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Evan Planchon - Driven by Purpose

Evan Planchon graduated in the Class of 2015 after completing both his IGCSEs and IB Diploma Programme at BIS HCMC. A self-confessed “sports addict”, he went on to study a BA in Sports Business Management at the EU Business School Barcelona. Impressively, Evan graduated a year early at the age of 19 with the highest distinction, had his dissertation published as a book all whilst fulfilling the position of Student President. Evan is now pursuing a successful career in digital marketing whilst still making time for his love of sports. In early 2018 he began a personal journey into long-distance triathlons as an IronMan enthusiast. We talk to Evan about how his motto; ‘Driven by purpose’ has helped him to achieve these great heights.

  • Evan Planchon - BIS HCMC Alumni

Tell us about your choice of university…

I graduated from EU Business School Barcelona in 2017 with a BA in Sports Business Management. Sports and business being two of my main passions, it was the best course of study for my profile and in a vibrant and sporting city like Barcelona. The course was initially a 3-years bachelor degree but I was selected to complete it in two years by enrolling into an intensive course over the summer of 2016 where I studied from 8am to 6pm for four months, while my peers were on their summer break. It was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse as it meant that I could finish university earlier and start my professional career while becoming fully financially independent.

By the summer of 2017, I graduated at the age of 19 with high honors as a summa-cum-laude, which remains one of my proudest moments as completing a challenging course whilst working a side-job and fulfilling the position of Student President isn’t easy, but nothing is given to you in this life.

What has been your greatest achievement since graduating from BIS?

It´s hard to choose one! But I would definitely say publishing my dissertation as a book is one. Pursuing my dreams in long-distance triathlon is also one. Working every day on becoming the best version of myself is also one. Last but not least, joining multinationals at a young age is also one simply because of the challenges that you have to overcome. I´ve always been the youngest in every organization I joined so this can be challenging as there is a stereotype that experience only comes with age. This can also be challenging when you hold management responsibilities where you need to mentor colleagues who are older than you. It´s a tough environment but I´ve never backed down and never will. I prefer to show my worth with my enthusiasm and my desire to learn, lead and evolve.

Get out of your comfort zone. You have an amazing chance to be learning at BIS so make use of all the resources you have available and go write your own legacy.

Evan Planchon - BIS HCMC Alumnus

Tell us more about your published dissertation…

The title of my dissertation was “An examination of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the bidding process for Olympic broadcast rights – a winning formula or a flawed success?” I chose a topic that was not only a passion of mine but also a topic that was highly relevant at that period of time as several broadcast networks were criticizing the attitude of the IOC for prioritizing high profits over the fair distribution of media rights around the world. It was a topic close to my heart as it meant that a monopolistic business approach could have serious consequences, including a drastic fall in interest in the famous Olympic Games from millennials (the so-called Generation Z). While I highlighted the current concerns in the business approach, I also focused on suggesting direct solutions to the issue including broadcasting and digitalizing the Olympic Games on social media platforms and regulating the negotiation process.

My dissertation also led me to work in Sports marketing in London so if I could give one advice to BIS students, it is to choose your dissertation topic wisely and make sure that you can use it to open doors in the professional world.

It was an enriching experience overall as I met with several key stakeholders in person and it was a pleasure to receive the award for the best dissertation at my university in 2017 and to have it officially published as a book in October 2018 and available for sale on Amazon. My dissertation also led me to work in Sports marketing in London so if I could give one advice to BIS students, it is to choose your dissertation topic wisely and make sure that you can use it to open doors in the professional world.

Can you describe life since BIS?

One hell of a ride! In all honesty, completing the IB Diploma truly enabled me to solidify my work-ethic, time-management skills and many more, which meant that I was ready to tackle university and my professional and personal life with the same mindset which proved to be successful so far.

I'm a firm believer that leaving your “comfort zone” is the best way to evolve and achieve new heights. If you look back at my career so far, I've shown just that as I don't think there is a benefit to staying in a place where there isn’t any room to learn and grow. I know where I want to go in life and taking actions today will lead me to this goal tomorrow.

