Summer Exchange Programme – Paris

summer graduate program ESSEC 

Salahaddine from the NUS MBA Class of 2010, shares his experiences about the Summer Exchange Programme at ESSEC, Paris.

The journey of ESSEC summer program “Global Manager In Europe” started with an application and a selection process. Applications started in early February and the deadline was at the end of March, the requirements were: Good Academic Standing (with CAP of 3.0 and above), an application form, a CV and a Motivation Letter in which one needed to explain why one wanted to take this summer program in Paris. I remember one student simply, but frankly, said, “Because….. Because it’s Paris!”

In the first week of April, the results of the application delivered to us by Delphine (the International Relations Manager of ESSEC MBA program), a very co-operative person, she provided us with a Brochure containing all the necessary information (the map of Paris’ RER to reach the school and any part of Paris, subway ticket’s prices, internet links to find housing in Paris and much more…), enough details to ensure you won’t be lost in Paris, even if this was going to be your first visit.

After we received the acceptance letter, the Visa application (for those who need Visa to visit France) was a straight forward procedure.

Our class started on 22 June and finished on 10 July. During these 3 weeks, I had the chance to meet with students from some of the world top business schools, 15 nationalities, 26 different backgrounds with one goal: mingling with new cultures, knowing Europe from its economic, social and political perspectives, knowing management practice of Europeans, their negotiation style and learning unforgettable lessons about the luxury industry (Giorgio Armani, Hermes, Bottega Veneta…)

But at the end what makes you love your classes is of course professors themselves, 12 professors with very high profiles ranging from the Dean, Judge, European parliament member, former French prime minister Advisor, former CEO of Giorgio Armani France…these people bring you their experience and share it with you, no need for additional assignments to really grasp the material because you already did it in the class. There were no thorny assignments so we had more time to discover and enjoy Paris!

The program was also full of other activities such as cultural visits: visit to the House of Jean Monnet, the architect of European Unity, visit to the Opera Garnier, visit to the Van Gogh museum where the famous painter spent the last months of his life before he committed his famous suicide, and the best part! Wine and cheese tasting: a collection of wine and the accompanying cheese from different parts of France;

A piece of advice: never your drink wine in one shot in the presence of a French person, he/she may feel humiliated!

For them, you should enjoy wine with all your senses you should enjoy its color, its smell, the touch of its glass, the sound of its glass when cheering up and then enjoy its taste…

Paris the city of romance! Paris la Ville-Lumière (the light city), I can’t say more than what great poets said about it, but from my experience it is more than what they said…!
You can enjoy Paris day and night, it is really alive city in all its corners, tourists are everywhere and they are speaking different languages although English is the dominant one, so you don’t need to speak French to be understood.

In the brochure that we received there are many places to visit (hopefully you can manage to visit them all): Eiffel tower, Versailles chateau, Arc de Triomphe…For the night life, you have unlimited choices depending on your mood and taste: good restaurants, cinemas, discotheques…

After we finished the program they asked us to give our feedback, all of us had different opinions but all of us agreed on one thing: 3 weeks are absolutely not enough!

I wrap up my program’s experience in three words: “enjoy and learn” or maybe “learn to enjoy”.

Salaheddine Maataoui
Class of 2010