ESSEC Business School

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1 ESSEC Global BBA - Spring Travel report ESSEC Business School ESSEC Global BBA France Spring

2 ESSEC Global BBA - Spring Introduction I had an exchange semester in Paris during Spring My host institution was ESSEC Business School. ESSEC has two campuses, one in France and one in Singapore. Be aware, that the campus in France is not in the city of Paris, but in the suburb called Cergy. It takes about an hour to get to the campus from Paris. During the time I chose the host institution for my exchange, ESSEC was the only one in our partner list to provide a bachelors level exchange in Paris. In ESSEC the bachelor level exchange students were studying in the ESSEC Global BBA program with fourth (and last) year students. We were offered courses in both English and French, and there was enough courses offered so that you could choose the language of the course freely. I took all my courses in English. Preparing for the Exchange ESSEC was really active thru already months before the semester started. They really took care, that I remembered to do everything. I received also many info packages about the studies in ESSEC. I needed to confirm the exchange place, (apply to housing) and choose courses for the semester. All this was done online, and I didn t need to send them anything by post. Scanned documents were enough for everything. About 1 month before the semester they made a facebook-group for exchange students too. There we were asked to introduce ourselves already before arriving. Some people also arranged rides to the campus from the airport together in the facebook-group. There were some hangaround-parties also before the semester even started. I started to look for an apartment in Paris 6 months before arriving, there is a lot of flats available also in facebook-groups like Ranskan suomalaisten tori Ranskan suomalaiset. I decided to live in Paris, because I got a nice apartment which was not that much more expensive than the residences in Cergy. I lived in 10. addroissement, about 2km north from Les Halles. As you can read from the older exchange reports, it is easy to prepare for an exchange in Paris. You don t really need a lot of documents, and the host institution really takes care of you.

3 Exchange studies ESSEC Global BBA - Spring The beginning of the semester We were asked to arrive to the campus two weeks before the courses started. The first week was an orientation week, and we had basic lectures about how to stay safe in Paris etc. There were also French language exams for those, who wanted to apply to French language course in any other than beginner level. The orientation week was mandatory, but I did find it a waste of time. I took a beginner level French course, so I didn t have an exam on that week and we only had lectures for one and half days. Anyway, that was a good time to get to know the other students. Also the housing organization wanted exchange students to arrive and take the keys in the beginning of the orientation week. After the orientation week there was a weeklong gap before the actual semester started. During that week an optional international negotiations seminar course was offered. The course was worth 2 ECTS and I found it as a good way to get to know the other students and also it was quite easy course because of the intensive format. Remember to apply to this course during the applying period, otherwise you ll have an empty week (not so bad either!). Studying in ESSEC The school is totally divided to different masters and BBA schools that just works under the same name and in the same campus. Otherwise, there were no similarity or any crossing activities. I was a little disappointed, that for BBA students there were no courses at all offered about luxury, as in the masters program. The BBA courses were worth 2 or 4 ECTS each, so I had to take at least 8 courses. That was a lot. I strongly recommend taking some of the intensive-format courses to have some free time during the semester. Most of the exchange students took less than 30 credits worth of courses. The spring semester in ESSEC is shorter than ours in Aalto, and they also had all their courses in one period. Almost all of the courses took all the semester and had 10 sessions one per each week. Some of the courses were only half of that (2 ECTS courses). The courses in average were not as academic as our courses in Aalto in my opinion. Most of the courses I had were more related to practice. Because of that, they were not that hard to pass. There was definitely a lot to do to accomplish 30 ECTS in that short time, but it was not because you wouldn t understand the subject.

