Plans are Bound to Change


Grad’11 Clement Pithon

If there is one thing Grad’11 alumni Clement Pithon has learned, is that plans change. Clem visited the school and shared his experiences in the IB programme and beyond. Students were inspired to hear how he overcame challenges and adapted his plans to change.

“I had plans to attend university in London and study Business Administration. However, life threw a spanner in the works when I didn’t test as well on my IB as I had expected. Suddenly, my carefully laid specific plans were out the window. However, I realised I needed to fix it, it was my problem. I knew the self-doubt I was plagued with wasn’t going to help. I emailed lots of universities, explained my problem and asked them to give me a chance. The University of Exeter, who visited the school often, was willing to give me that chance. I went into a different programme, Management with Leadership. This change actually ended up teaching me more than I may have gotten with my original plans.”

“The programme taught me the difference between management and leadership; for me, management is being able to just manage a situation, problem and people effectively. Leadership is about being able to inspire people to follow you, a manager is not necessarily a leader. We’ve all seen people who manage well but don’t inspire – a leader is someone who goes above and beyond for their followers and by setting an example encourages their followers to do the same. Management can be given, leadership has to be earned.”

“I finished my degree in the UK and knew I wanted to do a Master’s degree and that I wanted to live in France at some point in my life as my father is French. I saw that I could merge these two aspirations in one go. It was amazing as I got to discover another part of my life that I only had a glimpse of before, I had spent every summer there before but it is not the same until you actually live it. The school I went to, ESCP Business School, is one of the most selective in France, so it was a big point of pride to study here. I spent one year in Paris and one year at their campus in London which allowed me to transition into my new job. For my Master’s degree there was a requirement to do nine months of professional experience so I decided to take time off in the middle and work for Mercedes-Benz, as an industrial placement, this is a specific year-long internship for students.”

“After graduation, although I was offered a job with Mercedes, I didn’t want to go back and do the same thing, I wanted to be stretched. So, I went for a job in consulting to push myself a bit and did that for two years. The company really threw you in the deep end from day one – you really had to stand up and lift that weight. It was very hands on work almost immediately. There is no better school than really just going for it and doing the job.”

“I knew long-term that my future was in Thailand and not the UK so I was looking for opportunities to move back to Thailand. Of course, there was an opportunity to move here with my company as they have an office in Bangkok, but I wanted to focus on sales and strategy so I checked to see if Mercedes-Benz had something like that open in Bangkok. I contacted the company here and we started talking and here I am!”