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ESSEC Alumni in Australia & New Zealand: "We'll get together again soon"

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Australia and New Zealand are home to more than 100 alumni, both natives and expats. Jean Boussard (E76), Head of ESSEC Alumni’s Australia and New Zealand Chapter, tells us more about the local community – and how they cope with the pandemic.

ESSEC Alumni: How many alumni are there in Australia and New Zealand?

Jean Boussard: I am in the process of listing our alumni with the help of my new delegates, Vijai Yogarajah (M15) in Sydney and Violaine Balland (M10) in Melbourne. We estimate the numbers at 35 in Sydney and the same in Melbourne, with a handful in the other 5 States and in New Zealand. It is worth noting many have been returning to France lately, ever since the international borders of Australia were closed.

EA: What is the typical profile of alumni living there? 

J. Boussard: As everywhere on our planet, our alumni are diligent and adventurous. They are active in all sectors, especially in finance and consulting. Quite a few like myself are dual citizens and well established, some for many years now.

EA: How famous is the ESSEC brand over there?

J. Boussard: I assisted Jeanne Bellec, former Marketing & Communications Director at ESSEC Asia-Pacific, in an exploratory visit in 2016 to increase the ESSEC brand awareness. We’ve been doing better ever since. The ESSEC Group now partners with several Australian universities and ESSEC Asia Pacific is making many efforts to attract Australians to the Singapore Campus. 

EA: What opportunities are there for alumni in Australia and New Zealand?

J. Boussard: France has a very good image here, and the Australian economy has always had a strong need for highly qualified foreign expertise. They just issued a new Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) that includes 17 work categories such as building, health, new technologies of information and communication. Our alumni will find many opportunities in general management and project management. 

Please note that if you’re not working for a French company, you’ll need to find a local sponsor to obtain a visa on the PMSOL. Other visa categories are open though, such as Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482), Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494), Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 87).

EA: How does the COVID-19 pandemic impact those opportunities? 

J. Boussard: Obviously, the impact is huge. Australia and New Zealand both adopted a drastic and radical strategy, which has almost destroyed the economy. The 2019-2020 financial year (end of June) shows a net debt at A$ 500 billions with 300 due to supporting measures, and a A$ 85 billions deficit against a projected A$ 5 billions surplus in December 2019. The Australian Federal Government is under pressure and has just announced it will prioritize jobs growth above budget repair. 2021 could well be a very difficult year for most Australians.

EA: What news from the local ESSEC community in this context?

J. Boussard: Activities are virtually at a standby, but, as domestic restrictions ease, we hope we’ll be able to invite alumni to get-togethers again soon, in liaison with other Grandes Écoles present in Australia and New Zealand. The demand and expectations are strong, as our community here quite loves to bond and reunite. Our last event, which Violaine Balland organized in Melbourne in November 2019, drew almost 60 participants. 

EA: What advice do you have for alumni moving in Australia?

J. Boussard: COVID-19 aside, the Australian economy usually does very well as it is driven by Asia and China. I encourage our alumni and especially our young graduates to “come and see with their own eyes”. However, be prepared to dive into the Anglo-Saxon culture, which is very different from the French one. ‘Down Under’ is for you if you are adventurous, and if you have the entrepreneur spirit. 

EA: What is the offer of ESSEC Alumni's Australia and New Zealand Chapter

J. Boussard: We welcome any interest from the ESSEC Alumni community regarding these two amazing countries, including business enquiries. Contact us to get some advice regarding moving in, facilitating your settlement and your integration, growing your local network, getting access to local professional opportunities, and/or attending get-togethers with fellow international and expatriate alumni. Once you’re a member, also feel free to share contents, job offers, ideas and projects on our online group. Networking is all about connecting with the community!

Interview by Veary Ngy, International Community Manager at ESSEC Alumni, and Louis Armengaud Wurmser (E10), Content Manager at ESSEC Alumni 

Want to read more? Join ESSEC Alumni for us to be able to bring other quality contents about the community to you.

Image : © AdobeStock

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