The Student Federation: a unique, empowering and extremely professional experience!

Throughout their time at IÉSEG, the School offers its students a rich and dynamic community life. They can join one of the 65 associations (in the fields of art, culture, sport, finance, gastronomy, entrepreneurship, humanitarianism, CSR, etc.) to gain a professional experience that perfectly complements the learning offered by IÉSEG.

This community life is regulated by the Student Federation (Fédération des Étudiants), an association that represents, manages and organizes student community life on both campuses. Benjamin MARTY and Zoé GAUDRY, Master’s students on the Grande École Program and respectively President and Vice-President of the “Fédé”, explain why they wanted to get involved in this structure, and what they have learned from this unique experience.

Before the Student Federation, an already rich and committed associative background

Fédération des Etudiants - 1
Benjamin MARTY and Zoé GAUDRY, President and Vice-President
of the Student Federation

Before joining the Fédération des Étudiants, Benjamin MARTY and Zoé GAUDRY had a similar involvement with associations, as they were both in charge of events within the BDE, then put together their own list to be elected to the Bureau Des Élèves and become its President, Zoé in Lille and Benjamin in Paris – La Défense. So it was only natural that they wanted to move up another rung in terms of associative responsibility. They created their own list to be elected, by the other students, to the Student Federation, a logical extension of their career path and their commitment to associations within IÉSEG.

What is the role of the Student Federation? As Benjamin MARTY, its President, explains, “First and foremost, we are the association that represents all IÉSEG students, whatever their program or campus, notably by sitting on the School’s Board of Trustees. In this way, we bring to the attention of the School’s administration the major concerns that students may encounter in their learning, but also in their personal lives, so that we can provide them with the best possible responses. Secondly, we administer and organize IÉSEG’s associative life, notably by sharing the annual budget allocated by the School to associative life equitably between all the associations. Finally, to create links between the School’s students, we organize major inter-campus events, such as the IÉSEG Week-End, the Gala, the Ski Week and the inter-campus Sports Week-End. To do all this, we are a team of 25 students*, half of whom work in Lille and half in Paris – La Défense… It’s very demanding, but exciting because we are at the heart of IÉSEG’s life…“.

Why did they decide to get involved with the Student Federation? For Zoé GAUDRY, Vice-President, “after 2 years at the ‘Bureau des Étudiants‘, I was looking for a more empowering association. In the Master’s cycle, you want to challenge yourself a little more and discover a little more about yourself. What’s more, at the BDE, I really enjoyed bridging the gap between the School’s administrative and academic teams and the students on my campus. It’s for these reasons that I chose to get involved with the Student Federation, and I have no regrets, because in terms of challenges and impact, we’re in the right place! The Student Federation gives us the levers we need to get things moving, to have an impact on the School and its students, whatever the campus. We meet all the players in the IÉSEG ecosystem, and we understand much better how it works, and the choices made by the School that we then have to explain to the students. By enabling us to organize inter-campus events, which sometimes bring together several hundred or even thousands of students, the Student Federation confronts us with completely different, much greater challenges“.

IÉSEG Weekend, IÉSEG Gala: key events creating links between students

What are the highlights of a year at the Student Federation? For Benjamin MARTY, “first and foremost, of course, is the IÉSEG Week-End, one of the most important student events in France. We’ve been working for several months on the organization of this event, so that students can meet up, forge links and get to know each other better before coming together on the School’s campuses. New this year, we succeeded in obtaining the “EcoFest” label, which testifies to all our efforts in terms of CSR in the organization of this event. We had a pre-audit, then an on-site audit, then a debriefing with the auditors, so it was also a lot of involvement and effort on a daily basis, from all the students in the association, to get this label. We’re very proud of it, because it proves our involvement in implementing the School’s CSR strategy: having an impact, without waiting to be in business, is what the Federation enables us to do…
Zoé GAUDRY adds: “This year, we also relaunched the IÉSEG Gala, which had not been organized since the COVID years, and we were particularly keen to be able to organize it again, with the help of the School staff. Because while all the other events help to forge links between students from the 2 campuses, the Gala helps to forge links between students and graduates, and that’s also very important. The students were delighted to return to the Gala, which they had missed and which the School had missed, particularly in terms of outreach“.

