Lawrence Koussa ’19
Master’s Degree in Global Business & Society
Post-GBS Position: Estin & Co. Strategy Consulting
Getting a master’s in management degree at HEC Paris was a great experience that helped prepare me for the fundamentals in business. I developed skills that I was able to take to a financial auditing internship at EY in Paris and then as a digital strategy intern at Medtronic. I wanted to evolve outside of my comfort zone, outside of Europe, and it was just when the Global Business and Society program was beginning. There was something about the program and Yale SOM’s mission of educating leaders for business and society that really spoke to me. That focus has helped me grow as a person and a professional.
In the fall, I was part of a team with my classmates that was building a new product for Synchrony, a financial services company. Part of that project was about helping the company better understand its customers, but for me it was bigger than that. I was always the kind of person to enter a room and say, “OK, here is my idea on how we should handle this,” which would frame the problem for everybody else. This project required more: I needed to let my team frame the issues instead, and for me, that was not only a good approach, but a true learning experience. I came to appreciate my teammates more, and their ideas.
It’s not always easy to work with people from different backgrounds, but the GBS has shown me that when you build those skills your team can develop much more valuable, relevant results for the client. I’ve had a real opportunity to build soft skills alongside management skills, and that will benefit me and my career.
The GBS has allowed me to have the full Yale experience. I knew I wanted to try to learn a new language. I signed up for a Russian language course at Yale College, and it’s exposed me to the breadth of what the university has to offer. It was both challenging and rewarding. I had to learn a new alphabet and a completely different way to approach language.
One of the benefits of that experience is the people I met in the classroom. Not only the faculty, but also the students and staff are there to help you fill in the gaps. No one takes anyone for granted and you have to prove yourself, but there is this sense of community that is tight-knit and strong. It creates a competitive advantage when you begin looking for jobs: employers know you’re someone who can step into a difficult situation out of your comfort zone and handle yourself. They see that you’ve been set up to be a leader.
Interviewed on May 2, 2019