Thursday 29 January 2015

Final year student Anshul from India on his time at ESSEC

Interview with Anshul Jaiswal who graduated from the ESSEC MSc in Management, having come previously from IIT Delhi. He tells us about his time at the school.

Prior to ESSEC, I did my undergrad in Civil Engineering from IIT-Delhi. I was very interested in learning more about Economics and Finance and therefore decided to do my postgraduate studies soon after graduating from IIT Delhi. In hindsight, it was one of the best decisions I made.

ESSEC seemed to fit the bill in every sense. The freedom to structure your own curriculum and work in a firm at the same time appealed to me. ESSEC has one of the best exchange program networks, which further enhances the international experience. Also, the apprenticeship program at ESSEC is unique.

I received the ESSEC Excellence Scholarship. I also worked on-campus as a teaching assistant for a couple of courses in Finance. The scholarship and the on-campus assistantship helped me be more independent and reduced the financial burden.

During my time at ESSEC, I did a couple of investment banking internships at HSBC and Societe Generale CIB in Paris. After my internship at Societe Generale, I received a job offer as well. Currently, I’m doing an MBA exchange program at Kellogg School of Management, Chicago.

Paris is an excellent place to live with lots to explore. I travelled to Belgium, the Netherlands and some of the Eastern European countries. I feel fortunate to have met people from all over the world. ESSEC gave me the international experience I was looking for.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Clairefontaine - Adil on the International Sports Marketing Chair Clairefontaine trip

The International Sports Marketing Chair is a 6-months specialised track at ESSEC designed for those interested in pursuing a career in sport. The content of the Chair centres around the professional consulting mission which is done by groups of students on the Chair on behalf of its partners: Adidas, Heineken, UEFA and the Qatar Olympic Foundation. Every year around 17 students from all full-time programmes at ESSEC are selected for this exciting challenge.

Students on their favourite part of the Clairefontaine trip

The second weekend of January 2015 saw the 14th visit of the International Sports Marketing Chair to the National Centre of Footballing Excellence, Clairefontaine. The trip is organised by the leaders of the Chair for two primary reasons: firstly, to break the ice between the 17 students with a series of team-bonding activities and, secondly, for the groups to make a start on their professional consulting missions under the close supervision of the Chair’s leadership team.

Having convened early on Saturday morning, the students were delighted by the regal surroundings of Clairefontaine, in particular the ‘Castle’, which is often host to the French national football team. Upon arrival, the group was put through its paces by former ESSEC Student and world champion of Karate, Laurence Fischer. The afternoon was spent in groups working on the embryonic stages of the professional mission, creating an issue analysis in order to better understand the challenge facing them. In the evening, the traditional annual football match between the students was a feisty affair - a penalty shootout eventually deciding the winner between two evenly matched sides.

Like the previous day, Sunday also began with a physical activity: a series of sports related challenges pitted one half of the group against another. The teamwork aspect of the Chair is undeniable, and activities such as these are highly successful in bringing the group closer together. The afternoon session was dominated by a workshop on ‘Questionologie’ – the art of asking the right questions. The talk was delivered by TEDx speaker Frederic Falisse and succeeded in provoking much thought among the students, which was manifested by the ensuing debate.

The weekend in Clairefontaine is typical of the kind of activity enjoyed by students of the Chair, and encapsulates the ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos which it seeks to foster. There are a number of Chairs available to ESSEC students in a variety of fields of expertise. Though competitive in their selection, the Chairs can prove a highly rewarding experience for those students wishing to deepen their knowledge of a particular profession.

Monday 12 January 2015

Imagination Week 2015 - Dmitry tells us about the different activities surrounding this year's theme 'lifestyles'

Photos by Yashas and Ursula, 1st year students from India and Germany respectively

After wonderful Christmas holidays, which I personally spent with my parents, friends and relatives back in Russia, I came to ESSEC to continue my studies in finance, marketing, strategy and management. However, I faced something so unique and creative which I would never have expected from a traditional top business school. 

A new year 2015 started for us students of the Grande Ecole program with Imagination Week – the event designed specifically to foster our creativity, strategic thinking and, literally our imagination. During five days, we worked together to produce innovative ideas and actions about the future of businesses, societies and humanity. But “working” is not the correct word here – actually, we simply created, imagined and envisaged with no limits or borders. While in 2014 the Week was related to Transhumanism, the topic this year was Lifestyles. This theme covered all the ideas and problems related to the way we live every day, so we had no boundaries while working on it.

So, what exactly is Imagination Week? 
It consisted of three activities, which let us think differently about lifestyles.

