Friday 27 May 2016

Interview with Adrien Deniau

by Lucia Casagranda
        Adrien Deniau is a French ESSEC Grande Ecole Alumni who has grown up between France, Singapore and the United Kingdom. After having completed a Bachelor of Commerce at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, he pursued an MSc in Management at ESSEC (Grande Ecole – AST) and completed the Chair of Innovation and Services. He is currently working in Singapore within the Leadership Consulting business of Heidrick & Struggles, a global leadership advisory firm.

ESSEC fosters its students’ hard and soft skills from the very beginning of the program. How have the skills you learned both inside and outside of the classroom translated to your current role?

I believe that the main skills I have developed inside and outside of the classroom that have contributed to my career choice are people-related skills. While it may sound generic, the number of group projects required by the various classes, my involvement in extracurricular initiatives around the University, and the cultural diversity of the ESSEC student population are all factors that have strengthened my ability to work with and manage people. More specifically, the skills I have developed in my ESSEC journey are: stakeholder management, project management, network building and business development. These are key skills that are at the core of my role today.
How do you value the ESSEC alumni network? Did it help you in developing your career? 

I haven’t yet leveraged the full value of the ESSEC alumni network. The role I am in is my first job, and I have obtained it following an internship, which didn’t involve support from the ESSEC alumni network. Yet, I have recently been connecting with various ESSEC alumni and am realizing the power and depth of our network!
Why did you choose to develop your career outside France? Which advice would you give to an ESSEC student pursuing a career abroad?

I couldn’t imagine staying in France to work after having grown up internationally and travelled extensively. I considered the options to work in London, the US and Asia, and at the end of the day, going to Asia is what made most sense for me from a career and lifestyle perspective. It’s a growing market where business moves quickly and in which people are investing - I wanted to ride that wave.
The advice I would give is:
        Avoid making a purely geographical choice. Make a choice that maximizes your chances of achieving your medium and long term goals (life and career goals). If you choose to live in a country simply out of fascination for that country, there are big chances that this will derail your career (although not always!).

     Use multiple angles in your job search: combine online job applications with networking. I believe that using both of these avenues will increase the probability of getting an overseas job.

     Remember that competition is fierce for international jobs, you compete with highly qualified people like yourselves from all over the world who want to move overseas, and you especially compete with the local population of countries. Simply be aware of this!

       Do you plan to go back to France one day?

Not currently in my plans! France is home so I will always go back to spend time with family friends. But at this stage in my life and career I feel like I would be shutting down so many exciting opportunities if I went back there to work. When I first moved to Singapore I told myself that I would go back to France one day. But today I realize that this may not necessarily happen, and that’s ok.

      In general, which suggestions would you give to Grande Ecole students who are now approaching the job market?

Meet as many different people as you can and get insights, advice and support from them.
We are fortunate at ESSEC to have such a powerful and international network – leverage it!
Start with fellow students, and also speak to your professors outside of class. They have so much to offer and are also well connected themselves; they can steer you in interesting directions.

Don’t aim at finding your dream job right away, it usually doesn’t come so easily. You usually land your dream job after a few years of experience when you’ve obtained the skills and credibility to have your desired scope of responsibilities. For your first step into the job market, don’t worry too much about finding the perfect role, rather focus on finding a role that checks a good number of your boxes. If your first job ends up not being a fit for you, you still have time to reorient yourself without penalizing your career development.

     What is your favourite memory from your time at ESSEC Business School?
The many night outs… J

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