Commencement Day: the New Class of ESSEC Leaves the Nest


Every year, ESSEC brings together the graduating classes from all of its programs for their graduation ceremony. It is a momentous occasion for the next generation, with speeches from distinguished alumni. Let’s take a look back at the event in pictures.

In total, around 2,000 students and participants receive their qualification for completing one of ESSEC Group’s courses: Grande École, Global BBA, Masters/Advanced Masters (MS), Global MBA, PhD and Executive Education programmes.

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Commencement Day is an opportunity for everyone to get together for a big celebration on campus, accompanied by their families and ESSEC management and teaching staff, with outstanding alumni in attendance to inspire them as they begin their careers.

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Alexia Leleu (M09), President and saviour of Maison Leleu, offered some valuable advice to her Master’s alumni. “We belong to a generation that will be called upon to reinvent itself, so be flexible and don’t be scared of completely changing direction. Stay curious and flexible. What’s important is the path we take to achieve our different, successive objectives. (...) Believe in yourself, because you have the skills to do what you really enjoy.

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I would like to thank ESSEC for giving me this opportunity, for teaching me to never stop learning and to adapt to whatever the future has in store for me.

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Myriam Cohen Welgryn (E88), President of Mars Pet Nutrition Europe, gave a resonating testament to the Grande École’s new graduates. “I’m a true believer in rites of passage. I believe in celebrations that mark the transition from one world into another. (...) I’m from Generation X, who believed in the mirage of abundance. (…) You can change the world’s direction! And I have to remind you of the urgency to act, the duty to act, if you are to have an impact. Because, and maybe you aren’t aware of it yet, but I am: you have so much power!

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You must set your own course, towards what the Japanese call ikigai, ‘the achievement of what you hope for’: a job that lets you live well, that you enjoy, and that serves the world. You can choose where and for who you will work. Don’t wait. Choose to seek that which will keep you alive."

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Caroline Matte (B12&M14), manager of the Startup Garage from Facebook at Station F, spoke to our BBA: “The opportunity you have today is the opportunity to choose. You are truly free.” To help the graduates make their choices, she encouraged them to surround themselves with mentors, “people who believe in you, who trust you”.

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Valérie Accary (E87), President of BBDO Paris, also shared her experience. An active member of the ESSEC community, between her commitment to the mentoring programme for women (EWA Boost by ESSEC Women Alumni) and the partnership she launched between her NGO, Force Femmes, and ESSEC’s Chair of Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, she sets a fine example for Executive Education graduates.

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A number of students and participants who were about to graduate also gave speeches: Hélène Daccord (E17) invited her classmates to take “no” as a chance to excel; Adil Dewan (E17), who encouraged them to “seize opportunities with both hands”; as well as Fatou-Maty Diouf (C18), Cyril Ghanem (C18), Arina Phrasathane (M18), Vaibhav Garg (E17) and Michel Creuzet (G18), who all spoke about ambition and the future.

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Félix Papier, Director of Pre-Career Programmes at ESSEC, looked back at the road already travelled: “All of the experiences you have had at ESSEC have enabled you to see what’s possible. (...) Now you are going to set off and build your career, and it will take courage: the courage to make difficult decisions, while remaining aware of the impact you have on the world.

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Ever since your first day at ESSEC, you have been part of the ESSEC family, and you remain part of the family for your whole life.

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Hugues Levecq, Director of the Global BBA, promised a bright future for his (not quite) former pupils: “In an accelerating world, your ability to ask questions, explore, and experience joy will lay the foundations for your happiness.” As did Thomas Jeanjean, Deputy Director of Pre-Career Programmes at ESSEC: “This qualification, your own ability, and your ambition are the promise of a brilliant future.

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Stéphanie Jossermoz (E94), Director of ESSEC Alumni, had a little reminder for everyone: “You also leave here with a network, your class network, of course, but also the network of all the ESSEC alumni. Thanks to you, today will mark 55,000 ESSEC alumni working in every sector in almost every country. And a network is an amazing thing: it’s the ability to talk, to help each other, seek advice, and make contacts.

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Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi, Dean and President of ESSEC Group, summed it up as follows: “If today marks the end of something, it also marks a new beginning. (...) The pioneering spirit that ESSEC has been known for ever since it was founded is now part of you, and I hope that you will keep it with you, as a foundation, when making decisions for your future. (…) Choosing this course means choosing to never stop learning. Be creative, be the future! Thank you and good luck!

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