Who are you?
Ciao! I am Leonardo Zanon, an Italian student with a fervent devotion to the world of gastronomy. Prior to my current academic pursuit at ESSEC, I completed my undergraduate studies in business administration at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. It was during this period that I had the privilege of embarking on an ERASMUS program in Paris. Surprisingly, France was not my initial preference, but upon residing here, I came to realize that it was the ideal city for my master's degree. My profound passion for food is the driving force behind my travels and vacations, and an ever-present link to my cultural roots. Exploring diverse culinary traditions brings me immense joy, yet my Moka coffee maker remains an indispensable fixture in my home.
Why did you choose the Food Business Challenges Chair?
The rationale behind my choice to engage with the Food Business Challenges Chair lies in my desire to incorporate food into my future professional endeavors. This program has provided me with a comprehensive and multifaceted education, full of a diverse array of courses, activities, and collaborations that have enabled me to delve into the intricate dimensions of the food industry.
From FMCG to retail, from B2C to B2B, and even the unique opportunity to don the chef's hat for a day at the renowned Ecole Cordon Bleu, the Food Business Challenges Chair has truly enriched my understanding of the culinary world.
What has been the most interesting, surprising, or exciting experience you had within the ESSEC FBC? And why?
Reflecting on my journey within the ESSEC Food Business Challenges Chair, one standout experience that exceeded my expectations was the Intensive Week. During this week, we collaborated with the Lagardere group to tackle the theme of "Food for Travelers" with the aim of revolutionizing the culinary offerings within the RELAY stores. What resonated with me the most during this course was the meticulous project development process, step-by-step guided by our esteemed professor Frédéric Oble and his partner Pierre Tilhou. Despite the condensed timeframe of just five days, this experience was remarkably instructive and demanding. It compelled us to think critically, work diligently, deliver results, and present a comprehensive project that required an extensive amount of effort within a tight deadline.
As this enriching experience within ESSEC's Food Business Challenges Chair comes to a close, I find myself approaching the conclusion of my studies, albeit in a different geographical context. I have been selected for an exchange program at IE Business School in Madrid during the fall of 2023.
Throughout this period, I will be completing my remaining academic obligations and embarking on a job search for an internship starting in January 2024. My primary objective is to secure a role in project management or business development within a prominent food company or a distinguished restaurant group.