|GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL
ESCP Europe was founded in 1819, it is the oldest business school in France, and it is considered to be one of France’s top three business schools. In 2010, The Financial Times ranked ESCP as having the number one Master of Management worldwide. The school is situated in arrondissement 11, with the metro stop Rue Saint Maur right outside the school. The campus consists of 6 buildings that surround the beautiful schoolyard. Compared to BI, the school is relatively small, and the technical facilities are not as good as at BI.
There are around 2500 students with approximately 450 exchange students.
ESCP Europe offers 2.5 and 5 credits courses having a duration of 5 and 10 weeks respectively. The 2.5 credit courses take place in either the first or the second part of the semester. If you choose no specialization, you will have only electives and the final exams will be held in the last class (where it is the case – some courses have only projects to be handed in). Often, the final exams are multiple choice exams.
ESCP is very helpful in case you want to make changes to your course choice. However, you are not allowed to make any changes in your courses after the introductory week. If you choose to drop a course after this deadline you will be registered as failed. Also, it is mandatory to attend the courses. More than two absences mean that you automatically fail the course.
Information before you left
When did you receive the information package from the University?
We received an information package from the University in May. The package was informative and included all the necessary information for getting started at ESCP as well as tourist information for Paris. We also received our student ID and password in May and was able to access the school mail address and intranet.
Even though we signed up for courses rather early, some of us who chose classes in English experienced not getting all of the courses we wanted, and ended up taking alternative courses. Apparently, it happens rather often that students don’t get the courses they signed up for, or the right amount of ECTS.
Visa Procedure and travel experiences
Does the visa cost anything?
Residents from EU or EFTA countries do not need to have a visa to enter France.
For the students out of EU or EFTA it is obligate to apply a short-stay visa. Generally, it takes 15 days to wait to get the visa done in the local French embassy.
How did you order your ticket – any problems?
Both Norwegian and SAS offer reasonable flights to Orly and CDG. If you are under 25, you can order youth/student tickets with both SAS and AirFrance, however we found Norwegian to be the cheapest option in most cases.
We would not recommend flying with Ryanair to Beauvais, as the airport is far away and the transportation system is not good. Train line RER B serves both Orly and CDG, and is with approximately 45 minutes travel time the easiest and cheapest way to get to Paris. One of us went to a language school in Nice for three weeks before going to Paris. She booked a train ticket with TGV from Nice to Paris.
The introductory week started the 10th of September, with a compulsory seminar; European Integration Seminar. This seminar lasted for 1 week with a written exam on the last day. If you passed this exam you were accredited 2.5 ECTS. Check in advance with the International Office whether you get this course approved or not. The normal courses started one week later.
Since we only had English courses, final exams where mostly held at the end of the last lecture. If you choose French courses, there is an exam week during the third week of December.
Any special events?
The school has several students’ associations that organize parties, events and trips throughout the semester. Every Thursday a different student organization throws a party at school. We were pleasantly surprised by the great number of company presentations and companies holding recruiting seminars. However, most of it is in French.
The international office at ESCP arranged some events for the international students, such as an international picnic, international food festival and a farewell cocktail. In addition, in December there is an international fair for ESCP students where we had the opportunity to represent BI with our stand.
Generally the reception at the school was good, and the International office is very helpful with all kinds of requests, from opening a bank account to helping to find accommodation.
Was the administration and faculty well prepared for your arrival?
Everybody was well prepared and a buddy program was offered for those who wanted to get to know French students.
Did the school’s students participate in the reception of the exchange students?
Unfortunately the school students did not engage in the reception of the exchange students besides some brief presentations of student organizations that were held at the introductory day.
There are several opportunities regarding housing. ESCP has no accommodation on campus. However, the school has an agreement with a student residence called “Le Vivaldi”. You have to send in an application to live here. ESCP sends you the application form before you arrive, which you have to fill out. Le Vivaldi is located 25 minutes away from the school by metro. Most international students at ESCP stay here. However it is very expensive, with strict housingrules, and many students didn’t think it was worth the money. Another option is Cite International (http://www.ciup.fr/en), which is a huge student city located South in Paris, approximately 45 minutes away from school by metro. Here you have 40 student houses of different nations. The standard differs between the houses. You also have to apply to stay here, and we recommend you to apply early. However, you are not guaranteed a place even if you apply early. The Norwegian House is comprised of 50% Norwegian students and 50% foreign students. Although they claim to have newly renovated the Norwegian house, the standard is still very simple. There is one kitchen and four showers/toilets on each floor and you have to share these with the other people on your floor. Keep in mind that there are 20 rooms per floor, so the kitchen tends to be quite messy. One of us stayed here and regrets not having rented an apartment closer to the city and school. Getting a taxi in the evenings is very difficult so getting home in the evening can be a problem. We would not recommend living at either of the student residences.