4 ESSEC Global BBA - Spring The most positive difference for me was the political aspects of the courses held in ESSEC. I had 3 courses concerning politics in international business field, and I found those really interesting and the best aspect of my exchange studies. These courses were International negotiations seminar, Geopolitics and Globalization and trade. I will write more about them later on when I describe my courses. I strongly recommend to try some of them! Most of the courses I had based on ongoing assignments, often done in powerpoint format. The basic way was to ask every group to prepare a PP of a case and then choose couple of groups to present. The weight was not that much on the final exams, which was good because there was a lot of them at the same time. I had 5 final exams in 1,5 weeks in the end of the semester. The course offering had courses in both English and French, and as exchange students we were allowed to take any courses that were offered to the 4 th year BBA students. I chose my courses so, that I didn t have to go to the campus everyday from Paris. I managed to do that by taking intensive-format course also during the spring break. Ps. The spring break was Vappuweek this year! The courses were selected already in advance online. That happened about a month before the semester started, and ESSEC sent many s about it to inform students how to use the system. Anyway, the French system is not so organized as ours in Finland, many times they just changes the time something happens etc!

5 My courses ESSEC Global BBA - Spring I attended to the following courses: 1. International Negotiation Seminar 2. French Civilization 3. Religions & Society 4. Globalization & Trade 5. International Marketing 6. Human Recourses Management 7. French language course beginner level 8. Web Marketing 9. Geopolitics My courses were all together 30 ECTS. I wanted to do even more, but the limits were, that exchange students needed to take between 16 to 30 ECTS. As I mentioned earlier, many exchange students took less than 30 ECTS. International Negotiation Seminar 2 ECTS - Tariel SIKHARULIDZE CRN 3662 This course was held before the actual semester started as an intensive format. It was organized by an executive education center IRENE, and was totally different from a traditional course method. We had a lot of cases and demonstrations during the session. The course was based on discussion and to the teacher s experiences on international negotiations as a negotiator. I enjoyed this course a lot as it was really practice based and related to social skills and politics. There was a written final assignment done in groups after the course. French Civilization 4 ECTS Pascale GUILLIER CRN 3704 I strongly recommend this course, if you are interested in French culture and history at all. It was also a good way to learn more about the Parisian way of life and Paris as a city. We went thru a large amount of history from each dynasty to today, French literature and art, culture and fashion, regions of France and specialties of them, monuments in Paris and the meaning of them etc. There was 2 quizzes held during the semester and a written final exam.

6 Religions & Society 2 ECTS Elijah ARY CRN 3697 ESSEC Global BBA - Spring This course lasted only a half of the semester (5 sessions). The lectures didn t have a structure and it was sometimes hard to get the point. There was a written assignment and a team project. As a project we needed to create a new religion and film a advertising video about it. I was a little disappointed to the course, as I was expecting to learn more about religion's effects to business. Anyway, we had some really interesting discussions during the sessions and the course was not very hard. Globalization & Trade 2 ECTS Frederic JENNY CRN 3696 This course lasted only a half of the semester (5 sessions). It was one of the best courses I had, because I was not familiar with international trade agreement negotiations in advance. The course had 5 mandatory lectures and a written exam. The course was mostly about different trade negotiations around the world and objectives / possible bias of them. The teachers slides were very hard to follow, and he had slides per session, but the theme was interesting, and he knew a lot about it. He also printed us some procedures that included articles published about the theme from all around the world. I recommend this course strongly, is you are interested in world politics / barriers of free trade. International Marketing 4 ECTS Raphaëlle BUTORI CRN 3709 This course was quite basic marketing course. We had 2 group assignments and a written exam, which was done at home! We had 1 week to write the exam at home and send it back to the teacher. The exam was also case alike. We also had to do little presentations during the sessions almost every week. Sounds like a lot of work and it was but not that challenging! Human Recourses Management 4 ECTS - Kushal SHARMA CRN 3683 The course was held by an PhD student, who was really dedicated to this course. The course was very well organized, and we had group assignments every week. Like in International Marketing, the course was not that challenging, but there was a lot to do. This course was very basic HR-course. The assignments were well organized and nice to do.

