Wednesday 6 May 2015

Let’s get rrrready to rumble!

Ignition turned, engine ablaze, foot to the floor: the BDE election 2015 is go. Yes, it’s that time of year at ESSEC Business School; election fever has taken hold as two lists of Grande-Ecole students, 40 each in number, lock horns to take up the position of next year’s Student Council. To the untrained eye it can all be pretty confusing, but worry not because I’m here to give you a blow-by-blow account of how it all unfolds. And I assure you it will be a darned-sight more interesting than what Floyd and Manny cooked up in Las Vegas last weekend.

The lists

The embryonic stage of the campaign begins with the construction of the lists. A list is a group of students which is going to fight it out to become the eventual BDE. Starting a list or being its ‘head’ is the hardest job of all and is usually carried out by a fresh-faced first year student who has made a splash in their first few months at ESSEC. Why? Because he/she then has to persuade 40 other people to join them in their list. The two lists this year are ‘Cherokee’ (newly renamed ‘Peter O’Mega’), created by Leo Barbier, and ‘Kryptonite’ (since renamed ‘Kingsley Viosa’), created by Anastasie Romain.

How do they make the lists?

This is where it gets interesting. The process is a secretive one full of negotiations and rumour-mongering. In the beginning, the first year students create a small nucleus which then expands to include older students after some weeks. The way in which they tempt the older students is by organising a series of small parties at the apartments of those who they think they can persuade to list with them; these are called ‘Hotlines’. Handshakes are exchanged, inscription fees are paid and the all-important Facebook posts are made. Once each list has about 40 people, the lists are complete and it’s time for the Camp.

Who are the ones to watch in this years’ lists?

The president of each list is usually a 2nd year student, and this year is no different. Jeimila Donty has been nominated for the coveted role for the Cherokee list, she’s President of the Comedia association at the school and her famous smile is an ever-present on Avenue Bernard Hirsch. In the opposing corner, Thomas Larrasoain is nominated as president for the Kryptonite list. He was President of the Musical association this year and is a hugely popular figure in the school’s corridors. The two of them will go toe-to-toe in 2 Presidential debates, one in English (hosted by Reve FM, the student radio station) and one in French. By the end, we’ll see who the real heavyweight is.

Both lists have made significant and unexpected coups while recruiting 2nd year students. The additions of Benjamin Rochfeld and Thomas Ringuet to the Kyptonite were as unexpected by the public as they were welcomed by the team in yellow. Other big names (or ‘Tooms’ as they are affectionately called) who could make an impact for the Kryptonite are Alexandre Landeau, Solal Sabbah and Vanessa Bottero. A bonus for the yellows is that they are coached by the indefatigable Charlotte Hayem, who is using all her prior BDE experience to help plot their path to victory.

The Cherokee have recruited some tooms as well. Notably, they’ve tempted 7-association man Dorian Perron, all-round nice guy Romain Palmieri and super-woman Helene Daccord into joining their lists. But arguably the biggest fish of the lot is Florian Goeuriot, who allegedly had members of both lists visiting his house with gifts every morning for two weeks, before signing on the dotted line for the team in orange.

The Camp!

Short for ‘the campaign’ the Camp takes place for the week leading up to the election, that’s this week! No amount of analysing the personnel on each list will give a better indication of the eventual winner than the Camp. During this week, both lists will seek to show the electorate that they have what it takes to be the best BDE. So what do they do? Why, they turn the gymnasium into a massive playground of course! They hand out goodies galore (as provided by their many big-name sponsors), they host parties, they take part in debates. It’s one veritable carnival of student-led sasqwatching. Alright, I invented that last word, but I guess that’s what the excitement of the camp does to me!

Who’s gonna win?

It’s notoriously difficult to predict. The betting companies are currently offering odds in Cherokee’s favour, but that’s probably down to the fact that their list was developed a couple of months earlier than Kyptonite’s. Expert commentator, Bobin Paré, thinks it’s going to go down to the wire:

"Look, every year you have people saying that one list is stronger than the other, but more often than not it’s the other list that wins. It really comes down to which list is better organised, more motivated and does a good job during the camp. Don’t forget that it’s not just the nucleus of the most recent two promotions who will decide the vote, you also have a number of students on internship, exchange or on the Singapore campus who can make a big difference. It’s about mobilising that vote too. This year it’s tough to call because Cherokee have a number of well-recognised second year students in their squad but at the same time Kryptonite have gone for an interesting strategy of diversifying their list to include a number of ASTI and AST students."

One thing’s for sure, folks, it’s going to be bloody good fun. Hold on to your hats and watch this space.

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