A good way to look for an apartment is to do a profile on websites such apartager.com, where one can get in touch with others who rent out a room in their apartments. If one has the possibility to go to Paris well in advance (one month before semester start), it makes the search much easier as one still has a lot to choose from. Since sometimes the profiles look nicer than they actually are, we definitely recommend having a look prior to making an agreement.
There are other websites offering long term rentals are:
One of us rented an apartment from Paris Attitude, and was very pleased with their service. We also talked to other students renting from Paristay and Lodgis, that were satisfied with their agents.
All in all, we recommend to rather pay more for housing and live quite close, as this will make Paris a lot more enjoyable than it is when living on the rim of the city. A good tip is to consider that the longer the period you rent for the cheaper is the rent. And in Paris, there are very often short-term notices if you want to resign from a contract, typically 1 month). So, if possible you could rent for, like a whole year and than resign from the contract such that you can leave when you are supposed to. There is some money to save on this if you decide to rent your own apartment.
Accommodation: approximately 700 EUR / month in “Le Vivaldi” residence, 470 EUR / month at Norwegian House at Cité. Apartments range from 700 for a small room to 2000 EUR for a high standard apartment in a good location.
Transportation: 60 EUR / month for a RER/Metro pass
Food: Paris is a bit cheaper than in Norway, but you can find both cheap and more expensive options. We mostly brought our own lunch or went to a nearby bakery instead of going to the cafeteria, as the food there was not that good. There is a small café where one can buy sandwiches and salads.
Mobile: There is an operator which costs 20EUR/month for unlimited texts, calls and data www.freemobile.fr, but you need to have a French bank account in order to sign a contract. Two of us used their Norwegian phone during the whole stay and on average payed 1000 NOK a month using Talkmore. If you have a talkmore subscription and fly with Norwegian both to and from Paris, you can get a 50% discount on your bill.
Books: most lectures do not require to buy books; hand-ins are distributed freely in class and you have almost all reading materials available
Internet: In “Le Vivaldi” there is no internet connection and you have to find on your own. In case you do not find a neighbor to share his / her wireless connection with you, you have to make your own contract and there is only one type of contract for less than one year at Orange. It is reliable, but it is expensive and it obliges you to also pay a monthly fee for a fix phone that you never use. At the Norwegian House Internet is included in the rent. Most apartments also have internet included in the rent.
The International Office
Is there an international office?
Yes and they are very active and helpful.
How does the international office function?
The International Office is located on campus. If you have any requests you should send an e-mail or you can drop by the office.
Do you receive all relevant information?
We received all relevant information upon arrival.
How was your relationship with other students?
French students are rather distant and do not interact much with exchange students. The exchange students made a Facebook group were we planned social activities together. However, one of us has taken some French courses, and met some nice French fellows through intensive group works.
How is the relationship among the exchange students?
Exchange students were easier to get in touch with than French ones. Those of us only taking English classes got to know several exchange students from classes, and also from the Facebook group. We highly recommend you to make a Facebook group to get in touch with each other.
Is there a student organization, and if so, are the exchange students part of it?
ESCP has a lot of student organizations and student activities organized and they are eager to accept exchange students. Unfortunately, most student organizations organize French speaking activities and it is rather hard for non-French speaking students to integrate.
Are there any special activities and gatherings for exchange students?
There are social activities and gatherings at school and there are also Erasmus gatherings so exchange students can interact with each other.
How do you like it at the school?
The school was nice and some courses were really good. However, school facilities are quite old compared to BI. The library is very small, old and loud so it is better to study at home or find a better library in Paris, we recommend the one at Pompidou. There is also a computer room separated from the library called Micromegas. There is a heavy focus on group work, however it can be difficult to find a space to work.
Culture and Language
Did you have any language problems with the faculty or other students?
There are some language problems at school. Not all the personnel speak fluent English and not all the professors speak English. However, you will get by only speaking English. As French often are more helpful when you try to speak to them in French, knowing a few basic sentences will be good. ESCP also offer French language classes for all levels. This is taught once a week, and is a great way to learn some French.
If you take some courses taught in French. Most professors are aware of the French level of international students. Therefore, they tend to speak slowly and making more notes on the blackboard (one of us has taken 4 courses in French and all profs are nice). Normally, the examinations can be answered in English if you think your level of French is not that competent. There is only one exception of a presentation which is required to be held in French (LS01-02: Intégration européenne & management).
