The Asian Strategy Challenge: A Gateway to Skills, Knowledge, and A Dream Job


The Asian Strategy Challenge, a six-month consulting project, is one of the highlights of the ESSEC Master in Strategy & Management of International Business (SMiB) curriculum. Pauline Glever, SMiB Class of 2020, shares how embarking on this journey transformed her career.

Poised, elegant, and fluent in three languages, 24-year-old Pauline Glever looks and speaks the part of someone in the luxury brand industry. 

With a passion for all things digital, her dream career would be at the confluence of luxury, digital, and omnichannel work. Enrolled in the ESSEC Asia-Pacific’s SMiB cohort of 2020, Pauline participated in the program’s Asian Strategy Challenge (ASC). 

Through the challenge and her stellar performance, her dream came true when she was hired by Parfums Christian Dior — one of the program’s partners. How did it all come about?




The ASC gives ESSEC Asia-Pacific students in the Strategic Consulting or Corporate Strategy tracks a chance to work as consultants for ESSEC’s partners. 

For Pauline, this meant an opportunity to work closely with LVMH’s Parfums Christian Dior to analyze the consumer journey and behavior of Chinese travelers. Having interned at LVMH and an artisanal French jewelry brand previously, Pauline saw the ASC focus on strategic development as the most significant benefit of the challenge.

The difference is simple: “As an intern, you’re mostly involved in the operations of the company. It’s only if you’re very lucky would your manager rope you in for strategic work,” she explains. “The ASC gave us that opportunity and a voice to share our views.”



Equipped with lessons from the SMiB program, Pauline and her team researched on various discovery gaps. 

What are the major digital touchpoints for Chinese travelers? What is Dior’s presence at each of these touchpoints? And how will Dior stand out in the highly crowded Chinese digital ecosystem? 

In true consultant fashion, they divided the study into the research, analysis, and action phase. It was a rigorous process of identifying the different personas in the luxury traveler demographic, analyzing the presence of other brands in the ecosystem, and researching the best practices that these brands had taken to engage with the market.

Their strategy was supported with surveys for quantitative data, and they had big plans to head to the Singapore airport to interview travelers for deeper insights.


Then, COVID-19 brought their plans to a screeching halt. “The entire dynamism of our strategy was dead,” Pauline wryly recalls, adding that when the travel industry froze, her group doubted if any of their research was still relevant. 

With little time to lament, they took a different approach. Using interviews to assess a traveler’s sentiments, they saw what would work for potential campaigns.

This adaptability is perhaps what impressed the team at Dior the most — scoring the team interviews for full-time positions and, eventually, hiring Pauline on the spot.

Looking back, her journey was not just a test of how well she could apply conceptual ideas but also how effectively she could demonstrate the SMiB spirit of being bold, business-oriented, and open-minded. 

Suffice to say, she triumphed, walking away with new skills, stories to tell, and best of all, a job she dreamed of.

 Interested in the Master in Strategy & Management of International Business (SMiB)?

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