Commitment, stress… but a hyper-professionalizing experience!

Benjamin MARTY and Zoé GAUDRY both agree: “If you want to succeed at the Student Federation, you have to know how to manage stress! We organize large-scale events all year round, and you have to be able to react to all the unexpected… even the weather! Above all, we are responsible for what happens at the events, and nobody else… So we also have this pressure to bear, this weight of responsibility and this pressure to achieve results. Then, even more than at the BDE, we learn to manage teams and hire students who will spend an enormous amount of time serving others, on a voluntary basis, just for the pleasure of pleasing others. You also learn how to speak in public in front of hundreds of people… all those famous “soft skills” that will be invaluable in tomorrow’s business world!

What impressed these students most during their term of office? For Benjamin, “this will undoubtedly be my first Board of Trustees meeting… I was lucky enough to take part in a few of them, and although it wasn’t the first time I’d spoken before the School’s administration, it was quite strange… It was really very intimidating to speak in front of 30 people you don’t know, even if it’s just to introduce yourself and explain what you’re going to be doing during the year… On the Board, there’s the World President of Adecco, the President of the Adeo Group, the General Secretary of Rabot Dutilleul… in short, big names you don’t meet every day! So, yes, at that moment, you have to dare to take the plunge, even if it’s really impressive. And at the same time, it’s a great learning experience, because one day, I’m bound to be asked to speak to the Board of Directors of my future company!

Zoé GAUDRY and Caroline ROUSSEL during the 60th ANniversary Party

For Zoé, “it was when I was asked to speak at the School’s 60th anniversary party in Lille… I’d also been asked to speak regularly to lecture halls full of people, but usually of students! This time, there were over 500 people in attendance: graduates, representatives of our partner companies and, more generally, of the entire IÉSEG ecosystem, and when you find yourself in the spotlight… you’re under a bit of pressure, and that’s when you really have to believe in what you’ve written and hope that you’re getting the message across! But then everyone comes up to you and congratulates you, the pressure eases, and you get to enjoy the moment to the full!

What do you learn during a year at the Student Federation? Stress management, first and foremost. To manage your emotions, and keep your cool in all circumstances, so as to protect the team and not pass on your stress or fear. How to manage a team and act as a leader. To engage students who, for some, have other priorities, to succeed in doing those extraordinary things that can only be achieved because all the members of the association were welded together and committed to a common result. To be efficient, too… Because these students spend an enormous amount of time serving others, alongside their courses and even, for Zoé, alongside an academic exchange to Italy! To work quickly and well, to know how to organize one’s time, but also to know how to delegate and learn to trust others so as to concentrate on the most important tasks… And, last but not least, to enjoy oneself, to appreciate the work accomplished… and to know how to thank all those who have been enormously involved throughout the year!

After a year so rich in associative involvement, what’s tomorrow going to look like? For Zoé GAUDRY, “it will be a 6-month internship in auditing at EY, in parallel with my final dissertation. After that, I’d love to finish my IÉSEG adventure with an internship in a champagne house, or more broadly in the luxury sector“. For Benjamin MARTY, “next year, for my final year at IÉSEG, I’m going to concentrate on my Master’s thesis and my internship abroad. The media and culture sector attracts me, so I’m going to look at what opportunities I can manage to seize in this sector. Before, I think, launching myself into entrepreneurship. The Student Federation is a bit like being an entrepreneur: you have major responsibilities, you have to manage large budgets, you manage teams of varying sizes, you can innovate and launch new projects, while structuring our processes to gain in efficiency…

This year, the Student Association was composed of Barriquand Calixte – Batch Dany – Bertel Paul – Blali Ali – Blot Iris – Bouret-Nouhin Louise – Boutet Arno – Buisson Edgar – Cammas Orlane – Caron Laure – Carrère Laure – Gaudry Zoé – Holstein Rodrique – Kempf Albane – Kuchly Lisa – Labrousse Lou – Lachaise Paul – Latour Anne-Sixtine – Marty Benjamin – Matton Apolline – Micheli Mathilde – Moysan Alexandre – Raynaud Lucile – Roquette Marie – Rosenfeld Rafael

IÉSEG's 60th Anniversary Badge