Can you remember what life was like for you at BIS?

Filled with memories. A lot of highs and a few lows, but that's what makes BIS a special place. Having the chance to not only learn, but grow, in an international setting with outstanding facilities, staff and students is a privilege. For that, I can only thank my parents for providing me with the best education possible in Vietnam.

There are so many remembrances from my time at BIS, including winning several sporting championships with exemplary teammates, a lot of them I still call friends today, to travelling to the Phuket-7 and FOBISIA tournaments and achieving personal milestones in both the classroom and on the sports field.

Evan Planchon - BIS HCMC Alumnus

Is there anything you miss?

The students, teachers, management staff, security guards, cleaning staff and all of the key stakeholders that make it a special place. I also miss the co-curricular activities, competing in several sports alongside great friends and cultural celebrations like International Day.

Are there any teachers that you know who are still here?

While people come and go, it's always a pleasure to catch up with long-serving teachers and staff like Darryl Cullen, Lauren Binnington, Daniel Gamwell and Secondary Nurse Love Condes; and of course 'Coach' Richard Santos, all who have impacted my life for the better. While they may not know it, former teachers like Phil Drake, Michelle Gilmore, Garry Willis, Damian Ballantine and Mark McGraw have also shaped me into a proud person. It is always great to meet new staff who are fully dedicated to taking BIS to new heights.

Completing the IB Diploma truly enabled me to solidify my work-ethic, time-management skills and many more, which meant that I was ready to tackle university and my professional and personal life with the same mindset which proved to be successful so far.

On your LinkedIn you describe yourself as “Driven by Purpose” - what does that mean for you?

“Driven by Purpose” means knowing where you want to go in your professional and personal life and taking the necessary actions to achieve this. The hard truth is that a lot of people believe that they will finish university and immediately get their dream-job handed to them. While this is possible, it is unfortunately not applicable to many of us simply due to the demand and supply of jobs nowadays. A finance graduate may have to work as a waiter on the side while applying for jobs and you´ll find this common in many places. Nothing is given to you in this life so do not expect anything if you do not put the effort in. If this means working a job that isn’t your dream job, then so be it as long as this will enable you to push further and get that dream job at the end of the tunnel.

“Driven by Purpose” also means appreciating the little things in life. After completing my IGCSEs at BIS, I asked my parents for some pocket money to fund a road-trip to Da Nang. They refused and eventually suggested that I work for a few weeks and earn my first paycheck. The following Monday, I walked into a furniture factory in Bình Dương Industrial Park at 7AM and did so for the next 3 weeks. The job consisted of manning woodcutting machinery and preparing the raw-resources needed to build chairs, tables and more. The work was hard, sometimes dangerous and tiring but it transformed my work ethic forever. Working alongside dedicated Vietnamese workers earning a few dollars a day, half of their paycheck going back home to their families, really opened my eyes and it was by speaking to them in Vietnamese that I understood their situations and recognized the chance I have to access an outstanding education. It was at that moment that I promised myself to work every day towards becoming the best version of myself, to the point where I can say: “you know what? I’m proud of myself”. I hope one day to return back to the factory and speak to these amazing workers, share our stories and thank them for what has been a crucial turning point so far in my life.

Evan Planchon - BIS Alumnus Story

How did you get into your IronMan pursuits?

I've always been a so-called “sports addict” and my parents have always supported me in my pursuit of team sports such as football and basketball. However, I've always wanted to embark on a journey where you, and only you, are responsible for your performance. This is where my journey in long-distance triathlon started in early 2018 and I haven’t looked back since. There is something special about training 6 days a week and twice a day, waking up at 6AM and heading to the pool then cycling to work and heading back home in the evening to start a second training session.

