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Welcome to
our new content curators!

The GenZ Observatory

The GenZ Observatory is an initiative from the Cartier Chair ESCP HEC Paris Turning Points Chair.

A modern think tank

Set up as a modern think tank to explore emerging generational and cultural changes, it features students who represent a culturally diverse population, and are well-tuned and connected to the diverse range of social media platforms from mainstream to niche ones.

The first inception

For its first inception, in 2020 / 2021, ESCP and HEC Paris called for applications from students to join and formed a team of content curators.

A selection of 7 students

7 students were selected for a pilot phase from March to June and contributed to exploring the perception of Gen Z on topics such as Work & Workplace, Grassroots Movements, Sustainability, Friendship & Interpersonal Relationships.

A new task forceof trend spotters, and opinion seekers

In September, the two Business Schools launched a new call for applications from students to join and formed a teal of content curators.

A 90-second video to apply

To apply, students had to send a 90-second creative video to convince the jury they had what it takes to become part of the next content curators team.

A selection of 12 students

The jury chose 12 students (4 Europeans 1 Indian 1 Korean 2 Chinese 1 American 1 Moroccan 1 Lebanese and 1 Belarusian), representing a diverse mix of backgrounds.

Today, we are delighted to welcom Arianna Aprico, Anouk Rubinstein, Maksim Shymanovich, Abigail Trombley, Alma Ullén, Julien Wagner, Quanfu Wang, ESCP Business School and Lila, Calendra, Shambhavi Gujar, Eunjee Lee, Farah, Nassar, Yi Tang, HEC Paris.

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHO THEY ARE?
5 QUESTIONS TO OUR ESCP CONTENT CURATORS

Discover some of our
ESCP Business School content curators

Alma Ullen, ESCP Business School
DiscoverAlma's portrait

Conscientious - Openhearted - Lively
Raised in a home where the two cultures - arts and science - were always present
Spent formative years at a performing school for classical music and arts and currently pursuing her bachelor degree in Business Management at ESCP
Swedish and Hungarian, diverse cultural exchange resonates with her interest in people and communication


► Why did you want to join?

For me, the Observatory seems like an ideal environment, where I can pursue my twofold interest in arts and business. Both these fields can be understood through storytelling and human communication, which set the foundation for understanding the reactions and behavior of people around us as well as changes in attitudes between generations. I find these interests to be echoed and emphasized within the GenZ Observatory. The chance to exchange views across borders, and to work with an excellent and diverse team is a fantastic opportunity to develop my competence and view of the future.

► How do you identify with Gen Z? What makes you a typical Gen Z student?

I grew up together with the digital revolution. As a small child, I remember the years where the presence of digital tools was limited to our box TV standing in our living room. But not even a decade later, I had fantastic opportunities to connect with the rest of the world, and could later finish my graduation online even as we were living through a global pandemic. This mix of being digitally fluent, but yet having been part of a world unfamiliar with this new language, is something I feel is defining for my generation as it positioned us in between two types of societies.

Our generation is characterized by contradictions. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we were able to live through two different dimensions, a real and a digital one. We have a sense of community, even though questions of individuality are becoming increasingly important. Not only growing up to be digital natives, my generation also experienced a defining shift to digitalisation from the front row as the Internet was put to its biggest test yet during the Covid-19 pandemic.

► What do you expect from this experience?

I look forward to working with a creative and motivated team from diverse backgrounds, where I can listen, learn and develop my competence, interactive skills and ideas for the future. By working together on new questions each month, I hope to be guided by curiosity and open mindedness to better understand the rich variety of challenges and opportunities surrounding my generation.

I truly look forward to working alongside HEC Paris students and fellow GenZ:ers who share similar academic ambitions but come from different personal backgrounds. I expect it to be an interesting and rewarding mix of personalities, where we can create meaningful connections between students moving into similar fields. This collaboration between institutions creates a way of keeping a running dialogue on relevant questions for the future.

► What do you expect to learn from this experience?

The Observatory offers a unique learning experience, where collaborations between students and business professionals allows for an exchange of views and reflections on up-to-date topics. I hope to deepen my analytical ability, and to work with both my creative and more practical sides. While it is challenging to represent an entire generation in an objective and nuanced way, I believe that it is precisely that rich diversity of perspectives that really highlights the purpose and importance of the Observatory as a whole.

► What are important topics these days from a Gen Z point of view and why?

Moving beyond topics that have been much discussed recently, such as the future corporate work space and environmental issues, I feel questions of how core values will be expressed by my generation can be important starting points for reflections. What will be the meaning of success, both from a business-oriented side and a social perspective? What will be the future demands on a leader, given recent changes in work conditions and employee wants?

Community and independence in an interconnected world, authenticity, genuinity... These types of questions also can help explaining underlying reasons to behaviors and trends seen around us.

