Going abroad for further studies is a big step but one that many UIC students aim to do after graduation. While most graduates choose the UK, the USA or Australia to study, Jiang Jingyan and Xie Runan, both former UIC students, decided to choose France. They explained how their time at UIC had helped and prepared them for their big adventure in L'Hexagone.

Jiang Jingyan (Culture Creativity and Management, 2015)

My name is Jiang Jingyan and I am a 2015 UIC graduate, who majored in Culture, Creativity and Management. During my four years of study, I became aware that my real interest was in fashion and the luxury industry, which is closely related to the culture and creativity industry. That’s the reason why I choose to study Fashion, Design and Luxury Management for my postgraduate education in France, the birth place for much fashion and luxury brands.

JIANG Jingyuan 3

In September 2016, I became a student at Grenoble Graduate School of Business (GGSB) under Grenoble École de Management (GEM) completing a MSc. in Fashion, Design and Luxury Management. I quickly adapted to the international, fast-paced learning environment in the French business school thanks to my experience at UIC. Additionally, my background in business management, industrial design, strategic management and financial management from my undergraduate programme at UIC helped pave the path for my first year study in my postgraduate programme.

JIANG Jingyuan 2

I used to be very introverted and lacked self-confidence, and I seldom participated in any competitions. However, during my four year of study at UIC, students were encouraged to participate in different club activities and events. Gradually, I became much more confident and even became one of the founders of the French Club in UIC. Without any hesitation, in the first year of my postgraduate programme, when I first heard about ‘The Mark Challenge’, my classmates, Yvonne Wan as well as Steven Fan, a fellow UIC graduate, and I decided to form a team called La Magie Group and participated in this competition. The Mark Challenge is a luxury business pitching competition hosted by the International University of Monaco. This competition allows for students to pitch a luxury service business idea to a professional panel. In 2016, there were 54 teams, comprised of more than 180 students. We entered into the finals as the only representative of GEM and successfully won the First Prize and Innovation Prize of ‘The Mark Challenge 2016’. As the winner, we earned the opportunity to present our ideas at the Monaco Symposium on Luxury, where our business idea gained approval from the audience.

Lately, fashion and the luxury industry are growing rapidly in China and the Chinese market as producers of luxury products because of it becoming more and more important to the rising middle class. Therefore, in the second year of the programme, I decided to come back to China and began my eight-month internship at the headquarters of Parfums Givenchy in Shanghai as a Product Team Intern within the marketing department. I assisted with the new product launch, registration process and nationwide product allocation. After that, I became a full-time employee of the brand, working as a CRM Specialist.

JIANG Jingyuan 1

I believe the four years I spent studying at UIC really changed me a lot. I was like a caterpillar, overcoming many difficulties and breaking free from my shell to become a butterfly. It is the experience I had at UIC that shaped my life and made me who I am today. After deciding I wanted to pursue further education in France, I talked to many professors at UIC, asking for their suggestions and guidance, including DCC Associate Professor, Dr Lei Shi, DCC Assistant Professor, Dr Purrie Ng, as well as the Director of ACE, Dr Anthony Tsui. I truly appreciated the professional advice they gave me and I was honoured to have them write my recommendation letters to apply to postgraduate school.

I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to DHSS Senior Lecturer and French teacher, Sophie Dubois-Pepin, who was the tutor of our French Club. Through her connection with Campus France Chine, our French Club cooperated with the Four-Point Education Coordination Office (FPECO) and organized a campus talk aimed at introducing the top tier business schools of France. In the campus talk, I gained a deeper understanding of the educational system of France and it was really helpful for me when it came to my business school selection. Moreover, without her constant encouragement and patient assistance, it would have been tough for me to study in France from the very beginning.

Xie Runan (Applied Economics, 2016)

My name is Xie Runan. I graduated from UIC in 2016 with a degree in Applied Economics. After graduation, I went to the Institut d'Économie Scientifique et de Gestion (IÉSEG) School of Management in Paris and studied International Business. IÉSEG School of Management is a business school in France, established in 1964 in Lille. This business school is a member of the Université Catholique de Lille and has been awarded with the International accreditations EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. It is the largest private university in France in terms of student population and endowment.

XIE Runan 1

Many people have asked me why I chose to study in France, since many UIC graduates chose to study in the US, the UK or Australia. France is a beautiful country but if you want to study there you have to speak at least a little bit of French. I have taken all the French elective courses at UIC, from French I to French IV, which gave me motivation to do further study in France so I could use my skills. During my time at UIC, DHSS Senior Lecturer and my French teacher at UIC, Sophie Dubois-Pepin, helped me a lot and gave me advice for learning French.

In my third year at UIC, I got the chance to visit France for one month. I attended the European Summer Program in Université Catholique de Lille organized by UIC’s International Development Office (IDO). During my month in France, I visited a lot of museums and weekend markets, and really enjoyed my stay. This experience helped me to make my final decision to pursue further study in France. After I came back to China, I assisted the Campus France Canton Institution with organizing the “Study in France” Conference at UIC in March 2016. This conference gave Chinese students in Zhuhai the opportunity to speak with the French schools’ staff directly. Attending UIC helped me to further my education in France, and made it a smooth transition for me from my undergraduate to postgraduate studies abroad. I was lucky to have good people to guide me and connect me with the right opportunities.

XIE Runan 3

After studying in France, I’ve met so many new friends and have seen a lot of new things. One of the most remarkable things is that I was like the “Paris travel agency” for my UIC friends. Since Paris is a famous tourist city, a lot of students who were also studying in Europe traveled to Paris and I was one of the few UIC students who lived in Paris at that time. Therefore, every time a former UIC student visited Paris, I got the chance to see my old friends. Paris is a magical city and I was amazed every day. Even though I was a business school student, I still got the chance to volunteer in the 2017 Paris winter fashion show. That was a tiring but amazing experience, which gave me the chance to see a fashion show backstage. I love to try new things because it can challenge and change my way of thinking. Paris is exactly the kind of place that enabled me to experience a different way of living. C’est la vie.

XIE Runan 4

The time in France passed quickly. Soon after, I needed to find a job after I finished all my courses for my master's degree at IÉSEG in June 2017. I chose to continue learning French in Paris because my level of French is still not good enough to work in a French company. I started to study French again and found an internship at the same time. Mostly I concentrated on finding an internship with a company that was founded in France but also had a branch in China, because I think these types of companies are the best choices for me at this stage. China is a huge market that every company wants to capture and they need somebody who understands China but also France very well. I found a company called Leroy Merlin, the biggest home improvement and gardening retailer in Europe. They started operating in China in 2005 and have experienced stable growth. I start my new life in Beijing as a marketing intern and designer assistant with Leroy Merlin.

Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Samantha Burns (MPRO)
(with special thanks to the ELC)