How are the possibilities to experience the country and the culture?
There are great possibilities to experience the French country and culture. Most touristic objectives are free for young people coming from the EU countries (18-25 years old) and there are a lot of great places to be seen inside as well as in nearby Paris. If you present your French student card, you can get into most museums and attractions for free.
How do you think the exchange experience influences your future career possibilities?
By taking courses in the école supérieure having the no.1 worldwide master in management program we do consider that the career possibilities are enhanced. A potential employer will see the multicultural abilities of students and their adaptability and having completed a semester of exchange at ESCP is valuable for any company.
How would you evaluate the level of study in relationship to the level at BI?
At ESCP the workload is lower than at BI. However, the evaluation is continuous and part of the grade is based on the class contribution in most courses so you have to learn throughout the semester. However, there are not as many readings as at BI. You have to sign an attendance sheet and depending on the course, 3 absences may result in a failing grade.
Is the teaching primarily practical or theoretical?
The teachers have a practical approach and we had a lot of case studies and practical applications, which we enjoyed a lot.
Are the professors using cases, group work or lectures (or a mix)?
The professors are usually using a mix of lectures, group work and case studies.
How is the workload compared to that at BI?
The workload is smaller than at BI. However, professors tend to be low graders (14 out of 20 is considered to be an excellent grade and only 15% of the students score over 14).
What types of exams were you given?
We had written exams as well as case studies, presentations, multiple choices or a mixture of them. As exams are mostly taken at the end of the last lecture of the course, you sit in an auditorium without any space between people. Exams are relatively laid back in terms of rules and regulations.
LS01 - European Integration & Management Seminar 2.5 ECTS
The introductory seminar was very useful because it learned us a lot about finding our ways in Paris and it got us a valuable insight into the French and Parisian cultures and historical milestones. I think that this course was very important for understanding the way things work in France. Each lecture was devoted to a different topic, such as great French figures, the EU, the French school system, and the history of Paris. It was a week-long course with a written exam at the end.
FA0D - Commodity risk management
This is a course about how commodity markets work and how to use derivatives. The course was very good but you have to be somewhat interested in commodity markets. There was one assignment to do each week which was really good for learning, but the teacher only chose a couple of people that had to hand it in. This was 30% of the grade. 70% was a written exam in the last class. I think the professor was very good. There was no book or articles in this course, only the handouts from the professor. The exam is on a relative high level.
FD10 - Financial institutions management
This course focuses on how different financial institutions work. The syllabus was large but it only touched the surface and did not go deep into details. It is a useful course because you learn a lot that you should know if you want to work in a bank etc. The professor was good and knows a lot, but a little boring to listen to. The evaluation consisted of 50% open book exam and 50% term paper or a presentation on a subject of your choice. There was no book or articles, only the handouts from the professor.
FD08 - International finance
This course focuses on how MNCs should optimally manage their funds. Investing internationally means exposures to several risks, such as foreign exchange rate risk, political risk, sovereign risk, different tax systems, and different laws and regulations. The course introduces the fundamentals of these themes and how a MNC can hedge against them. It was a very useful and instructive course and it is very practically oriented. There were some case discussions during class. Pay attention in class, because the professor does include only half of what he will test you on in the slides. Class participation was 10% of the grade but you only have to be in class. There was one mid-term 30% and a final exam 60%.
CA02 - Group Financial Statements
A basic introduction on how to prepare consolidated financial statements. The course includes the methods and techniques for consolidation accounting, how to account for an acquisition, taxation accounting, cash flow statement, some on the differences between GAAP and IFRS, and how it affects the financial statements. You don’t need more than a very basic comprehension of accounting to attend this course. The teacher focus on class participation and there is a two hour final exam.
Formal Debating – 2.5 ECTS
A course in formal debating rules and practices, as well as a very good course for those who wish to improve their public speaking skills. The grade was based on participation and progress as well a 30 minutes exam on basic formal debating theory and rules. I very much enjoyed this course and would absolutely recommend this course!
Marketing Research – 5 ECTS
This was a very basic course in research. So if you have not yet had a course in research, methodology or statistics you will learn the basics. As I have done my bachelor’s degree at BI I have already had statistics and methods courses at bachelor level (as well as multivariate data analysis at master level), so the course turned out to be both disappointing as well as very basic. If you have already had statistics and methodology courses and is familiar with SPSS, I would not recommend this course.
Introduction to Indian Business Culture – 2.5 ECTS
An introductory course to Indian culture and society with the focus on how this affects Indian business culture. The exam consisted of a group presentation on a chosen topic and a 30 min exam where we wrote an essay based on topics raised in class and an article given three days in advance. The course was very informative but also very basic.