Alma Ullen, ESCP Business School
DiscoverQuanfu's portrait

Motivated - Reliable - Ambitious
Grew up in Tianjin in China, and received a concrete education on science subjects
Now student in the ESCP Bachelor in Management Program
Travelled, lived and studied in different countries from the East to the West, experiencing cultural shocks and learnt that people are not different as we share the same hearts, fears, hopes and dreams


► Why did you want to join?

Having travelled across very different continents, I developed the interest of flying the drone and using the camera to record different sceneries, as well as taking a deeper look into everything around me to analyse the era we stand our feet in. Turning Points Chair is a perfect opportunity for me and I feel excited to work with smart minds from the two business schools and prestigious Maison Cartier.

► How do you identify with Gen Z? What makes you a typical Gen Z student?

I consider us as a generation of people growing up along with digital technologies. In our childhood and adolescence, we witnessed the rapid development of social media, online games, multimedia and mobile phones. With everything magical happening around us, I think we are usually supporters of the digital trends and we are more comfortable with this digital age, compared to the generations before us.

My way of living shows how Gen Z I am: I never manage to take my eyes off the screen. For work, pen and paper is no longer an option. I use my laptop for most of the work and study, and I use iPad for notes-taking. For all my spare time, my phone keeps me occupied with all kinds of social media, even when I’m brushing my teeth. The screens have been so integrated into my life.

► What do you expect from this experience?

I expect to work with a very diverse team consisting of Professors and students from 2 business schools and the members from the prestigious Maison Cartier. I expect to know people from different backgrounds on a journey of exploring and exchanging ideas, by which we can better understand ourselves and people from this generation.

► What do you expect to learn from this experience?

From this very precious opportunity of working in the Turning Point Chair as a curator, I hope to learn how to perform analysis, as well as how a think tank works in real life. I hope to learn from my peers their views over the generations on various topics, and I hope to learn mindset and concepts in the luxury industry. I expect to meet and learn from my peers at HEC, who are similarly in top French business schools, but with different knowledge in different areas. I would love to exchange ideas with them and cooperate with them in the purpose of presenting a realistic portrait of my generation.

► What are important topics these days from a Gen Z point of view and why

I find peers around me starting to reflect about the purpose of competitions and hardwork. Having grown up in Eastern Asia culture, having been educated by parents to do better than others as early as in primary school, the sense of competition has so deeply rooted in our mindset, which actually makes us automatically consider everything a zero-sum game. More and more people in my generation are realising that this mindset is toxic and words like “tang’ping” which means to “lie down (stop making useless effort)” are trending on Chinese social media.

Alma Ullen, ESCP Business School
DiscoverArianna's portrait

Extremely creative - Ambitious- Optimistic
Grew up in Italy and at the age of 15 decided to move to a boarding school in England to finish her high school studies
After completing her IB, she decided to attend a BSc at ESCP, as the degree offers a wide application of management in liberal arts and humanities.


► Why did you want to join?

Borned in 2001, I am quite confident to say that I have always lived with people that shared my same generational identity. For me as for many others of my age, I feel that being a Gen Z is an intrinsic part of my individuality. Our generational cluster shares common goals and common characteristics when it comes to our way of thinking and behaving. We were the first generation to be defined as digital natives, and somehow, we used this peak of technological innovation to enlarge our knowledge in crucial topics, such as human rights, sustainability and, on a broad level, several types of social responsibilities.

► How do you identify with Gen Z? What makes you a typical Gen Z student?

A crucial characteristic of Gen Z students is that we are very motivated when it comes to achieving a goal, even if it means approaching the steps necessary to accomplish it in an unconventional way and on our own terms. I feel that academically speaking I am more prone to develop my own way of learning, by considering my individual best learning methods. During my studies, I understood that I am more proactive if I engage in a sensory experience to learn new information. Therefore, I normally use multimodal resources in my studying routine, as it is a more familiar way to approach news and information for our generation.

► What do you expect from this experience?

I am eager to start this experience at the Turning Point Research Chair, as I consider it will be a great possibility to broaden my knowledge on trends that characterize Gen Z. I h5ly believe that we are living in an environment of continuous cultural changes, and I am enthusiastic to understand and analyse a diverse range of points of views. Additionally, I am keen to express my creative side to raise insightful content on the research topics proposed every month.

► What do you expect to learn from this experience?

I am sure that I will be able to learn a lot from our extremely diverse and inclusive team, which provides a perfect learning environment to grow on a personal level, especially when it comes to understanding other perspectives on societal issues and broaden my horizon on generational changes and social trends.

I am happy to have the chance to collaborate with like-minded fellow colleagues of HEC. I believe that the work ethics of the ESCP students and the HEC students are aligned when it comes to delivering results in line with the excellence of Cartier. Therefore, I can just be extremely motivated by this environment, as I am sure that we will be able to actively work with each other when needed, and fully express our individuality for tasks assigned to each one of us.

► What are important topics these days from a Gen Z point of view and why?

