Monday 30 March 2015

French student Hervé shares his thoughts on coming to ESSEC and studying in the Grande Ecole degree

In this interview, Adil questions Hervé Seck, 1st year ASC (French entrance exam track) student, on joining the ESSEC MSc in Management (Grande Ecole) programme.

Life before ESSEC
Born in Paris, I went to school in the 4th district in Paris but I've lived in northern Paris and Aubervilliers (which are more underprivileged areas). It provided me with very different experiences. For instance, in primary school I was baby-sat by a woman living in our street in an apartment of 30-35 m2 with her husband and her four children. On the other hand, I had a friend living in a big apartment in downtown Paris. Those experiences have taught me to be humble and to have perspective about life and my situation, how lucky I was to live my own life, even when my parents' business went bankrupt and we had hard times. Furthermore, my father is Senegalese and the Senegalese culture runs in my blood. Not only did it contribute to the background giving me perspective, but also it has made me someone easy to get on with and who needs to enjoy himself a lot and have warm relationships.

On the Grande-Ecole programme 
What I like in the Grande-Ecole programme is that it gives me the opportunity to open my mind and do many things because I have to spend 9 months in a foreign country (exchange or internship), 18 months in a company (internships, apprenticeship), and the possibility to chose the topics I want to study during my master years. I think the most interesting thing about the programme is how both flexible and professionalising it is.

On life at ESSEC so far
So far, what I've found the most fascinating is the PCE, a real consulting mission. As soon as my first year, I'm working for SNCF, the national railway company, and it is a very concrete start in the professional world. After all these years of theoretical learning, especially coming out of a Prépa (preparatory class), I think it is essential to get into the swing of things and start practising because we are absolutely ready for that. And the more work experience we have before graduating, the better it is.

On the uniqueness of ESSEC 
In my opinion, it is rare to find a school where the student life is so intense (at least in France, from what I've heard). For the last two months, I've hardly found time to breathe! Students may develop skills through their associations and they enjoy it a lot, many events are staged... conferences, sports teams, etc. (aside courses and application for jobs). You always have something to do!

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