7 ESSEC Global BBA - Spring French language course beginner level 4 ECTS Pascale GUILLIER We were only 6 students in our group - the beginner level. The course was very effective, and we talked a lot during the sessions. We had two quizzes during the semester and a final exam. Those were not hard at all after all the exercises done during the course. We learned a lot of usable stuff, like the basic small talk / how to order in a cafeteria/restaurant / how to buy a train ticket and also the basic grammar etc. We had to make few presentations in French, but they were not too hard. I really recommend studying some French! Web Marketing 4 ECTS - Diane PELLETRAT DE BORDE CRN 3688 This was a really good course. The teacher was web-marketing consultant and the sessions had real insight of how to work with web marketing related issues. We went thru how to use Google Analytics to optimize Search Engine Marketing and Content Marketing and so on. The focus was on search engine optimization. Also in this course we had to do presentations for each week, but we only presented once. The final exam was an online questionnaire, where you just needed to choose the right answers. Geopolitics 4 ECTS - Cédomir NESTOROVIC CRN 3702 This course was held as an intensive format during the spring break. It was the best course I had. The professor was very talented speaker and he knew a lot about the subject. We went thru world conflicts and how geopolitics affects international relations and business. There was a group work assignment, which we had to do during the course. That means that we had 2 nights to do it in the evenings after the sessions stopped at 7pm. That was hard, but the course was worth 4 ECTS and it was really worth it. I strongly recommend taking a course by Mr. Nestorovic. He teaches in the Singapore campus, but has 2 intensive format courses in Cergy campus - normally during spring break.

8 ESSEC Global BBA - Spring Living in Paris This year there was almost 100 exchange students in ESSEC during the spring semester, but only 5 of us lived in Paris. It is very hard to find a flat in Paris, and even when many of the students tried, they ended up staying in Cergy in the area of ESSEC campus. ESSEC has a very well working housing system, and I guess that all the exchange students got flats from the residence they wanted to. The prices of the residences are almost the same as the flat prices in Paris, and that s why I chose to stay in Paris. When I attended to the exchange semester in Paris, I didn t speak French. It is definitely not true, that people in Paris wouldn t speak English. They do. You just have to be able to say your key points in French and everything else can be done in English. I improved my French a lot during the semester, and now I am fully able to go thru basic conversations in French! Anyway, most of the exchange students in ESSEC chose to go to Paris for an exchange to improve their French language skills, so I was one of the only ones not speaking French. Student life The exchange students in the BBA program mostly hanged around Cergy together and had parties there. The student life seemed to be better than I was expecting and even the school had a bar in it! That is famous, because ESSEC is the only university in Paris that has a bar inside it. There was a international student club called Melt in ESSEC. They tried to organize all kinds of events, but they were not that good really.. This year the students running the club were first year students, and not very good at organizing. Exchange students themselves held the best events. If you wish to discover France outside Paris, there is an organization called ToBeErasmusInParis which organizes bus trips to famous & beautiful places in weekends! I spent 2 weekends in those trips and they were well organized and cheap. There were students from all the universities around Paris attending to these trips.

9 ESSEC Global BBA - Spring Final Comments I learned a lot during my exchange. Mostly about politics, international trade, and especially what it means to be European. I strongly recommend exchange to those, who are interested in politics. I recommend ESSEC as a school, but you have to be aware that it is not in Paris, and moving around in Paris is sometimes hard with the public transport. If I would go back to the same university for another exchange, I would like to live in the campus at Cergy at least for the first month, because most of the students lived there and that way you can attend to the student activities better and learn to know some people. Otherwise, living in Paris was cool too ;). I learned to respect Finland in a new way during my exchange. Finland is beautiful, safe, clean and very well structured. We also have a great free education and a possibility to take an exchange period abroad without massive costs. These things are highly appreciated by foreigners, but we take them as granted. I learned to respect the Finnish system! The greatest experience of my exchange was to live in the city of Paris. I fell in love with the city, and enjoyed the Parisian way of living. I would definitely recommend everyone to live in the center for a while!

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