An IronMan triathlon consists of swimming 3.8km, cycling 180km and running 42.2km in one go. While many may consider this simply crazy, there is something so beautiful about racing for over 10 hours and experiencing so many emotions. At the start line you feel tense but when the gun goes off, you feel excited with the adrenaline pumping in your veins. A few hours later, you may feel sad and depressed as there are extraneous factors you simply can´t control but this is when you have to dig deep inside of you. As you approach the finish line, it becomes difficult to hold back the tears and that´s the beauty of triathlon.

What have you learnt from it?

A whole lot. I've learnt the importance of being physically AND mentally healthy. Especially the mental part as this is still a stigma in the world so let's talk about it. Through my triathlons, I also raised funds for charities dedicated to fighting against male suicide. I've learnt that I am able to push myself to my limits while fueling my performance with intrinsic motivation, something that I can apply in both my personal and professional life. I also learnt to believe in myself, to appreciate different emotions, to accept that injuries may occur and to never underestimate the support system I have around me, including my partner Naomi, family and friends.

Evan Planchon - BIS HCMC Alumnus

Will there be more?

A lot more! Living in Barcelona has its perks as you are able to swim in the sea, then cycle in the mountains and finishing with a run on the beach. I recently raced at the Barcelona half and full marathons. I also have an open-water swim race of 6.5km coming up with my partner Naomi, several cycling races with my local cycling team and the Barcelona half-IronMan triathlon in May where I convinced my family to sign-up and push their personal limits. I´m ending my racing season with the Barcelona full-IronMan in October. Keep going, you never know who you are inspiring.

Obviously very keen on your sports, explain the move into Digital Marketing?

Very good question! When I moved to London right after university to work in sports marketing specializing in cycling, I was introduced to the world of digital media and marketing where there is so much to do and achieve. I quickly joined GroupM in London to work under the Lloyds Banking Group media account; a very enriching experience! After being promoted at GroupM, it was also time for me to push further in my discovery of the digital marketing world so I decided to return to Barcelona to work for TravelClick, a leading digital marketing company offering a full suite of digital solutions to major hotels all over the world. So why the move away from sports? Well simply because I truly want to understand the world of digital marketing, its trends, strengths and challenges so that in a few years, I will be able to sit down and really choose a sporting organization or corporation that I want to be part of in their pursuit to achieve new heights. The actions I take today will lead me to my final objective.

If we shape the future generation to understand long-term consequences and follow honest values, we have a chance to live in a better world.

What do you hope the future holds for you?

Hopefully a lot more collective and personal milestones! I'm at a place right now in my life where I am able to push myself in both my professional and personal life while pursuing my passions to the fullest. This hasn’t come easy as I had to make a lot of sacrifices early on, including moving to London alone without my partner Naomi and family for two years, but it's now paying off. I also hope one day to work in academia in a school very similar to BIS where I will be able to help shape the future generation and prepare them for upcoming economic, political and life challenges. There are so many issues and conflicts today (wars, global warming, corruption and more) that can be fixed if the right people are in the right positions. If we shape the future generation to understand long-term consequences and follow honest values, we have a chance to live in a better world.

There were a lot of highs and a few lows, but that's what makes BIS a special place. Having the chance to not only learn, but grow, in an international setting with outstanding facilities, staff and students is a privilege.

Evan Planchon - BIS HCMC Alumnus

Any advice for other students who are coming to the end of their BIS Story?

Get out of your comfort zone. You have an amazing chance to be learning at BIS so make use of all the resources you have available and go write your own legacy. What do you want to be remembered for? What values and morals would you like to share with the future generation? I know a lot of people who work 16 hours a day with very bad life hygiene who chase a 6 figure annual salary. Don't see them as role models because half of their income will eventually go to therapy and prescription pills and I've seen it.

Stay true to your values, morals and heritage. Surround yourself with smart people who can push you further. If this means refining your group of friends, then so be it. Last but not least, thank your parents and family for the opportunities they have given you. One objective I have is to get even closer to my Vietnamese heritage. To understand what my grandmother and mother had to endure during the Vietnam War and to thank them for their bravery and strength as I owe them my life. Go write your own legacy.

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