Positional Bargaining – Negotiations Workshop – 5 ECTS
This course was mainly a very long workshop course where everything depended on the student’s participation. We spent the course preparing, negotiating and going through the results of three different negotiations cases. In the beginning it felt a little strange that the class was run solely by the students, but all in all we learnt a lot from this approach. The class requires you to be very active and the grade is mainly based on progress and participation in the preparations and negotiations, but also on a short presentation of your own action plan for how you will improve your negotiation skills in the future. This was also one of my favorite courses this semester.
Gestion du Design – 5 ECTs
(taught in French)This course is a profound course in design management area. The topics are from logo to package. The professor is very experienced with a lot of well-known design projects (from museum to commercial products). Some practical techniques will be taught. Three designers from different areas are invited to give lecture too. If you are interested in visual and design, this is a very nice course to recommend.
Economie monétaire – 5 ECTs
(taught in French)To take this course, some basic financial knowledge is required. The professor is extremely nice to the international students. Half of the class is international students with very different level of French. The whole content is not very big. But there is some required reading in French which is a bit annoying.
Social Media and Viral Marketing – 2.5 ECTs
This is my favourite course in ESCP. Not only because the professor is knowledgeable and humour, but as far as I know, the professor’s research papers in social media have a very high referring rate. He makes the course short but very practical. Most of the classmates have had a lot fun with him and his course.
Le modèle européen: enjeux et perspectives – 5 ECTs
(taught in French)An introduction to the European Union. This course is organized by one professor. He is in charge of 4 sessions. In the other 5 sessions, different professors from different countries are invited to present their country. The content is not quite well-organized and different professors have very different stories to tell. There is one mid-term written exam. Also, one group work with 5 persons in total. One 25 pages essay and one presentation are required.
International business and human rights – 2.5 ECTs
It is organized by two professors equally in this course. One is in charge of the “hard-law” part.(International law, national law…etc). Another is in charge of the corporate social responsibility. Several cases about human rights abuses in multinational companies will be discussed. The “hard-law” professor is quite tough. Some law background will give a big plus to you.
The U.S cinema industry: the “Dream factory” – 2.5 ECTs
If you are a big fan of Movies like I am. Strongly recommend! Several masterpieces (from Orson Wells to Hitchcock…) are shown during the class. The professor explains the movie very deeply. The history of Hollywood movie industry and the financial recourse of making the movie are also presented. There is no exam for this course. It only requires a 10 pages feedback of the course.
Course name: Prereq. Exam Major at BI Approved as
OA0C-A7 Design None 50% Final free elective
Thinking in Management 40% Design Night
and Entrepreneurship 10% paper & pitch
It was a practical course with focus on designing a solution to a problem of society. There was little theory and readings, but quite some workload due to group project and weekly “deliverables” in terms of project process. Design Thinking Night (16 hours at school) with vernissage the morning after as part of the course. Overall, really interesting and different from what we have at BI.
MC01-A7 Marketing None 2 x 20% individual assignment free elective
Communication 35% campaign presentation (group)
5 ECTS 25% campaign report (group)
Basic course, but not too much new info when majoring in marketing. The first few lectures focus on outdated models, which is rather boring. Yet towards the end, the focus is more on new media and social media.
OA0B-A7 Consultant None 30% individual report free elective
Behavior 70% group presentation
Aim of the course is to gain insight in the consultancy industry, different companies, and skills and techniques that are important when working as a consultant. Different guest speakers with consultancy experience cover different lectures. Overall, we think the course description was better than the actual course and we were a bit disappointed.
BECA-A7 Competitive None 30% individual report free elective
Intelligence 70% group presentation
Interesting course, due to the experience of the speakers in for example L’Oreal and other big companies using Competitive Intelligence.
BECA-A7 Me-business: None 50% participation free elective
Using information 50% final exam (essay)
Technology to mass-
Customize your business
Basic course with lots of discussion around the topic mass customization. Lectures seemed often very long due to lack of focus of the teacher. No additional reading material. The final exam was an essay, in which one question about Mass customization had to be answered.
BEBF-A7 Breaking the None 20% participation free elective
Code of True 80% CEO leadership report
Leadership & presentation
Interesting course about different leadership styles, which also can be used individually.
BE78-A7 Management participation free elective
Fads: Tools and multiple choice test
Discussions about TQM, Business Process Reenginering, etc. and what went wrong for companies trying to implement it. Easy course, no extra reading material was given.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us through the International office at BI