Indian Student. French College. American Company.
Up till now, we have brought to you several stories of candidates who have pursued an MiM or an MBA across some of the best institutions in the world. We have also talked plenty about the key differences between an MBA and an MiM and about choosing what works best for you. (In case you missed it, you can read it here)
Today we bring to you a story that is unique in more than one way! We often come across candidates who pursue a second post-graduate degree, even a second MBA. But this story is about a candidate who falls in an even more unique bracket. It is not just about an Indian student who went to study in France and ended up working for one of the biggest luxury beauty and skincare companies in the world. The story is about a candidate who did his engineering, coupled with an MBA and then went on to pursue an MiM at the prestigious EDHEC Business School.
Read on to find out more about Anuvind and his utterly eccentric rollercoaster ride!
If someone would have asked me five years ago about where I see myself in the next five years, I don’t think I could have been any more wrong! Well, of course, I wouldn’t have imagined that we would be in the midst of a pandemic like this but another thing that I had definitely never imagined was that I would be working and living in one of the most beautiful places in the world - Paris. But I guess, c’est la vie!
Going back to the start, I wanted to do an MiM because firstly, I did not have the adequate years of work experience required to do an MBA; and secondly, I wanted to add that extra layer of specialization (in my case, it was marketing) before I focused and progressed further in my career. I think it was a great step ahead for me from my dual degree that I studied in India, as it involved a more comprehensive curriculum and several experiential learning opportunities.
I applied to three schools in France, of which, I received an admit to EDHEC and ESCP. I specifically chose EDHEC because I was offered a scholarship here and the cost of living in the city in which it is located is comparatively way lesser than living in Paris, where ESCP is located. Studying and working in India definitely felt familiar but I also thought that it was slightly restrictive in terms of a global and diverse outlook. Hence, I was inclined to study in France because I undoubtedly wanted the global exposure. And that was the best part about studying and now, working in France - the constant opportunity to interact with innumerable people from different countries and cultures.
Coming to the million dollar and most frequently asked question - how did I end up getting a job at The Estée Lauder Company? Well, for starters, I am not fluent in French and I am still learning it. And when I started searching for a job, my knowledge of French was zilch, which was a huge disadvantage. So the biggest learning that I would share with you is that if you are going to study in another country, please do yourself a favour and learn the local language before you go there. While the entire curriculum is taught in English, knowing the local language, especially in Europe, increases your chances of landing a job exponentially (with a capital E)! In hindsight, knowing the local language can really be the difference between surviving in Europe and enjoying living in Europe. However, since this barrier existed, my options were limited and I could only focus on global companies which had regional offices in and around France. Estée Lauder's European headquarter is in Paris, so that definitely worked in my favour. On another positive note, finding a job in Europe, though quite challenging, is definitely not impossible. There are amazing opportunities and the laws in several countries are very employee friendly.
However, be realistic and be prepared that no school is going to spoon feed you and serve job opportunities on a platter. That is a huge cultural difference from India. The school would be a strong guiding force but you will still have to pick up the bow and arrow and shoot in the distance entirely on your own. And I think more than motivation, it is discipline and perseverance that will help you land THAT golden job.
(On a side note, another applicant - Nikhil Jain - applied to 15 companies day-in and day-out despite facing multiple rejections every day. Read his story here!)
It is crucial to understand for all aspirants that job opportunities here work very differently from how they work in India. Going back to my personal experiences, it is really not a piece of cake! You have to reach out to several people, network extensively, and might have to do more than one internship (note, internships in France are usually 5-6 months long). Nevertheless, with conviction, you can land at amazing places and I was fortunate to start my career in France with Estée Lauder. Just start early and focus especially on your school’s partner companies.
The other thing that I want to emphasis on is the misplaced importance that Indian candidates put on the GMAT. The GMAT is important but it is not your entire application! It is only a part (in some cases, it is 1/6th) of your entire application. A high or low GMAT can never be the only make-or-break factor and it is equally, if not more, important to focus on your essays and the interviews. In fact, I firmly believe that you can compensate for a low GMAT score with a well-written essay but it will not work the other way round. So focus and exhibit the unique values, learnings and experiences that you can add to the class.
Lastly, beware that studying in Europe is not an overpaid and extended Euro trip. And it might be surprising, but more often than not, you will come across people who forget about the studying and getting the job part a bit and when reality strikes, it's a little too late. So remember that here, you have to first work hard and then play harder!