What’s it like to study at elite business school, ESCP? | TopMBA.com

What’s it like to study at elite business school, ESCP?

By Laura L

Updated June 1, 2022 Updated June 1, 2022

Francesca Conti is an MBA student at ESCP Business School, ranked in the top 20 European business schools in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2022.  

As part of the MBA in International Management programme at ESCP, Francesca had the opportunity to move from New York to London and Paris. It was the opportunity to live and study abroad in multiple cities that enticed her to the programme.  

“ESCP’s multicultural dynamic was pivotal for me in achieving my career goals,” Francesca said. “If I had chosen to study in my home country, or at a business school that didn’t afford me the opportunity to live across different countries, I wouldn’t have had as much of an international experience. 

“I was immersed into two cultures, but I also got to experience different cohorts of students, a bigger variety of professors and industry contacts from across the UK and France.”   

The diversity of the ESCP MBA allowed Francesca to explore different industries in each location. In London, she delved into the thriving finance sector and in Paris, it was the growing tech ecosystem.  

“It afforded me the opportunity to network with professionals from larger scale start-ups and businesses,” she said. “It’s through these unique and organic interactions that I have sharpened my business acumen.” 

What does a typical week look like for you? 

“In a typical week, we’ll have academic classes for four days and then one day that is more focused on careers events or opportunities to further hone our leadership skills,” said Francesca.  

“ESCP’s elite reputation means that the school has strong relationships with key business leaders across many industries and we have an abundance of weekly talks and events from speakers from the tech, finance, consulting, or marketing sectors, for example. 

Although it's not all business and networking. Alongside her studies and extracurricular learning, Francesca has formed strong friendships as a student.  

“I’ve met people from a huge variety of backgrounds, but who come with the same challenging thinking and curiosity. It feels quite contagious, so we work well together. I thought it might be more competitive, but everyone I’ve worked with has such an encouraging and collaborative spirit that it’s made the whole experience so enjoyable.” 

In what ways do you feel like you’re studying at one of the world’s top MBA programmes? 

“Beyond the international focus of ESCP’s MBA and the ability to study across Europe, I think the prestige really comes out in the alumni network,” Francesca said. “The graduates I’ve had the honour to engage with are very high profile, but the network feels very intimate and supportive too. 

“The ability to speak openly with ESCP alumni has granted me wide exposure to potential careers in sectors I hadn't previously imagined. The university's global roots allowed access into some of the most coveted industries to date.”   

For 2021, ESCP joined forces with Cartier to deliver the MBA in International Management. The partnership gave students the opportunity to work on a consultancy project with the company, understand its managerial, environmental and technological strategies through live case studies, and immerse themselves in site visits and career workshops with Cartier employees.  

“It has been a major influence in our learning,” said Francesca. “Like ESCP, Cartier is a well-established institution on the cutting-edge of many advancements, so as technology and demographics change, we’ve been able to understand how the company is choosing to evolve and change too.” 

In what ways is ESCP meeting your business needs? 

“An integral part of the MBA programme is participating in two consultancy projects, working along organisations with the hope of being integrated on a granular level,” said Francesca.  

“In London, I developed strategic recommendations for a travel logistics company, Splyt, by conducting in-depth market analysis.  

“In Paris, I’m now working with BNP Paribas on developing their Acceleration Hub to implement sustainability initiatives based on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and how the company can best work together to move the brand forward. 

Both experiences gave me an opportunity to be agile and adaptable in a live, pressured environment. I was able to have autonomy over two projects which gave me real leadership experience. Working in a team to find solutions to real business problems and take it 110 percent was highly rewarding.”  

The consultancy projects allowed Francesca to experience working with both a start-up and a large company, which gave her a new perspective on how to approach different types of business to get the most out of their potential.  

What are your relationships like with your academics?  

“Even with the school's esteemed faculty and high-profile visiting professors from HEC, Bocconi, and Cambridge, the academics are really accessible,” she said.  

“The fact that the faculty is so diverse, both culturally and professionally, means they bring a lot of real life and industry insights into the teaching. It allows us to explore ideas beyond the scope of the course material.”  

The weekly guest lectures provide an opportunity to speak to current business leaders from around the world who can provide insights into the challenges and changes impacting their business in real time.  

“They have been the most fulfilling classes for me, because the speakers are people engaged in real life business situations and we get to see how they adapt to things constantly evolving,” Francesca said. 

The support from faculty goes beyond the classroom too. Both the full-time professors and guest academics offer encouragement and advice throughout the MBA, especially during the final months of the programme as students start to plan the next stages of their careers. 

“In the last few months, we’ve been seeking additional resources and support as we come to the end of the programme and the professors are always happy and willing to do what they can to help us.”  

How has the MBA allowed you to grow personally? 

“The MBA has been a well-rounded experience that’s pushed me to develop myself personally as well as professionally. It’s not only the learnings from my programme, but the day-to-day occurrences of studying with a diverse group of people with their own experiences and navigating living in different countries.  

“I feel like it’s boosted my confidence to know I can go on and achieve what I want to do. I feel very fortunate to go into the job market with the exposure I’ve had and the contacts I’ve made.” 

This article was originally published in June 2022 .

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