Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) hosted the 36th annual Graduate Business Conference (GBC) in April. 

For over 35 years, the GBC has developed a community of over 3,000 leaders who support new delegates each year to develop their own personal styles of leadership and build and contribute to global professional networks. 

This year AGSM 2020 Full-Time MBA class presidents Mark Wilson and Serena Lu represented the school alongside their counterparts from the top 50 MBA programs worldwide.

“The conference contained an extensive program of invited keynote speakers, panel discussions and best practice solution workshops. Philippe Houze’, Executive Chairman, Galeries Lafayette, spoke about always choosing the harder path to build resilience. I felt this aligns with my decision to do an MBA as I knew the experience would be challenging, but it’s the times when we are faced with the most challenges that we grow as a person,” said Mark

The GBC wants to establish a working network of future leaders to share their experiences and discuss solutions to common business issues. 

“As a concept, we are taught that networking is an important ‘soft skill’ but to truly grasp the dynamics in action was a profound experience,” said Serena. 

“62% of our cohort consists of international students, and being an international student myself, I feel strongly about the need to hone networking skills and participate in events. Since returning from the conference I have relayed this message back to our MBA cohort, especially to the students who are still working on their networking skills.” 

The conference also explored the idea of self-reinvention as a way for leaders to challenge the status quo and implement innovative ideas. For large organisations this means a fundamental change in organisational culture to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and associated behaviours. 

Camille Kroely, Head of Digital Transformation at L’Oreal spoke about how the cosmetics giant is disrupting their own industry by investing in digital technology to remain competitive within their market. 

“L’Oreal acquired Modiface, an augmented reality beauty app, which allows consumers to see what it’s like to wear a type of makeup or use new hair products before purchasing the actual product,” said Mark. “It was a stark reminder of how AI and digital technology is advancing business markets across all industries and how big businesses are partnering with early stage start-ups to achieve this goal.” 

Mark and Serena saw strong parallels between organisational reinvention and building a personal brand. 

“In the AGSM MBA program, we are taught to ‘build our own brand’. This conference encouraged me to think about what is my personal brand? And how can I have a unique point of view on the evolving world around me?”, Serena said.

“For everyone completing an MBA, this is where we build our authentic self by realigning our careers to something that is intrinsically inspired by the wealth of knowledge we acquire, the experiences and memories we create, and the personal growth we achieve by reinventing ourselves to make an impact.” 

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