How my generation has been challenging the status quo when it comes to transparency in a workplace? Work-life balance and personal well-being in companies and firms.

Positive social changes is also a big issue. We are actively working in a world that is not based on equality but aims for equity. Those two words, equality and equity, seem to hold a similar implication, but the difference between the two is relevant. A world based on equality does not value the individuality of each of us.

Whereas Gen Z is looking for a world where everyone has sized opportunities, based on their personal needs, to be placed in a situation where they can succeed. We are extremely propense to fight for a more inclusive world by overcoming negative stereotypesand, with an open-minded approach, appreciate the individuality of everyone.

Julien Wagner, ESCP Business School
DiscoverJulien's portrait

Curiosity – Happiness - Determination
Passionate for the world of luxury, particularly watchmaking and jewelry, he had the opportunity to work for two years in prestigious Maisons such as Boucheron, Cartier, Piaget and Baccarat.
Constantly willing to learn new things, discovering new cultures and having diverse experiences.
Currently student in the Marketing & Communication master’s program at ESCP business school in Paris.


► Why did you want to join?

First of all, because I actively take interest in following the different initiatives and activities brands are pursuing, always seeking to identify tomorrows trends, especially through the rise of social media platforms. Secondly, as I love to stay culturally aware and engaged in a global society, the perspective to work with people from diverse and varied cultural backgrounds is a great opportunity for me. Thirdly, because I want to not only broaden my own skills, but also create new and exciting initiatives with them for the future.

► How do you identify with Gen Z? What makes you a typical Gen Z student?

Born in 1996, I'm actually a millennial. Nevertheless, I can identify myself with Gen Z in many ways. Indeed, also born in a period where digital technology has been already well established, I think it would be very difficult for me to live without my cell phone today. The digital tools is fundamental in my personal and professional life.

Moreover, the Covid19 crisis has also shaken up our relationship with digital, and education is no exception with the development of distance learning.

But I think these descriptions of "generations" should be approached with caution, as defining a homogeneity of perception, thought and behavior between different people on the sole criterion of birth period is not sufficient.

► What do you expect from this experience?

I wanted to participate in exciting debates with students and managers on research questions raised by current turning points. Concretely, my expectation was to have the opportunity to nourish and shed light on questions such as: sustainability, new relationships with consumers, new behaviors of the younger generations, as well as preparation for the challenges to come.

It has now been more than a month since I joined the research observatory and I must say that my beginning of experience already exceeds all my expectations.

► What do you expect to learn from this experience?

This experience will allow me to broaden my horizons and my skills in the perspective of my future professional career, which I wish to carry out in marketing functions in the luxury sector. It is the perfect opportunity to continue to develop two of my main qualities which are my vision and my common sense. These two faculties are essential for every manager which is why I think that we must always open our eyes to the world.

I am very happy to have the opportunity to meet the HEC students and collaborate with them for the first time on exciting topics. The plurality of our profiles is the real strength of this research observatory. Moreover, the fact that the internal and external curators come from all over the world makes the Turning Points initiative even more valuable.

► What are important topics these days from a Gen Z point of view and why?

Gen Z is generally very sensitive to corporate social responsibility. I personally believe that this business approach, which aims to contribute to sustainable development by offering economic, social and environmental benefits to all stakeholders, is fundamental today. This specific subject is interesting because even if the implementation of a CSR strategy is a challenge, it is the responsibility of each organization to work within its capacities to make the world a better place. A business can’t be successful in the long term if it does not create shared value.

I believe today more than ever, organizations must provide a true meaning to their activities and pursue them with a purpose. Leading companies can no longer exist by simply engaging in transactional business activities.

To truly succeed in today’s world, they must contribute a true value to society. Another important topic I would like to highlight is the advent of virtual human relationships. This is an important topic because I think the metaverse will accelerate this trend considerably.

What is
next?

Professors Ben Voyer (ESCP Business School) and Anne Laure Sellier (HEC Paris), Scientific co-directors of the Chair, are looking forward to discuss with content curators and explore the findings of the observatory.

Ben Voyer, Professors ESCP Europe

To bring ESCP and HEC Paris students together as part of the Gen Z Observatory journey is an exciting challenge.

So far, academic Chairs build bridges between companies and the academic world. The Turning Points Chair and its observatory also build bridges between ESCP students and HEC Paris students. For sure they will learn a lot from this outstanding experience!

— Ben Voyer, Professor ESCP Business School, Co-Scientific Director Turning Point Chair
Cyrille Vigneron, PDG Cartier

The Observatory is a very fruitful example of the way companies can collaborate with Business Schools:

Getting the new generation’s perspectives on a wide range of business and societal topics from across the world is highly valuable for our Maison. Listening to Gen Z helps better understand and anticipate changes and trends.Young generations can bring outstanding inspirations to address current and future turning points in business, as well as their societal impact. I have been extremely impressed by the outcomes of the pilot phase

— Cyrille Vigneron, Cartier CEO

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