NUS MBA 31 May 2019

Graduate Business Conference 2019 in Paris

The annual Graduate Business Conference is the only international MBA leadership conference, attended by the incoming and outgoing Student Council presidents from the top 50 MBA programmes worldwide. The goal is to bring together student leaders to share best practices, discuss solutions to common issues, engage in leadership development activities and promote a strong network among the participating MBA students.

Held at ESCP Europe Business School in Paris this year, the theme was United in Diversity, that underscores the importance of celebrating differences: what make individuals unique and valuable,
and how these differences can help shape the future. Representing NUS MBA this year were Stanislav Borisov, Corinne Ablaza and Shikha Malhotra. They talk about what inspired them during the trip:

Representing NUS MBA at the Graduate Business Conference 2019 (L-R): Stanislav Borisov, Shikha Malhotra and Corinne Ablaza

We were excited for one particular session titled Humanistic Leadership and Circular Economy. While this concept has been buzzing for a while, little has been openly discussed about how leaders are steering their organisations toward empathy, sustainability and circularity.

We had the opportunity of witnessing a powerful all-women panel discussing why corporate wellness matter: Aleksandra Lada Gola (CMO of MediMaps Group) and Anne-Charlotte Vucccino (CEO of Yogist) moderated by the Associate Dean of ESCP Europe, Prof Maria Koutsovoulu. This was followed by another strong panel discussion Circular Economy Business Models: The Future of Sustainability, that included Emmanuel Javal (CEO of Le Grand Reservoir), Eric Soubeiran (Vice President Nature & Water Cycle of Danone) and Jean-Denis Curt (Head of Recycling and Circular Economy of Groupe Renault) with moderator Prof Aurelien Acquier (Head of Sustainability Transition, ESCP Europe). Both discussions exposed us to a plethora of nuances in the sustainability landscape especially around how government and public support is necessary for organisation to implement their bold plans.

Shikha added, “I also had the honour of representing NUS MBA Women in Business Club as a #changemaker panelist where I talked about how gender diversity education should start at school so leaders of today are prepared more inclusively for becoming leaders of tomorrow.”

Another memorable day of events was when we attended was Corporate and Venture Innovation. From having an insightful presentation by Head of Digital Services at L’Oreal to a panel discussion by some of the most creative start-ups at Station F, the largest incubator in the world. The greatest insight was finding out how digital transformation is the key to industrial disruption.

It was also inevitable to talk about the Fashion industry while in Paris and we were truly lucky to meet Executive President Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, Pascal Morand, who is a key advisor to world-class firms like LVMH, Kering Group and Richemont.

Stanislav said, “As we listened to some of the world’s most buzzing ventures talk about their journeys growing from a dollar to millions of dollars, we realised that as future leaders we should dare to do the impossible.”

The conference gala dinner was a great highlight as Shikha was also nominated as a finalist for the Student Leadership Awards for leading the Women in Business community in NUS and beyond. Together with the other finalists of the award. Shikha received special recognition in their respective categories.

Shikha together with Mr Jim Deveau, Founder of the Graduate Business Forum.

We also managed to explore Paris as part of the conference, including a royal treat on board a luxury cruise on River Seine with exotic food options, breathtaking views of the city like the sparkling Eiffel Tower and mini Statue of Liberty and a dance floor that played music from all over the world.


Corinne remarked, “We felt immense gratitude for being able to represent NUS MBA at such an international platform. We got to learn great things about other schools which we would not have had a chance to otherwise and most importantly, earn each other as ‘friends of life’.”

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