Firstly, we were set up in teams of six and asked to prepare a proposal. What was the topic of such a proposal? What issues did we need to address? We were absolutely free to choose one. The only requirement was to keep it in line with the theme of the Week: Lifestyles. And that was the most fascinating experience: while some teams focused on more practical problems, such as infrastructure, financial services etc. (still, we are in the business school), others discussed augmentation, nanotechnologies and even immortality. Of course, while preparing our proposals, we were not taught how to calculate net present value or how to analyze cash-flow statements…but we developed our strategic thinking, our vision of where we will be as humanity in several years, and where we should move as a person and a professional. Here, we moved far beyond the operational and technical responsibilities of managers; we became decision makers who are able to innovate. And I believe that this is what differs a good business school from an excellent one.

Secondly, we were given an opportunity to hear testimonies from representatives of truly alternative lifestyles. Experts from a variety of fields, ranging from neurotechnologies to punk rock, presented their ideas and vision of the future. These conferences and workshops introduced completely new issues and possibilities. Did you know that subway maps can be optimized by simply copying the same way mushrooms build their network? That is called biomimicry and there is no class on that subject (so far), but this is our future and Imagination Week exposed us to such innovations.

Finally, we participated in designing the future ESSEC curriculum. As a part of the Build Your Own Course (BYOC) program, professors from different departments and campuses of ESSEC presented us with 11 courses, which we later discussed. After feedback, where we students told then how we would like these potential courses to be constructed, the professors amended their course syllabi in line with our ideas. As a result, these projects were put to a vote and 5 courses, which had received the most votes, were selected to become a part of ESSEC’s curriculum next year. They will then be co-created by the professor and a small group of student volunteers. Within the framework of the BYOC we were given an amazing opportunity to use our creativity and imagination to change the way we learn at ESSEC and to design courses we are interested in the most.

All in all, I personally find Imagination Week a truly unique event, valuable and enjoyable. As a student of the Grande Ecole program, I designed my curriculum of study and explored subjects far beyond the traditional academic framework. As a future decision maker, I raised my awareness on the subjects of creativity, innovation and imagination, and produced ideas and actions I had never thought of before. Finally, as a part of ESSEC student community, I got to know a lot of new people, who turned out to be some of the most intelligent, open-minded and motivated persons I have met so far.

As a side note, unfortunately the events that happened in Paris last week left a mark on this week. The whole ESSEC community mourns the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack and sends out their thoughts to the families. A minute of silence was held on Wednesday at noon to collectively show respect to the victims. #JeSuisCharlie

Thursday 8 January 2015

Student Interview #13 - Maria on her first work experience in France

Interview with Maria, 2nd year MSc in Management student originally from Russia. She kindly shares with us her apprenticeship experience, how she has managed to become a part of one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world and how ESSEC has prepared her for this.

Tell us about your apprenticeship: which company are you working for? How do you manage to both work and study at the same time?

I'm currently doing an apprenticeship at Sanofi, it's the third biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world and the biggest in France. The position that I hold is Investment Coordination Assistant. It's a traversal position, my team launches the IS tool throughout global Sanofi in order to monitor and coordinate industrial investments in all the sites of the company. The duration of my contract is 2 years and I just started 2 months ago. The rhythm is weekly - I'm working 3 days per week and studying 2 days per week. In the summer period, since the school will be closed, I will be working 5 days per week. This weekly schedule is very convenient for me since it allows me to diversify my activities and also to complement my work with relative courses.

Are you satisfied with your offer?

I'm very happy with my choice both in terms of the contract and the company. Sanofi is a very big and international company that works both in English and in French. I have plenty of opportunities to learn inside the company while doing my apprenticeship. Moreover, the culture of Sanofi is very friendly and dynamic, it allows me not to do the same routine every day but to diversify my experience there.
I'm also very glad that I'm doing an apprenticeship contract and not internship. I feel more secure and connected to the company since I'm here for a long period of time. Therefore, I get more responsibility and more serious projects to do from my team.

How did you find this apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship offer was not as hard to get as it seems. The main thing is to know what you want and to do your best in order to achieve the goal. I was applying during 3 months, after which I got several offers and had an opportunity to choose the one that suits me best. The fundamental issue of apprenticeship is to understand that this contract is for 2 years, so you should know exactly that this is what you want to do for the next 2 years.

Did ESSEC help you along the way?

ESSEC Career Center was very helpful in apprenticeship search process. On you can find plenty of offers and the direct contacts of HR or managers which makes it much easier to get an interview than applying directly though the site of the company. However, this is not the rule: I got my apprenticeship applying directly through the site.
The ESSEC database of students and their companies of internships/apprenticeships/jobs helps to contact directly people from the company that interests you and get all the necessary information.  

Is there anything that you recommend to prospective ESSEC students intending to land an apprenticeship?

From my personal experience, I would recommend to start searching for a contract earlier and start in July, not in September (as I did). It is not very easy to look for a job in July and especially in August when a lot of employees are on vacation and it seems to be a "dead season" for a job search. Thus, I would say that you should start looking for apprenticeship (if you want one) as soon as possible. However, you also should remember that there is nothing impossible and you can find it at any moment if you do your best. Good luck!