A miracle? More the result of a continuous effort. While studying an MBA at IFA Paris, Australia born Tessa Stoddart, born and raised in Sydney, was hired at 21 years old as a Managing Director of Events and Marketing by American company Jane Layne Events LLC. The secret? She worked hard, never gave up on her ambitions and always used her spare time – she even hiked Everest base camp for charity! She delivers a lesson of energy, joy and will.

IFA Paris: You are only 21 years old and already hired by a company in the United States, while still attending our MBA in Luxury Brand Management. We want to understand!

Tessa Stoddart: I graduated high school in 2010, where I studied via homeschool due to my professional horse riding career. I then took a year to travel and gain life experiences in Canada, Europe and the United States while I coached horse riding at a summer camp in Montreal. I then returned home to Sydney to study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Sociology and Cultural studies. I also studied at that time, via distance, a Bachelor of Media Communications through Charles Sturt University, majoring in Journalism and Marketing. I have always been dedicated to my studies and was able to complete my two four-year degrees by participating in summer and winter schools. I therefore graduated both degrees in June, 2015. 

IFA Paris: Can you tell us more about your MBA at IFA Paris at the Istanbul campus? 

Tessa Stoddart: While studying through both high school and university, I took on work experiences, internships and paid work. I worked as a personal assistant in a media communications company, interned at Cosmopolitan magazine, assisted at a fashion and lifestyle PR firm, and also volunteered a summer to working in India with an ethical jewelry start up business. Additionally, I would do paid work in the promotions, recruitment and entertainment industry. I found this a great way to network and meet contacts that would later aid me in securing internships and opportunities. Prior to leaving Australia, I worked with IMG Fashion as the designer relations assistant during the Australian Fashion Week – an exciting and pivotal opportunity which led me to meet VIP’s, industry personnel, and also gave me so much experience in the fashion and events industries. I also challenged myself to hike Everest Base Camp at 21 for charity – the kind of experience that can set you apart from others and stand out in the eyes of an employer. Studies have always been important to me. Both my parents have always owned businesses and is something which I wish to have for my own. I knew I wanted to pursue an MBA, not a standard one. I was searching for a degree combining my love for fashion, lifestyle and business. This type of post graduate degree wasn’t offered in Australia, so I expanded my search abroad. I narrowed down my search to LIM College in NYC, Parsons in NYC, SCAD in Savannah and IFA Paris (Istanbul and Paris format). And finally decided to enter IFA Paris. I knew that having studied and lived in both Istanbul and Paris, two iconic cities, would be advantageous on my profile for potential work positions. It’s always appealing to companies to employ someone with life experiences, such as living and studying in a city where you not only don’t speak the language but live as a foreigner. It gives you a new perspective on life. 

IFA Paris: How were you able to get hired at Jane Layne Events United States while still studying your MBA in Europe?

Tessa Stoddart: I wanted to work in the United States, and the fact I was Australian made this logistically tricky due to visa regulations. I needed to start applying early and also knew that the summer break, when studying at IFA Paris, was a great opportunity to intern. I spent hours scouring every job bulletin and website. I applied to job postings, in the entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, PR and events industries, as an assistant and intern. I knew my passion lied in events and marketing. I had countless interviews and was offered numerous positions. Obviously, I thoroughly researched all companies, CEO’s, co-workers and also testimonials. I was so impressed by Jane Layne Events. The business portrayed diversity, incredibly innovative skills set and of course, with a young and very experienced CEO: I was eager to learn from. After lengthy discussions and logistics, I began working for Jane Layne Events, who has offices out of Orlando, Manhattan, and produces events all over the United States, and began my probation period, working remotely from Paris, while studying with IFA Paris. This was a huge commitment, given the time differences, the work and study schedule. It was great though to come to an agreement to start working remotely and continue to study. I however, had to move across to the Orlando office in my summer break, when my standard probation ended and my official contract began. This was obviously out of the norm for IFA Paris – having a student requesting to study remotely and work full time in her dream job! I am very thankful to Jean-Baptiste Andreani (Paris campus Managing Director) and IFA Paris for their understanding, cooperation and accommodation!

IFA Paris: Your story is for sure very inspiring for other IFA students and MBA students. What would you like to tell them?

Tessa Stoddart: In fact, after 3 months working in the Orlando office, I was promoted to Managing Director of Events and Marketing for Jane Layne LLC. My advice to other students is to obviously never give up – finding that entry level position is hard work! You need to dedicate time and effort to really reaching out, connecting yourself with key industry members and also trying to link yourself to opportunities which are unique and give you life experience. It always looks great on a resume! I’m always very proactive, so don’t waste time – studying and finding that perfect first job is tiring! You don’t want to be in a mad rush when you graduate, realizing you have no work experience and or internship and are left wondering why companies just aren’t responding to you. Having experience is crucial in landing a job – make sure to use your spare time while studying, particularly in iconic Paris wisely. Even if it is unpaid and tough hours, try to stick it out long enough to gain something from the position and a letter of recommendation. These are very useful to attach to your resume for future employers. When it comes down to it, it’s honestly up to you! Just study hard, work hard, stay true to yourself and eventually you will be rewarded for your efforts! Good Luck !

Visit our page on the MBA degree Tessa is completing at IFA Paris: MBA Luxury Brand Management