Ever since he can remember, João Tapioca has been fascinated by economics.
After pursuing a degree in the subject, he set out on a career with the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro, carrying out budget analyses, and making recommendations.
“I’ve always wanted to use my professional abilities to give back to my country,” he explains.
Working with the Brazilian government has helped João to meet this goal, but now, six years on, he’s ready to expand his career horizons.
Hoping to supplement his public sector experience with business insights, he decided that business school was the next logical step.
While researching his options, João discovered the Global MBA program on offer at ESSEC Business School.
Filling the gaps
ESSEC stood out to João for a number of reasons, first and foremost for the culture of innovation that he saw there, and in France as a whole.
The country is home to a strong startup ecosystem, with incubators like Station F supporting new business ventures.
The fact that ESSEC has a second campus in Singapore, a global hub for tech innovation, also added to the appeal.
Of the three MBA specializations on offer at ESSEC, João opted for the Strategy and Management option. Covering marketing, operations, strategy, and entrepreneurship, it will give him a broad view of business and management.
“It was a major that would fill my gaps,” he notes. “After this, I can transition between the public and private sectors, and work in collaboration with these two sides.”
Classes on Strategy and Decision Making will be especially useful once he graduates, João observes.
Other areas of the MBA experience are also helping João to develop his career.
Career coaching sessions, particularly ESSEC’s Personal Branding workshops, have allowed him to better understand his career goals on a personal level.
“I’ve learned that we have to anchor our careers in ourselves,” he reflects.
Alongside these workshops, participants on the Global MBA are also matched with an experienced mentor in their field of interest, to help them make connections and understand the career options available to them.
Through these services, João has uncovered another potential career step: consulting. Prior to the MBA, he didn’t realize that consulting was an option.
At ESSEC, though, he has learned that the logical thinking and soft skills he is developing are key to consulting success.
Through events such as ESSEC’s yearly Digital Week Competition, MBA participants with an interest in consulting can hone their skills by working in teams on real world case studies. This year, participating companies included Coty Luxury, and Moët Hennessy.
A strong network
When setting out on a new career, having a strong network is almost as important as developing these practical skills.
For João, the regular networking events on offer at ESSEC are helping him to work out his next career move.
Throughout the Global MBA program, participants have the chance to attend at least seven different networking sessions, allowing them to make connections in Europe.
To ensure they get the most out of these events, the Career Services and Program Management teams at ESSEC bring in business leaders from companies or industries that participants have expressed an interest in working with.
“At the networking events, we talk to them, and understand a little more about their career trajectories, which prepares us for the job market in Europe,” João explains.
Networking isn’t limited to these events, though—João has also developed strong ties with his peers on the program.
With the intensity that comes with studying an MBA in a brand new city, the cohort has been an important support network.
This atmosphere of mutual understanding meant that friendships blossomed quickly. “The support that we give to one another really shows that this is a collaborative environment,” João reflects.
Because about 98% of João’s peers are international students like himself, he is also learning how to work alongside people with very different backgrounds.
Despite the different points of view in the classroom, the group bonded easily— a powerful experience for João.
Post graduation plans
Working closely with peers from different cultures will be a vital skill for João’s future career, whether in consulting, or elsewhere.
João’s ultimate goal is to work with the World Economic Forum to drive Brazil's economic development, though, and he’s already taking steps towards this future.
“On the Global MBA, we’re learning how to effectively network, and start meeting people in these organizations,” he says.
As he broadens his public sector experience with insights from the world of business at ESSEC, João feels well-placed to meet his career goals when he graduates in 2020.