Zineb Ouachtouki, ’18, has always dreamed of working in fashion. After attending a study abroad information session, she realized she could make this dream a reality.

“During the day I was in school, and by night I was working in Paris,” Ouachtouki said.

She spent October interning for EM Consulting, a contractor of Paris Fashion Week, while studying abroad at ESSEC Business School. She found out about the opportunity from Lyndsay Patterson,’16, who had interned with the company during her time abroad.

“I know I want to go into fashion in the future,” Ouachtouki said. “It opened up a lot of doors, I met so many people during fashion week. People come from all over the world for it.”

She got a front row seat to see how Paris Fashion Week works, doing everything from organizing invitations and seating charts to working directly with magazines covering the event.

“I got to see what goes into every single show” Ouachtouki said.

“My experience at EM Consulting was absolutely amazing in teaching independence in the workplace,” said Patterson. “I love that it’s continued to impact a fellow student.”

Patterson now works as a rotational management program trainee at Gap in San Francisco, and says her internship in Paris was integral to her getting a job post-graduation. 

“Being able to say that I had worked outside of the U.S. is a really great asset, one a lot of recruiters seek in applicants because of our globalized economy,” Patterson said. 

Like Ouachtouki, she found a way to combine her two passions, fashion and business, and it landed her the job of her dreams.

“People like hiring people who take risks,” Patterson said. “Being able to say that I acclimated to something I had never done before in a week and a half, throwing myself into something completely new…it’s a learning experience and you grow from it.”

She and Ouachtouki agree, the most beneficial part of their experience was the time they spent outside the classroom.

“I think it really is valuable to have an experience outside of school while you’re abroad,” Ouachtouki said. “So if opportunity arises, I think everyone should take it.”

Instead of spending every weekend traveling across Europe like many of her friends, Ouachtouki chose to stay in Paris and really get to know the city.

“If you’re constantly traveling, it’s great, but you’re not forming connections with people or your host city,” Ouachtouki said. She’s using those connections to continue her pursuit of fashion when she returns home.

“Now that I’ve worked Paris Fashion Week, I think I might work New York Fashion Week in the winter. I have so many connections in the fashion industry while majoring in business, which is the best of both worlds,” Ouachtouki said.