of Paris.




On Campus

Top business school in France

Doing PhD in essec took some time, to be precise about five years. But the experience was very good and cost effective too. There are opportunities for the student for teaching assistantship and that helps both financially and in career. In the final year I could manage to teach marketing to M1 students and this helped shape my career




On Campus

Great college

The program is well suited for early professionals with an engineering degree preferably or a degree in economics. I would suggest taking the ceasure irrespective of the experience level as it helps you take your time to adjust to the job market.





Good school in France

I am currently enrolled in M2 in Essec business school. I am specialising in marketing management. The Grande Ecole programme is valued in France and my school ranks very high up. There are a lot of opportunities for internships and CDD.




The program curriculum

BBA program. The program is really practical and useful, provide us many international opportunities. Like internship and humanitarian experience, and the flexibility is also really cool, we can choose different campus and tracks as we want.




International Course

This school is very international and business oriented. Highly recognized by the companies The campus has been renovated and is very functional and modern from now on. Excellent atmosphere. Reputation of essec is a plus




Friends, Career opportunities.

The program I did gave me the opportunity to start in Singapore. I got the chance to know all the students that started there and we bonded and made some friends for life. The career opportunities that ESSEC also gave me were unbelievable.




Practical and useful

I think the best thing about Essec is that it's not focusing on academics rather it emphasizes on future job mindset and professional experiences.. The classes are interesting and we have plenty of workshops attributing to different sectors.. The campus is very nice with a good cafe and wonderful library. The only problem is the location of the campus. It's quite far from Paris.




On Campus

Amazing experience! Must try

I think its a very amazing school with great and experienced faculty. Also the alumni network is very solid and useful. The school has a great balance of studies and work experience which is really essential for a student.




On Campus

GBBA: Diverse, Enriching, and Career-Boosting

My experience at ESSEC Business School has been outstanding. The Global BBA program offers a rich academic curriculum and diverse learning opportunities. I appreciated the chance to study on different campuses, including an international exchange, which broadened my perspective. The social environment is culturally diverse and vibrant, enhancing both my personal and professional growth. The administration is attentive, constantly offering new academic and student life opportunities. The campus facilities and classrooms are excellent. I highly recommend ESSEC for its excellence, global exposure, and career opportunities.




On Campus


The English track BBA program at ESSEC is simply exceptional. Courses are taught by internationally renowned professors who are experts in their field. The subjects taught cover a wide range of disciplines from marketing to finance, strategy and entrepreneurship. The English track is a major asset because it allows you to develop perfect mastery of professional English, essential in today's globalized business world. Some students love student life at Essec, which is one of the best in France, but it all depends on taste.




On Campus

Great program, incredible school

I love almost everything about this school, from the student life to the academic program and the opportunities it provides. I'm currently at the Paris campus, in Cergy, and I'm really enjoying it. The BBA program is very rich and diversified, you can start with geopolitics and then finance, what I mean is that there's a great balance between the subjects in this program. I was also lucky enough to spend a semester at the Singapore campus, and I loved that experience on the other side of the world. ESSEC is also known for its dynamic and rich student life, with access to several parties a week and the various associations within the school. If I could recommend just one school, it would be this one - I'm 100% satisfied.