ESSEC Business School undergraduate Megan Chong is proof that students do not have to leave home to enjoy an enriching international education experience.
The 20-year-old, a Raffles Institution alumna, is studying for a Global BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) at the French business school’s Asia Pacific campus in Singapore.
Just into her second year, Ms Chong has already picked up an array of academic and interpersonal skills, learnt two new languages, and worked and volunteered in two countries.
She was awarded ESSEC’s Singaporean Scholarship (Singapore Track), which covers 50 to 75 per cent of the school’s total tuition fees.
The bond-free scholarship is open to Singaporean students who have applied for the Global BBA programme, and have been offered a place on the school’s Singapore Track system.
ESSEC is AACSB- and EQUISaccredited, and has been offering the Global BBA at its campus in France for more than 40 years.
Ms Chong says the most interesting module she has studied so far in the programme is financial management, as her professor made complex concepts easy to understand. Having worked in the industry as an analyst previously, the professor also shared interesting insights from her work experiences.
Global BBA students are expected to learn three languages; French and English are compulsory for non-native speakers.
Ms Chong enjoys her Japanese and French language classes as her teachers offer creative ways to immerse students in the cultures of the languages they are learning.
For example, her Japanese teacher encourages the class to attend interesting events at the Japanese Association. Ms Chong has since taken part in two Nihongo De Asobou competitions (Japanese language games), a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a kimono show.
ESSEC also requires its Global BBA students to go on internships and social work projects around the world.
In 2015, Ms Chong worked as an accounting and marketing intern at a real estate company in Seattle, Washington.
Last June, she went on a onemonth humanitarian project to Hanoi, Vietnam, to teach English to disadvantaged children and adults living on the outskirts of the city.
“As someone who has been given the opportunity to have a good education, I really hope that I can help these communities more in the future,” she says.
Making an impact
ESSEC’s interactive pedagogical approach and environment were relatively different from Ms Chong’s previous education experiences.
Her keenness to learn extends to the vibrant cultural exchange she shares with her fellow schoolmates from around the world.
In particular, studying at ESSEC has given her the opportunity to experience French culture and gain a better understanding of their way of life.
Ms Chong, a national gymnast who won the gold medal at the 2015 SEA Games for Rhythmic Gymnastics, was inspired to start a recreational hip-hop dance club in her school.
After months of preparation, she was heartened that many students came to support her initiative during the club’s first session.
She says: “I realised that my efforts had a bigger impact than I had imagined. The club served as a platform for the new students to bond over a shared passion, and a comfortable place to let loose and destress. Now, it is growing and bringing joy to more people.”
Ms Chong hopes to equip herself with the necessary skills and knowledge to start a social business one day. “I want to make a difference in others’ lives,” she says.